Sometimes I feel like I have a devil and angel on my shoulders trying to convince me how to behave. More devil than angel, of course. In the books on which the TV show Dexter is based, the fictional Dexter refers to his devil as "the Dark Passenger." (Apparently. I haven't read the books, but so says wikipedia.) It's an interesting idea -- how do sociopaths perceive their identity? Is it split? Is there a devil tempting them to do things they otherwise wouldn't? With Dexter, the Dark Passenger is the one that wants to do all the killing. When Dexter can no longer ignore it, he "lets the Dark Passenger do the driving." That sounds plausible enough, until the books get all voodoo:
In Dexter in the Dark, the third novel of the series, it is revealed through third person narrative of an entity referred to as "IT" that the Dark Passenger is an independent agent inhabiting Dexter, rather than a deviant psychological construction. "IT" is revealed to be Moloch, a god worshipped in Biblical times. The Dark Passenger is one of ITs many offspring: IT had many children (formed through human sacrifice), and IT learned to share ITs knowledge with them. Eventually, there were too many, and IT killed the majority, some of whom escaped into the world. In the novel, Dexter learns of the Dark Passenger's true nature when it briefly "leaves" him, frightening him into researching possible reasons for its existence.The demon angle is ridiculous, but again, maybe that is just how Dexter deals with his impulses. Because that is what I think the Dark Passenger really represents, and for me the little devil on my shoulder equals impulses. Everyone has impulses, and sociopaths are notorious for having poor impulse control -- at least those in prison. I am a highly rational person, always weighing the costs and benefits of every action, but I can still succumb to ill-advised impulses some of the time. That's my devil, always trying to get me into trouble. As I grow older, the impulse-control has actually gotten worse instead of better. When I was a child, I was used to people looking over my shoulder all the time, so keeping my own behavior in check was a more immediate concern. Adults don't have the same external restraints. For instance, I am frequently tempted to "ruin people" or lash out in anger. Recently I've been looking for ways to not just ignore or suppress these impulses, but to tame them. I am getting too secure in my career and position in society to risk having a blowout over nothing. I have found that swimming laps helps a lot; the rhythm and the white noise are very soothing. I have also recently discovered tai chi. I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but it really works wonders for soothing the mind. You have to do something, otherwise you'll end up in prison or a social pariah or worse.