Friday Counseling Issues: What is a Sociopath?

This is Ted Bundy.  He doesn’t look like such a bad guy, does he?

However, he was  a truly bad guy.  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say (Wiki isn’t always right, but this time they’ve got it.  I remember very clearly reading this same stuff in the news back then:

Theodore Robert “Ted” Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killerrapistkidnapper, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier. After more than a decade of denials, he confessed shortly before his execution to 30 homicides committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978; the true total remains unknown, and could be much higher. (

He is known as a sociopath or a psychopath.  They’re really pretty much the same thing.  To me, the most chilling characteristic of a sociopath is that there is absolutely no conscience.  This person has no regret, no remorse, no sense of guilt or wrong done to another. He believes that what he wants is what he must have, no matter what the cost to anyone else.  He will do whatever is necessary to get what he wants.  If that involves taking someone else’s life, well, that person shouldn’t have gotten in the way.  Or deserved to die.

A lack of conscience makes way for a long list of sociopathic behaviors.  Right up at the top would be lying.  Constant, deliberate, manipulative lying; not slips of the tongue, not an effort to avoid detection (although that certainly plays a part) but more of a cold, calculated and purposeful achievement of reaching a goal.   Mr. Bundy was a master of deception, luring his victims in with charm, personality, and flat-out lies.

So what is the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath?  It seems to be a matter of degree.  Sociopaths can live in normal society without doing physical damage to others.  They may be considered antisocial, but many people with sociopathic tendencies are actually quite charming.  They can be glib, engaging; wonderful story-tellers, good with kids, and humorous.  Just don’t stand in their way or call them to account for bad behavior.  You’ll see the dark side.

A psycopath is usually more of a risk seeker, impulsive, and fearless, as well as not being able to socialize normally. Sociopaths go to great lengths to look “normal” and even their families don’t always know who they are.  Psycopaths take it to the next level, becoming more and more difficult to live with as time passes.



Remember Scot Peterson?  Handsome guy, financially successful, married to a beautiful young woman, They were happily expecting their first baby when Scot killed her, dumped her body in the ocean, and claimed she had disappeared.  Well, I guess she had.  He was finally “outed” by his mistress when he slipped up and said something that made her suspicious and afraid.

What I remember about this case is that after his conviction, his mother stood on the courthouse steps and said, “That whole jury needs to be drug-tested!  My son in innocent!”

It is not unusual at all for sociopathic men to have been the adored golden boys of their mothers, who believed they could do no wrong and always came flying to their recue if they got into trouble.

Sociopathic behavior, of course, is not limited to men.  Women can be even scarier, in my opinion.

There’s lots of information on this topic if you want to search.  Just be careful and discerning when you read, because almost everyone has a little different perspective on these folks.  Some think they were born bad, others that they were the products of their upbringing.  The old “nature vs. nurture” controversy.

More on this topic next week.

Sore Afraid

Matthew 17:6. “And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were sore afraid.”

There was no denying the voice of God!  They didn’t see Him;  they only heard Him, and the were “sore afraid.”

Wouldn’t you feel the same?  We certainly should!  ‘

I’ve often wondered just what that voice must have sounded like.  Was it vast and all-encompassing?  Did it sound as if it were echoed from the surrounding hills?   Was it a roar that knocked the disciples to their faces, or was it simply the most incredibly beautiful voice that anyone had ever heard?

To be prostrate on the ground was not an unusual thing when man and God came face to face. You can see the same reaction in Job 42:5-6; Isa. 6; Dan. 8:18; 10: 5-11; Acts 9:4, Rev. 1:17. To meet God will leave us with no other option than to fall on our faces before Him.

I heard a radio report today that a well-known mayor in a major U.S. city has been reported to say that he’s “earned his place in heaven” for the work he’s done as a mayor.  What nonsense, what arrogance!  He must imagine that he can stand face to face with God and come out of it without a quiver.  Is he ever in for a shock!

Next week, we’re going back over this entire passage to find out its meaning and significance.  There is much to mine from these verses.

Hear Ye Him!

Matthew 17:5. “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my belove Son, in Whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him.”

While Peter was absorbed with thinking about building a tabernacle for Jesus so He would stay away from Jerusalem, the Father in heaven shook His head and thought, “Peter is going to be one of the greatest men of God who ever lived; right now, though he’s just not getting it.  I’d better give him something to think about!”

Remeber, Peter has just told Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!” And then he rebuked Jesus and tried to persuade Him not to go to Jerusalem.  Now, he’s saying, “You are God, but I want You to stay here!  I’ll even build You a tabernacle where we can worship You!”

Let’s not be too hard on Peter, though.  I am of the opinion that we, who have the fullness of the Word of God, truly don’t know Who He is right now today.  If we did, we’d be different than we are.

It is Good!

Matthew 17:4. “Then answered Peter and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”

Impetuous Peter once again doesn’t really get it at first. Looking at this glorious scene, he wants to build tabernacles for the three who converse together, enveloped in the light of Jesus. The problem with Peter’s attempt to intrude into that conversation is the same as it was when Jesus told the disciples of His coming trials and death in Jerusalem. Peter actually dared to rebuke Jesus then; now, he is suggesting that a memorial be made. 

First, Peter’s suggestion puts Jesus on the same level as Moses and Elijah. Second, his motive is the same as it was then; that is, to keep Jesus from the cross. He and the other two disciples would do the work, thus relieving Jesus of the need to labor, and thus keeping Jesus here, in His tabernacle, which the disciples would provide! 

Why a tabernacle?  Because it was in the tabernacle that the Israelites worshipped God for all the years before the Temple was built. Peter still didn’t get it that Jesus had come to earth on a mission, that nothing was going to deter Him from that mission, and that His mission would lead to the opportunity of salvation for all mankind. 



Bloopers Galore

While I learn how to navigate between my blogs, I’ve done some really dumb things. So if you’re looking for “Third-rate Romance” you’ll find it over here:

Sorry, folks.  It will get better.

Daily Post: When Will I be Loved?

(Have you dreamt of becoming famous? What would your claim to fame be? Comedy? Acting? Writing? Race car driving? Go!)


One of the nicest things about being old(er) is that you get over yourself!  At least, ideally you get past the delusion that you’re going to be world-famous, and you just settle in to appreciating what you have. 


Back in the day, however, before this wonderful place of peace and contentment in which I now live ever existed, I certainly had my dreams of being acknowledged for my incredible talents.  Plural.  

Well, maybe not world-famous.  

Maybe not even famous in just my own country. 

Or state, 

Or town. 

Family, maybe? 

Here’s the truth:  Very few people rise to such a place of fame that they are remembered throughout the annals of history. 

So how about the “being loved” part? 

My family loves me, at least most of the time.  I have wonderful friends who love me.  I have clients and co-workers who while they may not love me, certainly respect me and appreciate what little wisdom I’ve gained over the years.  I’ve been privileged to touch many lives.  Somed would tell you it wasn’t a very positive touch.  I hope the damage wasn’t permanent, and I hope those people will learn to forgive me where I’ve been wrong.

I work in a profession that tries to adhere to the “do no harm” principle.  It would be good if we could apply that principle across the course of our entire lives.

Moses and Elias

Matthew 17:3.”And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.”

What an amazing sight!  What an amazing moment these three disciples were privileged to share with Jesus!

Jesus stood between Moses and Elias (Elijah) as they talked of His coming trials, death, resurrection and return to heaven (Luke 9:28-39).  Jesus is always the center. 

Moses stood for the Law. He passed through death, alone with God on the mountain, before the Israelites crossed the Jordan into Canaan.  Elijah stood for the prophets.  He did not see death, but was transported to heaven in a chariot of fire.  Both the Law and the Prophets spoke of Jesus’ atoning death for the sin of all mankind.  So much meaning in this incident, and I wonder if the three disciples really “got it.”