Remember those games you used to play in primary school where the teacher would give you a bunch of clues and you had to guess what the person or thing was? From a reader:
I'm wondering where I fall on the sociopathic spectrum, and what if anything I should do about it.
I was born into a troubled family - mother is was paranoid schizophrenic & father is narcissistc. Grandfather was a sociopath (he was sadistic, transgressive and super low-empathy). I spent most of my childhood (mildly) abused or neglected. I was a bedwetter.
I tend to interpret peoples' actions the way a paranoid would, although I know rationally that I'm often wrong.
I'm low-empathy. I have trouble reading the emotions of others. I often say things that bother people. Unless I'm paying a lot of attention, it is easy for me to offend people. When I offend people, I try to make amends (as a practical matter).
I tend to take things literally. I have a hard time with jokes. I speak bluntly.
I'm generally quite honest, although when I want to lie, I take great delight in saying something that is literally true, but misleading.
In general, I'm bold. If I want stuff, I'll try to get it. I very much feel like my life is slipping away; there's no time to waste. I get bored easily.
As a kid, I didn't abuse mammals, but I was tough on slugs and snails. I took them apart, tortured them, etc. In my adult years, my job had me doing terrible things to mammals. They'd scream for a long time. I didn't like hearing the screams, it bugged me. If anything, they pissed me off with their screaming, because I had a job to do. Sometimes I'd get so pissed at them for screaming at me that I'd hurt them more. My sense is, I don't abuse animals for fun, but if I've got goals and to reach them I have to hurt stuff, I'll do it. If the things I'm hurting make my job difficult, I'll hurt them more after I get angry at them.
I've got something of a conscience, but not like most people. I do feel bad if I hurt people I love. I don't steal. But I do trespass, snoop, cheat on my taxes, smuggle contraband when it suits me, etc. I regularly do things that could get me arrested.
If people cross a line, I consider extra-legal retribution essential. I've broken the law, repeatedly, to get revenge. It involved killing animals. I did it without remorse. I've gotten good at it.
I enjoy internet trolling, particularly by expressing un-PC thoughts.
I'm sadistic. I really enjoy hurting my enemies.
I've got ethnocentric/racist sensibilities. I think the world would be a better place if we got rid of people not in my racial group. If making that happen required me to volunteer, I'd do it happily. In this way, I'm altruistic. I'm not totally selfish. Then again, I don't love everyone in my racial group (or family, etc). If there were important enough goals, I'd think it reasonable to kill them for the cause.
If I could kill people and get away with it (or get approval, by being on a death squad), I'd jump to sign up. I'm kinda hoping we'll get a race war before I'm dead, so that I can hunt some humans.
I'm very manipulative and calculating. I lie. I do this even with the people closest to me. I kind of delight in doing it.
I transgress. When I do "bad" things, I don't have remorse. I do have fear of getting caught, and a deep hatred of authority figures. I know that if I was in the middle of a crime and a lone law enforcement officer caught me, I'd kill him in an instant if it meant the difference between getting away or being punished.
That said, there are some transgressions I feel are wrong, so I don't do them. If I do them, I feel guilty. Yet for someone who hates authority, when people disregard my wishes or authority, I feel they deserve the maximum punishment.
I get lonely. Rejection hurts and pisses me off. I want to be adored. When I've been rejected, I've thought of stalking, attacking or trespassing the person rejecting me. Or I think of re-seducing them, so that I can dump them to punish them.
My general sense is that I can't be a sociopath; I have something of a conscience. But then there's only about 5 people in the world I care about in non-abstract terms.