May 15, 2006


Quotes from Bad Boys, Bad Men, by Donald Black:

  • Adults who defy social norms often establish a pattern of misbehavior in childhood, sometimes seeming to live without a conscience, to shirk the rules and expectations that keep most of us in check. They show a disturbing lack of empathy and fail to learn from their experiences, always blaming someone else for their problems and misdeeds. Such people can explain why the shopkeeper deserves to be robbed, why the spouse asks to be beaten, why their every betrayal is justified.

  • While antisocials can understand the concepts of right and wrong on an intellectual level, they have no emotional connections to commonly held standards of behavior.

  • Family studies of ASP (Anti-Social Personality) have generally shown that nearly 20 percent — one in five—of antisocials' first-degree relatives are themselves antisocial and that between one-quarter and one-third are alcoholic. Depression, drug abuse, somatization disorder, ADD, and learning disabilities also seem to run in these families.

  • The word treatment may even have limited value when applied to ASP, as it suggests a patient who is suffering and seeking a cure. Most antisocials are not suffering in the usual sense. They may see no reason to abandon their ways and may even enjoy their escape from obligations, their impulsivity, and their freedom from guilt.

  • Many antisocials have a history of childhood ADD, a condition with effects that can linger into adulthood. Childhood ADD is characterized by impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inability to sustain attention, and its symptoms overlap with those of conduct disorder.

  • As long as antisocial behavior is regarded as the product of bad upbringing, social and economic deprivation, and other environmental factors, families are more likely to help... antisocials hide from the world and from themselves.

Vol. 7, No. 1, 2001 Page 5

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