A personality disorder is a persistent pattern of emotions, cognitions and behavior that results in enduring emotional distress for the person affected and/or for others and may cause difficulties with work and relationships. DSM-5 divides the personality disorders into three groups or clusters. The cluster division is based on resemblance. Cluster A is called the odd or eccentric clusters; it includes paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders. Cluster B is the dramatic, emotional or erratic cluster; it consists of antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders. Cluster C is the anxious or fearful cluster, it includes avoidant, dependent and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders.
People diagnosed with the cluster B personality disorders - Antisocial, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic- all have behaviors that have been described as a dramatic, emotional, or erratic.
Six of the criteria that HARE includes in his revised Psychopathy checklist are:
- Glibness / Superficial charm.
- Grandiose sense of self-worth.
- Pathological lying.
- Conning / Manipulative.
- Lack of remorse or guilt.
- Callous / lack of empathy.
One of the key characteristics of Psychopathy is poverty of emotions, both positive and negative. Psychopaths have no sense of shame, and even their seemingly positive feelings for others are merely an act. The Psychopath is superficially charming and manipulates others for personal gain. The lack of anxiety may make it impossible for psychopaths to learn from their mistakes, and the lack of positive emotions leads them to behave irresponsibly and often cruelly toward others. Another key point is that the antisocial behavior of the psychopath is performed impulsively, as much for thrills as for something like financial gain.
Since much psychopathic behavior violates social norms, many investigators have focused on the primary agent of socialization, the family, in their search for the explanation of such behavior. Several studies have related psychopathic behavior to parent’s inconsistencies in disciplining their children and in teaching them responsibility towards others, to physical abuse, and to parental loss. Furthermore, the fathers of psychopaths are likely to be antisocial in their behavior.
In defining Psychopathic syndrome, CLECKLEY pointed out the inability of such persons to profit from experience or even from punishment; they seem to be unable to avoid the negative consequences of social misbehavior. Many are chronic lawbreakers despite their experiences with jail sentences. They seem immune to the anxiety or pangs of conscience that help keep most of us from breaking the law or lying to or injuring others, and they have difficulty curbing their impulses. In the terminology of learning theory, psychopaths have not been well socialized because they were unresponsive to punishments for their antisocial behavior.
David H. Barlow, BOSTON UNIVERSITY
V. Mark Durand, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA- ST. PETERSBERG
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