Topic: The no empathy = violence association

English Alexithymia Forum > General Information

The no empathy = violence association
22.08.2017 by CV

I encountered this idea yet again, and don't even see the point in refuting it anymore. People will continue to believe their cliches and generalized norms in spite of evidence to the contrary.
The assumption that psychopaths and sociopaths get lobbed at them seems to assert a direct correlation between an absence of emotional empathy and violence. That if someone does not function in terms of emotional empathy, attachment etc, that they will then automatically kill or otherwise damage other people. This could equally as readily apply to some alexithymics.
I really cannot follow this logic. As I have attempted unsuccessfully to explain to therapists, the few (also unsuccessful) encounters I have had with them that incorporated the topic of alexithymia, violence against others, especially to the extremes of violent murder, requires a great deal of intense emotional experience and expression.
The mere absence of emotional empathy is not enough of a motivator to incite this kind of behaviour.
I don't know about other alexithymic people who experience a distinct deficit, but I seem to have an over-developed sense of cognitive ethics in order to compensate. Violence contradicts those carefully considered philosophical principles.
Interestingly, further weakening the argument for the solid virtues of emotional empathy, I seem to be less influenced by circumstances impacting on those ethics than emotional people. For example, a shocking number of people seem to believe that if someone "hurts your feelings" or otherwise behaves in a way you dislike, then violence or other hostile behaviour is somehow justified towards them. I do not understand this sense of inconsistency.
Indeed, violence makes much more sense as an end outcome of emotional empathy than the lack of it to me. Violence is so often an intensely emotionally motivated behaviour, justified by emotional validation.
It's misconception. And it makes an alexithymic without functional emotional empathy (aka me) immediately creepy or dangerous, when actually, I'm probably less dangerous than your average person, emotionally swayed as they are by this inconsistent grasp of ethics.
Has anyone else encountered this idea, or had this applied to them? That just because you may not feel empathy, or attachment, or affection or any of these things that supposedly keep your average person from a homicidal rampage, that somehow that makes you dangerous, or predisposed to violence in such a simple A = B correlation?

Response: The no empathy = violence association
19.09.2017 by 4SMS

I have encountered this Idea and do not believe lack of emotion makes you a violent person.
From my personal experiences, I have had people taunt and yell every name in the book at me at to get a reaction out of me.
I do not understand why they would be upset when things can be settled without getting emotional or violent.
People who have witnessed it would sometimes tell me "why do you let them speak that way to you, kick their ass".
I have learned that words are no excuse for violence. I do not normally say anything during such episodes just look straight at them until they are finished.
About the only time I would get violent is when put in a violent situation I would like to think I do react like most people "I think"
When touched in a violent way or too people I am in care of is about the only time I react I think it is internal instinct.

Bah silly normals
26.11.2017 by Terry-Townley

People with full emotions can also justify committing violence if felt wronged and a punch in the face was the deserving punishment, look at the daily mails comment section, yes it’s usually against people who have committed horrid crimes but my point is, anyone can justify hurting people if they believed it was deserved or created a mental loop whole that discards another’s humanity for whatever reason, i dislike terms from ASPD such as narcissistic, a person with low self esteem constantly mistreats and spits venom at the the guy with self confidence with the justification that he’s a narcissist.

Violence Association
06.12.2017 by hellaconfused

I didn't read much about what you said, but I did read into the part where you said not all Alexithymics feel an intense urge to harm others and whatnot.

I need to say something, just to get it out.

I believe I'm Alexithymic. I was never diagnosed, but I feel like I might be. I can't say I am, though. Anyways, not only is it hard to express my feelings, I also have a lack thereof. I've faked so many emotions to the point where they make me believe they're real. They're not, because when I'm not in the past situation, I realize I was faking it. I do get happy, I just hype it up 110 percent more. I have a lack of empathy for others.

When I think about killing and/or harming someone, I feel no emotion-- in fact, if any emotion, I feel relieved and happy. That doesn't mean I'll do it-- because I'll get mad jail time. The screwed thing is, I don't care about how the family would feel. Is this a sociopathic trait?

I'm a normal girl, too. I'm not autistic (a big percent have Alexithymia). I function semi-well in life. All that jazz. I have severe anxiety, but I take pills. I also have clinical depression, and I take pills for that, too. I'm depressed (currently) in the way of fatigue and no motivation-- I'm not sad. I'm not anything. The only time I cry is out of manic frustration.

I don't cry when people die. I don't feel empathy for them-- friend's family and stranger's. I say "Aw, that sucks," but I don't mean it. I just don't care. I don't know, I just need to get this out.

19.12.2017 by KeiganN

Have you DNA sequenced, look for the “warrior gene”

To kill someone + emotion
30.12.2017 by scarredlightning

Isn't the decision to kill someone or respond with violence something with a LOT of emotional drive? I mean, according to all the studies and Alexithymic would be more reasonable and would consider consequences etc and thus would most likely not make such an irrational decision to begin with. What you've said... I completely agree with. I mean, personally a lot of people made/ make jokes about me being able to kill people without feeling a hint of guilt, and I had to fix that belief in them by freaking out a little and pretending to care when someone died in a movie, but I also have more ethics and morals to compensate my lack of emotions.

17.04.2018 by DraScuS

Simple: I don't feel bad for the people who suffer, but why would I ever do it? Killing or harming other people doesn't make me feel good either, plus I don't want to go to jail.

Lack of emotions and violence
15.09.2018 by Jute

While a lack of emotions, difficulty in recognising emotions or confusion over emotions doesn't necessarily equate with a desire to kill or maim it doesn't exclude it either. Sociopaths feel little in the way of an emotional response when they hurt or kill people or animals, they often do it out of curiosity or simply because they can. Alexithymia is frequently comorbid with other conditions, noticeably autism, but it can also coexist with psychotic disorders.

psychopath do care about others.
30.09.2018 by Hsingai

Sociopaths feel little in the way of an emotional response when they hurt or kill people or animals, they often do it out of curiosity or simply because they can Psychopaths feel the need to punish evildoers.
They are no more amoral then any other pro-death penalty person.

"How badly did you hurt them?"
"braking legs and stuff like that. Nothing serious."
"I want to know why you broke this person's leg, and how you felt afterwards?"
"Well it was bully so I didn't feel bad."
"Did you feel anything?"
"Nothing at all?"
"No. It was justice had been done. This person was bothering people so I figured that had, you know, this was justice"
James Fallon and the host of Insight

Conflation is an error
01.10.2018 by Jute

You are conflating a piece of dialogue attributed to one person (who I've never heard of) into a generalised statement about all psychopaths? That is very unscientific as well as being patently wrong.

Psychopaths feel the need to punish evildoers.
They are no more amoral then any other pro-death penalty person.

That applies to all psychopaths does it? I'm not in the business of education but if you bother to use Google you'll quickly discover that there have been many more than the single psychopath who you quoted. In many (not all) of those cases they are on record as saying that they had nothing against their victims (many of whom have been children), they didn't even know them until they abducted, tortured and killed them. How is that "punishing evildoers?" It is however certainly amoral. Being pro-death is not the same thing as torturing a total stranger to death, simply because you feel like doing it or for some perverse sexual motivation.

John Joubert
01.10.2018 by Jute

Before his execution convicted psychopath John Joubert, who abducted, tortured and murdered three boys was asked why he'd done it.

“It was the power and domination and seeing the fear. That was more exciting than actually causing the harm.”

John Joubert

psychopaths aren't amoral
01.10.2018 by Hsingai

I' m also drawing heavily on the research of JT Hancock. but I don't have a clear reference for him

In many (not all) of those cases they are on record as saying that they had nothing against their victims
they had nothing personal against their victims.
Psychopathic Killers think the world is a cruel place so they are justified in taking their frustrations out on a nobody.
PK's don't typically go "My only regret is getting caught." They go, "I was caught, my bad"

not conforming to accepted standards of morality.

lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something.

It's not so much that Psychopaths don't be cruel for only punishing people that wronged them. it's that they feel compelled to punish those that wronged them and for them to perceive that they have been wronged they need a sense of morality, so they are clearly not amoral.

15.08.2022 by User65894H29

honestly. i can sort of see where the assumption comes from i guess but i dont need to feel bad about an action or the idea of doing an action to know its wrong and will negatively impact others. like not everyone needs a consequence to not kill or beat