Dr. James Fallon is an American neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. He conducts genetic and imaging studies of the brain using PET (positron emission tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans in the area of memory and emotions, and in particular on people who have mental disorders, addictions and Alzheimer’s and those who committed suicide.
Fallon’s research into the brain images of psychopathic and compulsive murderers revealed that their frontal and temporal lobes, as well as their amygdalas, showed little to no activity. There was no heat, light, or activity in these areas of the brain when the subject was exposed to emotionally charged images.
Dr. Fallon continued to do similar brain imaging on those with Alzheimer’s and needing a control group (those without Alzheimer’s), he used himself and his family. While looking through the brain images of his family and those with Alzheimer’s, he came across one that resembled that of a psychopath. Thinking that a psychopath brain image crisscrossed over into the Alzheimer’s pile, he double-checked and realized it was his own brain scan.
He, thereby, categorized himself as a “pro-social psychopath,” which I call sociopath or narcissist, and what this basically means is that he functions pretty well in society – albeit highly energized and manipulative – but not a criminal or killer. Fallon is the author of The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain and was prominently featured on BBC’s production of Are you Good or Evil? He appears regularly on informative interviews and broadcasts as well as Youtube. He is a great source for information on the inner-workings of the narcissist/sociopath brain and I recommend him.
With that being said, I find it interesting that though he is great at introspection unlike most, if not all, narcissists, sociopaths, or psychopaths, he misses the mark on “being a sociopath father” and the negative effects on his children. Allow me to explain and then tune into the video that I uploaded here.
All the quotes that I list are what he says about his children and himself. The truth, in my view, is written below his quotes. This may resonate with you regarding any narcissist or sociopath that you know in relation to their children. Again, this is perplexing coming from Fallon because he seems to have good insight in other areas regarding his true motives and agenda but lacks this same insight regarding his children.
“They accept my behavior because they think it’s entertaining.”
Of course his children accept him as entertainment because, well, he’s fun, and that’s all children want. But will they become good, strong and independent adults that do good work for the world having spent their formative years being entertained, seeking instant pleasure and gratification, with a parent without boundaries? Isn’t that what friends are for and aren’t parents supposed to create independent and creative adults that contribute to society and who understand delayed gratification?
He calls himself a “pro-social psychopath,” whereas I use narcissist or sociopath, but what is the driving energy behind these people? SOCIAL. SOCIAL MANIPULATION. This is all well and good when fighting for the top-dog position in a career but NOT at all well and good when with family. As a father he is Creator of Events, Grand Gesture King and Boy-Toy. What better way to control your children? Give them excess, give them fun, give them most what ever they want and you are the Favorite Parent. But is the favorite parent, the best parent?
But does Boy-Toy Parent give their children strong morals, character, and sound mental health? Likely not. If you want to be merely a Fun-Object…this implies a lack of boundaries and with this lack of boundaries comes being Fun-Object…cyclic…
Who is prospering more off of this exchange of wild energy: The Boy-Toy Father or the children? Fallon is receiving an energy surge and the children are becoming addicted to attention, excitement, and thrill-seeking. He is making his children addicted to fun times (this is the primary way in which he interacts with them)….he is turning his children into “high junkies.”
2. “I didn’t have the connection you’d think – they were like two little dolls…but emotionally it’s not what you think that a father would have for his children.”
This quote is great for all of us to learn from…even if we are not the child of a narc/socio parent. This applies to those of us who’ve had disastrous intimate relationships with one. This explains so much. They not only see their children as dolls, but most anyone they become involved with.
They do NOT emotionally connect…they just appear to “connect” when they are wildly absorbing us into their energy vortex.
Narcissists are emotional voids and seek us out for our energy. They cannot be alone…they cannot go inward to introspect…to feel remorse….to become better. Note: Fallon is only mentally “introspecting” (actually he is more “processing”) about his psychopathic brain regarding his aggressive and manipulative behaviors; he is not emotionally introspecting which is required to be a soulful human who soulfully connects to other humans.
Narcissists must be in front of an applauding audience and this is what their children are: an applauding audience. And the Sociopath Father cannot get an applauding audience when he is telling his children to accept the harm they caused to one of their friends, to apologize to this friend, and to sit down, be quiet, and do homework (a lesson on character development, accepting responsibility and delayed gratification…no fun time…no father being Boy-Toy…therefore, father is not getting his energy through entertainment and applause when he has boundaries and is setting standards of good behavior and character).
Do you mean to tell me that his children are happily flapping around in the pool with him and they are not suffering the emotional, mental and psychological consequences of their father not emotionally bonding with them? That they cannot detect that their father seeks them out for entertainment because he is prone to boredom and merely needs their attention and the accolades of humans in mass and indiscriminate quantities who are adoring him and paying attention to him for his intense amount of fun and wild energy? Okay, likely they are brainwashed and may not realize all the above…but YES, they are feeling THE EMOTIONAL DISCONNECT! His reactions and responses to their emotional moments of great elations, or of crises, are missing the mark and this takes a dramatic emotional toll over time and through situations.
Yes, fun is just that, FUN. But having fun with someone does not mean there is an emotional connection…an emotional “tennis match” so to speak. When we are with a SOULFUL person (not a void) we can sense that we are being listened to, understood, and honored as a human being. That we are more than an object or a doll. There is a give and take of emotional depth and through this, true bonding takes place. Without this, a soulful human can feel used, full of dread and confusion, and like an OBJECT.
Allow me to explain more through this quote:
3. “As they became older, I became friends with them and that’s a great relationship.”
He does not emotionally connect with his children but he is their “friend” and that’s a great relationship? He is rationalizing this. You CANNOT be friends with anyone that you cannot see as an emotional being…you can ONLY use them as an OBJECT for your stimulation and they will in return, allow themselves to be used as an object just so that they can be with you….although they are yearning for more and this constant wishing, wears us all down and sends us spiraling into our own emotional and psychological issues – mainly in that we feel worthless and unlovable – yet, we keep trying to grab at you emotionally even though your emotions are not there. We destroy ourselves….even though we are having “fun” with you because this is the only way we can “have” you.
Let’s spin back around to my other points: He is their Boy-Toy and Great Entertainer. But shouldn’t they be having this type of relationship with their peers? Whereas they only have ONE FATHER and this father is supposed to be a strong teacher and guiding force of goodness and character in their lives? But this type of father would need BOUNDARIES with their children and a Sociopath Father does NOT have boundaries with his children or most people. Why? Because he wants to manipulate for love and for attention….for his ENERGY. Boundaries would not make him Boy-Toy.
His children are NO different from his intimate partners. He love-bombs his children and there is no realness in love-bombing. Love-bombing is fragile and based on illusion or the applause that the narc/socio is receiving at the moment. As soon as REAL hits the relationship, he is gone to love-bomb someone else. He will abandon his children in a moment to chase a new ego-source.
It is NOT healthy to treat your children like energy providing objects for your ego gratification. And if you think they are not suffering from this Play-Thing relationship, you are wrong. Children crave strong fathers that guide them with power, strength and integrity…they have friends to be thrill-seeking and lazy with, they do not need this in a father.
This is not to say that fathers should not have fun and joyful times with their children – this is required for any healthy relationship – but fun-times should come in the confines of an already established father/child relationship where healthy generational boundaries have already been established and children do not feel like playthings to satiate their father’s manic and aggressive energy.
And for children who do NOT have this strong and guiding, yet compassionate, father as a role-model…then what type of adults do you think they will become? There is a great chance that they too will be like their narc/socio father. Here is why:
4. “They’re wonderful people” in reference to his children. Well, of course, all parents think their children are the greatest ever. And you add a narc/socio parent into this equation and the fact that his children are receptive to his Boy-Toy Fun Times, then of course, the children are stimulating receptors to his energy vortex and this is how the narc/socio thrives. Narcs/Socios think that anyone who feeds their ego is “great.”
In my personal experience, I observed a narc/socio father with his children. I write about Mr. Oh in my book, My Sociopath – An Empath’s Soul Journey Among Sociopaths:
Mr. Oh could not emotionally connect to his children so he entertained them all day with fun and exhilarating activities. He benefited – narcs/socios are prone to boredom and seek Instant Pleasure and Instant Gratification – because he had his “dolls” and his “objects” for his distraction. Mr. Oh has six children by three different women. He was married and divorced four times.
Move forward in time to now. All his children are now older adults and every one, all SIX, either have diagnosed mental conditions or are alcoholics and/or drug addicts. Many act narcissistic, volatile and even violent. Not one lives alone, travels alone, or lives independently. They seek instant pleasure and gratification all day and cannot maintain longer term goals.
They are ALL self-entitled and will only allow their “great, boy-toy” father to come around them if he bails them out of trouble, buys them something, takes them out to eat, or entertains them. These adult-children expertly use and abuse him. But does Mr. Oh notice this abuse? Not at all: They ALL entertain one another. Mr. Oh thinks his children are doing wonderfully and he brags about their great jobs: one child is supposedly becoming a Navy Seal. This “child” is going on 30 years old, has no military experience, is making no attempt to get military service, and shows himself wildly partying on the internet. When I brought this fact up to Mr. Oh, he attacked me for “attacking” his object of illusion, delusion…his “image” (his child) that provides him instant entertainment and pleasure.
Narcs/Socios thrive off the superficial image and presentation of people and do NOT expect people to do anything great beyond being an object for their entertainment. Mr. Oh is getting his audience, his accolades – though he has to pay for it – this does not matter – though his adult children are not doing anything great to change this world for the better – it’s all entertainment and illusions of grandiosity.
Narcissism – self-entitlement – instant gratification – spreads through the generations and becomes a disease of using, manipulating, exploiting, pleasure seeking and lives led with no higher purpose than grabbing and grubbing.
The only possible chance that James Fallon’s adult children have of being such “wonderful people”…and not self-entitled manipulators and exploiters with mental health or substance abuse issues…is if they have a great mother and her influence and her energy over-powers his. I hope so.
But any of us who have been in a relationship with one these guys…we know how over-powering, all-consuming…their energy is. They make us feel alive and this is why we show up for their entertainment even though it’s not good for our emotional health or our long-term well being.
Here is the video entitled Interview with a Psychopath where Sverre Nilsen interviews James Fallon. I recommend watching the entire video but if you cannot, tune into minute 48:00. Even a renowned neuroscientist, who has great insight into the minds of psychopaths, is excusing away the damage he caused his children by using them to satiate his manic energy and need for accolades.