How violent individuals evaluate themselves and what to do about it

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Understanding the pathological nature of violent behavior may face the problem that people who, due to a dysfunctional violence inhibitor, are able to easily commit it, are unlikely to evaluate themselves as an unhealthy person. Many disorders lead to negative symptoms that are clearly felt by a person, such as anxiety, mood deterioration, depression, suicidal thoughts, and others. But the situation is more complicated when the disorder itself does not cause suffering. The ability to commit violence as a result of a lack of aversive reaction and resistance to harming other people belongs to such disorders. Let's look at this problem in more detail and find out what it is important for us to understand about violent personalities because of this.

A good option would be to look at people with psychopathic predispositions since psychopathy is a direct result of violence inhibitor dysfunction. According to Robert Hare, who developed the famous PCL test, psychopaths have a narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement, and see themselves as the center of the universe, as superior beings who are justified in living according to their own rules. He also considered the treatment of psychopaths. According to him, the term "treatment" implies that there is something to treat: illness, subjective distress, maladaptive behaviors, and so forth. But, as far as we can determine, psychopaths are perfectly happy with themselves, and they see no need for treatment, at least in the traditional sense of the term [1].

Definitely, psychopaths have an inflated view of themselves. They consider themselves as important and entitled. They often feel justified to live according to their own rules, and they think that the laws don’t apply to them. They tend to have grandiose ideas about their potential. They believe they deserve to be the CEO or they are convinced they are the best at everything they do [2][3].

Such personality characteristics of violent individuals are not surprising. Since childhood, they do not experience any negative feelings when they harm others, and accordingly, consider this the norm. Manifestations of empathy, sympathy, and inability to commit violent attacks, which are inherent in the average and healthy individual, are perceived by them as weaknesses. Perhaps this is what predisposes them to place themselves above others.

All this, of course, prevents the eradication of violence from society, since violent people often do not consider themselves abnormal and ill. They should always be reminded of this, referring to the theory of the violence inhibition mechanism and the pathological nature of their condition according to medical definitions. In particular, we can recall Wakefield's criteria of disorder. The condition meets them if it occurs as a result of the inability of some internal mechanism to perform its biological function (in our problem we mean violence inhibitor dysfunction) and leads to harm.

But the most effective method would be to exert strong social pressure on them. People with violence inhibitor dysfunction must understand that no one will risk dealing with them until they agree to the therapy to regain inhibitory control. Such people are even more dangerous than those suffering from infectious diseases, who, without treatment, are unlikely to be accepted for study, work, or starting a family with them. If a significant part of society understands this, and if effective therapy against violence is developed, then violent people will go for treatment based on rational considerations. Of course, there will be those who will not do this even under pressure. People have to monitor them closely and prepare for self-defense, which may also include administering therapeutic drugs to the attacker.


See also: How the most serious problems in personal, family, and romantic relationships arise from a weak violence inhibitor


1. Hare, R. D. (1999). Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us;

2. Morin, A. (2016). 5 Things Real-Life Psychopaths Do:;

3. Morin, A. (2022). What Is a Psychopath? Not an official diagnosis, it refers to someone who is callous and antisocial: