Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Test-driving psychopathy

Kevin Dutton, author of the Wisdom of Psychopaths, tells the story of how he test-drove being a psychopath (excerpted from his book):

"The effects of the treatment should wear off within half an hour," Nick says, steering me over to a specially calibrated dentist's chair, complete with headrest, chin rest, and face straps. "Think of TMS as an electromagnetic comb, and brain cells—neurons—as hairs. All TMS does is comb those hairs in a particular direction, creating a temporary neural hairstyle. Which, like any new hairstyle, if you don't maintain it, quickly goes back to normal of its own accord."
***
TMS can't penetrate far enough into the brain to reach the emotion and moral-reasoning precincts directly. But by damping down or turning up the regions of the cerebral cortex that have links with such areas, it can simulate the effects of deeper, more incursive influence.

It isn't long before I start to notice a fuzzier, more pervasive, more existential difference. Before the experiment, I'd been curious about the time scale: how long it would take me to begin to feel the rush. Now I had the answer: about 10 to 15 minutes. The same amount of time, I guess, that it would take most people to get a buzz out of a beer or a glass of wine.

The effects aren't entirely dissimilar. An easy, airy confidence. A transcendental loosening of inhibition. The inchoate stirrings of a subjective moral swagger: the encroaching, and somehow strangely spiritual, realization that hell, who gives a s---, anyway?

There is, however, one notable exception. One glaring, unmistakable difference between this and the effects of alcohol. That's the lack of attendant sluggishness. The enhancement of attentional acuity and sharpness. An insuperable feeling of heightened, polished awareness. Sure, my conscience certainly feels like it's on ice, and my anxieties drowned with a half-dozen shots of transcranial magnetic Jack Daniel's. But, at the same time, my whole way of being feels as if it's been sumptuously spring-cleaned with light. My soul, or whatever you want to call it, immersed in a spiritual dishwasher.

So this, I think to myself, is how it feels to be a psychopath. To cruise through life knowing that no matter what you say or do, guilt, remorse, shame, pity, fear—all those familiar, everyday warning signals that might normally light up on your psychological dashboard—no longer trouble you.

I suddenly get a flash of insight. We talk about gender. We talk about class. We talk about color. And intelligence. And creed. But the most fundamental difference between one individual and another must surely be that of the presence, or absence, of conscience. Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels good. But what if it's as tough as old boots? What if one's conscience has an infinite, unlimited pain threshold and doesn't bat an eye when others are screaming in agony?
***
I shake my head. Already I sense the magic wearing off. The electromagnetic sorcery starting to wane. I feel, for instance, considerably more married than I did a bit earlier—and considerably less inclined to go up to Nick's research assistant and ask her out for a drink. Instead I go with Nick—to the student bar—and bury my previous best on the Gran Turismo car-racing video game. I floor it all the way round. But so what—it's only a game, isn't it?

"I wouldn't want to be with you in a real car at the moment," says Nick. "You're definitely still a bit ballsy."

I feel great. Not quite as good as before, perhaps, when we were in the lab. Not quite as ... I don't know ... impregnable. But up there, for sure. Life seems full of possibility, my psychological horizons much broader. Why shouldn't I piss off to Glasgow this weekend for my buddy's stag party, instead of dragging myself over to Dublin to help my wife put her mother in a nursing home? I mean, what's the worst that can happen? This time next year, this time next week even, it would all be forgotten. Who Dares Wins, right?

I take a couple of quid from the table next to ours—left as a tip, but who's going to know?—and try my luck on another couple of machines. I get to $100,000 on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" but crash and burn because I refuse to go 50-50. Soon things start to change. Gran Turismo the second time round is a disappointment. I'm suddenly more cautious, and finish way down the field. Not only that, I notice a security camera in the corner and think about the tip I've just pocketed. To be on the safe side, I decide to pay it back.

I smile and swig my beer. Psychopaths. They never stick around for long. As soon as the party's over, they're moving on to the next one, with scant regard for the future and even less for the past. And this psychopath—the one, I guess, that was me for 20 minutes—was no exception. He'd had his fun. And got a free drink out of it. But now that the experiment was history, he was suddenly on his way, hitting the road and heading out of town. Hopefully quite some distance away.

65 comments:

  1. "A placebo is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient.

    Sometimes patients given a placebo treatment will have a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition, a phenomenon commonly called the placebo effect."

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    1. What I gather from this is that the only thing that prevents the author from becoming another run-of-the-mill crook, or psychopath, is his paranoia or anxiety.

      '...attentional acuity and sharpness.'
      Yet he fails to spot the security camera. After realizing that he's on camera he miraculously develops a 'conscience' again.

      Delete
    2. You're the most right, anon. Everything feels salient to him but he does not see everything. Most people can be psychopaths if they can overcome their anxiety.

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    3. It just goes to show that there are way more of these clowns around than most would like to think.

      Civilization is a structure intended to regulate most of these behaviours through the use of fear.

      I believe that psychopaths who come from a less structured environment are less inclined to experience anxiety over crimes.

      Delete
  2. Second. I have this book downloaded. I'll get around to reading it one day.

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    1. This snippet has intrigued me; I'm going to download the book.

      Delete
  3. Probably the best book out that will convince normal people that psychopaths deserve acceptance - because it shows that more psycho people often come out on top.

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  4. That was an amazing insight and it seems as if the psychopath lives a charmed life, but it does not take account the wreckage the person has to deal with when he is riding a Ferrari and everyone else is in a Ford.

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    1. The wreckage a psychopath creates doesn't faze him.

      That's a consequence of ignoring negative feedback (when pursuing rewards); if a psychopath could feel the negative feedback, he'd correct and he wouldn't produce so much wreckage in the first place.

      For a psychopath to stop producing wreckage, he has to decide, "rather than chasing money, pussy and thrills, I'm going to continually pursue living a harmonious existence with my fellow sentient beings, despite the fact that it is something I really suck at."

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    2. For a psychopath to stop producing wreckage, he has to decide, "rather than chasing money, pussy and thrills, I'm going to continually pursue living a harmonious existence with my fellow sentient beings, despite the fact that it is something I really suck at."




      I was jealous when I read the article. I want to be as free as that person was. Then, I wondered if we could find a balance like be outrageous but have it be more socially acceptable like a Lenny Bruce.

      You do have it right that you must conform, on the outside, enough to co-exist, but could you be radical on the inside,as your form of freedom?

      I am asking myself these questions, for myself.

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    3. The psychopath isn't free. He's pushed around by his impulses.

      E.g. you see a guy who'll steal money from peoples' tables, drink too much and try to get into the pants of women aggressively.

      You think - wow, he's liberated. He doesn't feel bad about stealing, drinking too much or making inappropriate passes at women.

      Reality: the guys sees stuff and feels a strong urge to go for it. He might manage to restrain his impulses well for a while, but in the end they win out and he misbehaves.

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    4. Anon 1:42 AM - are you a psychopath? is this coming from experience? If so, this is very insightful. I wouldn't want to have impulses all the time like you describe. I'm glad that mine are few and far between and usually just involve shopping :)

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  5. Good Morning Sociopathworld!!!!!!

    PS- To sceli, in the next post I will answer your question fom yesterday.

    And to the Anon who challenged Sceli about "my reality" thank you, once you hear what she does you will realize I had NOTHING tto do with it.......

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  6. Okay here was Sceli's question to me:

    "Rich, your story about the girl you mirrored. Something is not adding up. Could you think of anything you might have said on that 15-20 minute walk that would cause her to want to get out of there? Or, is it possible she wanted you to walk the whole way to get her? Or, go have some nice meal before bringing her home for sex? Something... There is a good chance she was offended about something. Why do you think she changed her mind in that short time span? Any ideas?"

    No, it was nothing I did wrong Sceli, Iam positive of that, that is just how she treats her friends/lovers. BTW- She was the one who came on to me in a sexual way, because I was playing the "Cool, calm, and indifferent " about sex thing ;)

    But here is another example Sceli, one day it was mid afternoon and she invited me over to her house and I said I needed to take a shower first and she said "Just take a shower at my house" so I said okay. I packed up a bag with new fresh clothes and packed another bag full of beer that I could drink while I was there (she didnt drink).

    So I walked in and I met her stepdad for the first time, shook his hand, and he REALLY LIKED ME...... He said "Oh you got some bud light there" and I said yeah and he was drinking one while he was saying that, and he told me that when I finish my beer I could drink some of his from the outside refridgerator. Also, her mother was home at this time and her mom was a drinker and she was cool as hell.

    Anyway, so we go into her room and chill for a bit and I drink my beers and SUDDENLY she gets a call from her "best friend" (the same one from the previous story) and she tells me that her and her Best friend are going to go to the mall, without even inviting me........ So she said, we can drop you home or you can hang out here with my mom and stepdad........ THIS WAS AFTER SHE BEGGED ME TO COME TO HER HOUSE TO HANG OUT AND WANTED ME THERE SO FAST THAT I COULDNT EVEN TAKE A SHOWER AT MY OWN HOUSE!!!!!

    So I was buzzed from the beer and her mother pulled out an unopened bottle of vodka and we were having good conversation so I decided to stay there with her mom n step dad and talk/ get more drunk til she got home........ So her stepdad LOVED me, said I was the coolest/nicest guy out of all her friends (we werent dating at that time) because right when I walked in the house I went up to him, introduced myself and shook his hand, and he said NONE of the other guys she hangs out with have ever done that and they just walk past him like he dosent exist.

    So her stepdad and mom and I are sitting at the table and he keeps drinking his Bud light and her mom and I opened up the bottle of vodka and polished about 85% of it off before she got back, than when she got back we drank the rest (me and her mom) then her mom n stepdad went into the bedroom for some "sexy time" and sleep.

    She just left me at her house after begging me to come over and hurry there, WTF?!?!?!?!

    (part 1 of 2)


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    1. (Part 2 of 2)

      I also have 2 other stories that DIDNT INVOLVE ME, but are pretty much the same.

      One guy she met on the same dating site where I met her (we were just friends at this time) lived and hour and a half away and he asked her if she wanted to hang out and she said sure, so he drives AN HOUR AND A HALF to see her, and I was there too, and after about 30 mins, she told him that her, her mother, and I were going to look at new houses (because she was movin, it was true she wasnt lying to him) but I FELT SO BAD FOR THE GUY! He drove an hour and a half to hang out for 30 mins and then he was Like "Why did I even drive all the way out here if we werent gonna hang out"? and her ASTONISHING RESPONSE was "Well me, rich and my mom are gonna be gone for like 2 hours or more, but you can go to walmart and walk around and wait for us and then we can hang out when I get back" OMG! I felt so bad for the kid, and he smartly said screw that and drove and hour and a half back home!!!!! a 3 hour round trip drive to hang out for 30 minutes!!!!! PLUS SHE ASKED HIM TO BUY HER A PACK OF CIGARETTES AND HE DID!!!!! It was like she was using him for his cigs!!!!!

      Then after we broke up we remained "friends" until she moved and she was talking to another guy from the dating site but they werent dating or anything. So her and her best friend (yes the best friend from the past 2 stories on here) were at her house baking a cake....... This guy lived 45 mins away. So he drives to her house, gets there, and the cake was finished so all they had to do was put icing on it. THe icing took 10 mins to put on the cake and then they left and told him they had plans!!!!!! After he drives 45 mins to see her and only hung out for 10 measly minutes.......

      She told me that he yelled at her and then FLIPPED THE WHOLE SITUATION AROUND ON HIM and said " He show me his true colors" and I was thinking in my mind "No, he did the appropriate thing, and YOU showed your true colors"

      She dosent understand empathy, she literally has NONE, not even a little...... It was like she was born with something missing....... I seriously think she is a true GENETIC psychopath.........

      I warned her new boyfriend about how she was and he didnt believe me, and 2 days ago I got a text message on my phone from a number I didnt recognize, and he said "This is Candy's (not her real name) Ex" and I said "Oh okay, whats up" and he said " I just wanted to tell you that everything you told me was true and I wanted to thank you for looking out for me, I broke up with her" and I was SHOCKED he did that and than I said "No problem man, I just wanted to help you out and make sure you werent one of her victims. and I said thank you for actually texting that to me, that was a very classy move on your part, and I said that he was a VERY intelligent man for listening (because 99% of men dont just because they think the girl LIKES THEM).

      Yeah, I was proud that I prevented him from becoming a victim and proud that I helped him see through her "Mask of sanity"

      :)

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    2. That is just the way she acts, there is no changing her. She is literally blind/immune to empathy.

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    3. Lol. That's a good way to put it.

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    4. Thank you Mask Of Sanity, thank you :)

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  7. All this demonstrates is that an individual who's usual mode of receiving and analyzing negative feedback will indulge in unsystematic risk. A sociopath (ie, someone who has been born and/or abused into the condition from an early age) will have cobbled together their own cost/benefit analysis techniques while still possessing that heightened sensory acuity. In a way, this makes the more polished sociopath superior to the "normal" individual. The polished sociopath must make choices about everything, whereas the "normal" types, just like the unpolished sociopath, navigate life mostly on autopilot, which explains why most societies do, in fact, operate on philosophies on sociopathy.

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  8. Also to Anonymous @ 6:45 am yesterday who wrote this:

    "I like Haven and Monica and Rich because they show vulnerability and I have been ashamed of my own. Themes shows love and I need that.

    I get inspiration from others no matter if they are different than me.

    There are positive people who got unbroke or deal in ways I like to hear."

    :) Thank you!!!! I think it is good that we have all different personality types here like BPD, NPD, and Empaths because everybody can read things from different peoples perspectives, that is why I enjoy coming to sociopathworld and being an Empath, because I like to see how other thing and how similar and alike (or not alike) we are.

    :) thank you for your compliment :)

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    1. u are welcome!

      I feel the same as you.

      Delete
  9. Rich, have you considered the possibility that this woman is turned off by your alcohol consumption and its obvious status above all else, including sex? She lives with drinkers and doesn't drink. Hmmmmm.
    Alcohol intake as you describe it usually has a pacifying effect on an erection, by the way, which usually is not the preferred penile status for sex. Maybe that's just my opinion, though. Try it sober and let us know what happens, Stud.

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    1. Well, I dont think it had to do with the drinking at all because there were many other nights where I was drinking and she slept at my house, or I was drinking and slept at her house. Its just how she is, it is just what she does to people, she has no social conscience or empathy.

      PS- The other 2 guys she did that to DIDNT EVEN DRINK (at least not with her around) and she did the same thing to them so I think it is something deep rooted in her, she just dosent care......

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  10. I am so excited. I wanted to share something with you. My guitar teacher has a rock band and he is a great businessman, too. He had been teaching me harmony. He said I am good enough to form a group with him and we can go out and play afternoon parties etc.

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    1. How much of the proceeds will you be geting?

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    2. I don't think the Senior Care facilities pay all that much.

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    3. My question is independent of what they pay.

      I am curious what percentage of what this guy gets is going to go to Monica.

      Is he a socio businessman or a just one?

      Is he a work-the-student-for-free kind of teacher or not?

      If he i sgetting any pay then it's a business. If Monica is performing for him to get money then that is also a business.

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    4. I don't care where I play. When I sing harmony, I feel like I touch the Heavens. If anyone payed anything, it would be a bonus.

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    5. paid... not payed, but you knew that already.

      it's that attitude that is in major conflict with how winners deal with life. if you are providing value you get paid and get respect. freebees don't get respect, they get lost in the pile unless they are playing the exposure game.

      I'm just saying you'd touch the Heavens longer if you knew the value of your touch.

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    6. Thanks Sceli. I appreciate your interest and your wise comments! xx

      Delete
  11. Rich, thank you for all the details. Yes, it looks like you had enough former data on her callousness and you were right on with what you did to her. Knowing her past history I would not even met her half way, I would always put the inconvenience on her, she is a huge user when it comes to people's time. WHat is clear to me is that you must have seen this coming, given she had done it to others in the past and you knew. People don't change, do they?

    I believe that anyone who does not respect the time and inconvenience they impose on others is suffering from a personality disorder, but it could be npd, bpd, socio, or simple depression. She may be very very easily insulted about something, or she may have a very severe case of ADHD, and be quickly bored in every get together. Or, like the sssssnake says above, the girl may have an issue with drinking, or jealous of her friends' connecting with her parents. These could well be perfect at zero acquaintance kind of parents.

    The more I read your stories the more Florida sounds like where a lot of drunk and drugged parenting going on, and relatively older children are still living with their parents. What percent of your friends fit this description?

    By the way, my starightforward questioning is not a sign of hostility towards you at all. I appreciate your candid attitude, you live in a very different world than I do, and I am a very curious person.

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    1. No Problem Sceli, Iam happy to answer them :)

      I think she DEFINATLY has a personality disorder, but she thinks she dosent and that OTHER PEOPLE are the ones who are disordered when in reality, she is the one who is disordered but cannot see it ;)

      Also, all of this happened about 2 years ago (Iam 24 now) so I was 22 at the time and she was 19 at the time, but she was still living with her parents. Also, 2 days ago when I talked to her Ex boyfriend he informed me she was still living at home so she hasnt gone anywhere in the last 2 years. She is spoiled and thinks she dosent have to work, she bleeds men dry of all the money they have. I know I have to work which is why I quit smoking weed so I can get back out there and start working again and move out (its time) I was just very apathetic about it and my anxiety/panic attacks/agoraphobia dont help much either :(

      Well as of right now, I dont have ANY close friends, I gave up all of my friends when I moved and got onto the methadone clinic and off of oxycodone and since then the only 2 significant people I have had in my life were the 2 disordered ex's of mine, the first was a diagnosed sociopath, and the second who we are talking about right now is a definate narcissist/probable sociopath.

      I think you are very right when you say "I believe that anyone who does not respect the time and inconvenience they impose on others is suffering from a personality disorder, but it could be npd, bpd, socio, or simple depression" she DEFINATLY isint a neurotypical and she definatly isint depressed either. She just lives in her own little world where she can do no wrong and it is ALWAYS somebody elses fault.

      Also, to answer your question of if alot of friends/ ex friends parents drink or use drugs. Yes, alot of them did, most would only drink or smoke weed or both. But some were completely sober. A few also did hard drugs with us and were addicted to hard drugs, like one of my old freinds mom used to get prescriptions for Norco (Basically Vicodin but 10mgs per pill) and 2mg xanax bars and she would pop them all day and share them with us while we all snorted coke together....... Also, when she needed extra pocket money, she would sell me her Xanax.

      My mother and stepdad also drink every night and my step dad smokes weed every night too, my mother dosent smoke weed though, she dosent like how it makes her feel. She drinks maybe 4-5 drinks a night (One beer and the rest are wine) and my stepdad drinks at least 10-12 beers a night, sometimes more....... But he admitted to me he is an alcoholic so I dont judge him for it. Especially because he isint an obnoxious drunk or anything, he just drinks and his personality remains the same.

      PS- my brother moved out at 19 years old, Iam just a late bloomer I guess. I have "Failed to launch" LOL

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    2. You know will be one of your greatest assets in healing, Rich? Your willingness to be honest. Most people won't face themselves. When that happens, there is little chance of healing.

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    3. Sceli- you are right,most people with ingrained personality features don't change,unless they work to but since she dosent feel anything is wrong with whats she does she thinks she has nothing to change.

      Monica- I think that is definitely true, you have to acknowledge your problems before you can change them and if you never acknowledge them you won't think you have anything to change and you will stay the same.

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    4. Also, Sceli, I saw that Oslo movie recommendation you made for me, I havent seen it yet but it put it on my "to watch" list on netflix :)

      Delete
  12. Here is a piece that could resonate with majority of SW:
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/26/opinion/krauss-grief-faith/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

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  13. Regarding the article, I find that throughout my life I have slipped in and out of states like the author of that interesting-sounding book describes with the magnets on his head, although I've not had the magnets. I may go through months with a wonderful absence of conscience, feeling a high and natural buzz and imperviousness that I think will last, but sooner or later I'll be feeling tooooo deeply again in many directions and - sigh - wishing I was actually a psychopath full-time instead of a snake trying to shed layers of guilt. I'd love it if guilt could just stay gone - what a wonderful way to move through life. Guilt feels useless when it comes on me, and I actually find myself much meaner under its weight than I am when I'm not feeling much of anything. Like the article points out, emotions get in the way of that clear vision. When snakes need to shed, they go off by themselves and feel crappy, their eyes clouded over, unable to navigate life until they've pulled the old skin off. That's what I'd like to do with my emotions when I'm feeling intense like that - pull 'em right off, even the "positive" ones. Sometimes that works. SW helps.

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  14. narcissistworld guy, you must be reading this. what happened? you let out too much info about your psychopath prof friend and got hit?

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    1. I hope you don't miss it too much.

      I got spooked about privacy (as administered by Wordpress) and decided the right thing to do was to remove all the content.

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    2. I am disappointed. You were giving me an invaluable level of honesty coming from a very harsh world view.

      Delete
    3. I'm sorry about that.You are welcome to drop me an email.

      Reads/day was very low. No one else wanted to contribute. There was too much potentially damaging content - and once it became clear how flimsy wordpress's security/privacy is, I figured I had to remove the stuff and move on.


      Having composed and read the stuff, I could probably rewrite it again better, should it be necessary.

      Delete
  15. i laugh at the world and everything that's wrong in it some people tell me that's wrong and i'm crazy doesn't matter couse the world is still the same

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    1. What will you do if you see him again?

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    2. Why did you do that, Rembrant?

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    3. Rembrant
      I am really impressed! You are taking responsibility for this. Hey, be proud that you can acknowledge you were to blame.

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    1. Rembrant
      You were just saying that being on here is a crutch, but then you acted out your pain etc on the outside world. How is that better? xx

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  19. Tell me, is it so dangerous, really, to humiliate a sociopath?"

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    1. nepends on the lvl of npd i gues
      me i have no feeling no empathy and don't react to prais or citism
      i'll problebe fake being humiliated and be done with you

      Delete
  20. Nice post! I really like this one and I am happy that I stumbled upon this page while looking for some other informationHornsby driving school.

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  21. From each accordng to his ability, f*ck him for it.
    (covetous sociopath)

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  22. Many people who call for this law mistakenly believe that the mere existence of the law somehow makes drivers behave better.ADI franchise

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  23. HELLO to my friends out there i am testifying about the good work of a man who help me it has been hell from the day my husband left me i am a woman with two kids my problem stated when the father of my kids travel i never help he was living but as at two weeks i did not set my eye on my husband i try calling but he was not taken my call some week he call me telling me that he has found love some where easy at first i never take to be serous but day after he came to the house to pick his things that was the time i notice that things is going bad i help he will come back but things was going bad day by day i needed to talk to someone about it so i went to his friend but there was no help so i give it up on him month later i met on the the internet a spell caster i never believe on this but i needed my men back so i gave the spell caster my problem at first i never trusted him so i was just doing it for doing sake but after three day my husband called me telling me that he his coming home i still do not believe but as at the six day the father to my kids came to the house asking me to for give him the spell work to said to my self from that day i was happy with my family thanks to the esango priest of (abamieghe)esango priest he his a great man you need to try him you can as well to tell him your problem so that he can be of help to you his content email is this esangopriest@gmail.com indeed you are a priest thank you for making my home a happy home again. remember his email is esangopriest@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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