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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Overheard at a family wedding

Future in-laws during a toast: "And we'd like to thank the _______ family, who has completely seduced us."

Cousin: "Not surprising, from a family that reads how-to books on seduction."

Outting Myself?

M.E.: I'm planning on outing myself as a sociopath in my next book club meeting for East of Eden. What do you think? Good idea or bad idea?
Friend: Hm. People don't really understand what you mean by that. They just think you are being facetious, and East of Eden is not the venue for facetiousness
M.E.: Well, it has the one character who is a sociopath, right? People always say she is this caricature of evil when really she is just like a textbook sociopath.
Friend: I dunno buddy. Why out yourself?
M.E.: Maybe I don’t want to be ashamed of it. I feel like it is the topic of the day for me, so to speak.
Friend: are you ashamed?
M.E.: No, but why would i need to lie about it?
Friend: No one is asking you if you are one. Don’t ask don’t tell. :)
M.E.: I seriously feel like these are my people and we are constantly being maligned.
Friend: Buddy... I think the only sociopaths that are maligned are the ones that hurt people. You don’t hurt people.
M.E.: Don’t I?
Friend: Well, maybe the approach should be like--hey, I have problems, don’t understand social norms, but I adapt and learn... blah blah blah. And that's not entirely true... I think people are really coming around about people with autism and Aspergers. Sociopath implies serial killer.
M.E.: I know! Oppression!
Friend: Well, considering the other popular -path is psychopath...

Monday, October 13, 2008

House, MD: Sociopaths Making Friends

Dr. House, of the TV show House, MD, is a sociopath. House, like Dexter, is sympathetically portrayed--perhaps even more so than Dexter. But recently his fictional best friend Wilson has been hating on him. House sort of kills his best friend's girlfriend Amber, and then tries to apologize:
"I'm sorry. I know I didn't try to kill her. I know I didn't want to hurt. I know it was a freak accident. But I feel like crap and she's dead because of me."
"I don't blame you. I wanted to. I tried to. I must have reviewed Amber's case file a hundred times to find a way— but it wasn't your fault."
"Then we're okay? I mean I know you aren't but— Maybe I can help."
Wilson finally responds, with lots of pauses while in spite of all his habits to spare House, Wilson tells him what he's really feeling. "We're not okay. Amber was never the reason I was leaving. I didn't want to tell you because— because I was trying like I always do to protect you, which is the problem. You spread misery because you can't feel anything else. You manipulate people because you can't handle any kind of real relationship. And I've enabled it. For years. The games. The binges. The middle-of-the-night phone calls. I should have been the one on the bus not—" Wilson catches himself doing what he has always done. "You should have been alone on the bus. If I've learned anything from Amber it's that I have to take care of myself." Wilson picks up the last of his belongings before walking out with these parting words. "We're not friends any more, House. I'm not sure we ever were."
House doesn't know whether Wilson is serious or not, so gives him a long leash. After giving him space for a while, he tests the water again, knocks on the door to Wilson's house and tells him:
"I need an epiphany. What are you billing out at? Three Hundred an hour? Here's four."
"There are other oncologists."
"Better oncologists. But I need you. Let me describe the symptoms, problems, issues, you say whatever you feel like saying until something triggers an idea in my head."
"That's not the way it works."
"You have a way of thinking about things.It's sloopy, it's undisciplined, it's not very linear. It compliments mine. It drives me down avenues that I wouldn't otherwise—"
"House, please go away."
House tries to continue discussing the case until Wilson tries to shut the door on him. Then he stops the door from closing and asks, "How are you?"
"Don't do this. Please. Please, don't do this. I'm trying to move on."
House isn't willing to give up and after asking some more, admits, "I paid a private investigator to spy on you."
"You didn't."
"If you want to move on from me, you've got to deal with me, talk to me."
"You have no right."
"We're not friends anymore. There's no trust to be breached. I can have you followed, I can call you names, tell your secrets..."
"I have the right to walk away from you, House. There's a world beyond you. You need to realize that and even if you don't I'm moving on. The next time you knock, I'm not answering."
Now of course I side with House. Is there any reason I could be wrong?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Interview with a sociopath part III

M.E.: So I think your yahoo group is pretty unusual, if only because the conventional wisdom seems to be that sociopaths are disassociative. Like redheads, sociopaths supposedly don't like associating with other sociopaths. Has there ever been a problem? Do you think that sociopaths are disassociative?

: No. "Sociopaths" as I think of them are not dissociative. This is why they are not normal. Read the last section of Wilhelm Reich's CHARACTER ANALYSIS. What he says about the "emotional plague" of mankind. "Normal" people are captivated by their rationalizations and delusions, which function to protect them from reality. It is the rare and unique individual who can face reality, the possibility of human freedom and rise above.

: Any common misconceptions about sociopaths you want to debunk?

: Why bother? "Sociopaths" already know the truth, from the inside. Are you asking me whether I want to "reason" with irrational people? Sounds like a waste of time to me.
I don't feel the need to justify my personal integrity to assholes.

: Yeah, okay. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Interview with a sociopath part II

M.E.: So you have a yahoo group, elite_sociopath, which i enjoy reading.

: Glad you enjoy it.

: How did it get started?

: The Yahoo Group started by myself and a few others recruiting all the smartest people from every good discussion forum we knew. We all had the same problem. Getting kicked off of groups and forii for being smarter than the moderator and showing the moderator up. The literature group, various Nietzsche groups, Heidegger, Reich and other groups are where most of the original people came from. Nowadays we also get people from occult forums and stuff.

: Whoa, occult forums? Nice. Is there a greater proportion of sociopaths on those type of forums? Or do sociopaths rise to the surface like cream in milk in yahoo group forums?

: No, not everyone is a sociopath, necessarily.

: So what's with the name?

: Well the sociopath discussion forum is FOR people like "us." Not that you have to be elite to join, anyone can join.

: But the empaths are all socio-friendly? How do those dynamics work out?

: Often people find out that they can't take it, so they quit.

: Yeah, I've had people quit on me too, after they realized they couldn't take it. It's kind of a drag. I wish I could take it as well as you seem to.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Interview with a sociopath part I

M.E.: We have a mutual friend who turned me on to your Yahoo group. I was wondering if you would be interested in doing a similar interview for the blog?
V: I'm sure it would be fabulous.
M.E.: Perfect, this will be very interesting. So, how did you realize you were a sociopath?
V: Dunno that I did, per se. Just realized that everyone else was a bunch of dumbasses.
M.E.: How do you think being a sociopath affects your life?
V: I think the realization that I was "different" was life changing. All those years as a kid surrounded by idiots, and trying to "act normal," and "fit in" by trying to be like THEM. LOL. And this includes adults. It made me realize I could INDIVIDUATE. And that I SHOULD. Are INDIVIDUATION and "SOCIOPATHY" identical? Heheh. "Let us face ourselves. We are Hyperboreans. We know very well how far off we live. Beyond the North, ice and death. OUR life, OUR happiness..." -Friedrich Nietzsche, THE ANTICHRIST.
M.E.: What does Nietzsche mean by Hyperboreans? i read the wikipedia article but I don't get it, and I've only had layovers in Nietzsche land, not actually stayed there for any amount of time.
V: Nietzsche wants to talk about "transcending," but without a system of values, he doesn't necessarily know precisely in what way he wants to become "better." So he uses lingo from Greek mystery cults.
M.E.: Yeah, okay, I'm familiar with the whole ubermensch thing. Leopold and Loeb, Hitchcock's rope, yeah.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Interview with an Empath (part V)

Empath: By the way, I believe my friend still has a listserv on yahoo or somewhere. Would you like to talk a little with your peers? I could refer him to your blog and ask if he thinks the listerv is up your alley. Although they don't tend to talk that much about being sociopaths, specifically. He let me on the list at one time in the past, but I couldn't handle it when one of the more serial-killer-esque individuals on the list actually posted child porn and it came directly in my in-box. So I unsubscribed. The rest of them aren't like that, but a number of them are into conspiracy theories for some reason.

: Definitely interested. I'm so lonely, really. Mainly I have to hang out with people on the autism spectrum who are also unempathetic, or the uber-empaths who are so empathetic they even empathize with the sociopaths. You might be one of those, btw. Particularly if your friend stole your girlfriend and you still sort of felt bad for him.

: That sounds right.

: Uber-empaths and sociopaths actually make okay friends because the empath is constantly emoting all the time, like kryptonite killing off lesser things, but the sociopathis are unfazed, immune. And sociopaths rarely get to show off to people who really appreciate them. Uber-empaths can understand and appreciate. That said, I'd like to meet other sociopaths.

: Sure, but if you do get on the listserv, my friend sometimes refers to me on the list. Many things he has said about me are blantantly false or some shade of embellishment. I don't really care, because he doesn't use my real name, but if you read anything about me in the archives or whatever, assume it is not true. My friend periodically accuses me of being Lecter to his Starling. Which is almost flattering.

: So you were on the listserv for a while? Did you ever think that you were a sociopath?

: No, I am definitely not one of your ilk, though at times I wish I were, because I recognize how base, disgusting, hypocritical, and virtually intolerable the world is but am stuck on that radio dial picking up the waves of empathy, unable to control. Compassion can be a handicap, I recognize. One of my favorite movies is American Psycho, because I appreciate the beauty and truth of the film's ending. Most people do deserve to die in horrible ways. I just know that I want to save them rather than than use or slaughter them. I am a crusader and semi-socialist, you know?

: Yeah, I know.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I'm sick and so world-weary today. I often tell people that if I could wake up one day and be 60, I would be very happy. I wish I could take birthdays like I take stairs--three at a time. I don't know whether everyone feels this way, or if it's a symptom of who I am. Usually I distract myself from any feelings of emptiness or pointlessness with games: mind games, power games, money games. It's hard to get excited about any of those things when I'm sick, though. All I feel is a sense of my own mortality and weakness. Maybe I'm just listening to too much oboe music.

Interview with an Empath (part IV)

Empath: I think I have taught my sociopath friend a ton, over the years, about how to imitate the type of behavior you refer to as "empathic." Or, perhaps, I give myself too much credit and he has just learned on his own.

: Oh, I'm sure you taught him a ton about how to pass. I constantly check with my friends all the time to make sure I am passing, help me pinpoint weak points, vet potential plans of attack. I've devoted crazy amounts of time to passing, but I figure it is all the better to enact my own little machinations.

: He functions quite well in society, unless he takes a disliking to a particular person, in which case he is given to psychologically smashing them into tiny pieces. Which, if that person happens to be someone else I care about, tends to cause tension in our relationship.

: Have you ever been a target of his psychological warfare?

. Not directly. For whatever reason, my friend has decided I am one of the few "sheep" in the world that he truly likes. Maybe because I (sometimes tacitly, sometimes explicitly) accept him as a sociopath, even when I am horrified or exasperated by his actions.
M.E., I think you're right, sociopaths can/will sometimes pick out favorites among the empaths, people they are fond of. Like how Dexter is sort of inexplicably fond of his step sister. Similar to people with Asperger's and others with low degrees of empaths, sociopaths can be extremely loyal.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Interview with an Empath (part III)

M.E.: So how did you discover that your friend was a sociopath?

: The hard way.

: Is there any other way?

: Not that I know of. I actually don't know how we've managed to stay friends for so long. At one point, I didn't speak to him for two years because he slept with my girlfriend and wrote me a letter basically rubbing it my face. I was devastated. Through a few discussions with him over time, I began to realize that he is a sociopath or, at least, very close. It was like . . . I had to explain to him on an intellectual level how wrong what he did was. I began to see he couldn't really understand on a gut empathetic level, why his actions would be so devastating.

: Ha, yeah, that sounds like textbook sociopath.

: I used to comment, during that period, that I wouldn't have been surprised if I went over to his house and found body parts in his freezer. But he has external constraints that I think would prevent him from ever going that way. Not that he necessarily would have, of course.

: Of course.

: But my friend is a brilliant, original thinker. Although his worldview is constantly evolving and changing. He gets very irritated when I talk about spirituality and love or compassion, which he views as primarily aspects of bourgeois decadence as manifested in current culture. I could go on. He is most likely a sociopath, but I love him dearly. Most people I know can't understand why I "tolerate" him. He is strange and brilliant and interesting and . . . so different from everyone else I know. Not in an everyone-repeat-after-me-"we-are-all-individuals" kind of way. You know?

: sure.

: Anyway, I have come to respect and (sort of) understand him for what he is.
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