Compartmentalization and Double Lives

Jun 4, 2013


Discussion by: InYourFaceNewYorker

By now I'm sure almost everyone has heard about the three women in Ohio who were missing for about ten years and then found alive in the house of a guy named Ariel Castro. Details of the case are still emerging, but what's already known is that the women were sometimes bound with chains and rope and that they were also raped.

Castro did an excellent job of covering his tracks and living a double life. Not only did he go about his daily, mundane business as a schoolbus driver (until he was fired), but he also assisted in the search for the victims and participated in a candlelight vigel for them, who many presumed dead. 

It is tempting to say, "Well, this guy was really good at blending in and covering his tracks. He was living a double life. He had everybody fooled." Fair enough. But the more I hear stories like this, the more I wonder if not only are these criminals fooling others but if they are also fooling themselves. Are they really consciously creating a double life and thinking about how nobody will ever figure them out? Or are they compartmentalizing? To use a metaphor, are they the split brain patients we hear about who are atheists in one hemisphere and devoutly religious in another? Is Castro someone who knew that he kidnapped this women but also someone who didn't think of himself as the kidnapper and honestly and sincerely thought he was helping in the invetigation instead of covering his tracks, leading a double life, and blending in? I know this sounds a little far-fetched, but people are remarkably good at compartmentalizing. 

What does everyone else think? Let's discuss.

Julie

8 comments on “Compartmentalization and Double Lives

  • 1
    justinesaracen says:

    Are you suggesting that we categorize this sort of coldblooded double life as ‘compartmentalizing’ and therefore give it special consideration in law enforcement? If so, I think you would have a weak case. It is likely true that many people compartmentalize, and live with contradiction, but I don’t think this is relevant to the question of guilt (if that IS what you were implying).
    To my knowledge, brain function is only relevant to a crime when a case can be made for overt mental illness and it can be demonstrated that the accused is mentally incompetent, or biologically out of control.
    If ‘compartmentalization were introduced as a defense argument, we would have to reassess thousands of truly vicious crimes, (including war crimes) just because they were committed by people were able to walk away afterwards and act nice. (Actually, that may apply to almost all premeditated crime.)



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  • 2
    Red Dog says:

    Lets not discuss. None of you know what was going on in this guy’s head. None of you are psychologists. All you are going to do is to speculate and maybe even get off on it a bit because it involves not just sex but violent sex. The women in this case have specifically asked to be left alone. One more discussion on this site won’t make much difference I guess but I say find another topic.



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  • 3
    fractaloid says:

    In reply to #2 by Red Dog:

    Lets not discuss. None of you know what was going on in this guy’s head. None of you are psychologists. All you are going to do is to speculate and maybe even get off on it a bit because it involves not just sex but violent sex. The women in this case have specifically asked to be left alone….

    Agree. Let’s respect the wishes of these women and not join others’ in the digital JIT gutter. Psychology is so often intellectualizing about our own self in-the-mirror any way. Not that I mind doing that.

    There’s plenty of solid information about the extreme dysfunctional edges of compartmentalizing our lives. Use Ted Bundy and the like, instead, but not this one… just for now



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  • I’m a split brain patient too. By day I’m a mild mannered person who blends in with Christians perfectly due to my 16 years of training (Methodist), but at night I’m a raging, baby eating atheist!!!



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  • 5
    Kim Probable says:

    We all put pieces of ourselves away depending on who we’re with. Your friends see an image that’s different from your parents, co-workers, or clients. Some of this may be just an aspect of yourself, some of it (maybe in the case of working with customers or dealing with religious family members) is an outright lie.



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  • I don’t think your idea is far fetched, this is schizophrenia. However it doesn’t need much discussion, either the doctors will diagnose him with schizophrenia or they won’t, I don’t think I heard about such a diagnosis in this case.
    I’m no psychologist but it might be a case of in-too-deep, after the first couple of days he may have reached a situation where his expected punishment for releasing them was bigger than his guilt over keeping them locked up.



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  • 7
    Docjitters says:

    In reply to #6 by conmeo:

    I don’t think your idea is far fetched, this is schizophrenia. However it doesn’t need much discussion, either the doctors will diagnose him with schizophrenia or they won’t, I don’t think I heard about such a diagnosis in this case.
    I’m no psychologist but it might be a case of in-too-deep, after t…

    Can I just point out that compartmentalisation and separation of control by two or more ‘minds’ in one body is Dissociative Personality Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder) NOT schizophrenia – despite the literal translation of the term. Schizophrenia is a breakdown of normal thought processes and behaviuor often characterised by delusional thinking and hallucination. The current American DSM-V requires 2 Criterion A symptoms see here including at least one of hallucination, delusion and disordered speech.



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