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Casey Anthony: Borderline Personality Disorder, a Psychopath or What?

Casey Anthony BPD or Psychopath or What?

A few days ago I got an email from a member of the ATSTP list asking me what I thought about the possibility of Casey Anthony, who is currently on trial for the murder of her 2 year old daughter (Caylee Anthony), having Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). In 2008, I was following the case with interest. I have followed it a bit during the trial. I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, yet I have met a LOT of people with BPD (both men and women) and members of their families. I’ve looked at Casey Anthony’s behavior and compared it with the behavior of people that I know with BPD. I pretty much come to the conclusion that Casey Anthony doesn’t have borderline personality disorder. It seems to be more likely that she’s a psychopath. It seems that some criminal profilers agree…

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/36551199/ns/today-today_people/t/do-letters-show-casey-anthony-psychopath/

Pat Brown, a criminal profiler, told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira that in her opinion, Anthony is a psychopath who is trying to get potential jurors to feel sorry for her. The letters are the way she does it, Brown said.

“This will prove she’s a new woman. After all, she’s found God,” Brown said, adding that juries will frequently sympathize with a woman who claims she was abused and mistreated but now has found the light.

“A lot of time women go to court, juries start feeling sorry for them,” Brown said. “It’s manipulation.”

Brown called the letters “a wonderful window into how a psychopath thinks.”

Here is some information about psychopathy:

In his 1941 book, Mask of Sanity, Hervey M. Cleckley introduced 16 behavioral characteristics of a psychopath:

  • Superficial charm and good “intelligence”
  • Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
  • Absence of nervousness or psychoneurotic manifestations
  • Unreliability
  • Untruthfulness and insincerity
  • Lack of remorse and shame
  • Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior
  • Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience
  • Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love
  • General poverty in major affective reactions
  • Specific loss of insight
  • Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations
  • Fantastic and uninviting behavior with drink and sometimes without
  • Suicide threats rarely carried out
  • Sex life impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated
  • Failure to follow any life plan.

And here is some information from the Hare checklist:

PCL-R items

The following findings are for research purposes only, and are not used in clinical diagnosis. These items cover the affective, interpersonal, and behavioral features. Each item is rated on a score from zero to two. The sum total determines the extent of a person’s psychopathy.

Factor 1

Aggressive narcissism

Glibness/superficial charm

Grandiose sense of self-worth

Pathological lying

Cunning/manipulative

Lack of remorse or guilt

Emotionally shallow

Callous/lack of empathy

Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

Factor 2

Socially deviant lifestyle

Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom

Parasitic lifestyle

Poor behavioral control

Promiscuous sexual behavior

Lack of realistic, long-term goals

Impulsiveness

Irresponsibility

Juvenile delinquency

Early behavioral problems

Revocation of conditional release

Traits not correlated with either factor

Many short-term marital relationships

Criminal versatility

One thing we can say about Casey Anthony is that she is a compulsive liar. Here is one story about her continued insistence that she dropped her daughter off a the nanny’s even after the police were aware that it was a lie:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/02/us-crime-anthony-idUSTRE75162O20110602

Accused child killer Casey Anthony insisted that her daughter Caylee was kidnapped by a nanny, even after admitting to detectives that everything else she had told them was a lie, according to a taped interview played for jurors Thursday.

“I dropped her off at the (nanny’s) apartment,” Casey told detectives on July 16, 2008 in a tense exchange about her 2-year-old daughter.

“No you didn’t,” a detective responded.

“That’s exactly where I dropped her off,” Casey said.

“No you didn’t. And who did you drop her off with?” the detective asked.

“I dropped her off with Zenaida,” Casey said.

“No you didn’t,” the detective said.

By then, Detective Yuri Melich testified, he knew the apartment identified by Casey had been vacant for months and no one named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez had ever lived in the apartment complex. Many other details provided by Casey about Caylee’s disappearance had not panned out, he said.

And here is some information from ABC News about Casey Anthony’s “top ten lies”:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/casey-anthony-top-ten-lies/story?id=13742643

  • Casey Anthony told police that she spoke to her daughter Caylee on July 15, 2008, the day Caylee was reported missing. She told police Caylee said, “Hi, mommy” and told her a story about her shoes and a book she was reading. “She was excited to talk to me,” Casey Anthony told police. Caylee was already dead.
  • She said she had a job as an event planner at Universal Studios. She even led police to a building on the Universal lot and down a hallway until she finally turned to them and admitted she didn’t work there.
  • She claimed the babysitter was a former girlfriend of Jeffrey Hopkins, and that Hopkins was also a one time boyfriend of hers. She told her mother, Cindy Casey, that Hopkins had a toddler named Zachary. She had a picture of a man and a boy on her cell phone identified as Hopkins and filed under “boyfriend,” her mother told the court. Hopkins testified that he attended middle school with Anthony. Hopkins said he has no child and never met anyone named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez.
  • Casey Anthony described how Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez lived in one neighborhood for several months and then moved to another location. Her story of the babysitter’s move was complete with a description of the apartment’s interior.
  • She claimed her friend and co-worker at Universal Studios was named Juliette Lewis. Casey and her mother, Cindy, went to help Lewis with a fundraiser, but after waiting for about 90 minutes, Lewis didn’t show up, Cindy Casey testified. Universal had said that no one named Juliette Lewis worked there.
  • Casey Anthony told her mother that the father of Caylee was a man named Eric Baker. She later called home frantically to tell her mother that Eric Baker had been killed in a car crash. Anthony even told detectives she had Baker’s obituary to prove Caylee’s father was dead. It’s never been confirmed Baker is the father of Caylee and it’s still unclear the paternity of Caylee.
  • Hopkins’ mother was named Jules and she had cancer. Cindy Anthony even baked a cake for a Christmas season meeting with Hopkins and his mother, but the meeting was cancelled at the last minute.
  • Casey Anthony told her mother that she was in Jacksonville and was going to stay longer to attend Jules’ wedding. She was actually staying at the home of her boyfriend Tony Lazzarro and another friend’s apartment in Orlando.
  • Casey Anthony told her mother at different times during the month that the girl was missing that Caylee was at Disney World, was at Sea World, was at Universal Studios. Caylee was already dead.
  • “I don’t know where she is and that is the God’s honest truth,” Casey Anthony told police on July 16, 2008.

It seems if anyone doesn’t know the “God’s honest truth” is Casey Anthony. Guess we’ll see what happens in her trial.

Here’s my book about BPD:

Image of When Hope is Not Enough
When Hope is Not Enough
Get the Non-BPD book that is designed
for staying and working on the relationship

Here are some good books about psychopaths:

Image of Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
Image of The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
Image of The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain
The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain
Image of Handbook of Psychopathy
Handbook of Psychopathy
Image of The Mask of Sanity (Mosby medical library)
The Mask of Sanity (Mosby medical library)

19 comments to Casey Anthony: Borderline Personality Disorder, a Psychopath or What?

  • I just stumbled across this fact… one that I did not know about Casey Anthony.

    “Anthony tried to hide her pregnancy until about the seventh month, according to the police documents released Friday.”

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,510021,00.html#ixzz1OET0Y2I4

    This is an article about her not knowing (or telling) who the father of Caylee is.

  • http://insession.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/03/the-breakdown-casey-anthony%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cimaginary-friends%E2%80%9D/

    This is even more bizarre. I wasn’t aware that Casey Anthony had invented a bunch of people to explain what happened to her daughter. Here is the text from that article about Casey Anthony’s imaginary friends. The video on that article is pretty amazing.

    Atlanta, GA – Week two of Casey Anthony’s trial has brought a parade of witnesses. They include her mother, Cindy Anthony, who has recounted the elaborate lies Casey Anthony told in the days surrounding Caylee Anthony’s disappearance. Some of the most gripping testimony has revolved around what defense attorney Jose Baez calls Casey Anthony’s “imaginary friends.” From former co-workers to wealthy boyfriends, here’s a look at some of the “friends” who were later proven to be nonexistent or distortions of actual people.

    Zenaida “Zanny” Fernandez-Gonzalez

    Casey’s Story: The nanny Casey Anthony claimed had been watching Caylee since April 2006. Casey Anthony initially claimed Gonzalez took her daughter on June 9, 2008. Casey Anthony says she met Gonzalez in 2004 through Universal Studios co-worker Jeffrey Hopkins. Casey Anthony said Gonzalez was a seasonal employee at Universal Studios and was originally from New York. At one point, Casey Anthony told her mother that Gonzalez was in a severe car accident that left her in the hospital. Casey Anthony also claimed to know the nanny’s mother and sister.

    What Investigators Found: A Zenaida Gonzalez was later found, but she had no affiliation with Casey Anthony aside from having filled out a guest card at the Orlando apartment complex where Casey Anthony claimed the nanny lived. The apartment where Casey Anthony said Gonzalez lived was found to be vacant, and there was no record of Gonzalez in the Universal Studios employee database.

    Jeffrey Michael Hopkins

    Casey’s Story: The man Casey Anthony claimed introduced her to Gonzalez. Casey Anthony told her mother that Hopkins and Gonzalez dated at one point and Gonzalez would watch Caylee at Hopkins’ house. Casey Anthony said she met Hopkins at Universal Studios and Kodak. Casey Anthony said Hopkins left Orlando for North Carolina around 2007. The defendant claimed Hopkins had a son named Zachary who was the same age as Caylee. Casey Anthony told her mother she once dated Hopkins and was visiting him in Jacksonville during the 31 days before Caylee was reported missing. Casey Anthony said Hopkins was wealthy and she wanted to rekindle their relationship. She told investigators Hopkins was one of the people she called when Caylee went missing.

    What Investigators Found: Investigators found no Jeffrey Michael Hopkins had ever worked at Kodak, though they did find a Jeff Hopkins, Jr. who worked at Universal Studios in 2001 and 2002. That Jeffrey Hopkins went to middle school with Casey Anthony and last saw her at a local Orlando pub in July 2008. He does not have a son and doesn’t consider himself a friend of Casey Anthony. During Hopkins’ testimony on Thursday, he confirmed he shared few similarities with the Hopkins Casey Anthony described.

    Juliette Lewis

    Casey’s Story: Casey Anthony said Lewis was a former co-worker from Kodak and Universal Studios who also worked as an event coordinator. Casey Anthony said Lewis moved from Orlando to New York shortly before Caylee was reported missing. Casey Anthony claimed she also called Lewis after she could not find Caylee. Casey Anthony told her mother that Lewis had a daughter Caylee’s age named Annabelle.

    What Investigators Found: A Juliette Lewis affiliated with Casey Anthony was never found. She was not found in the employee database for Universal Studios and was confirmed to have never worked for Kodak.

    Eric Baker

    Casey’s Story: Casey Anthony told her mother Baker was Caylee’s father. Cindy Anthony said her daughter described Baker as two years younger and an old friend who lived out of state in either Kentucky or North Carolina. Casey Anthony called her mother shortly after Caylee’s second birthday and said Baker had died in a car accident. At one point, Casey Anthony claimed to have an obituary for Baker, but said she lost it. She said she stayed in touch with Baker’s widow and that Caylee had a half brother.

    What Investigators Found: Investigators never tracked down an Eric Baker, but they did discover a Kentucky death certificate for an Eric Baker who died in an auto accident. It has never been determined if he fathered Caylee. Initially, Casey Anthony said her ex-fiancé Jessie Grund was the father, though it was later revealed he was not. DNA tests also ruled out Casey’s brother, Lee Anthony, as the father. Casey Anthony made another claim about Caylee’s father, telling her friend Melina Calabrese that he was a one-night stand named “Josh.” She said he was from Georgia and worked at Universal Studios. Similar to her story about Baker, Casey Anthony said “Josh” died in a car accident in 2007. She said he had a girlfriend he planned to marry and had another child.

    Caylee’s father is still unknown.

  • becky

    When I first saw the tapes of Casey in jail I thought she showed definite borderine behavior, but after watching her at trial and learning more, I would agree that her actions and behavior far exceed “typical” borderline personality disorder. Whatever her diagnosis is, she is one scary character.

  • I think that if she was borderline, she might have tried to commit suicide because of the shame. She doesn’t seem to have much shame. I could be wrong about all of this line of thinking, but you’re right, she’s scary. She’s delusional but not in a crazy person kind of way. I don’t know how one believes that they can lie at that level to the police – and do so when her daughter was “missing”.

  • Julie

    What I think is creepy is that she uses Juliette Lewis in her names of ‘invented people’ Juliette Lewis starred in a film called Natural Born Killers. She may have identified in a roundabout way with that film.

  • Daniel

    My ex wife is borderline. I don’t know what it is like to be one, but I certainly know what it is like to endure one. Though we cannot possibly know what is going on with this woman from television, I think it important to point out that, as far as I know, borderlines will have serious issues with emotions whereas psychopaths will have shallow emotions, or none at all. Those emotional swings are damn near tidal. The manipulation and passing yourself off as a victim of everything, though, is HIGHLY reminiscent for me. But we don’t really know if she truly was abused or not. We don’t know much of anything. I doubt the Orange County Sheriff’s office knows a damned thing either. I mean.. air freshener corpse detectors and body language experts? Come on. They don’t have a clue what happened to that little girl.

    But borderline.. I don’t know. I really don’t. A lot of this seems similar from a distance, but there is no way to tell. I don’t even think a cognitive psychologist could easily tell just from television and news sources. When she talks about how she is the victim of everything, and how everything is about her, then I definitely do get that borderline vibe. But that just is not enough. It only is similar.

    Nor do I think her parents are telling the truth. I think whatever actually happened is only known by those people. Lots of backstabbing and blaming going on too. The real question is who in that family does not suffer a serious mental illness.

  • Sheila

    I see someone picked up on Juliette Lewis. Does Raquel Farell really exist? As soon as I heard both names I suspected she made them up. There is singer named Rachelle Ferrell.

  • True North Strong and Free

    Canada joins in,
    I didn’t want to pay attention to this case till the last week and the closing.

    But after friday I started studying the death penalty laws in Florida because I knew this killer is going to pay with her life.

    So here is a super big question, How can a legal system in a democracy

    trial a person who is certifiable? I’m scared shitless of her but she’s a psyco.her brain is broken.

    Shouldn’t the law have protected her or is this whole court thing

    all an act to make Casey think she had justice because she’s major deluded and everyone in the room wants her dead?

  • [...] few weeks ago I posted an article entitled Casey Anthony: Borderline Personality Disorder, a Psychopath or What? This “analysis” garnered a lot of attention (or at least a lot of traffic) for me. I [...]

  • francis

    Malignant, narcissistic, histrionic personality disorder. i.e. sociopath lite. She lacks any type of conscience. She lies with absolute conviction and has developed an elaborate skillset, (cocktail personality) that she can utilize to coerce most people. Ms. Anthony will in all probability kill again if she feels the necessity. The Judicial system has just reinforced what she has been learning all of her life. They don’t know the difference.

  • Bev

    Dear Francis, I totally agree with you. I’m afraid she is going to hurt someone again , it makes me ill to my stomach. Why oh Why couldn’t the jury at least found her guilty for something !!! I hope the good Lord seeks justice very,very soon.

  • J Gettemy

    3 years working in a state mental hospital in a clinical role does not give me the right to diagnose but if that girl doesn’t fall somewhere in the Axis 2 I’ll eat this computer.

  • [...] two potential issues were the ones that I identified and opined on the other day. The second paragraph above is why I believe that Casey Anthony probably doesn’t have BPD. [...]

  • I am very hesitant about placing a label on Casey Anthony for we really do not know the entire story and I mean from the second she was born to now. Her family by all appearances seems to be completely dysfunctional which tends to lead to a personality disorder type of label. The problem with the trial and what I believed the jury had a major problem with is there was never a straight line in the entire case. Way too many outside stories that caused a ton of disturbance and blurred the line of guilty and not guilty. Maybe one day the entire story will come out and what truly happened the day that Caylee Anthony died becomes clear. If Casey Anthony is a psychopath it is just a matter of time she finds herself in hot water and I would imagine the next judge would give her life for stealing from the grocery store

  • I think that Casey has antisocial personality disorder which is characterized by lies, manipulations, disregard for the law, exploiting / disregarding the rights of others, shows no guilt / remorse, able to act witty / charming, disregard safety of self and OTHERS (ie daughter), not able to manage their life (ie hold down a job, achieve at school etc), exhibits reckless behavior, engages in alcohol / drug abuse. So, she may have been able to manage okay through life up until the point of Caylee’s death. After Caylee died (in my opinion, by Casey accidentally sedating her too much with something (ie: Xanax, chloroform) so she could go out and party), the antisocial personality disorder exploded. With the explosion of the antisocial personality disorder, you see of the traits listed above so very clearly.

  • I think that the common thinking is that anti-social personality disorder and psychopathy are two separate disorders. And current thinking also seems to be that psychopaths are born, not made.

  • Sarah

    Agree with the other posters who have ID’d her made-up characters as players in this story. Even the last one ‘Eric Baker’- the story is similar to one of the girls on one of those teen mom shows, whose baby’s father died and it is possible she saw this either in jail or heard about it. These kind of people, whatever you want to call them copy everything, mimic everything.
    Almost everything that comes out of their mouth is copied or the story taken from a movie or some other thing they heard or read from someone else. For all the hype about various criminal types having high IQ’s, it is remarkable that her particular type are so remarkably unoriginal, even if they go to great lengths to cover the fact of their ‘plagiarism’- I use quotes because often times it is not used in the classic sense- for acclaim or profit- but simply to lie or build themselves up in the eyes of others. That is where one has to doubt applying the ‘high IQ’ tag to people who are simply good at criminal activity, lying and preying upon those who take others at face value and their word.

    Speaking of prey, when you look at a bird of prey, like an eagle (not to compare someone like CA to a majestic animal, but just to make the point)..the eagle has eyes that do not speak to empathy and compassion, nor anything motherly or sentimental.

    Sure, even mothers who do love and care for their children and do not drug them to go out and party and possibly may have neglected them (or worse) to death may have to have moments of hardness and toughness, but those qualities are not what I am describing in making the predatory comparison of various animals. It’s not a judgement against the animal that they lack what (most, anyway) humans , and especially mothers (should) have for their children- let alone other people as well. There is obviously something very wrong here, and possibly something that contrary to most at least psychologist/psychiatrist’s beliefs- just as lawyers believe they can always ‘help’ you with something…there may very well be something here with C.A. that cannot be ‘fixed’- as it is not a temporary or situational condition.

    Sure , it may also be true she may have had a drug problem
    (see photos here)
    http://www.fairfaxunderground.com/forum/read.php?40,617733,617734,quote=1

    A defense would say the drugs were the cause of her problem as opposed to the result or a symptom of it and all of those people have their own agendas in either ‘fixing’ or ‘helping’ her or defending her- but as I said before, if one has known people like her (my examples of the constant copycatting behavior and mimicking things they see and hear)
    and known people like that over time..one can say a great amount of change is unlikely- but the appearance of change may be able to be skillfully mimicked. None of that unfortunately brings the daughter back.

  • Corinne

    I, too, have spent extensive time around Borderlines. Whatever Casey’s issues, she clearly is not functioning in any sort of reality. But what I really want to post here was an observation about her mother. I saw several interviews with her over the months just before the trial. Casey’s mother strikes me as a high functioning borderline, there is something really wrong in that house and all the players involved.

  • Poopy

    My daughter has all nine characteristics of borderline and has been in dialectical behavior therapy for some time now. After completing major papers all all of the cluster B dramatics for school, I think Casey is more narcissistic than borderline, and I think her mother contributes. Furthermore, Casey’s lack of concern for what she did suggests antisocial undertones. We know that narcissism and antisocial are significantly comorbid, and so maybe what we are looking at is just a highly dysfunctional person.

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