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Why Sociopathy should be taught in high school and the benefits for society

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In life, there are good surprises, and nasty ones. While it is a given that a Sociopath in your life, for any period of time, will cause your life damage, really this could be avoided.

Sociopathy shouldn’t be kept for Psychology classes. The truth is that even when I studied Psychology in College, I do not recall covering Psychopathy or Sociopathy in any depth, or if we did, the topic was brief and I don’t recall it. We spent more time, studying other peoples theories, like Freud or Maslow,  and theories, like Humanistic, Psychoanalytic that I wouldn’t have known that the condition is as widespread as it is, until I began to research and later, writing this website with thousands of people visiting daily and their stories too. If it hadn’t happened to me, I would likely still be under the illusion that it was a rare condition and that I had more chance of winning the lottery than I did of meeting one in real life.

In my work with homeless people, we did sometimes have someone come in, where the  medical conditions box on their risk assessment paper said ‘Psychopath’ or ‘Sociopath’. It is with humour now that I look back, to how we responded to this as a team.

Immediately we would decide that this person would be dangerous sharing a kitchen, as there are sharp knives, and someone could be harmed. ‘Not suitable for shared accommodation’ was marked on the sheet at the weekly nominations meeting. I guess this could be true. But in reality there was a greater risk  of their being charming, lying, and playing mind games, theft of random things (that would lead to a lot of investigative work, and never any conclusion)  telling wild elaborate stories (that I didn’t know were wild stories, until much later),  setting people up, playing people off against each other and never paying rent.  I did however,  realise that they were the most likely to come to the office, to report someone else’s wrong doing.   Deflection was a trait that was obvious.  They seemed, well, just almost so very normal. Particularly the ones who were diagnosed Psychopaths. They loved to try to cross boundaries, which would make me feel uncomfortable, I didn’t realise back then, that this was exactly what they were looking for, an ’emotional reaction’.

On the whole, you could say that even though it was spelt out, in black and white before me, that I did not have a clue, until it happened to me. You see, Sociopaths and particularly Psychopaths, are very good at their game. Clever, articulate, manipulative and deceptive. Unless you knew otherwise, they were just so ‘very nice’.  Even if you had suspicions, you could never pin them down for blame. Always there was an excuse, or an answer, that sounded ‘plausible’.

The subject should be taught as early as high school

Considering (although rare)that your life could be ended, by a human being that has no conscience, or your world turned upside down, you might marry one, end up in an abusive relationship, or have a child with one, and face the hell of courts. Alternatively you might end up financially and socially ruined, with your life destroyed, you could even end up in jail. Shouldn’t people as young as high school age be warned that there are people like this out there in society?  Do we not have a duty of care, to warn people, before they set off on their life adventures? Surely forewarned, is forearmed?

How many of you reading this, thought that Sociopaths or Psychopaths were the types that were mass murderers, and that you had more chance of meeting one of those, than you had of winning the National Lottery? How many of you thought that this was an extremely rare condition, and that this would be highly unlikely to ever happen to you, or anybody that you knew? How many times did you read in the papers about the latest mass murderer and the neighbours reported:

He was a lovely young man, kept himself to himself, always polite, never any trouble, we never knew, we are very shocked!

I am sure you have. I know I have. I knew more that the typical Psychopath was quiet and a nice neighbour, than anything else. Or at least I did, until it happened to me.

For me personally, learning this subject in school would have been more useful than learning about crop rotation in the 19th Century. I always thought when in school, how would this information ever be useful in my future life? I was right.

Teaching the subject in school could teach not only awareness (it isn’t a difficult subject to learn), but additionally those who were heading towards the pathway of being a Sociopath in later life, might look at themselves more closely and understand who they are.  I have lost count, not only of the number of victims, but additionally the number of sociopaths that I have seen online who say

I think I am a Sociopath, what I am reading is me, and I don’t know how to change that

Some people might think that this is just a joke, and that the Sociopath looking for attention, or playing a game. In some cases, it might very well be. I know that the one in my life, didn’t know what it was, at least he didn’t until 2012. He knew that he was different and he knew that he caused carnage. Obviously he knew that he lied. But he didn’t know that he was a Sociopath. Yet, his behaviour was so textbook, that I am surprised Wikipedia definition didn’t have his photo next to it, with him waving out from the page.

Then there is the subject of other people. It is very difficult for the victim to explain what has happened to them without looking crazy themselves. It can be a lonely, isolating journey. Education could normalise these experiences. Society would be aware, that this is something that COULD happen.  Not only that it could happen, but that it is not actually rare at all. It happens to a lot of people all over the world. It is only because people are shamed into not talking about it, that it remains hidden.

What about children themselves, who are raised in families, where a parent is a Sociopath or Psychopath? What about their awareness, and indeed their protection? Wouldn’t it be right, and create a better future society, if these children understood that this behaviour, is not only not normal, more importantly what is happening, is not their fault? If more people were aware, it could help children to open up and talk about what is happening within the family home, which would help to safeguard children trapped within those families.

It wouldn’t be possible to have a mass education programme, to explain to society how widespread, and destructive this is. But change could start by educating young people in schools.

A sociopath or a psychopath, can destroy the victims life. In the worst of cases it could take someone’s life. If it doesn’t take someone’s life physically, they likely will destroy the victim, emotionally, socially, financially, psychologically.  How much does this cost society? In terms of mental health, time off of work, destruction to family and friends. Not to say how it enables the abuser to continue with their behaviour. A victim shouldn’t feel ashamed for what has happened to them.

Sociopathy is not a rare condition. Every single day at least 5,000 people visit this website alone. Some days more than this, visitors from more than 250 countries around the world. Considering that the whole world does not speak English, 1.5 million people from over 250 countries, in two years is a lot of people. This means that there are a lot of people, looking for information to educate, and understand. I am sure, that this is more people than would be the case, if I were writing about crop rotation in the 19th Century.

Benefits to society

  • Reduction in crime
  • Understanding for you young people, so that if this is happening in their family, they understand that this is not about them, it is not normal and it isn’t their fault
  • Reduced public expenditure
  • Support networks and understanding for victims
  • Reduction in mental health victims (anxiety, mental health, PTSD, nervous breakdowns, panic attacks, agoraphobia, anxiety disorder)
  • Avoidance of wasting years of a persons life, thus they could be more productive members of society
  • Reduction in suicide rates
  • Understanding for professionals such as social workers/courts/lawyers/counsellors/therapists/police
  • Would ultimately reduce the power of the Sociopath/Psychopath by making them transparent to all, offering protection for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with disabilities, and those with young children

Perhaps this is a wild fanciful dream. Education wouldn’t eradicate Psychopathy.  It could however, go a long way towards reduction in Sociopathy. It could possibly avoid so many peoples lives ruined, people destroyed, and their lives taken off on pointless u turns for years of their life. If people were educated, things could start to change. People could be supported, and not feel isolated, or ashamed. It would be a subject that could be talked about with family and friends. If 1.5 million people have visited this site in two years, just for this website alone, this information is needed and people not only want, but are looking for it, often after their lives have been destroyed.

Things could change, by making changes to educate. If they people were educated in the place where we should receive education (school), in the future, perhaps  it would be a safer and less corrupt world. Maybe people would think about humanity more, and see certain world leaders who have these traits. Maybe, if the behaviour was more obvious to the whole of society, those people in direct power would never become in those positions in the first place. Maybe pointless wars, where millions of people are killed, would be avoided.

I am sure that education, would really create a better, and safer world. It would be slow to change things, but any change, no matter how slow is progress and a positive move forward. Speak up, and speak out about Sociopaths and Psychopaths. For me, I will keep dreaming, that maybe, just maybe it will one day be taught in schools, and victims will not have to feel such a shame about experiencing such treatment, without education, the topic remains exactly as Psycho’s and Sociopaths want it to remain ‘hidden‘, thus enabling them to continue with their behaviour, and ruining peoples lives.

Be the change you want to see in this world. The rest will follow.

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