Monday, May 25, 2015

Am I a sociopath?

From a reader:

I come bearing the question countless others must have asked you. Identity is a confusing and often evasive concept: and though I like to believe I've established a firm sense of self, I'm unsure of my true nature. Am I a sociopath, or simply paranoid about certain characteristics? 

Between the years of approximately 8-11, I exhibited a textbook symptom of socio/psychopathy--torturing animals. I didn't know why I did it, there was no logical deduction for the matter. I wasn't expressing pent up rage or harboring intense feelings of vengeance, I just watched in morbid fascination. It was only a year or two later that I told my mother about it (spinning the tale slightly, of course, in order to retain a few layers of the facade I was sure that hid the monster I was) and receiving some degree of comfort at the assurance that I was no such beast. It was natural, she told me. Children often don't know what they're doing. But I knew what I was doing. And I knew that I felt nothing under the thin surface of anxiety and perplexity. 

My relationship with my family has been one of occasional turmoil. I regard them as little more than an experiment of sorts--I test out certain erratic behaviors and obscure ideologies in order to observe the reaction they cause among "normal" people and learn based on the results. It's not to say I don't love them in my own way. As with all my relationships, I love them off my perception of their ability to intellectually stimulate myself. I enjoy the responses I can elicit from my family members, particularly my conservative father. But if a bullet was racing towards one of them, I would regard the situation as an unfortunate obligation to step in front of it rather than devotion to a "familial bond". At least I might die an apparent hero--I'm a sucker for the spotlight. 

I used to have a friend that I would emotionally toy with more often than not. I was mindful of the effects of the backhanded compliments I gave to her and the jealousy I purposefully provoked among other things. It's easy to read this now and stereotype myself as a simple bitch, but I know that my manipulations were the result of boredom rather than true maliciousness. The same restlessness nearly got me killed by prompting myself to swallow a handful of pills years ago on a whim. I seek understanding and knowledge above all else (well, besides self-gratification), and as I walked past the cupboard I was struck by a longing to know. Curiosity (nearly) killed the cat, I suppose. 

Emotional trauma is nonexistent to me. I don't scar quite as easily as others-- all of the potentially triggering events in my life I regard with ambivalence at best. Ms. Thomas, I hate to sound presumptuous but throughout reading your book, but I was struck by the similarity of our upbringings. My father was abusive toward us for a time, yet I have been raised in an actively devout (although Catholic) family. In spite of the fact that I cannot bring myself to wholeheartedly believe in any particular religion, I refuse to negate the possibilities. 

I could describe multiple other instances where I was certain I was a sociopath, but I do not like to wear such heavy labels. I find them constraining on my interactions with others. However, my antithesis of this plea for understanding is the odd inconsistencies with my fitting in to this mental condition.  While emotional manipulation is endlessly entertaining, I despise asking for material favors if I am in true need. I don't typically go out of my way to damage the feelings of others unless I am provoked by intense boredom, and although I refrain from expressing or even experiencing substantial emotion I think that I care for a few of my friends; if only due to their profound capacity for intellectual conversation. I am risk taking and spontaneous to the point of concern, but I find unlimited joy in pondering the mysteries of life. Do these things eliminate me from the possibility of being a sociopath? 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sofia the First: Good Little Witch

File this under the heading of good things to show young budding sociopaths or children with other anti-social personalities (aspies? autistics?), Sofia tries to teach her witch friend that she can use her powers for good rather than evil and that it is in her best interest to do so (also good brainwashing about victims giving people a second change despite their fears and reluctance to trust):

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Seeing people for what they are

“These people who can see right through you never quite do you justice, because they never give you credit for the effort you're making to be better than you actually are, which is difficult and well meant and deserving of some little notice.”

― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Anti-psychopath non profit?

From a reader:

I came across this post:

This made me wonder whether a tax-exempt "charitable" organization could have a questionably discriminatory purpose, such as freeing the world of psychopaths. I don't know, but I highly suspect that a non-profit dedicated to denigrating people suffering from other mental health problems would not be deemed to be sufficiently charitable.

I thought it was worth pointing out. I am curious whether there is a mechanism to object to a (c)(3) application.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Monetary incentives

From a self-identified narcissist who has sociopathic leanings:

I'm mentioning this to you because it illustrates your point about sociopaths and incentives.

I've been in a few long-term relationships with women. In the beginning, I'm on my best behavior, because I'm trying to seduce them and get them to want to give me whatever I want. After I sense that the woman is hooked, I'll start doing unfortunate and disgraceful things, like not showering regularly, showing up late, farting in her presence or pissing in the kitchen sink (if she's using the toilet).

This can get to be quite unfortunate, because I don't necessarily want to do the bad habits, but my impulsiveness gets the best of me, so I'll keep doing them anyway. Often the woman nags me, which is a bit like trying to teach a pig to sing; it doesn't work and annoys me. She just gets more and more irritated.

Monetary fines work - and they work wonders. E.g. $5/fart. That is, if I fart and she calls me on it,  have to hand over $5 in cash.

I've done this with a few women. They think it is crazy when I bring it up. Then they think it is funny. Later on they are just happy about the results.
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