Our questioning reader writes again:
I'm sorry for emailing you so much, but I've never had the opportunity to speak with someone about these things without the fear of being judged. It's been eating at me for about 5 years, ever since I started realizing that there was something wrong with my emotional and moral circuitry. It's been extremely confusing for me, and I'm not sure how to cope with it.
I'm sure it must sound quite crazy.
After reading information at WrongPlanet and on your Site... though I have many of the symptoms of Aspergers, I find myself identifying more readily with things I've read here.
There's a side of me that I've struggled to repress ever since I became aware of it. When I was younger, I used to take pleasure in causing pain to people who I felt had wronged me. Even offending my ego was enough to set me off. I won't get into the things I did, because that's really not important, but what is important was the general lack of remorse I felt. It was always their fault. Their deserved what happened to them. They should have expected it. That kind of thinking.
But I did feel emotions. I just felt whatever emotions I needed to feel at the time. If I needed someone to feel sorry for me, I'd get very sad and start crying. If I needed someone to take my side in something, I'd feel victimized. The feelings were very shallow, but they were there none-the-less.
I don't feel that any more. Ever since I became aware of it, I haven't been able to allow myself to feel much of anything. I suffer terrible social anxiety now, and I never used to. I feel like I have to watch everything I say or do, and it's debilitating. The worst part is I can see how easy it would be to fit in if I could just bring myself to actively put on a show instead of relying on passive defense techniques... but I just can't do it. I'm afraid that I'll lose a part of myself that I won't be able to get back. I'm afraid of being hollow.
I want so badly for this quest to understand myself to stop. To end. Without worrying that I'll completely lose myself. I look in the mirror, and I see someone who is capable of anything.
It's so confusing, and it leads me in so many different directions. It's inconsistent. It makes me feel insane, but only when I'm thinking about myself. I just don't understand why I can't understand my own identity.
Constantly watching myself is debilitating. It's making life very tough. Keeping myself honest is very tough. My natural inclination in any situation is just to say whatever I need to say, but I struggle to speak with absolute honesty. I struggle not to magically become whatever a person needs me to become just to get close to them. When I'm around other people, I almost can't function, because so much of my focus is spent gauging my reactions and scrutinizing my thoughts. Am I being honest? Should I really say this? I usually wind up at a loss for words, or being brutally honest about everything... which makes it hard to have a sense of humor until I can "figure out" someone else's sense of humor.
Again, I apologize for all of this. I'm just hoping you can help me to understand myself, or give me some advice. I honestly don't know what's wrong with me. I just know that something most definitely is, and I'm afraid to settle on anything--especially sociopathy.