M.E.: So how did you discover that your friend was a sociopath?
Empath: The hard way.
M.E.: Is there any other way?
Empath: 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.
M.E.: Ha, yeah, that sounds like textbook sociopath.
Empath: 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.
M.E.: Of course.
Empath: 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?
Empath: Anyway, I have come to respect and (sort of) understand him for what he is.