My experience growing up in Northern Ireland was this was very definitely not the case. This line of good and evil, the people who were doing this weren't people like my father and my uncles who abhorred the violence that was going on around them. This was definitely not that we are all the same.
There was a group within Northern Ireland and it was on both sides and it was a minority who were engaged in a lot of the sectarian violence and the majority, as I said, it's not as clear cut as being that the majority doesn't want this to happen because very often once the violence begins, the groups line up behind their own particular brand of psychopath. So once the violence starts and everyone gets in to the sectarian camp and lines up behind their own particular brand of psychopath.
But my experience in growing up in Northern Ireland is our propensity for violence is definitely not the same for everyone. In terms of getting the idea was really when I started training in psychoanalysis and came across the idea of personality disorders and started doing more work on them and realizing that there are people whose psychology is such that they have a propensity for violence that is beyond the norm.
That had began to make sense to me and what was happening around me in Northern Ireland began to make sense.
R.K.: Okay. Now you write that the most reliable means of recognizing someone with the personality disorder or psychopathy is through the detrimental effects they have on the ability of psychologically normal people to think. When faced with someone with a personalty disorder, normal people experience confusion. Can you talk about that some more?
I.H.: It goes back to something we were talking about earlier in terms of, if you take for example the narcissist, that narcissists can come across as highly intelligent because they're never short of something to say but the reason they can be come across as very intelligent is because their aim in an interaction is very different from you or I, the aim that you or I might have.
So in this conversation we're exploring, we're talking together and we're exploring ideas and we're trying to come up with, move further along in our thinking. If one of us were a narcissist, the outcome of the conversation would be that I defeat you and so you would become confused because they're continually shifting their idea. You could be arguing down a particular line of thought and then a few moments later you suddenly realize that they're arguing against themselves.
They're disagreeing with what they were saying just two minutes ago. They're doing that because they don't need to hang on to any particular idea, that isn't their object in the conversation, their object in the conversation is simply to defeat you. So they don't go by the same rules in discussion or argument or debate and they invariably end up winning because they end up confusing us.