DL Fowler's Blog

We’re In This Together: Celebrating Writers Who Persevere

Posted in Angela Ackerman, Intimacy, Psychology, PTSD, Themes, Victimization, Writing by DLFowler on October 25, 2017

Today I am happy to be part of Writers Persevere!, an event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate the release of their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward.

By the way, I wouldn’t be sharing this with you if I didn’t already use other tools Angela and Becca have designed. Their unique thesauruses for writers (like The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus) have helped me overcome  blockages and elevate my own writing. I can’t wait to put this new one to good use.

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Non-violent Psychopaths

Before anyone goes postal on me over yesterday’s post, let me offer some supporting documentation.

In 2005 British psychologists Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon published their research findings in an article titled, “Disordered Personalities at Work”- Psychology Crime and Law. They found that three of the eleven personality disorders shared by criminal psychopaths at Broadmoor Hospital were more common in the test sample of high-level British executives.

The three disorders included:

  • Histrionic personality disorder: including superficial charm, insincerity, egocentricity and manipulation
  • Narcissistic personality disorder: including grandiosity, self-focused lack of empathy for others, exploitive behaviors and independence.
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: including perfectionism, excessive devotion to work, rigidity, stubbornness and dictatorial tendencies.

My purpose is not to call out corporate CEOs and label them as psychopaths, but to point out that not all psychopaths kill. And that we probably rub elbows with psychopaths every day who are quite charming and capable of convincing us they’re our friends. They just have an agenda that could be costly if you get sucked in.

So don’t be surprised if some of my psychopathic characters are non-violent. Non-violent if you ignore the deadly effect of the stress and other emotional anguish they lay on their victims.

And now that I’ve brought it up, what does the hairline border that separates non-violent psychopaths from serial killers look like? And what does it take to cross it?

Hey, maybe I’ll explore that invisible line in RIPPLES.

Journey Inside Someone’s Head

Posted in Inside a Writer's Head, My Books, Non-violent Psychopaths, Psychopaths, Ripples, Themes by DLFowler on January 4, 2011

I’ve been inside a very unpleasant mind lately. Not a psychopath in the violent criminal sense. That is if you discount the physical havoc mental abuse and inducing stress can wreak on the body.

I’m too old anymore to get worked up over finding non-violent psychopaths wandering around behind well adjusted smiles. I worked for many years in the financial services industry.

I also look for them masquerading as stalwarts of their church communities. They even come from the best of families.

What’s hardest for me is to keep things in perspective. They’re not so different from you and me. We all spend too much time reacting to disappointments we’ve accumulated since birth. Not enough focus on the Grace that wants to permeate our lives.

It’s taken me decades to stop getting angry over the underbelly of the human condition. People don’t seem to be happy unless they’re hurting others, or failing at that they hurt themselves. They seem to be restless about who they are. Not that they’re trying to be the best they can be. They want to be someone else and are oblivious to what
that costs the people around them.

Now the notion of pyschopath suggests that what they do is something they can’t control. Hmm. There may be some strong impulses at work. Probably some brain dynamics pumping out chemistry that makes it hard for them to be nice people. They’ve learned how to fake being nice people, but only to get what they want. So I guess they need to give themselves the Grace to like being who they are already. Sans the psychopath thing, of course.

It might be simple, but it’s also probably hard.