Relational vs Transactional
One of the most common descriptors of serial killers, from their neighbors, family members, and co-workers who have known them in real life is how normal they seemed to be. Just the guy next door. And how difficult it is to believe that they could have done the horrific crimes that they are later convicted of having done.
Serial Killers are merely the most notorious of Anti-social personality types. They are not psychotic. They’re able to understand what healthy, “normal” people accept as right and wrong. This allows them to go undetected often for long periods of time.
Serial Killers are psychopaths and sociopaths. Although one sounds much worse than the other, there’s no real difference between them. Both are characterized primarily by an inability to feel empathy towards others.
For a narcissistic anti-social personality, other people are like bugs or a couch or elevator music, something perhaps noticed but not anything to worry or think about much.
If an insect is bothering you, you might try to eliminate it, either by catching it and putting it out of your space or by killing it.
If you want to sit down, a couch can be handy and useful, but when you are ready to get up and move forward you leave the couch and any thoughts of it behind.
Elevator music, unless it’s a tune you recognize and hum along to, is just some kind of vague noise, a background sound of little or no importance, quickly forgotten.
For psychopaths and sociopaths, other people are simply objects, useful or not, valued for their usefulness or ignored because they have no utility.
In real life AND on social media in our relationships built online and in the virtual world, to the psychopath and sociopath, other people are insignificant unless they have some usefulness.
For people who are not psychopaths or sociopaths and who are not on the continuum of anti-social personality disorders, friendships can be built on shared interests, common experiences, and mutual valuing of one another. There is nothing wrong with transactional relationships so long as the nature of these connections is clear to both parties. But herein lies the difficulty.
This clarity is impossible to achieve with anti-social personalities because they have no interest in, nor any capacity to even recognize the needs of others. Donald Trump’s success in life is in large part made possible by people who cannot see him for who and what he is: a grifter con-man, liar, psychopath, and egomaniac. We have all met Trumpian types of people throughout our lives, people who we thought shared interests with us, and cared about us on a level at which we cared about them. Just the regular guy next door.
It is only when that individual determines that there is nothing more we can do to advance his or her agenda, that they drop out of our lives without a moment’s thought or any further pretense of friendship. We are ghosted. We are often surprised and hurt by this treatment, unaware that this social connection meant nothing to the other, especially to someone we valued and considered a friend.
The fact is, this is not personal.
The psychopath or sociopath never had any more feelings for others than you or I have for a couch we once sat upon or from some muzac serving as simple background noise or an insect flying by outside our window.
You wouldn’t ask a one-legged friend to go jogging with you. Expecting a person with an anti-social personality disorder to care about you and your feelings of friendship is equally absurd, if not quite as easily observable.
It would be better if psychopaths, sociopaths, and other either sick or evil individuals looked like what they actually are, a different species, dangerous and capable of enormous harm. If this was the case, perhaps they’d have a bit more trouble being elected to positions of great power.