Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Recent book media

Some recent media features on the book:


  1. Just watched on Huffpost. Thought it was a great interview with all the panelists.

    1. The 'victim' was off-topic and very dumb, the doctor was confused but made a point, M.E didn't pay attention and the psycho neuro-surgent was too nervous

    2. Also, there are things that sociopaths can do to improve the way they behave towards others, like mindfulness meditation.

      It is unfortunate that neither the psychologist nor Dr. Fallon (researcher & psychopath) mentioned this.

      From my own experience, and if you think about it logically, it makes sense:

      1) Sitting still and observing one's perceptions is difficult (boring). If you practice that, you get good at doing something despite wanting to quit. That works against habits like destroying one's life every few years, and works towards things like being able to make a decision and stick to it.

      2) If you sit still and can notice your perceptions come and go, you get to know how you think and react, what your habits are, what leads to problems, etc. You may decide to act differently.

      3) To the extent that one is typically emotionally dulled, and doesn't pay much attention to feelings or prosocial impulses, one develops the ability to notice them more and use that information - working against the early attention bottleneck issue and the inability to learn from negative experiences.

      The thing that keeps (or gets) sociopaths in big trouble is lack of impulse control. If you realize that you've got sociopathic traits, you may (as I did) decide that systematically and ruthlessly developing self-control and executive function is the way to go. You may wind up deciding, as an exercise, to behave ethically - in which case Marcus Aurelius Antoninus may come in handy.

  2. Learning to love a sociopath.

    Can that ever work. I have tried doing that and it failed. It was a roller coaster ride. I tried not to judge him regardless of the fact that both of us know what's behind the mask. I gave love, kindness, care,ect. He accepted it or even want it at times, but kept messing up the friendship often. I think I am one of the few or only person he allowed to be affectionate to him. Yet that bonding did not hold for any time. It could disappear in a moment. I have now taken a break from him for my well-being. It might be an odd thing to say about a sociopath but it appears as if he misses the friendship at time. I am the only one who knows the unmasked side and accepted him just the same.

    If and when he is around me now he is a rather humble lamb. I still love him as a person but investing my emotional side in the friendship was not a good idea. At times you don't know until you know.


    1. It is possible to love a sociopath when you remember that we are all broken in some way. Find the humanity in the sociopath, and have good boundaries to avoid exploitation. Never let them be in a position of total control over you.

  3. All of these "speculations" about what consitutes a psychopath or
    socipath only reinforces my viewpoint that the "science" behind these
    labels is either inaccurate or non existent. My final conclusion on the
    matter is that Robert Hare and Harvey Checkof probably come the closet to
    defining REAL sociopaths. Sociopaths have lot's of charm so that's why
    they're misdiagnosed either as tramatic abuse victims or suffering from
    distorted thought patterns.
    The male sociopath cons his female victim.(She can be from any strata of
    life.) Likewise the female sociopath cons the male. We see this in the
    "bunko" field. It's just a question of the degree of deciet and the
    length that they are willing to go to obtain thier objectives.
    Remember this parable?:
    "A turtle was about to cross the river. A scorpion approached the turtle
    and said: "Let me fetch a ride on your back." The turtle said,"No you'll
    sting me." The scorpion said, "I won't sting you because we'll both
    drown." That reasoning makes sense to the turtle so he lets the scorpion
    climb on his back. Midway, across the the river the scorpion delivers his
    death sting. "Why'd you do that? asks the turtle, "Now we're both going
    to die." "Because I'm a scorpion, and that's what scorpions do."
    Whoever wrote that does NOT understand sociopaths. In real life the
    sociopath would let the turtle take him across the river, see if there
    was anything more of value he could take from the turtle and then kill
    People are taught to avoid evil. But how can you avoid the "big bad wolf"
    when you wouldn't even know him if you saw him?
    When people think of the Devil, they think of a heidous looking creature
    with pointed ears, a tail and a pitchfork. This isn't how the Bible
    describes the Devil at all it says, "Satan Himself is an Angel of Light."
    If you want to know how a psychopath really behaves I reccomend two films
    "The Sweet Smell Of Sucess" and America/America directed by Eila Kazan.

  4. At about 9 minutes into the video, James Fallon said something fascinating- he had a heavy genetic load of psychopathic traits, but a good early environment and a (?) helped keep him from going to the dark side (so to speak). I'd love to see more research on this. This strikes me as a great avenue to explore as our culture grapples with the challenges of integrating sociopaths into society in a way that is most beneficial.

  5. Great interview with all the panelists. I'm still not convinced you truly are a sociopath even after reading your book. You do have a high sense of narcissism which in every page I read I understood. But there's two things you fail to understand when it comes to sociopaths : its been documented time and time again that sociopaths do not admit that they are sociopaths AND they also do not like attention drawn to them.

    I don't buy that you are one. Rather, more than likely you are someone that has "switched off" certain emotions that deal with connecting to other people.

    1. Hmmm. Let's take my case.

      I've always been cold and utilitarian. In history class, we were talking about the "problems" of Reconstruction, and how difficult it was to remold the South.

      I asked my teacher (in front of the class) why the Union didn't just execute all the Southern men after they won the war. It would have solved the Southerners-are-disloyal problem, in addition to rewarding the Northerners and setting an example for the future.

      When I was young, my uncle, a law enforcement officer, complained about a dirtbag neighbor. I asked him, seriously, why they didn't just burn down the neighbor's house. They thought I was kidding. I was serious.

      I'm peeved and confused at what others identify as social problems, and how seriously we fail to deal with them. I've always felt apart from my fellow citizens - and it only gets worse if I talk about how I'd fix things - a sort of draconian libertarianism.

      I can't be a sociopath, right? By definition, the fact that I admit to this stuff means I can't be.

      I have done a lot of crimes. I don't think of them as being bad - I had my reasons. But they are crimes. I've been caught doing very few of them, of course. I typically do them with deliberation and planning. When I get caught, if anything, I get pissed at the cops for trying to shame or humiliate me.

      Lack of empathy?

      I had a business where I decided that doing vivisection on animals was good for the business. I did a bunch of it - personally. Other people in the business couldn't believe that I was doing it; it shocked them. And it told them that I would do anything to achieve my goals. Some would say that I deliberately hurt animals wholesale because it was good for me and my business. I told myself that humans have been doing stuff like this to animals forever, so it just doesn't matter.

      I've taken lots of business risks. I've made money and gone broke. I have professional skills but routinely spend years living off savings (rather than running a career) because I want to do what I want to do more than I want to live according to social norms.

      It was only after I'd failed to manipulate a woman to get laid (that was how I approached her) by being too self-absorbed and noticed that I was compulsively committing some crimes (that would have made me a social outcast if I'd been caught) that I decided I needed to figure out what was different about me, so that I could get laid more and not go to jail. Improving my self-awareness had nothing to do with being a good person; being good for good's sake has never appealed to me.

      So I did a bunch of meditation and developed some self-awareness. I withdrew from society for a few months as I tried to figure myself out.

      It was a relief to learn about these guys, because I saw the similarities (family history, early childhood experiences, personality traits, compulsive hurting of animals).

      So I go see a shrink. It is clear that I won't get in trouble - she can't talk to the authorities. I explain to her how I relate to people, conduct my life and feel about things.

      Why do I do this? Because having spent lots and lots of time doing introspection, I want to talk with someone about what it means to be me, and what ought I to do with my life.

      She doesn't listen to my story and say, "oh, you can't be what you think you are, because if you were, you wouldn't come in here and say this stuff."

      Instead she got freaked out and decided that she didn't want to treat me.

      If a scorpion wakes up and realizes what it is and how it lives, and decides for its own reasons that it doesn't mind telling you - maybe you just ought to believe it.

    2. You should explore your identity here if you continue to have no luck. But- maybe try again with a different shrink who specializes in personality disorders. My saying that is not to be making a diagnosis, but simply to point you in the direction of therapists who are comfortable dealing with the darker side of human nature.
      Alternately, if you are interested in a more long term analysis, I bet you'd really click with a Jungian therapist. In exploring the concept of ones "Shadow", an individual is encouraged to access and bring to the surface parts of their personalities that the world deems unacceptable.

    3. As a student of psychology, and someone very interested in human behavior, I was just very curious, Anonymous 10:40 AM, what makes you happy? Obviously, getting laid and not going to jail were your reasons for your introspection. But I'm curious if it was something more than that. Is happiness an emotion you don't care to achieve? I also realize happiness is an emotion, and forgive me for thinking in such linear terms, but that's the way my brain works. All that being said, I am really interested to know what outcome you would like to have to a) have a fulfilling life, b) be content with yourself, and c)understand what it means to be you.

    4. reply to de78

      Working with 100% concentration makes me happy. In general, this is the best book I've seen on being happy.

      I've generally spent my life chasing after stuff, which is a life of craving and intermittent thrills. I know myself well enough to know that that isn't happiness. Happiness is being content with what you've got. If you can be happy breathing, walking and taking a shit, that's happiness.

      To have a fulfilling life: I'm working on a very ambitious project. If it works out, I'll be rich. If it doesn't work out, I'll get a job and go with that. That's more in the chasing stuff category - but there's the chance that the work I'm doing will benefit people (and definitely me personally). At the same time that I'm thrilled to try to do meaningful work, I know it is ultimately pointless - a bit like a dog chasing a car.

      Generally the more meditation practice I do, the better I understand myself and my situation. I suggest you read this.

      I'm a creature that exists in a series of moments. Hopefully moment by moment I make the right choices. That's all there is to do - there's no need to worry, regret things, etc. Just moment by moment try to figure out what is going on, what I should do and do it 100%.

    5. more reply to de78

      This video describes my typical experience - which is perhaps like yours.

      I do think a sociopath is more likely than a normal person to say, "I'm done. I've met all my goals. And now I'm just going to stay here and eat ice cream until I die in front of you," because they don't care about what others think.

      But I suspect sociopaths are also more likely to chase stuff, impulsively, repetitively, continually disregarding negative feedback as it comes in.

  6. M.E.,
    I don't care what you call yourself. I know what I like and I like M.E.
    Thomas! Everybody's got a gimmic, and if it works why not use it?
    We see the world NOT as it is but as WE are. This is why we must elevate and
    clearify our perception.
    Dr. Phil has no right to talk. Isn't he the one that gave $600,000.00
    dollars to George and Cindy Anthony"s bogus orginazation?
    Don"t worry about being tossed out into the cold. You're hardily the worst
    miscreant ever. I've always wondered why more of the followers on this site
    haven't complamented you on a job well done or even expressed love for you.
    Some of us won't abandon Casey Anthony. So it follows that we woun't
    abandon you! Love is not the opposite of hate, it's the absence of hate.
    You don't have to pretend anymore. With your skills and expertise the
    future is BRIGHT.
    Whatever happens, the people who love you will see to it that you are
    kept a float.
    In order to calm your soul might I suggest you look into the following
    orginazations: "New Life Orginaztion" Krishnamuriti Origazition of
    America, and Enneagramme Institue."
    The jig may be up as far as your idenity is conserned, but NOT our love
    for YOU!

  7. I really enjoyed the clip with the Huffington post interview. I thought it was interesting when they talked about how more and more people are using the term sociopath to diagnose themselves or others. With so many things there are trends. Sociopathy is no exception. Since reading the book I have diagnosed loved ones, friends, exes, strangers as sociopaths. I have to admit I'm ashamed I did this. The more I read this blog and the comments posted here, the more I realize that we all carry some sociopathic traits. I'm thinking sociopathy is the inability to hide the "natural man".

    Side note: I love ME's voice.


  8. MachavellianempathJuly 2, 2013 at 7:16 AM

    It is possible to love a sociopath when you remember that we are all broken in some way. Find the humanity in the sociopath, and have good boundaries to avoid exploitation. Never let them be in a position of total control over you.

    Mach. I appreciate your comment above. In the friendship with this person I do get to see some of my brokenness too with a chance to work on them. As stated before I have taken time away from the friendship and I deal with him on a need to basis very briefly. I am working on redefining the friendship because while he likes me (or so I think) he also exploited me in some ways.

    I don't see him as this totally horrible person. When he is being a good person (mask on) you have to admired him for it. Some empaths are not so kind or helpful.

    Mach if you are able to respond then what would be some good boundaries to set. I show him respect as a person but sometimes he can be somewhat disrespectful. Sometimes he can be unthankful and ungrateful. Yet he can be such a giving person and gives quality. He doesn't apologize unless he feels like it. I wonder if he sees his offenses sometimes. Those were some example of challenges faced with him. I wish to set up boundaries to minimize them.


    1. It's funny that you ask this because I care very deeply for someone who I would consider as rating high on the sociopath scoring tools, but whose actions are largely prosocial. We are not currently in contact. This individual taught me the difference between a criminal with ASPD and a prosocial sociopath. My hope is that your friend is the latter. I would not recommend having any further contact with the former. There are only two individuals I will have no contact with ever again- not because I consider them "evil" but because of a personal safety concern. I would never counsel others to shun these two individuals because I don't believe they are beyond redemption but both of them were stalkers and as a mother with children living at home I can not have that in my life and be the mom I want to be.

      But the prosocial individual (BHC) that I am no longer in contact with (his choice, not mine) after I ended our romantic relationship is not someone I feel deserves to be cut out of my life. I'll be honest- I miss him. A lot. He was a wonderful companion and I wish that our friendship could've survived the end of a year and a half long romantic relationship. There was far more good than bad in the way that this individual treated me and whenever people assume all people with sociopathic wiring are evil something in me rises up in protest because I remember just how courageous, intelligent, insightful, and funny this man is. The world is richer because he is part of it and my life was better with him in it.

      That being said- if he were to show up on my doorstep it would be difficult. Boundaries would have to be in place. There could be no physical contact because I wouldn't want to slip back into something that had become detrimental to both of us. I have ambivalence about ever letting my children interact with him again because of issues of broken trust and I feel that as a mother I have to put their needs first. I probably would need to sit down with him in a therapeutic context to unpack the concerns that led me to end the relationship that was very good in many ways.

      In my mind he's a bit like a wild animal. Wild animals will always be unpredictable, and therefore dangerous. For me to wish he wasn't wild then I would be wishing away part of who he is. And anyone who tries to turn a lion into a housecat would be acting in a very selfish way. He's not someone I could live with while I have children living at home. I can't ask them to bear the responsibility/emotional pain that comes along with a wild creature seeking to be free deciding to come and go as he pleases. But he is someone I could appreciate from a safe distance.

      My telling you about BHC is not to say look what I've done- this is the right way. It's to show my own difficulties with setting boundaries here. So as for your situation, I'd simply say: How close do you dare get to a wild creature? Only you know the answer to that.

    2. Mach,

      I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to me. I value what you have done. I can very much identify with your last two paragraphs amongst other things. While I was close to him I maintained a safe space for myself. I know that I must never cross him. Yes, I do see him in terms of an unpredictable wild animal. The scary thing about him is that he does not show anger. You don't necessarily hear it in his voice or see it. If he is really furious with a person he would just snap. They would never see what's coming. The good thing though is that he is not easily angered. And he makes every effort to keep out of all sorts of trouble. Had it not been for a close personal friendship with him then I would not have picked up the traits. Nobody knows that he is a disordered character.

      I have a concern for females associated with him though. When he will put up with crap from a male friend / person the females are not so lucky. He has low tolerance for crap from females. I guess it's because he likes to control them. Cat and mouse thing.

      On the flip side he can be sweetly kind and helpful. He is helpful to the point wherein I told him that he allows people to use him. He is more pro-social type as you have outlined. At his church he is very active and hold numerous positions. These days though it appears as if he wants to clean up his inner life but there is a struggle. In Dec. 2012 he gave up the promiscuous behaviour. He want to be a better Christian. He is unmasked to his best friend but I am the one who have an understanding as to what is behind the mask. I think he appreciates that.

      Mach, thanks so very much once more.


  9. Damn, look at all those people publicly calling her a sociopath... Thats fucked up.

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