Friday, October 24, 2014

More on compassion

These two comments as a little bit of a follow up on empathy and compassion discussion:

why is it that so many empaths expect the sociopath to unfailingly feel things the way they do, no matter how much effort is required, yet are unwilling to put the same amount of effort into managing their own emotions? 


to me compassion feels expansive, like a feeling of connectedness where no one is better or worse than you, a feeling where we're all in it together... just like a drug high but without the drugs. compassion makes me want to paint or write, create art. or freely give you money as if i'm giving it to myself. and that's cool 'cause we're one. : )

empathy feels tight and urgent, like a toothache. it's personal, in its own tight little space, and more about filling my needs even though i'm actively filling yours. i may be feeling with you, but not WHAT you're feeling. and the whole point is to calm my own feelings. if i give you money, it's because things aren't okay and i'm hoping the money will change that. empathy that has no outlet just makes me want to get drunk. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Informed consent

From a reader:

An old friend of mine and I are talking.  She too is in the legal profession, is brilliant, and scored really high on the psychopathic deviate portion of the MMPI.

She is full of crap in a pleasant kind of way, doesn't seem to have any vices that I cannot tolerate.  We knew each other 20 years ago and just started talking.  We had a wonderful weekend a while back and spend lots of time in the evenings talking or typing via social media and/or text.

She, like me, has been with people who have in one way or another been abusive.  She says that through a year of therapy, she and therapist have deconstructed her old construct for dealing with things.  At times, when I ask her how she feels about us, she says she has no access to the information.

She is very honest it seems and given me detached advice, detachment being a forte of hers, lol.  ("First: Run. Like hell. The cons are this broad is WAY to fucked up in the head to make the pros worth dealing with. If, however, you choose to ignore THAT bit of advice... Second: be patient. You are dealing with a very damaged individual who has deep-seated trust issues as well as a host of other psychological problems. If you really are foolhardy enough to want to venture into something more than a really fun friendship (which is a *really* bad idea, it will likely do more harm to you than you *ever* thought possible), you are going to have to move very slowly and carefully.")

When I mention her emotional state, she reacts like a turtle and withdraws.  If she is affectionate and I act like I do not notice it, it's ok because I am not calling her attention to it being vulnerable.  

She is trying to talk me out of being with her and seems to think that I will end up being hurt.  I think things might be workable.  We live four hours away, with her near my hometown where I go see my parents.  I don't necessarily think that choosing a partner based on logic rather than emotion is a bad thing.  In fact, our "hearts" often get us in trouble.  She seems to be a good, practical fit for me if we can work around this.  And I her.

I have questions:
1) When she says she is wary about letting me too far into her head ( "I have been straightforward about what a mess I am, and about the fact I don't believe any decent human being deserves to have to deal with my shit. I'm willing to try anything once or a few times, but I honestly believe I'm too damaged to be functional in any kind of healthy relationship and that mere exposure to the full scope of the mess in my head is enough to damage a decent person far beyond what I find acceptable. Like I said - I like you. You're a great guy. Which is exactly why I don't want to let you too far in"), what does she mean?  She is less hateful than my ex-wife, who was Jezebel reincarnate.  What is inside there, and how can I handle/manage/deal with  it?  If I can?

2) Does this seem viable enough for us to take things slowly?  We have no choice.  She is an attorney, I teach college English, and we live a little ways away.  

3) She is determined not to show "vulnerability" by acting as if she cares for me.  When I pin her on it, she says things like "i won't admit to it, but the fact that I was whining when you needed to get off the phone ought to tell you something."  Facta non verba here, correct?

4) Any other advice you might have?  I would like things to work, but I don't want to feel used either. 

"I read this recently on your blog as posted by another reader: 'With other sociopaths, I believe there is fear of rejection, inability to respond emotionally and the ever-present wall so many of us have built. We get sick of being rejected, of being labeled, judged or 'fixed.' When someone gets past the wall of a sociopath, they will typically find a deep pool of human emotions they didn't expect. These emotions are shown to few and are always followed by efforts to re-establish comfortable emotional distance. If you're not a sociopath and you had the opportunity to 'swim in the pool,' feel privileged, as few do. We're lonely, misunderstood people.' 

A friend of mine who is sociopathic claims to protect me by 'not letting me too far inside.'  What may be in there, and why the reluctance?"

Thanks for your knowledge and all you do.  Respects!  

And since I'm like 11 months behind in replying to emails, upon asking for a quick follow up on what had happened in the last year, the reader continued:

She ended up just cutting off contact. And marrying a man who was a lot like me, yet obviously dumb and easy to control.  I bet he doesnt know about her psychopathy, though he will find out about this eventually, I am sure.  Then again, there are people who are ok with this.

I ended up going on antidepressants but then realized that plenty of people have selfish motives and veil them,which may be even more dishonest.  Like some of you typed, it's kind of like surviving cancer, being let in that far.  But I don't regret the experience at all.  Big insight into human nature . . .

She did have integrity and did give me the chance to have informed consent, which she did not have to do.  Why do you think she even bothered with this?? Maybe she liked me enough to not let me in too far, or maybe because I was/am intelligent, I wouldn't be easy enough or fun enough to try to dupe.

I have learned from this: being raised by motorcycle clubs since I was 16, I am very loyal though I myself have sociopathic leanings in the eyes of the dominant culture due to this.  I put my people first.  I have learned that channeling this woman appropriately and thinking about how somebody like her might handle a situation allows me to detach enough to think critically and oftentimes give the people I work around what they want without hurting anybody *or* coming on too strong with it, which she does sometimes.

I am Wiccan and am joining the Freemasons, so these things provide me with a good background to not feel bad about getting what I want while still providing an injunction against deliberately screwing other people over.

The experience freaked me out, but it taught me a lot too.

Any commentary would be appreciated.

My response: The idea of informed consent is interesting, I find myself doing it with people that I sort of respect -- they're not the average sheep, but someone whom I could honestly see myself having uncommon meetings of the minds with. I sort of write about it here.

She reminds be a little bit of the Violet character from True Blood, if you've seen it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Feckless Aspie, Clueless Sociopath

From a comment in response to the question of why do aspie's come across so much better than sociopaths do:

I can see a few reasons.

The aspie comes off as feckless; he can't help it. 

There are a few ways the sociopath can blow it. 

1) He doesn't anticipate the disgust. E.g. an American in Thailand might pat a kid on the head. Similarly, I might remark to a mother/daughter pair, "it is amazing to think that she came out of you," because I just don't have the same feelings about things. Observers think, "the sociopath is disgusting."

2) He acts charming to get something. Then he takes it, impulsively, when the opportunity appears. Feelings of betrayal and hatred arise in the victim and observers, because the victim thinks, "he could & should have kept doing what I liked. He shouldn't have betrayed me." If you asked the sociopath why he deceived, he might say, "I gave the person what he wanted. Later, I saw an opportunity to take what I wanted, and I did."

3) The sociopath gets irritated by a person. There's stimulus -> rage -> plotting/scheming. The sociopath mostly thinks. He doesn't experience his feelings much. His response is to "act" either by doing something or thinking about what to do; it isn't to experience the feelings, question the feelings, question the assessment of the situation that led to the feelings. The sociopath might build weapons (or the equivalent) and stash them, anticipating a conflict; that's a way to "let off steam" by taking action. 

Finally, in response to a trigger, the sociopath lashes out and executes a plan, perhaps using preplanned elements. Outside observers see the sociopath as being impulsive, vicious, premeditated and overreacting. 

Feelings of horror or fear arise in observers and they decide the sociopath is very frightening, extreme and beyond redemption. It doesn't help that when they interview the sociopath after the stuff, he'll probably sound quite unemotional; observers will translate that into, "he not human."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Do narcissists love?

I've been reading Sam Vaknin's book "Malignant Self Love" and thought I would share his opinion on how narcissists view love, in contrast to how sociopaths conceive of love:
Do narcissists miss loving, would they have liked to love and are they angry with their parents for crippling them so?

To the narcissist, these questions are incomprehensible. There is no way he can answer them. Narcissists never love. They do not know what is it that they are supposedly missing. Observing it from the outside, love seems to them to be a risible pathology. They equate love with weakness. They hate being weak and they hate and despise weak people (such as the very old, the sick, the poor, and the very young). They do not tolerate what they consider to be stupidity, disease and dependence - and love seems to be comprised of all three. These are not sour grapes. They really feel this way.

Narcissists are angry men - but not because they never experienced love and probably never will. They are angry because they are not as powerful, awe inspiring and successful as they wish they were and, to their mind, deserve to be. Because their daydreams refuse so stubbornly to come true. Because they are their worst enemy. And because, in their unmitigated paranoia, they see adversaries plotting everywhere and feel discriminated against and contemptuously ignored.
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