Cold-Blooded Kindness

Alana

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This book "fell in my hands" three days ago, and from the moment I started reading it I could not put it down. It''s from the author of Evil Genes, Barbara Oakley. There's a thread about it here (there were two actually, now they are merged). I never read her first book, and I understand that Oakley has some blind spots on her own when it comes to research, but she does present a very interesting story with reasearch throughout in this one, that, if for nothing else, it is food for thought. I am looking forward to read the perspectives from you all, if you have read it (or plan to).

Personally, because of childhood experiences and most books, case studies, real life stories I know, I have come to see men as the perpetrators of abuse, and give women the benefit of the doubt, or see them as the victims. In any event, I thought that the opposite was rare. But according to research, that isn't the case. In fact, because of the awareness and mobilization in society against men abusing women, the statistics show drop in recent years in such cases, whereas the abuse of women against men (physical abuse too) remains the same, because it seems that not many are willing to bring the subject to light for fear of being accused of "blaming the victim". And like with everything, if a problem is not acknowledged, how can it be solved?

Anyway, I found this review of the book, that comes close to my own impressions from reading:

Reviewed by Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

Cold-Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping That Hurts is the tongue-in-cheek title of this book by Barbara Oakley, with a foreword by David Sloan Wilson. It belies the serious research and investigation done by this remarkable, highly educated and acclaimed woman.

Oakley is associate professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan, and her work focuses mainly on the complex relationship between neurocircuitry and social behavior. The list of her varied experiences reads like fiction … she worked for several years as a Russian language translator on Soviet fishing trawlers in the Bearing Sea during the height of the Cold War. She met her husband while working as a radio operator at the South Pole station in Antarctica. She went from private to Regular Army captain in the U.S. military, and is also a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

In Cold-Blooded Kindness, along with a project called Pathological Altruism (forthcoming book by the same name this year), Oakley was investigating if altruism could be taken to the extreme and become pathological and harmful.

{Actually none of the main characters is pathologically altruistic, but that's because as the author explains, she started the book with a goal in mind, but during her research and learning the truth of the affair (and personalities involved) it morphed into something else. This is one of the big criticisms against the book, nevertheless, I still think it is important reading, as it is a great description of a feminine vampire or a female psychopath, even}

Some “researchers” have, for what they thought was the “greater good,” slanted their research to show what they believed was an altruistic motive. For example, many people have heard about the “battered woman syndrome,” and how it is now incorporated into laws in many states as a mitigating factor in cases where women wound or kill the men who have battered (or supposedly battered) them. What isn’t known, though, is that the “research” into this “syndrome” was badly flawed. The researcher was a woman who was so intent on doing the “greater good” of protecting abused women, that her altruism caused her to slant her studies, and anyone who pointed out that her research was suspect, was in fact, “blaming the victim,” and therefore, evil.

Oakley points out that she started to seek out a person who appeared to be altruistic to the point that it became harmful, but her own research led her to see the situation differently than she had planned.

She started investigating a Utah woman and artist named Carole Alden, who had “been abused” and had killed that abusive husband, Marty Sessions. But the book really isn’t so much about Alden murdering Sessions, for which she ended up in prison, but about how Carole Alden, though presenting herself as the ultimate altruist (rescuing animals and people), was instead, the ultimate abuser.

The examination of the human brain, and the social interactions of children, and the development of empathy and altruism in children, are explored. Both the social and the genetic aspects of these are gone into in depth.

Oakley explores “co-dependency” and “enabling” behaviors and calls for more actual research into these areas, especially concerning possible sex hormone links and to genetics. She also points out while little, if any, real research has been done on “battered women syndrome,” and it is not accepted in the DSM-IV, it is accepted in many state statutes.

Oakley never comes out and actually says Carole Alden is a psychopath (though the word is used and described in the book itself), but Oakley’s book describes Carole Alden’s behavior relative to the Psychopathic Check List-Revised. It shows that while Carole presented herself to others as a victim of circumstances, and as altruistic to the nth degree, she was, in fact, a controlling, manipulative, using, abusing, pathological liar, who took in dozens, if not hundreds, of stray animals. She cared for them poorly in most cases, but better than she cared for her own children.

It is also possible that Carole is a serial killer, as there are two other deaths of men she was involved with that were “suspicious” in their very nature.

{That's left open in the book, but it does make you wonder}

When Oakley was corresponding with Carole Alden, she was convinced by the letters that Carole Alden was the personality she was seeking for her thesis of “altruism gone too far,” and that Carole was indeed the victim of this. Upon meeting Carole though, in prison, Oakley began to see the real situation. When she investigated the family, the crime, the real history of Carole Alden, not just the self-serving tales of how everyone abused her, Oakley began to see the malignancy. Carole changed her story, came to believe her own lies, and slanted all aspects of “truth,” even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

Not only is this a history of one pathological woman who murdered one man and possibly more, and who abused and neglected her children, it is about the personality disordered in general who present themselves as victims, when in fact, they are at best—co-victims/co-abusers with their partners.

Oakley is not “blaming” legitimate victim, but seeking to find the common thread in some partners (women and men) who participate to one degree or another with the abuse they endure. She is seeking a way to educate and warn these people so that the abuse can be prevented.

While Carole Alden took in a series of ex-convict men, who were addicts, to “cure” and “fix” them, which appeared to be altruistic in nature, in fact, it was anything but altruistic. It supplied Carole with her “professional victim” and “professional altruistic” persona that she was seeking to establish. What caused this in Carole, when her parents and other siblings were apparently normal and highly functioning members of society?

I tend to underline and highlight important passages in my books as I read, and I finally gave up trying with this book, as the first 100 pages are almost all day-glow yellow.

This is a highly readable book, and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of one of Oakley’s previous books. I will also be one of the first in line to buy her upcoming one Pathological Altruism. I highly recommend that anyone who is seriously trying to figure out how we (former victims) are alike, and how the fake altruism of some psychopaths works, read this book.
 

Keit

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Alana said:
In Cold-Blooded Kindness, along with a project called Pathological Altruism (forthcoming book by the same name this year), Oakley was investigating if altruism could be taken to the extreme and become pathological and harmful.

{Actually none of the main characters is pathologically altruistic, but that's because as the author explains, she started the book with a goal in mind, but during her research and learning the truth of the affair (and personalities involved) it morphed into something else. This is one of the big criticisms against the book, nevertheless, I still think it is important reading, as it is a great description of a feminine vampire or a female psychopath, even}[...]

Oakley never comes out and actually says Carole Alden is a psychopath (though the word is used and described in the book itself), but Oakley’s book describes Carole Alden’s behavior relative to the Psychopathic Check List-Revised. It shows that while Carole presented herself to others as a victim of circumstances, and as altruistic to the nth degree, she was, in fact, a controlling, manipulative, using, abusing, pathological liar, who took in dozens, if not hundreds, of stray animals. She cared for them poorly in most cases, but better than she cared for her own children.
Very interesting. The above reminded me of the concept of "taking justice into one's hands" and feeling justified and "moral" to execute one's plans in the way one sees fit, including killing another person. There is also this article on SOTT about the connection between "morality" or moral dilemmas and psychopathic traits.

A study conducted by Daniel Bartels, Columbia Business School, Marketing, and David Pizarro, Cornell University, Psychology found that people who endorse actions consistent with an ethic of utilitarianism - the view that what is the morally right thing to do is whatever produces the best overall consequences - tend to possess psychopathic and Machiavellian personality traits.[...]

In the study, Bartels and Pizarro gave participants a set of moral dilemmas widely used by behavioral scientists who study morality, like the following: "A runaway trolley is about to run over and kill five people, and you are standing on a footbridge next to a large stranger; your body is too light to stop the train, but if you push the stranger onto the tracks, killing him, you will save the five people. Would you push the man?" Participants also completed a set of three personality scales: one for assessing psychopathic traits in a non-clinical sample, one that assessed Machiavellian traits, and one that assessed whether participants believed that life was meaningful. Bartels and Pizarro found a strong link between utilitarian responses to these dilemmas (e.g., approving the killing of an innocent person to save the others) and personality styles that were psychopathic, Machiavellian or tended to view life as meaningless. [...]

The issue, for these theories, is that these results would lead to the counterintuitive conclusion that those who are "optimal" moral decision makers (i.e., who are likely to favor utilitarian solutions) are also those who possess a set of traits that many would consider prototypically immoral (e.g., the emotional callousness and manipulative nature of psychopathy and Machiavellianism).
 

Path27

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Alana said:
Personally, because of childhood experiences and most books, case studies, real life stories I know, I have come to see men as the perpetrators of abuse, and give women the benefit of the doubt, or see them as the victims. In any event, I thought that the opposite was rare. But according to research, that isn't the case. In fact, because of the awareness and mobilization in society against men abusing women, the statistics show drop in recent years in such cases, whereas the abuse of women against men (physical abuse too) remains the same, because it seems that not many are willing to bring the subject to light for fear of being accused of "blaming the victim". And like with everything, if a problem is not acknowledged, how can it be solved?
Another thanks for the review. I don't think I have as much experience with this as it sounds like you have, but I've had a blind spot about this in the past as well, where it was easy for me to see and acknowledge man-to-woman abuse, but much harder to accept the reality (or at least the full seriousness) of the opposite -- it produced more cognitive dissonance in me, especially since quoted statistics almost always portray males as much more overtly violent than females. Sounds like an interesting book!
 

Alana

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I was searching about domestic violence statistics, and it seems that each country/state have their own. From this USA study, it is interesting to note this comment, bolded in the original:

Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data.
So there's a lot of discrepancy between the results of different studies. One thing that Oackley mentions in her book, is that men tend to not report being abused when they are, as often as women do.

There's also this database with downloadable (PDF) studies regarding dating violence:

http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID-Sample-4-04.htm

From what I've been reading it does seem that reports of violence against both men and women in relationships, is closer in number than I thought originally. The studies also point out that it is more likely for a man to abuse or kill a person outside his family circle, even strangers, than it is for women. For the most part women seem to murder or abuse someone from their family/intimate environment. Another thing that seems to be the case is that when men abuse women, the abuse inflicts more severe bodily injuries to the victim.
 

Approaching Infinity

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Just finished reading this one. There's some great stuff in it, just like Evil Genes. Here are some quotes I flagged while reading. Carole Alden comes across as a pathocracy in miniature.

"Carole is a fixer ... Fixes sick animals, sick people. She loves iguanas. But if one of them bit her, she'd strangle it ... She did something like that once before. She was pregnant; her goat tried to butt her. she killed it with a pitchfork right there."
This reminded me of what Lobaczewski said about pathocrats and their 'indoctrination' of normies (not to mention their abuse of psychiatry). They 'benevolently' attempt to 'correct' or 'fix' others. As long as we go along with it, things are gravy. But as soon as we question or rebel, out come the concentration camps and police batons.

Alden's home was always a mess, junk everywhere. As Oakley put it, after a few days of cleaning, the room "would deteriorate, as if entropy worked double-time around her."

"She learned with practice to thoroughly wrap herself in the cloak of the sanctity of the victim - and would go ballistic if someone pointed out that perhaps her problems were fabricated."
On the subject of animal hoarders, Oakley made this interesting observation:

Or it could be that animal hoarders had difficulty making any attachment to humans at all [as opposed to receiving inadequate support from caregivers] - the best they can do, given possibly funky neurological equipment, is to fulfill their attachment needs with a training-wheels, light version through bonding with animals.
Shades of the OP?

I also really appreciated the research she shares about brain hemisphere functions, from Ian McGilchrist:

... left-hemisphere dominance seems characterized by "[d]enial, a tendency to conformism, a willingness to disregard the evidence, a habit of ducking responsibility, [and] a blindness to mere experience in the face of the overwhelming evidence of a theory ..."

Experiments where one side of the brain was anesthetized result in interesting conclusions. For example, if told

1. All trees sink in water;
2. Balsa is a tree.
3. Implied conclusion: Balsa wood sinks in water.

The subject with only an active right brain will point out that what he has been told seems to suggest that balsa wood sinks - but the reality is, it floats. The right brain, McGilchrist points out, appears to be the seat of our innate bullshit detector. But the patient with only an active left brain will insist that wood, most notably balsa wood, sinks - "that's what it says right here!" - real-world facts be damned.
The brain has two ways of seeking truth. For the left brain, truth is correctness - static and unchanging. For the right brain, truth is an unveiling.
She brings up the possibility that in the many different types of victims of domestic abuse, there may be this variety: "women who would trigger abuse via their own antisocial behavior toward their partner." Ahem--Israel!--excuse me.

Neither Richard nor Brian [Carole's exes] ... ever asked [her son] to choose between them and his mother. With Carole, however, you were either with her or against her. There was no middle ground.
Underlying the First Law [in the Cult of Carole, that of the importance of helping others] is an essential corollary: "The children must instantly reject any criticism of Carole - and as importantly, they must reject anyone who dares criticize Carole."
On science:

"Whenever a scientist sacrifices objectivity, accuracy, or honesty for the sake of some 'altruistic' end, that altruism can reasonably be designated as pathological." This happens in research far, far more often than we might think. "Selective reporting is everywhere in science," notes Richard Palmer, a biologist at the University of Alberta who has been surprised by his own findings. Neuroscientist Jonah Lehrer adds that "scientists find ways to confirm their preferred hypothesis, disregarding what they don't want to see. Our beliefs are a form of blindness. ... We like to pretend that our experiments define the truth for us. But that's often not the case. Just because an idea is true doesn't mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn't mean it's true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe."
All scientists know there is real research and then there is "research" - specious findings that make it into the media largely because they sound good, and no one wants to tie their career knickers in a knot rebutting what "everybody knows" is "true". I believe this dubious research often shares an underlying theme - it grows out of pathological altruism. Such investigations are epitomized by people like Lenore Walker, who, it seems, truly believe they are doing the right thing. This self-righteousness is so profound that such researchers find ways to attack those who attempt legitimate scientific scrutiny and criticism of their work. ... But they've gone so far out on the research limb they'd grown for themselves that if they gave credence to the criticism, they'd chop off their life's work. Few people, even scientists, have the ability to take an ax to their livelihood in this fashion.
 

Approaching Infinity

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Alana said:
Personally, because of childhood experiences and most books, case studies, real life stories I know, I have come to see men as the perpetrators of abuse, and give women the benefit of the doubt, or see them as the victims. In any event, I thought that the opposite was rare. But according to research, that isn't the case. In fact, because of the awareness and mobilization in society against men abusing women, the statistics show drop in recent years in such cases, whereas the abuse of women against men (physical abuse too) remains the same, because it seems that not many are willing to bring the subject to light for fear of being accused of "blaming the victim". And like with everything, if a problem is not acknowledged, how can it be solved?
Yeah, that was quite the shock. Oakley quotes the studies in the notes section, and the conclusions of the researchers say that women abuse men "at the same or higher rates as men". She writes:

Straus found that researchers are unwilling to accept that partner violence is equally perpetrated by both men and women because men predominate in almost all other crimes - especially violent crimes. Women are also more likely to be hurt in any violent encounter, which brings them more into the public eye. But the most serious reason that many remain unaware of the true statistics involved in male and female partner violence is due to "the efforts of feminists to conceal, deny, and distort the evidence ... these efforts include intimidation and threats, and have been carried out not only by feminist advocates and service providers, but also by feminist researchers who have let their ideological commitments overrule their scientific commitments" (ibid.).

In methodical fashion, Straus laid out seven methods used by feminists to conceal, deny, and distort evidence - providing copious documentation for each charge (ibid.). These methods included:

- Suppressing evidence
- Avoiding the gathering of data inconsistent with the belief that partner violence is caused by a patriarchal social and family system. (In reality, there are many causes of partner violence and types of violent relationships.)
- Citing only studies that show male perpetration of violence
- Concluding that results support feminist beliefs when they do not
- Creating "evidence" through citations that don't actually support the assertion ...
- Obstructing the publication of articles and funding of research that might contradict the idea that male dominance is the cause of partner violence
- Harassing, threatening, and penalizing researchers who produce evidence that contradicts feminist beliefs
 

Alana

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Approaching Infinity said:
Alana said:
Personally, because of childhood experiences and most books, case studies, real life stories I know, I have come to see men as the perpetrators of abuse, and give women the benefit of the doubt, or see them as the victims. In any event, I thought that the opposite was rare. But according to research, that isn't the case. In fact, because of the awareness and mobilization in society against men abusing women, the statistics show drop in recent years in such cases, whereas the abuse of women against men (physical abuse too) remains the same, because it seems that not many are willing to bring the subject to light for fear of being accused of "blaming the victim". And like with everything, if a problem is not acknowledged, how can it be solved?
Yeah, that was quite the shock. Oakley quotes the studies in the notes section, and the conclusions of the researchers say that women abuse men "at the same or higher rates as men".
Just bringing to mind Carole, and the abuse/suffering she inflicted on all her husbands, her children, any human or animal who crossed her path, in such covert, manipulative way, all the while playing the helpless victim and being believed by anyone who didn't really dig her history, along with society's belief's on violence and gender, it seems that female psychopaths can indeed be much more dangerous than males. And a lot of work is spend to "protect" them apparently, so they can carry on, breeding children and catastrophe.
 

Approaching Infinity

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Alana said:
Approaching Infinity said:
Alana said:
Personally, because of childhood experiences and most books, case studies, real life stories I know, I have come to see men as the perpetrators of abuse, and give women the benefit of the doubt, or see them as the victims. In any event, I thought that the opposite was rare. But according to research, that isn't the case. In fact, because of the awareness and mobilization in society against men abusing women, the statistics show drop in recent years in such cases, whereas the abuse of women against men (physical abuse too) remains the same, because it seems that not many are willing to bring the subject to light for fear of being accused of "blaming the victim". And like with everything, if a problem is not acknowledged, how can it be solved?
Yeah, that was quite the shock. Oakley quotes the studies in the notes section, and the conclusions of the researchers say that women abuse men "at the same or higher rates as men".
Just bringing to mind Carole, and the abuse/suffering she inflicted on all her husbands, her children, any human or animal who crossed her path, in such covert, manipulative way, all the while playing the helpless victim and being believed by anyone who didn't really dig her history, along with society's belief's on violence and gender, it seems that female psychopaths can indeed be much more dangerous than males. And a lot of work is spend to "protect" them apparently, so they can carry on, breeding children and catastrophe.
Looks like it. What the feminists don't realize is that the problem isn't just dudes, it's psychopaths, and female psychopaths fit right into the pathocratic model...
 

cubbex

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Interesting book, I've read about a case similar to this one and met... but I'll see if I can get my hands over this book.
 

Finduilas495

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Approaching Infinity said:
Alana said:
Approaching Infinity said:
Alana said:
Personally, because of childhood experiences and most books, case studies, real life stories I know, I have come to see men as the perpetrators of abuse, and give women the benefit of the doubt, or see them as the victims. In any event, I thought that the opposite was rare. But according to research, that isn't the case. In fact, because of the awareness and mobilization in society against men abusing women, the statistics show drop in recent years in such cases, whereas the abuse of women against men (physical abuse too) remains the same, because it seems that not many are willing to bring the subject to light for fear of being accused of "blaming the victim". And like with everything, if a problem is not acknowledged, how can it be solved?
Yeah, that was quite the shock. Oakley quotes the studies in the notes section, and the conclusions of the researchers say that women abuse men "at the same or higher rates as men".
Just bringing to mind Carole, and the abuse/suffering she inflicted on all her husbands, her children, any human or animal who crossed her path, in such covert, manipulative way, all the while playing the helpless victim and being believed by anyone who didn't really dig her history, along with society's belief's on violence and gender, it seems that female psychopaths can indeed be much more dangerous than males. And a lot of work is spend to "protect" them apparently, so they can carry on, breeding children and catastrophe.
Looks like it. What the feminists don't realize is that the problem isn't just dudes, it's psychopaths, and female psychopaths fit right into the pathocratic model...
I had the same thought the other day when I read Luisa Francia's blog. She's been a feminist since the 70's. In one installment she was going on about patriarchy, but what she really was describing was pathocracy. Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice being two prime examples of female pathocrats, I'm sort of baffled that women can still blame all the world's problems on men...
 

SeekinTruth

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Yeah, while there are more pathological men in positions of power, female pathologicals are even more dangerous it seems because they can more easily play the victim and the "caring" and "weak" role in their games for domination and destruction. Maybe that's why more female pathological types are being promoted to higher positions in politics and corporations in more recent years. It's easier to push through the pathocratic agendas on the less informed and unsuspecting public -- the majority of the population.
 

Joe

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Keit said:
Bartels and Pizarro found a strong link between utilitarian responses to these dilemmas (e.g., approving the killing of an innocent person to save the others) and personality styles that were psychopathic, Machiavellian or tended to view life as meaningless. [...]

The issue, for these theories, is that these results would lead to the counterintuitive conclusion that those who are "optimal" moral decision makers (i.e., who are likely to favor utilitarian solutions) are also those who possess a set of traits that many would consider prototypically immoral (e.g., the emotional callousness and manipulative nature of psychopathy and Machiavellianism).
On the above point, this news article seems pertinent

90% of us would pull a lever to kill someone: But only if we could save more lives, virtual reality test finds

Recent research at Michigan State University used a 3D headset to 'put' students inside a virtual environment where a runaway train was heading towards a group of five people.

But by pulling a lever, the students could redirect the train onto another track, where one person would be crushed.

Ninety per cent of the students in the virtual environment made the decision to pull the lever and end the person's life.
I'm struggling to accept the idea that those "90%" are psychopaths. Perhaps it's evidence that 90% of the population have been ponerized. Then again, what would any of us do in such a scenario? Then again again, what is the point in conducting such studies where people are placed in this position given that the scenario is highly unlikely to be encountered by the average person in their entire lives. Unless the point is to help people rationalise the idea of killing someone else as "morally good". God knows, the war mongers with their predator drones would love for that idea to embed itself in the mass consciousness...
 
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