28 Dec Are Casey Anthony and Bernard Madoff Classic Sociopaths?
An exploration by BoomerYearbook.com
The average anti-social personality or ‘sociopath’ is not a serial killer or an obviously scary person. They can be our children, neighbors, boss, co-workers or friends. The trait they have in common is that they are always using others around them for their own benefit, without empathy and without remorse. Recently the stories of Casey Anthony and Bernard Madoff have made the news. They are both seemingly average people, but could they be classic sociopaths? This article is an exploration of the ‘publicly reported” personality behaviors of Casey Anthony and Bernard Madoff and is not meant to be read as a condemnation of guilt or a professional DSM-IV diagnosis. We are simply looking at behaviors and exploring the question.
By now everyone should be familiar with the ongoing investigation into the murder of the two-year old daughter of Casey Anthony of Orange County, Florida. Anthony, a 22 year old who came into the spotlight after her mother reported her 2 year old daughter missing for more than a month.
The first sign of a classic sociopath is their ability to leave a situation without a second thought. Pictures and testimony from friends reveal that during the month that Caylee was missing, Casey spent her time shopping (with checks stolen from her friends) and partying without any display of the sadness or desperation one would expect from a mother whose baby had been kidnapped.
Conversations between a detained Casey and her family and friends revealed a young woman who was reportedly so consumed with her own life, needs and fate that she can only talk about herself. She would tell her parents how much she missed them and wanted to be back with them. There have been reports that Mr. & Mrs. Anthony were about to kick her out of the house when Caylee disappeared. Could she have killed her daughter to gain their sympathy? There have, also, been reports that she complained about having to take care of her daughter all the time. Could she have killed Caylee to regain her total freedom? Is that a possible explanation as to why she reportedly partied so much after Caylee disappeared?
Friends and family members describe Casey as a habitual liar. This is usually the first thing people recognize about ‘sociopaths’. They tell lies consistently and are often caught in inconsistencies which they lie their ways out of. Casey reportedly led the police officers on a wild goose chase to the supposed kidnapper’s apartment (where no one had lived for 5 months) and to her workplace at Universal Studios (where she hadn’t worked in 2 years); is this a sign of an anti-social sociopath or is there another explanation for Casey’s behavior?
Having watched Casey as portrayed by the media presentations of the past couple of months, it does appear that she may indeed have sociopathic tendencies. In particular there appears to be seen a kind of childish triumphant sense of ‘victory’ as her innocence is staunchly defended by parents. However Casey’s actual innocence or guilt is outside the scope of this article and whether or not she is indeed a sociopath needs to be left to qualified professionals. At this moment, it does seem a plausible possibility. What do you think? Share with us at BoomerYearbook.com.
Bernard (Bernie) Madoff
Bernard (Bernie) Madoff has duped both individuals and businesses alike to the tune of 50 billion dollars. He did this by creating an exclusive investment firm and recruiting his wealthy and/or well-connected friends and family to invest with him. His fund was so successful and elite that only ‘special’ people were allowed to invest in it.
According to the media, Madoff confessed his crime to his two sons who then turned him in to the authorities after consulting with their lawyer. Friend and family members have expressed shock at the revelations. The Bernie Madoff they knew would never do something like that. In their eyes, he was too kind, too friendly and too trustworthy.
While the reaction of those who know him are typical of people who find out that they are dealing with sociopaths, the behavior of Madoff, himself, does not seem to fit one of the main characteristics of persons with anti-social personality disorder. The average sociopath would not confess to doing something wrong because they are convinced they are right and entitled, and don’t care if what they are doing is immoral or illegal. Therefore his confession may go against all that it means to be a sociopath; unless it was done in a bragging grandiose way, and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that it was. On the contrary, there’s speculation that he confessed to save his sons from prosecution or in order that his investors can get back some funds from the government which they would not have otherwise gotten had he just said that the investments did not yield any returns. Either of these scenarios would mean that he’s thinking about others in a caring way (i.e. he’s being empathic) which is definitely not a trait that is associated with sociopaths.
So while Bernie Madoff may be one heck of a con-man, the evidence presented so far does not point to his being a sociopath. What do you think? Tell us at BoomerYearbook.com.
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