Saturday, May 21, 2011

Feelings (part 3)

The reader responds (edited for length):
What I can say for sure is that I have changed. Yes, of course we are different people now than when we were young, thank the gods and the nine circles, but... The extent of how much my personality and my behavior has altered - and how different I am aware that I act while on the pills - will have to be my character witness. When I was young I was impulsive and brash, a bit clueless and devil-may-care. I was also very honest for a child, and a bit sensitive since I had self-esteem issues, which is part of what led to my depression. And I know I had a sense of guilt, because of a few admissions I can recall I made voluntarily. Not so much the case after [the emotional dissociation]. And I think that's another crucial point; when I take the pills (Metamina 5mg capsules, by the by) much of my hesitation to stop and to go back to "normal" is out of what I think is a sense that I am betraying someone or something.

And if that isn't guilt, then perhaps I never did know the feeling of it, or the definition. And isn't guilt really the crucial point, when it comes to the separation of the socios and psychos from the normals?
M.E.: I wanted to comment a little bit about what you said about guilt.

I don't really know what people mean by guilt. I find that particular diagnostic criteria difficult to pin down and I'm not entirely sure that sociopaths never feel a type of regret or cognitive dissonance that is essentially what people mean by guilt. By regret I mean wishing things had gone a different way or you had made a different choice (without necessarily assigning moralistic values to your choices). By cognitive dissonance, I mean that you do something that is not in harmony with your personal view of yourself.

Now I think that guilt definitely must have elements of regret and cognitive dissonance to it, but is it something more? Is there a third ingredient, perhaps in which you feel the hurt you caused another as if you had hurt yourself, or perhaps for the religious you feel like you are being cast further away from the divine? I think the emotion "guilt" is a lot more complicated than people acknowledge. I think when people say that sociopaths are "remorseless" or "don't feel guilt," at the very least they mean that sociopaths are able to do certain things that most people would consider morally wrong without seeing or feeling the "wrongness" of them. I don't know if that means that a sociopath is categorically incapable of feeling "guilt," but I guess it would depend on one's definition.

But self-knowledge is such a Sisyphean endeavor, don't you think? At least I have recently found it to be a cycle of self discovery and self doubt.


  1. Please take this damn boulder off my hands.

  2. When an empath feels guilt, I guess it's a sense of having done something bad. Not just wrong, in the meaning that one failed. It's a feeling of having hurt someone or some ideal one holds dear. It's a mixture of anguish and shame from self-judgement on betrayal.

    I think this is why they say psychopaths have no conscience. They will forever feel right.

    Betrayal has a bitter taste, like failure has. If done to someone, an empath feels their pain. A sociopath can imagine this by remembering the pain he/she felt over being crossed. Now strip away the will of revenge. It's like someone's done something wrong. Cosmic wrong. Like an injustice so big it's beyond mere mortal religion or social concept. Like it's written in your friggin essence is what it feels like. So, for instance, if an empath is forced to hurt someone close to him/her, the empath will feel this same wrongness, as if the act had landed on him/herself. Imagine doing something you consider crazy and wicked unto yourself. It's wrong in the strongest way possible.

    If guilt is a product of conscience, and conscience is bred in diverse essences, one can see how convoluted this can be when diverse people gather... Guilt will be displayed over different inner values. It's the same spectrum of intensity for every empath, but it can happen for different reasons for each of them.

    Guilt, like regret, will come when one changes opinion. The act was carried under certain circumstances. One was either 'taken' by stronger factors and emotions - so when these factors fade, the original (and opposite) opinion takes the seat - or one took an action based on incomplete assesment, hence the regret (or guilt if empathy is involved).

  3. Intriguing, yes?

    On a personal note A.M.B., I would add that a so-called empath won't feel the *same* wrongness, but the wrongness they imagine they personally would feel, according to what they personally believe their own pain level would be in a *similar* situation.

    Our perceptions of pain in others, and our perceptions of pain in ourselves, are different but overlap so that we can always distinguish our own distress.

    So empaths don't merge with others when they empathise with them, but the better their imagination and the more (diverse) life experience they have, the more they can imagine what it *might* be like to walk in another's shoes based on their own related encounters.

  4. The guy in these posts sounds like a classic fucking loser to me.

  5. isn't guilt the thing that's still there when regret and cognitive dissonance aren't?
    e.g. if someone kills (actively or passively) someone in order to allow others to live then they would not regret their actions and surely it wouldn't cause cognitive dissonance, but doesn't a NT still feel guilt about the person who died?

  6. I'm not sure what Reader means by betrayal here, so I can't really put it into any context that I understand.

    About guilt... I see it as a slightly different version of Remorse. In some cases the two seem to be the same thing, but there're situations where one can tell that this, which someone is feeling, would be called Remorse but not Guilt, or vice versa.


    you're right about psychopaths: We always feel right. But I think we've crossed into one of the areas where psychopaths and sociopaths differ with Reader's mails.

    For me it means in part I can only sit back and try to understand.

    I don't know how reader is with definitions and all that, but it does make me wonder about the diagnostic criteria with sociopathy. In the case of psychopathy there can be gray areas - isn't that the case with all categories? But one thing seems to be pervasive: We don't, and have never, felt empathy or guilt. It's a central part of the diagnosis.

    I'll not go more into it, since that's about my own little 1% sub-group of humanity.


    I'm sure there're elements of regret in any feeling of guilt. It would seem strange otherwise. Isn't it in the definition of Guilt that you also have a sense of Cognitive Dissonance? Ah, what do I know. Maybe it isn't. But regret certainly would be part of it to some extent, no?

    I have done things that I wish I could've not done. I did them because it was necessary in order to get at the result I found more important than not doing what I did. - In that sense I believe I know about regret. I don't call it remorse, because it doesn't pain me in any way. And I don't call it Guilt, because I think I was right in doing what I did.

    ...a cycle of self-discovery and self doubt.

    Interesting. I totally get the self-discovery, and there're elements of self doubt. But if anything it's making me feel even more self-assured than I ever did. Maybe it's because I'm still early in the process compared to yourself. The future will tell... '^L^,

  7. I understand this guy all too well. I even understand the betrayal part. Since I've gone through what he is talking about before. I didn't really feel that I was betraying myself when I was on the meds it just felt unnatural. There have been points in my life where everything is calm around me. I spent a few years leeching off my grandmother. She loved the company and the entire family was happy to have someone with her in her advance age. During that time though I can honestly say I had no strife in my life. I was running around doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and I had 0 stress. I think in the years I spent doing that I started to... heal. I had lots of friends who pretty much payed for everything for me. A girl who took me out and payed for the dates. I had manipulated my way into a life style that was completely care free and it seemed the only thing people around me wanted to do was take care of me. There was nothing for me to do. Everything was taken care of for me. It was like being a child again. Like living through the childhood I had never had.

    There were times when pieces of me would seem to wake up. I would not want to see a friend get hurt. Something I normally wouldn't care about. I couldn't justify the feeling. I just didn't want to see them hurt. Other times I think some emotions woke up. Just briefly maybe for a night, but I know there were times where I was actually happy. Times where I actually felt more then just excited or maybe I wouldn't be excited at all just happy. After the fact these times always felt weird. Foreign. Like I was being untrue to myself. During those times I wondered if I should go back to being as cold and callous as I could or if I should try to move forward with these feelings. I equated feelings to weakness. So to accept them would be to accept weakness. I think the entire process of it calmed me. I often wonder if I had stayed in that place instead of going off to pursue my ambitions what would have become of me.

  8. Really, ME? You considering discovering self-knowledge a Sisyphean task? You're either trying to sound clever and catchy or you're being lazy and foolish.

    Sure, it doesn't change you, but the point of self-knowledge is not change at all! There is no mental alchemical reaction, no hidden self-grottoes that contain an inner grand panacea.

    The subsconscious self hides secrets for you and others. Sometimes it is in your best interest. Other times that usefulness has faded and becomes a hindrance to your functioning. But self-knowledge is never a Sisyphean task.

    Perhaps you're just a man trying to push a boulder up the side of the mountain, but you're doing it on the wrong side. There is no Zeus playing tricks with you. You're only sabotaging yourself.

  9. Thank the gods and the nine circles? This guys a real live nutter. You are not unique, you are just the same as every other depressed wierdo out there.

  10. SW unwritten rulesMay 21, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    1.Modesty is never attractive.

    2.Expressing deep emotions is weak.

    3.Anything other than arrogance is unacceptable.

  11. SW unwritten rulesMay 21, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Follow these rules and you will get along.

  12. I hardly consider whinging about his poor depression and his meds as expressing deep emotion. The deepest thing he's shared is the bottom of his Prozac scrip.

    Where do these jokers come from, anyway? They think because they don't care about most other folks that they are pathological? Not having guilt makes you a sociopath? No. Maybe not playing with a full deck, but there's more to it than that.

    Here's how I see it. You know why we don't see other folks coming around here whining about depression? Because folks like us do something about it and live life instead of weeping in bed and being pathetic. There's always an opportunity to have some fun in life even when it's swirling down the shitter. I can't imagine resorting to drugs just so I could get out of bed and function.

  13. the sociopaths mindset is similar to how society works, if you are defective in any way or an outcast you will be treated like filth. you must conform.

  14. Society is pretty amiable in comparison to me.

  15. Teleological Suspension of the Ethical . . . my favorite inner and outer chess move.

    Maternal Protection Instinct . . . my strongest decision driver.

    Humor . . . my paradox centering device.

    It is my sisyphean abundant green hill and it is full of caves of gold.

  16. are you on acid all day, soulful?

  17. the world just refuses to end

  18. Ahhhh anon grasshopper. Are you trapped by logic all day?

  19. I SAID BLUE PILL. Damn it.

  20. Is that Viagra or the Matrix wake up call?

  21. Hehe! I do enjoy a s'path opera :) What delightful drama. Carry on...

  22. Soulful,

    It was the Requiem for a dream.

    Wondering how to interest a Shamen. I was a child in his kingdom but felt us bound and ran. Almost 20 years ago.

    I seek his...knowledge.

    Of Shamen, in easy steps.

  23. *Edit: Dyslexic

  24. "SW unwritten rules said...

    1.Modesty is never attractive.

    2.Expressing deep emotions is weak.

    3.Anything other than arrogance is unacceptable."

    SW Unwritten Rules has apparently not noticed those rules changed with the exit of troll kids.

    I see several people displaying modesty, and to me it's very attractive. Can be, anyway, depending on mood and other things.

    Many express a lot of deep everything, and they're often the strongest around here. Even the author is not afraid of expressing emotions and telling us about them. You've missed something again.

    If sharing actual emotions and opinions is considered arrogant in your book, then I guess you're right. - All considered, can you blame them for being slightly arrogant? Just look at yourself!

    Personally I'm arrogant AND modest. Everything all has it's place. Oh, yeah, and I'm dyslexic also! Haha... '^L^,

  25. Kesu,

    I think I understand what you say about not liking it when a friend got hurt during that period. It represented a threat to your own safety, what could come next? If you friends got hurt, maybe you would too?

    But self betrayal? How?

  26. "Follow these rules and you will get along"

    I'd rather deal with people than "get along". Getting along sounds like a task.

  27. After some thought . . .

    M.E. This 3 part piece on "Feelings" obviously moved you as a compilation of harmonic ideas. Note the key words, "self-aware, self-deceptive, guilt, regret, cognitive dissonance, self-discovery and self-doubt.
    All compass points to discoveries which are obviously feeding your passion in self knowledge and the power exchange satisfaction inherent in helping another. Addicting isn't it, eh?

    Experience, knowledge, power acquisitions, wining battles is surface clutter goals as compared to having deep purpose. You know you are on the right track when doors open, allies and fans appear, seductions are easy, money flows and is "sustained." And purpose is always life affirming even if it shows up in short term destructions. Life uses us all as its tools, even when we do not know what we were asked to build.

    On a personal note . . .

    I have so enjoyed the playful banters yet my mother's cancer is moving very rapidly and it is time I move out of the realm of ideas, 'the online blog opera' and into a different kind of presence. Less combative, (unless I am dealing with stupid doctors), and more receptive. Basically less in my thoughts and more in my heart. Not in a sentimental or weak way. In a fierce embracing of the moment without distraction. My mother deserves the best, and I have no guilt about giving it to her.

    You are all such the bomb. Explosive, charged, fiery, hazardous, irascible and entertaining souls.

  28. evidence that the word “faker”, is indeed derived from the Indian word “fakir”
    Is there any truth in this?

    Do you think Charlie Manson went through something akin to Kesu's grandma and bff phase, but with the commune, except that he snapped when he didn't have any other avenue to defect to where ruthlessness and badass attitude is an asset?

  29. I went through a phase of channelling Manson recently, or so I thought, but I forgot the flannel shirt was Cobain's trademark so I looked more like I was bringing back grunge :( Nevertheless I'm planning to kill the hipster dream by turning a group of apathetic hipsters into ironic killers. My apocalyptic vision of the future will be called Gaga.

  30. Soulful, you have great depth and vision. I have found your insights instructive and in your name will make a contribution to Wikipedia.

    *Raising a glass* to your play, purpose & the ever-expansion of your soul.

  31. If someone asks you "do you thik I need viagra" and you stare in pain and say "what do you think?" is that mean?

  32. ^ this is for zhawq

  33. i mean the blank empty stare

  34. ok i admit it felt hostile inside, and only was confusing for the man.

  35. I think the important factor would be to differentiate "shame" from "guilt." Guilt would be felt if one's actions contradicted internalized societal norms. Shame takes that a step further, internalizing that contradiction as a defining characteristic of oneself. Cognitive dissonance would act first at the "shame level," to change the appraisal of a behavior in order to accommodate it into one's internalized view of him/herself as a Good person. Guilt then becomes irrelevant.

  36. My mother is a sociopath and to me, they are people that never grow out of the temper tantrum toddler stage. They manipulate to get what they whant and they throw temper tantrums because they haven't yet learned how to ask, so they throw tantrums or they do things for attention to get what they want. It's sad. They're like big babies that think they can fool anybody. Although, I like the publisher of this website because he is articulate and intelligent. Unlike my Mother. LOL!

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