Why Calling Pistorius Insecure but Not Narcissistic is Damaging to Sociopath Abuse Awareness

The experts continue to misinform themselves and the public about narcissism, which is at the root of sociopathy. The experts who evaluated Oscar Pistorius got it half right:

  1. Right – The doctors and therapists who evaluated Pistorius testified this week that the Paralympic athlete was not suffering from any form of mental illness or impairment when he shot and murdered Reeva Steenkamp on the eve of Valentine’s Day 2013 in his South Africa residence.
  2. Wrong – Despite labeling Pistorius as highly insecure and depressed, the experts claim there are no clear indications that he is a narcissist with a personality disorder or a psychopath/sociopath with deep pathological defects.

I find this conclusion troubling and contradictory, because, as we all are very aware; narcissists and sociopaths act abusively, not only because they lack a conscience and are void of empathy, but because they are deeply insecure, highly fearful of abandonment, and paranoid. When cornered and caught, they drop the grandiose and entitled front and instead manipulate the consciousness of others by engaging and parading their insecurities to gain pity.

As Martha Stout, Ph.D. notes in her book The Sociopath Next Door, not all narcissists are sociopaths, but all sociopaths are narcissists. More importantly, people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and those who are sociopaths do not like themselves. Knowing this should not excuse their nature or make them sympathetic characters.

So let’s remind ourselves, first and foremost, that narcissists do not love themselves and are not secure in their identities.
The term “narcissism” is derived directly from the myth of Narcissus. Like Narcissus, narcissists appear to always and forever be gazing lovingly at themselves. If you interpret Narcissus or narcissism this way, you would be half correct. Narcissus is always and forever gazing loving at his reflection, not at himself—there is a difference.

A reflection of a person is a distortion; it is not the inner reality and nuances that reveal our nature. The narcissistic sociopath falls in love with a distorted self-image, not with his/her spirit. It seems that the myth behind the myth has been obscured by the images depicting the myth. What a travesty of misinformation and interpretation.

Sociopaths hide their true nature from themselves and from everybody else. They avoid looking within, because they hate themselves and fear being reminded of why they hate themselves so much.

Another thing to remember about that reflection pool we always see Narcissus staring into adoringly–that reflection pool is a shallow puddle. And it’s this shallow, muddied effect that makes narcissists and sociopaths so dangerous and why even the experts get it wrong the majority of the time, because even the experts misinterpret the myth, which leads to misinterpretation of what it means to be narcissistic.

Instead of being real and sharing their inner fears and shame, sociopaths present to the world an idealized reflection, a projection of who they want us to think they are and of who they desperately wish to be. These projections are mere shadows and imaginings of their surroundings and are composed of nothing real or tangible.

Pistorius wanted to be seen as a super man and indestructible. And now? Now that he has been exposed? What happened to the projections?

They simply no longer serve his agenda. His agenda now is to save himself from punishment. Understanding and accepting how easily a narcissist/sociopath can switch gears should be obvious to the experts and should be the reason society pursues just punishment and insists that Pistorius be accountable for his/her actions. In light of this recent diagnosis (or misdiagnosis), it appears Pistorius may never receive just punishment.

Why do we as a society keep excusing this behavior and refuse to label the behavior for what it is? Why are we sympathizing with Pistorius? Are we afraid of being judged ourselves one day for acting abusively or carelessly? Or are we already acting abusively and carelessly on a regular basis, and we don’t want to seem like hypocrites by punishing these fools simply because they got caught? Or do we see this type of behavior as “not a big deal” and that people just have bad days and do dumb things under duress?

A woman is dead as a result of this man’s “dumb” act. Her name is Reeva Steenkamp. She did nothing to provoke her murderer to shoot her four (4) times through a locked bathroom door. She thought she was fleeing from eminent danger. She never imagined Oscar would dive into such a deep narcissistic rage and lose all awareness of reality and destroy her.

Pistorius destroyed a woman’s life and negatively impacted the lives of all of her family, friends, and loved ones. He’s now claiming to be an insecure and fearful victim of society and circumstance? Where do his self-pity and outer blame end and his accountability begin?

He is a dangerous narcissistic sociopath and society must be properly educated about what narcissism means.

Pistorius has used self-pity, “loss” of limbs, and the state of crime in South Africa to dupe the experts and the public into believing he is a rat in a cage who reacts in fear when his cage is rattled.

Well, don’t we all!?

The difference between Pistorius and the rest of us non-sociopaths is that we have empathy, remorse and a conscience. Together, these qualities would not allow us to defend our actions with the hope of eluding punishment. On the contrary, unlike Pistorius, we would be ashamed and surrender to the justice system and plead guilty.

Reeva did not have the opportunity to defend herself. Why is Pistorius demanding and expecting the grace and mercy he denied Reeva?

In addition, we should not be surprised by the latest news declaring Pistorius is now suicidal. After all, Sociopaths suffer, too, despite what anyone wants to believe. They suffer deep stress and anxiety when they get caught in such a public manner and are forced to answer for their behavior. It’s no wonder Pistorius is showing signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder…his mask slipped and he had no control, because he is not in control of his nature…ever.

This is frightening to me and why my recommendation to those who discover they have aligned unknowingly with a narcissist/sociopath is to run in the opposite direction. These are the people who deserve to be outcasts, and I have no shame or remorse in declaring such.


Sociopaths and psychopaths are not fascinating. People who survive them are.


The behaviors of sociopaths, psychopaths and any pathological persons are not fascinating to me and should be collectively judged as bad by society. Why?

We judge everything. Judgement isn’t as bad as people are led to believe.

Judgment encompasses three categories: good, bad and indifferent.

When we revere something, we are judging it as good. When we are indifferent to something, we are judging it as unimportant.

To me, indifference is the same thing as ignorance, and if we keep perpetuating ignorance about the real harm sociopaths, psychopaths and other pathological individuals are capable of inflicting, the problem just gets bigger and more difficult to manage.

So, I guess, I am not really judging anyone as being bad, am I? I am simply providing awareness based on facts and real-world experience.

The American Psychological Association will soon release the updated and revised 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). The DSM is basically a glossary of labels and behaviors related to mental health. It’s a glorified dictionary, in my opinion, but a necessary one. The DSM-IV is what I used to determine, once and for all, if the boy in my story was a narcissistic sociopath. That’s where the usefulness of the DSM ended for me.

The DSM stops at the diagnosis, the definition and label. And even the label isn’t easily justified.

Where are the blood tests? What about the standards for reading brain scans of those diagnosed? Are their genetic markers that support whether or not a patient was born that way or nurtured and conditioned to be that way? Or did other societal factors cause the disorder?

And there isn’t much in terms of how to treat the disorders, either.

The DSM does not provide personality disordered individuals with recommendations for healing and recovery. There are no treatment options to cure narcissists or sociopaths and other cluster B disordered individuals.

You laugh at the notion. So do I! We all know from experience that individuals who perpetually and instinctively repeat the behaviors characteristic of having a personality disorder or of being a sociopath or psychopath are, by their very nature, disordered and are not capable of change. Treatment for the personality disordered among us is a moot point.

To make matters worse for us lay persons (and for the inexperienced psychoanalysts and psychiatrists, for that matter), the DSM doesn’t even include a list of measurable effects that personality disordered behavior can have on non-disordered individuals and/or society.

And this is where the lines are blurred and the science behind psychiatry and neuroscience meet:

  1. There are sick people who are born sick and can’t be rewired or fixed. Psychiatry, as it is today, can not help these people. Neuroscience can help strengthen the definitions and classifications of these individuals but also can’t ethically help these people either.
  2. Then there are those individuals born with a healthy and productive mental capacity and balance who are acted upon and broken by individuals born sick and disordered. The people born healthy can be treated with psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Neuroscience can help pinpoint the areas of the brain that need “massaging,” so to say, and allow for complete and full recovery.

Therefore, why do we waste our time studying sociopaths like some newly discovered species of butterfly? The sociopath and the disordered have been around for centuries if not since the beginning of time. Why the fascination and investment?

They harm others. Period. End of story.

Who is going to have the guts to put personality disorders and pathology into a bucket outside of treatable mental health issues and disorders and classify these people instead as the cause of the majority of the harm inflicted upon others?

(Yes. Blame the monsters. Stop blaming the victims!)

Individuals acted upon by pathological people are the real patients who deserve more of our time and efforts. And the way we approach treating the real patients needs to change dramatically.

I don’t think I am alone on this one.

The following was pulled from an article published by The Guardian on Saturday, May 11, 2013: Psychiatrists under fire in mental health battle: British Psychological Society to launch attack on rival profession, casting doubt on biomedical model of mental illness

“There is no scientific evidence that psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are valid or useful, according to the leading body representing Britain’s clinical psychologists.”

“In a groundbreaking move that has already prompted a fierce backlash from psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society’s division of clinical psychology (DCP) will on Monday issue a statement declaring that, given the lack of evidence, it is time for a “paradigm shift” in how the issues of mental health are understood. The statement effectively casts doubt on psychiatry’s predominantly biomedical model of mental distress – the idea that people are suffering from illnesses that are treatable by doctors using drugs. The DCP said its decision to speak out “reflects fundamental concerns about the development, personal impact and core assumptions of the (diagnosis) systems”, used by psychiatry.”

“Dr. Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped draw up the DCP’s statement, said it was unhelpful to see mental health issues as illnesses with biological causes.”

‘On the contrary, there is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse,’ Johnstone said.”

Although Johnstone’s statement doesn’t specifically list “exposure to disordered people” as one of the circumstances behind another person’s breakdown, I can’t help not making that connection when I read trauma and abuse.

Bad people are born. People who are born bad hurt others. They inflict trauma and pain on others.

We have this false sense of hope that the bad people can be fixed with medication or a 30-day rehab stint. They can’t. Those born sick will stay sick.

Would you send a child born with Down’s syndrome to a hospital hoping upon the child’s return the child will be cured? Of course not. So why do we think people born with the propensity to inflict physical, emotional and spiritual harm on another can be fixed?

Gone should be the days of saying, “Oh, he can’t help it, he was born that way.” Or “His father beat him when he was young and that’s why he beats his wife and kids.”

We need to stop having pity on these disordered individuals. We need to stop dismissing rapists and child molesters and murderesses who claim childhood trauma and severe mental anguish as the reason behind their behavior.

There are many, many people who have been abused, molested and assaulted as children who do not grow into monsters who prey on others. Assuming such things is highly destructive and counter-productive to the healing and recovery process of victimized individuals born healthy and without pathology.

The reason a person repeatedly hurts another and then another and then another is because that person was born to hurt people–emotionally, mentally spiritually and physically. They have no empathy or conscience. They are not able to be rehabilitated.

Society desperately wants to be fair and reasonable with offenders. Why? Because we know we are all fallible and make mistakes and would want mercy if we screwed up, right?

When healthy people screw up, we don’t weasel our way out of punishment. We say, “Yes, I did that. I am sorry. What is my punishment?”

We don’t blame our past or someone else for our bad decisions. We own our mistakes. We are accountable. We assume everyone is like us: good, fair and accountable.

People born without the capacity to empathize and who lack a conscience are not good, fair or accountable. They have nothing positive to contribute to society and have only the ability to destroy–people, families, institutions, organizations and governments.

(You could probably list a few. I could too.)

As a society and community of mindful thinkers and change agents, we need to stop focusing on fixing the unfixable and instead focus on helping those the unfixables have broken. Trauma patients can survive and they can be healed and society should want to help.

We need to stop putting our time and efforts and our money into research, drugs and facilities focused on understanding, medicating and housing the disordered and unfixable. How absurd!

All of those resources should be put into helping and healing the good people who can be fixed and who can be helped and whose temporary imbalance can be adjusted through mindful and natural approaches.

Stop blaming the trauma patients for their trauma and stop trying to help the disordered who inflict the trauma in the first place.

Trauma patients can be fixed. They can recover. But they can’t do it without our collective understanding and encouragement. They can’t do it if the source of their trauma is getting treated with more care, attention and fascination than they are.

Be fascinated with the people who walked away from the sick and disordered. There must be a super power in them that science has overlooked. I’d like to find out what that is and replicate it, wouldn’t you? A vaccine against the effects of pathology perhaps.

Prevention rather than the preservation of the sick and disordered due to society’s constant fascination. After all, when you pay attention to something, it never goes away.


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