Friday, August 15, 2008

The rant that won't make sense to the uninitiated

99th percentile

According to a study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, sociopaths make up 1% of the world's population. I guess that puts me in the 99th percentile. Again. I don't think people are surprised when they find out I'm a sociopath. I think they're surprised people like me even exist. But they shouldn't be. It's just another human abnormality like color blindness, dyslexia, or tone deafness. We walk among you unnoticed.

I wasn't surprised when I realized I was a sociopath. Like realizing you're gay or adopted, you may have always known it in your heart. You don't realize you're different until the differences become manifest. Sociopathy takes longer to notice than, say, a learning disability. Just like some people don't realize they're gay until puberty kicks in (or sometimes much later), sociopaths often don't realize what they are until suddenly someone hates them.

I always attributed my sense of being "different" to being smarter than everyone else. I didn't think I had some mental disorder. And for the most part, my "mental disorder" has been easy to live with. There's been no external struggle, no conflict I couldn't master--though sometimes I have find myself behind the curve in certain areas, having to play catch up. Normal people seem to follow an invisible path of personal development. Sometimes I would get confused if there was a fork in that path. I couldn't always predict normal social development enough to anticipate it.

For example: When I started school I quickly learned that it was important to be smart--to do well on tests, to get good grades. It wasn't until fifth grade when I realized (too late) that it's just as important to be well-liked. I missed the fork in the road. It took four years to undo the damage, but by high school I constructed a new, better social persona: I was into indie films and underground music, alternative sports and thrift store clothes. I didn't pander to the whims of the majority through mimicry; my uniqueness demanded respect. And it worked: people liked me, or at least liked the person they thought I was.

How would I describe my condition today? When people ask I have doubts about how best to explain it. It's easy to confuse causes for symptoms and vice versa, but for me sociopathy feels like an extreme form of compartmentalization. I can shut myself off or open myself up to emotions like fear or anger or anxiety or dread or joy just by flipping an internal switch. Or turning a dial, like a radio. All those things are out there, all the time being broadcast through our airwaves. All I have to do is tune into the right station. If I want to feel something--despair, anxiety, bliss, horror disgust--I just think about it. It's like seeing a glass half empty and then flipping the switch or turning the dial to look at it half full. I believe empaths sometimes have a similar sensation and label it an epiphany--a sudden shift in perspective. This happens to me many times a day.

Most people have to listen to whatever signal is being broadcast the strongest, both within themselves and in their social environments. I get to choose which signals to listen to. Sometimes it's nice to be able to choose who to mirror to or how to feel, but it can also be a burden. I have to constantly and actively monitor the airwaves. Most people pick up on social and moral cues because they automatically tune into other people's emotional stations, reading body language unconsciously and displaying appropriate emotional responses in a natural, instinctive way. Empaths are like cell phones in this way--they automatically seek out the strongest signal from the cell towers. Sociopaths, on the other hand, are like traditional radios. I can only hear the strongest signal if I happen to be on that station, or if I'm being extra vigilant about scanning. There's a lot of trial and error involved. Often the best I can do is realize I've missed an important cue, then shift and shuffle through my stations to recover. There can be some awkwardness, but I've gotten pretty good at masking my errors. I can cycle through possible emotional choices very quickly and come up with acceptable responses like a computer playing chess. I'll never be as fast as an empath, but I retain much more control this way. I have the ability to turn my feelings on a dime.

Frequently I won't bother trying to figure out which radio station everyone else is listening to, and instead will broadcast my own station powerfully enough to become dominant. I guess that's what some people call manipulation. When I'm with a group of people, I can control the conversation (assuming I can engage everyone) so that I'll know what they are all thinking. They're thinking about me and whatever it is I'm saying. I purposefully construct what I say to evoke a particular simultaneous reaction. So I'm broadcasting instead of listening. And I can do this as broadly as a drive-in movie theatre, with a large group of people, or as specific as an ipod trip. I can broadcast indefinitely, but I can only be certain of your attention for 20 minutes, 30 minutes tops. And I can't multitask. When I'm broadcasting I can't listen to any other stations. It gives me somewhat of an advantage, if you can call it that. And I use it somewhat frequently, especially at parties. I never feel bad about it, I don't think it is wrong. It's my way of coping. People are listening to whatever broadcast comes in strongest anyway, so why not make it mine? It's not like I think people are stupid or look down on them because of it. It's just that people seem willing to give up so much control over their lives and will listen to such drivel sometimes. I figure I can't be the worst thing that's happened to them.

Narcissists I hate. They are my mortal enemy. They are reckless and sloppy. They don't "pass" as normal to anyone but themselves. They don't get the right social or moral cues either, but it isn't because their radio is faulty, but because they're too busy listening to their own mix tape. Sociopaths don't reject the idea of the radio like they do. I don't believe that we are the same as empaths or better than them like narcissists do. I realize I am different, and I suspect that every sociopath, from the most psychotic serial killer to the most mild mannered office worker, feels isolated. Sociopaths sit in front of our radio all the time, listening like some listen to police scanners. We try to piece together the story. We try to understand what makes empaths do what they do, what makes them tick. We "pass." We walk among you. But we never feel like one of you. We can always tell the difference between sociopaths and empaths, even if you can't.

Most sociopaths want to hide their identity, but I don't want to hide forever. My life's goal is not to have to "pass." I want everyone to know who I am. I want to live in the light. Right now it's not safe, though. People don't like sociopaths. There are books and web pages devoted to detecting and avoiding sociopaths: don't talk to these people, don't be around them, don't let them ensnare you. I want people like me to know that they aren't alone. And I want everyone else to know who I'm a natural human variant. I want to come out of the closet, but not until I change the world to be a safer place for me.


  1. Your writing is very well done and descriptive. As for being "safe" to come out, I feel the same but I decided to take a huge risk last week while on a trip to Costa Rica.

    I met many students from a university there and after a few days I realized that either anyone else like me was either totally absent or great at staying low-key. I wanted to try my own experiment, I figured there was no harm, I'd probably never see them again.

    There was a group of 4 of us at a dinner party. When it was settling down and most people were just talking I decided to purposely reveal myself - bit by bit. Talking about numerous topics and just being totally honest with my thoughts on them.

    To my surprise they were envious. Is it that difficult to constantly have to deal with emotion that it seems peaceful to feel empty? I don't think they'd feel that way if they really knew. But the grass is greener on the otherside, no?

    For good measure, I won't do that again.

  2. I stumbled across your site and find it truly fascinating. My life has been literally turned upside down by a sociopath, and so in the wake of the devastation this person left behind, I am forever researching sociopathy.

    Yours is the first I've come across that expresses sociopathy first hand. A couple of things I find curious though...

    1. Your perception of experiencing emotion, you describe as tuning in to radio frequency, and that your efforts are more deliberate than an empath. Your perception that empaths "tune in" to the frequencies more automatically, I disagree with. This description of experiencing emotions is very objectifying - as if emotions are "out there" and we are seek the appropriate one out. In fact, an empath, does NOT experience emotions like this. Not even "automatically" as you say. To use your language, an empath's emotions are the internal transmitter. We experience emotions internally and from within, and there is often very little feeling of control. Much like the feeling of being swept away on a roller coaster. More times than not, we feel that the emotion chooses us, and not the other way around. Feelings also become an inherent part of who we are, and to compartmentalize or separate from our birthright, feels something close to death at times for the person who feels deeply.

    2. You're intolerance of narcissism is interesting to me, particularly since it my understanding that many sociopaths have narcissistic tendencies. Would you say that your dislike of them may stem from an internal distaste of something that may challenge your own sense of superiority or narcissism?

    3. Another aspect of this very blog I find interesting is your willingness to share your internal thoughts and perspective, as well as your self admission of being a sociopath. Most sociopaths, as I am sure you are aware, live their lives simply feeling superior to others, but never thinking that they have a personality or mental disorder. My sociopath told me that he could understand why I thought he was one, but then rationalized himself, saying "I know I can be selfish...but I think I am an enigma. I do feel things, I feel guilt, I feel's just that I am very selfish sometimes." He just didn't get it. The story is long, but if you knew him and what he had done, what he is capable of - hands down, a classic sociopath.

  3. Here is a Message from an Empath, with genuine compassion for YOU - someone who I see is much like my lost Beloved. I really DID learn SO MUCH from someone very much like you - Thank you... I sincerely wish you well on your journey to greater self-understanding and acceptance.

    Sociopaths are the most profound training programs for those with great empathic ability and sharp, clear minds.

    Having been in a close intimate relationship with an S for over two years, I am now able to see what he sees, perceive the world and other people the way he perceives them, and yet I have lost nothing of my ability to feel everything. Not only can I see and comprehend who and what he is as well as the world as he knows it, but I am able to truly experience it and understand his locus of awareness.

    However, although I have been able through my reserves of empathy found a way to enter and transfuse with his world, he will never be able to enter mine. He helped me very much to harness my extra-sensory perception and supernatural radar; he helped me become a stronger and more objective, detached channel - capable of filtering out so much emotional static so that I am now a kind of hybrid - truly the best of both worlds!

    Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now advances a theory that "ego" can be transcended; interestingly enough, my S helped me along that path - the S (unlike the dreaded N) is really without an ego. Unfortunately, he is also without the apparatus that makes transcending the ego an activity of becoming a Master - the ability to feel.

    As an empath who experiences a greater sensory bandwidth than the average human, my S actually helped me break ground into a great liberation from the “sheeple-hood” of the matrix-like programming of self and personality, while retaining an ability to converge and mingle with emotional nuances that will forever elude him.

    His mind can only infer the Platonic Forms beyond the dim shadows cast upon the dull cave wall; I, however, am now able to not only recognize them as he does, but I can transfuse completely with them.

    The true empath has the ability to take all unto themselves and yet, are strong enough retain a center, a core of being capable of great tensions - we are Towers that cannot crumble or fall because we do not oppose anything, we accept everything into ourselves and make it a part of us - our inherent unity of being can incorporate infinite multiplicity - and having now been schooled in the detachment and objectivity of the S. - I am feeling a freedom unknown to ordinary mortals.

    Unfortunately, I could not help him although I tried tirelessly - I could not take him with me on this journey to full actualization of human potential. It is no less tragic to me that he cannot see how ironic the one-sided nature of our relationship really was - the irony being that he served me, yet all along believing I was serving him - yet in truth, there was nothing ever that I could give him - despite how much I desired a reciprocity of true shared identity and being and despite how much he tried to exploit that desire to serve himself.

    There was nothing on his end to transfuse with, no foundation to the iceberg of his soul. As much as he tried, he was incapable of taking anything from me, and only left me great blessings…

  4. You say about Narcissists "narcissists i hate. they are my mortal enemy. they are reckless and sloppy. they don't "pass" as normal to anyone but themselves. They don't get the right social or moral cues either, but it isn't because their radio is faulty, but because they're too busy listening to their own mix tape."

    In response to that: Narcissists pass off as normal as easily as sociopaths. I am POSITIVE of that. And "listening to their own mix tape" COMPLETELY wrong. They have no mix tape. Their life is about reflecting others.

    If I had to diagnose you... I would actually say you are a Narcissistic with Aspergers.

  5. Also you say: "often in a social situation, the best i can do is realize that i have missed an important que or shift and shuffle through my stations to try to recover. there can be some awkwardness, but i have gotten very experienced at masking my errors."

    That's Aspergers. Sociopaths are generally very gregarious and have absolutely no trouble relating socially. There's no need for them to "think about what to say". It comes quite naturally to them. So this makes me doubt you have AsPD.

  6. Great blog, it got me thinking, and I assume many others as well. I just wanted to clarify one thing. So, as a Sociopath, you are not without the ability to feel most emotions, it just doesn't come as "automatic" or as natural as empaths do?

    1. Presence of emotion in the sociopathic personality may be more sparse and/or more narrow that in the empathetic personality. Certain emotions may be elicited by different stimuli than they would in the typical empath. Certain emotions may misidentify or misattribute themselves. Overall affect is considerably more shallow than in neurotypicals.

  7. First, after discovering your blog last night I've decided to go back and read it through from the beginning. I left my first comment last night as an Anon, but since I suspect I'll want to comment quite a bit, I have adopted a nom de plume to differentiate myself from the other Anons.

    Anyway, I completely agree that being a sociopath is isolating and lonely, but to be honest in the real world I don't mind that too much. In a way I think it sort of feeds my ego, the idea of being so curious that others would not, and could not, accept me for what I am. I like that uniqueness and I can’t help but think it makes me a bit better than many a co-dependent ninny begging to be exploited for fear of loneliness. Nevertheless, there is still a certain desire to talk about the way I think openly and honestly, so I can completely appreciate the idea behind this blog. In fact I considered doing the same thing myself and was looking for the competition when I stumbled across your blog.

    I also agree with your “compartmentalization” idea described in this post. Contrary to some of the information out there that suggests that sociopaths simply can not feel anything, I think it is more that I don’t feel things very strongly and can turn on or off any particular feeling as easily as turning a switch. Frankly, I can not see a downside to that and I would think most people would prefer to have that option. I think it gives me an advantage over other people and I enjoy playing on that advantage and manipulating people to do things that are against their better interests in order to placate me.

    As for “coming out”, although there is an appeal to the idea, I do not think I would ever do so to the world at large. Quite honestly, I think of my self as a hunter, a predator, so the idea of alerting the prey in advance is a bad idea. However, I do like to come out to individuals once I have them firmly in hand and have grown bored with them and am ready to move on. I have one hell of a sadistic streak and coming clean as you decide to cast some idiot aside really feeds that tendency. The victim’s sudden realization that all their efforts to please me, willing degradation and self-sacrifice was for naught just turns me on (literarily). Plainly, the world would suck if there were too many people out there like me, but luckily that isn’t the case, so there is plenty of room in which to hunt.

    So yes, I do have a desire to talk about how I really see the world and other people, but not to do so in way in which others could quickly associate it with me personally. This means I am not really interested in “coming out” per se, but I do like the idea of voicing my thoughts honestly as long as there are no real world consequences. I don’t have any sort of guilt or moral issues, but I actively promote my own self interests and “coming out” offers no real benefit at all while presenting tangible threats to my ability to function in society. So, no, “coming out” would just be stupid.

  8. This is to the OP: Why are you pretending to be a sociopath? Why do you continue to post pointless things to try to convince people that you are a sociopath? Do you realize that sociopaths could care less of what people think about them? So why the constant "Hey I'm a sociopath look at how cool and dark and mysterious I am" bullshit? You seem to display more narcissism than sociopath. If you WERE a sociopath you wouldn't even know it, I suspect you've watched too many movies. I don't know, but I know for certain that a sociopath you are not.

  9. "If I had to diagnose you... I would actually say you are a Narcissistic with Aspergers."

    I find this interesting because I am diagnosed with Asperger's and often wonder if I am a sociopath. I experience a lot of what you describe as well.

  10. To the OP:

    No offence but I would seriously contest your argument of being a sociopath, unless of course it's a double bluff and you're actually a sociopath posing as someone with Asperger's or NPD posing as a sociopath? A true sociopath isn't so blatant; he or she would be highly unlikely to talk so openly and honestly about their condition unless they were to gain something out of it OTHER than merely attention.

    Of course, various aspects of all these conditions overlap at times, and sometimes the line of demarcation can indeed be fuzzy, thus it's often very easy and indeed tempting to confuse them, even for the so-called 'professionals'. But they've been given different names for a reason, that reason being that they are separate conditions.

    You need to figure out which one you truly are, rather than trying to pose as a sociopath, which you clearly are NOT (or are doing a damn fine job of pretending NOT to be). Still calling Narcissistic or Asperger's on this one.

  11. In so many ways, you sound like me. I stumbled upon your site after learning some of the basics about sociopathy and meeting a diagnosed ASPD.

    I, personally,tend to differ from many of the diagnostic stereotypes of the sociopath, having no criminal history to speak of and not much of a predilection for narcissism. (Though I can be selfish at times) I also love animals and hate to see them in pain, often understanding their hurt better than that of humans. Yet, other aspects of the disorder (if it can be called that) describe me intimately.

    Your description of emotion sounds very much like what I experience, as well as my occasional misses on major social cues. I tend to have to choose an emotion to feel, particularly when it comes to relationships. I pursue people for the thrill of the pursuit, and I choose to pursue them for whatever quality they posses (often status); I have no real emotional desire for them. I also have to choose to mimic grief or sadness for others; I act horrified or sad to blend in.

    As for always knowing, in some way, that I am different, this too, rings true. I have continually felt alone in this world, like I'm running on a slightly different clock than everyone else, always 15 minutes early, or 15 minutes late.

    Finally, I have read some of the comments on this post, and note that there is some debate as to whether your personality type really qualifies as a sociopath. As to that, I think there is perhaps a type of sociopath that, like aspergers, can be deemed "highly functional" or perhaps "socially integrated." This, to me, is the sociopath that finds value in what society has to offer, money, station, power, whatever, and uses their masking skills and charm to fit into society, with the ultimate goal of reaping its benefits. I do not wish to claim that you are this type of sociopath (that I have, indeed, just made up), but rather, that there is something missing from the diagnostic criteria of sociopathy.

    Perhaps the problem is that I am a sociopath and cannot diagnose my "classic characteristics," and thus add complications to what is really, to normals, a simple disorder.

  12. Before I read the comments, I was thinking that you definitely sound more like an aspie. As one who has often found myself described in aspergian traits, I would lean toward that "diagnosis" for you (after reading this post) as well. just a thought.

  13. This is ridiculous. Of course sociopaths are self aware. If narcissism is a quality that overlaps so heavily with socipathy, why would the sociopath not LOVE to understand their "self". On top of this, for a sociopath, the idea of a "self" is often hard to pin down--it is constantly morphing and changing and adapting to whatever social scene may require it. So, if the sociopath can adapt their "self", they have to first be aware of what the "self" is, and what they are changing it to be. In order to be aware of what role the person is presenting, that requires some self-introspection. In other words, one cannot choose a role to play without first acknowledging he/she is IN NEED of a role, which would mean that the person has analyzed themselves, and discovered that they LACK something.

    What's interesting is that many of the posts of people that I would consider to possess certain socipathic traits, are those that have said they have felt "different" from the rest of the world. Like their clock ticks differently. Like their "missing" something.
    I believe this stems from the discrepancy between how empaths feel emotion and sociopaths do. Granted, there are varying levels of sociopath, and some may experience emotions differently or moreso than others--which makes a blanket diagnoses cause problems and easily have holes ripped in it. But, the key point to remember is that the person, for some reason, feels as though their experiencing something profoundly different than the rest of society--something they quickly learn to recognize as emotional response.

    Also, sociopaths have an amazing ability to perceive what others are feeling, understand human emotion, and are very perceptive to the validity behind an emotion someone may be portraying. So, if a sociopath sees someone wrecked by unimaginable sadness, and the sociopath, himself, knows there were instances where he should felt such a sadness, and didn't, and then realizes--wait, I've never felt that, and I can't imagine ever being ABLE to feel that.
    The point is, in order for the sociopath to possess such an amazing appreciation for the varying intensity of others' emotions, it requires some self-inspection, and realization that hey, I'm at THIS level, which is much lower than my peer, who seems to feel emotions at this, much higher level. So the idea that sociopaths are totally unaware of their levels of emptiness, or loneliness, or inability to feel, or difference from the rest of the world--is bogus.

    And the people that are commenting: "the very fact that you're wondering IF you're a sociopath, means you're not", for one, are clearly not sociopaths themselves. And for two, are commenting on something outside their realm.
    Like if an african american doubted their ability to fit in with the black community, because they were raised in a white community, and lack certain social cues of the culture--you people would tell them, "just the very fact if you're wondering if you fit in with the blacks, means that you're white". This is obviously not true, and you people are commenting on something you can't possibly understand--because, to follow the analogy, you're white.

    If you're a sociopath and you're reading this, I know you understand.

  14. I agree, Anon. I'm sure sociopaths have spotted the differences even if some of them don't know what to call it.

  15. Hi Guy,

    Sorry, didn't know what to call you. I realize I'm several years late with this and I have things to do so my focus is being pulled away from this blog.

    I found this while looking up the definition of "sociopath" because I wanted a full meaning of the word that I've heard used so often in television shows and the like; first I looked at a definition page, which gave me a very typical description of a person that would just basically be "evil" (love that sort of thing). At the bottom of the page was a link here.

    I read the recent posts and started to think that this blog was written by a self-styled sociopath, and to my great surprise it was. The stigma associated with the term sociopath is like the stigma associated to many other things, being popularly misunderstood because of the label being misused to describe one specific kind of "bad" person. Labels are garbage, I guess.

    I also think that many of the "symptoms" of sociopathy apply to myself, therefore it is possible I may fit under such a label. However I do not think that it is these labels, nor the study of the differences of consciousness of those who commit terrible acts that shows us the true reasons for committing such acts.

    For example, I have had many thoughts, "played" with ideas, if you will of horrible, violent acts. These acts have ranged from thinking of how to place explosives in an effective manner to slitting throats. I don't think any of these ideas are good ones, and I am not inclined to pursue them, but the idea that some people are used to scare me into thinking that since I could think the thoughts, I would certainly commit them. This is a fallacy, and just because I, when I was a child, committed a few acts deemed as torture on animals and manipulated people in the past does not mean that the fruits of my life's labour must be within the realm of "evil". Shit, that's like saying everyone who's born in a trailer park is gonna die in one. People make decisions, some make them based more on rational thought, some on instinct, some on the advice of friends, or any number of different things.

    I don't really know what I'm trying to say here. I really wanted to write something about how i've found a peaceful place and I'm happy in what I'm doing and planning to do, and that I don't think that anyone has to live violently even though it is in your nature (which i'm not saying you do). At any rate, I very much like the blog.

    Alex L-D

  16. Machiavellian MindMarch 12, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    I think that your description of emotions is a lot more clear than my former way of thinking, which involved musical scores.

    As for the comments about your possible inconsistencies in personality, I applaud their attempts to undermine the credibility of this blog (which seems to be the first of its kind). However, they fail to establish their own intellectual credibility for the most part, and can therefore be reasonably discounted.

    I found this site while looking for articles on Antisocial Personality Disorder, and had previously noted the near-universal assumption that "If you're looking at this, you must be dealing with someone with ASPD." No one seemed to consider the possibility that a sociopath would want to know more about themselves.

    I believe this site to be most beneficial, and I'll be following its progress with interest.


  17. I knows you's special like me, Baby. My club be open comin?

  18. This is so childish compared to what we're reading now ME. ;))

    I am thinking you probably hate me. I have no idea if you will read this either. I might be a narcissist, I might be a sociopath, I might be normal and fucked up but the thing is that I am having fun the ways I can and I kinda want you to like me. You've become like my inner conscience. :)

    1. M.E. is the conscience of Sociopathworld.

      I like it.

  19. very interesting blog; after reading a few post I've decided to read from the beginning...

  20. i agree that i would eventually like to stop hiding its kinda hard especially since i live with a extremely empathic mother which with her i get very tired her being touchy feely and i usually like my home to be a place where i can take off my mask and be myself

  21. "Just like some people don't realize they're gay until puberty kicks in (or sometimes much later), sociopaths often don't realize what they are until suddenly someone hates them."

    Well, I'm a sociopath. Is it neccesary to be hated by someone?


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  23. More people need to be on

    !!! it used to be connected to this blog but was disconnected over a year ago. We need fresh blood and lots of interesting things have happened recently (relates to drama: that will go down in the forum's history!


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