Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sociopaths = flexible sense of self, redux

Finally someone in the psychological community explicitly writes about the sociopath's elastic sense of self:
“In fact, most sociopathy involves an individual’s not having significantly developed, across the board, a general capacity to identify with things in the world. It is not just that he is lacking a strongly identified moral identity, he is likely lacking a strongly identified self identity almost altogether… His life is largely about a narcissistic satisfaction of desires, not an expression of autonomous valuated personal projects. It should be no surprise that the sociopath typically feels no qualms of lost integrity when he violates some generally accepted moral dictum. The issue here for him isn’t really specifically about a lack of internal response to some failed morality on his part. Rather, it’s about general self identity integrity just not being a question for him. If a person has no strong sense of self in general, then of course he will probably have no strong sense of lost integrity when he violates life projects which for the rest of us would be central parts of our self identities. In a nutshell, it’s not that the sociopath lacks moral integrity specifically; he lacks general self identity integrity, of which moral identity integrity is only a possible part. So a lack of, say, a moral conscience, isn’t really the central problem for the sociopath. What’s more at the heart of things is his lack of moral identification, along with the lack of any other significant life identifications.”
As I said before, many psychologists understand the “what” but not the “how.” The psychologist who wrote this, however, gets it just about right.

100 comments:

  1. No wonder I've had such a hard time picking a career! It's that whole lack of a life project thing! lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lack of a life project thing?
      me i'm just a lazy git

      Delete
  2. Life picked my career for me. I was good at something, and it paid well without requiring many hours. So I took it.

    If something else popped up with a better pay rate and similar hours, I'd take it, even if I had to ditch the office and pick up a shovel.

    I'm all about personal pleasure and comfort. Give me money to buy whatever I want, and time to revel in it, and I'm good to go.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it's a result of the value system of the psychological community. They value empathy and thusly introspection through empathy rather than intellect. Largely due to the fact that most psychologists are empathic and all humans overvalue the qualities they themselves possess. But there's also fear. People fear sociopaths more than any other defined deviant? Why? (With deviance being defined simply as 'deviation from the norm')

    Every human exhibits some form of deviance. This is how we prosper as a species, by a diversity of manifestations we can adapt and multiply within numerous environments. Sociopaths have a certain deviance that is hated above most others. But that's just because most people exhibit emotional deviances they've learned to be ashamed of, deny and hide, and sociopaths by nature easily identify the emotional deviance in others. The weak spots. If people wouldn't lie to themselves about their own deviant needs and desires a sociopath would have no advantage over them. But they do, without fail. And you can't notice someone exploiting something you deny exists.

    I do love the irony that the psychiatric community has such a skewed clinical understanding of the 'emotionally deficient' because of their own emotional baggage.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have no idea how my previous comment posted instead of the following (sorry):


    I guess he understands the 'what' and 'how', as you say, but he seems to be deliberately avoiding the 'why'. Why would a sociopath have a 'flexible identity'? Maybe he doesn't even get it. It's a little annoying.

    Identity isn't organic. It's a construct that results from, among other things, how a human defines himself against an adopted social structure BUT ALSO how that social structure defines HIM. It's reciprocal and in order to have a non-sociopathic personality you have to possess on some spectrum the need for people to accept you. The need to conform. And above all else, the willingness and the ability to internalize what others value so seamlessly that who you are is an extension of your society. Identities only exist in groups (duh) and are only developed within a group for the purposes of subtle distinction. Why would someone who is 'anti-social' need an identity? Or ever develop one for that matter? Identity and purpose are given when you are a part of a society. It almost seems idiotic to point out that someone who is 'anti-social' won't have the same sense of identity or purpose that someone who is 'pro-social' will. It's almost as if he is not aware that 'having purpose and identity' is not only interdependent upon being a part of society, but a result of it. (why else would you state something so obvious?) I get the impression he thinks purpose and identity are these magic phenomenons that just happen in a vacuum and are inherently 'good'. I think for all the postulating that psychologists do on 'how sociopaths become who they are', they would find it quite uncomfortable to spend equal time breaking down all the factors that come into play when making a 'normal' person. It's not something I would be proud of.

    And then there's the idea that 'sense of self' and 'identity' are one and the same. I think sociopaths have a stronger sense of self beneath their many adaptive personas than other 'prosocials' have. In fact a sociopath is more likely to stick to what he values in the face of coercion than someone who is prosocial. And remember, both Jesus and Judas fit the profile of an antisocial person.

    Everyone hates sociopaths when they talk about Hitler, but what personality type do you think it took to defeat him? We (meaning, "me" the American) beat him at his own game- we proved that we could commit genocide just as easily as he and with a fraction of the effort by dropping the atomic bomb. Wars are both won and lost by sociopaths, both the protector and aggressor are of the same ilk. What defines them historically is the outcome. Pathologically, they are the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too true! Everything you say is essential and insightful.

      Delete
    2. Did you see when this was posted? Get your shit straight son, the dogs are coming for you.

      Delete
    3. Who cares when it was posted. The content doesn't.

      Delete
  5. All of this 'emptiness' these psychologists attribute to sociopaths reminds of me of 'emptiness' Christian evangelists attribute to the unsaved.

    It's one long, boring ad hominem without even the coyest flirtation with verifiable evidence.

    Dr Whom

    ReplyDelete
  6. what would be intresting in conjunction to this would be the limited social sociopath- who appears to have the greatest capacity/need for some orienting group (like to like) and capacity/need for connection/attachment or social reflection.

    not sure how all that would shake out- but intresting.

    as for the rest of the comments i'm confused if you are at all familiar with the field as breaking down what you would call "normal" is very much included.

    it's not expected to understand a "deviation" without a context of the structure of the greater norm.

    there is a growing amount of lit concerning the view of it through the deviation of species.

    you talk alot of crap but none of it is substantive.

    ReplyDelete
  7. dude, you totally have very old comments, from 2009, responding to your 2012 post

    ReplyDelete
  8. The psychologist who wrote this, however, gets it just about right.

    No. It's partially right, but there is a fundamental misunderstanding in some of what the writer assumes there.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I read this post and then "Its indicative of ME's high standards for his/her self." idk, it just sounds like a piece of identity and seems kinda ironic to read after this post.

    Tag Y.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What I noticed about myself is it's not that I don't know personal details about myself, there's a lot of me not thinking of myself with labels or 'tropes' like other people do. "The girl that ______" "The kind of gal that ____". I noticed one day watching a movie and I said "Well hey, that could fit me" and I also noticed that I never think of myself in that way, and then throughout there've been more and more of those kinds of moments. I guess I never thought anything of "it", the stuff in the blank like these people. I wasn't "identifying" with other people like it. There are a lot of details about myself I don't really think about 'til it comes up. And I can't really describe myself, except for a few of things that come up most, -which I consider "easy" answers- on a piece of paper or something, not even after a long time, but I'm not sure if this is just normal or not- would most be that way because they just don't know what to write (question's too general/not specific enough?) and can't think? But I think that even if that wasn't the problem for me I wouldn't be able to do it.

    Tag Y

    ReplyDelete
  11. I want to know what ever happened to Soulful Path.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm still here, don't worry.

      Delete
    2. shut the fuck up extremity

      Delete
  12. how alturistic is it to change yourself for somone els

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ofc i can never maintain it ...
      and ther's always an angle

      Delete
    2. you change yourself for someone else so that you can have them. but once you do not want them anymore, the interest in being that someone you created specially for them dissipates. Hence, "who the bleep did i marry?

      Delete
  13. I am so glad you put this up, ME. This is what I am coming to. My whole dilemma with the Mal Narc woman dogging me, my standing up and risking my position which I have worked for for many years, my telling my Mal Narc mother and her response and even aspies response on here. All this relates to what you are saying about the self.

    I want a defined self more than I want anything in this world. If I have a single dream, goal and pursuit, it is this. I had to give up my sense of self. It was a survival issue and it was unconscious. God does that, with defense mechanisms, so people will not go insane. Instead, they become blank people.

    I defined myself when I stood up to the head of this organization against the Mal Nar. I felt the most defined I had in many years.

    He backed down, but the larger point was my mother was panicked about it because she does not have a defined sense of self.

    Not to diss aspie, but people who have little understanding of subcontext( i.e. what goes on under the surface) make such idiotic statements like why not talk to the Mal Narc.

    My mother makes these same kinds of idiotic statements. I HATE it. It is being a friggin moron. I don't want to be a friggin victim or a friggin dull retard of a person.

    I want to be with it, strong, confident, yet have soul.

    I don't mean to diss you, aspie. I know you are a decent person, but your kind of statement shows, right there, why you are an aspie imo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You define yourself by the borders/walls you set in place. The things you will and will not do. Do you crave to be defined? Or do you long to be free?

      Delete
    2. I think that would depend on your definition of freedom.

      Delete
    3. Is there anything free can be, other than free?

      Delete
    4. Alright, now you're just being obvious to any fool.

      Delete
    5. How so? Coy... perhaps, but obvious, how?

      Delete
    6. I was hoping you might come back to this Gorgan... I really didn't see what was so obvious. I spent the day working outside and pondering this topic. What was the obviousness of my statement? And, do I want to better free or better defined?

      I have know idea what you took from my comment about free... but I think I have come to a revelation; I have said the only thing I want is to be free. I have said I want to be free to be me. Being me means defining who I really am. I have to do that through establishing the parameters that are me... the walls I am comfortable with. Is it you, Gorgan, that speaks of the crystal castles and such? Was it you that I joke about remodeling with ballistic glass?

      Freedom to define.

      Delete
    7. Freedom to care too much about what strangers think of you.

      Delete
    8. Who sets the standard for what "too much" is? Should we care at all what strangers think?

      Delete
    9. Well, you evaded defining what 'freedom' means at first. And then wrote it off as being coy.

      I have said the only thing I want is to be free. I have said I want to be free to be me. Being me means defining who I really am.

      These can be construed as contradictory and/or oxymoronic statements.

      Delete
    10. I understand that... and I do perceive this life as a bit oxymoronic often, don't you?
      So what of the glass structures, was that you I was chatting with before?

      Delete
    11. Yes, but I also notice that your half of that conversation has since been deleted.

      I feel you are trying to point out something that I myself am evading. Are you of the opinion that I am projecting?

      Delete
    12. No, lol... Please don't be so paranoid, my dear gorgon. I would ask advice. I see the freedom I spoke of at hand. That tells me I am free to establish only the walls I want up... is this something you are currently doing? Or have you completed your crystal castle?

      Delete
    13. Oh. You see, I had thought that by 'crystal castle' here you meant 'glass house'.

      That tells me I am free to establish only the walls I want up... is this something you are currently doing? Or have you completed your crystal castle?

      I guess you could put it that way. But like the Winchester House, I'm not sure the construction is ever really completed. And along the way one might end up building stairs to nowhere.

      Delete
    14. A very interesting example... but I will take that to heart. Do you know when you are constructing useless spaces within your structure? What are some of the signs you might see when you are doing this? If you have done this, how did you go about deconstructing those useless spaces?

      Delete
    15. Do you know when you are constructing useless spaces within your structure?

      If I did, consciously speaking, I would think I wouldn't have constructed them in the first place.

      What are some of the signs you might see when you are doing this?

      I suppose it could be described as an inward pull. A retreat to rooms already built years ago, deeper within the parameter, which may or may not have outgrown their usefulness, despite the fact that stairs still do lead up to them.

      As far as internally, the stomach tends to be the most vulnerable room in the body. That is, when the heart is sent down to soft safety via the laundry chute.

      If you have done this, how did you go about deconstructing those useless spaces?

      Maybe instead of deconstructing the stairwells to nowhere, one could build a room at the top. A study, if you will. Useless into useful.

      Sometimes maybe the journey is necessary in order to know/create the destination, instead of the other way around.

      Delete
    16. Tom, I thought you said are a Buddhist. You seem to have abandoned the whole concept of no self in your quest to define yourself. You're on the verge of an enormous upheaval in the stability and structure of your life in the end of your marriage and career in the military. Your search for the real you is motivated by a desire to reimpose a new, personally defined structure comprised of the "real you" with the ones your family and the military provided you.

      You're not seeking freedom at all. You're looking for a new prison because having no structure to define us is frightening. Freedom is one of the most existentially terrifying things there is. It's right up there with death.

      Delete
    17. This is very much in my peripheral... and would not consider it for a minute as a blind spot. I said Buddhist is what is printed on my dog-tags an is the closest thing to a religion as I had found at the time (18 years ago). It is freedom that I want. You are right about it being paramount with death. How close can I get? How much of me can I lose and still be definable enough to be "something"? Mrs t says I may be on the verge of something bigger than I am able to handle... we'll see.

      Delete
    18. How much of me can I lose and still be definable enough to be "something"?

      The idea that the structure to be found in a definable you will mean you're now "something" is part of the new prison you are trying to build yourself. Losing the need to define yourself is more freeing than a correctly applied label could ever be.

      Delete
    19. This is how I define freedom.One faces oneself. One accepts oneself, as human. One does not put parts of oneself, into little compartments.

      One has access to all parts of oneself. One knows when and how to use the various parts. This is key, of course, if one wants to interact with others.

      Delete
    20. Who sets the standard for what "too much" is? Should we care at all what strangers think?

      IMO yes it certainly does matter what strangers think. For me, it does, and not so much for fear of abandonment. It is for the respect I get from the world. Without respect, you get less. And I want more

      Define respect and how one gets it, and there are many different people with many views on this.

      One needs to get the respect of their present company. That is all. Because the present company will pass along their view on you, give you that recommendation, fix you up with a good person, blah bah blah.


      It is a very nice thing to be courteous enough to use a flexible sense of self to make your company comfortable. I think it is very nice of me to pick up my chicken with both hands and drink my soup from the bowl like it's from a glass around the casual.

      I also like to be able eat in front of the uptight. With a knife and fork. And use my spoon from the center of the soup to the outside, sipping from the side of said spoon.

      It is good to be able to fit in anywhere.

      Delete
    21. But why do you care????

      Delete
    22. I want to be acceptable.

      Delete
  14. FlexIble sense of self? I do not believe that this is exclusive to sociopaths. We are all selfish with selfish desires and any grandiose display of self Awareness by anyone is feigned. If honest, most people lack a grasp on self. It has to be flexible because it's always changing. I don't think the problem lies in the lack of identifying with self, but in the need to VALIDATE ones self. Flexibility does not seem to be the separating factor between Us, but the need to confirm what and who we are through other people. Socios do not need validation from my experience

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sociopaths seek validation of themselves to themselves through their relationships with others via power and control. So yes, they do.

      If a sociopath falls in a forest, and no one is there to witness his rage attack against the tree root he tripped over, is he still a sociopath?

      Delete
    2. So, Essencially their control needs to be validated?

      Delete


  15. I was way too open, in general, about my feelings and my life. I will reserve it for trusted people only. This is a huge lesson, as you know, if you know me, on here.

    The Mal Narc thing taught me that some people will hate you because your success makes them look small, to themselves.
    You cannot shine, without others wanting to take off your head.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting, because I've been going the opposite direction.

      Delete
    2. As have I... don't close off now Monica. You're with those who care.

      Delete
    3. How so, Medusa?
      Thanks, Tom!
      What is funny is that I feel safe here, as people tell you what they think, to your face.

      Delete
    4. Another favorite Dandy of mine, Oscar Wilde, said:

      "True friends stab you in the front."

      Your welcome,

      Delete
    5. Well it goes back to what I said the other day:

      It comes down to finding the proper balance of healthy self-protection, without needing to either overcompensate, or going the other way and exposing wounds to scavengers.

      Delete
    6. YES, you had it 100% true, Medusa. I guess I saw this insight from you.

      Delete
    7. Exposing wounds... I will agree with you here; scavengers gnawing at open wounds will do you no good. What of displaying your scars? Letting people now where you've been, what they may be dealing with?

      Delete
    8. Brandishing scars as an introduction, eh? Starting out a relationship with a threat would not be good for your impression management. You know, first impressions and all.

      Perhaps instead, you should know what you may be dealing with.

      Delete
    9. If one does this... exposes scars to initiate, would you think this a defense mech? An attempt to establish somme sort of dominance?

      Delete
    10. Exposing wounds... I will agree with you here; scavengers gnawing at open wounds will do you no good. What of displaying your scars? Letting people now where you've been, what they may be dealing with?


      I think the key is to give what you want to give, at any particular time. Then, if someone knifes you, it does not hurt very much, as you did not give more than you could afford to give.

      However, it is not an exact science~

      Delete
    11. I intimidate people with my scars so I have to hide them and pretend they are not there. I will get too deep and scare others into thinking I am very fragile. I am only half fragile. Less. People are confused by me so I will do less and say less as I get older. It suits me.

      Delete
  16. this post calles for a post from HAVEN
    (it's ofc also a borderline trade)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Picking a career? Ppppffffffffftttt. Good thing I'm 17.

    ReplyDelete
  18. killing cows now that's a psychopath's job

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey folks. Could anyone tell me who that Daniel Dick guy was? I've seen posts about him, so it left me wondering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is my fairy god father.

      Delete
    2. shut the fuck up extremity

      Delete
    3. ? is, was, whatever makes you happy, Medusa :)

      Delete
    4. How vulgar, Anonymous @ 8:56 AM!

      Delete
    5. shut the fuck up extremity you abused kid

      Delete
    6. tell us about your abuse extremity...was it your mom? your dad?

      Delete
  20. Look at how bad and cunning he is. So very powerful. Surely it was his mother. Daddy just wasn't there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now, that was just uncalled for, but why post as an anon?

      You're an idiot.

      Delete
  21. Replies
    1. omg this is so wonderful.

      Highly ironic, but wonderful.

      Delete
    2. Cute... you do like Michael don't you?

      Thank you.

      Delete
    3. I am learning more about you every day.

      Delete
    4. Yes, I know Tom.

      Do you plan on stalking me and murdering me in my sleep, seeing as that you are such a cold killing machine?

      Delete
    5. Yes Medusa. A serial killer plotting to plant an unsuspecting SW regular in a shallow grave. Perfectly normal. We should all feel much safer now.


      TEEHEE

      Delete
    6. Absolutely not.... A gorgan is a truly "special" creature and should be taken into account much like the autobahn society to the piping plover. Viewed and admired from a far...

      Delete
    7. I want to be us. God Damn.

      Delete
    8. Should the world fail to fall apart.

      And it's spelled 'gorgon' by the way.

      Delete
    9. The way you spell it makes me think I should be asking you if I look fat in these snakes.

      Delete
    10. Medusa, i don't think it's the snakes that make your avi look fat.......... neck wattle perhaps?

      Delete
    11. Medusa has neck fat? she seems so svelt.

      Delete
  22. Ukan @ 11:28

    Good things come to those who wait. Enjoy your singlehood while it lasts. After we tie the knot, you'll end up being one half of a pair....

    ReplyDelete
  23. To be honest,I have actually never posted on any of the blogs I have read, about anything.So, in my early childhood I was very quiet and observant, sort of like an outsider looking in. I always felt as though I was somewhat different and tried my best to keep quiet about it. I was often annoyed when I did not get my way and did not like not having things the way I wanted them but often kept quiet or spoke scorning words with disgust of other humans to myself in private for going against me. Around my neighborhood I never hung out with the other children unless I was forced by my parents or I was attending school. I usually befriended awkward, unique and strange adults who seemed of interest to me. One lady was a hillbilly in her late 50’s who was very unaware and uncaring of how she appeared to others. What appealed to me so much about this woman was that my parents were always scorning her and seemed to hate her. I was later found by my father in her living room looking at photo albums and talking with her. He was very unhappy about this and when he tried to reprimand me for it, I felt greatly amused by the whole situation. The second I can remember was a middle aged hippie fellow who had a vast and various amount of plants in his apartment. We were friends. His unique craftsmanship and mellow attitude were pleasing. My parents would have been furious had they known, but they were always too busy to notice I suppose. This was when I was approximately 5 years old. Throughout middle school and high school I was very popular and befriended all walks of life. I was told by a good friend of mine, whom I now suspect is a sociopath as well that I would intricately change my interests and appearance to fit my particular love interest. Knowing this was true, I scorned at her with a stare of disapproval for she had said this in the presence of the guy I was interested in at the time. I was always attracted to unique and bold personalities. In my early adult years I was a thrill chaser and extremely adventurous. I experimented with drugs and decided I didn’t like them, but did sell them for a short time for profit before finding a stable career. I was also intertwined in the party scene quite prevalently and drank abundantly. I got into some legal trouble and have always had a drinking problem. After learning the ways of the judicial system, I soon concocted a plan to sway the verdict to my advantage. When I got my DUI about two years ago, I passed all the sobriety tests with flying colors and did my own investigating to find all minor flaws in the system. There were many flaws as there always are if you are looking for them close enough. I consider myself average in society when regarding financial matters and of course hired a lawyer to appear capable of doing so. Having this man “help” me make my point did nothing for me besides making me look financially responsible and accountable to the court. He did nothing and was completely useless. I walked in that court room looking like a million bucks and charming the pants off of all the young lawyers making the police look like ignorant pigs and inducing laughter in all of them. My speech on the video of the incident was vulgar, sarcastic and condescending towards the police. I proceeded to feed them a pity party about wanting to lead a normal life and how I had grown up with a narcissistic mother. I was pleased when the verdict was decided and I knew I had succeeded. I did grow up with an extremely narcissistic mother and was the “black sheep” while my sister was the golden child.I have many friends and prefer to keep all my relationships separated due I am now in a time period o the complexity of each of them. I am seeking a new area of interest.How do you control your need for seeking thrills and stimulation? I had a recent explosion and my rage was exposed...no mask

    ReplyDelete
  24. due to the complexity of each of them* ask me anything...I guess I'm just looking to talk or for any feed back

    ReplyDelete
  25. why do you want to control your need for stimulation?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Stimulate THIS: 8=========D~ Oops, I mean THIS: 8==D~September 21, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    I like sociopaths.

    ReplyDelete
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