I saw an interview tonight on 20/20 with Melissa Moore. Her dad is serial killer, Keith Jesperson.
She was talking about his duplicitous life and trying to reconcile her experience with him as a loving father to one of a sociopath that killed 8 women. Looking back she realized there were signs of his cruel and uncaring nature (he killed 3 kittens she found and took pleasure in her grief over the situation) and she recalled the confessions he made to her that she didn’t realize at the time were true of how to get away with murder (thought he was reading detective magazines and fantasizing). Today she has no contact with him because of the disturbing nature of his letters.
Her father was involved in the interview. What hit me most about his nonchalant way of describing what he had done was his need to have the interviewer “move on”. He did what he did, wished he didn’t, wished he could make things “peaches and cream” but can’t change things so “move on”. This has been the catch phrase of my ex in every email to me over the past 2 1/2 years.
Keith Jesperson is so narcissistic that he confessed to the murders because he wasn’t getting any attention or credit for killing. 2 other people were wrongly convicted for his first murder. He wrote a confession on a bathroom wall saying he did it and when that didn’t elicit him any attention he started writing letters about the murders to media.
Keith Jesperson is psychopathic more than sociopathic but a lot of the traits are similar. I have had 3 friends who know my ex tell me, very seriously, they think my ex is a sociopath.
According to R. Preston McAfee, the Profile of the Sociopath is:
“•Glibness and Superficial Charm
•Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
•Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
•Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
•Incapacity for Love
•Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
•Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
•Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
•Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
•Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
•Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
•Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.
Other Related Qualities:
1.Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
2.Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
6.Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
8.Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
9.Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim’s life
10.Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim’s affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
11.Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
12.Incapable of real human attachment to another
13.Unable to feel remorse or guilt
14.Extreme narcissism and grandiose
15.May state readily that their goal is to rule the world
(The above traits are based on the psychopathy checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare.)”
On the HealthGuidance website it details characteristic qualities of a sociopath further as follows:
“• Lack of empathy – Inability to feel sympathy for others or to understand the emotional consequences of their actions
• Cold, calculating nature – The ability and willingness to use others around them to personal gain
• Shallow emotions – Lack of real emotion in response to events, limited capacity to feel love
• Narcissism – A personality disorder in itself in which the individual feels strong love and admiration toward themselves (often a defense mechanism against deep seated low esteem)
• Grandiose self image – They might see themselves as someone who is superior to others and sometimes even experiences delusions. A sociopath might see themselves as a fitting ruler of a country or even the world, but might also have delusional beliefs such as seeing themselves as a God or having super powers
• Charming – While the sociopath is unable to fully understand the emotions of others, they are capable but rather highly adept at mimicking them and might appear to be charming and normal at first
• High IQ – Often sociopaths will exhibit a high IQ which they can use to manipulate and plan
• Manipulative – Sociopaths use their superficial charm and high IQ to manipulate others to get their ends, and their lack of empathy allows them to do this with no sense of guilt or remorse
• Secretive – Has little need for others and is highly secretive in their actions meaning
• Sexually deviant – The lack of remorse, guilt or emotional attachments means that the sociopath is happy to have affairs and to engage in questionable sexual activity without questioning their desires
• Sensitive to criticism – That said, like all narcissists, the sociopath will desire the approval of others and will be highly sensitive to criticisms. They often feel they deserve adulation and admiration of the world and might feel victimized
• Paranoid – Often their lack of understanding of emotion along with their incongruous self view means that they feel a lack of trust and paranoia
• Despotic/Authoritarian – Often the sociopath will see themselves as a necessary authority and will be in favor or totalitarian rule
• Lawfulness – Despite popular belief, a sociopath is not likely to be a problem to the law in later life, but rather will seek to find loopholes, to rise to a position of power, or to move to another area so that their behavior is tolerated
• Low tolerance for boredom – Sociopaths require constant stimulation and get quickly bored
• Impulsive behavior – A lack of regret and empathy means makes sociopaths more likely to make sudden rash decisions based on the current facts
• Compulsive lying – As part of their facade, and as a means to an end, sociopaths are compulsive liars and will rarely speak truthfully making them hard to pin down
• The MacDonald Triad – In childhood sociopaths will likely have demonstrated the ‘MacDonald Triad’ also known as the ‘Triad of Sociopathy’, traits that often are demonstrated in sociopaths from a young age. These include animal cruelty (pulling the wings off of flies etc, bed wetting, and pyromania (an obsession with fire setting)).
Sociopaths of course vary in their symptoms and might act differently in different cases. However their main trait is presenting themselves as having the same empathy feelings and emotions as others when in fact they lack this emotional capacity. They are thus cold and manipulative and rarely see any problem with their actions.”
Without a shadow of a doubt, my ex is a sociopath. He fits all of these definitions. When I read every definition I have an example of what he did in our life together or stories from his parents and friends of how he acted as a child/teen that fits every trait. It is because of my history with my ex over 23 years that made it clear to me as soon as I found out about the affair and his reaction to me finding out that there was only one decision to make–file for divorce.