Recently, I shared a link on Facebook from an author telling us she wanted to promote empathy for psychopaths. I can’t be very nice when I express what I think of her ideas. She is foolish, and obviously hasn’t had to deal with a real psychopath. This article is simply absurd. There is no way in this world that psychopaths need our sympathy or need us to understand and coddle them. Not all psychopaths are physically abusive, in jail, or murderers, etc…, but they ALL lack a conscience. Not a single one of them is able to love or be in an equally respectful relationship. If you try to treat them like wounded animals, they will run all over you and rip your life apart. They will gladly destroy you in every way they can. I don’t care how many PhDs or published articles that writer has…don’t follow her advice. Seriously. Don’t do it.
Her article reminds me of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. (This is going to give away my age, but I’ll bet a few of you will know this show and episode!) If you aren’t familiar with it, basically Buffy is a unique and gifted “slayer” who has strength to fight evil–mostly vampires.
In this episode, a group of Goth-style teenagers has decided that vampires are cool, and they are just really misunderstood when they go around killing people. They call vampires “The Lonely Ones,” and try to romanticize them. (This is pre-Twilight, and these vampires are pretty much all bad!) The teens decide that they want to be turned into Vampires too, so they can be “enlightened” and special. They arrange for some vampires to come to “turn” them by sucking their blood and turning them into vampires too. But when the vampires get there, they are mean and violent. The teens are surprised that the “Lonely Ones” aren’t so deep and thoughtful after all. These vampires aren’t going to convert them and lead them to enlightenment; they just want to kill the kids. Surprise! The violent monsters acted like…violent monsters.
When I read that article about “fostering empathy” for psychopaths, I thought of this Buffy episode. They knew what vampires were, and tried to turn vampires into fluffy friends. They refused to listen to warnings. They got killed. Much in the same way, we all know that psychopaths are bad. We might not always recognize a psychopath right away, but we KNOW they are bad news. Why try to fool ourselves into thinking they are just abused or misunderstood, or that they can be fixed. They aren’t. They can’t. They are disordered through and through, and they won’t change. If you try to treat them like cute kittens…they will scratch your eyes out. (Figuratively. Maybe even literally.) Save your sympathy and empathy for those who are hurt by psychopaths instead.