Tag Archives: psychopathy


A fascinating post on how to identify a sociopath, (http://paularenee.wordpress.com/identifying-a-narcissistic-sociopath/). Sociopaths can be superficially charming and may appear to be wholly sincere. However they are, in reality totally self-obsessed with no (or very) little empathy for others. Sociopaths will lie, cheat and, in short do anything which enhances their own position with no concern for the wellbeing of others.

In my story, “Samantha”, Sam’s brutal pimp, Barry exhibits many of the traits which imbue the sociopath. Indeed Barry verges on the psychopathic end of sociopathy. His aim is the making of money. The wellbing of Sam and the other girls he forces into prostitution does not figure in Barry’s world view. They are, for him merely a means to the greater enrichment of Barry O’Connor.

Are sociopaths born or made? I don’t know the answer to that question. I am, however sceptical of reductionist approaches which ascribe simple causes to what are (often) highly complex problems. Consequently my admittedly unscientific view is that sociopaths and psychopaths are the products of many and varied factors including both environmental and, perhaps genetic factors.

For my story, “Samantha” please visit (http://www.amazon.com/Samantha-K-Morris-ebook/dp/B00BL3CNHI).

Those To Whom Evil Is Done

Much of my writing is based on the premise that evil begets evil or, as Auden so eloquently puts it, in his poem, “September 1, 1939”:

I and the public know

What all schoolchildren learn,

Those to whom evil is done

Do evil in return”. (See http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/september-1-1939).

I do not contend that free will is an illusion, that we are prisoners of genetics or society. Many individuals who have experienced horrific abuse do not go on to become abusers. However the fact that significant numbers of the abused become perpetrators demonstrates that a vicious cycle can, often be set in train with parents abusing children who then go on to become abusers.

To take an example from my own writing. In my short story, Samantha, Sam is drugged and forced into prostitution by her brutal pimp, Barry. Barry possesses not a single redeeming feature. He is, quite simply a monster. Barry has, however been abused by his mother as a child (she locks him, as a 6-year-old little boy in a dark cupboard). From this ill treatment flows Barry’s view that,

“All women are bitches”.

He has experienced no love in his life and the brutality of Barry’s upbringing has destroyed the feelings of compassion which most of us, to a greater or lesser degree possess.

To take another example, in my story, The Hitch Hiker, a deeply troubled young woman exacts a terrible vengeance on men who stop to offer her a lift.

Both Barry and the Hitch Hiker demonstrate the validity of Auden’s view that, “Those to whom evil is done do evil in return”. Anyone reading much of my work might reach the conclusion that I deny the possibility of redemption, I do not. Deeply damaged individuals who have done terrible things can (and do) reform and go on to lead good and productive lives. However it does appear that a small number of people are, for whatever reason beyond help. I am speaking here of psychopaths. In contrast to most killers who can (and frequently do) show remorse for their actions the psychopath is incapable of genuine remorse (he may feign it to gain advantage but that is a wholly different issue). Barry would appear to fall into the category of psychopath, his psychopathic tendencies being derived from the abuse suffered as a child. He is, almost certainly beyond redemption.

Is Barry responsible for his actions? As a believer in free will my answer has to be yes on the basis that other equally damaged persons do not act in the manner he does.

Perhaps in the coming decades lawyers will argue that their clients should not be punished for their actions as they possess a genetic predisposition for psychopathy or, due to the lack of a particular chemical in the brain they can not be held responsible for their actions. Maybe this will happen, however (assuming such a thing exists), if certain individuals with a genetic predisposition to psychopathy commit horrendous crimes while others do not (as I suspect will be the case) then society will need to relinquish simplistic explanations for criminal behaviour and accept that “evil” stems from many and varied causes.

I am no scientist. I am, however suspicious of determinist theories whether they be Marxist or Eugenic in origin. “Evil” will, I suspect be forever with us and, in decades to come we will still be discussing why people do horrendous acts.

Is Your Boss A Psychopath?

An interesting post but, as one of the commenters remarks the author of the article ought to have entitled his piece “Is Your Boss A Sociopath” rather than a psychopath. Fortunately I have never experienced either a sociopathic or psychopathic boss although I have, in my personal life encountered people who, almost certainly fall into both categories.

In my short story, Samantha Sam’s pimp, Barry exhibits psychopathic behaviours. His sole goal is the making of money and he uses whatever means, including extreme violence against Sam and the other prostitutes who “work” for him to achieve that end.

For the article, Is Your Boss A Psychopath please visit http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/01/is-your-boss-a-psychopath/. For my story, Samantha please go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samantha-K-Morris-ebook/dp/B00BL3CNHI or http://www.amazon.com/Samantha-K-Morris-ebook/dp/B00BL3CNHI

Sick In The Head

A theme running through my story, Samantha is that of evil. Barry (a pimp who owns an escort agency) drugs and rapes Sam. When she wakes he shows her pictures of the sexual abuse and threatens to send the photographs to Sam’s father unless Samantha agrees to work for him as a prostitute. Not wishing to induce another heart attack (Sam’s father has just undergone a heart operation) she agrees to work for Barry and enters a world of physical and mental abuse.

On discussing Barry’s personality with a close friend he remarked that I should consider endowing him with one redeeming feature or including in my narrative one act of kindness by Barry. I thought long and hard as to whether I should follow my friend’s advice, however Barry possesses no saving graces and I decided to portray him as the unfeeling psychopath that he undoubtedly is.

Barry possesses many of the classic traits exhibited by psychopaths. He is superficially charming (it is his charm which convinces Sam to accept a drink from him which unbeknown to her contains the date rape drug GHB). Barry has no conscience, he beats one of his girls, Tanya because she is unable to work due to being high on Crack and in the final chapter Barry attempts to kill Sam because she has had the temerity to tell him to “Go fuck yourself”. Barry is egotistical. In his world it is only Barry O’Connor who matters, the prostitutes he controls are mere means to his profit. Barry does not acknowledge that anyone other than him possesses feelings or if he does accept this, he shows no sign of caring about them.

To acknowledge that Barry is a psychopath with no redeeming features is not the same as saying that we can feel no empathy for him. In chapter 7 (http://newauthoronline.com/2012/12/18/samantha-part-7/) Barry has a nightmare in which he is, as a six-year-old thrown into a dark cupboard under the stairs by his mother. He bangs his head on the gas meter and is left bleeding there while his mother watches television. The terrible abuse which Barry has suffered as a child warps his view of women “they are all bitches and deserve everything that men do to them”. We rightly abhore and condemn Barry’s view of women and the abusive behaviour which flows from it. We can however understand (but in no way excuse) why Barry behaves as he does.

Barry is at bottom a thoroughly nasty piece of work. We can shed few tears when he meets his grizly end However had Barry experienced a loving childhood rather than one filled with abuse, would he have turned out as the cold hearted pimp he is trawling the streets of Liverpool for girls to entrap into prostitution? .