Friday, June 10, 2011

Pathological lying and the Casey Anthony case....

Given my curiosity about the field of abnormal psychology, I’ve found myself taking more than a passing interest in the Casey Anthony case. Yesterday I read a fantastic blog about the pathology of Casey.

It’s difficult, no, impossible, for a ‘normal’ person to comprehend how a mother could possibly do the things she is accused of. As parents, it goes against every grain of our being, and we find it impossible to reconcile that another parent could even consider harming their child and then try to cover it up.

Obviously, the case is on-going, and nothing is proven ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ yet, but let’s face it, the evidence against her is powerful, and it’s stacking up by the day.

Here is a mother, who’s child was missing, and she didn’t even report it to the police. Instead she went out partying, and refused to contact her parents. In the end, it was the grandparents who reported the child missing, almost a month after she was last seen alive. Casey’s reason for not reporting the child missing? She was ‘dealing with it herself’.

Subsequently, Casey created the most fantastic series of lies imaginable, and repeated them over and over, each time adding more layers to her web of deceit. Did she really believe her own lies? Doubtful. She just wanted (and expected) everybody else to believe them. Because she genuinely believed she could fool everybody. She felt in control, and in charge. She never thought it would unravel. Psychopaths never do.

I don’t need to go into the details of the case, they are feely available on the internet, and the trial is streamed live on various websites daily. It’s addictive viewing, similar to the OJ trial all those years ago. We cannot help but be fascinated with the details of the case, and in my case, the (dys)functionality of this woman’s mind.

I watched her reactions in court as the graphic photographs of her daughters remains were displayed for the jury to view. Not once did she look up, but she grew paler by the minute, her head bowing further and further until it was eventually resting on the desk in front of her.

Was this remorse we were witnessing? Unlikely. People who tell lies tend to feel remorse for them. People who are pathological liars tend not to feel any remorse at all. Sociopaths and psychopaths don’t know remorse. They don’t know guilt. The bowing of the head was most probably to mask her own emotion as she realised she really isn’t going to get away with this.

To a psychopath, the only thing in the world which is unbelievable, is when they are not believed.

The defence is (now) trying to argue that Caylee (the daughter) was killed accidentally, and that the death was covered up by Casey under the guidance (no, bullying) of her ex-cop father, who abused her (as did her brother-apparently). This is about as believable as Casey’s tales of ‘Zannie the Nanny’, the person she first claimed abducted her daughter.

Now, not all liars are psychopaths. There is such a disorder as compulsive lying syndrome’ and this is quite different from pathological lying. This syndrome can be treated. The people who have this syndrome don’t tend to hurt anybody except themselves with their lies.

But the fact is, ALL psychopaths/sociopaths/narcissists are pathological liars. Lying is part of their personality disorder. They lie without thought, without conscience, and without regret. They lie consciously and with malicious intent. They lie to gain control and manipulate.
They can come out with the most fantastic and unbelievable stories, yet they are relentless in their conviction that people will swallow their lies. This is because they steadfastly believe that they are better than everybody else. Their feelings of grandiosity preclude them from realising how ridiculous they sometimes sound. They are lulled into security by seeing how their superficial charm can work on people, and that their lies really are believed (at least in the beginning) by their unsuspecting victims. It’s unlikely that this type of lying can be treated, unless, like Casey Anthony, they end up in prison after committing a crime, and even then, it’s a long shot that they can be ‘rehabilitated’.

Not all psychopaths turn into cold blooded murderers. But of course, some do.

In the case of Casey Anthony, we have a murdered child and a mother who is a proven pathological liar with clear psychopathic tendencies. It’s not going to be easy for the defence.

I suspect the best the defence can do now is to ride this out, and come up with as many diversions and distractions as possible (confusion is good) to try to spare Casey the death penalty.


  1. Wow, Sara, you really know this topic well! It is chilling. You have to wonder how this happens to people...
    Bless you!

  2. Thanks Cheryl! I have some experience with pathological lying (lived with one) and the rest just comes for a LOT of reading up on the subject, and consulting with experts. x

  3. I hope they give her the death penalty.

  4. This is a case that is so hard to believe. The duct tape to make sure little Caylee died is the worst evidence. I could have believed an accident easily if it weren't for that. But to go as far as to make sure if she woke up that she would die suffocating was an extra evil moment of the murder. That poor little child was loved by everyone. Everyone except for Casey. Her jealousy is what made her do it, and that is the motive. Cindy herself wrote about the jealousy of Caylee that Casey had. She just didn't think it would drive her to kill.

  5. Good article. Duct tape isn't an accident, partying and a 'living the good life' tattoo isn't normal after losing your child. She's once piece of work!

  6. Sarah, you hit the nail on the head with your observations about Casey. Her perpetual mode of lying reminds me of the Scott Peterson case in California and your ex husband in Web of Lies and Renaissance - A Journal of Discovery. It is unfathomable to normal people that such persons can lie and commit such bold acts of criminality without blinking an eye; but such is the modus operandi of the psychopath, as you have explained so clearly. I feel sorry for you and the other victims of such people because these perpetrators wreak havoc in the lives of those close to them! Unfortunately in little Caylee's case, I believe her mother did more than that. I hope the trial will be able to continue to it's end and there is justice for little Caylee. Thank you for such an interesting and poignant post and all my best to you and your family!!!

  7. Yes, the defense has not shown anything, just a bunch of crazy events which do nothing to prove anything, who cares if her father had an affair, who cares if Crump may have moved the remains by accident, they were put there, even if her father molested her this is beside the point, who had a car smelling like death? Casey, Who had a 30 day party episode? Casey, Who tried to convince everyone around her that Caylee was ok? Casey, I guess she thought after awhile people would just forget about Caylee and quit asking, she is a piece of work, she is unfit to ever, ever be around children, if she does walk there should be a stipulation that she is not allowed and if she does have another child it should be put in custody of Dept of Human Services or adopted immediately, she is not able to use good judgement if she feels this is "normal" and good parenting.

  8. Did you notice that the only time she cried real tears--streaming tears--is when her series of lies was revealed? I think that the pressure to keep up a series of lies is the main preoccupation of a pathological liar (at least the ones I have known).

    I don't believe that Casey is guilty of murder, as described by the prosecution, but I do believe she is guilty of neglect, and is therefore responsible for her child's death. She should have been either watching her child or should have made sure that someone was watching her child.

    I do believe that she comes from a family where the lie is the norm. Serious denial is as much of a lie as a conscious lie. How interesting it is to have a case looking for truth when everybody, even under oath, is telling an alternate version of the truth. Somebody must know what happened, but it is so deeply buried under everybody's lies that even the people directly involved can't seem to find it amid the quagmire of their version of a lie.

    If there had been a drowning accident (which is certainly likely), Casey could have covered it up--even to herself--with a series of lies. That's the way she is.

    The issue of "beyond a reasonable doubt" will probably eventually lead to a not guilty verdict on murder. There is also no motive for a murder. I don't buy the "party girl" reason, because it isn't a reason. The prosecution is asking the jury to use "common sense," and the findings of a trial needs to be based on evidence.

  9. Normal people can't believe that a motive for murdering your own child could be jealousy. For A Psychopath it's classic. Remember Norman Bates in "American Psycho", He murdered someone because he was jealous that his victim had a nicer looking business card than his, this made him feel threatened. Such is the "Logic" of the Psychopath. Normal people just can't possibly relate to motivations like this. They acquitted her essentially of having no motive. NO SANE MOTIVE. Do you follow? Nancy Grace said it best "somewhere tonight the Devil is dancing." Psychopaths motivations aren't logical, although many of these monsters seem quite sane. Why? They study us and practice, practice, practice how to fake emotions, manipulate, etc. They are very dangerous entities, not really Human at all.

  10. hey Sarah, nice work...

    And hat's off to Elaine for calling the verdict just hours before it came in! She took a rare position and was right... everyone just took for granted a Guilty verdict on this one.

    Great blog, Sarah... experience is the best teacher, and you're evidence of that, keep on.


  11. Thanks to everybody for your comments, and yes, well done Elaine for predicting the outcome. I certainly wasn't expecting that verdict but it's the way the legal system works I guess.
    My heart is heavy for little Caylee. A wasted life.