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.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Use, or Abuse, of 'the system' ?

Today I was told I have a 'choice' to either stay at home and be a mother to my children, or to go out to work to feed us all.

Actually, I don't have a choice. I HAVE to go to work.

Why? Because there is nobody to support us financially if I don't, and despite what some people seem to believe, man cannot live on love alone.

My kids need my love and nurturing, but they also need a roof over their heads and clothes to keep them warm. Sadly, these things do not come for free.

When I was left high and dry, and without two pennies to rub together, I was forced to go, begging bowl in hand, to the social services. Thank goodness for State support to help people out when they unexpectedly fall on hard times. I was truly grateful for the assistance we received. Without it we would have been sunk.

I talk a great deal in Renaissance about how I was subsequently treated by the Swiss 'system'. I was forced to hand my children over to strangers to go out and work for a living. I didn't feel ready to do it, and it's certainly not what I had planned to do when I made the decision to have children.

But the Swiss 'system' is designed to help those in dire need, and not as a mechanism for certain people to have their lifestyle choice subsidised by the hard work of others. In Switzerland, you are encouraged to work for your benefits, and to pay them back once you're back on your feet.

I was devastated to have to give my children up whilst they were still so young. I was, and remain, jealous of the child minder, for she gets to spend as much time with them as I do.

But on the flip-side, returning to work has given me something back which I thought I'd never regain; my self respect.

We are now in a situation where we don't have to rely on State support. I provide fully for my family, in every way. This makes me immensely proud, and it teaches my children a work ethic they might otherwise not have been taught so soon.

We treasure the time we have together. All our family time is pure 'quality' time, and the material possessions we have are all paid for with my honest wage. It's been a struggle, and I won't pretend it's easy. It's bloody hard work. But at the end of the day, it's necessary. There simply is no choice in the matter, at least that's how I see it.

If I were to choose to live off the State indefinitely, I don't think I could feel as proud as I do. I'm now grateful that the Swiss system got me back into the workplace when it did. It was a push in the right direction. I'm happy to pay into the system, and I was grateful to have it to fall back on in my hour of need. But I'm also glad that I'm not expected to fund other peoples lifestyle choices either. I believe if you're lucky enough to procreate and can support your family yourself, then it's absolutely fine to stay at home. But where's the self respect in staying at home and expecting others to fund you?

Is that not abusing the system?