Cold-Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping that Hurts

( 9 )

Overview

In this searing exploration of deadly codependency, the author takes the reader on a spellbinding voyage of discovery that examines the questions: Are some people naturally too caring? Is caring sometimes a mask for darker motives? Can science help us understand how our concerns for others can hurt everything we hold dear? This gripping story brings extraordinary insight to our deepest questions. Is kindness always the right answer? Is kindness always what it seems?

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Cold-Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping That Hurts

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Overview

In this searing exploration of deadly codependency, the author takes the reader on a spellbinding voyage of discovery that examines the questions: Are some people naturally too caring? Is caring sometimes a mask for darker motives? Can science help us understand how our concerns for others can hurt everything we hold dear? This gripping story brings extraordinary insight to our deepest questions. Is kindness always the right answer? Is kindness always what it seems?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Riveting and disturbing…."
-Joyce Carol Oates

"…[A] masterpiece."
-Dr. Helen Smith

"… [A] terrific book."
-Steven Pinker

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616144197
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 4/26/2011
  • Pages: 275
  • Sales rank: 1,411,336
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara A. Oakley, PhD (Rochester, MI), is the acclaimed author of Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend. She has been dubbed a female Indiana Jones—her writing combines worldwide adventure with solid research expertise. Among other adventures, she has worked as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers in the Bering Sea, served as radio operator at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, and risen from Private to Regular Army Captain in the US Army. Currently an associate professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan, Oakley is a recent vice president of the world's largest bioengineering society and holds a doctorate in the integrative discipline of systems engineering.

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Read an Excerpt

COLD-BLOODED KINDNESS

Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping That Hurts
By Barbara Oakley

Prometheus Books

Copyright © 2011 Barbara Oakley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-61614-420-3


Chapter One

A KILLING IN MILLARD COUNTY, UTAH

I don't know why we're here, but I'm pretty sure that it's not in order to enjoy ourselves. —Ludwig Wittgenstein (Wittgenstein also noted: "A good guide will take you through the more important streets more often than he takes you down side streets; a bad guide will do the opposite. In philosophy I'm a rather bad guide.")

Carole Elizabeth Alden stood scared in the shadows, a sweaty target in the cool Great Basin evening. She had spent the evening slipping from room to room, always one step ahead, trying to remain unseen.

The caged rats, dead several days now, were drying. But the lizards were alive—alert and nervous in their separate cages. The snakes waited motionless, their pit organs attuned to the heat of potential victims.

But rats, lizards, and snakes were the least of Carole's worries. She was a tiny thing—a whisker short of five feet. Her husky husband stood a foot taller—if he wanted to, he could wrestle her to the ground in a second. If that happened, there was no telling how things would unfold.

In their cages, the lizards skittered again.

She could hear Marty coming down the narrow hallway of the double-wide trailer that was their home. At least, until their real home could get built. Marty, she knew, was strung out on his favorite trio—alcohol, marijuana, and methadone. That was always when things would be their worst. Carole tried hard to keep her children shielded from the worst, which is why she had sent the ones still living with her away for the weekend.

Carole's children meant everything to her.

She tensed in the shadows.

Carole was handy with a gun; she had used one before to kill coyotes. Even so, her hands leapt up with the kickback, as if someone else had taken control of them. The blast happened too quickly for her to process—all she could hear now was the ringing.

When she looked at Marty sprawled on the floor in front of her, she was scared.

Marty's body was flaccid, as if he'd just passed out in a drunken, drugged stupor. Again.

She watched. A minute passed. Or maybe it was hours.

His shirt fluttered. A breath? An errant breeze from the air conditioner?

Maybe he wasn't really dead.

She had to make sure. Didn't want to come close until she was sure.

She needed a pillow.

Moments later, one was in hand.

She squatted low in front of Marty and propped the pillow against the top of his head, which was lying right eye down, tilted toward his chest. Then, still squatting, she aimed the muzzle of the Smith & Wesson .38 at the pillow and pulled the trigger. The bullet drilled parallel to the floor through the pillow. It bored through the crown of Marty's skull and into the softness beneath. In less than a hundredth of a second, Marty's ability to speak, if it had even remained, was wiped clean. Vanished, along with his sense of logic, numbers, and ultimately, self. Damage done, the bullet slid through the roof of Marty's mouth, blowing out under the left side of his chin.

The gunpowder smelled oddly like urine. But it was hard to tell—the house itself smelled like death.

Carole covered Marty with a blanket so she wouldn't have to look. She was tired now. Very tired.

She awakened with a start. Sliding from the couch, she realized she had to get Marty out of the house. Fast.

Carole was petite, but she was also strong. She was used to carting Marty around when he'd passed out. She'd done exactly that when she'd picked him up from the middle of the street earlier that evening—with a little help from bystanders—and stuffed him in her Jeep to haul home. But she'd never realized before that dragging a living body is different from toting a corpse in rigor mortis. Marty's two hundred–plus pounds had become pure stiff dead weight. No matter how she tugged, pulled, or wrestled, she couldn't seem to move him.

Wait. Think.

Think.

Rope. That was it.

The new lariat was stiff—perfect for her purposes. She lifted the blanket and slipped the loop around his feet. Alternately pulling and pushing, she was able to inch the lasso farther and farther up his body. It rested finally just beneath his armpits.

Then she went outside to clamber into the Jeep—a gift from her sister and brother-in-law to lift her from her hardscrabble life. Counter-cranking the steering wheel, she backed toward the house, twisting to look through the dusty rear window.

With the Jeep now as close as she could get it to the back door, she jumped out to hook the rope she had snaked out the door onto a tow strap, then around the trailer hitch. She was back in the Jeep within minutes.

Bald tires whined against the gravel, spinning uselessly against the weight of the body.

Marty wasn't moving.

Damn.

Now what?

Try again.

No go. Damn!

Gun it!

The tires skidded and spun in the gravel, their last bit of tread finally gaining traction, thrusting the Jeep forward.

Inside the house, the rope sawed taut with a hissing zzzzz against the doorframe. Marty's body sprang into motion, careening in a momentary resurrection against the row of cages stacked against the dining room wall. The snakes recoiled, hissing. Marty's body bounced back toward the foyer, leaving a trail of blood and taking out a bookcase as it careened its way toward the back door.

At the threshold, the body stopped momentarily—jackknifed against the bulging aluminum frame of the doublewide. Then, with a thwap, Marty's torso gave just enough, his body sailing out into the yard, taking out a back porch support post on the way.

There. Marty was out.

She jumped out of the Jeep and went around to stare at the body.

The next part wouldn't be easy.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from COLD-BLOODED KINDNESS by Barbara Oakley Copyright © 2011 by Barbara Oakley. Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Notes on Methods....................11
Dramatis personae....................13
Foreword by David Sloan Wilson....................17
Chapter 1: A Killing in Millard County, Utah....................21
Chapter 2: Mike McGrath's Disturbing Revelation....................27
Chapter 3: Mayberry with an Edge....................33
Chapter 4: Tough Love....................39
Chapter 5: Mike McGrath's Disturbing Revelation, Continued....................43
Chapter 6: A Compulsion to Care....................53
Chapter 7: Empathy's Echoes....................63
Chapter 8: Caring Starts Early....................77
Chapter 9: The Preliminary Hearing Begins....................85
Chapter 10: Marty Sessions....................99
Chapter 11: A Detective at Work....................111
Chapter 12: Cross-Examination by Mr. Slavens—Why the House Was a Wreck....................123
Chapter 13: Flashback....................133
Chapter 14: The Sanctity of the Victim....................137
Chapter 15: Hell on Wheels....................147
Chapter 16: Mike McGrath Applies Critical Thinking....................157
Chapter 17: A Love Affair with Art, Wooing the Press, and a Convenient Death....................165
Chapter 18: Why So Different?....................181
Chapter 19: Carole at Work....................187
Chapter 20: Allen Lake....................199
Chapter 21: I'm Right and You're Wrong....................203
Chapter 22: A Victim's Supporters....................213
Chapter 23: The War Room....................217
Chapter 24: Marty's Secrets....................227
Chapter 25: Media Maestro....................241
Chapter 26: Preliminary Hearing—The Grand Finale....................247
Chapter 27: Marty's Good Side....................257
Chapter 28: How Little We Know about Psychiatric Disorders....................267
Chapter 29: The Deal....................283
Chapter 30: Closure....................291
Acknowledgments....................311
Notes....................315
Photo and Illustration Credits....................369
Index....................373
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 28, 2011

    Disturbing & enlightening

    In 2006, artist and mother-of-five Carole Alden shot and killed her drug-addicted third husband Marty Sessions in their trailer home in rural Utah, dragged his body to a grave in the backyard, and then, at the urging of a friend, called the police to report what she had done. Alden pled self-defense justified by a history of abuse that made her fear for her safety. Cold-blooded Kindness tells the story.
    Author Oakley says that after her last book, Evil Genes, which explored the question of whether some people are just innately evil, she had become interested in looking at the question of whether our feelings of kindness can backfire and produce bad results. The Alden case seemed ideal for this subject, and she "was looking forward to the opportunity to write about someone nice for a change." She embarked on what was clearly extensive contact with Carole and Marty's family and friends, with the police, attorneys, and forensic specialists who worked on Carole's case, and with Carole herself. The more she learned, however, the murkier the picture became. Was Carole naïve, or was she a manipulator? Was she a devoted mother or guilty of child neglect, almost child abuse? Who was the real victim?
    The book tells a compelling story of troubled people, but it also has an important message, which can be summed up succinctly with a quote from psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Carlat, "In virtually all of the psychiatric disorders.the shadow of our ignorance overwhelms the few dim lights of our knowledge." Oakley presents the current research findings, theories, and controversies on codependence, the battered woman syndrome, victimology, and related issues, documented with extensive notes and citations for the interested or skeptical reader who wants to know more. Her investigation was so extensive that she has now co-edited a scholarly book called Pathological Altruism. Ironically, some of the research seems itself to be a good example of kindness gone awry, whereby researchers' desire to help the people they study makes them reject objective analysis that might lead ultimately to better solutions.
    Cold-blooded Kindness is a very ambitious book; indeed it is several books wrapped into one, and sometimes it seems a mite disorderly as it switches from discussion of Carole to research on battered women to the forensic investigations to current theories about genes and empathy. But it is always fascinating and worth your time, whether you are interested in true crime or the science behind what makes people act as they do.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    Se.x slave

    Fuq me at result 3

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Jason to Kane

    Back. Sorry, spent the weekend on a mountain with my relatives. Had no signal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Maccee

    Good. Pokes u

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Emily

    *nods and gets in the hot bath* (yeah.... started getting sick this morning)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2013

    Kane

    Aww man.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Broken

    Dips her head and leaves the den

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Kiriu

    She lays down. Not today. She sighed

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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