Monday, March 4, 2013

Negative emotions

A reader asks me what sorts of negative emotions I feel: "You've written of loyalty, gratitude, exhilaration (when winning or achieving something), a desire to be in control, etc. I'd like to know more about the other end of the spectrum." My response:
I haven't really thought about this much. One thing that I like about the way my brain works is that it is very easy for me to compartmentalize, so usually I am an optimist, not prone to depression etc. Plus I am very sensitive to pleasure, like I must have too much serotonin or something, but I do sometimes feel down. Some sociopaths are particularly susceptible to depression, or I have a few readers at least who feel debilitating depression.

I was talking with a friend about this and asked what it looks/sounds/feels like when I am allegedly depressed. She said that it just seems like I am frustrated with my inability to think, which I think is accurate. I think when I feel "down," it is usually because my mind has lost some of its functionality, either because I am sick, tired stressed, or the brain is overtaxed. My friend also described her own depression, as a comparator. She said that she puts so much of her identity in how she feels, that when she is feeling poorly, she has a bit of a crisis of identity. I believe that is true for me too. I believe that I put so much of my identity in how I think ("I am how I think") that when my brain is sluggish and not performing up to par, I also have a crisis of identity. Being a sociopath already feels really empty, which I am fine with because I have never experienced anything different (and question whether anything different even exists). So emptiness is something you just have to learn to deal with day to day, like any other chronic illness, but sometimes it flares up or something irritates it, like a sluggish mind. And sometimes it gets really bad, like a crisis of identity, inflamed, and probably the only solution at that point is to (self) medicate it, dull it, quiet the deafening silence of the void, and maybe even that won't help. When it gets really bad, there's a hopelessness in wondering whether I'll ever go back to feeling like myself again. If I never go back to feeling normal, will I still be me? That's a really disturbing concern. I have never, ever have thoughts of suicide, but I do think there are worse things than dying.

97 comments:

  1. i agree, and i am not sociopath. but i do feel frustrated, almost fragmented when i am depressed. it feels as though someone is constantly pushing my panic button and i cant get away, i cant think clearly and do rash things to fix a small problem, ultimately putting myself in a position in a much bigger problem. always going two steps forward, one step back.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. I am a super empath and I have an identity of crisis at times when I am depressed. I have PTSD, ADHD, Bipolar and severe depression and I work in the mental health profession so I find this blog and all the commentary fascinating, although not always relative to myself.
      I find it extremely fascinating that the sociopath who runs this page has related "feelings" when there seems to be an emotional deficiency equated with sociopathy.
      And yes, fascinating is a great word ;) Or so Mr. Spock seems to think.

      Delete
  2. maybe it results from holding on to tightly to a now

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  3. or holding on to a now generally

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  4. I'm sure some of you might have come across this short research article before. It was an interesting read nonetheless:

    http://www.goertzel.org/dynapsyc/2003/psychopaths.htm

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  5. I think I saw that before but didn't really read it until now. That is very interesting.

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  6. It's only just occurred to me, but I think that all my negative feelings are noticed, qualified and elevated by the intensity of boredom I feel in general at that moment or as a result/response to a negative experience. It's probably the x factor that determines gloom, depression or despair. Despair is being depressed and dreadfully bored by it.

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  7. Referring to the blog post, what happens following one's return to normal? Is it just time that passes or is there any consistent behavior or thought that precedes coming back into ones perceived best faculties? Is it always just getting drunk/high? What happens when that is done?

    Some believe that a person with S traits got that way through an abusive/traumatic/painful environment (these same some seem to believe that it may be somewhat reversible or maybe more accurately, expandable). If this is so in many cases, might there have been a time, possibly long, long ago, in many cases, when one did feel something in a more "normal" way or at least was ready for it but due to a lacking or cruel environment it (unconditional love?) wasn't given back or the capacity for which wasn't allowed to come online? Might there be echoes of this expressed somewhere?

    A lot of sites describe as one behavior of a person with S a breaking hearts motivation. Could this behavior be revenge for having had their heart broke so long ago? Could the anger that is described as being part of the S psyche be due to not having being loved properly very early on and being possibly forced to adapt a somewhat virtuosic logic deconstructing ability and environmental adaptation ability, allowing one to suss out even the wiftiest of abusive behavior, and to exact revenge on it.

    "so emptiness is something you just have to learn to deal with day to day, like any other chronic illness"

    It sounds to me, and I could be wrong, that the emptiness is something you don't like, as you have to learn to deal with it day by day, though you say you know nothing else.

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  8. This "Referring to the blog post, what happens following one's return to normal?", should have read "Referring to the blog post, what happens before one's return to normal?"

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  9. Or, perhaps this is a state that is naturally meant to be attained by some humans, and one perspective on its purpose is that it can act as a potent teacher, if one is open to the lesson.

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  10. Ishtar, thank you so much for the link

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  11. Or, perhaps this is a state that is naturally meant to be attained by some humans, and one perspective on its purpose is that it can act as a potent teacher, if one is open to the lesson.

    for me the feeling of emptiness comes from not buying into any one identity or belief, so there is always this feeling of separateness and a sense of nothingness inside. i imagine someone who completely identifies with the roles in their life (such as career person, partner, parent) would have no sense of themselves existing beyond that and therefore no feeling of emptiness until perhaps their identities are challenged.

    the emptiness is a feeling of existing outside of the normal definitions. because it’s outside of the norm, outside of how we normally perceive reality, the existence is not definable. it feels like nothingness. i perceive it also at times as a feeling of everythingness, infinity.

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    Replies
    1. I know that I, as a non-sociopath feel a bit of the existing outside of the norm. But I also attribute some of it sometimes to loneliness. Is this equatable?

      Delete
    2. I do not see how one can NOT put emptiness and aloneness together.

      You dont look at your neighboor and say hey, looks like you're empty too Let's get a beer together !

      Unless you're here,ofc.

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    3. 11:00 you're kind of dumb, aren't you? You can totally look at another empty-feeling person in real life and pull up a chair. Sociopaths are great at this.


      Zoe it is interesting you also feel the duality. You say "Nothingness" and "infinity" in the same thought. I can feel this so much it puts me out of the present trying to get into the fog over and over.

      The fog is action and the other is idling motor in a zone uncomfortable/comfortable, but needing stimulation before empty starts again.

      ZOe are you healthy emotionally or do you also have malaise, like me?

      Delete
    4. I just read your long post further down. I liked it. Thank you.

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    5. that's nice description anon. if someone were to carve out the nothingness from me there would be only a gaping zombie shell left, full of concepts, pointless memory collages and cliches, all repeating themselves, tracing out the same patterns, again and again, and eventually fading away. the nothingness is me, everything else is a shell.

      i think i'm emotionally healthy, but have malaise too. the malaise comes from my brain which tends to over work. you have to factor in intelligence. can high intelligence and strong emotional health ever exist comfortably together?

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    6. @anon 9:24

      you're welcome

      Delete
    7. ...if you meant my post that is

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    8. yes i meant your post.

      can high intelligence and strong emotional health ever exist comfortably together?

      it is a shame if it could not be.

      I just read this article. http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2013/02/25/130225crbo_books_acocella.

      He says "the quest for understanding is not just an insult to emotional health; it is an intellectual error"

      He is existential.

      Delete
    9. neat quote...thanks for the link!

      Delete
    10. u are welcome, zoe!

      Delete
  12. Zoe, i always get the feeling there is either a giant HOLE, or endless possibilities.

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  13. a giant HOLE.. good description of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. calling for a giant dick?
      like me?

      Delete
    2. hiya dick :-)

      Delete
  14. when i’m coming down with a cold i always feel bored, and it’s only when i’m feeling bored and start to panic because i don’t know how to cope because i’m not used to the feeling, that it occurs to me i may be sick. then i can calm down. the panic comes from everything suddenly seeming so meaningless and pointless that i don’t know what to do with myself. there doesn’t seem to be any point in doing anything. yet there is the feeling also that i should be doing something. i end up feeling overwhelmed and mentally paralyzed. when i’m sick i think my thought processes are derailed so much that i can no longer manage my feelings.

    i was five or six the first time i felt that way. i remember sitting outside in the sun, going over in my mind all the things that i could do, and not feeling like playing or doing any of them, and thinking how meaningless and pointless everything was, how boring it all was, and wondering if i would want to ever play with any of my toys again. as it turned out i was coming down with a fever.

    i’m not sure why i feel bored when i’m ill but it may be simply that my mind interprets the body’s signal to slow down at a time of illness as a feeling of boredom.

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  15. Some believe that a person with S traits got that way through an abusive/traumatic/painful environment (these same some seem to believe that it may be somewhat reversible or maybe more accurately, expandable). If this is so in many cases, might there have been a time, possibly long, long ago, in many cases, when one did feel something in a more "normal" way or at least was ready for it but due to a lacking or cruel environment it (unconditional love?) wasn't given back or the capacity for which wasn't allowed to come online? Might there be echoes of this expressed somewhere?

    As luck would have it, I was born with psychopathic traits (childhood behaviour and genetic history) and raised in an abusive environment. I still wonder sometimes if I would have become a different "person" if not for the abuse, and whether or not my brand of emotions would have been different from the way they are now.

    For those of us who were not born psychopathic but instead have come from abusive childhoods, I would say that some do in fact recall a wider spectrum of emotions. However, there's a difference between feeling for oneself and feeling for others. The kind of feelings also matter. For instance where someone might feel sorrow or fear, I feel anger and anxiety. This is of course over-simplifying things, since we ought to also consider the degree to which they're felt, though they're virtually immeasurable between varying persons.

    I tend to agree with M.E. in terms of depression. Depression seems to me to be just another version of the "emptiness" associated with sociopaths/psychopaths. The only great difference between the two types is how a normal person versus a sociopath might act in response to it. Where a normal person may react with erratic emotional behaviour, a sociopath will find it a physiological impediment.

    However, I don't often experience any sort of existential crisis because of it, due to my belief that there is no "self" to begin with. Loss of memory, regeneration of cells, environmental changes, etc. all affect one's perceptions of oneself on a daily basis. It seems unreasonable to assume we should adhere to any sort of "identity," unless it's to promote our social welfare.

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    1. It seems unreasonable to assume we should adhere to any sort of "identity," unless it's to promote our social welfare.

      It does. So why do I feel in "jail" sometimes and in motion, mutating chameleon other times?

      It is just a matter of perception and changing my mind about how i feel about myself? You enjoy whilst I feel unseen and trapped by my elusive self . it isnt in me inside me.

      does anywone feel what i am saying?

      Delete
  16. Maybe when you (as an S person) are not feeling well or are out of sorts or are off balance, or are at low vitality, for whatever reason, you may not have the normal control of your energies or have the energy available or even the motivation to use them as you normally would (to adapt, to shape, to influence) which normally keeps you occupied and maybe provides for some enjoyment. So when you are not able to be the main you, there is non you which feels empty and like a hole, starless.

    Maybe one solution would be to accept this emptiness or at least not be too dismayed by it, with confidence that it is just an ebb and life is ebbs and flows. Maybe there is something valuable or some overlooked knowledge to be gained in that emptiness by not "fighting" it in any way. Maybe not/ymmv.

    Would anyone say that in a way, sociopaths, whatever else one may wish to say about them, have a type of enlightened view? Usually when people talk of attaining "enlightenment" and the cultivating of awareness/living in the present that leads to it, it is often for many people discussed in the context of a long mystical struggle, something that one must work towards and something tricky, something that cannot be bottled or held on to by its very nature. But the person with S, due to having a personality structure that naturally produces a thinking environment that has much less distracting emotional conflict/static/noise in the head, can see and think more clearly and observe causalities and notice things that someone obsessing or busy rationalizing and living in the head and past/future etc is not going to see. Maybe this keen awareness has a blinding side though because, while you may be definitely aware and live it with your masterful ability to adapt through pure logical analysis and keen observation, it may lead to a false conclusion that that is all there is. In reality, for the S person, it may be all there is. I've read many people who are S state that for example that love, and conscience and empathy are delusions or are not real, for anyone. I wonder if that is because of their observation that people often do have a lot of delusions. They fool themselves and fight themselves and as Zoe says, they live as zombies. But maybe these things, love, C and E are real things for some, real core things that often get mixed up with delusions, and maybe the mistake is in thinking that love, c and e are as delusional as the the way they are sometimes used or interacted with.

    If an N person cultivated awareness and lived in the present to a high degree through various work, achieving a quiet head, seeing things moment by moment, and felt and knew in their heart that love, c, and e exist, if this were true, (that this person existed and claimed this) would a person with S think that at a minimum, that this (l,c,e) exists for some people and maybe is not a delusion or at least not as normally considered?

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  17. aspie,

    It has always been my belief that "love" is an action, and most people just confuse it with emotions they associated it with. They love things that make them feel positive; they do not "feel" love. People just as readily love things that make them feel pain, so I find it hard to believe it is reactionary. A confusion caused by the complicated layers of emotions.

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  18. after an emotionally abusive relationship that was ongoing off and on for six years and another relationship built on mistrust, mis-communication and mind games, i am thoroughly convinced that love is an action. forget about whatever it is you feel, whether lust, or infatuation or even genuine affection, if you don't treat the person in a loving way, you do not love them. simple as that.

    if he tells you one thing, yet his actions say another, he's playing you. i wish more women wouldn't fall for it, but we are suckers every time into the hands of men who just want to use us for sexual flings until they get utterly bored and move on to the next prey.

    giving these men our bodies, and intimacy,yet not even getting a simple commitment out of the ordeal to at least see how far the relationship will grow, what types of bonds are formed or if any at all. i no longer sleep with men who don't want a commitment or marriage in the future. it's a waste of my time.

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  19. Women can be this way too you know. It is not soley the domain of men. There is a site where S traited people are looked at as demons and I believe the author is male, and he feels this way due to his experiences with certain women. Some books on abusive people and bullies authored by women have come to the conclusion that women can be the absolute worst bullies and quite "evil" extra cloaked by the fairer sex mother image and all.

    Can't a man truly love you without wanting to make a commitment or want to be married? Perhaps they can make a type of honest commitment, but one you may not like. Maybe that is something you want and won't accept less, but linking that to they don't really love you when really it is just something they don't want and something you want feels devious to me, like conditional love. Men give you their bodies too. Are you better than them?

    If love is an action, then what is the effect on the recipient? Are there different possibilities? If one gets love in return, what does that feel like? Does love have a feeling (gratitude?)

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  20. Maybe I am wrong but aren't we always reacting by our very nature? We first perceive then act. We are reacting to our perception.

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  21. Perhaps being alive is an act.

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  22. Now we are getting into reality vs. perception. Are perceptions of reality colored by emotions or vice versa? I see things in front of me and decide how to respond. Others I have talked to see things based on how they feel. In this resect, the action of "love" could be miscommunicated. The recipients emotions could color their perception of your love (i.e. good or bad, strong or weak, selfish or giving). If they believe you are giving them what they want, then to them you are loving. For me, if they have that percetion, then I have "loved" correctly.

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  23. @ aspie, i can't speak for other women, but the man I've chosen to sleep with, i loved them before doing so. i wanted better for them even if we were not going to be together, i wanted nothing but their well being and success, so for me, i gave more than my body. but what is a body without the mind, heart, soul,personality? isn't it all one anyway? you can't have a beating heart outside the human body.

    if I'm giving you my body, I'm giving you everything. like i said, i can't speak for other women nor other "evil" women because that's not who i am. I'm pretty straightforward, i actually compromise a lot but if the guy isn't willing to meet you at least half way but wants the benefits of sexual intimacy, benefits of a good friendship, then you have to move on. you have to seek things and people on your own level. if you lie with dogs you get fleas

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  24. Anon @ 8:11, could you explain to me the difference between friendship and a "relationship" if it is not sexual? Do you not consider your friends equal to your parnter? Do you feel more for one person than those others who can be just as giving simply because he is of the preferred sex? The difference between platonic and romantic love is not intensity but attraction.

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  25. That sounds beautiful anonymous.

    I think I see what you are saying C.

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  26. so what if the relationship is socio vs socio? can it be a real relationship? or is it a game of constant trying to one up eachother? can you ever truely get what you want or need from that person? if both are constantly trying to work the other does it ever stop? can one get bored with the other since they know what they are doing? seems like a dangerous combination that can never win.

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  27. Maybe. Sociogirl, your comment reminded me of one of my favorite books and movies, Gone with the Wind. That probably isn't worth much, just an observation.

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  28. uh, yeah, that doesn't help at all, lol.

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  29. Use it as a model and analyze. Rhett and Scarlett's relationship was based on nothing more than what the other could give them. Interestingly, it has been highly romanticized.

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  30. because crazy (and i'm using the term loosely) can seem passionate and when you put passionate with hollywood, you get romance. i suppose in my situation at times can appear passionate or crazy, lol but he says its good like this, i think it is mentally exhausting yet i can see there is no end because as much as him, i cannot stop. so although i am aware that it is toxic, i continue to try and try all different angles to work him as he does with me. we both see through eachother and know what the other is doing. so is there an end in sight? probably not, unless one gets bored with it which i know will not be me because i never give up.

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  31. oh and on the depression thing...you control how you feel. i can't say i ever feel empty or depressed. i do however sometimes feel mentally exhausted and will shut myself off from everyone for one night and feel better the next day. its like rebooting. or a new identity, those always help as well.

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    1. Same here, I don't remember ever being depressed, which is weird when everyone around you get depressed on regular basis.

      Most of time I just feel good, just glad to be myself, that feeling gets greater everytime I see myself doing something that impresses me.

      When the opposite happen (me failing something or making a really bad decision), I don't get depressed, I get angry, and a few hours (or the next day, at most), that anger turns into motivation to start again. So I can see myself in your rebooting analogy.

      As I see plenty of people getting consumed by depression, I guess we're lucky not experiencing it.

      Delete
    2. I have been on my program to come out of numb and depression, as many people know( too much~) but I think part of depression is being stuck in your mask, whatever that mask may be. My yoga teacher says that depression comes when you cannot be authentic. My program has been a forcing of myself to be authentic. Hence, I re-claim cast off parts. My cast off parts were anger,rage and selfishness, as well as other "unacceptable" emotions. Some people have cast off tenderness, which could make for depression, too.

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    3. Thank you, Monica. I am getting these feelings too. I stifle them in front of people I want to keep. Will they go away? Or will i keep hating these things about me forever? I do not know why anyone would want to love someone who showed these things.

      The other day I acted pout .. It was anger drove me. I boundary hopped in a BIG way and now am faced with tension because I will be shamed and scolded and maybe get dumped. :o

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    4. Yes, it is a really dicey thing to learn what to keep to yourself and what to share. I hear you, Anon!

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    5. i am doing this shit it doesnt feel like i am in a truthful place with people. But then I think about all regular people.They are usually not in a truthful place.
      -It's fine. They just arent aware. I hate being aware when I cannot see others doing it. If I tell of my awareness too much, I learn I have to shut my mouth or people will say I am a witch. They go away. I scare them. I always have to keep it inside and I hate it.

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    6. Tell me about your awareness. I think I may have had it, as a child, but I squelched it. Thanks <3

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    7. I love these convos on the second page because it is like you are really private and no one is listening ~

      Delete
    8. I lost train of thought.
      You are so shamelessly manipulative, Monica.

      Delete
    9. ..uh
      ....i meant charming.

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    10. IRL, I can tell if someone is angry and masking it. I can tell when they are listening with half an ear, I can tell when they are bored, I can tell when they are hiding something, judging, etc. I have always been focused on them. I do my best not to tell them something they dont know they are feeling.. But I know.

      Before, I did not feel my anger too well. now i am ashamed or reluctant to see and express it. So I am just like the other people above, except I know that I am angry and they are not aware they are.

      Now I have to figure out how to be and i have to pace and be very careful.

      Also, before, what i felt was more like "want" but i thought want was selfish, so i did never say i want.

      But Monica, when I was younger, I just told a potential bf, "i do not want you to talk to her because, well, *I* like you" And that was it, he was mine.

      Delete
    11. You are so much like I am. I could have written that. Are you a sociopath?

      Delete
    12. so you finally admit you are a sociopath on paper here in black and white, all whilst claiming victimhood . Ha,.

      Monica, how dare you. you have taken this too far with your personal questions, Even if i was a sociopath, which I most certainly am not *shudders* I would never say it or know it or admit to it or anything of that nature. I couldn't be more insulted.

      For, I do not "use" people, or call people "toys" or "ruin" or break hearts with glee. If I did do anything which remotely resembled anything like that, nobody has told me or put bad reputation on me. I am always feeling like the injured party. One can see by my swollen eyes and clean hands it is true, so help me god almighty, jesus, allah, hindu god, buddha, Zimbabwean god, road to mecca person, hairy voodoo crack whore vessel -Just ask any of those women.

      You may call me human, lady, or don't call me anything at all.

      Good day *slams door*

      Delete
    13. MAN aren't we touchy ~
      I am not a sociopath. I thought you were, but I guess I was wrong. To err is human. To forgive is divine, lady ^^

      Delete
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  35. "Being a sociopath already feels really empty, which I am fine with because I have never experienced anything different (and question whether anything different even exists). "

    How can you call the way you feel "empty" if you dont even know what being "full" feels like?

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    1. Well, just examine the etymology of the word "empoty". It just means devoid of anything; nothing. That is my default state. I don't walk around in the throes of elation, sadness or any other dramatic emotion most of the time. Only anger and lust overwhelm me.

      Delete
    2. I can't speak for anyone else, but that is how I understand the term.

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    3. That's called 'sexual frustration'.

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    4. I believe it's a symptom of neglect in a relationship, it's also very common.

      It's also the reason so many men over-compensate, (bigger is better, social status...) it's pretty hilarious, but also somewhat sad. Mostly sad I would say.

      What a predicament.

      Delete
    5. I'm not sexually frustrated at all. I literally do not understand how you came to link a generalized sense of emotional attenuation with sexual frustration. I don't even associate sex with affection. Your comment makes no sense to me. Care to elaborate?

      Delete
    6. Did you mean that you think I am sexually frustrated because I am easily overwhelmed by lust and anger?

      I just have a bad temper and a hyperactive sex drive that is not fuelled by affection or emotional intimacy. I am impulsive and terrible at resisting temptation, so I am susceptible to lust.

      Delete
  36. Life can be kinda like staring into the refrigerator when you aren't hungry

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    Replies
    1. LOL, M Brig!!

      Is ye a bordie???

      Delete
  37. I knew it! M.E. is an Auspy!

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    ReplyDelete
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  39. Themes! New song please and thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to stick around more, Medusa and I can find you a new song ^^

      Delete
  40. I wish I had serotonin. I'm not a true sociopath, but I never had a sense of self or of a fixed and characterized identity. 6 years of on/off major depression has left me with very little capacity for love or compassion or empathy. I remember a time when I loved people, sometimes even connecting to them on a fundamental level. But I don't remember what that feels like. I take pleasure in the pain and failures of others because if I'm not happy, I don't want others to be. I think this stems from jealousy of other people's relationships and emotions. I know that I was once able to feel things and relate to others, so for me it feels like a loss. It's like someone gives you a slice of cake and you take two bites and it tastes great. Then they come in and take the rest of it away. Sometimes I wish I had never tasted that cake in the first place.

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    1. You can buy serotonin nowadays :)

      Delete
    2. My ex antisocial had prescriptions lying around that he never filled. He had similar you describe and he WAS sociopathic

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    3. @anon6:26, yeah, i heard about that over-the-counter serotonin precursor 5-htp in the comments for another post. I got very excited, but I don't think I would be able to take them because I'm on a somewhat high dose of SSRIs, thus risk of serotonin toxicity. I'm so tempted to try it though.
      I might as well throw this question out here: Has anyone here been on 50mg prozac daily and tried supplementing with 5-htp? If so, are you still alive?

      Delete
    4. i asked my pdoc if i could take it with lexapro. I did. But my lex dose was low. Your doc should be able to tell you how much would be too much unless not informed.

      Delete
    5. Now this is actually interesting, insightful, & thought provoking dialogue. I detect no uber stench lately. No offense Mitch.

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    6. None taken *tips hat*

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