True Blood Psychology: The Sociopathy of Bill

I have had the pleasure of reading books related to psychology during my current college studies. One of the many books that stood out to me was this entertaining and informative book about the disorder of Sociopathy or (APD: Antisocial Personality Disorder), “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout.

According to Martha Stout, 4% of the population could be defined as a sociopath. Of course, this is a shocking statistic because that translates to the idea that 1 in 25 people in world are in fact sociopaths. Therefore, you are more than likely to come across a sociopath everyday and anybody that you know could be one, ready to wreak your life for their personal gain. Sociopaths don’t have to be one of the famous murderous psychopaths, they simply have to have no conscience for their actions, no matter what they do.

Sooo…let’s relate Martha’s ideas and examples from the book toward Bill in True Blood so that we can prove his true nature.

We know that Bill was a procurer for a very long time as he told Russell (this suggests that Bill had chosen this as a career or a way to advance his own power and that it was not simply an order from Queen Sophie Ann in the way that Eric was forced to sell vampire blood for Queen Sophie Ann). Therefore, Bill is much more accountable for his actions. Wouldn’t you agree that someone must have no conscience to basically choose kidnapping as a career advancer or money making venture? I don’t know about you, but I think I would feel a little too guilty about it to do something like that for personal gain. Bill never expresses guilt or remorse in any way until he is caught, which is a trait of sociopathy. Of course, it isn’t true guilt or remorse, they just don’t want to deal with the consequences.

In fact, Bill is apparently conscienceless enough to allow a beat down of his kidnapping victim (Sookie) in order to make his job a little easier in the long run.

How many of you with a conscience could have someone brought to the point of death to make your “job” a little easier?

No matter what he had done, how many of you could kill someone that had wronged someone you cared about with absolutely no guilt and as easily as running any other errand? This does not include active in-the-moment self-defense.

How many of us would just say “damn” and keep moving if we had just found out that we had almost ACCIDENTLY (this is up for debate) killed someone we loved? All this after we had just acted like we desperately wanted to save that person?

(of course, there are more examples but these are some of the most extreme examples that show Bill’s lack of a conscience. Having a lack of a conscience automatically makes you a sociopath according to Martha Stout.)

In the book, Martha speaks of a woman who lies about her background in order to advance her career and  has no problems hurting people along the way. In a way, this sounds familiar, doesn’t it?


In the book, Martha talks about a sociopathic man that is willing to use anybody to get what he wants and the relationships in his life serve no purpose other than to advance his career. He even abuses his own mother and turns against the same bosses that helped advance him when it suits his purposes. Sound familiar?

In the book, Martha talks about a sociopathic man who is willing to kill anyone at the drop of a hat that threatens to expose his secrets to the community and the woman in his life or anyone that threatens his business in general. Sound familiar?

In the book, Martha discusses the dilemma a man has. Lose his job or leave his dog hungry in his house for days. Ultimately, the man decides to feed his dog because his conscience won’t allow him to leave the dog hungry for days. Stout is claiming that it is conscienceless to neglect your pets in such a manner. Therefore, neglecting your child would obviously be considered conscienceless behavior in Stout’s opinion as well. Sound familiar? Though Bill couldn’t help being away from Jessica a lot of the time, he neglected her when he had the opportunity to not neglect her. Bill dropped her off like an unwanted puppy at the shelter when he brought her to Eric and had no guilt about doing that. Bill neglected to teach her anything about being a vampire other than drinking Tru Blood , something he himself was not even truly doing.  Bill did not bother teaching her how to defend herself either until she was needed to help him fight the werewolves; before that, he once again tried to get rid of her like an unwanted pet and I don’t believe it was “for her own good” as some claim. She was uneducated about how to handle herself and not prepared for life on her own, because she was again, neglected. Jessica was basically “begging for scraps” when she went to Pam for help.  Stout would obviously consider Bill’s neglect of Jessica, his child, Sociopathic behavior.

However, nobody wants to believe they were manipulated by a sociopath so they go through a process of denial and Sookie and some audience members of True Blood were no exceptions so they make excuses that Stout says “are no where near the truth.”

Bill had to do that, it’s not his fault! ; Bill couldn’t help himself from killing Uncle Bartlett after hearing that! ; He couldn’t stop himself! ; Bill didn’t mean to neglect Jessica, he basically had to! ; Lorena made Bill do that! ; Bill has to protect Sookie from Eric, and incidentally, Pam, because he tasted her! ; etc….etc…etc.

My personal favorite is the claim that: “Bill loves Sookie so he would never hurt her on purpose or do anything that wasn’t with the best intentions toward her.”

News Flash: People with a conscience can love. People without a conscience are not capable of love. Bill has no conscience so he is not capable of love. Sure, people without a conscience can become attached to people or things because of what they may provide to them (delicious blood, sex with an attractive fairy, and supposed redemption in Bill’s case). But they cannot be truly selfless or truly love because they have no conscience.

People can continue to make excuses for Bill and decide that he’s the one for Sookie on their own, but they are continuing to be played by a Sociopath through the screen (which was Ball’s intention I am sure). However, the bottom line is that Bill is not worthy of Sookie’s love or capable of redemption because ACCORDING TO THE EXPERTS: Bill has no conscience, and is therefore, a sociopath.

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  1. #1 by lizzy on March 7, 2011 - 6:55 pm

    OMG! I’m glad you’re back,as always great post.

    • #2 by Katya on March 7, 2011 - 7:53 pm

      Thank you Lizzy! I’m so glad to be back for my loyal readers.

  2. #3 by ENA on March 7, 2011 - 8:39 pm

    Kat!! So glad you are back!!! I can not wait for your blogs this coming season!!

    • #4 by Katya on March 7, 2011 - 8:51 pm

      aawwh im so glad that all of you have welcomed me back with open arms. I look forward to getting the blog going full force up to and throughout the season!

  3. #5 by Accol on March 7, 2011 - 8:50 pm

    I have also been thinking of Bill as an addict. What do you think?

    • #6 by ENA on March 7, 2011 - 9:12 pm

      This is too true because he claims he can control himself but so far has shown he is the last one that can!

    • #7 by Katya on March 7, 2011 - 9:14 pm

      Yes. I think that is his attachment to Sookie- addiction. Since Bill is a sociopath, he cannot be attached to Sookie out of real affection or love so he must attached to Sookie because of what she provides him- which is an addiction to the blood and the sex – and possibly the fact that she feeds his ego as well.

      • #8 by Lidia on March 8, 2011 - 7:57 am

        It’s first time I write here. English is not my native language. So I am sorry for my errors.

        I agree. Sookie is his addiction. And he lies to himself that he can control himself. He almost drained Sookie. He couldn’t control himself at all unlike Eric. At the end of 3 season we clearly saw that Eric completely controlled himself when he was drinking her blood.

        And I think Bill has never loved her. He had a lot of possibilities to tell truth, to ask forgiveness. And probably she could forgive him. But he always tried to hide the truth, to get rid of the witnesses. But I don’t understand Sookie. All Bill traits were clear for everybody. There were a lot of signs that she should give up Bill. I now rewatch the show. And only now I noticed that even at first Bill’s appearance we could feel a very strange energy, very strong and dark.

        But I am not sure that Bill was sociopath in his human life. I think it was Lorena’s blood and her influence. I don’t know if Bill can change. I’d like it’ll happen. But for him it’d be a very long way and very difficult.

      • #9 by Katya on March 9, 2011 - 6:56 am

        Your english is very good. Do not apologize for that.

        I think she was just another victim at first but he became addicted and her southern innocence also reminded him of his lost wife.
        You can still love someone and lie. I believe that. However, he never had a conscience about any of what he was doing except when she rejected him
        or discovered his lies or manipulations. He did give off a lot of negative signals now and I feel stupid for now seeing them at first since I have been watching since season one.

        I am not sure about Bill and his human life myself. I need more evidence I think though that might be a good blog to compare and contrast and debate that question concerning Bill.
        Regardless of why or how Bill became a sociopath, he cannot love Sookie because he is still mentally unstable.
        Bill needs to realize his addiciton like anybody else would need to recognize their addictions in order to move on.

  4. #10 by ENA on March 7, 2011 - 9:32 pm

    I also think another valid point is that when bill first meets Sookie he is less than polite (with the whole vein between your legs bit) but as soon as he saw she wasn’t some fang banging whore he put on he southern gent act.. I think the first impression was the real one!!!

    • #11 by Katya on March 7, 2011 - 9:58 pm

      Exactly. Several people have commented on how his style of dress if different around Sookie as well. Notice he has the button up shirt on with Sookie in episode 2×10 then when he goes to see the queen he is decked out in all black with a leather jacket on, etc. He does the same thing later on when the queen comes by after he is exposed in front of Sookie in episode 3×12. Bill is simply a con artist and he’s so great at it because he is a sociopath.

      • #12 by ENA on March 7, 2011 - 10:41 pm

        Very true, bill is a fake.. And a actor.. Eric is himself whether there are vamps around or humans bill has two different lifes I hope that Sookie will really understand this and see that Bill is a liar and user..

      • #13 by Katya on March 7, 2011 - 11:03 pm

        Me too. That’s the biggest thing to realize. At least Eric was always real.

  5. #14 by Bobsgran on March 7, 2011 - 10:29 pm

    Glad to see you back. And glad to read your posts. A fact I found a little scary is that 1 in 25 people can manifest this behaviour. Yikes. I’ve wondered if he was a sociopath in his human life. I guess we may never know.

    • #15 by ENA on March 7, 2011 - 10:36 pm

      Well since we have only seen his human flash backs from his POV we have only seen him in a good light.. I’m looking forward to more flash backs and I hope they show him in a dark light.. There’s nothing wrong with him being bad a true bill fan with love him no less.. Just like me with Eric I love him when he’s bad and good I actually find Bill more interesting when he is bad it’s more natural oh yeah and Eddie the vamp said that vampires carry over some of there human traits when they are made.. Perhaps bill wasn’t a angel

      • #16 by Katya on March 7, 2011 - 10:54 pm

        That is also true…
        All the flashbacks have been from Bill’s pov and are probably skewed to his perception of how he wants to be portrayed or wants to remember things….again, his own overblown ego.

    • #17 by Katya on March 7, 2011 - 10:52 pm

      Thank you too.
      Yes. That’s one of the many reasons this particular book stood out to me, that scary statistic.
      If it’s such a reality of life, AB would be wise to depict it openly.

      About Bill, I think it’s possible that he was in his human life. Sunny and others have pointed out that Bill was ready to shoot the boy screaming in the field as a soldier without a second thought really until the other man sacrificed his life running out to try save him; the boy in the field ended up living.

      When Bill seemed honorable for turning down Lorena, he may have simply not been interested in her for sex. He got what he wanted: the food. She was of no concern to him after that, especially since he was just ready to go home and rest (we could joke that he could have at least offered Lorena a kiss for her help haha). Part of the reason he never loved Lorena was because he wasn’t truly attracted to her, apart from a probably inability to love in the first place.

      The only thing that gets me is the whole “Bill returns home” flashback. He shows an attachment to his family, even as a vampire. However, I think he mourns more for being a human than anything. Bill doesn’t like being a vampire really. He grasps for emotion he doesn’t have and thinks he can get back as a human, for whatever reason. They would have fed his ego similar to the way that Sookie does.
      Plus, if you think about it the whole act was really selfish because he led his crazy maker right to his family and put his human wife at risk.

      So unless the whole point of that flashback was to show that Bill had emotions as a human that he lacks as a vampire (which seems unlikely because as Eddie said: “we are who we are when we were human”), then Bill was seeking to feed his own ego being with humans and not have to face the fact that he was a vampire. In actuality, that is selfish because he wants to live vicariously through others around him.

  6. #18 by Accol on March 8, 2011 - 1:58 am

    Wow, you guys really don’t care for Bill around here. I don’t think his human life was an evil one or even a quietly sociopathic one. However, I do think that you are what your Maker makes you. Eric has some of Godric in him; Bill has some of Lorena in him. That’s how the magic works and that’s how Bill may have become a sociopath.

    That being said, Russell Edgington was/is obviously a sociopath. Franklin Mott was probably more of a psychopath than a sociopath. QSA is not afraid to keep her humans like cattle. I think Eric is the exception to the vampire rule and Bill follows the vampire rule.

    • #19 by Katya on March 8, 2011 - 4:19 am

      I agree that there is a distinct possibility that Lorena’s blood contributed to Bill’s behavior. I left open the possibility that Bill might have also had some kind of mental breakdown because of being turned in that manner and by a crazy woman like Lorena. He never recovered from the mental breakdown and in combination with Lorena’s blood, developed into his sociopathy.
      I did an article on Blood Bonds so I can see that.

      I agree. Russell is the most evil individual on the show. Franklin Mott was mentally ill and a psychopath. QSA is simply narcissistic and insane.

    • #20 by Melody on April 13, 2011 - 2:52 am

      I’m late here, but I remember a certain flashback in which human Bill wanted to shoot a boy during the war because his screaming “annoyed” him. Sounds very kind-hearted to me…

      • #21 by Katya on April 13, 2011 - 5:54 pm

        Exactly. I could have used that as a big example but felt like the wartime situation might challenge that position though I completely agree with you.

  7. #22 by Freyja on March 8, 2011 - 4:45 am

    Great to have you back Kat 🙂 This was an awesome post, so scary that there are 1 out of 25 people sociopath 😦
    You said it all in your post and in you comments, I have not much to add. For me Bill is the most evil on this show bc he hides his true identity, I haven’t really seen anything real from him, except when he first appeared and the flashback to the Chicago killing, oh and when he threw Eric in the cement and called Reuben. Everything else is an act, that is why he was always so over dramatic in every scene (who really acts like that?). Many of us thought it was just SM bad acting but I think this was the way he was suppose to be portrayed. I don’t really think Russell is the most evil like Accol said, because he clearly has also a lot of love in him, real love, but he’s not a sociopath. But yes Russell is evil though!
    Keep up the good work and thank you 🙂 CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT SEASON!!!!!!!

    • #23 by Katya on March 8, 2011 - 5:34 am

      Well Bill is a con artist, that is true. I agree that I have doubted Russell as a true sociopath due to his capacity to love. Russell is an interesting case worth exploring further especially since AB spoiled his return. I think Russell is the most dangerous of the villains and has the largest capacity for destruction though as outlined in my True Blood Villians article. Though, as we both agree upon, his full sociopathy can be doubted due to his obvious capacity to love.
      Yeah, those two scenes with Bill were real! LOL
      I thought SM was a bad actor till I saw more and more of the real conscienceless, career minded Bill.

      Thank you again Missy for the comment and reading!
      I CAN NOT WAIT EITHER OBVIOUSLY and need to do many more posts leading up to the premiere.

  8. #24 by eriklover on March 8, 2011 - 12:32 pm

    so glad 2 find this blog. I have so much to say & most is agreement with U re: BC & LOVE for EN as he is. badas$ & honest. I’ll B back!

    • #25 by Katya on March 8, 2011 - 7:20 pm

      Thank you so much and Welcome!!

  9. #26 by Mony on March 8, 2011 - 5:33 pm

    Soooo happy you came back! I missed your excellents posts!!!
    I think made a great post focusing on some important points that lead us to clearly see at Bill as a sociopath.
    I always looked at him in this way becouse sadly i recognized in him, in his way to move around his “victim” , lots of the muders/abuses/stalking against women.
    And i really believe that AB just started with him….we didn’t see his end…yet.

    • #27 by Katya on March 8, 2011 - 7:24 pm

      Thank you, Thank you. I’m happy to be back and I am thinking of expanding the site and I have been working on it obviously.
      He thinks of all humans as vulnerable victims ripe for the picking but does not have the same intentions that Russell does though he thinks the same in all actuality. Remember that he went on that little speech about humans and thought manipulation to Sookie in the first season.

      Well I thought coming from an academic and scientific viewpoint would most prove what we already knew about Bill.

  10. #28 by skylar451@joenarciso.com on March 9, 2011 - 12:01 am

    I haven’t even read your update yet but I am soap happy you ar back! We missed you!! Now I will read with a smile.

    • #29 by Katya on March 9, 2011 - 6:43 am

      ❤ AWH thanks. Again, all of you are too nice and I love you all! Thank you for reading!

  11. #30 by Lidia on March 9, 2011 - 3:59 pm

    OK, with Bill everything is quite clear. Maybe he loves Sookie in his way of loving. But why didn’t she want to notice a lot of signs? They have only two things in common – sex and her blood. He almost killed her. But at the finale of 3 season I was almost in shock. He said that he’ll kill everybody who will try her blood. He said that he got rid of Eric and Pam. And she says – stay, don’t go. What was it? We know she cares about Pam and Eric. And so calm reaction? Like they mean nothing to her. Sure everything changed when she knew the truth. But even without this truth she should have stop with this entire story. So first of all I don’t understand her.

    • #31 by Katya on March 10, 2011 - 2:00 am

      Everybody wants to ignore the signs when their in love I think.
      I think Sookie was addicted to Bill as well.
      She was acting like an addict herself.
      I’m guessing she was addicted to the sex and the attentions of a vampire and ignored all the warning signs because of it. She also felt some obligation because he had protected her so much and she figured he only had the best intentions despite the warning signs but when she learned it was basically his job to protect her, at least initially, she was through with feeling that obligation and being addicted to him. She wants Bill for the dangerous vampire thing and Alcide because he seems like the light (literally and figuratively) she feels she is missing in her life. However, she can get the scary badass vampire and the light inside of Eric as well in one. However, the only thing missing is the sun but if her blood provides a temp sunscreen, maybe that’s a new plot that AB wants to add to the romantic mix. I am not sure.

      Sookie is confusing but I will try/ attempt to analyze more characters psychologically, including her.

  12. #32 by skylar451 on March 10, 2011 - 5:49 am

    Do you believe AB statement regarding S and B’s being ” soulmates” refers to the fact that as a sociopath, Bill shows no sign of a soul and ad a result, has basically stolen Sookie’s as his own? He has gradually stolen everything else from her.
    Also, since most things on the show are not left by chance, it seems like Bill’s ever changing wig was anither clue that he is a fake.

    • #33 by Katya on March 10, 2011 - 9:25 pm

      No. I see it as AB saying that they learn a lot about life together and grow as individuals together (the hard way) or that they are forever changed by their experiences together for better or worse.
      However, I like your idea as well. That is possible.

      Bill is a con artist and he is good at it but usually you can’t hide a secret forever.

  13. #34 by Reformed Bill Fan on March 11, 2011 - 1:13 am

    after reading how you have described Bill’s behaviour it seems almost like he has some delusion that Sookie somehow needs saving…however he is not saving her for the right reasons.

    • #35 by Katya on March 10, 2011 - 9:30 pm

      Well he brings out her dependent tendencies rather than empowering her because it’s more about what she is bringing to him (actually completely) than anything he brings to her. In reality, she needs saving because of him.

  14. #36 by cesyya on March 13, 2011 - 11:01 pm

    reading lidia’s comment, i actually think the same thing, i dont understand sookie, i mean when bill tells her about eric and pam she just didnt care.. at all, i thought she was gonna freak out or something, but she just stood there asking him to stay, i think she has troubles too lol sorry for my english.

    • #37 by Katya on March 14, 2011 - 12:23 am

      yeah I think that’s one of the many reasons I did my blog post about Sookie after this one…
      I came to the conclusion that she has Dependent Personality Disorder and is therefore so desperate to not be alone
      that she was willing to take A LOT of BS from Bill to the point of madness. Reminded that she had the support of Eric,
      she was able to let go. Because she is so weak, if she didn’t have the fairies to go to then she would have been in sad
      shape. Remember, she ran to the grave of her first protector, Gran…..after the break-up with Bill.
      She always needs someone in her life to be her protector….or thinks she does need a protector.
      When she thought Eric was gone, she figured Bill as her only hope.
      She always turns to someone else when desperate and lonely…remember that she turned to Sam as soon as Bill was gone in season 1.

      Read my article on Sookie above this one….
      Your english is good!

  15. #38 by cesyya on March 14, 2011 - 9:31 pm

    i just read your post about sookie, and it was great, that explains a lot… a lot about her, why she acts the way she does, but i dont know it makes me think that she’s gonna be with eric just becouse she doesnt wanna be lonely, not becouse she really wants to be with him, i know that later in the books she truly loves him or maybe not later, she’s always loved him, i mean who wouldnt love eric lol, but i dont know, it actually bothers me, couse it feels like she’s using him in book 4.

    • #39 by Katya on March 15, 2011 - 1:32 pm

      I think she is with Eric initially just because she doesn’t want to be lonely at first…in book four and it will be on the show as well.
      However, I think she gradually does find a pure affection for Eric and love him out of nothing but her pure affection and the trust they build despite her betrayl by Bill.

      HOWEVER, I think that the beauty of her relationship with Eric is that she will discover her personal strength and independence and overcome her disorder.
      When she’s done discovering that, she’ll realize that she still loves Eric even though she’s not really just looking for someone in general anymore, so he’s right for her.
      Eric builds her up and not down to suit himself and she’ll realize that.
      Plus, the things that will go done with Alcide in the future will just make her realize she was just lonely then as well.

      • #40 by cesyya on March 16, 2011 - 2:24 pm

        yeah you’re right, that’s the beauty of their relationship, he makes her a better person, and vice versa, i think they complement each other, this was the first time i write here, thanks for your answers, and btw great post!

      • #41 by Katya on March 16, 2011 - 3:55 pm

        Yes, they are better together than apart…that is the beauty of it. No thank you! I try to always respond to anyone who takes the time to comment. I would try my best to do that even if I had hundreds of comments. All of my readers are very important to me.

  16. #42 by Linn on March 20, 2011 - 8:18 pm

    Nice post, very intrigueing. You seem to be on to something, though I think it could be a more general trait of true blood vampires, perhaps exacerbated by a disposition of Bill’s to act antisocial. I don’t think Bill would actually qualify for a diagnosis of APD, his behavioral pattern of attachment doesn’t really fit the profile.

    He may be largely self-serving, and wholly desentisised to violence and murder (which is perfectly possible for non-sociopaths to become and TB vamps have had time and opportunity), but he has put Sookie’s life before his own, and while I haven’t watched the third season, his self-proclaimed love has not looked like the casual pure-gain possession patterns of true sociopaths. A sociopath couldn’t have loved his wife, mourned his children, and wouldn’t have killed Bartlett (though it could be argued that Bartlett damaged a possession of his, but then it went against his larger goals of procuring Sookie’s devotion), and wouldn’t have deigned to even occasionally care for Jessica (an objective burden for him) at all.

    There’s too much complex emotion in Bill to be able to compare him to someone actually suffering from APD, in my opinion. Sociopaths are truly unable to form relationships that are meaningful even to themselves, they can’t feel it.

    Bill is however, an asshole, and his relationship with Sookie is beyond unhealthy.

    • #43 by Katya on March 25, 2011 - 4:18 pm

      I wonder if his attachment to people or things is simply an extension of what is benefiting him (Jessica helps him protect Sookie, his wife and his children were links to his human life, Sookie provides a link to his human life and gives him great blood and great sex) but I agree that is the only potential flaw in this theory I think (mainly because of the flashback to his human life that confused me because of the other patterns of his behavior shown). I think he is getting something for himself out of his relationships though most of us do I guess.

      I wholly respect your opinion and please come back to challenge me anytime! 🙂

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