Heidi Schøne - abnormal mental life

"On the mental side the outstanding feature is emotional immaturity in its broadest and most comprehensive sense. These people are impulsive, feckless, unwilling to accept the result of experience and unable to profit by them, sometimes prodigal of effort but utterly lacking in persistence, plausible but insincere, demanding but indifferent to appeals, dependable only in their constant unreliability, faithful only to infidelity, rootless, unstable, rebellious and unhappy. A survey of their lives will reveal an endless succession of jobs, few of which have been held for more than 6 months, many of which have been abandoned after a few days, very little love but often a great number of adventures, very little happiness despite a ruthless and determined pursuit of immediate gratification. Such patients are all too often their own worst enemies and nobody's real friend. If as sometimes happens, they are distinguished by some outstanding gift or talent, they may achieve apparently spectacular success only to throw it away or spoil it at least for themselves by their turbulent and exacting emotional attitude. More frequently, despite a level of intelligence which is as often above average as below, they drift from failure and disappointment to one lost opportunity after another into drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide or prostitution.
Sexual perversion, which may be acquired in the same way as neurosis, is often found among psychopaths, but by no means all sexually inverted people are psychopathic, nor are all psychopaths sexually abnormal in this sense. What in fact is characteristic of the psychopath's attitude to sexual emotion and experience is this same shallowness and immaturity combined with a frequently disastrous opportunism, which may lead not merely to the prostitution already mentioned, but also to deliberate perversions, to wanton repeated and joyless seduction and many of the more grotesque and outrageous sexual crimes.
Innumerable attempts to classify psychopathic personality have been made. Perhaps the most successful is that which divides all psychopaths into two great overlapping groups, the aggressive and the inadequate. Aggressive psychopaths include the violent, quarrelsome, unstable alcoholics, the bullies, sadists and most of the recidivists with a constant record of violent crime; the inadequate group embraces all the minor delinquents, confidence tricksters and social misfits whose plight constitutes a tremendous problem for society as well as for their families and dependants. Such people in the course of their troubled and catastrophic lives are particularly liable to encounter stresses, frequently of their own contriving, for which they can provide only neurotic solutions; it is by no means uncommon for a psychopath to seek help not for his general disorder of personality and character, but for the particular anxiety state or hysterical illness to which his way of life has at this point inevitably brought him. Running through the lives of patients with this fundamental disability seems to be a consistent impulse towards destruction. Destruction of their hopes and happiness and ultimately of their health and lives; a destruction all the more consistently sought for the apparent motives for most of the actions which lead them from one disaster to another are immediate satisfaction or short term gain."