From a reader:
I think I may be a hybrid sociopath. I am very similar to my father in the way that I am comfortably able to adopt and change my personality with ease. I have the characteristic sociopath ability to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in people.I responded: Have you seen this post? It sounds like what you are saying. Recently I've been starting to believe more and more that sociopathy is either an attentional defect myself or that attention plays a large part in how sociopathy manifests itself. This fits with your switch imagery -- if one's attention is directed at a particular emotion, sociopaths can feel the same sorts of things that normal people can. The difference is that it is not automatic, we have to make the conscious effort to focus our attention that way.
But I am also able to feel sympathetic emotions such as empathy and love, however I can also choose to not feel them. It's a strange sort of mental switch I have. When I was little the switch would turn on and off randomly, and in only 5th grade I thought I was madly in love with this girl. I would follow her around, but never talk to her (I basically stalked her). This was during the time when I was still learning how to interact with people in socially acceptable ways that would not reveal what I was. Anyway, I loved this girl for almost a year and then overnight I simply stopped loving her. I never felt that emotion towards another person ever again. Another case of my odd emotional switch was in 7th grade when my classmates and I found a dead opossum the size of a large cat. My classmates screamed, and some began to cry. All I could do was stare at it and wonder how a motionless piece of fur and flesh could be valuable or meaningful to anyone. But a week later, something reminded me of the lifeless critter and I suddenly felt a pang of sickening remorse for the creature. Of course now, I could care less about it.
It wasn't until High School that I mastered my control over the emotional switch in my mind. I could turn on my emotions and get all touchy-feely with girls when I wanted to seduce them, or I could turn them off and do anything I pleased and feel no guilt. I was not simulating emotions, I actually felt them. I find this talent to be very useful, the only side effect is a rare sudden outburst of emotion immediately after turning on my emotions after long periods of numbing them.
I spend a lot of time trying to discipline my mind, so that I can mold it into what I want it to be. Creating one personality is easy. The hard part is developing two different personalities that you can interchange quickly and easily. There are actually two mental switches that you need to develop, one to go from your sociopath side to your emotional side, and another to go from your emotional side to your sociopath side. Usually I use an incredibly poignant memory to trigger my emotional side, and a very unnerving, desensitizing thought to trigger my sociopath side.