Innocence Lost, Identity Shaken

“That sense of loss grew within the humans who had been left behind, left to live without unicorns. Even the ones who had never seen a unicorn, never heard of a unicorn, felt the passing of something sweet and wonderful. It was as if the air had surrendered a bit of its spice, the water a bit of its sparkle, the night a bit of its mystery.”

(Bruce Coville, Dark Whispers)

Loss of innocence. Shattered hopes and dreams. Identity crisis. These are common feelings among those of us who’ve been through the trauma of a relationship with a psychopath.

It is alarming to consider that our nicely ordered life, with its predictability and safety and certainty, actually exists on the edge of a vast and unknown wilderness. Our homes and our selves are our basic places of safety. When violated, we have nowhere to go to feel safe. The fact that this violation was perpetrated by someone we thought we knew and trusted leaves us shaken. We find ourselves in a seemingly irreconcilable opposition between this wilderness and the civilized and familiar place we once inhabited. Only when we can take that new paradigm, and accept it and integrate it with our old one, does our fear and uncertainty about ourselves and the world resolve.  (Liminality, the Unsettling Space of In-Between).

How can you do that? Looking at things from the perspective of what you’ll gain—instead of what you’ve lost—can be helpful.

“When the storm comes, pray that it will shake you to your roots and break you wide-open. Being broken open by the storm is your only hope. When you are broken open you get to discover for the first time what is inside you. Some people never get to see what is inside them; what beauty, what strength, what truth and love. They were never broken open by the storm. So, don’t run from your pain — run into your pain. Let life’s storm shatter you.”

(Bryant McGill )

SENSE OF IDENTITY

Psychopaths threaten our sense of self, or our self-identity. They throw us into a spiral of self-doubt. When it’s over, we may be left feeling that we don’t know who we are anymore, which is disturbing. Don’t despair, because an identity crisis may occur at any time in your adult years when you’re faced with a challenge to your sense of self.

The psychoanalyst Erick Erickson is known for his theory of the eight stages of psychosocial development. This theory identifies a series of eight stages that a healthy developing individual should pass through from infancy to late adulthood.

One of those stages is “identity vs. role confusion” (adolescence, 13–19 years). Adolescents “are confronted by the need to re-establish boundaries for themselves and to do this in the face of an often potentially hostile world.” (Stevens, Richard (1983), Erick Erickson: An Introduction).

Through trauma, we are confronted by the very same thing!

What is often mistaken about Erickson’s theory is that once we go through one of these stages, we’re forever done with it, and we progress in a linear fashion to the next. That was not his intention. He did not define identity as a fixed entity, but rather as a process that motivates a person in a particular direction. The development of identity is both a life stage AND the entire life cycle. Erickson saw it as a process requiring adjustment and readjustment to constant change. He said a person had to “derive a sense of identity out of change itself, out of the ability to choose change as the basic element of life.”

Erickson described identity as a firm sense of “the inner sameness and continuity” within one’s own life, and confidence in “the sameness and continuity” of our meaning for others. It provides us with the ability to experience a sense of who we are, and also act on that sense. The opposite of that, an identity crisis, represents a breakdown of the sense that there is sameness and continuity and meaning to our life history or story.

You are not going to change into a completely different person, nor will you be exactly the same as you were before. Instead of thinking of this trauma as one that takes something away from who you are, think of it as one that adds something. It will take some time, but chances are good that you will end up knowing yourself better than you did before.

A person has to “derive a sense of identity out of change itself, out of the ability to choose change as the basic element of life.”

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“He had gone away and he could never go back anymore. The gates were closed, the sun was down, and there was no beauty left but the gray beauty of steel that withstands all time. Even the grief he could have borne was left behind in the country of youth, of illusion, of the richness of life, where his winter dreams had flourished.”

(F. Scott Fitzgerald, All the Sad Young Men)

LOSS OF INNOCENCE

A “loss of innocence” is often seen as an integral part of coming of age. It is usually thought of as an experience or period in a child’s life that widens their awareness of evil, pain or suffering in the world around them. What we experienced was that evil, pain, and suffering, but within ourselves and our own lives. The feeling of having lost our innocence has an air of wistful longing to it (as well as being surprising to many of us!). We may come to realize that we’re better off without it, though, like this writer did:

“And I realize, that although I prayed for my innocence and naivety back, I now have a deeper awareness in my own ability to make an educated decision based on what I want; although I wished to disappear from it all, I now see the strength I earn from fighting through; although I swore that no one would ever understand, I now have a better understanding for other victims; although I cursed the years I lost because of abuse, I now appreciate every moment of the life I have; although I wanted to hate a world with so much pain, I am surprised by how much love surrounds me. I am more than what someone tried to make me. I am more than just a girl left alone on her floor. I am more than an empty shell, a sleepless night, a silenced voice. I am more than what has happened to me.”

(‘How Do I Find The Person I Was Before The Abuse?’)

Or we can regain our innocence, but in a different form:

“When we are old enough, we return ourselves to innocence, knowingly. Not like the innocence of childhood, but the wise, informed, innocence of aging. We dance anyway even when it’s not our music. We do silly things even when the silly places are closed and we’re tired and we have to be silly alone. We laugh at the light. We suspend disbelief. We make jokes in the dentist office. We return to innocence because innocence returns us to the newness of things, and we are at last old enough to receive the gifts of things, to delight in the delight of things given. Because innocence returns us to the surprise, the gift of the moment. We return to innocence and innocence receives us with joy, repays with joy the only-ness of this moment, this gift, this giver, this giving.” (The Return of Innocence, Psychology Today, Bernard L. De Koven)

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Life is a dream. ‘Tis waking that kills us. He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life.”

(Virginia Woolf)

SHATTERED ILLUSIONS

Maybe Virginia wasn’t aware that plenty of people spend a good part of their lives trying to ‘awaken from the dream.’ Mindfulness, Buddhism, and a lot of therapy are a few of the methods they use. In the movie The Matrix, Neo had to choose between the blue pill (which would let him continue to live in an illusion) and the red pill (which would awaken him to reality). He chose the red pill. Awakening more to reality isn’t a bad thing, but it can be shocking when you aren’t given a choice in the matter.

“Virginia Woolf writes: ‘Illusions are the most valuable and necessary of all things.’ When illusions are ‘shattered by contact with reality,’ Woolf observes, the collision ‘leaves the mind rocking from side to side’ and makes for ‘a moment fraught with the highest danger for the human spirit.'” (Virginia Woolf on How Our Illusions Keep Us Alive, Brain Pickings). While it may be a moment fraught with the highest danger for the human spirit, it doesn’t mean that it’s one we can’t find our way through successfully.

Many of us survive and even thrive on illusion. But when those illusions shatter, we see the cold, cruel world as it really is. Does this mean we will walk around every day with our spirits crushed and thinking of how cruel reality is? To me, it means is that we will be better able to avoid the hazards that were always there, but that we were unaware of.

Some of the illusions that psychopaths shatter:

The illusion that everyone has goodness within. The illusion that everyone is basically the same as we are (everyone has a conscience and the ability to love, for example). The illusion that if you’re a good person, bad things won’t happen to you (this is called the “just-world fallacy,” which leads to a [false] sense of security). The illusion of being immune to being conned or duped. The illusion that your partner loved you and had your best interests at heart. Learning the truth about these things is nothing less than deeply and profoundly shocking.

So, when our illusions shatter, what happens next? Are we “robbed of our lives,” as Virginia Woolf wrote?

When our illusions shatter, something takes their place: 

We develop wisdom. We come to value and cherish our own humanity and compassion, having experienced what a lack of it means. We get clear about what’s truly important to us, what we need, and what we value.  We learn what makes us vulnerable, and therefore human. We learn to protect ourselves from toxic people who traumatize us and waste our time. And so many other worthwhile things.

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It’s easy to think that who you were is better than who you can become.

Instead of thinking of it as having had something taken away from you—your self or your innocence or your illusions—think of it as something added. What have you added, or will you add—once the period of doubt, mistrust, and uncertainty is over? You may not know the answer yet, but it may surprise you.

DON’T ACCEPT disillusionment with life, bitterness, regret and an inability to trust as the outcome. If that’s where you are, it just means you aren’t finished yet. Keep going!

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“Hope drowned in shadows
emerges fiercely splendid––
boldly angelic.”

(Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams)
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♥ The new you… boldly angelic, perhaps? Claim it!

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“My eyes have seen the light. How I wish I would have read this book years ago.”

“Worth your time! Well written, clear, and concise. So thankful I came across this quick, but powerful read. I so appreciate the wisdom I found in this writing. I feel empowered once more! Easily rated at 5 stars.”

“A must-read for those affected by abuse. It met and exceeded my expectations! The author did an excellent job with her explanations and helpful advice!”

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27 thoughts on “Innocence Lost, Identity Shaken”

  1. vanessa

    I have a 3″ by 4″ picture of me, my HS senior picture in a frame on a dresser in my bedroom. Beside it, is a picture taken the last 2-3 years, at a steakhouse for my birthday. The HS picture is me, in innocence, youth, naïve perhaps (I never dated in HS), of what the world offered or would bring my way. The more recent picture is also me, with wrinkles, now white hair, with the hard work, abuses of a long term marriage, but with the grit, courage and moxie to keep on going. The younger picture is what I was, the older is what I am now.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Wrinkles and gray hair are underrated. Grit, courage and moxie are lasting, unlike the dewy glow of youth. You earned those, and they’re yours to keep.

      1. vanessa

        My HS picture was taken in 1969; I was 18, wearing my pretty dark blue new sweater, dark brunette hair. My most recent picture was taken, Im in mid-60s. wearing my ‘cardinals’ sweatshirt, white hair, having a GOOD time at a birthday supper with 3 friends. Almost 40+years between the 2 photos; 29 years of overwork, abuses from a psychopathic marriage, followed by estrangements from 3 grown sons. I’ve found most of myself which was lost in those years, and the sweet too-short memories of a brief relationship I DID have, until I met my psychopath..and didnt realize what I threw away, for many years.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          It’s painful to think of the time that was wasted, and to realize what we threw away. We didn’t know then what we know now. If we had, we would have done things differently. Since we can’t get that time back, all we can do is to do things differently now. Regret for wasted time is but more wasted time.

          Instead, we can instead think of the value that wasted time had—such as the knowledge we gained, the wisdom, the resilience, the clarity, the self-worth, the confidence—and when we look at it that way, how can we say it was a waste? I wish I could press the rewind button, too, but since we can’t, the next best thing is to focus on what we’ve gained instead of what we lost.

          “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

          ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

  2. Danielle

    Yes, you can regain your innocence, your sense of wonder. Hearts do not get broken just often very badly bruised. You never lost yourself, its around the corner or lost in the woods ,waiting for you. That might sounds corny or a bit lyrical, but I truly believe in this. I have been through hell and back.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I remember how I felt when I was going through the worst of it. The world was a bleak place, and things like regaining a sense of wonder seemed impossible. For anyone going through that now, believe that it will happen. Danielle, thank you for your comment.

  3. vanessa

    something that surfaced years after it happened; at the time I became acquainted with the man I would marry (within a year or less); I had had a boyfriend, who enlisted in the Army; back then, soldiers were NOT encouraged to keep in touch with loved ones at home; it was part of basic training. I heard so seldom from him, I thought he was lost to me; I was lonely, needy and sad, and I met this other man. One day, a friend found me with him at the Tech School cafeteria; my Army boyfriend’s dad had committed suicide at home. I didnt know what to say or do. Several days later, my Army guy showed up at school; I didnt realize until years later that he, his brother and their mom had taken his dad back to his hometown in Iowa for burial. He and I talked, and I (like a fool) broke up with him. We never spoke again, until a couple of years ago, when I met him and his wife at a American Legion function. I cant believe I treated him so callously; to lose his father to suicide and then to lose his girlfriend to another man..I still cant forgive myself for what I did to him then; my whole life would have changed if I had done the right thing.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I understand how you can feel the way you do, Vanessa. At the same time, I can understand why you felt the way you did when you ended your relationship with him. He hadn’t maintained contact with you, so how were you to know what he was thinking and feeling? You said you thought he was lost to you, and you fell in love with someone else. It only makes sense that you would tell him it was over—you had a relationship with someone else, and you would have wanted him to know the truth. Unfortunately it coincided with his father committing suicide, but that’s what brought you into contact with him again and made him available for a conversation. I’m sorry it turned out that way, Vanessa. I think you’re being too hard on your past self, though. You didn’t have the knowledge to work with that you do now, in hindsight. Having compassion for yourself could make a real difference.

      1. vanessa

        I was so awkward around guys, I had NO idea how to talk to them; my ‘good’ boyfriend was a set-up blind date by a roommate. The psychopath man I met on my own, refused any advice, counsel or warnings from those who knew me and encountered HIM for themselves. I had, at the time, NO idea how to deal with someone who appeared more ‘worldly’, experienced, who knew what he wanted and how to go about getting it. Or how to go to someone’s wise words, counsel and advice and take my time to figure out things for myself. I was very likely, a ‘sitting duck’ for someone like him. I am MUCH more ‘wary’ now.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I was a sitting duck too, Vanessa. Most people are, because meeting a psychopath just isn’t on the “list of threats” to watch out for.

          1. vanessa

            I had NO idea what psychopaths were, until a year or so ago; I knew something was going on, with my ex..besides his being bi-polar and all the issues with that. I had to read books/articles/websites to begin to learn about psychopaths..as I read, ALL of what I had gone through, ‘fell into place’ and made sense.

            1. Adelyn Birch

              Yes, it all makes sense when you find out the truth. Even though the truth makes even less sense, in a way. Of all the explanations we came up with, that was not one of them! And yet everything falls into place…

            2. vanessa

              all this ‘falling into place’ hasn’t or wont erase 30 years, but I know (now), it WASNT my fault, and I wasn’t crazy.

              1. Adelyn Birch

                I’m glad you know that it wasn’t your fault, Vanessa. That knowledge can’t give you those 30 years back, but it will give you the future!

  4. Elena S.

    Hello ! Thank you so much for been here for me You have open my eyes my mind my heart I am speechless I don’t know how to tell and describe what is going with my Son life living with a difficult person that she doesn’t realize how much she is Hurting all of US especially my Son but everything I read about your books is Related to this girl and she doesn’t care at all seems that she enjoying what she does no remorse no compassion no respect at all.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Elana! I’m very sorry to hear of what’s going on with your son’s partner, and how it’s affecting you and your family. I’m glad the website and books have helped you to make sense of things, though. At least you know what you’re dealing with. I hope it will all work out for the best, and I wish you peace and good luck.

  5. Anthony

    Hello again Adelyn, I saw your post on compassion for the psychopath and here are some thoughts (I will keep it detailed but brief). The hardest part about it is they do not have any internal torment to be compassionate for. A narcissist I do not have have compassion, but I can pity, but one of the most bizarre things about a psychopath is they lack anxiety and are protected against depression oddly enough. Like zero mental health distressors. In my opinion we need to detect it early and separate them into sort of Swedish prisons but unlike a Swedish or Norwegian prison they have to work to live. No mistreatment unless they commit a criminal act then it is prison for them. They get food and shelter and entertainment as a reward for doing work, and are prevented from criminal acts.

    Another thing that I want to share. I really do agree we need to recognize autistic crimes more. We aren’t doing that to discriminate against them. Omar Mateen the shooter of the Orlando nightclub was likely bipolar, but people just accept it as it is and bipolar people aren’t being hurt anywhere, so recognizing Adam Lanza as autistic will not cause any marginilization and if there is then whose fault is it? We both know. All I am saying is the most important thing is we autistics play by the same rules everyone else does, and it frustrates me nobody speaks of it, all I hear is accommodation this accommodation that! Because it is not recognized enough as a mental disorder which it is: two extremes now exist, the autism-is-a-gift faction on one end and the alt-right (trump supporters) and Neo-nazi eugenicists who believe all disabled people should be exterminated. But the former is taken seriously and is a legitimate threat to society (thankfully in our modern day and age we are moving past murder of the handicapped so they are recognized as extremists, but not the other end of the pole! Yes I feel we need to fear them more than neo nazis in this context).

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Anthony. I like your idea about ‘Swedish prisons,’ where there would be no mistreatment and a job (and maybe even saunas, who knows). My first choice, though, would be an actual treatment for psychopathy, and a reliable way to identify them early so they could be treated. I realize this would most likely be your first choice, too, if such a treatment existed. People are working on it, and anything is possible. The fundamental idea of segregating and imprisoning certain groups of people because of who or what they are (before they’ve done anything wrong) makes me very uncomfortable, because of the unfortunate episodes in the past. I realize saying that may sound ludicrous, but I feel a moral aversion that I just can’t overcome.

      Yes, we do need to recognize “autistic crimes,” or rather people with autism who are at risk for committing crimes because they’ve been pushed beyond their ability to cope. It seems that people (parents, teachers) have missed plenty of very obvious cries for help. If we are silenced and not allowed to speak of and address possible problems, there is no way to solve them.

      Here’s an example, from an article about the Virginia Tech shooter (Cho Seung-Hui) who killed 33 people:

      “What I am about to write will cause much hate mail from the Autistic Community. But in order to fully understand any catastrophe, one must dispassionately consider all the facts to understand its cause and to prevent such a horror from ever happening again. We need to insure that sick people get early and intensive treatment, so that they don’t lash out – cornered like an animal – at a society they feel bullied by…

      The first and most obvious of Cho’s symptoms – from early on in his life – was that he was suffering from characteristics of Autistic Spectrum Disorder – difficulties with: social skills, communication, obsessive tendencies, adaptability and speech articulation, amongst other possible symptoms…

      A high functioning autism to be sure, perhaps Asperger’s, but certainly in the spectrum…

      ‘When they went to the United States, they told them it was autism,’ said Kim (his aunt), adding that the family had constant worries about Cho…

      Cho’s autism has not been mentioned much in the US media because the autistic community went ballistic — intimidating the media – at any suggestion that autism caused the killings at Virginia Tech…

      CNN broadcast the autism connection and quickly withdrew it from its website after complaints from activists. The AP story that mentioned the link was highlighted in papers around the world, but not mentioned in any US headlines… “

      I know ALL too well about autistic people going ballistic and using intimidation tactics. I hate to say this, but here I am writing a website about psychopaths, which I’ve been doing for nearly four years—and it’s not psychopaths I fear. They couldn’t care less about me or what I write. But I wrote ONE article about Aspergers, and a year later, the vicious hate mail continues, as do attempts to have this site taken down. Yes I’ve gotten nasty emails from psychopaths every now and again, but it’s been a *mere fraction* of the organized barrage of hate I’ve gotten from autism activists.

      Thank you for having an actual conversation with me. It gives me hope. I hope you have some, too. It’s true that we’ve got a long way to go (and not just with this, as we see now with the very real threat of decades of human progress being obliterated), but I believe there is still reason for hope and not despair.

      xo

      1. Anthony

        Hello Adelyn, Two things:
        I am not sure about Cho being autistic, but maybe he was. The other idea is he was paranoid schizophrenic, and while there are overlaps in symptoms such as lack of empathy, cognitive deficits such as in the area of working memory, poor connectivity in the frontal lobe. Bu they are mutually exclusive on the brain and I am not sure a person can have both. But whether Cho may have been autistic or not, but I know Elliot Rodger was and that is enough.

        Next thing is I recommend you get a VPN, why do you think I post here sharing my thoughts and not making a blog or writing a book? I am scared of getting my bank account info hacked by some angry reader. It is important you protect yourself from getting doxed, where they don’t even have to hack you. Like they find out that John Doe lives in the USA and went to a football game in 1994 in Seattle etc, BAM they suddenly know everything about him by looking for clues in his forum posts or calling his friends pretending to be someone else etc. Just worth being concerned about.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Yes, the signs and symptoms of autism and schizophrenia have significant overlap (DSM-IV-TR). Both conditions can occur at the same time, though. “Autism and schizophrenia may present as two separate disorders that need to be differentiated, or as comorbid conditions.” Psychiatric Times, Autism and Schizophrenia You can also read about the overlap here: SCHIZOPHRENIA AND AUTISM/ASPERGER’S SYNDROME: OVERLAP AND DIFFERENCE “In my clinical practice it is not uncommon for me to see middle aged patients with a lifetime diagnosis of Schizophrenia and treatment with neuroleptics who should have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.”

          The true diagnosis for Cho’s mental disorder remains unknown. His parents said he was diagnosed with ASD as a small child, and his pastor told his parents he was autistic, FWIW. In 2005, Cho was found “mentally ill and in need of hospitalization.” The physician who examined Cho noted that he had a flat affect and depressed mood. Cho, suspected of being “an imminent danger to himself or others,” was detained temporarily. He was still allowed to buy guns legally in VA.

          Elliot Rodger (who killed 9 people in Isla Vista, CA) was known to have ASD. The disturbing thing is that he had extensive contact with both mental health professionals and law enforcement authorities, and none of them saw it coming. Rodger’s parents had long been concerned about his erratic behavior. His mother was so concerned about his well-being after seeing some of his videos on YouTube that she contacted mental-health officials, who dispatched sheriff’s deputies to check on him at his apartment. Police are not mental health professionals; why were they sent to evaluate him? This system doesn’t work. “Had the officers sensed something awry during their April 30 visit, they might have searched Rodger’s home. They would have found his three semiautomatic handguns, dozens of rounds of ammunition and a draft of his 137-page memoir-manifesto. They would have read about his plot for a ‘Day of Retribution.\'” Police only saw that he was shy, timid and polite when he answered the door, and they declared everything was fine.

          Even though mass-murder is commonly blamed on psychopathy or sociopathy, that’s usually not the case. Whatever their diagnosis, things mass murderers have in common:

          “According to Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist at the NYU School of Medicine, while psychopaths do commit homicides, their motives tend to be specific – they are usually driven by money, sex or a desire to escape from the scene of another crime. But for mass killers, a motive can be that they see themselves as failures, Welner said. Mass killers can be men who ‘are painfully aware of themselves as social and sexual rejects in a society that values social desirability,’ Welner said. ‘And in a society that values achievement, they are aware of how they have fallen short, and in ways that will not reverse.\'”

          Mass murderers tend to have a history of pent-up frustration and failures, are socially isolated and vengeful, blaming others for their unhappiness, experts say. “They all display deluded thinking and a lot of rage about feeling so marginalized,” James Garbarino, a professor of psychology at Loyola University Chicago, said in an email.

          Thank you for your concern about my safety. I do use a VPN religiously, among other things. I’m sorry you feel you can’t speak out, but I can certainly understand why!

      2. Anthony

        Also I want to add some opinions on Elliot Rodger, unlike Cho or Lanza, this was a very autistic killing. The other two killed because of a more insane state of mind, they cracked and murdered in hot blood. But Rodger, when you read his manifesto and see how it happened was not some spree killer, he killed like a rapid serial killer who knew what he was doing. He was truly evil and a disgusting loser. His autistic personality and self killed rather than his symptoms or comorbities. We need to understand what happened in his crimes as the killings by Cho may have been prevented with a more scientific and medical view of the condition but Rodger was insidious and had true beliefs of his own. He may have killed fewer people but it is not a numbers game, he deprived families of their children in a very direct and intentional way. I cannot describe it. His photo makes me more disturbed than Cho’s photo.

        Also the autism defense….I hate seeing criminals get off easily but it is a double edged sword. It lets autism get the recognition of being a cause for criminal activity. Ideally it could be moved under the regular insanity defense but with mention of the condition which lands the criminal in an asylum for life, where they will be rightfully behind locked doors until they die. That way maybe the best result will happen for society, the criminal doesn’t get out, and people will be more vigilant that the killings may be more likely to not happen. What do you think? Like the world, the answer isn’t black and white. It’s a complex situation. I don’t know.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Rodgers may have seemed insidious, but as I pointed out in my other reply, he really did make himself quite obvious. He even posted videos on You Tube, which the police never even looked at, despite his parent’s concern. Cho was evaluated by a psychiatrist as being a danger to others, but was still able to obtain guns legally. Laughner exhibited plenty of disturbing warning signs that were bad enough to get him suspended from community college with the understanding that he could only return if he obtained a clean bill of mental health from a doctor. “To his college classmates, Loughner’s presence was unnerving, drawing the attention of campus law enforcement.” After the killings, police said “[The signs] do not add up in their totality to anything that would cause a police officer to say, ‘This guy is going to go out there and shoot 20 people.\'”

          Again, why are police being asked to make mental health evaluations? It seems to me that if these three killers couldn’t be stopped—even with all the signs and clues and writings/videos and concerns/fear of those around them and their contact with LE and mental health pros—no one will be. It’s a mental health system problem (and failure). I agree, Anthony, these cases should fall under the regular insanity defense.

          “What you have is an obvious need for more capacity in the mental-health system,” says Dr. Ken Duckworth, a Harvard professor, psychiatrist and medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)… Often, authorities can intervene only once the illness has taken a dramatic, if not criminal, turn…. For at least 18 months prior to the Virginia Tech massacre, Cho had shown many disturbing signs: bizarre writings for classes that included revenge fantasies; the stalking of at least three women; near total silence, including with his roommates; and even involuntary commitment to a mental institution. Similarly, it seems that Pima Community College (and Loughner’s classmates and instructors) didn’t do enough to recognize the warning signs.”

          1. Adelyn Birch

            “As forensic clinicians become familiar with the presentation of Asperger’s disorder, it appears that affected individuals are over-represented in forensic criminal settings. Unique features of such persons may heighten their risks for engaging in criminal behavior. Both Theory of Mind deficits and a predilection for intense narrow interests, when coupled with deficient social awareness of salient interpersonal and social constraints on behavior, can result in criminal acts… As forensic clinicians become familiar with diagnostic paradigms for these disorders, more comprehensive and systematic approaches will be needed to identify and assess individuals with hfASDs.”

            Asperger’s Disorder and Criminal Behavior: Forensic-Psychiatric Considerations

            Most people with ASD will never kill anyone. But until it’s recognized as a risk factor, the few who do will not be stopped.

      3. Anthony

        I want to also add something that may make you feel better. I read 80% of all asperger diagnosees do not get married. This is comforting for me too. I guess it is for selfish reasons but I hate when they have children. I actually once got a warning on wrongplanet for posting a sarcastic comment in reply to an autistic guy who was guffawing over his autistic girl. Well, I may have gone too far that time.

        Thanks to you I know better than to enter a relationship, your work really helped. They shouldn’t attack you. They didn’t even get the point of the “heartlessaspergers” site’s title despite being literal-minded as a symptom of autism. Aspergers IS heartless like cancer, the site isn’t called “weshouldallshootandmurderautisticpeoplewhoareallevilmonsters” no no no

        But I may consider a relationship once they are done with the experimental trials with TMS to give empathy. If they aren’t careful they can cause seizures or brain damage. This is an article of a woman who tried it on a very light setting:
        “Invisibilia: An Experiment Helps One Woman See The World In A New Way” Can be googled.
        I am wondering if I should volunteer to be part of the experiments or if I should wait until they are done. It can cause damage as I said but if I do it, that is one other guy who doesn’t have to.

        I’m looking forward to having empathy, but if it doesn’t work out I can live the rest of my life single. I don’t mind, there is still plenty of joy to contend myself with.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I think that as long as you tell someone your diagnosis early on, and help them to understand how it can manifest within the relationship, then you can go ahead and give it a whirl. As long as they know, they’re fair game. To me, you seem to have empathy. People with Asperger’s can come across as heartless, which I know all too well, and why I named the site (which I created while under relentless attack). I have listened to the Invisibilia podcast, twice. It’s up to you to decide if you want to do it, but the woman who was interviewed had mixed feelings. What she experienced was startling, though. Risking brain damage is a very serious thing; that would make me think twice. I’m glad you have plenty of joy in your life, Anthony. I know you’re in the camp that believes Aspergers is a disorder and not just a different way of being, but you were sounding very down on yourself. You know what kind of a person you are, and you should be proud of yourself.

      4. Anthony

        Thanks but I doubt I have empathy, maybe it is sympathy though. But I do notice I feel more compassionate and have a stronger theory of mind when I get very blue. Possibly the connections get bridged by blood flow or some phenomena.

        This is a more thorough article on TMS if you are interested. Google “What it is like to wake up from autism Robison TMS”. It may seem risky but for numerous partners in traumatic relationships, it may be worth it. Robison in the article mentioned feeling suicidal because he saw so much fear and anxiety in the world while he expected it to just be joy. But unlike him, I am at least several decades younger so it won’t hit me as hard I suspect.

        This will be the last message I post here for a while, I want to thank you for helping me by listening and sharing so much with me. All the best regards, Anthony.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Thank you for that link, Anthony. I’m looking forward to reading the article.

          You’re welcome, and thank you for listening and sharing with me! I hope you’ll come back this way again. All the best to you, too.

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