Our questioning reader:
This will be the last message I send unless you see fit to send a reply. I've done a lot of thinking over the past couple days, and I do believe I'm a sociopath. While I often seek out the affection and acceptance of others, I never truly feel anything in return. If they reject me, and I feel hurt, it's only at being denied something I want. I do have a lot of the symptoms associated with aspergers syndrome; however, people with AS do seem to have a sense of right and wrong, along with affection for others. I'm quite indifferent to anything that happens to anyone other than myself, unless it happens to me. Even my family members mean very little to me, and I usually only contact them to alleviate boredom, maintain appearances, or get their help with something.
I think the bulk of my confusion was caused by my desire to be liked and accepted. I wanted to believe that I was a normal human being, not a beast who deserved to be treated poorly. These desires, along with the anxiety I felt, served not only as motivators for my self-deception, but also as a mechanism for denial. Surely, a sociopath wouldn't have such intense reactions to such things.
Reading your site, and quite a few others, has really started to opened my eyes. I'm beginning to see that Sociopaths aren't the heartless creatures portrayed by the media. We do have feelings, even if we aren't capable of genuine affection, empathy, guilt, or remorse. As such, having them doesn't necessarily preclude a person from being a sociopath, nor does being a sociopath mean that we must take pleasure in causing pain for others.
I think I'm starting to realize that it's okay to be what most would consider fake, because my desires and methods are what truly define me, and my masks are a part of that. Whether I've wanted to or not, for the past five years, I've been finding traits I admire in people and consciously adding them to my repertoire, albeit not as successfully as the type of sociopath you see in the movies. It's all I knew how to do. I think my failures are almost certainly due to a conflict between my natural inclinations toward manipulation and my fear of being a subhuman husk.
In the process, I feel I've also been denying myself the core of my potential: sheer tenacity.
Today, I allowed myself to put on masks which I didn't try to believe in myself. It felt so natural. It felt so liberating. It didn't leave me feeling drained like trying to mix assimilated personality traits with constant honesty and identity checks. I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do before I can do this consistently and effectively, but it was such a relief to do it at all. It made me feel at peace.
I'd like to apologize for the confused emails I sent you before. This struggle to understand myself has been raging for several years now, on and off. I've always reached a point of terror and confusion, and then I'd force everything to the back of my mind and go on trying to be a normal person. This time, I've reached what I believe to be a conclusion, and it's largely due to what I've read on your site.
I no longer fear myself.
I don't feel so alone.
I no longer feel defective.