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The "Right Man"

"The Right Man," the violent male type. A man who always has to be right.

FROM: "Written in blood: a history of forensic detection" C. Wilson 2003, p645

"...This also explained another characteristic of such men: that they could not bear to be contradicted or shown to be in the wrong: this also threatened their image of themselves as a kind of god or superman. If confronted with proof of their own fallibility, they would explode into violence rather than acknowledge that they had made a mistake. For this reson, Van Vogt labelled this type 'the Right Man' or 'the Violent Man.' To his colleagues at work he might appear perfectly normal and balanced; but his family knew himas a kind of paranoid dictator.

"Only one thing could undermine this structure of self-delusion. If his wife walked out on him, she had demonstrated beyond all doubt that she rejected him; his tower of self-delusion was undermined, and often the result was mental breakdown, or even suicide.

"Expressed in this way, it seems clear that the Right Man syndrome is a form of mild insanity. Yet it is alarmingly common; most of us know a Right Man, and some have the misfortune to have a Right Man for a husband or father. The syndrome obviously arises from the sheer competitiveness of the world we are born into. Every normal male has an urge to be a 'winner,' yet he finds himself surrounded by people who seem better qualified for success. One common response is boasting to those who look as if they can be taken in - particularly women. Another is what the late Stephen Potter called 'One-upmanship,' the attempt to make the other person feel inferior by a kind of cheating - or example, by pretending to know far more than you actually know. Another is to bully people over whom one happens to have authority. Many 'Right Men' are so successful in all these departments that they achieve a remarkably high level of self-esteem on remarkably slender talents. Once Achieved, this self-esteem is like an addictive drug, and any threat of withdrawl seems terrifying. Hence the violence with which he reacts to anything that challenges it.

"It is obvious that the Right Man syndrome is a compensatory mechanism for profound self-doubt, and that its essence lies in confincing others of something he feels to be untrue; in other words, it is a form of confidence-trickery. It is, that is to say, a typically criminal form of 'shortcut,' like cheating in an exam, or stealing something instead of saving up to buy it.

"Now the basic characteristic of the criminal, and also of the Right Man, is a certain lack of self-control. Van Vogt writes that the Right Man 'makes the decision to be out of control' - that is, makes the decision to *lose* control at a certain point, expolding into violence rather than calling upon a more mature level of his personality. But he is adept at making excuses that place the blame for this lack of self-control on other people for provoking him. One British sex killer, Patrick Byrne, explained that he decided to terrorize women 'to get my own back on them for causing my nervous tension through sex.'

"... It should now be possible to see that the Right Man syndrome is the key to the serial killer.


 





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