By PAT BROWN
Give up attempting to understand Casey Anthony or what makes her tick; she is a psychopath and that makes her the kind of person you shouldn’t waste time trying to figure out.
The argument over whether psychopaths are born or made – nature versus nurture – will continue decade after decade, century after century. For all of our scientific progress, why a person becomes evil, chooses to murder simply for the fun or convenience of it, is something likely to remain a mystery forever. She is a snake, a snake who needs to be caged or exterminated if found guilty of murder, regardless of how she turned into a serpent.
Let’s take a look at the nurture aspect of Casey. Many think that her home was severely dysfunctional. I tend to agree that there was a bit of a twisted dynamic going on there, a battle of wills and a fight for power and control between Cindy and Casey; the two men, George and Lee basically just got out of the of the line of fire. Cindy appears to have a pretty high level of narcissism herself, which is not unusual to find in one parent of a psychopathic individual. An absent or distant father figure, either physically or emotionally, also is often in the mix.
Usually, if there is a set of parents in the home, we tend to find one parent, usually the male, who is cold, stern or uncommunicative with the child and the other parent, usually the female, who then overcompensates by giving far too much and coddling the child as she is growing up. Sometimes, that female is actually narcissistic, and what looks like love can be more about being the winner within the couple, getting more of the attention from the child, and controlling what happens. We sometimes see this narcissism lead to Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a personality disorder in which the caretaker of the child uses the child as a pawn to gain massive attention, sometimes even causing the child to become ill or die just to get a jolt of importance.
Then again, sometimes we don’t see too much amiss with the parents at all, and, yet, they are still stuck with a psychopathic kid who they have no idea what to do with.
We also see an increase in psychopathy when there is some kind of attachment disorder occurring at a very young age; children who have been abandoned to orphanages or tossed around the foster care system so often that they have trouble connecting with human beings. This can lead as well to serious personality disorders.
Then, we mix in the individual personality and the cultural issues, financial issues, etc., stir, and whammo, a psychopath emerges, usually by the age of eight, if not by the even earlier age of five, which I have observed in children not even in school and find quite disconcerting. What then? Well, not much, because at this point treatment usually fails and the only thing that has an effect of sorts is behavior modification.
Essentially, once you are dealing with a psychopath, the only way to improve their choices is to show them a way to get what they want in a way that will be less trouble. You can’t impress upon them that doing right is a good thing or making others happy is worth it, but you can help them find a way to get what they want in a less destructive way. Dr. Stanton Samenow who spent years at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC, recognized how the criminal mind was rigidly set, could not be changed, and, therefore, he set out to find ways to deal with what simply was a reality.
So, I don’t know how Casey Anthony got to be a psychopath, but there she is-lying, manipulating, ignoring how others feel, seeking constant attention, and wanting to have her way all the time. She exhibits the hallmarks of psychopathy; total narcissism and complete lack of empathy for anyone else, including her own daughter. When she does act like she cares, she is doing just that: acting. This is a recognizable trait of a psychopath that Casey exhibits because one can see how quickly she can change mood or expression.
I remember walking in on a “friend” I later realized had a serious personality disorder. She was sobbing on the phone to her boyfriend, telling him how horrible she was feeling, how upset she was. When she saw me, she put the phone down in her lap, flashed me a big smile and mouthed “I’ll be with you in a sec!” and then went back to sobbing on the phone. When she hung up, she turned to me just as cheerful as ever, lit a cigarette, and started chatting about our evening plans. The friendship didn’t last long after that. I didn’t trust much genuine was going to come from this particular woman.
Sound like Casey? You bet. And you can see those same behaviors in murderers like Darlie Routier, Scott Peterson, Karla Homolka, and just about any serial killer you can think of.
If the jury takes a look at Robert Hare’s list of psychopathic traits, I am sure they can check just about every one of them off for Casey.
- Glibness/superficial charm
- Grandiose sense of self-worth
- Pathological lying
- Lack of remorse or guilt
- Shallow affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric)
- Callous/lack of empathy
- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
- Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Poor behavioral controls
- Lack of realistic long-term goals
- Juvenile delinquency
- Early behavior problems
Why is it important to know what Casey Anthony is? Because knowing she is a psychopath means she is perfectly capable of murder. The jury needs to recognize this, add this information to the body of physical and circumstantial evidence the prosecution has presented, and convict the snake.
Not all psychopaths are murderers, but most murderers are psychopaths. I believe Casey Anthony is both and needs to be removed from society permanently so she can’t do any more harm. And, Caylee, innocent little Caylee, deserves justice.
Criminal profiler Pat Brown blogs at http://womenincrimeink.blogspot.com/.