Table 196 Characteristics of Schizoid and Schizotypal Personality Disorders

Schizoid

Detached from normal social relationships

Pleasureless life

Inept or socially clumsy

Passive in the face of unpleasant events

Schizotypal

Anxious in social relations and avoids people "Different" and nonconforming Suspicious of others

Eccentricity of beliefs, such as in ESP or magic Unusualness of perceptions and experiences Disorganized thoughts and speech

Typical Thoughts or Beliefs Associated with the Schizoid and Schizotypal Personalities

"I hate being tied to other people."

"My privacy is more important to me than being close to others." "It's best not to confide too much in others." "Relationships are always messy." "I manage best on my own and set my own standards." "Intimate relations are unimportant to me."

A Closer Look

The Unabomber: Comorbidity of Personality Disorders

In 1996, Theodore Kaczynski was arrested for murder in a long line of bombings. He had been mailing bombs to unsuspecting university professors and scientists (hence his FBI code name— Unabomber) for 17 years. While many of his targets were computer scientists, he did injure one psychology professor with a mail bomb (Professor James McConnell at the University of Michigan). Police knew the bombs were all from the same person, but they had no idea of his motives or why he was targeting university professors. After a 17-year period of anonymous killing and maiming from a distance, he decided to make the nature of his grievances clear. He sent several taunting letters to the FBI, and a long rambling manifesto to the Washington Post and the New York Times, which published his diatribe against technology and modern society. This was his undoing. Kaczynski's brother recognized the nature of the complaints in the manifesto, and notified the police, who arrested Kaczynski at his isolated 10-by-12-foot shack in Montana.

A reporter—Maggie Scarf—writing in the New Republic magazine (June 10, 1996, p. 20), presented her view that Ted Kaczynski most likely had a narcissistic personality disorder. Scarf used the DSM-IV description of narcissistic disorder to explain Kaczynski's behavior. For example, as an undergraduate at Harvard, Kaczynski isolated himself so severely that none of his classmates can remember anything about him. He saw himself as a misunderstood genius whom the world would one day recognize. As a mathematics graduate student at the University of Michigan he isolated himself even more. In his isolation he probably nurtured fantasies of prestige and power and revenge on those who refused to praise him. As a promising young professor of mathematics at U.C. Berkeley he suddenly bolted from his faculty position in 1969. No one, apparently, was recognizing his superiority. People did not realize, as he did, that he possessed a phenomenal intellect and superior vision of how everything worked. His colleagues were fools, he must have concluded, because they could not see his obvious superiority. His students, however, complained loudly about his teaching style. In their course evaluations they indicated that his lectures were boring and useless and that he ignored questions from the students. They too must be fools, Kaczynski probably concluded.

In her article Scarf argued that when Kaczynski struck out at society, he was really saying, "I'm special and I deserve your respect." When he began taunting the police to try to capture him he was really saying, "I am so extraordinary that I operate with impunity; you haven't been able to catch me for 17 years and you never will." Finally, when he gave his manifesto to the world, he was really saying, "You had better realize you are dealing with someone unprecedented in the history of the hu man race. I am so clever and powerful and smart that I will tell you all the problems with the world and how to fix them, and if you ignore my commands you do so at your own risk." His entire ranting manifesto is easily located on the World Wide Web by entering "Unabomber" in a search engine.

Scarf is a journalist, not a psychologist, so her diagnosis is based on her speculation. Kaczynski certainly does have some features of the narcissistic personality disorder, but most narcissists are not serial murderers. What other possible clues might we have to his abnormal behavior? It turns out that the entire text of the court-appointed psychiatrist's

Ted Kaczynski
Former University of California at Berkeley math professor Theodore Kaczynski was convicted in several of the "Unabomber" attacks, which occurred over a 17-year period. Kaczynski displays characteristics associated with a number of personality disorders.

report on Ted Kaczynski is available on the Web at http://archive.abcnews.go. com/sections/living/InYourHead/kaczyn skievaluation4.html. This report, prepared by government-appointed psychiatrist Sally Johnson, provides another perspective on Kaczynski. While at Harvard, Kaczynski was involved in a study by Henry Murray, whom we discussed in Chapter 11. Personality test results from his undergraduate days at Harvard indicate that he was extremely introverted and somewhat depressive, even at that early age. During his psychological evaluation 30 years later, the main finding was that he suffered from schizophrenia, paranoid type, which is a severe mental illness. However, he also had an IQ of 136, which puts him in the top 1 percent of the population. As for personality disorders the psychiatrist concluded that Kaczynski had paranoid personality disorder along with many features of the avoidant and antisocial personality disorders as well. The following is a quote from her official report:

Mr. Kaczynski is also diagnosed as suffering from a Paranoid Personality Disorder with Avoidant and Antisocial Features. Review of his developmental history, adolescence and early adult life draws a picture consistent with the symptomatology associated with this type of personality disorder. Consistent with this type of personality disordered function, Mr. Kaczynski historically has shown pervasive distrust of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent. Symptoms consistent with Paranoid Personality Disorders that are evident in Mr. Kaczynskis presentation include that he suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him; that he reads demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events; that he persistently bears grudges and is unforgiving of insults, injuries or slights; and that he perceives attacks on his character or reputation that are not apparent to others, and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack.

In addition to meeting the criteria for Paranoid Personality Disorder, Mr. Kaczynski also has features of two other personality disorder types. Support for A voidant Personality Disorder Traits includes that he has demonstrated a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy and hypersensitivity to negative evaluations, beginning in his early life. Consistent with this, he has shown restraint within intimate relationships because of his fear of being shamed or ridiculed; he has been preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations; and is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy. Consistent with Antisocial Personality Disorder Traits is his pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others. This includes his failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors, as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest. This description is based on his own account of his behavior in his writings and interviews. Also consistent with his Antisocial Personality Traits is the characteristic of deceitfulness, as indicated by his persistent and elaborate efforts to conceal his behaviors. He has demonstrated a reckless regard for the safety of others. He demonstrates a lack of remorse as indicated in his writings by being indifferent to having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from others. Mr. Kaczynski falls short of carrying a diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder in that he does not have evidence of a conduct disorder before the age of 15. (Excerpted from the report of SallyC. Johnson, M.D., Chief Psychiatrist, Associate Warden of Health Services, Federal Correctional Institution, Butner, North Carolina, January, 1996.)

Kaczynski shows features of at least four different personality disorders, with the prominent personality disorder being paranoid personality disorder. This disorder occurred along with paranoid schizophrenia, which involves delusions and elaborate belief systems. The presence of two or more disorders in one person is called comorbidity. Comorbidity can occur when two or more personality disorders exist, or when two or more disorders of any type coexist in the same person. Comorbidity is fairly common, and it makes for difficulty in diagnosing disorders.

tendency to avoid people: "Are you much too independent to really get involved with people? Can you usually let yourself go and enjoy yourself at a party?" And, finall , there is a scale for assessing the nonconformity aspect of schizotypy: "Do you often feel like doing the opposite of what people suggest, even though you know they are right? Would you take drugs that might have strange or dangerous ef fects?"

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Responses

  • SETTIMO
    Did Ted Kaczynski have a social or psycho personality disorder?
    2 years ago
  • zufan
    Why schizotypal avoids people?
    7 months ago

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