Author Topic: Was Henry VIII a Sociopath?  (Read 8106 times)

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Was Henry VIII a Sociopath?
« on: March 22, 2010, 08:33:43 AM »
I was reading the other thread about whether or not Henry VII had Bi-Polar disorder,
and I would definately agree that he probably had a personality disorder but am not convinced on the
Bi-polar theory.
However do any of you think that Henry could've possibly been a sociopath?
These types of people tend to have no conscience, and would do anything for gain even if it means hurting the other person?
A few famous business men and Tyrants are known sociopaths for example, Robert Maxwell.
Just thought I would throw this question in here :) Hopefully, it has not been asked before?

Would love to hear your thoughts.


Offline Kimberly

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Re: Was Henry VIII a Sociopath?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2010, 09:58:33 AM »
Hi Rona Rose and you are very welcome to join in here. Please feel free to chip in with anything that takes your fancy.

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Offline stacey

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Re: Was Henry VIII a Sociopath?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2010, 05:11:03 AM »
*Warning* I majored in psychology and I could go on and on about this!!  ;)

Some of his behavior definitely points towards sociopathy IMHO (what is now generally called "Antisocial Personality Disorder"). He certainly could be cold, calculating, cruel and callous, even towards people who had long considered him a close friend.

But I think we have to consider him in the context of his life and times. Even his daughter Queen Elizabeth I, who most definitely was not a sociopath, had people executed when she considered it necessary--most famously in the case of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. Back then, when monarchs had virtually unlimited power and people were constantly scheming against you, it was pretty much the law of the jungle: kill or be killed.

Henry was ruthless and extremely narcissistic, and a man who callously tosses one wife aside (Katherine of Aragon), and murders two others (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard) is not what anyone would call a nice guy.  ::) I think he may have had some sociopathic traits, but he is a vivid reminder to me of that old saying:

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

I think that definitely happened in Henry's case!! I'd love to hear other people's opinions on this, since I've wondered about it myself.  :)


« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 05:14:12 AM by stacey »
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Re: Was Henry VIII a Sociopath?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2010, 08:01:39 PM »
I basically agree with you.

The 1600-century was vastly different from today, both in social norms and behaviour. Thus it's quite difficult to label someone like Henry VII in modern terms like sociopath. That word implies that you don't follow societies normal social behaviour patterns, which I feel that Henry did on some level. 
Also being in any absolute power position, and in the 1600-century were you might be killed or dethroned could cause you to develop narcissistic and cruel behaviour. Stories of such behaviour are plenty across Europe in the 1600-century.

But yes, I think that Henry was in the heavy end so to speak in having narcissistic traits, but a sociopath in a modern sence, I'm not convinced.   

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Re: Was Henry VIII a Sociopath?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2010, 11:31:51 PM »
I don't agree with a lot of his decisions, but please, let's keep in mind that Henry was not meant to be King. He was the second child. Surely he never thought he would have so much power in his hands, and he was not educated to this. I think many of his act are results of this lack in his education. Besides, as Duke of York, he didn't have much concerns or duties. He was spoiled by everyone, and I think that's why he had so many wives and mistresses. He wasn't happy with just one, so he needed to feel happy. I'm not agreeing with the fact he sent two wives to their death and left another two. I'm just saying that he wasn't "born to be King", his brother Arthur was, so he just wasn't ready to this. Plus, his personality and humor was very vulnerable. Put this togheter with great power in the hand of a spoiled man, what can you get?