After reading your website, I've come to believe that I'm possibly a mild sociopath. Not only is my world view and general behavior in many ways consistent with a sociopath but my childhood and teen years definitely have featured the kind of social rejection consistent with the development of this disorder. However one thing keeps on bugging me. A commonly described characteristic of sociopaths is cruelty to animals. But I have never been cruel to animals. In fact, I feel a profound love for animals of all kinds, even going out of my way to kill many species of bugs. In my childhood, I bought a pet snake, because I thought it would be cool but ended up in tears when I first watched my snake constrict a baby mouse. Indeed, seeing animals in pain or seeing people behave cruelly towards them has always been upsetting to me.
Is it even possible for an actual sociopath to feel this kind of strong connection to animals? Let me reiterate that my feelings towards humans are almost completely opposite: I'm a total misanthrope and have no faith at all in human nature. My theory for this dissonance is that, while humans have always treated me like shit, even though I've been nothing but kind to them, animals have always reciprocated my friendliness. One recent anecdote serves as a kind of mise en abyme for my entire relationship with animals. A girl I'd been hooking up with had inexplicably broken things off with me. I left her residence in tears, and collapsed in the woods outside her house. It was cold and I was sobbing in the darkness when I heard something coming towards me. One of the cats that lived at her house had followed me and rubbed it's face affectionately against my body, purring as it nuzzled back and forth. The cat was there to comfort me when the human had broken my heart. And that pretty much encapsulates my relationship with animals throughout life.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Sociopaths and animals (part 1)
A reader asks: