This question just keeps circling around, doesn’t it?
I still argue with myself about what I believe all the time, especially because I know that my father was most likely, by all definitions, a psychopath, and yet some part of me still wants to believe that he was just as human and empathetic as the next person. All behavior to the contrary, of course. I just have a hard time associating myself with someone who was capable of causing such an immense amount of harm to another person. Somehow or another, I manage to figure out a way to turn that around on ME, and make it mean that I must surely be the same way (even though I know that I am not).
Ughghgh, getting off-topic, as usual. Nature or nurture? Was he born that way, or were there external factors that caused him to become that way? I’m not sure I’ll ever know. I w-a-n-t him not to be a psychopath, (even though he’s now buried and gone), but so many of my memories lean in the direction of a cold and heartless person who not only was capable of cruelty, but actually enjoyed it. And yet. In his later years, maybe only ten or so years before his death, he began to soften, or at least appeared to be willing to see another point of view. I want to believe that father, (the one that was penitent and caring and sincere), was my real father. I want to believe that something happened in his life that made him the way he was. I want to believe it wasn’t about him making the choice to choooooooooooose to hurt me.
But who are we kidding? I still believe it is about choice.
I guess, when I quit hiding behind what I hope, and instead, face what I really believe, my vote goes to “nurture” over “nature.” Some people experience horrors in their life and become gentle and kind, and some, well some of them, like him, go the other way. They make the choices that ignore the pain they are causing others.
This subject is bumming me out. But the article (that was a LONG article) was an interesting article, and I enjoyed reading the perspective of the scientist. I think, in the end, I just don’t happen to agree with him. For me, when forced to choose, I think I have to throw my vote to “nurture.”
Yes I thought it was an interesting article. Brain research, and combined with psychology is fascinating to me. My thoughts are much more complicated than just nature vs nurture. I guess I do believe every choice we make has a genetic predisposition, but that does not mean we can not over rule it by strength of character. Some people can form addictions easily. They can choose to avoid addictive substances, but it is a major struggle. Some people feel pleasure when they cause pain to others. They can choose not to cause pain, but it is a major struggle.
I am odd. You can blame “nurture” or “nature” but to me the bottom line is choice. I was tormented by a psychopath as a child. I swore to myself that I would die rather than repeat what was done to me. My counselor was a taken aback when he realized if I committed suicide it would be an execution. I would do what ever I had to do to not repeat what was done to me.
I agree that one chooses to act in certain ways. But I think that science is showing that psychopaths actually have different brains. Now I do not think babies are born and doomed to be cruel and abusive, but I do think that something physical in them allows this to happen. I DO NOT think that being abused causes you to be abusive, not at all. But see, I also feel I am not exactly choosing to not be abusive, because the desire is just not there. No choice made. However, I also understand the execution part. I do feel my suicide attempts were partly to relieve the world from me, as well as my own relief from pain.
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