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Caylee Anthony 2 years old Not reported missing for a month after she was last seen.


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Old 09-03-2008, 08:31 PM
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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 10:14 PM.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:34 PM
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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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Old 09-03-2008, 08:59 PM
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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!
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".
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:23 PM
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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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Old 09-03-2008, 09:27 PM
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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.
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:29 PM
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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
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:42 PM
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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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Old 09-03-2008, 09:47 PM
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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
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:48 PM
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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!
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:53 PM
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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!
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:05 PM
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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!
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:06 PM
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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.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:13 PM
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Nature v. Nurture?
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:15 PM
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I have to agree with LP's diagnosis of Casey...
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:25 PM
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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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Old 09-03-2008, 10:33 PM
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Nature v. Nurture?
Interesting that you would bring this thought up. yes, on some levels. However, there are some relationships that are overly nurturing. Creating a child that is more coddled and excused when they do act on impulses. In my opinion, as a parent myself. I try to balance the two. There are natural consequences and then there are the moments that you bond with your child out of an experience in which you teach them right from wrong.

I really dont know exactly how Casey was raised and how the family dynamics worked in their home. My opinion was that many things she did was let go and there was no lesson or natural consequence.

But I will say this, I have a large family, I have a couple of siblings who got away with more because of their narcisism, yes they were like that, lie to the end and let someone else catch the blame before owning up to it and normally they got away with it.

But lastly, I just dont see a jury letting Casey get off on insanity based on all the edvidence read thus far. They would want her to have the lesson she has gotten away with for years. its time to burst her bubble.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:45 PM
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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

Excellent site - interesting note Kathy died in her home earlier this year - her sister lived across the street and is a Narcissist - another group I belong to looked into if her death involved foul play . No evidence it did .

Another good site Narcissists Suck !!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:47 PM
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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.

excellant post. Couldnt say it any better.

you'd probably have to see the entire picture of the family or upbringing to see into. I think personally a childs mind is formed not only by environment and those around them and their actions/reactions, but the experiences in that persons life to change who they are.

On some level, you may have many dynamics that form this in the childs life. And for one thing I dont blame TV or the media for this. Sure it can have a slight impression on the mind, but more so the experiences and how a child perceives the world around them, creates a path on how they react to things. What one child may percieve a spanking as punishment, another child may deem it as it didnt hurt and I am going to do it again, no matter how many spankings I get. Just dont know the real answer. But in cA case, wow, shes a dead ringer for a sociopath/ narcisist
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:49 PM
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Amma - I think it has to be more than just abuse. at some point, she failed to develop a conscience or empathy for others. that usually happens when a child fails to bond with the mother. for whatever reason, Casey failed to bond with Cindy as a baby. that thus made her unable to bond with Caylee, or empathize with any of her victims. If she is so callous as to lead JG on for months thinking he was the father, to steal from her own parents and grandparents, to steal from her friends, and to lie to everyone...why should we think it should be different with her own child?
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:52 PM
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Nature v. Nurture?
To some degree yes. Nurture can have dramatic impacts on how one copes and manages mental health challenges or creates and magnifies behavior that is sociopathic or anything along the lines of anti-social behavior.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:54 PM
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Amma - I think it has to be more than just abuse. at some point, she failed to develop a conscience or empathy for others. that usually happens when a child fails to bond with the mother. for whatever reason, Casey failed to bond with Cindy as a baby. that thus made her unable to bond with Caylee, or empathize with any of her victims. If she is so callous as to lead JG on for months thinking he was the father, to steal from her own parents and grandparents, to steal from her friends, and to lie to everyone...why should we think it should be different with her own child?
That was just one of several contributors/risk factors I listed. The bonding issue is #1. But not the only. There are several things that come together to create the ingredients for success so to speak.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:54 PM
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Amma - I think it has to be more than just abuse. at some point, she failed to develop a conscience or empathy for others. that usually happens when a child fails to bond with the mother. for whatever reason, Casey failed to bond with Cindy as a baby. that thus made her unable to bond with Caylee, or empathize with any of her victims. If she is so callous as to lead JG on for months thinking he was the father, to steal from her own parents and grandparents, to steal from her friends, and to lie to everyone...why should we think it should be different with her own child?
I agree with that. You know, Cindy always defends casey as a good mother, and most people in their circle did. but what defines good parenting & bonding with them?? What is their version of a good mother? BUt what I havent heard and this is just my take- No one is saying or said anything about how good of a mother Cindy was to Casey. SO that is just an observation of mine. Cindy very well may have bonded more with Lee than Casey. I heard several statement or read them rather that Casey would make in order to slight her mother on any oportunity she got. There just may have been a disconnect in their relationship.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:52 PM
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Amma - I think it has to be more than just abuse. at some point, she failed to develop a conscience or empathy for others. that usually happens when a child fails to bond with the mother. for whatever reason, Casey failed to bond with Cindy as a baby. that thus made her unable to bond with Caylee, or empathize with any of her victims. If she is so callous as to lead JG on for months thinking he was the father, to steal from her own parents and grandparents, to steal from her friends, and to lie to everyone...why should we think it should be different with her own child?
I think you are right and not trying to be a smart butt, but in reference to the bolded part above.....I think it's obvious from Cindy's behavior why Casey didn't bond with her, Cindy is a Narcisstic, tyrannical dictator.

I remember what Rev. G said, "Casey was desperate to get out of that house"..... I think Casey had a very miserable life growing up and due to various issues grew into a sociopath.

One other thought I've been wanting to make, I think Casey is enjoying CA making a fool of herself in the national media....Casey is sitting back saying "see what craziness I've been putting up with all my life!" ...and she's enjoying watching Cindy squirm and fight. Casey may go to jail, but psychologically Cindy is going down with her and that's o.k. with Casey.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:06 AM
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Given her friends independent lifestyle I would imagine Casey was very anxious to get out from under her parent's watchful and controlling eye.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:11 AM
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What is most upsetting to me about CA is that when she was ALONE with Caylee how she MAY have been her TRUE self and how this must have frightened Caylee...I am also concerned over her ability to deceive everyone for 2 years into believing she had a job which did not exist and WHAT she was doing with Caylee every one of those days when she would take her SOMEWHERE...where was that and what DID that poor sweet little baby ACTUALLY have to endure...The sociopath can and will fool everyone, but when they are alone with someone they feel power over they are often mean and hurtful...I should know-one of my brothers is a textbook sociopath, and I am so frightened of him that he does not even KNOW where I live...
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