posted 01-03-2008 01:48 PM †††
A scorpion asks a frog to carry him across a river. The frog is afraid of being stung, but the scorpion reassures him that if it stung the frog, the frog would sink and the scorpion would drown as well. The frog then agrees; nevertheless, in mid-river, the scorpion stings him, dooming the two of them. When asked why, the scorpion explains, "I'm a scorpion; it's my nature."
First, let me say that I have huge respect for your effort and achievements at anti. You and Eric have set a new standard, for fact-checking and telling it like it is. And you've both done so in a way that is so persistent and accurate that George has started to loose his temper and curse.
I read your recent post at anti and felt compelled to comment.
Mr. Truth Just to see where you are coming from I went back and read your original post i this forum. The one where you discuss and freely admit your crime. I have a certain amount of respect for someone who is prepared to "own" his behavior.
The one thing that really stood out in this reading is that way that you focus the negative consequences of this crime towards what it cost you rather than what it cost your victim to wit: " I can assure you there is nothing you can say to make me feel worse than what I've done to myself in that regard. What a colossal blunder. It cost me a military career and over a million dollars in lifetime retirement benefits."
You stated that you successfully completed your jail time and probation but you didn't express much empathy for the real victim. You may have failedyour program in that regard.
The scorpion story is always a reminder for me, about whom we are dealing with.
Mr. T, as you have noted, is just such a creature. He will always have his flaws, limitations, and defects.
He has, as you have noted, owned his sexual offense against his daughter - more consistently than the other offenders at anti.
Sex offenders do not have "real empathy." If they did they would not sexually assault others. There is disagreement among clinicians about whether empathy can be taught, and about whether therapy is limited to psycho-education.
The only real sound treatment approach for a narcissist is psychodynamic psychotherapy, and the achievement of a narcissistic ego collapse - something that rarely, if ever, happens with well-defended narcissists, who are mostly just out of psycho-arms-reach.
Even if real empathy cannot be taught, we can and should teach empathic behaviors, and empathic responses to social cues (but not with psychopaths). What this would look like is exactly what you observe with Mr. T. You see a man who owns his offense, and can state that it impacted the victim, even though he more readily recalls the impact on himself. You also see a man who remembers to make statements about victim impact to other offenders who neglect to do so.
That may be as good as it gets.
But remember, that's exactly what we want that from the likes of him - to remember to think about the victim, and to try to feel good about himself doing that.
So, rather than criticize and undermine his "lack of empathy," it might be more helpful to appreciate his efforts to be empathic, through occasional verbal statements of victim empathy, even though he is not really empathic and remains somewhat narcissistic. That way we encourage the continuance of that empathic dialog/behavior - and we draw a distinction for all to see, between his approach and that of Jester who makes no statements of empathic concern. Let him wear his new-found empathy badge, like the Scarecrow, Tin-man and Lion carry their diplomas, hearts, and courage. He's safer that way (as long as he's not a psychopath.)
Every narcissist will need to be reminded from time to time, that they are doing it (narcissim) again. The best possible response may be a rote-learned behavioral response in which they first accept the message, then stop and check themselves out and correct things quickly. They will do that only if they learn to feel good about doing it (listening, responding, self-correcting). Every wounded narcissist needs encouragement, and every narcissist is wounded - they simply learn to hide there woundedness under almost impenetrable characterological armor.
from another post.
Hostility towards convicted sex offenders is not irrational at all.
At the risk of sounding like a peace-mongering/pacifistic/social(ist) worker/bleeding-heart/do-gooder/therapist type, there are some who would suggest it is irrational, as it does little to make the situation any better.
I'm not suggesting we do anything other than punish or correct problem behavior, but as Anna Salter reminds us - how we treat others is not about who they are, its about who we are.
It does no good to quibble over offender's presence at anti or the Internet. Some courts have already upheld Internet communication as a right, just like mail and telephone. We should continue to ask the question about violations, but move on without getting into misguided conversations about offenders at anti or offenders on the net. That genie isn't goin' back in the bottle.
I think we should try to use Mr. T to our advantage.
His ownership of the instant offense should set a standard for any sex offender who wants to be taken seriously at anti. We start by pointing out the difference between Mr. T and others approaches, provide gold-nuggets of encouragement and respect, then begin to raise the standards and expectations further as time and situations allow. Sex offenders at anti should eventually come to know that ownership is the price of credibility and respect.
Our first response to any new offender might be to simply request that they start by telling us all about what they did and to whom they did it, then we'll gladly get to the other important stuff.
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room."
--(Stanley Kubrick/Peter Sellers - Dr. Strangelove, 1964)