Friday, June 10, 2011

There is only One Word for Casey Anthony: Psychopath

Give up attempting to understand Casey Anthony or what makes her tick; she is a psychopath and that makes her the kind of person you shouldn't waste time trying to figure out. The argument over whether psychopaths are born or made – nature versus nurture – will continue decade after decade, century after century. For all of our scientific progress, why a person becomes evil, chooses to murder simply for the fun or convenience of it, is something likely to remain a mystery forever. She is a snake, a snake who needs to be caged or exterminated if found guilty of murder, regardless of how she turned into a serpent.

Let's take a look at the nurture aspect of Casey. Many think that her home was severely dysfunctional. I tend to agree that there was a bit of a twisted dynamic going on there, a battle of wills and a fight for power and control between Cindy and Casey; the two men, George and Lee basically just got out of the of the line of fire. Cindy appears to have a pretty high level of narcissism herself, which is not unusual to find in one parent of a psychopathic individual. An absent or distant father figure, either physically or emotionally, also is often in the mix.

Usually, if there is a set of parents in the home, we tend to find one parent, usually the male, who is cold, stern or uncommunicative with the child and the other parent, usually the female, who then overcompensates by giving far too much and coddling the child as she is growing up. Sometimes, that female is actually narcissistic, and what looks like love can be more about being the winner within the couple, getting more of the attention from the child, and controlling what happens. We sometimes see this narcissism lead to Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a personality disorder in which the caretaker of the child uses the child as a pawn to gain massive attention, sometimes even causing the child to become ill or die just to get a jolt of importance.

Then again, sometimes we don't see too much amiss with the parents at all, and, yet, they are still stuck with a psychopathic kid who they have no idea what to do with.

We also see an increase in psychopathy when there is some kind of attachment disorder occurring at a very young age; children who have been abandoned to orphanages or tossed around the foster care system so often that they have trouble connecting with human beings. This can lead as well to serious personality disorders.

Then, we mix in the individual personality and the cultural issues, financial issues, etc., stir, and whammo, a psychopath emerges, usually by the age of eight, if not by the even earlier age of five, which I have observed in children not even in school and find quite disconcerting. What then? Well, not much, because at this point treatment usually fails and the only thing that has an effect of sorts is behavior modification.

Essentially, once you are dealing with a psychopath, the only way to improve their choices is to show them a way to get what they want in a way that will be less trouble. You can't impress upon them that doing right is a good thing or making others happy is worth it, but you can help them find a way to get what they want in a less destructive way. Dr. Stanton Samenow who spent years at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, DC, recognized how the criminal mind was rigidly set, could not be changed, and, therefore, he set out to find ways to deal with what simply was a reality.

So, I don't know how Casey Anthony got to be a psychopath, but there she is-lying, manipulating, ignoring how others feel, seeking constant attention, and wanting to have her way all the time. She exhibits the hallmarks of psychopathy; total narcissism and complete lack of empathy for anyone else, including her own daughter. When she does act like she cares, she is doing just that: acting. This is a recognizable trait of a psychopath that Casey exhibits because one can see how quickly she can change mood or expression.

I remember walking in on a "friend" I later realized had a serious personality disorder. She was sobbing on the phone to her boyfriend, telling him how horrible she was feeling, how upset she was. When she saw me, she put the phone down in her lap, flashed me a big smile and mouthed "I'll be with you in a sec!" and then went back to sobbing on the phone. When she hung up, she turned to me just as cheerful as ever, lit a cigarette, and started chatting about our evening plans. The friendship didn't last long after that. I didn't trust much genuine was going to come from this particular woman.

Sound like Casey? You bet. And you can see those same behaviors in murderers like Darlie Routier, Scott Peterson, Karla Homolka, and just about any serial killer you can think of.

If the jury takes a look at Robert Hare's list of psychopathic traits, I am sure they can check just about every one of them off for Casey.
  • Glibness/superficial charm
  • Grandiose sense of self-worth
  • Pathological lying
  • Cunning/manipulative
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Shallow affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric)
  • Callous/lack of empathy
  • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
  • Parasitic lifestyle
  • Poor behavioral controls
  • Lack of realistic long-term goals
  • Impulsiveness
  • Irresponsibility
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Early behavior problems
Why is it important to know what Casey Anthony is? Because knowing she is a psychopath means she is perfectly capable of murder. The jury needs to recognize this, add this information to the body of physical and circumstantial evidence the prosecution has presented, and convict the snake.

Not all psychopaths are murderers, but most murderers are psychopaths. I believe Casey Anthony is both and needs to be removed from society permanently so she can't do any more harm. And, Caylee, innocent little Caylee, deserves justice.


Jessica S-Wisconsin said...

SO absolutely perfect, bravo Pat. Very well said.

charlee said...

It too late to help caylee thisis what bothers me most of too late.... i cant get over that someone couldnt see this train wreck comming and that this child out fo harm;s way. I still have feelings like I want to drive down there and rescue that poor child's too late

thats all I keep thinking about

Anonymous said...

You seem to lack empathy in judging such a sad sack of a soul as Casey Anthony.

FRG said...

Mrs. Brown,

I adore your articles, you are so good! Thank you very much. I was hoping you to write an article on KC.

I just hope the jury can see how manipulative KC is and connect the dots that she was capable to kill Caylee and convict her.

She has caused a lot of pain to her parents, brothers, friends, also innocent people involved with her and the case because of her. Poor people, they will be scarred forever!

Caylee deserves her justice!

Pat Brown said...

Anonymous, yes, I do lack empathy for Casey Anthony, Ted Bundy, Hitler, and Osama bin Laden. They are soulless evil creatures who had no empathy for anyone else including innocent children. I do have empathy for the baby they once were but, somewhere along the way, that human being that once existed, exists no longer. I leave what they have become up to God.

Bluewaters said...

Well written piece here Pat. Hadn't thought of the snake. A viper, rare but dangerous. Is there an antidote?

California Girl said...

Lack of empathy? Anonymous doesn't it strike you that any parent who believed their child was taken by someone else would immediately contact the police or mention it to others? Thats the first big tip off. Empathy has nothing to do with this woman; in fact she wouldn't even understand that concept herself.

Casey showed more acting skills with the dry heaves and drama in court yesterday.
How did the parents not notice they were paying all of her and Caylees expenses for several years? Casey wasn't contributing anything because she didn't work all or most of the time. Someone had to buy all those things for Caylee and get food, clothing etc.

Anonymous said...

As an experienced criminal profiler I have no doubt that you can prove that Casey Anthony is a psychopath. However being a psychopath is not illegal - and not a prerequisite for committing murder either (though it probably makes it easier).

Nor should it be relevant to the states case against her. But since the prosecution appears to have no evidence what so ever I guess "convicting her character" is the only strategy left to them. Lucky for them them that Casey Anthony is such an unlikeable person - it's hard to imagine a more perfect scape goat. If she had been smooth and charming like Ted Bundy they wouldn't stand a chance of getting a conviction...

Anonymous 79 said...

Evidence of psychopathy has been presented in some cases and it should be a routine part of cases involving violent crimes. I used to believe all the nonsense about criminals being victims of "a rough childhood". Your article is excellent Pat. Because of your book and articles I no longer get frustrated at wondering "Why would anyone do such a terrible thing"? I understand exactly how these things happen.

Pat Brown said...

Anonymous 79,

And it is good to see an "Anonymous" on the side of good instead of evil!

TigressPen said...

I tend to agree with the likeness of Robert Hare's list fitting Casey.

Anonymous said...

"On the side of evil?" You make me sound like Elizabeth Bathory or Darth Vader.

I rather prefer to view my attitude as a stubborn insistence on the principle of an accused being presumed innocent until proven guilty.

And of course the severity of the accusation should determine how strong the evidence should be in order to secure a conviction. After we push down the plunger of the lethal injection there is no going back. We cant wake her up and apologize later. So we'd better make "very" sure that she is guilty,- and not guilty as in "I don't like her - lets hang the b..." but guilty as in "irrefutable evidence of premeditated murder". So far I have seen a lot of the former but alas nothing of the latter.

Pat Brown said...

Now, I agree with that, Anonymous, but it is also true that the evidence, both physical, behavioral, and circumstantial is extremely strong, not nonexistent. Yes, Casey could be a psychopath that has done nothing illegal, but this is not the case. And, Casey still is presumed innocent until proven guilty IN A COURT OF LAW, but that doesn't mean we can't evaluate the case and give our opinions. OJ was found not guilty in a court of law but I have no problem saying I still think he is guilty as hell.

Anonymous said...

Admitted - as far as the OJ case goes, I agree completely. Guilty as charged. But I wonder if OJ had fared so well had he been less charming, handsome and national hero'ish. Casey is poor, loathed and has an immature and selfish personality that many find abrasive. Even the legendary Johnny Cochran would have had his work cut out for him, if he was still around to be her lawyer.

And I certainly respect and value highly the opinions and evaluations of others - including those that I don't completely agree with. In this case I fully accept the assessment that Casey is a psychopath or at least a very self-centered and immature person. I just don't see that as proof of murder. I makes her "a person of interest" - sure - but nobody should go to death row without rock-hard evidence.

California Girl said...

Hey Anonymous! Guess you didn't get to watch Dr. G at the trial. The child was murdered. There is no pussy footing around the idea it was an accidental drowning. She verbalized what everyone knew. Casey had links to all the items used - car, duct tape, the knowledge of the pet cemetery, etc etc. As for giving her the presumed innocent thing - thats why they are having a trial. If there is anything that points to her being innocent, it will come up. But it won't because she murdered her child.

Sheryl said...

Thank you for making this point Pat:"I do have empathy for the baby they once were but, somewhere along the way, that human being that once existed, exists no longer. I leave what they have become up to God." It helps me 'tidy up' my thinking (I was wondering why no-one seems to have empathy for a person who once was an innocent baby). It's sad though that people are born with so much potential-for good-and yet end up such a mess.

Pat Brown said...

Anonymous 1:21

I appreciate you well-written comment. I would have this to say about OJ. I think he got off due more to racial and political (dislike of the LAPD) issues rather than just that silly glove tactic. There was a very volatile climate around that trial that OJ benefited from. There are other quite charming killers who got convicted on the evidence, even very circumstantial evidence.

As to the death penalty issue, I think you point is very good. I am a death penalty advocate; however,I think you are very correct that you want to be very, very sure of absolute guilt before that is decided upon. Ted Bundy, no question. All the evidence was overwhelming he was guilty; no issues there. Other times, where there could be some weird possibility that some freaky thing occurred that makes it look 99% like the person is guilty but there could be 1% chance that the person was not guilty, then I can understand the desire to give life instead. Usually, even in these circumstances, the person is a dangerous psychopath, anyway, and shouldn't be on the street. A number of times the Innocence Project has gotten someone out of prison based on some piece of evidence (usually DNA) or some technical legal issue, and while the now released man is trumpeted as some totally innocent bloke who just was picked on (a schoolteacher or a hapless mild-mannered janitor) this is usually far from the truth. It is most likely he was already a serial rapist or a violent offender, but the Innocence Project publicity machine keeps this information repressed as much as possible. And, a good portion of the time, the freed man is actually guilty (the DNA came from something unrelated to the crime or the legal issue that frees him simply frees a killer).

The evidence, physical and behavioral and circumstantial is huge in Casey Anthony's case. There is really no one else who could have committed that crime and even the defense is only pointing to George Anthony as a colluding in a cover-up of an accident. The person who murdered Kaylee was someone in the Anthony home and all of the behaviors and evidence points to Casey, and not Cindy, George, or Lee.

I think she deserves the death penalty but I think the jury, if they find her guilty, will give her life.

evrli said...

How bout this Dr B?~

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, DSM IV-TR = 301.7, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines antisocial personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:[1]
A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring for as long as either childhood, or in the case of many who are influenced by environmental factors, around age 15, as indicated by three or more of the following:
1.failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
2.deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
3.impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
4.irritability and aggression, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
5.reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
6.consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
7.lack of remorse, as indicated by indifference to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;
B) The individual is at least 18 years of age. C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years. D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.
New evidence points to the fact that children often develop Antisocial Personality Disorder as a cause of their environment, as well as their genetic line. The individual must be at least 18 years of age to be diagnosed with this disorder (Criterion B), but those commonly diagnosed with ASPD as adults were diagnosed with Conduct Disorder as children. The prevalence of this disorder is 3% in males and 1% from females, as stated from the DSM IV-TR

Anonymous said...

Dr. Brown, I really related when you said, "I do have empathy for the baby they once were but, somewhere along the way, that human being that once existed, exists no longer. I leave what they have become up to God."

I fostered a child with attachment disorder, and all of these traits, for a time, and this is just how I feel. I feel compassion and sorrow for the person this child was originally born to be, but one must recognize that that person, at a certain point in time, ceased to exist, and one must focus on the welfare and safety of those who will be exposed to this person.

I used to agonize over "how can people do these things?" but I no longer do; I know how and why it happens since working with this child. These people do not possess the feelings we do. They simply mimic what they see others do and rely on others to read the appropriate meaning into it. There is a part of their "self" that is missing; it is not damaged or injured, it is MISSING. They do not even have an idea of the grief or pain their actions cause others, because they do not experience these things.

wubblesful said...

I think the thing people overlook with sociopaths is that they just are what they are. You can't change them, they can't even change themselves because by definition of what they are, they have no will to change. Unfortunately, they tend to leave a trail of victims behind them and the worst of the worst will destroy other people with callous disregard and often manage to walk away from their villainy with a smile and the impression of a halo glowing above their heads. Having compassion for a sociopath doesn't accomplish anything, they will simply view it as an open door to manipulating you by playing on your sense of humanity. Sad but true. Unless and until a way to treat this disorder is found, there is just no happy ending to this one.

Anonymous said...

Very informative and well written post! I agree with you Dr. Brown that Casey will more than likely be convicted and sentenced to Life in Prison without Parole. I think the jury will have a tough time sentencing a young attractive female to Death. (sounds shallow, but they're human and its only natural to judge by appearances)

After reviewing Robert Hare's list, I have one quick question: Can a person still be classified as a psychopath if not all of the traits listed above apply to them? I know someone who exhibits about half of the traits listed (the more common traits, such as pathological lying, irresponsibility, and need for stimulation)...or do those often apply to many other behavioral conditions? Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Anthony Graves or Julie Rea would agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Pat, great article! Very imformative. As you know by now, the jury voted Casey INNOCENT!! Like me, most are stunned and angry! With all the evidence shown to them, this shallow jury STILL voted this baby killer innocent! How, why did this happen? Please, discuss this. We need some answers!

Anonymous said...

Now that we have a cold blooded baby killer on the loose, what do you think will happen? It's scary to think of who her next victim might be! I feel sure Baez will have her on every talk show available, and she will also have books deals, movie and television deals you think this will "keep her happy" so that she will not steal or kill for awhile? I really hope that you will write about this soon. This viper could do just about anything now that she is free!

Anonymous said...

Most of America is filled with anger and rage with the innocent verdict! I think Killer Casey should watch her back. Hope Baez can afford a few bodyguards if he hopes to keep her sorry ass alive! I keep remembering that other psychos are out there, and they just might wanna take her down!

Anonymous said...

Casey hasn't even gotten started yet. She now feels very empowered b/c she "won". She will do it again. I certainly hope I'm wrong.



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