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One thing I am very sensitive to is claims by laymen of someone having a mental problem. I am the Great Aunt of an Asperger’s child. Another grandnephew had been diagnoses as ADHD. I was trapped in a marriage to someone who was diagnosed as bipolar schizophrenic. There have been a rash of comments about Mitt Romney and various lay diagnosis of mental illness. Based on my life experiences I want to examine those claims. Follow me below the squiggle for one woman’s take on this.

I have been fighting a difficult respiratory infection. I have C.O.P.D. and no healthcare benefits. I have to rely on over the counter and holistic medicine to try and take care of it. Unfortunately they aren’t doing a whole lot of good. The other evening my grandnephew, Tristen, walked the mile to my place because he was worried and wanted to take care of me. Tristen is 16 years old and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He made me hot tea that he had concocted. He checked out all of my computers to make sure they were secure because their computer was being hacked. He is our Tech Support person. Anything mechanical is his obsession. He gave me frequent hugs and told me he loved me. Does that sound like Mitt Romney? Romney is not an Aspie. Aspies have a great deal of empathy for others. Their problem is that in interaction with others they aren’t always sure what is socially correct. They can learn and Tristen is proof of it. Aspies will beat themselves up if they make a mistake in dealing with someone. They want very much to do everything correctly. They feel so deeply for others that they don’t want someone upset because of something they have said and done. Does that sound like Mitt Romney?

Mitt Romney is not ADHD, he is not bipolar, he is not Asperger’s Syndrome, and he is not schizophrenic. So what is he? Let us look at his actions. We know he has no empathy. We know he is a bully. We know he never had to work and struggle for anything. We know he treats animals inhumanely. We know he lies constantly. We know he feels entitled to be President.

He shows some of the behavior of a sociopath. Here are some of the characteristics of a sociopath according to this website.

·    Glibness and Superficial Charm
·    Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
·    Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."
·    Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
·    Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
·    Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
·    Incapacity for Love
·    Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
·    Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
·    Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
·    Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
·    Irresponsibility/Unreliability
Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
·    Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
·    Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
·    Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.
We see some of the characteristics but not all. The problem is that we just aren’t qualified to judge. We do not have degrees in psychology and have not treated Mitt Romney. So what can we say about Romney?

We can say he shows no empathy. We can say he is a spoiled rich boy who never had to work and struggle in his life. We can say he lies constantly. We can say he is cruel to animals. We can say he is a bully. We can say he has no remorse for anything he has ever done in his life. We can say the more we hear about him the more we realize what a disaster he will be if he becomes President. What we can’t do is accurately diagnosis him as having a particular mental problem. It is a disservice to people who have genuine diagnoses and are struggling with problems to classify Romney as being one of them. Call Romney out for his behavior but let’s leave the armchair psychology behind. As far as I’m concerned I’m calling Romney a thoroughly rotten human being.

Originally posted to michelewln on Fri May 11, 2012 at 09:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Mental Health Awareness and KOSpectrum.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Fri May 11, 2012 at 09:27:38 AM PDT

  •  We should heed your advice (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, freeport beach PA, michelewln

    I imagine, if I went back and looked through all the remarks that I've posted online, that I have said more than once that "so-and-so is a sociopath," usually when referring to G.W. Bush. I based my opinion on much of the same criteria you did, although I am not a doctor and am not qualified to diagnose anyone (especially someone I've never met).

    However, like you, I can evaluate the actions of my fellow human beings, and like you, I have no problem saying that Willard Romney is a "thoroughly rotten human being."

  •  Dunno, I Think There's Value in Using a Term Like (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Urizen, freeport beach PA, michelewln

    sociopath to talk about leaders and candidates whose policies would do very serious, literal damage to society. Romney's style of predatory capitalism for example has robbed scores of millions of pensions, livelihoods, homes and such, and contributes to driving the global ownership conquest of the United States to do all that and more and to a much greater extent. It's appropriate for leaders who can't be dissuaded by moral protest or appeals to ethics, and demonstrations of human suffering.

    At some point I'm absolved from responsibility of worrying about whether an accusation of mine that uses a clinical term is in fact clinically accurate. It's more than appropriate for use as a citizen observing and trying to stop the destruction of his society.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri May 11, 2012 at 09:59:58 AM PDT

  •  although I agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freeport beach PA, michelewln

    I also think we (laypersons) can use technical jargon as folk speech, this is the way human language evolves.

    My grandma used to object to my referring to people like Casper Weinberger as fascists, insisting that fascists were a specific group of people at a specific time.  I think we can now agree that this word has moved from political/historical jargon into the vernacular.

    I think the same thing happens with the terms put forth by psychology.  Within the academic discipline they have carefully defined meanings, but on the street they are used to define tendencies.  Someone gets fussy about something and jokes "that's so OCD of me".  Stuff like that.

    It's arguable that psychology is "real science" or just sets of well documented and rigorously organized perceptions and opinions.  Y'know?  It's not like people are saying Pi is 24.19 or something.

    I think in the end any words we produce are usable by any of us in any context.  It grieves me sometimes that great music is used to sell crappy consumer products, but as it stands culture is something that grows all the time (and I have to say I am in favor of that).

  •  We can say he exhibits symptoms of Psychopathy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freeport beach PA, michelewln

    And quite a few symptoms.  While diagnosing Psychopathy is very difficult, even for professionals, exhibiting the symptoms of Psychopathy are every bit as important as an "official" diagnosis.  Anyone who has  more than a few of the symptoms of a Psychopath should be nowhere near a position of power.

  •  Excellent diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    second gen, michelewln

    I have known a few people with Aspergers and one who was a sociopath.  Never the twain shall meet.  As you  say, Aspergers people are sweet and thoughtful and usually shy.  They would never want to be part of a crowd.  Mitt exhibits sociopathy in just about every aspect of his life and personality.

    And you added to the dialogue by posting the list of symptoms.  You put it there in black and white for all to see.  Romney can check of way too  many of these symptoms and it is not necessary to have them all to "pass the test".  Mittens passes the sociopathy test with flying colors.  

  •  Republished to Mental Health Awareness. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln

    North Carolina: Where you can marry your cousin. Just not your gay cousin.

    by second gen on Fri May 11, 2012 at 11:24:49 AM PDT

  •  Not everybody we dislike has a disease. But (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln

    while you make very good points here, note that you do not have to have all of the attributes of a disorder in order to be diagnosed with one.   Human behavior is too variable for any but the most extreme disorders to have cut and dried definitions.

    There are some Romney attributes that cause me concern.   This "prank" is not much psychpathic-wise, it is simply "white crow" syndrome.   Romney was sheltered and grew up in an environment where uniform personal appearance was very important (the Mormons are absolute control freaks about that) so his exposure to somebody who looked different caused him to act out.   I presume he has grown out of that.

    The incident that raises my eyebrows the most is the other side of the "Seamus" story -- which comes from Mitt Romney himself, by the way.   This is the part where the kids are not allowed to take bathroom breaks except on a strict schedule.     Apparently Ann would have to pretend to need to use the bathroom in order to relieve the kids.   That is damn strange and borderline child abuse.    When he tells this incident as a fond memory, one has to wonder...

    His habitual lying and inablity to take responsiblity for his actions seems somewhat over the top even for a politican, and even for a Republican.    It might not be out of line for a hedge fund manager, though, since that is what they do.

    I'm not sure where I am on his constant insults to supporters, I think that he has a problem with not being the center of attention.   Not unusual for a politican.

    In the end, diagnoses are just labels for behavior (and ways to get insurance companies to pay for treatment.)   They are not tremendously predicitive and studies have shown that they are not very replicable.  

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...

    What the stories do indicate is that we have one pretty strange cat on our hands, whether the cause is organic or external is not really discoverable with the information we have.

  •  Sociopathy and Psychopathy are not DSM diagnoses (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln

    It would APPEAR that he meets sufficient criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is a DSM diagnosis.

    However, tele-diagnosis is considered an ethical breach for psychiatrists.

    Two prominent psychiatrists who consistently break this code in public, diagnosing people who have never had a face-to-face session with them?

    Keith Ablow and Charles Krauthammer of Fox News.

    I'm not going to follow those two into an ethical breach, especially since they were trained at one of the two hospitals I had my residency at.

    That said, Mitt does SEEM to match Otto Kernberg's description of a malignant narcissist.

    As do most villains in our more enduring stories.

    Mitt isn't going to come out of this election looking good, particularly since the country sees a spoiled rotten prep school bully and thinks "W."

    For those of you who prefer Bartlett to Obama, re-watch the West Wing. For those who prefer Clinton, re-watch old news videos.

    by Ptolemy on Fri May 11, 2012 at 12:31:16 PM PDT

  •  Another Thought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rubyr

    In this suit happy world it is safer to say someone exhibits sociopath tendencies and list them then it is to actually come out and say so and so is a sociopath when we don't have the medical degree to back up our statement. C.Y.A.

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Fri May 11, 2012 at 12:36:40 PM PDT

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