I have spend a good amount of time in prison myself during the first 2/3 parts of my life, and some of the time I’ve done was related to violent events in which I had involvement in one way or another(1*).
So I know the process.
Ted Bundy – an Example of a Psychopathic Murderer who Did Not Feel Remorse.
I know the hundreds of hours and dozens and dozens of interviews you go through, a lot of which are nothing more than endless repetitions of what you have already said, already told in every detail. Over and over again, until you think that surely by now they must’ve memorized it all and can do the interviews themselves with each other.
And the truth is they – the police/FBI/whomever – DO know every detail, they know everything just as intimately as you do, except from the actual experience itself while it took place, but repetition is a part of the procedure for various reasons which pertain to Crime Solving Techniques.
It would be a lie if I claimed here to have been truly emotionally touched or remorseful, empathy, grief, etc., I did never feel during these procedures. – But I do know enough about psychology to also know that repetitions in the manner that takes place during the solving of a crime will eventually ‘flatten’ a person’s emotional connection with the event, even if he is an emotionally normal and capable human being.
Indeed it is not uncommon to see a gross flattening of emotional response in normal people as these endless goings through every detail proceed.
– And remember, much of the details you’re required to talk to about does NOT connect with a normal person’s emotional relationship with the event itself, which means a artificial distance is forcefully created between the aspects that have natural emotional value to the normal person, and those that are secondary or unimportant.
A normal person who is in deep remorse after having killed his wife and kids, do not feel deeply about a bed lamp having been scattered on the floor during the process. That is not what his feelings are about, but during the repetition of interviews he is being forced to link his emotional response to details like that, and this will eventually lead to a flattening response.
And there is more: Time.
Okay, I know that some normal people can keep feeling Grief for the rest of their lives – f.x. after loosing someone they loved. But we also know that most normal people’s emotions will become less prominent with time, and this is reflected in many cultures in various ways such as f.x. the custom of wearing black clothing for one or two years after you spouse has died, and after that period you may marry again another person. 2 years is probably not a bad estimation for how long it generally takes for someone to at least become detached enough from their original emotions and until they will be capable of ‘moving on’, and no longer will fall into a grief stricken state whenever the event which caused their grief is mentioned or otherwise brought to their attention.
Constant talk about the event, and details associated with it, CAN cause someone to become stuck on the emotions that links to the event … but not if it happens in the way that you experience in a police investigation! … Of that I can assure you!
Another thing: The common experience for non-psychopathic people in prison is a bit of a shock in meeting with a reality where everybody around are not merely detached in their emotional relationship with you personally, in a sense they’re more negative towards you than they’re detached. And this is the case with your fellow inmates, with the prison staff, with the police investigators, and often even with people’s own family members – who are forcing themselves to cut their emotional bonds with the one who committed a crime. And although this often is temporary, it still means that the prisoner will be experiencing an unusually harsh kind of loneliness, of being surrounded by hostility, and of having no one to turn to.
In high profile cases they will even be pursued by the media, and only the most intellectually underdeveloped normal individual will not realize very quickly that the apparent friendliness of the journalists have no genuine basis except for the wish to exploit the incarcerated criminal person.
And the result of all this is not hard to understand: People become withdrawn and tend to NOT show emotions!
This is the case with Antisocial people of all kinds, it is the case with normal people, and it is the case with Psychopaths, even if the latter do not have the emotionally forced approach to taking this position that the other groups do to various degrees.
Picture yourself in such a situation as I’ve described above – even if you’re not a psychopath – do you still believe that 10 years later you would break down in front of a camera and an interviewer you don’t know, while prison guards are standing out of camera sight, but not out of your sight, watching?… Do you honestly believe that after such a length of time, and after having gone through the process I have explained, that you would still show emotions, no matter whether or not you felt them?
In my personal experience the answer is No! People do not continually and persistently show deep emotional discomfort in front of strangers, and especially not in front of a camera.
Okay, to be totally fair: There are, as a matter of fact, some people who will do so, but I’ll have to add that these people are usually psychopaths.
Such a paradox, huh?
(1*) – The reader will have to excuse me for not going into detail at this point. I only began keeping this blog a few months ago, it is still new to me to be open and tell publicly about myself and my emotional reactions, capacities and lacks, etc – not the emotions I have displayed through out my life. This blog is a work in progress, but the way I REALLY feel, or do not feel! I intend to tell you more as I continue, but it’s is a work in progress. So please bear with me when I do not tell you about my personal crimes at this time. Thank you in advance.
Go to: Emotional Expression in Psychopath Murderers. (Part I)