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  1. #1
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    Casey & Family Psychological Profile #1

    Hi, I'm new here - long time lurker, first time poster.

    I am endlessly fascinated by cases like these. I was obsessed with the Scott Peterson case, and I guess you could say the 'why' of it - the psychology/pathology of sociopathic behavior. I think that Casey is clearly a sociopath, possibly also a borderline personality. I see these terms thrown around interchangeably with mental illness, and although I know that none of us have evaluated her ourselves and can actually "diagnose", I think we need some clarification of these terms, and also, I just wanted to open a psychology thread since I see some mention of "what is wrong with her?" in pretty much every thread.

    I do something needs to be clarified however - I know that there are a lot of co-occurring mental illnesses, but there is a HUGE difference between a mood disorder and a personality disorder. I myself am bi-polar. Mood disorders are disorders of the brain chemistry that one cannot control, it is a disease, often hereditary, and is treated with medication and therapy - recognizing your symptoms and learning your triggers. It takes YEARS of conscious work and effort to learn how to manage it. People with mood disorders are still moral, have consciences, care about other people, etc. But when you are in the grip of a manic episode, yes you will do things you wouldn't "normally" do, because you don't have the self-awareness to control it. It IS an illness.

    Schitzophrenia is a thought disorder - again, people that in their normal state of being without their brain circuitry going haywire, have delusions, paranoia and do/say things they wouldn't otherwise do. It is a torturously permanent condition, and not something that the person can usually control without medication.

    I have read comments that Casey is "mentally ill". While not a psychologist myself, I have studied psychology enough to say that this girl is most definitely NOT mentally ill. This girl is calculating, cunning, and IN CONTROL. If she were mentally ill, there would be other behaviors that would signal being unable to take care of herself. She has had the forethought and organization so far to be able to stick to her "story" at least! while she may not always have "answers" for all of her lies, I think her lies are at least somewhat consistent. To me, the stealing is more of an indication than the lying - she seems to do both equally with no shame or fear.

    I think she is a textbook sociopath and fully in control of herself. I don't know if it's that she CAN'T tell right from wrong, I think it's that she doesn't care.
    Personality disorders are NOT mental illnesses - they KNOW what they are doing and are in control of themselves.They just don't care. Sociopaths prey on the weak, and they are pretty much untreatable. It has been theorized that it CAN be caused by a child failing to "attach" to their caregiver - i.e. kids born in foster care, or with absentee parents. etc. (there are plenty of kids who are born into these situations that are NOT sociopaths).

    anyway, I've babbled long enough...here's your psychology thread...I'm curious as to what others experiences/knowledge is of this particular pathology.
    Last edited by BondJamesBond; 01-06-2011 at 11:14 PM.


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  3. #2
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    one more thing that indicates clear sociopathy and not mental illness to me - the PLANNING that went into creating those fake emails!!! Non-sociopaths do not usually put that much effort into deception. most of us put that kind of planning toward, well, real jobs!


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  5. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by future criminologist View Post
    one more thing that indicates clear sociopathy and not mental illness to me - the PLANNING that went into creating those fake emails!!! Non-sociopaths do not usually put that much effort into deception. most of us put that kind of planning toward, well, real jobs!
    Future: I really like your posts. Very informative. However, I did want to point out that anti-social (or sociopathic, psycopathic) personality disorder is listed in the DSM IV as a "mental disorder". It is thought to be somewhat treatable now with a combination of medication and intensive psychotherapy, although I'm not very confident about the success of such treatment. (My source is psychiatric evaluations of opposing parties in custody cases I have litigated). But, it is a diagnosable disorder that is treated by psychiatrists. I think most of us realize that casey, no matter what is "wrong" with her, does not fit the category of not guilty by reason of insanity, because she knew what she was doing and knew it was wrong. But, one can be mentally ill without being legally insane. There are tons of mentally ill people in prison who were rightfully convicted - the illness does not usually clear one from responsibility in any way. That said, I'm still trying to figure out if a mental condition or disorder falls under the umbrella of "mental illness".
    For Travis Alexander, a human being.


    *Gitana (means "Gypsy girl"). Pronounced "hee tah nah."


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  7. #4
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    I guess I should say then that the standard that the legal system uses to determine mental illness seems to be oddly different. I've never heard of anyone (at least in high profile cases) pleading insanity due to sociopathy. I'd be curious to know though if personality disorders have been used to claim mental illness or "insanity".

    also - yes, antisocial personality disorder is a form of sociopathy. It seems to me that the "classic" sociopathic personality is the American Psycho/Ted Bundy variety - charming, social, deceptive, manipulative - that can either end up involved in a crime (Scott Peterson) or at the top of a major corporation (take your pick). Antisocial personality are probably more likely to go to prison - very angry, violent, dangerous, and exactly as they sound, antisocial - your Columbine and VA Tech killers. probably more obviously, outwardly sociopathic. whereas your Scott Petersons could go sneaking around subtly reeking havoc. both are narcissists and lack conscience, but do damage in different ways, I guess you could say.

    pretty interesting that Casey claimed to be watching American Psycho on myspace (classic sociopath movie)...and chloroform was found today. learning how to be a better sociopath maybe? yeeesh, so disturbing!

    they should isolate her and Scott Peterson in a cell together so they could play mind games with eachother. maybe if we're lucky they'd kill eachother off!


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  9. #5
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    also - can someone in the criminal justice/criminal law field inform me as to what point in the investigation a psych profile would have been done on her? do you think one has already been done? do you think that is one of the "cards" that LE is holding right now that hasn't been released? God I would LOVE to read that.


  10. #6
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    I've been reading about malignant narcissism and was not suprised to hear one of Nancy Grace's guests tonight touch on the subject of narcissism.

    Here's one of my bookmarked websites on the topic some might also find interesting:

    http://www.narcissism.operationdoubles.com/

    DT


    “Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when every one has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight in order to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it?" - Soren Kierkegaard


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  12. #7
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    great post, Dawn. I think it's interesting that the word "malignant" is used with it - as in, a cancer that can't be cured.

    here's what struck me in that link that is applicable in this case:

    Narcissists and psychopaths often try to hide this brutal inhumanity and total lack of empathy by mimicking human emotions, often melodramatically. They are extremely sneaky and manipulative, mainly because they've been practicing these arts nonstop from about the age of six.

    Unless they are so powerful they needn't hide what they are, they go to great lengths to portray themselves as the very opposite of what they are. They are pathological liars who tell bizarre lies. They often react to things in a bizarre way that makes you pinch yourself. Yet despite these warning signs that there is something wrong with them, and despite the mental maturity level of a little child before the Age of Reason, they almost always pass for normal.

    and the warning signs and list of behaviors: Blowing up today and acting like it didn't happen tomorrow (didn't one of her friends say she did this?);
    Relating to you inappropriately — getting too close for the nature of your relationship (getting attached to guys early); Attempting to come between you and your money; A track record of dishonesty.

    I have honestly never heard of anyone lying as much as she does. Maybe that's because I'm a bad liar so I don't even try to!


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  14. #8
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    FC - have you heard of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist? I came across it on a link found by a fellow sleuther ...

    Malignant Narcissism on the Spectrum of Pathological Narcissism and Psychopathy

    Hare Psychopathy Checklist:

    Factor1: "Aggressive narcissism"
    • Glibness/superficial charm
    • Grandiose sense of self-worth
    • Pathological lying
    • Cunning/manipulative
    • Lack of remorse or guilt
    • Shallow affect
    • Callous/lack of empathy
    • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
    • Promiscuous sexual behavior
    Factor2: "Socially deviant lifestyle"
    • Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
    • Parasitic lifestyle
    • Poor behavioral control
    • Lack of realistic, long-term goals
    • Impulsivity
    • Irresponsibility
    • Juvenile delinquency
    • Early behavior problems
    • Many short-term marital relationships
    • Revocation of conditional release
    Traits not correlated with either factor
    • Many short-term marital relationships
    • Criminal versatility
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malignant_narcissism


    “Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when every one has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight in order to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it?" - Soren Kierkegaard


  15. #9
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    Yeah, I think the standards are very, very different. If I remember from law school (I don't do crim law), not guilty by reason of insanity meant the person did not understand the nature of what they were doing (such as strangling someone but thinking they are squeezing a lemon) or the person did not think what they did was wrong (such as Andrea Yates thinking that if she did not kill her kids, they would not go to heaven, so what she did was right under the eyes of God). Most mentally ill people would not fall under either category. They can be hideously mentally ill, under the table in Court with full blown psychotic hallucinations, but still guilty as sin, as long as their illness did not cause them to not understand what the nature of what they were doing or that it was wrong. It is a VERY hard defense and they have to be able to prove they were legally insane. I don't believe anyone has been deemed not guilty by reason of insanity due to a personality disroder like sociopathology (they do call it anti-social personality disorder now, instead of sociopathic), and I don't think anyone should be able to get by with that kind of defense. These types know exactly what they are doing.
    Anyhow, I, like you, am also and have been very interested in the "why" of criminal behavior. It drives me nuts to not understand what creates such monsters. And I've often wondered what would happen if you put these types together on an island or in a cell. Would be interesting!
    For Travis Alexander, a human being.


    *Gitana (means "Gypsy girl"). Pronounced "hee tah nah."


  16. #10
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    A psych eval was done, IIRC, in connection with casey's bid for bond. But, the results have been sealed. On another note, it appears that all the personality disorders - histrionic, anti-social, narcisstic and bordeline, tedn to go hand in hand. In other words, people that have one, often have others, sometimes even all. Wikipedia has a lot to say on the subject of personality disorders and how they relate to one another!
    For Travis Alexander, a human being.


    *Gitana (means "Gypsy girl"). Pronounced "hee tah nah."


  17. #11
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    it's hard for me to tell the difference between a borderline personality and a sociopath, because they both involve such a high degree of narcissism and manipulation.

    On a personal note, I once dated a sociopath. charming, good-looking, very successful - very narcissistic. in retrospect, all of his emotions just seemed fake - he just never seemed to be able to generate any genuine care or concern for anyone else. we were dating in secret because we worked together. well, he thinks he has me in his grip, tells me if anyone ever finds out, that he'll cut my throat. he said this, and he was serious, and luckily it was still the early stages and I didn't have any "serious" feelings for him yet, because I was out of there so fast!


  18. #12
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    To sum it up...sociopaths break societal norms and are viewed more as criminals than mentally ill. It is NOT a diagnosis.

    In my experience there is a presumption of environmental issues (some might argue genetics play a role) that is the underlying cause. With that in mind, when this case broke my thoughts were what's going on in the family that would cause the behavior that CA has demonstrated? As this case has progressed, lots of info has come out about family issues/history. I think it's only the tip of the ice berg. On the surface it looks like an intact family with productive and educated parents. The more we learn, there is a difficult history that has gotten CA to the point of demonstrating such significant and pervasive sociopathic behavior.

    In my mind there isn't a question of IF she's a sociopath. My question has been what has CAUSED it?

    Here's some general info you might find interesting.

    Sociopaths often have histories of childhood abuse. Many have parents who abused alcohol or other substances. None of these possible causes, however, can explain the development of all sociopaths.


    Children showing strong psychopathic precursors often appear immune to punishment; nothing seems to modify their undesirable behavior. Consequently parents usually give up, and the behavior worsens

    There is also info out there that discusses parental bonding as influences with this type of behavior.

    I could go on and on all day about anti-social versus mental illness. Sociopath is not a diagnosis, it is a term we use to clarify and explain behavior that violates the norms of society.

    But again....WHAT HAS CAUSED THE SOCIOPATHY? That's the real issue in my mind.


  19. #13
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    Nature v. Nurture?


    “Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when every one has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight in order to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it?" - Soren Kierkegaard


  20. #14
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    I have to agree with LP's diagnosis of Casey...
    A Mother's love is a lifelong commitment
    to selflessness
    .


  21. #15
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    [QUOTE It drives me nuts to not understand what creates such monsters. And I've often wondered what would happen if you put these types together on an island or in a cell. Would be interesting![/QUOTE]

    snipped for space:

    I loved your post. That is good stuff to know about and thanks for some clarity on how that insanity works. As far as the part I snipped; wouldnt that be a great thing to know what creates this kind of behavior. I worked in the past with people with disabilities of all kinds, physical to mental and I found it quite interesting. I was also a program specialist in which I and a team would create programs for these DD folks to either encourage better behavior or improve upon their independance. AAnd also I have worked in group therapy with abused women & children. Read alot about behaviors in the last few years. Always wondering what makes these people do such things and act like they can resume life as nothing even happened so to speak. It is amazing.

    On some level- to contribute to what you are saying, there are some things that may contribute to sociapathic behavior aside from not bonding, but abuse, whether its emotional or verbal, parents withholding from their children etc. And the other side of that- a child that is raised with parenting that makes them feel a sense of entitlement about the world. Those are just a few reasons. In my opinion, theres plenty of that in this case. I sense it to the bones. You have a mother that is hard on many levels- lacks empathy especially in front of the cameras when confronted with some very emotional people who are pleading with her with tears in their eyes and she stares back at them with an empty look and continues to defend her daughter. So therefore, not only has casey have some inherited behaviors, she's aquired along the way thru experiences and she also been brought up in a lifestyle that surround her with dysfunction and narcisism from her mother.

    Also, all children are different and react to situations differently, just her brother for example,,,,,he is supportive to a point but also has the ability imo, to empathize and act rationally in public. Just from observation I can see the character differences in each of them. But not insane whatsoever. I dotn think a jury or rational thinking people are going to go for that defense.


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