ENERGY BLOCKAGE REMOVAL
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THE MASK OF SANITY
Section 3: Cataloging the Material
51. Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior
51. Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior
Not only is the psychopath undependable, but also in more active ways he cheats,
deserts, annoys, brawls, fails, and lies without any apparent compunction. He will
commit theft, forgery, adultery, fraud, and other deeds for astonishingly small stakes and
under much greater risks of being discovered than will the ordinary scoundrel. He will,
in fact, commit such deeds in the absence of any apparent goal at all.
Yet we do not find the regularity and specificity in his behavior that is apparent in
what is often called compulsive stealing or other socially destructive
344 THE MASK OF SANITY
actions carried out under extraordinary pressures which the subject, in varying degrees,
struggles against. Such activities, and all disorder distinguished by some as impulse
neurosis,14 as we have mentioned, probably have important features in common with
the psychopath's disorder. In contrast, his antisocial and self-defeating deeds are not
circumscribed (as, for example, in pyromania and kleptomania), and he shows little or
no evidence of the conscious conflict or the subsequent regret that are not regularly
absent in these other manifestations. Again the comparison Of a circumscribed
dissociation typical of hysteria with the general ego disintegration of schizophrenia may
be usefully cited.
Objective stimuli (value of the object, specific conscious need) are, as in
compulsive (or impulsive) stealing, inadequate to account for the psychopath's acts.
Evidence of any vividly felt urge symbolizing a disguised but specifically channelized,
instinctive drive is not readily available in the psychopath's wide range of inappropriate
and self-defeating behavior. Two incidents in typical cases are offered:
1. An 18-year-old boy often stole objects for which he had some use, but stealing
was not a dominant feature in his almost universally manifested maladjustment.
Drifting one day into church, he chose to remain after services and speak personally
with the clergyman. As might be expected, he made a profound impression and,
spontaneously professing conversion, brought justifiable pride to his counselor.
Although disappointed because this new religious attitude did not curtail the boy in his
flagrant truancy, his desultory cheating in examinations, and his lying, the clergyman
worked hopefully and assiduously with him. On one occasion, after hanging around
juke joints and street corners until 3 A.M., he explained his tardiness to his parents in a
vivid account of having been injured while wrestling at the school gymnasium. He had,
he explained to them, spit up blood and so was taken in an ambulance to the hospital
emergency room, where he was treated by the family physician. He gave realistic detail
about difficulties in locating the physician, the spirit of emergency prevailing, and
techniques of treatment. This story was elaborated despite his knowledge that the next
day he was, in the company of his father, going to visit this very physician (for a
previously made appointment) and that all he said would be proved untrue.
Despite repeated and versatile acts inconsistent with the boy's profession of
religion, the patient clergyman, naturally impressed with one who seemed so sincere and
whose stated attitudes were so admirable, did not lose hope and at times even became
quite optimistic. This optimism was particularly shaken after the discovery that his
convert had, during communion, succeeded in stealing one of the small glass goblets
used in the ceremony.
CATALOGING THE MATERIAL 345
2. Stealing was a very minor feature of this lady's career, a few details of which
were cited in Chapter 12, Anna. While on parole for the afternoon from a private
psychiatric institution, she accepted the hospitality of an old friend who had planned tea
and sandwiches for several rather demure women whose common interest centered on
Sunday school activities. While accompanying her hostess on a preparatory visit to a
large grocery store, the patient, as if by whim, slipped into her ample handbag a bottle
of vitamin tablets, a package of cream cheese, and a tin of anchovy paste. On arriving at
the house (prior to the gathering), she presented all but the vitamin tablets to her
hostess as a contribution to the party. She was a woman of considerable wealth and had
funds with her. She apparently realized that her theft might be detected and would
almost surely be suspected. In carrying out the act she behaved with what can perhaps
best be called moderate caution. Apparently she was not strongly influenced by fears of
being caught. Nor, on the other hand, did she seem to be seeking purposively but
unconsciously any specific thrill, masochistic or otherwise, that might arise in this event.
Nothing about her reactions to this and scores of similar acts ever suggested an
irresistible force compelling her on against her judgment and will.
Section 3, Part 3