There is more and more evidence as fMRIs and other OBJECTIVE evidence shows that the tendency for psychopathy is genetic to some extent. The study of identical twins separated at birth and raised by different families bears out that if one child is a psychopath, there is an 80% chance the other one will be as well.
Now that does NOT mean that every child of a psychopath is going to be a serial killer. Actually not even all of the people who would qualify per the Psychopathic Check List Revised (PCLR) devised by Dr. Robert Hare which is seen as the “gold standard” to label someone a psychopath is a criminal. Only about 25% of inmates convicted of felony crimes are considered true 100% dyed in the wool psychopaths, though the average score of all felony inmates is 22 (It takes a score of 30 to qualify legally) and non psychopaths score on average zero to 5. About 1 to 4% of all people would qualify with a score of 30 out of 40 possible points.
In fact, many people who have high tendencies toward psychopathy become doctors, lawyers, politicians or CEOS of corporations. They don’t commit crimes at all, though they are not “nice guys” to their employees or their families. Dr. James Fallon, who does research on psychopaths found out that his own brain showed signs of psychopathy. He wrote a book called The Psychopath Within about finding out by accident that his brain showed distinct patterns of psychopathy, and that his family and co-workers thought he was a complete jerk. He said in his book that he tried to be kinder after this discovery, but admitted that his feelings had not changed.
My own sperm-donor had five children that I know of, and I recently met the 5th who is my half brother. He had been raised by a foster family as his mother did not want to raise an illegitimate child which in those days was a big shame. She gave him to her sister and her husband to raise.
I found out that he actually lived in my state and we contacted each other via the internet and he recently came to visit me at my home. I also had another friend visiting at the time who has been abused by several psychopaths and has studied psychopathy during her healing process.
My relative and I sat in the dining room talking and my friend was chopping vegetables in my kitchen, just listening to our conversation. He did not seem to be interested in any information about our sperm donor or about the rest of the paternal family. He only wanted to talk about himself and seemingly to impress me. He did tell me quite a bit about his life history and that he had been married five times and that they had all left him because of some organic brain problem (senility) etc.
I asked him why he had moved from up north to Arkansas and he told me that he and his wife at the time had been dealing “massive amounts of drugs” and had to go because the DEA was on to them. (head shaking here) because I can’t imagine telling someone you had just met such a tale even if it was true.
He had brought a DVD of a television show our sperm donor had produced back in 1961 as a syndicated “wild animal capture” show. Pretty hokey by today’s photographic standards.
He got a telephone call after being at my house for a couple of hours and said he would not be able to stay over night as we had planned and must go home immediately. He didn’t even stay for dinner which was ready just as he got up to leave. His behavior was quite odd on the telephone and he was visibly shaken by some news conveyed in the phone call.
After he left the household went back to our usual activities in the evening and didn’t talk much about our visitor.
The next morning as I was drinking my coffee I mentioned to my visiting friend that “I think my brother is a psychopath.” She and I then discussed our reasons for both coming to that conclusions.
His grandiosity was one thing that struck us. His lack of a filter (like telling us about his previous drug dealing) and seeming to find it quite funny. His five marriages (currently number 5 recently left him) and his narcissistic bent. His lack of interest in our mutual biology or getting to know anything about our sperm donor whom he had never met.
His vocabulary was quite good, sounding like someone with some education but he had said he left home and dropped out of school at age 16. He also mentioned that none of his adoptive family would have anything to do with him, and neither would his maternal biological family.
My friend and I had both seen the same things in him that made us each independently see broad brush strokes of psychopathy in this man. I’m not afraid of him, I did a background check on him and he has no criminal record, just a record of frequent moves, frequent marriages, debt and civil judgments against him. Plus I am now forewarned and there will be no chance given to him to scam or con me in any way.
Forewarned is forearmed. Oh, and my son, who is better at spotting the signs of METH USE than I am, said that by looking at the man who was very thin and how he had some tics that he figured the man had been or was a meth user. And actually my son had not heard the comments the man made about dealing drugs in the past.
I don’t think I will invite him to a family Christmas dinner.