Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More aspie feedback

More aspie feedback re this blog:
The really severe sociopaths have a creepy emptiness inside. The eerie emptiness of sociopaths is what people were referring when they say things like "looking into the eyes of a soulless killer". There's nothing there. Their lack of insight comes from this empty place inside, not disorientation with the outside world, like an Asperger's lack of insight.

He has a point, tho, about how badly sociopaths are viewed. In a sense, it is a natural disorder that is beyond their control, just as AS is beyond control. People just hate them more because AS people seem innocuous and naive. But on the other hand, some NTs tend to treat sociopaths better than autistics, respecting and fearing bullies whereas some NTs feel more comfortable dumping on AS people. So I don't think that sociopaths are as brutalized and marginalized as AS people are. So his whining rings pretty hollow.
and another:
On the Sociopath blog. Very interesting. Glad he's done it. However, given that one of the major symptoms (and a clear give away once you've known one long enough to see the full cycle of their operations) is the way they continually try and evoke pity in you. And that is the aim of that blog. See the way he says "he would join the Aspie party if he could because the Aspies get ALL the sympathy". What utter rubbish!!! We're the ones who are good people at heart, yet get treated like monsters. They're the ones who are destructive heartless manipulators, yet they manage to charm the pants of everyone the meet...for a while. And then they blame their victims for being 'weak'.

The thing we have in common is that we are both see weaknesses in NT behaviour. However, in general we suffer as a result of those weaknesses, the sociopaths benefit from them through their ability to exploit them.
And lastly:
Je le doute.

There is little to none of the glibness/superficial charm alternating with hostility and contempt that define the psychopath's relation to the world. Obviously I haven't read it all, but I don't even think psychopaths have the patience to write blogs. They're more likely to break a computer for not doing what they want it to do.
Ah really? Not charming enough. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More feedback

Some more feedback regarding this site left on other sites:
I found the perfect site for him, its a pro-sociopathy blog (found by googling chay's 'sociopath for dummies' on a whim! luvs) where the author goes on about sociopathy being a normal human variant and stuff about how superior he is and shit. Should appeal to this person's narcissism. He's be wearing the disorder like a badge of pride after this and after all, don't we all want our madmen out of the closet? Win!
Aspies are particularly interested:
Psychopathy and other personality disorders is one of my special interests. I've been reading about the psychopath mind online from time to time and this website the guy is asking the same thing we're asking and that is for his mindset to be acceptable in society. I totally agree with Neurodiversity to the core but I had a feeling this would present itself as an issue and a problem. More and more of them are going to ask to be in the ND movement and will even try to pretend to be an aspie. This man is using our logic against us and logically and technically he is correct and again I was afraid of this would happen.

I think what will have to happen is we're going to have to develop some kind of code of ethics for the ND movement and for any different mind configuration. If we have one already as I am just beginning to get into this than it will need to be developed in more detail.

We also have to be able to develop a way to root these types out and out them when they do inflitrate our movement.
I don't know. Aspies are always talking about how they can tell who are the sociopaths and who aren't, but they have always seemed to me as clueless regarding sociopaths as they are regarding neurotypicals. In fact, I'm pretty sure sociopaths have already infiltrated the aspie/autie movements and do their business with those groups undetected. The good news, though, is that maybe this means that socios and aspies can live symbiotically, especially if the aforementioned infiltration hasn't caused any problems already.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Feedback on the site

Here is some feedback I've received on this blog, both from comments left on posts and commentary regarding the blog on other sites:
Sociopathworld * Warrning!* This site is dangerous ! But it is also a view into a mind of evil !

Don’t post ! Just read and Leave

If you back this serpent into a corner it can only invenomate you ( poision )

Love Jere
(Ah man, people are on to our invenomation [sic].)
I do not know what to make of the guy who owns that blog. I think he must be really off his nut. I mean, who would be proud of having no empathy for other people?
Coming from an aspie who regularly posts on aspie discussion boards, I feel like this is a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sociopath friends = end to a chain of forwards

There are some admittedly bad things about having sociopaths as friends, but the good thing about them is that they will never send you an email forward like this:
'Gold Wrapping Paper'

I received this from a friend who had a choice to make. I had a choice to make too.

I've chosen. Now it's your turn to choose.

The story goes that some time ago a mother punished her five year old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and she became even more upset when the child used the gold paper to decorate a box to put under the Christmas

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her mother the next morning and then said,
'This is for you, Mummy.'

The mother was embarrassed by her earlier over reaction, but her anger flared again when she opened the box and found it was empty. She spoke to her daughter in a harsh manner

'Don't you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there's supposed to be something inside the package?'

She had tears in her eyes and said, 'Oh, Mummy, it's not empty! I blew kisses into it until it was full.'

The mother was crushed. She fell on her knees and put her arms around her little girl, and she begged her forgiveness for her thoughtless anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later, and it is told that the mother kept that gold box by her bed for all the years of her life.

Whenever she was discouraged or faced difficult problems she would open the box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us, as human beings, have been given a Golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and GOD. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

You now have two choices:
1. Pass this on to your friends, or
2. Delete it and act like it didn't touch your heart.

As you can see, I took choice No.1.
Friends are like angels who lift us to our feet, when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.
Luckily sociopaths can't be guilted into forwarding emails like these. We don't care if it makes us seem inhuman. We'd rather be inhuman than morons.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Autism and serial killers

More media suggesting that sociopaths aren't the problem. I'll give you three guesses about who is.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You must be a gemini

Some people are just asking for trouble. And by trouble I mean sociopaths. As further proof that those who seek after and date sociopaths are asking for it, here's a response to this email after my original personal ad:
Okay, actually, I should have added a few more things to my list: sinister, promiscuous, flexible definition of the truth, emotionally unavailable, able to rationalize almost anything to myself, manipulative, prone to boredom, weak sense of empathy. Still very Jimmy Stewart-esque, right?
"Marty" responds:
you sound like a Gemini!! I am a Taurus....Marty
Marty, you sound like you're asking for it. I hope you get what's coming to you.

You can kind of see why Marty would guess Gemini because they are two-faced monsters. But sociopaths are not two-faced so much as one-faced with a mask. Maybe that seems like a distinction without a difference, but I have the sense that not many sociopaths are geminis. I've often wondered if certain astrological signs had more sociopaths than others. I think cancers may be prone to sociopathy, but I am biased being a cancerian myself. I also think that even though Geminis might not be great sociopaths, they can easily be narcissists. But I don't really have anything besides anecdotal evidence to base these assertions on. Thoughts on the astrological connection?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Life = futility punctuated with tragedy

While driving to work today I saw a school-aged child walking a bike with a flat tire down a busy street in inclement weather. It made me remember how horrible and awkward childhood was. Then I started trying to remember when things got better. I kept thinking, moving more and more recently in time, and I couldn't really pinpoint a specific time when I stopped feeling like that kid with the flat tire. Then i started wondering, did things ever get better? Am I still that same kid?
How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox.
-- Barry Lopez

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sociopaths = next Holocaust target

I posted earlier this month about a new television show exploiting criminals by giving them the best day ever right before arresting them. The TV executive responsible for the show rationalized the exploitation: “If it were a regular person you’d feel bad for them, but they are all wanted by the law.” This sort of rationale is used frequently to justify persecuting sociopaths or other unpopular sub-populations. Take for instance the justifications for the horrible medical experiments practiced by the Nazis on their Jewish captives:

What underpinned this behaviour was a widespread belief that some people were less than human, relegated to a lower plane of existence by their inherited degeneracy - or their race. For German doctors, a camp inmate was either a racially inferior subhuman, a vicious criminal, a traitor to the German cause, or more than one of the above. Such beings had no right to life or wellbeing - indeed, it was logical that they should be sacrificed in the interests of the survival and triumph of the German race, just as that race had to be strengthened by the elimination of the inferior, degenerate elements within it. After all, German medical science had uncovered the causes of several major diseases and contributed massively to improving the health of the population over the previous decades. Surely, therefore, it was justified in eliminating negative influences as well?

These days, it is obvious that racial hygiene is pseudoscience, but in the 1920s and 1930s it was considered a perfectly reputable science, and indeed many universities had academic departments devoted to it, not just in Germany. Against this backdrop, with their nation engaged in total war and steeped in propaganda and ideology that proclaimed the Jews to be a "cancer" or an "infection" threatening the health of the volk, physicians and scientists really did come to believe that the enemies of the Nazi state were subhuman.
Does the term subhuman sound familiar?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sociopath TV execs exploit their sociopath criminal brothers

Fox Television is planning a new television program tentatively titled, Smile, You’re Under Arrest. The show features law officers setting up elaborate sting operations to lure criminals with warrants:
“It is a reverse Punk’d,” says Fox President of Alternative Entertainment Mike Darnell. “Instead of the worst day of your life and then a joke at the end, this is the reverse. This is the best day of your life, and then we arrest you.”

One of three set-ups just shot in Arizona features the cops luring a criminal to a movie set with the promise of making him an extra and paying him a couple hundred dollars. An elaborate film set is staged and filming begins on a faux movie. The set-up continues as the director then gets mad at the lead actor, fires him and replaces him with the law-breaking extra.

The scene escalates with the fake director introducing the mark to a supposed studio mogul and continuing to create this dream-comes-true sequence. Finally, all the participants are revealed as officers of the law, and the criminal is apprehended (before signing waivers to let the footage be used in the show).

Other scenarios include a fake fashion shoot where the subject thinks he is about to become a supermodel and another in which the mark becomes an auto racer, a set-up which ends when a police car comes up behind him on a race track to pull him over.

“If it were a regular person you’d feel bad for them, but they are all wanted by the law,” Darnell says.
This is why people feel fine persecuting sociopaths. You can just hear someone justifying sociopath abuse: "If it were a regular person, you'd feel bad for them."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sociopath quote of the day: evil

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.

Edmund Burke.

Sociopath = into S&M?

Most of the responses from my empaths-who-date-sociopaths-are-asking-for-it experiment were from the women seeking men ad. Maybe that means that straight men are more into sociopaths than straight women, gay men, or gay women. But I think the more likely explanation is that straight men looking on craigslist for women are looking for a dominatrix. Guys looking for nice girls go to church social functions, guys looking for easy girls go to bars, and guys looking for dangerous girls go online. True? How about this as a case in point:
Just a Great ad .... and straight to the point .. so well done you .... pity half the people who worked for me arnt like that ... save me so much time ... but thats life i guess... and i like jimmy Stewart also ....
You will also no doubt be deluged with replies .... and some very strange i bet ... however if no suitable white knights on horseback ( in full shinning armour of course ) happen to appear just let me know...... and i will feed my steed and drinks ( the Sanderson is good fun ) and dinner would be my pleasure ....
Me .... 6'2 200lbs (slim ) 54 considered attractive ( well a frog needs a kiss now and then )..... my home is in Liverpool and i keep a flat in London as my business is down here I am every week for 2/3 days (for all my sins I am in the fashion industry ... we supply clothing to most high street strores River Wallis Oasis etc etc etc ... ... ) we have an office in Hong Kong were i go for around 8/9 days every 8 weeks or so .... I also keep a home in Majorca and try to get out there most weekends during the summer...

If i hear from you when it would be nice .... and if not i wish you luck on your quest....

Peter, like many others, was not dissuaded by my addendum to my personal ad:
Almost .... no stutter ..... and of course he was very nice to all in " a wonderful life " ... and most of the other listed things are .... well " cool "
.. sinister ( hmmmmm ) promiscuous ( more HMMMMM .. capital letters ) .. flexible and able to rationalise ... ( dont we all ) manipulative ( most women are ... its actauly a gift )
.... so you sound quite the lady .....
Now if i was a couch doctor i would probably find many things wrong with you .... however as i am not and of course my services are free ... and include the bottle of good wine and dinner ..... it may be well seen as " sinister " ..... " promiscuous " and " manipulative " .... but you decide.
I will of course promise not to bore you.....
Oh, I know you won't bore me, Peter. I won't let you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Personality disorders

A reader asked me to address other personality disorders associated with sociopathy besides narcissism. Narcissism and sociopathy are on the same cluster with the other "emotional" disorders -- Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder. According to wikipedia, the cluster breaks down as follows:

Antisocial personality disorder: "pervasive disregard for the law and the rights of others."

Borderline personality disorder: extreme "black and white" thinking, instability in relationships, self-image, identity and behavior

Histrionic personality disorder: "pervasive attention-seeking behavior including inappropriate sexual seductiveness and shallow or exaggerated emotions

Narcissistic personality disorder: "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy"
I don't necessarily agree with these one-sentence descriptions. In fact, I don't believe that sociopathy is necessarily the same thing as APD. Like Dr. Robert Hare, I think APD isn't specific enough to give a good picture of sociopathy, and that the two do not necessarily share all of the same characteristics. Consequently, although I consider myself a high functioning sociopath because of my weak sense of empathy, failure to conform to social norms, manipulativeness, etc., I do not necessarily believe that i have APD. Nor do I think I have any of the other personality disorders with the possible exception of very mild Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which helps me fight my impulsiveness.

What about everyone else? Are there connections between sociopathy and other personality disorders that I am not aware of?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

S is for serious as a heart attack

One response to my men seeking men personal ad:
You sound so conceited I want to cry
I had to laugh at this, of course, but I also really respect this guy's astuteness. I sent him the same follow up email I sent most of the responses to my ad:
Okay, actually, I should have added a few more things to my list: sinister, promiscuous, flexible definition of the truth, emotionally unavailable, able to rationalize almost anything to myself, manipulative, prone to boredom, weak sense of empathy. Still very Jimmy Stewart -esque, right?
He mistook my complete sincerity for being a joke and actually apologized:
You gave me a good laugh. Thanks. I need to lighten up. It's rare that I send snide remarks to strangers. I can reduce that to zero. Don't know if it's jimmy stewartesque. You sound honest here.

Thanks Ron. I was being honest. And by honest I mean that the words I said were to be interpreted as having their ordinary dictionary meaning.

I don't understand how empaths can say one thing and mean an entirely different thing and the true meaning is understood by other empaths. Ttsk tsk to the whole phenomenon of sarcasm. But prevalent sarcasm and insincerity make it easier for sociopaths to "pass" in normal society. If you've ever seen an episode of Dexter, some of the funniest moments are when he is telling the horrible truth about something he did but no one will believe him because no one wants to believe that horrible things and people exist. But we do. Seriously.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Are you sane?

So read one response to "my" personal ad with this picture attached.

I was actually relieved to get such a response. Although I definitely think there are people who truly want to date sociopaths because they are sociopaths (and some do it successfully), I also think that most people do not want to date and/or are not well-suited to date or otherwise be involved with a sociopath. Of course the better the sociodar of the people in the latter category, the better off everyone is. So congrats to the author of this response for having enough good sense to know that we are not quite sane.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pink is a narcissist

In Pink's new video, "Sober," she gets intimate with herself -- particularly around the 2:25 mark:

Now I know people are a little weirded out by the self-on-self action, but I have to admit that this has always been a little bit of a fantasy of mine... does that make me a narcissist as well? Or are sociopaths naturally a little narcissistic because we think as highly of ourselves as we would anyone else who wasn't us but had our same characteristics? Which is very highly, of course, because sociopaths have some pretty great features.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who wants to date a sociopath: narcissists

As promised, here are some results from our sociopath inspired personal ad. Who wants to date a sociopath? Well, narcissists for one. This was a response from the London ad for women seeking men (which was the most popular ad, speculation on why later):
Your add appeals to me because I do extreme sports too. I shoot guns, just hand guns, at a shooting range. Theyre a lot more efficient than swords :) Anyway, I think most guys just mistake being beautiful for being interesting too. Well, to start I guess, im intelligent both conventionally and unconventionally. But I also know how to be quirky and im usually easily amused, which seems to be infectious. I love cars, mostly exotics and luxury cars, and fortunately Ive learned enough about them to carry on a conversation. I also like motorcycles, mostly just sport bikes though. I have a Ninja 500r, im still learning , but the thing is so awesome and fast and dangerous, its incredible. I work with kids and for some reason they love me. Theyre quite amusing and I always come home feeling like I made a difference, which is nice. As a matter of fact Im at work right now, on my phone, so I shpould get back to torturing the children. :) what about have to have something interesting about you.
I'm not too surprised by the narcissist connection. Narcissists wouldn't be turned off by sociopaths' lack of empathy because the narcissist is probably too wrapped up in himself to notice. Narcissists would, however, appreciate common interests, like this guy who has a love of handguns, swords, and fast and dangerous motorcycles. And kids. I think that's the most disturbing thing about his response.

Meet my hero: steak

Sociopaths give off a lot of signs. They don't get nervous, they don't have normal emotional reactions, they laugh at inappropriate things, and they don't understand things like heroes:

Either this kid is an aspie or sociopath or something. I like how the kid obviously struggled with this assignment, given the faint pencil and eraser markings under steak. I can imagine the conversation that led up to this.
kid: what are we supposed to be doing?
teacher: write down who you really like and why
kid: (not registering the difference between humans and a meal) ok.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sociopaths in the news: rape/incest and filicide

Today's theme is horrible things parents can do to their children.

First is a British man who was jailed for raping two of his daughters and fathering many children with them over 27 years. The two daughters were impregnanted a total of 19 times. Nine children survived, five were miscarried and five were terminated. Seven of the living children suffer genetic deformities.

There is nothing about this man that would lead me to believe that he is a sociopath other than the depraved nature of the crimes. Actually I suspect that he is not a sociopath because I would expect a sociopath to use birth control. I think in general the thought of procreating gives sociopaths the chills. Maybe we suffer the paranoia of many a medieval monarch that our children will grow up to be our doom. This seems especially likely when you have raped the child's mother. The fact that this father did not use any sort of birth control makes me want to chalk it up to the empaths' particular brand of evil.

The next story is about a two children who were saved from a freezing river last winter only to be killed by their mother. Well, the two-year old died (by a slit throat), but the seven-year old survived. There are some interesting quotes from law professors (experts?) about the nature of evil:
Cases of mothers who kill their children, like Susan Smith and Andrea Yates, continue to fascinate the public, even as the rates of filicide -- the act of a parent who kills his or her own child -- have remained fairly stable.

"Because these cases are so tragic, they pull at your heartstrings, but they happen all the time," said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California.

In 2005, 555 children under the age of five were victims of homicide, compared with 544 in 1976. The rate peaked in 1991 at 778 and bottomed out in 1971 at 511, according to statistics from the Department of Justice.

Another fairly stable statistic: In more than 50 percent of child homicides, the killer is a parent.

"The natural defense to anticipate is insanity, because why would a mother kill her own child?" Levenson asked. "It certainly can be insanity, but it's not always the case. Perfectly sane people can do horrible things, and they do, every day."

Mothers can be motivated to kill their children by several factors, according to criminologist James Alan Fox, Lipman Family professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University.

Some act on genuine psychotic delusions, as jurors determined to be the case with Texas mother Andrea Yates, who told doctors she drowned her five children because God told her to do so. Others can be motivated by selfish reasons: Susan Smith's alleged motive for killing her children was that she perceived them to be an obstacle in her relationship with her boyfriend.

"It's a crazy thing to do, but crazy describes the behavior, not the mind," Fox said, adding that between 300 and 350 children have been homicide victims in 2008.

"It doesn't make sense to most of us, but that doesn't mean the state of mind of the person is mentally ill. You may know what you're doing and have very selfish motivations," he explained.
Out of all these murderous mothers, I think the closest to a sociopath is probably Susan Smith, next closest is this Iowan mother, and least likely is Andrea Yates. Sociopaths don't need god telling them to kill someone -- their self-interest can be enough. Of course, sociopaths rarely kill because killing is complicated, messy, risky, and other things that you would expect rational beings to avoid. But sometimes there is sufficient justification for killing -- like when countries go to war or execute prisoners. You know, killing for a good cause.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Love crimes: the experiment

I finally kicked off the personal ad experiment. I posted a sociopath-seeking-love ad in four different cities in four different categories on craigslist. If you're interested in what the ad looked like in its final forms, here's New York, London, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Craigslist doesn't have permalinks and they'll only be up there for a few weeks, so sorry if the links don't work for you.

I've already gotten quite a few responses -- I'll let you guess which ad most of the responses are coming from. If I ever do the experiment again, I think I would add words like "sinister" and "emotionally unavailable" to the description because I am getting several responses like "that sounds like me." I wonder if there really could be that many narcissists or sociopaths out there, or whether people are just ignoring the negative parts of the description and projecting what they want to see.

This has been some of the most fun I have had recently. There have been a few very sincere responses that made me feel funny or a little evil. But I quickly got over it. Mainly I think the responders are suckers, "asking for it," or that they would do the same thing to me if they had half a chance. More details on the responses later.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sociopaths in the news: Cannibalism

Under the headline "First Mr Gay UK 'chopped up man and then planned to eat his flesh,'" we read about Anthony Morley (seen here on a dating show) who killed his lover (allegedly) in self defense and then began preparing portions of his flesh for cooking and consumption. But it isn't as bad as you think -- Morley is a chef, so he does that type of thing all the time apparently. Here are the juicy bits from the article:
Speaking softly, Morley, who was found to be three-and-a-half times over the legal drink drive limit the night of the killing, had invited Mr Oldfield upstairs into his bedroom at his house in Harehills, Leeds, to watch a DVD.

He said: 'I remember feeling that he was on top of me doing what he was doing. I felt numb and out of control. I felt uncomfortable and betrayed.

'We had talked about the whole situation. I was not comfortable with having a sexual relationship when we had only just got to know each other.'

Asked if he could give the jury a rational explanation as to why he killed Mr Oldfield, Morley said: 'The feeling of betrayal. I don't know why I went on to kill him at that point, I really don't.

'I can only say at some point Damian's body had just become something I would deal with at work - a piece of meat. That's the only thing I can think of. That was my daily task, preparing meat.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sociopath personal ad

There has been some debate about whether people who are consistently attracted to sociopaths get what they're asking for. On the one hand we have people arguing that being attracted to certain sociopathic traits, e.g. charm, gift for adoration, and intensity, are not necessarily looking for a sociopath--they're just looking for someone with charm, a gift for adoration, and intensity. Okay, sure, I understand that logic. But how many sociopathic traits are people going to list off as being attractive and still claim to not be attracted to sociopaths? My theory is that there actually are people out there who are attracted to sociopaths because they are sociopaths.

To test that theory, I have come up with a little social experiment. I'll post a personal ad depicting a non-criminal sociopath and see what sort of responses it gets. Here is my first shot at the ad (using as many traits from hare's sociopathy checklist as practical); feel free to suggest alterations so we can make this test as "fair" as possible:
i've just made a few big life changes and am looking to focus more on an intense connection with a special somebody. i haven't had much luck with relationships so far. just when i think i am really getting to connect with someone, they freak out. they start acting like i have changed when really i have been the same the whole time. so after being burned too many times, i am looking for someone who will love me for who i really am, not whatever they imagine me to be. in the interest of full disclosure, here's me:

charming, attractive, succesful, very smart, a cut above, love adventure and intrigue, impulsive, active, love extreme sports, exciting, motorcycles, clever, persuasive, confident, doesn't take no for an answer, not easily deflated or worked up about things, never moody, takes care of self, passionate, loves to tempt and be tempted, driven.

let me know if any of this sounds interesting. and actually, just so i can make sure you're not just spamming people with generic emails, let me know what about my self-portrait is especially appealing to you and why.

happy hunting.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

She was asking for it

Some people are attracted to sociopaths for the very traits that make them sociopaths, then complain when they suddenly realize what a horrible situation they've gotten themselves into. Here is a sociopath dishing out some reality to yet another "victim" of sociopathic "love fraud."
As a sociopath myself I can confidently tell you just because someone has those traits does not mean they're a sociopath.


Have you ever dated the type of guy that left you constantly waiting by the phone with an uneasy sick feeling in the pit of your stomach?

Or a guy who made you feel bad about yourself, but for some reason you couldn't leave him? (Of course, that same guy, at times, also made you feel like you were the only person on this planet--you know, that "hot-cold" type).

And have you ever walked into a club and found yourself so attracted to one particular guy, you felt like you were in a trance and literally couldn't stop making eyes with him?

Might mean there's something wrong with you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Acting normal: gateway drug to charming

Okay, as promised, I address the reader's question of how to act normal, or in this reader's particular case, charming.
Although I had a tumultuous childhood and adolescence, I am now 21 and more in control of myself than anyone I know. I watch others have emotional breakdowns and can only think that it looks like a lot of wasted effort on their part. I have learned facial expressions through FACS (the facial action coding system, used by investigators). Not a single person I know has guessed that I am anything other than well-adjusted and the most controlled person among a bunch of seniors panicking about the next few years of their life. I am not a criminal, nor do I have criminal intent, but I manipulate those around me just enough for them to leave me alone so that I can live a normal life. I am routine-oriented, and rarely let others get in the way. I am still working on a sort of a front, but I think I am well on my way to complete control of my own little spot in the world. I found your blog looking for strategies that sociopaths have used in their lives, as I hear that they have somehow learned to act "socially charming" and would like to acquire that skill as well for when I need it.
Acting normal is not an easy thing to learn. It is trial and error. It is specific to you. The good news is that the skills you learn to "pass" (manipulation, deflection, projecting confidence, listening skills, strategic flattery) are the same skills you use to be charming. This wikihow article about being charming is actually a good primer:
Charm is the art of having an attractive personality. This characteristic can only be achieved over a period of time. While everyone is born with differing amounts of natural charm, much can be acquired and honed through practice and patience. As with dancing, the more you practice, the better you will become. Effort and careful attention to the needs and desires of others will ensure that charm becomes a permanent part of your character.
Et cetera. There are also other books that have helped people, like Emily Post's Etiquette, How to Win Friends and Influence People, How to Talk to Anyone, among others. Use your sociopath wits and extreme objectivism and learn social graces like you learn anything else--hard work and genius.

It turns out that things like deflecting--always turning the conversation back onto the other person--and similar "smoke and mirrors" routines--are all things that people think are charming. It may take a while to get to the point of mastery, but if you are already "passing," sociopath charm is right around the corner.

I don't want to be normal

In a previous post, I quoted from a reader about normalcy. I apologize for the repetiton, but here are the relevant parts:
"Do you try to act normal? I don't know what I am, and I won't try to label myself. I don't want to be normal, but I need to learn to act normal. I don't feel how I should, but I want to learn to act that way so that I can keep my independence."
Here is one person's response to the issue of sociopaths and normalcy:
Human beings are born ignorant. We believe that we are special, yet ultimately we each must die and suffer the same ignoble end. After many years and much soul searching I began to wake up to this and begin to understand why I was so unhappy. Religion is a specialized madness. Morality is adherence to said madness. When you stop to ponder it, and I mean deeply ponder it, you will begin to understand what I mean. Study the work of Frank Herbert for the answers you seek. Every one who has posted here is NORMAL.

If we are all special, how can the group exist? Are we not in competition? Is the caste system wrong if it gives us purpose among the masses, or must we refute our place and strive for the purpose within? How can one fight the system and operate within it unless he/she us/we accept that our divinity/damnation is a personal choice. Why am I cursed with intelligence if I must acquiesce to my masters?
V! That's you, right? Or maybe you have a doppleganger. V's pet subject is normalcy and the sociopath, and how the world's perception of what is normal is really a perversion. I get it, and I like reading those arguments, but also I understand what our reader means: that even if there isn't such thing as normalcy, and/or sociopaths are superior anyway (i.e. if we're picking something to be normal, we should pick sociopathy), the truth is that sociopaths still have to slum it (i.e. act "normal") to get along in this world. More on acting normal in another post.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dealing with sociopathy

Everyone always wants to know how to deal with sociopaths, even sociopaths themselves. But for many sociopaths, the most difficult sociopaths they will ever have to "deal" with are themselves. Says a reader:
I'd like to communicate with you, I haven't seen much on the internet from the view of a sociopath. Do you try to act normal? I don't know what I am, and I won't try to label myself. I don't want to be normal, but I need to learn to act normal. I want to keep myself out of jail, the mental hospital, that kind of thing that I've experienced too much. I haven't done anything wrong, but that's what people see in me so it doesn't matter what I do. I just want to live my life freely, unimprisoned. I don't feel how I should, but I want to learn to act that way so that I can keep my independence. Please let me know if you have any experience in this area. Thanks.
There were a lot of points in this comment as well as a follow up comment from the same author that I will address in a later post. The thing that struck me initially about this comment, however, was its similarity to another (long) comment I had seen on another site regarding hospitalization, et al:
I was diagnosed with ASPD in 1992, by a psychologist who gave me a "very poor" prognosis, automatically, due to the diagnosis. It took me over a decade to find a therapist who would actually treat me! Most took one look at my records and dumped me on the spot, because of the stigma attached to such a definition. "Doesn't ASK for help"???? HAH!!! How would they KNOW??? I was asking for help, for certain, but no one was listening. One of them actually said "You don't need a therapist, you need an EXORCIST!" Another threatened to call the cops, and I hadn't done anything! Still another called me "scary and dangerous" and instructed security to bar me from re-entering the building. Later she told a social worker that my EYES had scared her "half to death". Right, like I was giving her the "evil eye" or something. Give me a break. So much of it is just because of words: a label. I had a brief inpatient visit this Spring, partly because of this very same issue. I started shouting sarcastically in the middle of a psych-eval interview, "So, you all agree?!! Oh, WOW, watch OUT!!! I'm a PSYCHOPATH!!! I'm going to destroy the WHOLE WORLD!!!" at the top of my lungs. Not the best idea. I didn't exactly get my true point across. And I discovered that some shrinks just don't have a sense of irony at all; so, of course, I ended up getting committed. And during my stay, another patient, obviously of superior CONSCIENCE, tried to beat me with her Bible, to "get the devil out" of me! The nurses automatically accused me of lying about everything, no matter what the issue, and they kept yelling at me because they were constantly suspicious that I was "up to something". And of course, they just HAD to put me in a room alone; fine by me, if somewhat insulting. Did they think I was going to EAT a roommate?? Or maybe just LOOK at them -- because I started getting that business again from some of the patients and even staff, about giving them the so-called "evil eye" -- whatever. What do they see in my eyes??!! It's too much. Just everything. I'm sick of being treated like a female version of "Jason" or "Freddie"! People look at my psych records and get all these weird ideas, and they expect a cinematic show. Oh, and if I cry or show the slightest bit of pain, no way does anyone believe it's real; I'm automatically attacked for trying to put one over on someone with my "dramatic performance". So. I'm giving psychotherapy one last shot, with a therapist who can look me in the eye without suddenly turning into a panicky wreck. I guess that makes her special. That and the fact she sees me as just another human being, not a freak or "monster" or vessel of "pure evil," as I've been called. But now I finally believe that I'm not "sub-human". I've had extensive neurological testing, and I've been told by several specialists that parts of my nervous system are messed up. I sustained substantial trauma to the head as a child. Meanwhile, as I'm struggling through all that, plus (and especially) the emotional and cognitive aspects of my illness, it seems to me that the rest of the world is having a party to which I am always uninvited. I feel that way because they share things I will never know. Ever, as long as I live, no matter how much progress I do manage to make. Accepting that is very hard. Up until very recently, my hatred for the world was formidable. BUT one thing is vital to remember: IT WAS NEVER MY CHOICE to be as I am. People need to be aware that mental illness is first and foremost a PHYSICAL thing. No one CHOOSES to develop any form of it. The human brain is still a largely unfathomed territory. Less blame and judgment, more science and intervention, would go a long way toward preventing or at least much better management of disastrous illnesses such as mine. Hollywood shouldn't dictate all that people know about such things. Well, anyway. I just thought it was a good idea to offer another person's point of view. And, YES, I am a person, not an "it". Despite numerous protests to the contrary. So many people have called me "evil" -- if I believed it all, I'd end up committing suicide. Although the damage that was done to me so long ago, and what I was born with, cannot ever change, a lot can. I have already changed enough to be able to do something like writing here! Now all I want is to move as far beyond my staggering limitations as I possibly can do. I want a life. I live in self-imposed exile, isolated and reclusive. And yet, when someone tells me I'm "hopeless," it only makes me more adamant about breaking free of the mental cage in which I've spent my whole life -- so far. Statistically speaking, my expected lifespan might fall twenty years short of the general average. But I intend to defy that, too. I'm in great pain now, psychologically, because I'm facing things that are quite horrifying to remember, and it is necessary. But in spite of that, I am starting to conceive of having something worth living for...and THAT is brand new for me. One thing I never forget: "When you're going through hell, KEEP GOING!"
The primary lesson to be learned from this comment, I think, is never disclose to anyone that you are a sociopath, and for sure don't yell about it in the middle of a crowded room. For the high-functioning sociopaths among us, I think it is hard to even want to care about those of us who end up in prisons and hospitals. We want to believe that it is their fault--that they give the rest of us a bad name. But sometimes I really do wonder whether we disown them out of fear because we don't want to acknowledge that there could be a prison term and/or hospital cell in the future for every one of us.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Suspicious sociopaths save souls

As I have mentioned before, it is pretty easy to surprise a sociopath. Smarter sociopaths try to learn from that and be a little more on guard for the unexpected (which might explain the obsession with conspiracy theories), but it's hard. The sociopath's main tools are manipulation and charm, which are offensive rather than defensive tactics. Like i said before, it is difficult to keep your finger on the pulse of whatever else is happening when playing those cards. Add the nonsensical or erratic behavior of the empaths, which a sociopath could not predict even if he was trying, and you have a recipe for sociopaths who are always susceptible to surprise.

With that in mind, I am always suspicious of seemingly innocuous remarks, like this comment from a reader:
Have you edited your site? Some recent posts seem to be missing? Also why is it that everyone commenting fails to put down their name. Are we embarrassed to be reading socio stuff?
First of all, no, nothing has been edited/removed, but thanks for making me spend an hour culling through everything just to be sure there wasn't some big hacker conspiracy. Second of all, nice try troll. Might as well suggest that we all put our social security numbers and current addresses along with our comments. I bet our avid reader from the CIA headquarters in Langley would love that. If you were a real sociopath, you would have a healthy paranoia of being discovered and shipped to an internment camp.

Mostly just kiddng, but I agree that identifying yourself as something in your comments allows others to make fun of you more accurately and efficiently. For instance, dear reader, I have no way to identify you other than calling you troll. See how uncivilized that is? Pick a pseudonym like our man V, or at least use your location. Hear me Huddersfield? And while we're at it, let's give a shot out to Boston. Does that scare you? It should. Now, stop suggesting we all use our real names and acquire your own healthy dose of paranoia.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One more way sociopaths are oppressed

As previous posts have mentioned, sociopaths seem to be overly interested in conspiracy theories. This could be another example of that--or maybe I'm reading into it too much. from a reader:

I was recently fitted with contact lenses, and had to pay extra for those fancy "extra water" ones because I have dry eyes. A few days later, this came up in conversation with a friend who is studying to become an eye doctor of some kind. She remarked that dry eyes are a common feature of empathy challenged individuals - sociopaths, aspies and the like. I was just wondering if you, or any of your readers, have similar symptoms? Do you think it is related to our absent

I don't know if this is true. I have never noticed this symptom before with myself. I wonder if any of my sociopath readers have? I can't really think of why empathy-challenged individuals would have dry eyes. Bladerunner style.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How to "manage" a sociopath or narcissist

Although I mentioned in a previous post that I think people can have happy and successful relationships with sociopaths and narcissists, I do think that there are ways to manage their behavior or to help them manage their own behavior. Here is my response to the previous post:

Yes, your friend sounds like a sociopath or narcissist. You should actually be hoping for sociopath at this point, because they are much easier to reason with. Narcissists are completely self-deceived. They don't think they are different than empaths, just better: less likely to be duped, a leader among mere mortals, that type of thing. They like situations where other people are dependent on them, whereas sociopaths like people to be enslaved to them. Narcissists are motivated more by a need to be loved and admired (acceptance/respect), sociopaths are motivated by a need to be respectfully feared and in control (power).

Your friend sounds like more of a narcissist than a sociopath from your description. I've found that most sociopaths, like people with Asperger's, are aware of their condition, even if they may not know what to label it. Because your friend is refusing to admit to himself that his personality fits the Antisocial Personality Disorder spectrum traits, that suggests to me that he is a narcissist. He could also be a particularly low-functioning sociopath, meaning poor self-awareness and poor impulse control. Those type of sociopaths are the ones that go to prison, so you are justifiably concerned for your friend.

Either way, the "treatment" I would suggest is the same: redirection and distraction. This info is taken from a poorly edited book with some decent information called Just like his Father?. It discusses how to parent sociopathic children, but the principles can apply to everyone dealing with a sociopath.

The book describes how to teach impulse control. When children are preverbal (before a child can understand and use words), the only impulse-control tools are redirection and distraction. "Redirection is the creation of an appropriate setting for the expression of impulses. Distraction is the process by which attention shifts away from undesirable impulses." An example of redirection is a child who wants to play with your car keys or phone. You don't want the child to play with those objects because he may break or lose them. You can redirect the child by giving him fake keys or a toy phone. "By providing your child with substitutes, you acknowledge his desires as legitimate, set limits, and teach him to direct himself in a way that is productive rather than destructive." An example of distraction is when a parent tries to "distract a crying child by cuddling him and making funny faces. In this exercise, the child learns to shift attention from a negative feeling state to a more positive one."

After children become verbal, most toddlers use language to strengthen their impulse control. "Watch as your child picks up the previously mentioned keys or cell phone while repeating to himself 'don't touch mommy's keys' and 'don't play with mommy's cell phone.' Commanding himself to put the objects down requires a great deal of effort. You may notice that the commands your child gives himself are identical to the ones you have given him. . . if you have witnessed this process, you have observed the building blocks of conscience . . . once the conscience is fully formed, the process of verbal command over impulses happens automatically. The child can stop himself without thinking about it."

I would say that most high functioning sociopaths are stuck at repeating to themselves "don't touch mommy's keys" with a great deal of effort. As they routinely do this in a particular area (e.g., don't tell people they're fat), they may develop a habit and not have to think so much about it anymore. But obviously if you have a friend whose lack of impulse control is leading to self-destruction, the friend probably isn't even at the don't-touch-mommy's-keys stage. That's why i suggest redirection and distraction, if possible.

Your friend has legitimate needs and wants, and you want to be sure to address those and not alienate him by criticizing his basic self/needs: "By providing your child with substitutes, you acknowledge his desires as legitimate, set limits, and teach him to direct himself in a way that is productive rather than destructive." You need to find out what his needs are, and cater to those needs in non-destructive ways, or teach him to do that for himself.

I don't know what non destructive substitutes may be for your friend, but you should probably prioritize in your mind which of his less-than-desirable behaviors are the most harmful to him, then focus on those. Otherwise, it would be like your friend trying to quite heroin, alcohol, sex, porn, cutting, smoking, and bulimia all at the same time. Not possible. You have to prioritize.

I suggest your friend reads The 48 Laws of Power. It's sort of a sociopath's bible about how to cultivate power, but I think it can also really help narcissists become more self-aware and sociopaths have more impulse control.

Hope this helps.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In love with a sociopath

People got problems. I understand. One such problem is loving a sociopath or narcissist. It's a tough job, sure. But is this a problem without answers? Or a problem whose answers you don't like? Here's the following problem from one such person:
I have seen your blog. I am not sure if you can help, however here goes... I have a "friend" that I was very involved with. Much of what he did did not match what he said..but he (when pushed) would open up and show me things to show me he was sincere. he said things like "I love you but not the way you need to be loved" he would tell me he wanted me in his life, then ignore me... I would get angry and we fought, all the time.. it was a pattern I didn't like... He was very bad in business, lied all the time, had and has such potential, but does everything to ruin what he has. He cheats people and doesn't see it that way. He cheats on his wife (second one) and on his lovers as well. Omits truths and gets angry and shuts down when confronted. Always runs to different places, keeps his business as a means to escape reality, never lives in one place. I have told him I believe he is a sociopath, it expalns much of what I have seen and know of him and his backround... he says he know he has problems, but wont accept that is what it is. he said he wanted my help, then stopped talking to me, says he is too busy and will call, then doesn't. This of course starts a fight...only on my side because he does not respond at this point, but still wont say he wants me out of his life... I told him that is all it takes for me to go.

I don't know what to do, he is hurting people, owes money all over. I believe he is trying to dupe women because he needs money, his wife is ill, he says she is divorcing him, but I dont believe him, and I am not sure if he is damaging her more. I dont know how to reach out to him to get him to at least be open to this and try to straighten out his life... it is late, he is already almost 60. I know it is very difficult to change, but I think he may want to because he wont tell me to go away.
Let's first talk about the wisdom of getting involved with a sociopath, and then we can talk about specific ways you can handle a sociopath in some other post.

Loving a sociopath can be great. I know all sorts of people in relationships with sociopaths and narcissists, and they seem happy:
I believe in the possibility of loving narcissists if one accepts them unconditionally, in a disillusioned and expectation-free manner. Narcissists are narcissists. This is what they are. Take them or leave them. Some of them are lovable. Most of them are highly charming and intelligent. The source of the misery of the victims of the narcissist is their disappointment, their disillusionment, their abrupt and tearing and tearful realization that they fell in love with an ideal of their own invention, a phantasm, an illusion, a fata morgana. This "waking up" is traumatic. The narcissist is forever the same. It is the victim who changes.
Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List - Part 1 Listowner: Dr. Sam Vaknin. See also.

This makes a lot of sense, right? You order a vanilla milkshake, get a vanilla milkshake, everyone's happy. You order a vanilla milkshake, get a chocolate milkshake, start complaining to the server that she screwed up your order, no one's happy. This happens all the time when people get exactly what they asked for without realizing what it was wanted. So the first step to assessing the "problem" of being in love with a sociopath/narcissist is taking a hard look at yourself and figuring out whether you "asked for it." If that is the case, the "problem" is not with the sociopath/narcissist -- it's with you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Empaths = ticking time bombs

A reader emailed this article with the subject line, "What happens when you don't properly break up with a sociopath." I was excited for a possible sociopaths in the news post, but disappointed to read that it looked like a simple crime of passion:
Carol Anne Burger killed her former lover by stabbing her 222 times with a Phillips-head screwdriver and then took pains to hide her crime, police said Wednesday.

Jessica Kalish, who shared a house with Burger despite breaking up with her more than a year ago, was found last Thursday stuffed in the backseat of her gun-metal BMW sedan, abandoned behind a medical office at 2300 S. Congress Avenue. Her blood was splashed around the rear end and undercarriage of the car, as if her killer had tried to load her into the trunk. The driver-side window was shattered.

Examining the body, detectives absorbed what had been done to her. Stab wounds were clustered around the back of her head and stitched across her back and arms and face. Most were between an inch and an inch-and-a-half deep. A blow to Kalish's neck probably killed her, investigators determined.
Okay, murder with a screwdriver, not bad. I feel like I have seen that before in scary sociopath type movies, but that's where the sociopath connections end:
Burger, a 57-year-old writer, did yoga, had a fondness for Shark Week on the Discovery Channel and preferred to watch musicals in theaters with Dolby Sound. She recently stopped drinking coffee. She thought Jackson Browne's "For a Dancer" was good to listen to when you were sad, and she refused to take anti-depressants despite her relationship problems with Kalish.
Okay, so not a sociopath. I mean, maybe with the "fondness for Shark Week," but you keep reading the article and can only come to one conclusion: crime of passion. Yes, sociopaths can kill, maim, or otherwise injure "loved ones," but at least we act predictably. Empaths! They are the scary ones! They'll get all worked up about things, get into this emotional frenzy, and next thing you know you have a screwdriver shoved in your neck. "Watch out for empaths" warns this article:
On the morning she realized her husband and son would learn the family was losing their house, Carlene Balderrama, 53, faxed a note to the mortgage company, then went to the basement and shot herself.

"I hope you're more compassionate with my husband than you were with me," she wrote in a suicide note left for the company.

It is a dramatic picture of the worst that financial stress can wring. As home foreclosures and unemployment mount, so do their companion tales of fraud, robbery, arson and even murder. And though suicides remain rare, evidence that financial stress is erupting in rash, often illegal behavior isn't difficult to find.
Not just suicides, murder-suicide--like that man who killed his his wife, mother-in-law and three sons, and then shot himself at their Los Angeles home. Empaths are on the rampage!

I admit that sociopaths are sort of scary. But that's just because we don't have the same boundaries for human behavior that you expect in neuro-typical individuals. But what is scarier? Being out in a jungle where you know there are tigers and you take the appropriate precautions? Or being in a zoo with your family when the tigers suddenly break free from their enclosure? Empath boundaries don't do any good when they can just hurdle over them whenever they're upset. That's what empaths are like: ticking time bombs. Screwdriver-murderer's friends know what I am talking about:
Her friends, the ones who can bring themselves to believe what police said about her, turn the question over in amazement.

If this could happen to someone like her, they said, what does it mean for the rest of us?

Does no one comment?

One of my favorite comments is an outraged response to this post:
"Does no one comment? I see the psycopath as a mutant being, an accident or freak of nature then a combination of nuture but not allways just mostly in the poorer classes. God can heal you people but you have to become self aware enough to choose the right or the good rather than self! May His hand touch you all and heal your pain and fill your hearts with His Grace!"
I laugh inappropriately whenever I think of this comment. "Does no one comment?" the outraged individual asks. Sort of a "how can you people read this and not be incensed?" In my mind, I picture some outraged Christian type who has fallen down the rabbit-hole into a bizarre world where up is down and down is up. What a delicious image! Welcome to my rabbit-hole, sociopath friends and friends of sociopaths.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pretending to be normal

I'm sorry to keep harping on this (and this), but aspies get all the breaks for some reason. This article is about bit torrent programmer Bram Cohen who learns late in life that he has Asperger's. Under the heading, "Learning Empathy:"
One afternoon in the summer of 2003 he was eating at a Mexican restaurant in Berkeley with his girlfriend, Jenna, and her young daughter. They were talking about empathy, a notion that baffled Cohen. "Then a baby cried, and my daughter turned and made a sad face," Jenna recalls. "He said, 'You mean like that?' I said, 'Yes, it's automatic.' " Not for Cohen, though, who told her that emotions seemed mysterious. Jenna, who had worked with autistic kids, suggested he might have Asperger's.

Cohen never sought a formal diagnosis but turned his considerable attention to the matter. He learned how to detect and mimic human expressions, follow social cues, maintain eye contact, flirt. He began pretending to be normal. "Then I realized how out of it I had been my entire life," he says. Jenna likens Bram to the android Data on Star Trek: "He'd add information to his social algorithm and practice until it became natural. He's graduated to being an eccentric nerd."
After that comes more "bla bla bla, aspies are great, look what this aspie was able to accomplish" lovefest. And then the ridiculous comments:
"What a well written article on a seemingly great guy. You've got to admire anyone who acknowledges inherent 'differences' and actively works to improve themselves and their relationships. And to his wife, you must be a true saint to put the time and effort into such a complex situation. Thank you for sharing your story."
And even more naive:
"Profoundly uplifting story. Mr. Cohen shows the world what it's like to see with the eyes of a genius"
I'm seriously disgusted. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. I'll never understand empaths. What is the difference between this guy's crazy lack of empathy and a sociopath's? Is it really just because he seems sort of harmless? ("Little kids would be frightening psychopaths if not for the fact that they're relatively weak and dumb compared to adults.") But he can't be that harmless if he created a program that is used to share pirated movies and games with millions of users.

As I have said before, I am all for rights for the empathy challenged, but have a little consistency! How is that everyone hates sociopaths for having no conscience, but aspies can do no wrong? People are utterly creeped out by sociopaths learning and mimicking emotions, but with aspies it is "acknowledg[ing] inherent 'differences' and actively work[ing] to improve themselves"? I feel like I am taking crazy pills.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

V is for Vendetta!

[guest post from elite sociopath, V]

This is a Taoist parable from the book VITALITY ENERGY SPIRIT, translated and edited by Thomas Cleary.


Lung Shu said to the physician Wen Chi, "Your art is subtle, I have an ailment; can you cure it?"

The Physician said, "I will do as you say, but first tell me about your symptoms."

Lung Shu said, "I am not honored when the whole village praises me, nor am I ashamed when the whole county criticizes me. Gain does not make me happy, loss does not grieve me. I look upon life as like death, and see wealth as like poverty. I view people as like pigs, and see myself as like others. At home I am as though at an inn, and I look upon my native village as like a foreign country. With these afflictions, rewards cannot encourage me, punishments cannot threaten me. I cannot be changed by flourishing or decline, gain or loss; I cannot be moved by sorrow or happiness. Thus I cannot serve the government, associate with friends, run my household, or control my servants. What sickness is this? Is there any way to cure it?"

The physician had Lung Shu stand with his back to the light while he looked into his chest. After a while he said, "Aha! I see your heart; it is empty! You are nearly a sage. Six of the apertures in your heart are open, one of them is closed. This may be why you think the wisdom of a sage is an ailment. It cannot be stopped by my shallow art."

Friday, October 31, 2008

S is for Sociopath!

Interestingly, I saw this endorsement of my break-up-with-a-sociopath method to be used by sociopaths against empaths:
Seriously. I thought 'well, how can I get rid of him?'. He is a phantom from the past, who planned to haunt me with accusations of horrible things. He said he 'only wants our friendship back'. Yeah sure (sarcasm).

Now, I thought later, how can get rid of him without antagonising him? Obviously, making him drift away. If he decided he don't wanna be my friend any more, because I have become a horrible person, who's to blame for the failed friendship but him?
And then, a tiny little voice on the back of my voice said 'hey, back here is the product of a privileged childhood with very spoiling parents, maids, drivers, and very little conscience'. Why not? I mean, I could use being a sociopath for a while. So, I switched to my sociopath mode, and one MSN conversation later he got completely scared.

Lying, manipulating, and being a complete arsehole can be a lot of fun if your conscience can be switched off for a while!

I was missing the sociopath in me. Now, I'm gonna hug myself and gloat in my awesomeness. Then I'll dominate the world and everything in it :)
What a charming tale of sociopath empowerment. I used to have a little post-it note above my desk at work: "Go, go super sociopath." You know, just as a reminder of who I was for whenever I needed to bring down the sociopath wrath on the heads of my enemies or otherwise plot their doom.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

How to break up with a sociopath

Breaking up with a sociopath is admittedly hard for both the target and the sociopath. Many people say the best way is to go cold turkey and cut off all contact. That is the quickest way. If quickest always means best in your mind, then I guess it would also be the best way. Depending on your sociopath, though, it might feel more like breaking off a thumb to free yourself from handcuffs than ripping off a band-aid.

The truth is that you and your sociopath have formed a symbiotic relationship. You may think you owe him nothing, but the relationship matters to the sociopath in ways you cannot guess or understand. You may think the sociopath respects your boundaries, but the sociopath will not be sympathetic to your assertions of your needs. The sociopath does not have or respect boundaries. The sociopath has his needs, too, and will fight to make sure that they are met. You do not want to get into an all-out fight with a sociopath when the sociopath feels like his survival is threatened. You will lose.

With a sociopath, the best thing to do is to make the breakup seem like it was his or her choice. Like with ticks or other parasites, you want to poison the well so the sociopath willingly leaves. Become a helpless, emotionless, reactionless burden. Start being contrary, without being openly defiant. If the sociopath likes to go out, develop a preference for staying in. Stop bathing. Focus on work. Pretend you're tired, sick, depressed, say you forgot your keys, you forgot to feed the goldfish, be incompetent but make everything seem like an accident. If the sociopath gets mad, say sorry, but don't fight back. Say "I don't know what's come over me." Have long phone conversations with your mother or other people the sociopath hates. In general, let yourself go completely and be as intolerable to live with as possible without being confrontational. This may seem very passive-aggressive, but after about three months (give or take), the sociopath will be out of your life. You should be in the clear after your sociopath has been gone three to six months. By that time the sociopath will not need you to satisfy any of his basic needs, and will see you instead for what you really are--probably a weak-willed whining sissy.

Think this is unnecessarily complicated and time-intensive? I suggest you watch Sleeping with the Enemy and let me know if you think there are better alternatives.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sociopaths in the news

Okay, not technically news, just somewhere unexpected like an economics blog. Economists probably should be interested in sociopaths, though, because homoeconomicus seems to be a sociopath. [Unrelatedly, the Dutch should also be interested in sociopaths for similar reasons--slave trade, imperialism, diamond trade. The dutch have invented some of the past millenium's biggest evils, God love them.] But still, it is unusual to have an economics blogger randomly post about sociopath children. More interesting than the post (as usual) are the comments:

On the irrationality and fragility of an empath-based society:
[I]f the ability to operate reasonably with other human beings depends on what we might crudely call an "empathy module" that can break, and uses things like emotions to work, then theories of human sociability based entirely on simple rationality (including objectivism) are invalid.
Two comments suggesting that sociopaths are not that different of a species of people:
Little kids would be frightening psychopaths if not for the fact that they're relatively weak and dumb compared to adults.

I would not get too carried away with calling some people "evil." The dividing line between good and evil runs down the middle of human heart. I have know some exceedingly manipulative people who were very successful lawyers, some people of very shallow affect who were responsible, if somewhat distant, parents, etc. Obviously, if you combine manipulativeness, dishonesty, shallow affect (i.e., lack of feelings), grandiose self-image, poor impulse control and a few other things in one person, you will end up with a socially dangerous individual, but not one who is different in kind from the other people we know.
In response to the previous comment and to the blog author's assertion that treatment is nearly impossible.
A line through each human heart need not be a line through the middle of each human heart. It can be a long, long way to one side or the other. Incidently, notice that [the blog author] is using "treatment" to mean "brainwashing by the Good People". In a twisted kind of way, I am reassured to hear that it is difficult.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sociopath haters = witch hunting freaks

I troll the internet for sociopath stuff all the time. I look for others like me, but also enjoy reading what others have to say about sociopaths. For instance in this post titled, "Do sociopaths/psychopaths effect our economy in a negative way?":
Hey Obama, hey McCain! Why wasn’t this in your debate? This is an important issue that needs to be addressed. Sociopaths play a huge part in the degredation of our economy. Our financial downfall is effected daily by these diabolical leeches. Most of them do not work, and suck the life out of those around them who do, until nothing is left. They cause bankruptcy in their closest benefactors, and cause economic decay as a whole.
And in a comment for the post:
"In terms of a scientific study, it seems we are on our own. The spread of knowledge of sociopathy has apparently got to be bottom up. The engine driving this spread of knowledge are the experiences of every day people. Keep up the good work."
Wow, way to come across as a crazy person. Can you imagine either Obama or McCain talking about sociopaths in a debate? Or any other forum? Ha, that would seem so ridiculous. And this other guy's suggestion that there be a grassroots effort to spread the word about sociopaths? The image that is conjured up in my mind is the wife from Witches of Eastwick, the movie. She's always like, "they're witches!" -- but she acts so crazy that no one believes her.

Good work sociopaths for staying so underground that we'll never be a major issue in any political debate! If any grassroots campaign got started regarding sociopaths, it would be pro sociopath. What is that Baudelaire/Usual Suspects quote? "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

Cartoon by Hugh Macleod/ Gapingvoid.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Diagnosing a sociopath in Private Practice

I don't generally watch this show, but my friend gave me a heads up that there was a sociopath featured on Wednesday night's episode of Private Practice. A patient shows up at the psychiatrist, saying, "I'm afraid of my son, I think he's a sociopath, he killed our dog... he doesn't react, he doesn't cry, he just has this cold hard stare..."

First of all, that emo kid is a poser. There is a difference between cries-for-help fake creepiness and the truly soulless.

The most hilariously inaccurate line was "Do you know how rare a true sociopath is?" Ha, actually I do know how rare, or should I say, how common...

My favorite line: [terrified] "He's smart! Do you think he's not going to figure this out?!"

Anyway, the doctor goes to the school to talk with the kid's teachers and the kid is there waiting for her with a baseball bat. "You made my mom cry, what did you tell her?!" Ah, turns out the kid is not a sociopath after all. yes he killed the dog, but it was because the dog had cancer and he wanted to save his mother the money treating the dog. That sounds reasonable, killing animals to save money. Hmm... actually, he could still be a sociopath. And you know what? That's okay.

Can moral compasses lead you astray?

This conversation is why I will never understand people with moral compasses. You try to follow this logic:

Friend: in your post about the intern . . . "seeing the look on intern's face when the realization hit that the secret had been unnecessarily disclosed"? Why did the intern disclose that she was dating a coworker? Because she thought you would guard the secret? And you were her friend?

M.E.: Ha, no, she thought that I knew already. I flushed her out, she thought she got caught.

Friend: Oh I see. Will you tell her gay lover? I think you should.

: You think I should?! Why?

: You should tell her because she is with a crazy girl who sleeps around all the time.

: Interesting. Is that the moral thing to do? Or should I keep people's secrets?

: I think you should tell. If I ever had such evidence of an affair I would seek out the
other party. I might do so anonymously, but I would at least alert them to it, and try to provide as much evidence as possible. I mean, at least once she has the info she can decide how she will take it, maybe they have an open relationship. And if ever someone tells you something like that again, tell them, either you can tell your lover or I will. I would expect the same. Can you imagine me standing by knowing someone was cheating on you?

: Well, no, because you have more loyalty to me than the other person.

: I would tell on you. No, i would tell you "You can tell ___, or I will, but it isn't fair for them not to know."

: You would rat me out?

: Do you feel betrayed by that? Are you going to tell the girlfriend?

.: No, because I don't really know for sure. And they weren't dating at the time, I don't think... so it seems like it makes less sense to tell.

: I see, fooling yourself.

: Fooling myself?

: Why would she confess if she did no wrong?

: Oh, you're saying I should force her to confess?

: No. I suppose if she wasn't clearly dating at that time, it might be hazy. But I bet the girlfriend doesn't know.

: Yeah, I bet the girlfriend doesn't know either. That's why I have power over her. Over them both, really.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Why I like being a sociopath

There are a lot of reasons why it is frustrating and very lonely to be a sociopath, but there are good parts, too. My favorite part about being a sociopath is the mind games. For the past several years I have been domesticated: trying to stay on the up and up, trying not only to pass but to do the "right thing." But I still love *love* to indulge in a brilliant mind game every once in a while. There is something so oddly satisfying in seeing someone giving up their volition to you. I'm especially proud of my most recent conquest, particularly since it involves vindication.

The worst thing you can do as a sociopath is fall asleep on the job. This happened to me last summer at work. There was an intern who was energetic and naive. I thought nothing of my interactions with intern until I learned that intern was having a steamy affair with an opposite sex member of the staff, even though intern professed to be gay and in a relationship. I was intrigued, but more than that, my ego was hurt that I had not recognized intern for being a con-artist. I started wondering to what extent I had already been conned. I tried to set my own traps, but ended up always losing--including losing very badly in a poker game one memorable night.

Flash forward to the present: intern back, sociopath in action. This time I put intern on the defensive right away: thrust parry, hidden insults, criticisms disguised as well meaning advice, flattery, insinuations, retreat. I know how to breed dis-ease. I keep at this for weeks until finally I get an unexpected and so-satisfying consequence: the intern confesses to being in a secret relationship with another co-worker. Applause applause. But the best moment was when instead of giving her a smug face of satisfaction (beginner's mistake), I showed shock with just a hint of scandalization and embarrassment, which of course made the intern even more embarrassed and nonplussed. Seeing the look on intern's face when the realization hit that the secret had been unnecessarily disclosed? Priceless. And I still have the info about the previous affair! Which means I will continue to reap what I have sown here.

It was a good day to be a sociopath.

Sociopaths in the news

On actress Anne Hathaway's ex, Italian businessman Raffaello Follieri:
When I advise women and men about how to avoid someone with sociopathic tendencies, I tell them don't expect a monster; instead expect someone oozing with charm. Yet, underneath the heat and charisma are cold thoughts and actions devoid of empathy. Impulsivity, thrill-seeking, and constant boredom are characteristic.
Relationships are used as stepping stones to get them where they want to go. They have an uncanny ability to push someone to the brink, but then suck them back into the relationship again. It's drama, and they love it.

But cads are not infallible. There are always signs. That's why it's so important to educate men and women to see the signs, as well as helping them achieve the courage and willingness it takes to interpret them.
I'm not sure exactly what the signs would be, possibly claiming a personal relationship with the Pope?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sociopath advise on how to deal with sociopaths, part II

Reading these comments from sociopaths, you may be asking yourself, why does anyone put up with sociopaths in the first place? Can sociopaths love? Can they be in a relationship?
"In the beginning, what people are attracted to in psychopaths is they seem to know what you want, what you need, what makes you laugh, and feel good. They are mirroring what is inside you back at you, and throwing in what they've learned. In return, they absorb part of who you are psychologically. They become what you want as much as they can. The relationship feels good because it seems you've found your soul mate."

"I can't comment on what will be enough to have a specific person leave you alone. I can comment on what his motivation might be in continuing to contact you, assuming he is a psychopath. He might be after something you provide, such as money, sex, comfort/normalcy, a fear or fight fix. You might be considered part of who he is. He has absorbed part of your personality by mirroring and he wants to continue or have that back."

"Co-dependant people are attracted to us because we provide a complete immersion of attention and focus. But co-dependant people are not inherently strong enough of personality. The experiment fails and we begin to despise. If she begins to show weakness, such as eventually seeking our guidance or not maintaining discipline and surety of purpose, we begin to despise. We seek to give in a relationship, but we cannot give love, compassion, or empathy. We seek to give what we have."

"From my point of view a boundary is: "Either don't do this or I will do this unpleasant thing to you" and, "If you do this, I will do this nice thing for you." A psychopath will push you to find out how concrete those boundaries are. Willpower and discipline must be maintained in order to keep the psychopath in line until a natural order is established and a direction given (if the psychopath wants a relationship)."

"As an N, I also memorize other people's emotions. It's the easiest way to seem human because I have no idea how to feel them myself!! I'd be very easy to spot if I didn't know how to pretend to have emotions like everyone else."

"Normal people may sense or feel the presence of 'evil'. It permeates from the P. We react with nauseau, fear, and we often say "Oh, he doesn't mean that". It is often intangible and something we can't really define."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sociopaths advise on how to deal with sociopaths, part I

There aren't many places for sociopaths in this world, even on the World Wide Web. There's the elite sociopath website, this blog, and a couple other brave souls I've seen outing themselves anonymously. In contrast, there are a ton of sites and support groups for victims of sociopaths. Sociopaths frequently troll these adding their two cents. And so here we have sociopaths giving advice on how to deal with sociopaths:

"If he's not out to get something else from you (sex, money, whatever), but is after a "relationship", then the following is what happens in my experience: For a brief while, the psychopath "feels" something. He can fool himself into being the very thing that he longs for so dearly: normal. When you're gone, though, his patterns begin to slip. They begin to fade as any memory does. Remember that he can't hang his memories on anything because there is no core to hang them on. To him, you've got part of him walking around in you. He wants that back. If someone had taken a part of who you are, what would you go through to have it again?"

"Psychopaths are natural masters of body language and nuance as it is a survival skill."

"I've always had anger as long as I can remember. I'm thinking it is the one emotion it seems I can really FEEL."

"It doesn't bother me in the least if people are angry. I believe I rather enjoy it. I'm thinking since I can't have love, might as well have hate."

"I adore a good fight! Not many things will stop me from causing strife wherever I go. I have to have a pretty good reason not to start disassembling social structures."

"The repeated references to narcissists lacking emotion and being unable to love others seems straight out of the typewriter of proselytising evangelists who couldn't made a sentence without relying on either a misconception, an exaggeration, an outright lie, or, as here, irrational generalisations. Did you study your manual? Do you have it all memorised so you can strike out at your proverbial abuser with incomplete medical information and a malicious lack of understanding? At least I've never accused someone of being less-than-human. I just proclaim myself as greater-than-human. Heh."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On a friend asking if I'm a sociopath

I sort of self-diagnosed myself five years ago. It seemed to fit. Not everything, of course. I believe that there is a spectrum of the emotionally impaired like there is a spectrum of the blind or the deaf. You are legally blind without your glasses, right? But that doesn't mean that you consider yourself in the same category as completely blind people. Similarly, I may be emotionally impaired without necessarily being handicapped. I think there is a big difference in terms of how people can function in the world depending on where they fall on the spectrum. But I do think that emotional language is like a second language to me. I have to go through several different deductions before I can "empathize" with people, and not just sometimes but most of the time. I do think that I use different strategies to navigate the world than most people--that I have different wiring.

I definitely have sociopathic impulses. I find myself ignoring urges to kill or do great bodily harm to ignoring a temptation to ruin somebody, to even just ignoring the invitation to view the world in a way that would push me to engage in excessively risky behavior. These urges cloud my judgment and take me away from the person I want to be, so I try not to indulge them. I treat them like hallucinations instead. They feel very real, everything feels so real, but I have experienced them frequently enough to know that they are wrong--that I will regret acting on them. So I try to ignore them, just like I would try to ignore the image of a monster breathing fire in my peripheral vision.
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