|Delle the Apple|
When I was a social worker, I attended a psychiatric seminar on Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD in my lingo), where I learned an interesting analogy explaining the differences between neurosis and personality disorder. Later, as an author, I found it helpful in creating villains, so I thought I'd share it with you.
Apples represent normal and neurotic people, and Onions represent people with ASPD. The therapist (or author), knows he must dig deep into the personality to reach the core issues, so with the client, he painstakingly works past peel and pulp until they reach the core. It works fine with Apples. Seeds and all, the core is the essence of the true self, with potential for growth.
The Onion (ASPD), however, presenting as charming, complex, with intriguing problems, often leads the helping professional to believe he alone can help the poor, mistreated fellow. Major fallacy there: Onion is doing what he does best, engaging Helper's sympathy by playing to Helper's professional ego. Helper jumps in, certain he alone can peel away the layers and reach the truth, the real person.
Empathy engaged, he works through the challenging complexities, peeling away each layer, thinking he'll find the truth beneath it. But there's always another layer. If ASPD has done his job well, Helper doesn't notice he's doing all the work, yet nothing is changing. Then finally at the last layer, ready for triumph, he discovers–NOTHING'S THERE. There is no core.
A true Sociopath (ASPD) wears personality like a mask. He lacks empathy. His social interactions are manipulation tools. He sees no faults in himself, and other people are to blame for all his problems. He'll lie about anything, sometimes just for amusement. He loves to set people against each other, then watch the fight. Instead of building and fixing something real, he'll pour enormous energy into making things SEEM like something they're not. It's all about him, but if it furthers his cause, he'll happily make you think it's all about you. He's all surface, no depth.
In a nutshell, Onion makes a perfect villain. But you have to work hard because you have to capture both the real self and the phony he presents to the world. Never forget his motivation: always his own personal gain or pleasure.
Apple, with his more genuine personality, can also be a great villain. Apple wallows in guilt, which Onion disdains. Apple's personality flaws and insecurity bring him pain, but Onion thinks he's perfect as is, with the universe revolving around him. Apple is truly complex, where Onion looks complex but is really superficial. While Onion might emulate Apple to gain something, secretly, he sneers.
Give this Apple good intentions, a cause he'd sacrifice anything for, and you will have an emotionally captivating villain. But be careful. He can become so intriguing, he'll take over your story. He's far more work, but done right, he can give your story great depth and power.
-Posted by Delle Jacobs
-Posted by Delle Jacobs