psychopathy in fiction

If I remember my crim psych reading correctly, sudden and fleeting bursts of anger are a hallmark of psychopathy. I won’t say outright that that’s Christian’s particular psychopathology, but I will say it’s a good possibility.

laurineandersen  asked:

I'm studying psychology. And as much as i want to agree, Christian is not a psychopath. He lacks another characteristic traits that can identify him as one. For example: "Failure to follow any life plan"; "Lack of empathy"; "Parasitic lifestyle"; "Pathological egocentricity and incapacity to love." The way E. L. James portrays him surely is not helpful but psychopaths cannot love and Christian "loves" Ana, or so he says. He's not a psychopath. He's just a jerk.

I, too, am studying psychology! :>

Not all psychopaths have to meet all of the criteria on the PCL-R—just enough to pass >30 points.

I would argue that Christian lacks significant empathy and definitely displays a fair amount of egocentricity. If you look at the items on the PCL-R, most of the ones Christian doesn’t meet are lifestyle-related. As far as we know, Christian has no history of juvenile delinquency or other childhood affective control problems.

Re: your point about love, I’ve got three things to say.

1: ‘incapacity to love’ isn’t on Hare’s list, which is still the tool the vast majority of people studying psychopathy use to assess psychopathy.

2: Christian could easily be lying about loving Ana. For chrissakes, being a convincing liar is one of the hallmarks of psychopathy. Wouldn’t you say you loved someone if you thought it meant she’d stay around and have sex with you longer? (I mean, if you weren’t going to feel guilty about doing so, which you wouldn’t if you were a psychopath.)

3: Many psychopaths (Richard Kuklinski, aka “The Iceman", about whom there is a great documentary featuring Park Dietz, comes to mind) say that they love their spouses and families. Whether their concept and/or experience of love is the same as nonpsychopaths is up for debate, but I would argue that Christian, even if he was a psychopath, could believe that he loved Ana.