Thinking Fans on Todd: Marilyn Henry says, “I do not understand how some fans see him as sexy or hot. He is cruel. Sick. Unfeeling for others. As such, he is dangerous” … while Dale agrues, “Just because I and others find something of worth in watching Todd does not make our opinions any less valid than yours, or Marlena’s, or Joe Blow’s” … and more. See Comments below.
By Damon L. Jacobs
What do you call someone who is capable of committing abhorrent crimes against others? What do you call a man who can rape another person, attack a blind woman, lie to his own wife that their newborn is dead, kidnap a woman who is presumed dead by her friends and family, and then plot to fake his own grand child’s death? If you live in One Life to Live‘s Llanview, you call that man Todd Manning .
If you’re in the therapist’s chair, you call that person “Antisocial.” When most of us hear the word “Antisocial” we think of someone who doesn’t like to socialize at parties. But in clinical terms, the term refers to an individual who is capable of
Todd doesn’t truly want to atone for his crimes, he doesn’t authentically want to stand up and do the right thing. He just wants his “pizza,” i.e., Marty’s love.
committing horrendous violent crimes against others without any sense of guilt or remorse. They can lie, cheat, rape, even kill, without batting an eyelash. The only type of regret they express is when they have been caught, or when they have done something to sabotage their goals. Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and Scott Peterson are all classic example of individuals with symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder.
Frequently, if individuals with Antisocial are not held accountable for their crimes, then they will raise their violent behaviors to a new level. I believe we have seen this take place in the past year with Todd (played by Trevor St. John). Not only did he brutally assault Cole twice, but then he went on to hold Marty Saybrooke hostage (mentally if not physically), and then rape her. Any hope that Todd’s love for his daughter could save him was squashed when we saw him turn on Starr, and plot to fake the death of her unborn baby so that he could raise the child as his own with Marty. Clearly his emotional and physical violence have escalated, and the consequences are getting more and more dangerous for everyone involved.
Now, some may argue that Todd in fact has changed. I have read arguments from people who say Todd’s love for Marty is pure, albeit misguided, that his actions reflect that true love, and that his suicide attempt proved that he is capable of guilt.
To these points I must disagree. Sure, Todd has been bummed out and suicidal about how things have turned out for him. But all this has taken place in a context of thinking that is considered “egocentric.” Egocentrism refers to the tendency to be unable to comprehend how another person feels or thinks separate from himself. In Todd’s case we can see he is depressed and remorseful that he didn’t get his happy ending with Marty. But he is unable to comprehend how his actions have severely damaged Marty emotionally, not to mention how he harmed Cole, Starr, Blair, or poor Dr. Joplin.
An analogy might make it clearer. Let’s say one is waiting for a pizza, and the delivery person is in a horrible accident on the way to their home. A compassionate person may feel upset that someone was harmed, be concerned for their health, and perhaps even feel some guilt. An egocentric person would simply be upset that the pizza hasn’t arrived. Todd doesn’t truly want to atone for his crimes, he doesn’t authentically want to stand up and do the right thing. He just wants his “pizza,” i.e., Marty’s love.
Unfortunately, the prognosis is not good for people with this disorder. In the real world, it is unusual someone with Antisocial would seek out therapy, unless it’s part of a scam. Typically the only way someone with Antisocial gets treatment is in a prison setting, and even then it’s unlikely they are suddenly going to be able to develop a moral conscience.
What do you think Todd deserves as punishment? Do you believe it is possible for him to be rehabilitated? Do you see any similarities or differences between Todd’s crimes and Annie’s crimes from All My Children? The Soap Shrink wants to know what YOU think!
Damon L. Jacobs is a family and relationship therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve. He blogs regularly at www.shouldless.com.