Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Worth the trouble

A lot of people wonder why anyone would be friends with a sociopath, or flat out assume that no one would want to be friends with a sociopath. The funny consequence to this mentality is that people assume that I must have no friends. The truth is that there are a lot of people who appreciate having me for a friend. I am not the type of person that they will come to if they just want a shoulder to cry on, but I am a great person to consult if there is a problem they want solved. I'm very good at coming up with workable strategies to help them accomplish whatever it is that they want. And I think a lot of my friends just appreciate my unique perspective, and even my amorality. I don't judge them, so they can be honest with me in a way that they can't really with most other people. People tell me a lot of secrets for that reason.

It's not even always the obviously positive or pro-social aspects of my personality that people are attracted to. I think sometimes they like the sort of negative or dangerous aspects of my personality -- the risk or excitement I bring to their life. Some of them are masochistic and like the pain. Some even like the ruining, perhaps because they want parts of them broken -- like breaking a jaw to reset it in better alignment. And I can see why too, so much of our personality is an accident of the way we were raised or the culture we were born into. Maybe we don't necessarily like those parts of ourselves and need a little help getting over them. You could see a therapist, or you could just enlist the help of your friendly neighborhood sociopath. That's why I found this recent email from a reader to be so interesting:

In high school I had a friend who was almost certainly a sociopath. He took pleasure in ruining people. I let him ruin me to a point. He tried to warn me in various ways. I paid no heed. But why not? I had something to gain by being 'ruined.' I was a painfully uptight young man. There were things I just wouldn't do. Under his influence, I did many of them and to my surprise, survived. He helped me with my scruples. (In Catholicism, 'scruples' refers to "An unfounded apprehension and consequently unwarranted fear that something is a sin which, as a matter of fact, is not.")  I'm much more relaxed now, though still basically uptight.

I'm drawn to sociopaths. They have something I need. The smart ones, the ones who don't end up in jail, have a delicate moral sense. They know where the lines are. They find my scruples amusing, as if to say "Oh you poor thing, that thing your afraid to do isn't a sin in anyone's book. Someone should let you out of your little cage."

I've often wondered why he tried to warn me. Wouldn't a totally evil person keep his bad intentions to himself? Yes. So again, why the warnings? Mainly, he wanted to be understood. Everyone needs to be understood. In my opinion, the effort to understand a sociopath, though fraught, is worth the trouble many times over.

When I read that, I thought maybe the sociopath respected his friend enough to get a sort of informed consent? Or found the friendship worth enough that he didn't want to necessarily lose the friend by making him a target, so wanted to make sure that the friend was at least aware of what was going to happen? What do people think?

29 comments:

  1. The words "informed consent" form one of the most beautiful, seductive phrases in the English language. :)

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  2. Those who can't often seek out those who can.

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  3. Have you seen the recent episodes of "Dexter" where he tries to mentor
    a younger version of himself, to turn the boy into a "principled" serial
    killer? I think, M.E. you must have thought somehow along these lines.
    I want to bring up a topic that has been on my mind for some time:
    As you just said, you DO have friends. And you DO have some people who
    love you and look up to you. Also, you became an instructor. Everybody
    knows that only a person who wants to be loved becomes a teacher, actress
    or a nurse. Not a cop.
    There is one person who, as a sociopath you can relate to. This person
    if she is receptive, could be helped by you. You might even say, if she
    is to have any kind of worthwhile life only you could help her. Next to
    you, she is the most famous or infamous sociopath in the land. She is also the most hated person in the land. Her name is Casey Anthony!
    Is there anyone else who is more suited to help Casey then you? Both of
    you are well known, but you are an example of a succesful sociopath.
    You and I both know that Casey is in the most unenviable position of
    anyone in history. She was sentenced to life. A life of a leper.
    I tried to reach out to Casey. I only learned the computer last Feburary.
    I wrote her letters on her support sites. But because I am 55 years old
    and have no history on social media there was no way to contact her-or so
    I thought.
    Now, I'm no expert on these matters, but I do think she liked what I said
    in the letters and attempted to reach out to me. I recieved a "friend
    request" on Skyph, It was some made up name but the middle name was
    "Marie." Casey's middle name happens to be Marie. Could it have been that
    there was a way to trace me and find out my skyph address? This is all so
    overwelming to me. If it was Casey, I responded on the support site with
    a posting explaining the reasons why I couldn't respond. The fact of the
    matter is, I have so "social history" period. I might write very good
    empathic letters but in the sociopathic world (And the empathic world too
    I am an ugly L-O-S-E-R) There's no way I would have the courage at this
    late stage of my wasted life to have anyone see what I look like on Skyph.
    M.E. I feel for Casey. I may not be the most hated person on earth but I
    have often been the most hated person within various places I've been.
    Maybe Casey has a thick skin. It would seem she's one of those "macho"
    sociopathic women we hear about, but my God, to have no love at all?
    You said you wanted to know how to be happy because you expect to live
    until 2070. Casey is 3 years younger then you. Please try to help her!
    How? Well, she's very likely in Flordia though she does move around quite
    a bit. You know about these danged computers. I don't. Only you could
    help her. M.E. and K.C. It could shake this world to it's very foundations!

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    1. Very interesting indeed.
      I have a couple of questions, if you wouldn't mind indulging me.

      What is your obsession with Casey Anthony?
      You sound like you have some weird fantasy about being the hero to the misunderstood, helping the bad girl also shunned by society to find love in this world.

      Why have you been the most hated person within various places? What did you do exactly?
      It has to be something a hell of a lot more interesting than simply being an ugly loser. There are plenty of those everywhere and I don't see any mobs with pitchforks chasing them through the streets.

      Oh and just for the record, it's called Skype, not Skyph. You get a friend request from someone with the same middle name as her? Yeah, pretty sure it's not her. Pretty sure that it's a freak obsessed with Casey who wants to feel really good about herself by supporting the poor misunderstood, mistreated soul.
      You can actually use Skype as a regular phone, you know. No need to use video as well. So you can tell her your very empathic views without worrying about her vomiting all over her computer as soon as video chat starts :)

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    2. I stopped to read when Casey Anthony popped up, a case that would hardly have drawn my attention. The same response was triggered by the Jodi Arias case. In the latter type of relationship dramas I find it very, very hard to judge. From my experience purely sexual types of relationships can develop their own destructive capacties. But it always needs two. The overkill scenario suggests a lot of hurt emotions to me. What I find more interesting in her case, why did she allow him to get the type of importance for her to get her do what she did? It almost has some type of distorted Romeo and Julia core. Love and dead. If I cannot have you no one else should? Sex and possession? To return to Anthony kids sometimes serve that role, trying to make someone stay. Children as tools. Aren't they somehow useless if the trick does not work?

      Hmmm considering I am not really interested in either one of the cases very much, that was a rather long response. ;)

      Ok, now I read the rest, a really interesting love affair. I wonder if by a female or male 55 year old?

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  4. everyone wants to be my friend and i could never figure out why (same with gf's if i put some efford into it)
    becouse those ppl mean nothing to me but sort term entertainment

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    1. I'm sure they don't want to be "your" friend - they want to be friends with the mask that you present to them. Big difference.

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    2. ofc not i am my mask

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  5. Maybe people who live their lives lying to people like, every once in a while, to pick someone out and tell them the truth. Just to see what happens.

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  6. People often wonder why someone would be friends with or stay in a relationship with a Borderline as well. /Clearly/ we're full of rage and only emotional and dramatic, right? Please, there's always a trade-off.

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  7. Oh, Catholics are delicious! The fun I had back at school...anyway, I tend to give the 'warning' speech as well. It's like a waiver of sorts, I suppose. Before the target agrees to engage in the fun, I like to make it explicit that I shan't be held entirely responsible. Oddly, they tend to think it's given in jest...until later, of course!

    I so enjoy that "But I did warn you, darling, didn't I?" moment. Watching the realization come over them, it's just intoxicating. I only gave them what they wanted all along, after all.

    A caveat: do this as carefully and/or as delicately the disposition of the person warrants. Some people react quite explosively to seeing themselves in that mirror you're holding up. Some of the mildest sorts, too. Safety first, kids! :D

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    1. Some people react quite explosively to seeing themselves in that mirror you're holding up.

      Never a reason to react explosively, doing that ultimately shows nothing but insecurity. We do all need to be mirrored by others from time to time. Fact is some of the mirroring is nothing but transference and ultimately useless to us since only reflecting the mindset of the one mirroring.


      (In Catholicism, 'scruples' refers to "An unfounded apprehension and consequently unwarranted fear that something is a sin which, as a matter of fact, is not.")

      I was brought up as a Catholic and already rebelled against "sins" with 8, when I was having my holy communion one year early together with my one year older brother.

      At the end of the chapters for confession in the prayer book for adults, I realized not long ago, there was a passage headed with: Other Commandments by the Church.

      The first commandment was: "Have I against the church's strict interdiction formed a relationship with someone of a different faith."

      This made me really furious. I had only moved to this Catholic diaspora in Germany about two years before. My best girl friend at the time was a Protestant, there were in fact not much Catholics in that area. The outcome of confessing a relationship with her would imply to never see her again. Why? Thus I went to my mother with my utter confusion about this type of "sin". She told me what had happened in Germany. Quite possibly I wasn't old enough at the time to deal with it, and it may well have shaped later rebellions as a teenager. In any case my relationship with my church could never be mended after this first encounter with these speical "other" sins, that are ultimately only created to make the group stick together. Not marry out later, for instance. As a power factor among other things? A later marriage would make the group grow.

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  8. The guy I have been seeing for nearly 3 years is a sociopath. He has given me several warnings including " I'm bad news" I'm a bad influence and the like. Intold him I'm not afraid of him. I also tolld him
    Last year " I am not a mark !l" I think he was surprised that I've caught on. I don't want to be ruined. I like him and I find him amusing. His mask has slipped several times sometimes intentionally sometimes not. I have a file on him ( my son has autism and has a excellent memory as do I) and can mirror him ,as well as give him what he wants without him telling me to the point he has asked how I am reading his mind. I think
    He finds me interesting I doubt he wants to ruin me even if he could. I may be one of a small few who sees him as he is and loves him unconditionally.

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    1. Right now he finds you interesting and useful. What happens if he feels differently in the future? If you let him go without a fuss he will likely not pose a problem for you, but if you cling to him with the belief that your relationship is somehow "special", then be prepared for him to use whatever measures necessary to cut you loose.

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    2. Sounds like she is in her own illusion.

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  9. Hitler had friends. Was he a nice guy? Why not? Propably was if you rubbed him the right way. If you are in the right position, people will love you no matter who you _really_ are. If you are in the wrong social position, everyone will hate you no matter who you _really_ are. Does that show that friendships come from who _you_ are. No it doesn't, friendships are like anything else about humans, a gameplay of several deciding factors playinng together.

    Even assholes have friends! WTF?! Offcourse... not saying ME is an asshole, don't know her, would never know.

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    1. href=Hitler had friends. Was he a nice guy? Why not?

      Studying Hitler's psychological profile has a rather long history whatever its specific intentions.

      Langer's report also concluded that Hitler loved pornography and masochistic sex, and in particular that he had "coprophagic tendencies or their milder manifestations" in his heterosexual relationships, and masochistically derived "sexual gratification from the act of having a woman urinate or defecate on him."[16]

      C.G.Jung got interested slightly earlier than Murray and Langer it seems.

      But, was he a psychopath or more likely e.g. a case of paranoid schizophrenia?

      Admittedly I am somewhat drawn to the latter profile.

      I would like to see a study "empathy in the diverse pathological patterns". Assuming that is what makes you associate Hitler in our context.

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  11. I think the key determinant of whether a sociopath has the potential to be "worth the trouble" is the sociopath's willingness to allow certain relationships to evolve (for example- from teacher/student to peer or romantic to platonic.

    Unless the relationship with a sociopath is new, it is likely that the sociopath has the upper hand and dictates the terms of the relationship entirely. Typically, when the relationship partner asserts a sense of self that does not fit with the "useful" role they serve to the sociopath, there is anger that the partner is no longer "behaving".

    The usual scenario at this point is for the sociopath to drop that relationship, and if the person clings to be quite nasty until they go away. So much of the sociopath tendencies towards self sabotage are related to their inflexibility that is related to their need to control the terms of a relationship. They think the other person "blew it" and deserved to be dropped rather than simply consider that perhaps the terms of the relationship need to be modified.

    I think of you, ME, and your friend whose Dad was dying of cancer. I am glad that you have since reconnected. I suspect that your willingness to own who you are and what you offer combined with the open heartedness of your friend made this reconciliation possible. This relationship seems like a good example of moving towards redefining the terms of a relationship so that both parties can be who they are and still have the relationship survive, so it's clear that you are capable of moving beyond the typical sociopath/mark interaction.

    Your choice to "out" yourself as a sociopath has had some very negative ramifications for you, but it's possible that you have achieved a new platform on which to build a sense of trust with certain open minded individuals. You took off your mask (or a layer of it, anyway). Many people will judge you and shun you, but a sizable minority are far more willing to relate to you because you have done something authentic.

    Why does authenticity matter? Because for any meaningful relationship to negotiate the inevitable bumps that come when two people who are always changing experience occasional friction, there has to be willingness on both sides to address the implications of the new dynamics. Your outing yourself as a sociopath gives your relationship partners a huge heads up - you admit that you are driven more by perceived self interest than sentiment and if they are smart and they value having you in their lives, they will figure out how to play on your self interest to keep you there, and abandon measures like guilt to try to draw you back to the earlier stage of the relationship.

    Conversely, you have to recognize that if you want a relationship to continue, the sides of your personality that are rubbing them the wrong way need to be compensated for. There needs to be an upside for them to continue relating to someone of self identifies as a sociopath. What's in it for you? Longevity in your meaningful connections and individuals that you begin to share history with who love you as you actually are, not wearing a mask designed to seduce them.

    I know that defining identity is particularly challenging for a sociopath, so the idea for being liked "as you are" seems odd. Perhaps working backwards to define identity from "who do I like and admire enough to invest in being a long term friend/associate?". The process of identifying what you value in others will help you see your own core values, for you do have a soul as well as a well developed sense of self interest, and it is the interplay between the two that will inevitably determine your future.

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  12. Very, emphatically written. Machiavellian.

    The example you allude to does not completely convince me. Death is one of most marginalized topics in our society. I doubt only psychopath want to have it at a more safe distance. ;)

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  13. I am aware that this is a random comment amongst this conversation, but I find that hurt people are not helpful people. I find I spend a fair amount of time pleasing people, being who they need me to be, in order for them to like me, to be my friend, and then in turn be useful to me.

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  14. I too have warned people, a select few. I suspect that sociopath in question here simply found that as delicious as it is to ruin a person who never see's it coming until it is far to late there is quite a different thrill in destroying someone with their consent.A certain thrill that comes with knowing the person in question is so drawn to you that they will not leave your side even knowing it spells their own destruction.
    I agree with Fred above as it can also be used as waiver as sorts, and the reminder of that warning is sometimes the cream on top when it is all said and done .True destruction , the kind that is everlasting takes time of course and attention to detail.
    Sometimes it is simply fun to play out in the open, while your other 'projects' operate in the background.
    I am female though and only recently started searching out on the internet those like me. There is a lot of misinformation out there though and I have yet found anyone who is quite like myself. This here site has come the closest though hence my reply. I would say thank you but the sentiment would be false and you would not care anyways. We both know this site was created for what you can get out of it and I am here for what I can get out of it .I am going to practice being honest here in ways I have never been in all 30 years of my existence,I think it may be quite fun ......in any event it should prove entertaining.

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  15. I am puzzled in your interest in friends. To share in a sincere friendship requires the affects of sympathy and empathy.

    My understanding of the antisocial personality is that it lacks both traits.

    Are you able to share in friendship even if it has no strategic value? Friendship for its own sake.

    Would there be real degree of risk, if not harm for those recipricating?

    As an example, my ex has a personality disorder - borderline with possible traits of antisocial behavior. True, not the same as sociopathology. But, a personality disorder all the same.

    When she learned that the relationship would not be on her terms, that I would set ground rules, and that there were conditions to the relationship - my life became at risk.

    The personality switch I saw shocked me. I had never seen such rage & viciousness before.

    So, my question to you then is - would I be at emotional, financial, physical risk if I were to befriend you?

    Kind but weary.

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  16. Concerning informed consent: I ensure I have it so, if/when others get pissed about whatever I've done, I can say "hey, I warned you"...they always feel too bad about giving me grief after I bring that bit up.

    (I really only bother with those I don't want to lose though, others can be pissed and bugger off for all I care).

    Why this particular sociopath in the e-mail did such a thing is unknown to me - different strokes for different folks as they say - but it's generally a wise move if you need to maintain a relationship, but will shortly be doing something they may find uncouth (even at their request).

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  17. I had a friend, growing up, who may have been a sociopath. He told me I was his experiment in totally controlling another human being. Under his tutelage, I accomplished great things. He was an excellent motivator, not afraid to tell me what I was doing wrong or what I was doing right. He was also not afraid to fuck me over in almost any way he pleased, as long as certain lines were not crossed.

    I think that was my favorite part. Because every time he hurt me, I had an excuse to hurt him back, sometimes even worse. I loved it.

    But then he tried to distance himself from me.
    I will never forget the look on his face when I showed up unexpectedly while he was hanging out somewhere with his friends. I had recently sent him a threatening letter, and I could see the apprehension in his eyes. I could taste it. I loved it. He never tried to distance himself so thoroughly again, though our relationship has never been quite the same. He never tries to fuck my girlfriends any more. Never gets into philosophical discussions with me. It is mostly damage control now, I think. Has been for years.

    I have learned so much from him.
    I miss our talks.

    I miss the playful revenge games. Never knowing what he will do next. The thrill of my revenge plots. Waiting to see the look on his face when he realizes what is happening. The anticipation... what else on earth can match it? Not even sex.

    I want another relationship like that one, but I will likely never find it. It is difficult to find a playmate who knows where to draw the line so that lives do not wind up completely ruined.

    God how I hate being good.

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  18. I am a pretty good mimic, but I identify as a borderline. Idk how much or if it's related to my mirroring thing or what,

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  19. That's what I was thinking. His friend was being respectful and careful.

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