Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Continuum of Civility to Psychopathology

A civil person is generally respectful, demonstrates empathy for others and their situation or condition, and generally is cognizant of how their actions affect others. (See my blog What is civility?")

In my mind, the opposite of a civil person is a sociopath - someone who exhibits unwarranted boldness, disinhibition and poor behavioral restraints, and meanness or lack of empathy, use of cruelty, exploitative tendencies, and defiance of authority, to say the least.

While psychology isn't black and white or cut and dry, one of the key factors or indicators of possible psychopathology that can be used in determining whether an individual has sociopathic tendencies is in the person's ability to self-critisize, or self-correct based on the external world.

For example, a sociopath whose actions hurt another may think "They deserved it." as opposed to "Oh, I should stop, what I'm doing is hurting another human being." (This is not to be confused with appropriate punishment of a person for crimes they committed knowing the consequence (that is one way we learn from our mistakes) nor to be confused with still having compassion for a person who is suffering regardless of how or why they got there.)

Another example may be an individual who disrespects or acts out towards an authority figure by trying to publicly humiliate or criticize the person's work or tarnish the person's reputation, when the authority figure is correctly performing his or her job and acting in fairness and best interest of all parties.

I read a cool, thought provoking quote recently:

Time decides who you meet in life, your heart decides who you want in your life, and your behavior decides who stays in your life.

That made me consider the thougth, "What behaviors are key to me keeping the people in my life that are important to me?" Obviously consideration, but excersizing self-reflection, being aware of how my actions, thoughts, and behaviors are affecting others, and correcting myself when I find I am missing the mark or acting in a way that is not respectful, empathetic, or aware.

That keeps me on the correct side of the continuum from civility to a psychopathology.

Empathy Reflection Respect

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