Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sociopaths advise sociopaths (part ii)

Conversation with thunderball continued:
I'm not as violent anymore, not even close. So I guess I have mellowed out in one way. You said my first priority is to think what questions I am trying to answer. I guess these are the questions: Am I really a sociopath? How does it benefit me? How can I exploit it? Why do I feel like my development has stagnated? Why do I feel like I have extraordinary power but cant tap into it? Why do I think it may be a lack of focus holding me back? How do I get that focus? How do I overcome my doubt?

I guess ultimately I want to tap into the success I see, but feel like I'm stuck down a well. I can see the light of success at the top, but my surroundings are dark and cold. I need to feel and climb my way out. Does that make any sense?

I think you are right. I am bored. I'm resorting to the quick fixes you listed, no doubt. I think I need focus and direction. I need to force myself into a self improving routine and do what I want outside of that routine. Does that sound right? I know this sounds stupid, but I'm being honest just for now. After I talk with you I'm going to stop reading up on psychology and move onto other pursuits. Focus on what I think is a good routine, to improve myself, so my exploits become more exacting and I can gain better control of myself. I need to bring to an end the exploratory phase of my life.

Feel free to put this on your blog. I don't really care if people know my thoughts. Hopefully it will help more like me and make all the others cringe.
My response:
Yeah, I think at least some of your feelings of greatness are more a product of the disorder and not all based in fact. Not to say that you aren't great, but we as a group are prone to delusions of grandeur. For instance, I have always felt that I am a superhero. Even the way we describe ourselves reflects this, like one recent commenter referring to himself as the Hulk. That's just the way we feel about ourselves, the language that we find most appropriate to describe how it feels to be us. I think part of it is because we tend to have excessive amounts of serotonin, and part of it is because we have a low fear response. So we're overly confident and fearless. And part of it may be that we really are different from everyone else in really great ways. But I understand the feeling of being destined for greatness. I feel the same way.

If we feel this way about ourselves and we notice the world sees us as being only ordinary or even below average, this can create cognitive dissonance. One way sociopaths try to resolve this dissonance is to think less of the empaths amongst them, sort of a who-cares-what-they-think-they're-all-idiots-anyway. Empaths have their flaws, but assuming all of them are idiots is disingenuous, inaccurate, and ultimately will keep you from learning from them, about them, or interacting with them effectively. The better approach, I think, is to challenge assumptions (your own and those of the empaths around you) about what constitutes success and achievement. Even your new questions reflect ambiguity regarding this. For instance, what would it mean to you to be able to tap into your power? What would that look like or feel like? Why do you think your development has stagnated? What are you hoping to develop into? And what do you mean by tapping into the success you see? What is this success? The "success" of empaths that you see? The getting along with people at work? The climbing up a corporate hierarchy? Is that success? I mean, maybe it is for you. Again, I understand the feeling. You probably have felt a natural dominance and superiority over people since childhood. Maybe you have plateaued, or maybe you have even slipped in this skill. You're like a naturally talented athlete that has faced your first few failures or real challenges. Maybe you'll move on to a different sport or activity, or maybe you'll buckle down and become an innovator, trying to take your game to the next level. Obviously you are looking for something. You feel dissatisfied, you feel like your growth as a person is stunted, and you have resorted to quick fixes to assuage your feelings of ennui. Quick fixes are nice because they are immediately satisfying, but they typically are not sustainable (alcoholism, drug use, gambling, thrill seeking, etc). So it's great that you are trying to find answers to your questions. And there may be several answers to your questions or more interesting questions that you'll discover, and maybe you'll find fulfillment just in learning more about yourself through a cycle of finding and answering questions about yourself, life, etc. But whatever it is you choose, I just think you really need to think about what exactly you are looking for before you bother going out and finding it.

You'll have to keep us updated.



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  3. As usual, you gave a insightful response M.E. Here are some of my own random thoughts :

    M.E. said, “i understand the feeling of being destined for greatness. i feel the same way.”

    So do I. This can be both an impediment and an asset. People who feel as if they are destined for greatness might not be as inclined to do the grunt work necessary to build a sturdy foundation for future greatness. I also think your natural athlete analogy is apt.

    Thunderball wrote, “I am bored.”

    So am I. Massively. I sometimes suspect that I unconsciously made up my whole ‘search for self understanding’ as a way to occupy my mind, to keep the boredom and apathy at bay. Don’t get me wrong. I do think Socrates dictum “Know thyself” remains the foundation of all real wisdom, yet I also see how the quest for self knowledge can become a distraction from the business of living. I suppose this means I agree with PP/Smithing to a degree if this is what he’s kind of alluding to, although I suspect he thinks there’s a real self to know and I quite literally don’t see it.

    Which brings me to another point. I wonder if, in restraining some of our more obviously anti-social impulses from when we were younger, we also ended up accidentally restraining our innate proclivities. When I finished reading Thunderball’s email, I had an image of me ripping my clothes off and screaming spontaneously flash before my eyes. I wonder if part of the reason I’m bored with my life is because I have entombed myself in an image and with actions that have dampened my natural instincts. It’s probably no accident that I’ve felt most alive when planning and playing the game.

  4. Btw, what’s with this whole use another name thing? I don’t know about anyone else, but I think I can handle the idea that people are complex entities who are capable of more than one kind of self expression.

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  7. Forgive the slightly incoherent tone of this response. What can I say? I’m sleepy.
    Peter Pan said, “Daniel, can you elaborate a bit about how people can know themselves if there is no self to know?”

    The brain examines its own “interior” environment, so to speak, via introspection. Unfortunately, there is always a point at which introspection ceases to be useful because the brain cannot examine itself objectively. This is where neuroscience comes in handy. I am not a neuroscientist or a psychiatrist, but it seems to me based on what I’ve read so far that one of the implications of the latest findings in neuroscience is that what most people consider as their self (their ‘traits, tendencies, desires, dreams, strengths, and weaknesses’) is not a solid substance or a discreet entity. The traits you mention are not an input from a source prior to the brain. They are an output, so to speak. The ‘self’ is nothing more (or less) than the output of a complex series of biological calculations and interactions between various modules in the brain and it’s environment. There is no ‘self’ if by self we mean there is an autonomous being residing within all of us, one that somehow transcends its biology and that is free from environmental influence. This is what most people believe when think of their 'self'. (You can see the implications this has for concepts like free will, morality, responsibility and the soul, no?)

    You argued against using labels in a previous thread and you made a dichotomy between that and knowing yourself, as if they must be two separate things, one being useful and the other useless. I maintained that this dichotomy is false. All such labels are useless in the universal scheme of things, but they are useful to the degree that they are descriptive and predictive of a subset of the brain’s output. Labels can be a kind of shorthand, a summation of a suite of characteristics and traits that are the consistent output of the brain. There is no need to distinguish the wise use of labels from the process of knowing the ‘self’.

  8. Peter Pan said...

    "Daniel, Smithing was created to escape bias, however slight, on your part, as well as interference from Thunderball. I think you can probably agree that the possibility of either happening to some degree, had I posted as PP at that time, was relatively high."

    Fair enough. But riddle me this Batman, why delete the majority of your comments later?

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  10. Daniel and Peter, i think you have both put forward equally challenging, yet opposing opinions concerning the significance and validility of labelling theory. I agree with many of the points made despite the differientiation in approach.

    I personally think that labels are useful at highlighting "characteristics/traits" in association of particular disorders. I don't think they take into consideration how a persons individuality may impact on that particular label? Thats just my opinion though. I was literally diagnosed bipolar in 5 minutes (to my surprise), prescribed seriously heavy medication that sent me loopy. I walked out of my Dr's office grateful to be given a "diagnosis", so didn't question him because i thought bipolar is acceptable to a certain degree, i (didn't want to push my luck), it will impact on life insurance policie's, but im not interested in leaving money to people i couldn't care less about when i die. Id rather leave them broke. I now come to realise my Dr is infact incompetant,(due to an investigation into his methods of practice) and has probably caused more damage to my liver and motor skills than "labelling" me correctly. If i were to have a blood test in 9 months time despite stopping medication, the drug can still be traced in my bloodstream.

    Despite that, i find that i actually liked medication because its amusing to be under the influence so to speak. I'd do all the outrageous things i always had the urge to do, but i would have previously paused and considered the possible consequences of my actions. On meds it was almost like being totally free, without any social constraints. I didn't give a fuck, (because i could always blame it all on my medication) :), and i was well aware of that. Only my mother who told me i didn't need them. Im still going to get my prescription for when i go to clubs, some of my best nights out have involved precription drugs and alcohol. I can't get arrested for having prescribed medication in my handbag can i. lol.

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  12. I wonder if part of the reason I’m bored with my life is because I have entombed myself in an image and with actions that have dampened my natural instincts. It’s probably no accident that I’ve felt most alive when planning and playing the game.

    You've got it. That's exactly how I feel.

    Peter I like the sociopathic label for myself because it is freeing. It explains a lot of my traits and I feel like there are others like me. It's an explanation for my questions and helps me fit in, in a sense. I don't fit every one of the traits, but I fit a majority. It's just now I know why I've felt different from everyone my whole life. Maybe everyone feels different in a way, I've just felt constantly like a third party observer who can only interact with people like its a game. I feel less awkward and not as inhibited now. Does that makes sense?

  13. Alrighty then Peter. I’m not really sure why you’re so dead set against the intelligent use of labels to describe one’s self. Instead of responding specifically to my comments point by point, you’re just reiterating your own point, as if somehow repeating yourself is supposed to make what you’re driving at correct. You just keep saying, “You can’t use labels at all to make sense of yourself.” Period. Full stop. End of discussion. Yes, you did give some reasons, but I responded to those and your reply to my responses are just more repetition. It’s argument by fiat almost. And that’s fine really. It’s no big deal. We’ll just agree to disagree and move on, eh?

    And to demonstrate that in any event we aren’t so far away from agreement, here is my comment to “mike” on July 20th, 1:36 from M.E.’s ‘More on Fear’ post:

    “I’ll take your word for it Mike. Did you read thru the posts entitled “Am I a sociopath?” from last month? You should peruse thru them along with some of the comments. It may be a lot of reading but you might find some interesting info there. I know for sure you’ll find some utterly useless info there also. I’ll say this though. Take it all with a grain of salt and don’t bother putting your entire sense of self on the line. We’re all bigger and more complex than any one misguided, stigmatizing label…

    Oh, and btw, no can tell you who you are in any event. You'll find people here (and everywhere else for that matter) who will be more than happy to do that for you, but in the end, it's always up to you to define yourself.”

  14. Tinkerbelle said, “I don't think they take into consideration how a persons individuality may impact on that particular label? Thats just my opinion though.”

    I agree with you. Of course M.E. for instance won’t be completely defined by the sociopathic label alone. And judging from his writing, I suspect M.E. gets that. No one is arguing that. I was merely saying that they can be useful in a limited sense. Sure labels aren’t the be all to end all, but it doesn't follow that when it comes to describing/understanding ourselves we must dispense with them altogether either.

    “Im still going to get my prescription for when i go to clubs, some of my best nights out have involved precription drugs and alcohol. I can't get arrested for having prescribed medication in my handbag can i. lol.”

    That is awesome! LOL.

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  17. I think being a goth is a bad example in it is not a mental disorder. Well, maybe it is, but that's a matter of perspective. Defining yourself by a mental disorder, through an approximations based off of thoughts of yourself and what others think of you, can be important if you think you function incorrectly. It's just like if your chest hurt.. could be gas, but also might be a heart attack. Has your arm gone numb? There is another clue as to what is happening. If you think you have a disorder you should see if you exhibit more then one of the traits. Just like with the heart attack. How many tell-tail signs are you having? That kind of stuff.

    To say you can not, no, absolutely can not define yourself doesn't really add up either. It's the opposite end of the extreme.

    For many people, when they figure it out it might be a relief. As in the case of Thunderball it seems. For some, not so much, depending on how they viewed themselves in the first place. Some people just know something is off. It's like being gay, you know you are not interested in girls, but you don't hate them. So sometimes its hard to come to the understanding you like men. Plus social pressure adds to your insecure feelings so you act out. Once a gay man defines that he is gay, it can be a relief. He may feel more emboldened because he knows there are others like him. Being gay is still a definition, but a definition that can lead to more open doors mentally. For others. finding out they are gay opens them up for a lifetime of denial and self destruction. So it goes both ways.

    Thunderball seems to be opening himself up to a new world. I wish him the best in his journey.

  18. Peter said...
    "Describing something doesn't help you understand it."

    How else are you supposed to understand?

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  20. Ok Thunderball, what do you want? Name your perfect world or describe what a perfect day in your life might look like. If you can’t do that, name what you hate about your world, then name it’s exact opposite.

    I’m genuinely curious since I find myself as bored with my world as you seem to be with yours.

    Btw, thanks Funk Wagnal. You said it simpler and thus better than I did.

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  22. Peter said

    "Don't you think that's an awful waste of time and energy?"

    Not at all Pete, i was too off my face to notice the time or care for the waste! :)
    Never underestimate the power of drugs the Dr can "legally" deal you!, i actually saw rainbows and animals floating around my room one night. That is what i call some serious entertainment!

  23. But Thunderball has been here for months, and he's still questioning whether or not he's a sociopath.

    We'll M.E.'s posts are from an email exchange a while back. I'm not questioning it anymore. I thought I had made that clear. Guess not. I am a sociopath by definition and my understanding of it. Why am I still here? This place moves slow enough that I can still do what I need to do throughout the day and then post some odd shit. I hardly sit on here hitting F5 licking my chops in anticipatory glee at your next post, Peter. I think you are projecting your own insecurities.

    Ok Thunderball, what do you want? Name your perfect world or describe what a perfect day in your life might look like. If you can’t do that, name what you hate about your world, then name it’s exact opposite.

    A perfect day? A perfect world? That's hard to come up with. I am happy in a lot of ways with my days as they are. A better question might be what do I want to make those future perfect days. I want to get a better education. Have better savings/make more money. I want beautiful women fawning over me. But I also want someone who will ignorantly stay at home while I cheat and make me food and take of the mundane stuff. A fallback girl, so to say. I want more willpower, something that Peter read right. That's a generalization of what I want.

    What I hate about my world? I'm athletic looking, but I want to work out every day and be fit as possible (willpower). I hate being tied to where I live, not being able to travel. I'd love to travel as much as possible. I hate not being my own boss, I'd love to not have to kiss ass. I used to hate a lot more things, but I've learned to simplify. I just want the most of the simple pleasures in life.

    I used to fantasize about becoming a super criminal or some terrible warlord. Not anymore. Life is too short and you die no matter what. Your accomplishments after you are gone mean nothing and I don't believe in an afterlife. I just want the best of the simple things and a lot of them. Women, money and time. Thats all the elements in my perfect world. I realize that I am a simple creature, driven by my Id.

    I'd love to find a shortcut to those things. I see ignorant and feeble people getting what I want and it irritates me. Thats why I explored who I am. I wanted to find a way to exploit my tendencies to my advantage and improve myself. I think I did a lot better when I was younger and didn't think things over too much. You are right in a way, Peter. Overanalyzing things make for a lot of time wasted. It has given me insights that will help me understand myself a bit more and others a lot more. Will understanding help me? Maybe, but I think I've just learned what to avoid and not how to exploit it unfortunately. Which was my original goal, but I'm not unsatisfied with what I've learned. Just wished I learned it faster. I'm still young enough that I'm not too worried. It's been entertaining being on here. I've been researching mental disorders for over a year now and sociopathy for about half a year. I felt something was different about me and I was correct. What I thought was wrong turned out to be completely incorrect but it lead me to the conclusions I have now and I'm thankful.

    I’m genuinely curious since I find myself as bored with my world as you seem to be with yours.

    I think I will always be bored to a certain degree. I'm just not going to dwell on it so much.

    Anyways, I'm rambling.

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  25. Thunder, if you're going to try that pop psychology bullshit on me, at least do your best to make sense. You're reading shit that just isn't there, which says a lot more about you than me.

    What pop psychology? You do project a lot of insecurity. I don't mean it as a insult, just an observation. I don't deny my own issues, but you sure do your own. The fact you get put so easily on the defense shows that. You seem to reject who you are, hence why you reject 'labels' and are keen to knock down others, like that goth kid. You admitted as much to Funk. I know why you delete your old posts. It isn't that you are paranoid that someone will read your comments and connect you to this site. You are worried someone will go back and pick you apart. Something I would have done at this moment to discredit you, but can't. It seems as soon as someone puts down their defenses you go on the attack, then back down. You are kind of a passive aggressive bitch. I still love you though.

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  27. My contradictory posts? Me talking about emotional problems? Flipping from sounding like a sadistic stalker to a general nutcase to a paranoid retard to a scared little kid? Go right ahead, Thunder. Let me have it.

    How delightfully self-deprecating of you. You've summed it up so well. Why would I add?

    The truth is, I'm the only person here willing to admit any kind of deep personal fault. Go right ahead, man. Humble me with your humility. Show me how secure you are.

    I've already given as much humility as I'm capable of. I guess you are right you have admitted to being a paranoid, sadistic, stalker, nutcase, and I admit to being a sociopath. I've just summed it up a little more concisely. See how wonderful labels are?

  28. No need to apologize Peter. Why are you so hard on yourself? You are a bit antagonistic, but you seem like a decent enough guy. Thunderball is just pushing your buttons. Even though he might have some small points, he is over exaggerating them. You need to accept yourself, label or none. A label just makes things easier to sort out.

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  31. you've undoubtedly seen far more than I'd ever be willing to admit.


    Oh please, stop it with the alternates.

    Yea, that last post under Funk Wagnal was a bit obvious.

    When it comes down to it, Peter, you are a bit of a victim. Or you seem to have the traits. Either way, you've kept me entertained. Do you like classical music? Shoutcast has a terrible selection of stations. I need to find something better, higher bit rates.

  32. Speaking of victems, where has jasjizzflake been?

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  35. My personal opinion: You have no identity because you lack the confidence and self esteem to build one for yourself. You use this website to gain attention for yourself and want your thought and feelings posted out there for all to see so you get attention that you lack in real life. Certainly your not posting to get any help as your posting your emotional diatrabes on a sociopath blog, whos personality types dont do well with coaching insecure emotional people. The comment pages on your articles reflect well that you switch opinions constantly to fit in to this cold person you wish you were instead of someone driven by emotion as you really are. Your defensiveness to peoples opinions goes beyond ridiculous as nobody has said anything really too bold about you even though they could have. I know even this will fall on deaf ears, but Im putting it out there reguardless. My advice is to get in where you fit in and figure out what that is before you slap something ridiculous on yourself such as sociopathy.

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  37. Wow these are some of the questions i have been trying to answer some of theses are really hard to get answers for i definitely like the quick fixes but they get boring more and more like the song mr brownstone


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