Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pro-social sociopath? (part 2)

So here's what people had to say regarding the legitimate foundations for the negative stigma against sociopaths (hit me up again if you feel like I've missed yours):

  • The issue is that you willingly and knowingly manipulate people to meet your own selfish desires and needs, with little regard for the well-being of your targets. 

Ok yes, this is admittedly ugly behavior and I try to not do this extensively/non-consensually/harmfully anymore for various reasons, not least of which is that it is toxic to relationships and I've started to acknowledge that in dehumanizing others, I devalue my own self  However, I'm not sure the "knowing" manipulation of the sociopath (how conscious and intentional does it have to be?) is much worse than the unknowing selfish manipulation that is commonplace in all humanity. No one behaves selflessly all of the time. Every empath chooses to intentionally hurt or manipulate another at some point in their lives (and sometimes regularly). They suffer the consequences (eventually) and so do sociopaths (even though, admittedly, sociopaths probably won't be as broken up about rocky relationship troubles as an empath would).

  • You may make people feel better about themselves, and they may love to have your attention and interest, but you are deceiving them, planting the seeds of false hope that the average person would accept them for who they are. Social dictums are as good as law, and you encourage people to break them by accepting what should be unacceptable. You're not doing them any favors. Failure to adhere to social norms has very real consequences, and it is in every individual's best interests to conform in order to be happy and comfortable in life.

This is crazy. So the husband who tells his wife, "you're the most beautiful woman in the world" when really most people would consider her to have average looks is setting her up for a lifetime of false hope and accompanying failure?

  • But to lie at the person encouraging her handicap it is not pro-social; you are not doing that person a favor at all.

Hilarious, I'd love to see someone tell an overweight person that they have a handicap ("fatness") to their face. There is nothing inherently (and particularly not morally or even socially) wrong with carrying a little extra weight and wearing clothing that most would consider unflattering. Despite that being true, many normal people would make the girl's appearance their own business somehow, whereas the sociopath would think (rightly) that it is no concern of his. So the sociopath is not being a fraud or perpetuating a scam by pretending to not care when really he is bothered by the girl's weight -- he sincerely does not care. And is it devious to be nice to someone because you know they'll be nice in return? No, at least according to the Sesame Street-esque lessons on good manners I remember from my childhood.

  • The fact that the pure selfishness of the sociopath might have sometimes accidentally benefits for others, don’t make them any kinder, because their intentions are not kind.

Pro-social does not necessarily mean kind and vice versa. Is it kind to share child sex slaves with your friends? Maybe. Is it pro-social? Probably not. Is it kind to open a sandwich shop across the street from an existing restaurant? Probably not. Is it pro-social? Yes, society benefits from the competition and increased variety of eating options.

  • Sociopaths behave as the worse type of xenophobes. They do a selection according on how exploitable somebody can be for them, and in this selection there are parameters like class, income, origins, etc.

No, this makes sociopaths the ultimate meritocrats, where people are judged on actual value (to the sociopath, of course, but of course there is no objective value for anything in this world, least of all for people).

  • Where things become ethically problematic in my mind is if that positive interaction opens a door to exploitation of the tube top girl.

What would exploitation look like in this scenario? If there is something to exploit in propping up the girl's self-esteem, it's because normal people have chosen (irrationally) to tear it down in the first place. It's like saying that someone who gives a member of a disenfranchised class of persons a job is exploiting them by benefiting from their work when that disenfranchised person could probably have gotten a better job somewhere else (or even a better career) if they were not disenfranchised. The problem here is not the sociopath being normal to the fat girl, but everyone else treating her as less than her true value. (This is similar to the way that value stock traders "exploit" the systematic underpricing of certain stocks by buying low and selling high, which is also pro-social because it helps the market reflect the true value of stocks.)

  • Empathy is the essential ingredient needed for the healthy emotional growth of a child.

Maybe, but this is far from certain and not at all proved. I think there's a big difference from a wire monkey and an actual human being who just happens to not feel empathy.

That's all I saw for reasons how or why the stigma/stereotype for sociopaths is founded. If you missed this opportunity or I missed yours, just email. Otherwise, it seems like the there are not as many legitimate reasons to hate sociopaths as previously thought?

59 comments:

  1. No certainly not to hate them. But to mistrust or fear them as we would fear those without a conscience and those who freely use people mostly for their own purpose...perhaps. Oh and with respect, I would not take it very well if you let an animal suffer and die that was my pet.

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  2. Its tough and refreshing to live on the fringe, M.E. You may be surprised how many of us do in so many ways.

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  3. lol, after the "Hollow Men" post, i would've thought that ME would love the wire monkey analogy xD

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    1. The wire monkey study describes what my childhood felt like. I am talking about my experience here and not condemning anyone else xx

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    2. Since I already brought up this uncomfortable topic, I will describe more. I felt like my mother was in a soundless void. She was in a prison into which I could not enter and to which I could not touch. I felt like I wanted to scream and never stop.

      With her, if I really lost it and was on the verge of death, she would be able to see me and respond but anything less, she was frozen in this world where she could not hear me.

      I knew when I brought this up, it would be uncomfortable. I was not sure whether to do it but I figured that my insight would be a piece of the puzzle and so had value.

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    3. Having a mother like that could make any child overly dramatic because they were conditioned to understand the only way they could get attention would be to create a spectacle. That sounds very painful. I am so sorry you had that experience.

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    4. I don't know what my problems are but I have many of them and I come here to be real and to face myself. That will happen because people will call you on your stuff. Some is real. Some is not. Some is you. Some is them, but this is the best place I have ever found for pure and raw honesty and that is the SINGLE ingredient that heals( other than God)

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    5. I think it takes a lot of courage to face your dark side.

      Sometimes I am braver than others. Sometimes I suck. But people like you (and others here) who take off their masks are refreshingly real and encourage me not to suck.

      There's this sentence I cling to when nothing makes sense- "Tell the truth until you get to the other side." It seems that this may be an operating principle for you as well.

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    6. Aww Mach, my credo for life is Truth is love. I really think this is true xx

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    7. I will give some examples of what I mean by lack of empathy being like the wire monkey.

      My mother read a book that you should let the baby cry and not pick it up, so it would stay on a schedule or something.. My mother would let me scream bloody murder because she was following the book.

      Her sister read the same book but could not stand to hear her children cry and went and picked them up. She felt their distress and responded.

      My mother always had to be TOLD what to do because she could not FEEL it. That is very scary for the child because you know that things are not right but you have no control. It makes for a lot of fear for the child.

      That is just one small example.

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    8. You did not deserve to be treated that way.

      The best revenge is in living well. By moving forward as a healthier person, you end her power to keep hurting you.

      keep your chin up.

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  4. also, on dr.phil, you said you salivate at the thought of ruining people (that's been stuck in my head for a while btw). and that you've never killed anyone but very likely could. how can you not think that would make people hate sociopaths?

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    1. a narc's claim to faim is never pretty

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    2. I think that many people have violent daydreams as a way to reduce stress in interpersonal relationships where there is a power imbalance and no reasonable hope corrective action will solve a problem.
      Thoughts are not actions. Words are not action. People need to chill.

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    3. She didn't say she had violent daydreams, she said she could. Not the same.

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  5. Dog-like NihilistJune 8, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    I don't think it is possible to talk to reason of the empath. They are to afraid of sociopathic traits (which I think is evolutionary) and eventually it always take control over their judgement. It's crazy but it's true.

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  6. "However, I'm not sure the "knowing" manipulation of the sociopath (how conscious and intentional does it have to be?) is much worse than the unknowing selfish manipulation that is commonplace in all humanity."

    The consequences of performing a misdeed are wildly different based on the perceived mental state of the accused. The person who commits a crime in a moment of temporary madness, or a blackout, is considered to be less dangerous than the one who knowingly and willingly commits an identical crime. The former is not held responsible, and in less need of reform. The latter is responsible for his actions, and heavier penalties are necessary to discourage future crimes. The sociopath is not only considered responsible for his crimes, but also completely incapable of reform, and as such is given the harshest penalties possible. Perhaps people like you, who are introspective and capable of changing their behavior to achieve better outcomes, are the exception. However, my preceding hypothetical scenario embodies the current paradigm of sociopath criminality, and at present it is widely considered irrefutable.

    "This is crazy. So the husband who tells his wife, "you're the most beautiful woman in the world" when really most people would consider her to have average looks is setting her up for a lifetime of false hope and accompanying failure?"

    There's a fundamental difference between the interaction you described, and the one between a sociopath and a fat girl in a tube top. Your husband/wife scenario is a white lie told in the interests of self-preservation and pragmatism. You are as repulsed by the fat girl as anyone else, but you see an opportunity to use her and have no qualms against taking it. And when you've used her up, when her value is gone, there's no marriage contract, no division of property, just a social umbilical cord to cut which thrusts her back out into the world, cold, naked and alone.

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    1. I can't stop thinking about naked fat girls now! It must be my big heart wanting to give them warm friendly hugs.

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    2. Well said!

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    3. Well said, Andy...

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    4. How is it possible that M.E. doesn't see it like you, Andy? You are both sociopaths, you should see it similarly. My spath could argue like her and I would think that he was trying to pull my leg in his interest. I begin to consider that maybe he didn't, maybe it's an analysis impairment due to their self-sentivity. But you should have it too!! What are you, evil Andy? ;P

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    5. How many times do I have to tell you, I'm not a sociopath Jessi!

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    6. Then, what are you?

      Jessi

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  7. This is not sociopathy. This is malignant narcissism, an intense need to inflate the ego with attention that is characterized by callousness and superficiality. This is the product of an unloving childhood and an infancy/toddlerhood/childhood of being rejected and turning to the self for comfort.

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  8. A Mal Narc has a lot of fear. A sociopath has little fear. This is one distinction. ME has little fear in doing dare devil things. The Mal narc is not this way, ime.

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  9. A Mal Narc does not have a lot of fear. Where did you learn that?

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    1. Have you done any reading on narcissism? There is all sorts of existential terror that the mask of the false self will be ripped off. That's why they go from zero to rage over the smallest statement if they think you might be criticizing them.

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    2. Sam Vaknin's book is the best imo
      It is worth every penny, even though it is expensive

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    3. his web articles/videos are also good

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    4. The Malignant Narcissist does not have any fear from their victims like the sociopath.
      I am well aware they are afraid of their mask slipping but I was referring to their lack of fear from damaging others. Revenge.

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  10. Why are people tumors now? No wonder there is underlying shame! "I'm here to get this malignant narc removed, doctor". wtf

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  11. The Mal Narc is a tumor. Well said. Wait a minute. I said it.

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  12. Empaths manipulate just as much as sociopaths; they're just motivated by different things (emotions, social conformity, etc). But even this is still self interest. Empaths manipulate and apply social pressure to make society into their vision of it, which can be misinterpreted as innate goodness, but I don't see how anyone could see shaming a fat chick into conservative clothing as altruistic. Sociopaths are different only that their self interest is less muddled and more honest.

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    1. Those are evil empaths.

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    2. Society does not expect everyone to be altruistic. Society requires conformity to a set of commonly agreed upon rules in order for people to tolerate one another's existence. The mechanism for forcing conformity in the face of major crimes is the enforcement of laws. For social crimes, the mechanisms for forcing conformity are guilt and atonement. Sociopaths do not feel guilt and will never atone, and thus commit social crimes in perpetuity without any legal or social recourse. The solution, then, is to identify people who are sociopaths and ostracize them, strip them of social privileges and cast them out. It is a prison of freedom where the prisoner is not physically incarcerated, but rather socially isolated to best prevent future crimes of nonconformity.

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    3. That is effectively what has happened to the psychopath I know. He longs for respectability in some weird way but is not prepared to do what it takes. He has virtually become a hermit, enjoying his deluxe lifestyle in splendid isolation.

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  13. I manipulate All. The. Time. I'm an empath (at least I think I am). ;) I'm just not always aware of it until later. Reading the book opened my eyes to a lot of ugly things I've done. Things that sociopaths do to. Hey, manipulation is a human act regardless of being a sociopath, empath....whatever. Maybe sociopaths are just more aware of it. Or honest about it.

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    1. I agree- both sides manipulate and sociopaths are more honest about it. It's why talking to a sociopath is so freeing, I think. There's no expectation that you be anything other than the person you are. The tricky part, though, is that while you might be accepted for who you are, you might be a target, and because the sociopath doesn't have to filter actions through the "is it right or wrong to exploit a target?" part of their brain, they can keep a smile on their face the entire time they gut you.

      Only after the sociopath is finished does the target say WTF? because there was no warning- the sociopath never broke the pleasant facade. That is where the danger lies.

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    2. "There's no expectation that you be anything other than the person you are."

      You have got to be kidding. The psychopaths I have known spent their entire time triangulating people, and bitching about certain others as if to say, if you dare exhibit any of these characteristics, you will be relegated to the dung heap.

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    3. Are you sure they weren't narcissists? Narcissists are the ones who need to control their nearest and dearest as extensions of themselves. They are the ones who overreact to any suggestion that they are not perfect. The triangulation/bitching m.o. is how the narcissist generally tries to up his status within a particular community Sociopaths really don't care about status beyond appreciating material comforts higher status can provide them with.

      Sociopaths really don't give a rats a** about the internal processes of others, unless it is a conscious attempt to create confusion to perpetuate some form of exploitation. So when I say they have no expectation that you be anyone other than who you are, I'm referring to the fact a sociopath doesn't care what your beliefs are. If there is gossip and triangulation it is not because the sociopath judges you to be a bad person. It's because there's an end game that is served by the manipulation. Sociopaths are remarkably non-judgmental people.

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    4. Is there such a thing as a narcissistic psychopath I wonder? I've definitely come across a few hybrids.

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    5. I would be more inclined to say that the hybrids are malignant narcissists in the extreme. While there is certainly overlap in the negative behaviors, the brain structures and motivations for the destructive acts are different.

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    6. Have you read any book you could recommend on this Mach, the difference between a narcissist and a psychopath? My ex was diagnosed as a narcissist (a diagnosis he rejects, saying his mother is one but not him) but I think, although he loves admiration, he is more of a psychopath. Power hungry, money mad, super aggressive, violent etc.

      Does the narcissist's brain have the same disorder as that of a psychopath?

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    7. Psychology is a confusing field to navigate, especially for the layperson. The definitions of different disorders change and overlap. In the DSM -IV, narcissism is a disorder and in the DSM- V it has been eliminated.

      Reading ME's book has been valuable for me as I try to sift through the differences.

      I am by no means an expert on this topic (am on this comment stream and have been looking through SW archives for more insight myself) the major distinction between a narcissistic personality and an antisocial one is a question of motivation.

      Both personalities act out in a destructive fashion. However, the narcissist seems to be motivated more by the need to protect a constructed image. Violent and destructive acts are a means to an end, but raraely an end in and of themselves. For the psycho/sociopath the violent/destructive act is often performed without any concern for anthers viewpoint. They felt like it, so they did it. End of story.

      Sam Vaknin writes extensively about narcissism and I've found his stuff to be far more helpful than most of the pop psychology stuff which just recycles the 9 criteria the DSM-IV lays out. Robert Hare's "Without Conscience" seems to be a good place to start to understand psychopathic personalities.

      If you are looking for a simple litmus test I would use the filter: Does this person do mean things in a self protective manner or do they do them "just for the heck of it"?

      Hope it helps.

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  14. Why does one feel so exhausted dealing with a psychopath? Are they energy vampires? How do they suck all your energy and do they feel energised by it?

    Also is there such a thing as a benign narcissist - one who has mastered herself insofar as it is possible? Draining to be around as well even when they do not set out to harm.

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    1. No. It's not and can't be a disorder unless it's causing distress to those around the person or to the person themselves.

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    2. A benign narcissist it would not be an antisocial disorder. Some altruistic people are benign narcissists. They give others because they are happy to be thanked.

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  15. Before "But to lie at the person encouraging her handicap it is not pro-social; you are not doing that person a favor at all." I wrote :"the person has a presumed handicap, independently if it’s socially perceived handicap, a physical handicap or any other type".

    I would place to be fat in the category if socially perceived handicap.

    Jessi

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  16. “Legitimate foundations for the negative stigma against sociopaths”

    Oh, so you were seriously asking… I still don’t understand exactly what you want in the answer. I mean, sociopaths, almost all of them, have antisocial behaviors. And you are asking why humans, who life together, who organize in a society, stigmatize those who have antisocial behaviors? Are you asking why a society sees as negative someone who acts against society? Adapted to you: do you unwelcome someone/something that acts against you? Don’t you consider that a threat for you, by definition?

    I don’t know what you are asking, because then to illustrate the benefits you place a petty example like being hypocritically polite with a fat girl, something trivial, which is even a habit for empaths. What is next? To say that sociopaths are highly aware of their hygiene and they flush the toilet more than the empaths?

    Maybe you are asking for a list of the most common sociopath antisocial behaviors?

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  17. This blog has taken a turn lately into the twilight zone. I just briefly scanned the above post but it just looks like more of the same - explaining and defensiveness about the recent book and interview in which she apparently and deliberately revealed herself. The other day there was a post where me described herself, in the context of receiving a lot of negativity regarding her coming out as a sociopath, as having a "mental illness".

    M.E., you never referred to sociopathy as a mental illness before as far as i can remember. So now we have a change. Now it is poor M.E. who is not treated like everyone else (btw, many non sociopath people are not treated well so stop bitching... you look mad weak)

    Personally, I got some stuff from this blog and I wish M.E. and her many followers well. But M.E. either is playing everyone, like sociopaths do, the whole pity play and fun lets see what i can snare gambit- or has some comorbity and her emotional instability or narcissism is strengthening through.

    I've always found you very obssessed with 'I' and way wordy. I think you love attention, whatever you are, in whatever proportions you are. A clue - empaths, and people of this ilk, especially in a group, as you know, are a thousand times as intelligent as any sociopath. Stop the pity nonsense and have a real discussion.

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    1. @ aspie-

      that was harsh! (as an empath I am probably more bothered than ME, but still- objectively- that was harsh)
      given the blowback ME has received I think her "putting it out there" is honest.
      she is sharing reaction to the book and perhaps blog supporters are ready to move on from posts relating to the book.
      but it must be noted: the public response to this book and ME's experiences of blowback are relevant when the emerging sociopath is trying to ascertain the risks/rewards of outing himself/herself.
      Over the next decade it will become harder for sociopaths to remain off the radar. This issue is not just about ME.

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    2. What is your beef, Aspie? What we are talking about is what we always talked about. You and many people are just jealous because ME has a popular book. Get a life~

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