Though it may be easier ato believe that psychopaths are born, not made, a study conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology gives us a more uncomfortable reason: Parenting.
The way we parent our children can impact them deeply, for the better, or in this case, for the worse. There are two types of parenting that lead to more psychopaths than any other.
The study comes after the University interviewed high-security prisoners. From them, they learned that these two types of parenting are what helped to shape these criminal psychopaths.
These prisoners had either incredibly controlling, rigid, authoritarian parents, or neglectful, absentee parents.
There was one other factor, the study found. Every single inmate also had some form heinous psychological and/or physical abuse as a child.
Of that finding, Dr. Aina Gullhaugen, the study’s author, said, “Without exception, these people have been injured in the company of their caregivers.” She also went on to state that it was clear the psychopaths’ actions and “later ruthlessness” was just a way to try to cope with the damage done to them.
From the research and findings of the study, more than half of the criminal psychopaths studied said that they had been subjected to one of the two previously stated parenting styles.
While it’s true that parents can’t be blamed for everything that goes wrong in their children’s lives, they can certainly act as factors. Even Gullhaugen was quoted as saying, “…Not all reckless behavior is explained by bad upbringing.”
The study also isn’t a basis to judge everyone with a bad past. There are more people who come out the other end of a bad situation a perfectly normal individual.
Psychopaths are defined by their distinct lack of empathy and can manipulate people utterly guilt-free. They make up only a small percentage of our population.
While the study likely doesn’t apply to you or anyone you know, it’s a thought-provoking look at the human psyche. It also goes in the face of that old adage, “children are resilient”. While that may be true when it comes to scrapes, bruises, first loves, and finding their own way in the world, it can hardly be said for those subjected to inhumane acts and extreme parenting.