Saturday, May 25, 2013
Book responses (part 5)
Reading your book "Confessions of a Sociopath" has been a watershed experience for me. It confirms my hopeful suspicion that far from being evil, sociopaths are just different.
Because you don't know me and likely don't get fired up because a self identified empath spews some version of "You're good enough, smart enough, and people like you" I will cut to the chase.
I would like to meet you and converse with you at length, and not just for kicks. I am a writer who is fascinated by this topic and how the so called "dark triad" traits interact within the context of conservative/fundamentalist variations of religion.
I have a theory: Sociopaths may well be society's salvation because they are the ultimate bullshit detectors. I am the granddaughter of a prominent evangelical leader who was the ultimate "cult of personality" figure. He was a supreme narcissist and all of us struggle someone with the sort of "drama of the gifted child" legacy that comes with being a "prop" in the grand myth surrounding the demigod of a Christian patriarchal family. Though I've ben divorced since 2008, I "escaped" this upbringing by marrying the scion of another Christian patriarchy at the age of 20. Suffice it to say I have learned quite a bit about the "complicated" morality of neurotypicals who consider themselves to be morally above reproach.
My entire life has been steeped in the judgments of good and evil that a family culture like this perpetuate, and I have known since I was about 10 that there was something "off" in a different way (different than sociopathic, I mean) about my clan. Specifically - the tendency to scapegoat anyone that questions the moral authority of the system." Questions from observers produce an annihilating rage and motivation to exterminate the one asking the questions after the veneers of patronizing "compassion for the unsaved" get stripped off.
Why do I think you might want to talk to me? Because I have an intimate knowledge of the sort of individuals who want to exterminate "you and your kind."
I am including a link to a column I wrote last year about the importance of not stigmatizing children who are put in the antisocial category (via MRI or by clinical diagnosis) to help you understand that I think our thinking on this topic is very compatible.
But perhaps the most significant reason I want to advocate for the better understanding of sociopathic traits is the fact I am pretty sure someone dear to me is one. And I'll be damned if I let anyone scapegoat her.
While the callous/unemotional side of your described experience does not ring a bell for me, I very much identify with your sensation seeking personality and your Machiavellian way of operating. It's interesting that you link the stronger connection between the right and left hemispheres with both sociopathy and ADD because I have a screaming case of the latter, which I consider to be an asset, not a disability, which is probably why I have no problem with your dispassionate way of viewing the world.