Medical Files

Let’s pray Duterte will not be like Hitler or Pol Pot

During the past week, two patients asked me if the popular and charismatic Mayor

Rodrigo Duterte is a sociopath or psychopath. In both occasions, I politely replied that being a cardiologist, it’s not within my medical competence to diagnose someone with this personality and mental disorder, which was previously called as “moral insanity” or “psychopathic personality.” Now, psychiatrists label it as “antisocial personality disorder.”


I sure hope Mayor Duterte is not a sociopath. We all know what kind of leader sociopaths can become. Remember Adolf Hitler? In his biography of Hitler, Sir Ian

Kershaw wrote, “We well know that he (Hitler) could be kind and considerate to his secretaries, and with the next breath show cold ruthlessness, dispassionate brutality, in determining the deaths of millions.” People close to Hitler idolized him and were ready to die for him. They realized too late what the German fascist led them to.


Other notorious historical sociopaths include Stalin, Rasputin and Pol Pot of Cambodia. The heartless but charismatic Pol Pot, described in some textbooks as an “ever-smiling but obsessively secretive leader” and his Khmer Rouge were responsible for the deaths of one-fourth of the Cambodian population. He was widely cheered initially as he promised his countrymen a progressive, agrarian utopia. Instead he brought them a regime of starvation, forced labor and mass slaughter.

A doctor-friend posted on his Facebook page a lengthy article on how to spot a sociopath. Let me share with you some salient points from this article to identify if someone you know has this unstable personality disorder.

This disorder is characterized by an utter disregard for the feelings of others, a lack of remorse or shame, manipulative behavior, unchecked egocentricity, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one’s goals.

Many sociopaths are “high functioning,” meaning they can live normal lives and even accomplish extraordinary feats. They may have a very high intelligence quotient (IQ), but usually low emotional quotient (EQ). They can be highly successful in their respective fields, be it in business, politics or corporate life. They are very good in planning meticulously and can be very competitive.

According to the article, here are some characteristic traits and patterns of behavior of a sociopath.

1Glibness and superficial charm—The author warns that sociopaths can be very dangerous without one realizing it. They can have a shifting Dr. Jekyll and

Mr. Hyde personality—so kind and charming in one instance, suddenly becoming mean and reckless in the next. They can be very persuasive when they speak.


2  Manipulative and conning—Their behavior is usually self-serving, and they never recognize the rights of others. Beneath their apparent charming behavior is a covertly hostile and domineering attitude, seeing their victim(s) as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims even in public and not feel sorry about it.

3  Grandiose sense of self—They think highly of themselves, which can also be described as messianic or narcissistic. They have a strong sense of entitlement, believing certain things as “their right.”

4Pathological lying—They have no qualms lying in a relaxed and convincing manner. They are so comfortable with their lies and fabricated stories that they can pass lie detector tests without much effort.

5Lack of remorse, shame or guilt—For sociopaths, the end always justifies the means. They “mow down” everything that stands in their way. No problem about that.

6 Shallow emotions-—They may show warmth, joy, love and compassion but these are all superficial and the emotions shown are more feigned than real. They usually have an ulterior motive. Their emotions are not genuine, and neither are their promises.

7Incapacity for love—They are not capable of sustaining long-term relationships.

8Need for stimulation—They’re very edgy and can get upset with trivial matters. They virtually live on the edge. Verbal outbursts are frequent, and they have a strong urge to inflict physical punishments on others. Many of them engage in promiscuity and gambling.

9Callousness/lack of empathy—Beneath a superficial expression of sympathy is actually an inability to empathize with the pain of their victims, sometimes having contempt for others’ feelings of distress and even readily taking advantage of them.

10  Poor behavioral controls/impulsive nature—The Jekyll and Hyde ambivalence produces frequently rage and abuse, spiced from time to time with expressions of love and approval. This leads to a vicious cycle for both abuser (the psychopath) and the abused (his victims). Sociopaths think they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to whatever they wish. They have absolutely no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for what others may feel because of what they (sociopaths) say and do.

11Irresponsibility/unreliability—They don’t care if they destroy other people’s lives and dreams. They don’t accept blame, and are quick to blame others if something goes wrong. They hardly feel remorse or guilt.

12Promiscuous sexual behavior/infidelity—This is part of the sociopath’s self-gratifying inclinations regardless of its impact on others.

13Authoritarian style—They usually have tyrannical behavior and a despotic, fascistic tendency, and they expect their victims to submit to them and even admire them. They may have no qualms in declaring that their goal is to rule the world.

We have many sociopaths in our midst. They can be living next door to ours. But may God forbid—Malacañang Palace is not a good place for them to live in.

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TAGS: elections 2015, Health, Hitler, Pol Pot, Rodrigo Duterte, Science
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