I've been reading your blog for well over a year now and a lot of my questions about sociopaths and their tendencies have been answered, but there's one topic I've not seen discussed in any real depth.
I'm an "empath". I'm the sort that feels so intensely that it's often physically painful. I've been that way for my entire life, so I'm fully aware that I'm not a sociopath, but I have a few sociopathic characteristics.
The main sociopathic characteristic that I identify with is mimicry. I've been doing it for most of my life, and I've called it mirroring. I, like you, have a difficult time navigating social situations naturally; every move has to be planned in order for me to seem normal. Like you, I've been picking and choosing parts of my personality for decades, and every single one of those parts is meant to add up to what other people appreciate in their peers. People really aren't very difficult to read; their cards are out on the table the moment they open their mouths. As soon as I can size them up and assess their likes and dislikes, I pour myself into a mold resembling their ideal companion.
I abuse substances quite frequently, also. I realize that this is something more characteristic of "low-functioning" sociopaths due to poor impulse control, and I own how pathetic it is, but, as an empath, I do it to make myself feel less. I find that I fit in better when under the influence of opiates, or, in a pinch, any "downer" in general. Not heroin, mind you; heroin scares me. I have an addictive personality already. I'm more partial to hydrocodone. It's easy to come by, and cheap when you find the right people to buy from. I have a difficult time being insincere when I'm sober, but once I have about five 10 mg hydrocodone tablets in me, I don't feel bad about insincerely telling people what they want to hear.
Weirdly, I've noticed that the males in my family have a stronger tendency toward sociopathy. The possibility exists that they do, in fact, FEEL, but it actually seems more likely to me that they've become incredibly good at reading women in (especially those in my family) and acting accordingly. My dad is a very low-functioning sociopath. He propositioned every single friend I had in my youth and blamed it on alcohol, and now he's facing his tenth year of probation due to poor impulse control. Despite the fact that I've recognized and researched his neurological leanings (he's the main reason for my interest in the subject of socipaths), I find myself feeling sorry for the man, like he's some sort of bumbling idiot , as opposed to a cold and calculating monster. He's used me since the day that I was born, and he's done it well. I feel like a terrible person every time this man feigns innocence when I find out about him molesting my friends. He denies it and I, as an empath, desperately want to believe him. I fancy myself logical, but guilt trips me up, and when he plays the idiot as well as he does, I feel like an abusive monster. Fear and guilt trump reason. Consciousness is a bitch.