My reply to the question from the reader:
My initial thoughts are that he is obviously charming enough to be attractive, he seems very egocentric, and he is not above abusing close relationships but will still make the minimum amount of effort to maintain those relationships so they will be available for further abuse (milking the cow instead of slaughtering). He is manipulative, he doesn't conform to social norms, he has a flexible version of reality/truth -- these are all sociopathic traits. Growing up in a hard environment does not make him less likely to be a sociopath, but more so. The fact that he stood up for a kid being beaten up could go either way, but I think it argues more in favor of sociopath. Sociopaths and narcissists both have a grandiose self image, have a low fear response, and are in need of excessive amounts of stimulation. These and other sociopath/narcissist specific traits would encourage jumping into the fray rather than avoiding fights, even if the fight does not concern them at all. Particularly in this instance where the odds seemed stacked slightly against him, but not too much, and there was a certain amount of nobility to the cause (with the added benefit of impressing you), this seems more like the behavior of a sociopath than a rational person who probably would not have interfered or would have called the police instead of turning vigilante/superhero.Reader's response:
It's hard to diagnose sociopaths secondhand, and even more difficult to diagnose sociopaths thirdhand (firsthand would require intimate knowledge of thought processes that only the suspect himself would have access to), but it is not unlikely that your boyfriend is a sociopath or narcissist. The two are very difficult to distinguish based on outside observation alone. Like a dolphin and a shark, they may generally look the same and act the same, but they come from quite different patterns of interacting with the world. If you feel like your boyfriend has a great deal of self-awareness about his condition, his behavior, and his motivations for his actions, he is probably a sociopath. If he seems oblivious to the inner workings of his mind, the consequences of his actions, or seems to live in a reality entirely his own, he is probably a narcissist. Either way he sounds like he is low-functioning and is probably not a good person to indulge. If you continue to have contact with him, you should establish firm boundaries and clear consequences and follow through with those consequences (although arguably only sociopaths would have enough self-awareness to learn to live within set boundaries). Do not let him manipulate you into compromising you or the rules you have set for him. If you fail to do these things, anything negative that happens to you will be no one's fault but your own.
But I do understand the attraction. Sociopaths and narcissists can be very alluring.
Thanks for reading.
thank you for your reply! yeah, after he abandoned me there i cut him off and he has yet to come back(but i DO care about him, which actually frightens me because i know he isn't good for me.) and you're right, they're very attractive to me atleast because i like a man who isn't afraid to defend himself or others. it's just hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that if he is a sociopath or narcissist, he can't feel compassion.. its very foreign to me. i really enjoy your site btw :)