Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Am I a sociopath? (part 6)

My long response:
Sorry I haven't written back sooner. I have been thinking a lot about what you wrote, though. Your story has reminded me so much of my own, and you are hitting this self-recognition point right about the same age that I did. I didn't start hitting my first rough patches in life or in interactions with others until my late teens, early twenties. Like you, whenever I had problems, I would doubt myself, wonder whether maybe things needed to change, maybe I needed to see the world a little differently -- but stuff would calm down and I was pretty Burkean about things -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I really had a skewed view of the world, too. I was so self-deceived. I felt like I was two people: I was the person I pretended to be, and I was the person I feared I was. I would snap back and forth between the two like Jekyll and Hyde. When I was trying to be good, by playing by the rules, I would be Jekyll, when things weren't going my way or I felt that other people were "cheating," I turned into Hyde. It's funny, by avoiding who we are as sociopaths, by trying to ignore or avoid our natural tendencies to manipulate and wear masks, we become even more manipulative and masked. We try to be something we are not, try to convince others that we are something we are not, we think our "emotional" reactions to things are justified and act accordingly, when really they are just Jekyll-crazy claims that we take as if they came from honest-Hyde. Do you know what I mean? It's one thing to hear voices telling us to kill people and realize that it is a hallucination, a side effect of a malfunctioning brain. It is quite another thing to hear the voice and think it is god telling us what we need to do. When we pretend that we aren't sociopaths, we take information and perceptions we receive with our sociopath brain and interpret it under what we think are empath rules. What we end up with is a ticking time bomb of self-deception and totally misguided beliefs and irrational behavior -- we literally act like we are crazy.

As a concrete and personal example of what I'm talking about, although I was widely respected and accomplished as a teenager, I never had close friends through my teenage years. After a long period of time in isolation due to my studies, I realized how important human interaction was compared to academic or professional achievements . When I reentered society, I put a huge emphasis on personal relationships, particularly friendship and camaraderie, but in what I see now as a very sterile, selfish way. Because of my natural skills, it was very easy to make friends -- I could be whatever they wanted. Plus I seemed to have everything and, despite that, still wanted to be their friend. People were flattered, but mere months in the friendship I would tire of things being always about them. Their faults would bother me, I would be mean, they would react poorly, things would escalate to the point of me flipping a switch to a total remorseless, vengeance-minded sociopath. I would pour out the wrath, and the other person would never be the same. I felt bad whenever this happened. I tried to figure out what went wrong, but always through my same lenses of self-deception. Kind of like your experience: "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." I would always go back to the same way of doing things, the same way of thinking. But I was increasingly afraid of myself, what I could do to people -- what I did do to people. I felt out of control. I started warning friends to watch out for me. The pattern continued until I had my own personal version of scorched earth. I retreated from society again and really tried to figure out this time what was happening, who I was. This time I was truly open to any real possibility.

What I came up with at the time was that I was different, I was special. Or perhaps more accurately, I had special powers and abilities, and that made me different. I felt like the proverbial superhero myth, originated with tales of the gods. Like Superman, like Heracles, (like Harry Potter even?), like so many other people born with talents for writing, theatre, dance, music, I seemed normal at first, indistinguishable from anyone else, really. But I wasn't -- I had a gift. That's how I thought of it back then. Just as I would think it was a waste if Bach had never written a note, Dickens had never written a line, etc. etc., I knew I had a responsibility to magnify my talents. Maybe this sounds grandiose or narcissistic, but it helped me to accept myself at the time, helped me reform good habits of dealing with myself and others. And it is true. The world needs people like us. We fulfill a very special function -- we have been evolutionary selected over millenia. And we are rare. That makes us very powerful, and yes, very special. Hating sociopaths is like hating a wildfire. We may seem destructive, but we pave the way for growth and renewal by rebooting the land back to a more pure state.

I would write more, answer questions from your earlier emails, but not now. Soon. But keep me informed. I am very happy for you.

Best,
M.E.

12 comments:

  1. I can really relate to this as well. I’ve come to believe that psychological confusion stems from the brain trying to believe something that it knows on a deeper level isn’t true. For a time I tried to believe the story the normals spun about themselves and their morality. I had sociopathic tendencies that fully manifested at puberty but when I reached my 20’s I tried to bury them by making the mask I wore the real me. That’s basically what my own period of confusion boiled down to. It feels good to have that part of my story over with. It’s a freeing thing when you stop lying to yourself. As the Nazarene said, the truth really does set you free.

    Good luck inquiring reader and good response M.E.

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  2. That sounds like me as well. Sparse friends in my late teens... none in my early 20's, sparse in my mid 20's, so on and so forth. I can relate doing the jekyll and hyde thing in my early 20's as well then totally isolating myself after particually destructive episodes. I found other sociopaths that I interacted with would turn me very jekyll. I still can never hold onto a relationship for very long, friendship or otherwise. I just become frustrated because either I feel like I put in all the effert in (masks) or I feel like the person is my dog. They are just around me because I will speak my mind freely. I think sociopaths have to put in more effort socially, so we get more exhausted.

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  3. "Friends" are so over rated!!!! What is the point of a "friend"....i'l tell you!!!....so you always have a drinking buddy!!!

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  4. "we take information and perceptions we receive with our sociopath brain and interpret it under what we think are empath rules."

    The way I do that would be that I think about every single thing I say in a degree from shallow to deep personalities of empaths.

    For example, one phrase I say could offended a very shallow person, but not a person with a deeper personality.

    It's a great way of weeding out who's boring and generic.

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  5. Did you ever consider Narcissism? Aspergers and narcissism are often confused for each other and have a lot in common. Maybe you're some of each.

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  6. Too long, didn't read. No one's worth that amount of attention.

    Learn to be terse.

    -Dr Whom

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  7. "it was very easy to make friends -- i could be whatever they wanted. plus i seemed to have everything and, despite that, still wanted to be their friend. people were flattered, but mere months in the friendship i would tire of things being always about them. their faults would bother me, i would be mean, they would react poorly, things would escalate to the point of me flipping a switch to a total remorseless, vengeance-minded sociopath. i would pour out the wrath, the other person would never be the same. i felt bad whenever this happened."


    DAMN!

    This just described me in a nutshell starting since last July! Only I don't feel bad about manipulating this chick into slowly realizing she didn't need me as a friend....I actually feel rather acomplished by it, seeing how the freindship never would've worked and I figured it best if I nudged her into finding this out, that way she wouldn't mope around asking me "why, why, why?"

    But the rest of this is spot on, frighteningly so!

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  8. "Just as I would think it was a waste if Bach had never written a note, Dickens had never written a line, etc. etc."

    People very in touch with their emotions, I'm sure.


    "That makes us very powerful, and yes, very special. Hating sociopaths is like hating a wildfire. We may seem destructive, but we pave the way for growth and renewal by rebooting the land back to a more pure state."

    You don't have to be a sociopath to be able to do that.

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  9. I just have no sense of self -- there are people who think that I am their friend but honestly the fact that I have to deal with them all the time just means I have to hold up a personality for a long period of time, when really it just reflects off whoever I hang out with.

    There is one person who absolutely puzzles me to the extent that I cannot speak to him unless there are others present. I feel like I need to get a "read" on him but it seems like he is doing the same thing I am, making a "read" impossible.

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  10. "Hating sociopaths is like hating a wildfire. We may seem destructive, but we pave the way for growth and renewal by rebooting the land back to a more pure state."

    How so? How does inflicting lasting - sometimes permanent - emotional damage on others return the world somehow to purity? I certainly understand that you are constantly tempted to manipulate people, perhaps even hurt them, but how can you claim that the damage you do is somehow good?

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  11. This is beautiful and explains how I have felt for quite some time. Especially in my early twenties, I thought I was having a quarter life crisis. Truly I have grown from them but my recent diagnosis as AsPD is so freeing. I truly feel I can understand myself now and realize that I am not a horrible person nor is my brain sick. I am just different. Special? Maybe. Either way it allows me to be myself, and maybe myself isn't so flawed. Its okay to be who I am, even if its not what society labels as normal. As long as I play by the rules the world is mine to play in.

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