Someone recently asked me if perjuring priest Bob Malm is a sociopath. In this post, I’m going to try to parse that issue.
Before we go further, an important disclaimer: Knowing the answer to that question requires a diagnosis by a medical professional with expertise in mental health issues. I am not such a professional, so I cannot proffer anything beyond some observations.
It’s also important to note that professionals generally don’t use the terms “psychopath” and “sociopath.” Indeed, the two generally subsumed by the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. To the extent the terms are used, however, a sociopath has some conscience; a psychopath has none. And while people like to think of psychopaths as killers straight out of the Bates Motel, the reality is that many aren’t.
So what traits does someone with anti-social personality disorder (APD) display? Some of the more common are listed below in this screen cap from WebMD, although someone can suffer from APD and still lack many of these qualities.
A number of these seem to apply in perjuring priest Bob Malm’s case, including:
- Lack of empathy for others, as in Mike and Mom. Or the harm his conduct has caused to Grace Church,
- Attempting to control others with threats or aggression, as in Bob’s multiple threats directed at me, and his screaming sessions at Lee Meeks, me, and others.
- Trying to use intelligence, charm, or charisma to manipulate others, as in Bob’s smiles, hugs, and flattery, but with no substance behind them.
- Not learning from mistakes, as in he still has learned nothing from his foolish forays into court.
- Lying for personal gain, as in Bob Malm’s myriad lies to the courts, including his perjury.
- Generally superficial relationships, as in many of the folks Bob calls friends are at best friendly acquaintances.
- Trouble with responsibilities, as in Bob’s failure to meet even basic standards of his job, like supervising office staff and ensuring that church funds are handled appropriately.
Other signs suggest a potentially narcissistic personality, including Bob’s focus on his appearance, ranging from hair transplants, to the (bad) hair color, to the sweater or jacket with the zipper consistently opened halfway, to make Bob seem taller and less overweight.
In short, it’s not possible from where we sit to know for sure what is going on with perjuring priest Bob Malm. But his myriad instances of dishonesty and manipulative behavior suggest a very real possibility of major mental illness, which may well include antisocial personality disorder.