Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Epilex", the Psychological Concept of Being Above the Law

I was thinking today as I was in the gym running on the treadmill while the cold rain was coming down outside. I was trying to watch Kentucky (my old Alma mater) play North Carolina in basketball when it was interrupted with Herman Cain announcing that he was dropping out of the race.  I will state right now, I wasn't there with Herman, so I have no idea if he sexually harassed women or had a long affair with one. If he didn't then surely it is scary how the truth could be distorted in the press.

I know that I switched my channel to Fox for a minute or two and did hear that opinion expressed by a few. You know, a DNC conspiracy. I guess the way it would work is that they pick an actress and pay her a million to make up the story.

I can still remember during the Bill Clinton-Monica mess, that Hillary was talking about a right wing conspiracy to frame her dear husband.  But we know how that ended.

So, when we try to deal in reality, we know where there is that much smoke, there must be fire.

Then there is the view that it doesn't matter. Just like with Bill, Herm the worm could fool around with women left and right and it would matter . . . as long as we have the three 9's.

But it does matter.  If he sexually harassed women, then that means that there is something fundamentally wrong with how he values them. If he could shame his wife so much in public (with an affair coming out) then he must not respect his wife either. It also means that he has lied through his teeth to her (the one he suppose to love the most).  Women are more than half of our society, so to disrespect them is a huge issue for their president.

But I'm getting off topic. I didn't come here to talk about Herm.  I even went to look for a picture of him and stumbled on the one of the original "Cain" as he killed his brother. He was the first to believe that he was above the law. So I posted that "Cain" first.

But connecting the dots again was Bernie Fine.  He of course is accused of molesting boys.  The thing that really struck me was the secret recording that a victim made of his wife.  She seemed to talk about the horrible crime in a nonchalant way.  Then she said what I was already thinking . . . "You know, Bernie thinks he is above the law."

Then the previous dot (which I think I already mentioned in another post) is "coach" Sandusky.  I heard a little of his most recent interview tonight. Again . . . lots of smoke . . . must be some fire somewhere.

So my main point, and where my thoughts led me, was this psychological phenomenon of feeling immune to the law. For us, who wrestle with guilt on a daily basis, it is hard for us to conceive of that guiltless good night sleep after doing such a horrible thing.

Now, I'm not suggesting for a moment that we have it better.  Guilt is a horrible way to live. It doesn't protect us from doing bad things either. I've done plenty of bad things in my life. I hope I've never hurt anyone to the level as these men have . . . but I probably have.

It is my original premise that, because of the Fall of Adam, we all have psychological baggage. For some of us it is anxiety, fear and guilt. For some it is the type of arrogance that makes them feel immune to guilt.

I was thinking of a previous close friend who leaned in this other direction.  He was this confident type, leader in his church and business. He held a leadership position in a national organization. He had that leadership quality . . . which most people who run for offices carry. This friend confined in me (in the context of me sharing with him some sin in my life and how I was feeling so guilty about it) that he had molested his daughter years ago, and he had been caught.  But, while my jaw was still on the floor, and my heart breaking, he  added another twist.  He was having sexual meetings with other men and his wife didn't know about it.

But before I could say anything, he added the strangest statement, "I know that sexual experimentation is part of who I am and I'm okay with that. I've never felt guilty about it nor has God convicted me."  Keep in mind that he was the elder at an Evangelical church at the time. It was the first and only time in my life that I walked away from a friendship. But I didn't walk away thinking I was better than him. I just couldn't get my head around this non-repentant spirit and frankly lack of guilt.

I am always curious about human behavior . . . including my own. This concept of guilt freedom puzzles me. I'm sure to them, someone who wrestles with chronic guilt puzzles them . . . but then again, they probably think I deserve my guilt and they don't theirs.


Jaimie said...

Dealing with people is so complicated. I just had to cut someone out of my life for very complicated reasons. I'm sure he thinks I'm being the immature one, but I'm tired of dealing with the crap. And you know what sucks? I'm sure I HAVE handled it wrong in some way. Specifically because I cussed him out, haha. If I had to do it again, maybe... maybe I wouldn't do that. But maybe I would. Because it felt amazing after 7 months of being treated like I was nothing.

Anyway, that was all incredibly vague, sorry. But you're right. Some people just see no wrong in their actions. And with this specific person, he's super SUPER involved in his church. So I'm sure he'll tell his "accountability group" what happened and they'll tell him he's just fine with God, and that will be that. What a mess.

Ce la vie.

jmj said...

Jaimie, I'm sorry to hear about that because I know that you feel bad about it. So there must be some pain.

I suspect that the reason you "cursed him out" is that it had been building for a long time. Either you were telling him, and he wasn't getting it, or maybe you're like me and tell people in a non-aggressive way (at first) and they just don't hear what you are saying. But then it builds and builds until we just can't take it anymore and you explode.

I hope you find others who listen and highly esteem your value and your friendship with them.

Jaimie said...

I've had a lot more closure about this since then. Peace, in a sense. A lot of my "why" questions were answered, and so it's a lot easier to not only walk away but to get over it.

Thanks. :)

And you're right -- cussing him out was a sign of pent-up anger.

Anonymous said...


Take it from someone who grew up with a sociopath (or at least someone making a good attempt to become one). Sociopaths are MASTERS at hiding what they are and shifting any and all blame onto their victims.

That Sweet Little Angel of The Bad Seed (the original B&W movie, without the obviously tacked-on Deus ex Machina ending from the Hays Office) is NOT fiction.

Headless Unicorn Guy