Inside the Criminal Mind

Understanding the dark side of human conduct

The Criminal's "Glass Jaw" Part 1

He can dish it out, but will not take it

People who make crime a way of life are perpetually building themselves up at the expense of others. They case people out for vulnerability and capitalize on it, seeking to maintain an advantage. Bullying is one way in which they cut others down and derive a sense of power.  Lying elevates their sense of being in control. They resort to many forms of deception to support their sense of uniqueness.  And some pursue ultimate control through physical violence.

Any tiny detail of life that does not go the criminal's way can be interpreted as a personal slight. In some instances the result is catastrophic.Think of it this way.  If you expected everything to proceed smoothly and meet your expectations from the time you arose until the time you went to bed, think of how many times just in one day you would be disappointed.  We deal each day with Murphy of Murphy's Law that if anything can go wrong it will.  In the life of the criminal, there is no room for "Murphy."  Anything that happens that runs contrary to expectation is tantamount to sticking a pin into a balloon.  The criminal's entire self-image is at stake in any slight or frustrating turn of events.  If he takes offense to the way someone looks at him, a fight may ensue. If he is saving a seat for a buddy and someone else sits there, warfare erupts. In his mind, it his chair.  Someone else sitting there is completely contrary to the way to his world view. The criminal expects others to accomodate his every requirement but he does not believe that he is obliged to fulfill the requirements of others.

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Stanton Samenow, Ph.D.,is a clinical psychologist practicing in Alexandria, Virginia and author of Inside the Criminal Mind.

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