View Full Version : My maternal Grandmother could be an udiagnosed sociopath (I'm not kidding!)


Crazygirl79
12-13-10, 08:18 PM
Hi People.

I may have mentioned briefly in other posts that my Mother comes from a dysfunctional family and that has resulted in serious emotional damage to her and her siblings, just the other night I came across an article on Sociopathy (possibly anti-social personality disorder) and my Grandmother actually fits a lot of the diagnostic criteria, in my search for answers I've also made an effort to read articles written by these people in order to gain a much better understanding of why grandma is the way she is (she is still alive to my knowledge)

I haven't told my Mother this as we are currently not speaking (again:rolleyes:) but if and when we speak again I will bring this up.

A lot of what Mum has told me about Grandma and a lot of what I've seen and heard over the years and now reading on this condition certainly makes a lot of sense and things are starting to add up.

Mum stopped contact with her in 1992 and she has been better off for it but she is still very stunted and damaged emotionally which interferes in her relationships with us (my Brother and I) and other people as well and I believe that has been a sad result of her being brought up by Grandma.

Anyway I plan to talk to my counsellor about this just to get her perspective on it and to also get my head around it so to speak.

The likelihood of Grandma ever being clinically diagnosed is quiet impossible since she's 81 and probably doesn't believe she has a problem.

Selena:(

nova2012
12-14-10, 12:35 AM
Sorry to hear you think your grandma is a sociopath, Selena.

If I may ask, what makes you think that?

Sandy4957
12-14-10, 01:59 AM
Sorry to hear you think your grandma is a sociopath, Selena.

Ok, that line falls into the "not funny, but still kinda funny" category. :o

Selena, I can relate. I have ultimately concluded that my own mother has borderline personality disorder, likely undiagnosed, but who knows? I haven't spoken to her in years. Neither has my brother. It's very sad.

Her parents were whack jobs, too. Not sociopaths, but very... odd. There's just no two ways about it. My grandmother was a chameleon. (Damn, that's a hard word to spell!) She always played one person off of another to try to stay in the center of things. And we're not talking small little games. We're talking physical and emotional abuse. Every single one of their kids is an emotional disaster. Heck, my mother is FAR AND AWAY, the most functional of the bunch!

Anyway, I'm sorry that you're sensing this, and that you don't have a good relationship with your mother as a result. It sucks to have them still out there in the world, but you can't speak to them because it's just not any good for you to do it.

But you have us, eh? ;)

nova2012
12-14-10, 03:05 AM
Ok, that line falls into the "not funny, but still kinda funny" category. :o

I wondered whether anyone would appreciate that. I hope that the OP was able to, but if not, I do apologize if it conveyed poorly. I am genuinely interested, per my post. :o

Sandy4957
12-14-10, 08:41 PM
Oh, Selena's been around here for a bit. I suspect that she can see the humor. Selena if I upset you by chuckling at that, I apologize.

Only someone who's been through this sort of thing can see just how funny it is. I mean, it's absurd, right? Grandmas bake cookies and sew things and have warm, soft laps, right? Not for everyone, they don't!!!!

Crazygirl79
12-15-10, 07:44 PM
My Grandmother was really cruel (emotionally) to her children in ways that go beyond child abuse and the mind games she played were unreal!!

Mum and her siblings as I've said before have serious emotional damage and Grandma was a charmer apparently but we know that is was all superficial and it's obvious that something isn't right with her, I'm still getting my head around all of this stuff, I can't believe that she really fits this criteria but deep down I know she does and i know there is nothing I can do about it, there is no point in saying or doing anything with Grandma directly but I can tell my mother and brother when the time is right so they can draw their own conclusions.

1:She would always cause trouble within the family
2:She would always manipulate any situation
3:She was just end relationships/friendships anytime she felt like it (including those with family members)
4:She was on Valium for sometime
5:She supposedly heard voices under the floorboards (maybe a touch of schizophrenia there?)
6:She was alway paranoid about people knowing her business
7:She didn't have normal emotions
8:She was extremely cruel to my mother in particular (emotionally)
9:She has a lot of the diagnostic criteria for a sociopath (she may have something else with that as well)

I think I'm the only one who realises this at the moment....

Selena:(

PS: The humour is fine:)Ok, that line falls into the "not funny, but still kinda funny" category. :o

Selena, I can relate. I have ultimately concluded that my own mother has borderline personality disorder, likely undiagnosed, but who knows? I haven't spoken to her in years. Neither has my brother. It's very sad.

Her parents were whack jobs, too. Not sociopaths, but very... odd. There's just no two ways about it. My grandmother was a chameleon. (Damn, that's a hard word to spell!) She always played one person off of another to try to stay in the center of things. And we're not talking small little games. We're talking physical and emotional abuse. Every single one of their kids is an emotional disaster. Heck, my mother is FAR AND AWAY, the most functional of the bunch!

Anyway, I'm sorry that you're sensing this, and that you don't have a good relationship with your mother as a result. It sucks to have them still out there in the world, but you can't speak to them because it's just not any good for you to do it.

But you have us, eh? ;)

dsvlil1
12-15-10, 11:38 PM
7:She didn't have normal emotions

Could you elaborate on that at all?

βĩο₱Ħعℓĩᶏ
12-16-10, 12:05 AM
It's a scary yet cathartic realization of undersrtanding relationships in context of personality disorders. Before I was old enough to know what a antisocial personality disorder and sociopath was, my mom and sister were convinced of it. As an adult going WTF? (not that long ago) I found that understanding of narcissistic personality disorder has been helpful in coming to peace with my dads effed up side of the family.

In your endeavors, good luck. I had some "snags" in talking with my two older sisters about dad (and grandma) in context to narsissicm because it forced them to confront and reassess long held negative perceptions of each other and the nature of their relationship.

Crazygirl79
12-16-10, 07:12 PM
Dsvlil1: She was superficial in everything she did, she was rarely genuine and people with this condition very rarely feel genuine emotions, they do not have a true conscience and if they want to fit into society they would have to LEARN the moral code that is natural to other people. My Grandmother was very dysfunctional in more ways than one.

Fleisch: It is an awful thing to have to get my head around and I still have to remember that while she fits 90% of the criteria for ASPD she isn't medically diagnosed and isn't likely to be medically diagnosed anytime soon.

Selena

βĩο₱Ħعℓĩᶏ
12-16-10, 09:00 PM
Fleisch: It is an awful thing to have to get my head around and I still have to remember that while she fits 90% of the criteria for ASPD she isn't medically diagnosed and isn't likely to be medically diagnosed anytime soon.

I hope I didn't give the impression that it was, or should be, a pleasant endeavor. A lot of my well being rests on trying to expand my repertoire of perceptions in which to reference for understanding such that emotional dissonance resolves. Like, I wasn't ever able to listen to and enjoy, at any level, avant garde (sp), experimental music, "noise" music until I learned how to listen to it. I don't LOVE it by any means, but I don't take it personally, I know how to deal with it and can appreciate it and take it for what it is.

Fiat lux

When you've been in the dark a long time, the light hurts.

Crazygirl79
12-17-10, 05:39 PM
I'm still reeling in shock about her description of how Mum broke the cot as a baby, she made it sound like Mum did it on purpose and babies don't break cots on purpose....this woman is screwed up and has been for a long long time.

Mind you Grandma told me about the cot incident when I was in hospital for a suicide attempt at the age of 16 thanks to a bad reaction from Prozac which I was taking at the time.....

Selena:(

Sandy4957
12-17-10, 05:53 PM
So she has a complete inability to appreciate developmental issues and essentially flips the relationship between parent and child, eh? That's actually a fairly common thing to abusive parents in general.

That's not at all doubting the sociopath concept, btw. What else has she done?

Sociopaths are pretty rare, but they're certainly out there. One characteristic is that they are capable of lying without any giveaway at all. Did your grandmother do that?

My grandmother and mother were pretty bad at the whole "developmental" thing, too. They couldn't really recognize that a child (albeit, one older than a baby) was still a child.

I'm glad that the humour didn't offend!

Crazygirl79
12-17-10, 06:08 PM
Grandma lied about stuff but there was bits of truth in some of what she has said about things (others verified things at times but you could never tell if she was being genuine and this has nothing to do with my AS/ADHD, picking up social cues etc because others had this same problem with her as well and if they did pick up on anything they would usually remark in some way that they felt something wasn't right with her), she wasn't physically cruel to people or animals (that I'm aware of) but her rather unstable relationship history and charming personality along with the great ability to destroy things are signs of being a sociopath, I'm not saying that she definitely is one but as mentioned before she certainly fits a lot of the characteristics, she did and said a LOT of things that could point towards her being a sociopath or/and having another personality disorder.

One doctor took a stab in the dark and said that Grandma might be a paranoid Schizophrenic with Histrionic Personality Disorder but I beg to differ as she was too "with it" to be a Schizophrenic (I know a few of them and they are nothing like her) and she doesn't really seem to crave excessive amounts of attention either.

I haven't seen her in many years now though I did try to contact her in 2005 and she did speak to me but never replied to my letter, she either got rid of it or gave me the wrong postal address. She also told me that I could stay in contact if I was never to contact my mother again which I wouldn't tolerate as I don't like conditional relationships/friendships so I haven't been in contact since.

Selena

Sandy4957
12-17-10, 06:12 PM
She also told me that I could stay in contact if I was never to contact my mother again which I wouldn't tolerate as I don't like conditional relationships/friendships so I haven't been in contact since.

Hoooooo, boy. Where to start with that one, eh?!!!

Velvetdragon
12-18-10, 03:31 AM
One of my four grandparents was mentally stable, I think.

One of my grandfathers was bipolar with psychosis and paranoia, one was a Bad Man who did very bad things, and one grandmother was extremely manipulative, though I wouldn't venture a diagnosis. Not a sociopath, I don't think, but definitely had some personality disorder in there. I didn't have to deal with her issues too much, but every once in a while she'd try to use me against someone or make me choose sides or something, as a child. I know my mom had a lot to deal with from her. The grandma who WAS kind and stable wasn't treated very well by her husband.

So much for sweet ol grannies and grampas.

Only one I can confirm a diagnosis on. I've never really tried to figure out what my grandma had, though I'm sure I could make an educated guess. My grandpa with bipolar w/ psychosis is really clear cut; one of my uncles also had it, and others in that family also have it. I don't really know what the other two "had" but ... well, they're not in my life, and so I try not to worry about it anymore. *lol*

I've known a few diagnosed sociopaths IRL. They've all been... excellent liars and very good at being charming when they want to be. A lot of sociopaths do very well in life, actually, in high-power positions. And no doubt hurt a lot of people on the way up, and don't care at all.

Crazygirl79
12-18-10, 03:52 AM
Thank you Velvetdragon!!!! I've been trying to tell people that not all sociopaths go onto be serial killers and the like!!! Yes I have read that sociopaths and others like them have reasonably good lives and appear to be ordinary on the surface but create chaos behind closed doors so to speak and I've also read that sociopathic women have more testosterone and are less maternal and interested in mothering their children properly compared to other women which may partially explain the neglect side of things.

Sandy: Mum stopped contact with Grandma 19 years ago because of the pain that relationship was causing her, she went to counselling (not that it helped really because you can't fix that kind of pain) and she's been better off since despite the fact she is still emotionally stunted and damaged.

Selena

scarygreengiant
12-18-10, 04:11 AM
Thank you Velvetdragon!!!! I've been trying to tell people that not all sociopaths go onto be serial killers and the like!!!

So true. I wonder how many people on Wall Street and how many politicians are sociopaths. Oh, and what about Bernie Madoff?

Crazygirl79
12-18-10, 04:29 AM
Good question Scarygreengiant....

Selena

Velvetdragon
12-18-10, 06:39 AM
Precisely, Scarygreengiant. I know there have even been studies showing many sociopaths in positions like CEO or as politicians. It's the kind of job where to get somewhere you have to step on others on the way up, and being manipulative and having no empathy for others just makes that so much easier.

Technically, getting into the whole APD v. sociopathy v. psychopathy thing is a bit sketchy, as sociopathy and psychopathy aren't in the DSM, and so don't exist as "official" diagnoses. Right now psychopathy is often considered a more extreme subset of APD, with its own set of criteria (notably including cunning, charm and grandiosity). The APA doesn't acknowledge it as a diagnosis at all.

Sociopathy and psychopathy are not clearly defined. Many psych professionals consider them synonyms, some give them different somewhat arbitrary definitions (such as causation, or differences in sets of symptoms).

Right now, APD has a behavioral-based diagnostic system, where it used to be based on clinical inferences. The checklist used clinically for psychopathy includes more inferences.

Crazygirl79
12-18-10, 05:35 PM
I've actually heard and read a little on the Hare's Checklist which is used to "diagnose" these people.

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person's psychopathic or antisocial tendencies. People who are psychopathic prey ruthlessly on others using charm, deceit, violence or other methods that allow them to get with they want. The symptoms of psychopathy include: lack of a conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violations of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and a history of victimizing others.
Originally designed to assess people accused or convicted of crimes, the PCL-R consists of a 20-item symptom rating scale that allows qualified examiners to compare a subject's degree of psychopathy with that of a prototypical psychopath. It is accepted by many in the field as the best method for determining the presence and extent of psychopathy in a person.
The Hare checklist is still used to diagnose members of the original population for which it was developed— adult males in prisons, criminal psychiatric hospitals, and awaiting psychiatric evaluations or trial in other correctional and detention facilities. Recent experience suggests that the PCL-R may also be used effectively to diagnose sex offenders as well as female and adolescent offenders.

Purpose

The PCL-R is used for diagnosing psychopathy in individuals for clinical, legal or research purposes. Developed in the early 1990s, the test was originally designed to identify the degree of a person's psychopathic tendencies. Because psychopaths, however, are often repeat offenders who commit sexual assaults or other violent crimes again and again, the PCL-R is now finding use in the courtroom and in institutions as an indicator of the potential risk posed by subjects or prisoners. The results of the examination have been used in forensic settings as a factor in deciding the length and type of prison sentences and the treatment subjects should or should not receive.

Precautions

Obviously, diagnosing someone as a psychopath is a very serious step. It has important implications for a person and for his or her associates in family, clinical and forensic settings. Therefore, the test must be administered by professionals who have been specifically trained in its use and who have a wide-ranging and up-to-date familiarity with studies of psychopathy.
Professionals who administer the diagnostic examination should have advanced degrees (M.D., Ph.D., or D.Ed.) in a medical, behavioral or social science field; and registered with a reputable organization that oversees psychiatric or psychological testing and diagnostic procedures. Other recommendations include experience working with convicted or accused criminals or several years of some other related on-the-job training. Because the results are used so often in legal cases, those who administer it should be qualified to serve as expert witnesses in the courtroom. It is also a good idea, if possible, for two experts to test a subject independently with the PCL-R. The final rating would then be determined by averaging their scores.
Many studies conducted in North America and Europe attest to the value of the PCL-R for evaluating a person's degree of psychopathic traits and, in many cases, for predicting the likelihood of future violent behavior. Some critics, however, are more skeptical about its value.

Description

The Hare PCL-R contains two parts, a semi-structured interview and a review of the subject's file records and history. During the evaluation, the clinician scores 20 items that measure central elements of the psychopathic character. The items cover the nature of the subject's interpersonal relationships; his or her affective or emotional involvement; responses to other people and to situations; evidence of social deviance; and lifestyle. The material thus covers two key aspects that help define the psychopath: selfish and unfeeling victimization of other people, and an unstable and antisocial lifestyle.

The twenty traits assessed by the PCL-R score are:

glib and superficial charm
grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
need for stimulation
pathological lying
cunning and manipulativeness
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow affect (http://www.addforums.com/forums/../A-Br/Affect.html)(superficial emotional responsiveness)
callousness and lack of empathy
parasitic lifestyle
poor behavioral controls
sexual promiscuity
early behavior problems
lack of realistic long-term goals
impulsivity
irresponsibility
failure to accept responsibility for own actions
many short-term marital relationships
juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release
criminal versatility
The interview portion of the evaluation covers the subject's background, including such items as work and educational history; marital and family status; and criminal background. Because psychopaths lie frequently and easily, the information they provide must be confirmed by a review of the documents in the subject's case history.

Results

When properly completed by a qualified professional, the PCL-R provides a total score that indicates how closely the test subject matches the "perfect" score that a classic or prototypical psychopath would rate. Each of the twenty items is given a score of 0, 1, or 2 based on how well it applies to the subject being tested. A prototypical psychopath would receive a maximum score of 40, while someone with absolutely no psychopathic traits or tendencies would receive a score of zero. A score of 30 or above qualifies a person for a diagnosis (http://www.addforums.com/forums/../Del-Fi/Diagnosis.html)of psychopathy. People with no criminal backgrounds normally score around 5. Many non-psychopathic criminal offenders score around 22.


Read more: Hare Psychopathy Checklist - define, person, people, used, personality, score, traits, Definition, Purpose, Precautions, Description, Results (http://www.minddisorders.com/Flu-Inv/Hare-Psychopathy-Checklist.html#ixzz18V9VbvoM) http://www.minddisorders.com/Flu-Inv/Hare-Psychopathy-Checklist.html#ixzz18V9VbvoM

This information was sourced from:
http://www.minddisorders.com/Flu-Inv/Hare-Psychopathy-Checklist.html

I hope the moderators don't mind me posting this? If so then they can feel free to edit or remove parts or all of the post.

Selena

Crazygirl79
12-18-10, 05:39 PM
Mind you thats not to say my Grandma is all of the above but some of the characteristics such as the superficial charm (glib) cunning and manipulative ways, callousness, sexual promiscurity (according to an aunt), relationship and friendship issues etc certainly fit her.

She does not have a criminal history nor did she show any criminal behaviours and she was as mentioned never physically cruel to anyone but then again as mentioned not all sociopaths/psychopaths go onto be career criminals.

Selena

nova2012
01-05-11, 10:16 PM
She could have borderline personality disorder, which in extreme form, is not entirely dissimilar from AsPD. BPD people have extremely unstable and intense interpersonal relationships, are extremely manipulative, are very sexually promiscuous and impulsive with little regard for anyone else, may be superficially charming (perhaps particularly with a history of trauma themselves, as a coping/defense mechanism), have mood swings, mostly all dysphoric (e.g. going from feeling empty to feeling depressed to feeling suicidal to feeling irritable to feeling impulsive), are often suicidal in terms of gestures, threats, and behavior, etc. They also commonly have other issues and/or personality disorders.

The thing is, usually someone isn't both sociopathic and schizophrenic at the same time, and you mentioned your grandmother possibly being both, with the hearing voices under the floorboards, etc. So, it's possible she had schizophrenia alone, had the less severe schizotypal personality disorder alone, or had schizotypal personality disorder together with another personality disorder, like antisocial (sociopathy) or borderline.

From what I understand, sociopathy, psychopathy, and AsPD are essentially equivalent. AsPD describes the behavioral manifestation and formal diagnostic criteria, whereas sociopathy is a more colloquial term used to refer to people who meet those criteria. I'm sure some experts use the terms distinctly, but in general, they're one in the same.

Crazygirl79
01-06-11, 12:08 AM
As mentioned before one doctor mentioned the possibility of Paranoid Schizophrenia or Histrionic Personality Disorder...BPD could be a possibility as it's not that far removed from ASPD.

Remember she is not clinically diagnosed with anything at all...I'm only telling this from what I actually know of her and what I've read that seems to make some sense.

Selena

nova2012
01-06-11, 12:27 AM
As mentioned before one doctor mentioned the possibility of Paranoid Schizophrenia or Histrionic Personality Disorder...BPD could be a possibility as it's not that far removed from ASPD.

Remember she is not clinically diagnosed with anything at all...I'm only telling this from what I actually know of her and what I've read that seems to make some sense.

Selena

Yep, I understand, and I certainly hope I didn't offend by giving my non-professional opinion!

Also, I was in a relationship with someone who likely had HPD. Histrionic people are, at the risk of seeming tautological, very histrionic, in almost every way imaginable. They don't have significant anti-social tendencies and they aren't nearly as manipulative or drastic, behaviorally speaking, as borderlines. One of the bigger behavioral distinctions is that they don't threaten suicide or self-harm when there's a risk of abandonment. Here's a common list of histrionic PD characteristics:

Exhibitionist behavior.
Constant seeking of reassurance or approval.
Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotions, such as hugging someone they have just met or crying uncontrollably during a sad movie (Svrakie & Cloninger, 2005).
Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval.
Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior.
Excessive concern with physical appearance.
Somatic symptoms, and using these symptoms as a means of garnering attention.
A need to be the center of attention.
Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification.
Rapidly shifting emotional states that may appear superficial or exaggerated to others.
Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are.
Making rash decisions.[2]

Based on your description of your grandmother, that doesn't sound like her, but then again, a professional is a professional for a reason.

Whatever she "has," you'll likely never know definitively. I can only say that this is undoubtedly a disturbing revelation for you that likely upturns a big part of your world view.

Crazygirl79
01-06-11, 04:22 AM
No offence taken!

She doesn't seem to fit the Histrionic type though...no she doesn't at all!

I doubt we'll ever know since she's 81 and probably won't live much longer and I doubt she'll ever see a therapist of any kind....

Selena