Sunday, August 9, 2009

Suffering sociopaths?

People always ask me for good links to info on sociopaths. I always tell them no, there really is a dearth of good info about sociopaths written with any objectivity. For instance, the New Yorker had a terrible article about sociopaths last November, "Suffering Souls." I suffered, all right. I suffered reading through that didactic nonsense.

However, a reader recently commented about an article that I thought was unusually accurate, particularly from the medical community (no surprise that the author seems to be Dutch -- sounds like he is speaking a little too much from personal experience): "The Hidden Suffering of the Psychopath." Speaking like only someone who is intimately acquainted with the subject matter could:
Psychopaths can suffer emotional pain for a variety of reasons. Like anyone else, psychopaths have a deep wish to be loved and cared for. This desire remains frequently unfulfilled, however, as it is obviously not easy for another person to get close to someone with such repellent personality characteristics. Psychopaths are at least periodically aware of the effects of their behavior on others and can be genuinely saddened by their inability to control it. The lives of most psychopaths are devoid of a stable social network or warm, close bonds.

The life histories of psychopaths are often characterized by a chaotic family life, lack of parental attention and guidance, parental substance abuse and antisocial behavior, poor relationships, divorce, and adverse neighborhoods (Martens, 2000). They may feel that they are prisoners of their own etiological determination and believe that they had, in comparison with normal people, fewer opportunities or advantages in life.

Despite their outward arrogance, inside psychopaths feel inferior to others and know they are stigmatized by their own behavior. Although some psychopaths are superficially adapted to their environment and are even popular, they feel they must carefully hide their true nature because it will not be accepted by others. This leaves psychopaths with a difficult choice: adapt and participate in an empty, unreal life, or do not adapt and live a lonely life isolated from the social community. They see the love and friendship others share and feel dejected knowing they will never take part in it.

Psychopaths are known for needing excessive stimulation, but most foolhardy adventures only end in disillusionment due to conflicts with others and unrealistic expectations. Furthermore, many psychopaths are disheartened by their inability to control their sensation-seeking and are repeatedly confronted with their weaknesses. Although they may attempt to change, low fear response and associated inability to learn from experiences lead to repeated negative, frustrating and depressing confrontations, including trouble with the justice system.

As psychopaths age they are not able to continue their energy-consuming lifestyle and become burned-out and depressed, while they look back on their restless life full of interpersonal discontentment. Their health deteriorates as the effects of their recklessness accumulate.
I know this will be unpopular with some of my "lifestyler" sociopath readers, but hey, it's at least 60% accurate. Even with these so-called "sorrows" of a sociopath, though, I wouldn't necessarily trade my life for an empath's. Rather this post is more a message to all you crazy kids out there: sociopathy isn't always everything it's cracked up to be. Stay empathetic and stay in school.


  1. Everyone

    Im pretty damn sure this post just popped up bewteen other posts as if it was posted on wednesday. I might be delusional.

    Or maybe my comment on an earlier thread which read this:

    "“my theory is that sociopaths have an emptiness inside. they do. they wanna connect but they know they cannot. they look for the connection in ways that are not accepted in society. something like that.”

    was more spot on than I thought. so sociopaths, 60% accurate according to ME.

  2. Sounds like they're describing an edge sociopath, one more anxious and introspective than a full blown sociopath.

    Given that most people (if not everybody), projects their own perceptions onto reality, more or less, I'd say M.E. fits more into this category than that of the full blown psychopath.

  3. Is it just me or is this post moving up. Apparantly ME is suffering and wants attention for it.
    Only joking.

  4. And where does that legendary "sense of entitlement" come in?

    a deep wish to be loved and cared for

    That would mean that they believe they are deserving of love and caring without earning it somehow. That seems empathic to me. From their perspective, manipulation is a way to earn reward.

  5. that sentence there is sheer entitlement. it doesnt say:

    " a deep wish to be loved and cared for and love and care in return"

    also it doesnt define what love means in this context. in my view theyre explaining it as a way to be connected to something outside themselves yet it can only be done by GETTING.

  6. Psychopaths are one of the last scapegoats the rest of society can blame for how bad things happen. I don't think this article actually changes anything, owing to how people seem to think that psychopaths CHOOSE not to have empathy or consciences.

  7. Disney,
    I guess I’m trying to be more precise, to figure out exactly what it is the sociopath “needs”.

    Having social “feeling” emotions, an empath has a deep wish to be loved and cared for. This implies they suffer if hated and rejected.

    Having no social “feeling” emotions, a sociopath has a deep wish to be ? and ? IMO, they don’t seem to suffer if hated and rejected, but will simply move on. Love and caring seem to have a pragmatic, but not emotional value to them. How do they suffer in their absence?

  8. What exactly is a lifestyle sociopath?
    Throw me in the 40%. I could care less if people hate me or love me. I don't need their love unless someone serves a purpose. I don't suffer.
    I want to ask a empath a question. Do you have temptations to manipulate and use people? What stops you, your conscious, fear of getting caught, or your inability to do so?

    1. all three of course... the guilt and fear (of getting caught, being judged, and looking inadequate and or stupid) overwhelm me when I try to lie.

    2. Hi, I am an 'empath' (lol, you learn something new every day) who tends to attract (and be attracted to) 'YOU PEOPLE' lol (psycho-/sociopaths). After my first relationship with one, which almost killed me, I learned to 'roll with the punches' and now actually consider the down sides (extreme emotional pain sometimes) to be offset by the upsides (intense 'otherworldly' experiences as well as the sheer fascination of being with a psychopath). I've had one of my sociopaths actually cry and tell me that 'all you'll get from me is pain'. I've had other intense and emotional reactions and interactions with the other sociopath I was with too. I mean, after he dumped me and then we got back together and he learned that I had slept with someone else during that period, he was so emotional he couldn't even talk for awhile. So it seems like psychopaths DO suffer, if only in self pity or frustration at their own failures and limitations. But what I'm really wondering is, I've been 'on to' my psychopaths, the second one from the beginning, and 'playing along' with their oh-so-lovable and zany routines of 'control' etc. I.e., they think they control me, but actually I stick around and 'please' them of my very own free will (because I actually like them - the them that they think they are hiding or don't know exists). My question is, do you sociopaths ever realize that someone has 'seen through you'? I.e., that a person was able to find cracks in your wall, real aspects of you that you aren't capable of controlling, that they love and care for, all the while also knowing that you are a psychopath who can never return that? These people seem to be addicted to my sincere love for them (beyond the sociopath mask, the real them they fail to hide), just as I am addicted to their intensity and strangeness. But they can never seem to admit that they are in fact sociopaths or talk about it at all. They still continue to 'play the game' even though I've shown them that I see right through their act, lol! Why don't they just drop the act, since they've found someone who doesn't care and isn't fooled (and who they enjoy being with)? Are sociopaths capable of dropping the act? I'm beginning to think they aren't, at least with other people.

      And to answer your question, pager, I think some empaths definitely have those temptations and even follow through with them. But what stops a lot of empaths is the knowledge of the pain that would cause the other person as well as a genuine desire to live an authentic life defined by authentic relationships with people.

  9. pager,

    Cant speak for empaths, but possibly for the non-touchy-feely normals.

    We’re usually self-reliant and operate on a quid pro quo basis. We can be one up with people for favors with no problem, but if they don’t return big favors we’ll dump em and may even let their welching habit be known to others.

    Manipulation by guilt tripping (a favorite of empaths) is initially ignored. If they persist we'll get sarcastic if they’re not sanctioned authority like the boss or the cops. We'll clearly state that we don’t do guilt trips but rational trades. If they still don’t get it we’ll tell them to fuck off and avoid them from that point on.

    The hardest is flung shit. As youngsters the NTFN’s may not have understood this behavior as a simple manipulative power play, but they eventually figure it out. Be we learn that it can be a real art and science, to know who and how you can flip shit back to.

    We generally don’t manipulate in company as the acquired bad reputation and enemies are uncomfortable for us. And we’re usually aware of the existence of sociopaths who can exploit failed manipulations for their own gain. It’s easier for us to “do” rather than “seem”. unless we’re in positions of sanctioned authority, of course.

    It could be that an empath has not answered you because they rationalize selfish manipulations as do-gooding.

  10. I believe you are correct in that statement

  11. Pager,

    I realize it's been a long time since you asked, but I feel like answering and for me that's a good enough reason to do so. I am an empath, inasmuch as I can sense what others are feeling and relate to them on an emotional level, and I am manipulative. In many way, I think being an empath actually helps me to be manipulative, because I intimately know what's going on, sometimes better than they know themselves. A sociopath can be very good at manipulation, but ultimately they're an outsider looking in. I'm on the inside, and that gives me an edge.

    But, to answer your question, when I choose not to manipulate people, it's usually because of my empathy. I don't go about just reading people's hearts and minds willy-nilly. I only pay attention to those I want to know, those I care about and want to learn what goes on inside their head. And so those I am best at manipulating are those I don't want to hurt. "It is those we love who hurt us the most," because when you love, you open yourself up to being hurt from the other person, and as an empath, it's ridiculously difficult to not love someone who loves you. Do you understand what I'm saying? Sort of?

    So, yes, I am manipulative. And sometimes I'm a jerk about it. And sometimes I hurt people or use them and make them into my tools. But more often than not, I use my talents in a way that won't cause harm to them, or make them feel like they're being used, because those that I care enough about to be able to manipulate well are those I care about, and I don't want to hurt them.

    -Jen, a curious empath

  12. How can psychopaths have a need to be loved if they don't know how that feels? I think they might have a need to be adored and worshipped. To have people around them becoming servants whenever they are near.
    That's my guess.

  13. They have shallow emotions remember.

  14. Does sole secure a essay writers at I enjoy heard quantity estimable beings about them besides would love to sample it external however I am scared I may win disappointed. What do you assume of their element of process?

  15. Why dont you give me a fuckin break
    One look at you tells me you're fake
    You've copied every fucking thing that you do
    So god damned worried who's looking at you
    Is it just a passing phase
    Or just another fashion craze
    You fool no one but yourself
    You're in need of fucking help
    Why be something that you're not
    Why be something that you're not
    Why be something why be something
    Why be something that you're not !

  16. This is such bullshit. A ducking sociopath doesn't whimper internally that they cannot take part in relationships like neurotypicals. Anyone that just fell for this bullshit is probably feeling empathetic to the asshole that just took as much from you as possible without blinking an eye and was pissed that you caught on. They're like a different breed. Accept it. A crocodile does not envy a kangaroo, it just looks at it like food. Non compatible thinking.


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