Saturday, September 21, 2013

Not feeling bad about not feeling bad

I thought this story from a reader was very interesting, particularly the parallels with my own life. I especially find her thoughts about religion to be very familiar:

I just recently started doing research on sociopaths.  Years ago a girl that knew me well said she thought I might be a sociopath but I brushed it off thinking that I’m nothing like the monsters sociopaths are portrayed as.  That’s why I find your website so refreshing.  Its not claiming all sociopaths are the same, nor are they always people that should be avoided at all cost.  Last week again I had someone close to me say they think I have sociopathic tendencies.  I started reading from your website and I do see a lot of similarities.  I’ve always felt different from everyone else.  I have an very emotional mother and growing up I could never understand her reactions to things.  Most of the time when I see anyone get emotional or upset by something it’s not like I don’t care, I just don’t feel it. I want to understand it like a puzzle.  I’ve always struggled with the concept of guilt.  I grew up in a very religious family and feeling remorse and repentance for your mistakes is considered to be key for forgiveness of sins.  I’ve always really struggled with what guilt is exactly because when I’ve done things I know I shouldn’t have, I don’t get an emotional response.  Me knowing it’s wrong is always based on logic and knowing what’s expected of me.  When I have done something wrong I do regret it but it’s usually because I see it as a failure on my part to live up to an expectation that either I or others have placed on me and I hate feeling like I don’t have control over myself or I have failed in anyway.  I know I have been cruel to people before and have messed with and manipulated people’s emotions.  When I was young I did it because watching how easily people could believe something or be manipulated was entertaining.  Now it’s usually only when I feel wronged or slighted and I never feel bad about it because it does seem justified.

I have a great job, a few close friends and overall I think I’m a very stable person but I do feel different.  I was disconnected from my family entirely for a year and I never felt an emotional sense of missing them.  My parents are normal people, never abused me, always supportive so when I hadn’t seen or talked to them for a long time I was hoping I would feel something but I mostly just felt indignant and irritated when I asked for help with different things and they ignored me.  On the reverse side while I usually get bored with guys very quickly there was this one guy that was almost impossible for me to let go of.  He has a PhD in psychiatry and he’s always fascinated me.  Whenever I saw him do something to intentionally irritate or passive-aggressively insult a friend simply because they told him something he didn’t want to hear I became more drawn to him.  Everything about our time together was intense but I would feel this gaping sense of loss any time he had to go or I didn’t see him for a while.  Even now I compare other guys to him and I can’t be bothered.  I don’t know why with one guy I could miss him so intensely but with my own family I feel so indifferent.  I don’t want to be a difficult person to be around but whenever I want something and I see a way of getting it I instinctively start shifting and manipulating the people around me to get it.  I think what I want usually benefits other people as well so I don’t feel bad about it and when a close friend who knows how I am calls me out and tells me she feels played I can’t help but feel she’s missing the bigger picture. I have also done a lot for the people close to me. I’ve gotten them jobs, found them nice places to live and helped them out of bad relationships.  I don’t think I’m a bad person or ‘evil’ and yet I am so disconnected from the people around me.  I mentioned I’m religious.  I do believe in God but recently I’ve had people in my religion ask me ‘heartfelt’ questions.  They’re the only questions I’ve ever struggled with.  I found myself trying to take apart the meaning of the questions, remember if I had heard other people express their answers before and guess what they wanted to hear because inside I didn’t understand, there was nothing indicating how I felt about it.  Explain why I want to be part of the organization, how guilt and repentance have motivated me to correct my actions; deep down I still don’t really think anything I’ve done has been all that bad.  Knowledge of the consequences and not wanting to see myself as a failure have taught me not to make the same choices.  I do want to make God happy but I don’t see why my actions or way of thinking would make him unhappy.

I read an excerpt from your book online just now and just in the small portion I read I see a lot of similarities.  When I was a teenager I had this girl I couldn't stand and I used to break into her house and rearrange little things around her room and memorize snippets from her diary to work casually and discretely into regular conversation to mess with her.  I even get the staring thing, I constantly have people think I'm glaring at them or trying to seduce them because I don't look away like most people. I just read a couple paragraphs but I think I'll have to buy a copy soon and take a read. It's interesting some of the things I recognise in myself. Even putting myself in life threatening situations... almost bleeding out on a camping trip because I didn't want to call attention to my injuries, look weak or have people try to assist me when I figured I could deal with it on my own.

I’m emailing I guess for curiosity and understanding.  I know this is the way I am and I don’t think it’s ‘bad’, just different.  I struggle with having to control myself, I want to have fun, I want to take chances and I enjoy seeing how one action can lead to a ripple effect in my favour but I don’t think I’m dangerous or need to be fixed I just want to know if that’s how sociopaths sometimes feel.  Like I said, I just started looking into this and I’m not saying I am a sociopath or think it’s terrible if I am. I just want to know more.

In my religion, there are a lot of people who think that emotions are the way that God speaks to you or a sign of true repentance (godly sorrow). But that's not necessary. As LDS Elder Richard G. Scott taught:

A testimony is fortified by spiritual impressions that confirm the validity of a teaching, of a righteous act, or of a warning of pending danger. Often such guidance is accompanied by powerful emotions that make it difficult to speak and bring tears to the eyes. But a testimony is not emotion.

And why would we need to feel things? Why would God make a group of people who were doomed to hell the moment they were born that way? But some religions believe that, I guess. Also some people believe that gay people are going to hell?


  1. i remember church being a good place to catch up on sleep

    1. this anonymous is a vegitopath tooSeptember 21, 2013 at 7:12 PM

      teeheee this anonymous is a vegitopath too teehee


      teeheee i'm a vegitopath too





  2. There's a very simple answer to the human delemma. Be as elastic as
    possible. Be in demand in terms of the services you can offer. Be like
    a "journey man/woman."
    If you have the socibilty and utility to survive, you don't need the
    "crutches" of religion, nationality, orginization and family.
    These are the CONTROL mechanisms of society to exploit and abuse you.
    Historically, it was much easier for a man to do this then a woman.
    That's why it's been called a "man's world." Women were the caretakers,
    and the only commerce they had (utality) was through their bodies, i.e.
    bearing children, raising them, bartering with sex etc.
    This is not so in the modern world. Women have obtained parity but must
    get beyond cultural programming that encourages dependantcy.
    The free individual has the greatest capasity to be happy. But people
    who have opted to be slaves completely scorn and repudiate the free
    person. They are slaves based on a need for social approvial, which all
    devolves to a fear of ostracism which = death. All fears reduce to a fear
    of death. Either death to the ego, or death to the body. As long as people fear death, they cannot truly live.
    The answer lies in resaprosity, utility, and flexibily. Stay in the
    present moment where only true life resides. Cast off all "dead" labels
    like race, religion, nationality even gender. Such deceptive descriptions
    impede growth, are illusionary and are imperminate to begin with.
    But remember, you can't do any of the above unless you have something
    that society wants otherwise you'll starve. To quote from the play
    "Death Of A Salesmen, "The only thing of value that a person has, is what
    he can sell to another person."

  3. At Blessed Sacrament, the Roman Catholic public school, we went to the church next door for confession weekly. I have never felt to have done anything wrong, made some mistakes in life that cost me but those were lessons to learn from. At that young age I would make up things in the confessional, like I had a cigarette etc. And when told to repent, say Hail Mary's in the church, I would pretend to be using the rosary for anyone who may be looking. Is it possible to have been a young sociopath who has normalized now?

    I still think religion is a joke, nothing but another method of man controlling man under the guise of knowing God's will, but because I think the cosmos is too complex to have been created by chance I always thought that belief makes me a non-sociopath. Any thoughts?

    1. Hmmm, I guess my problem was somehow, I took it too seriously, at least initially, really.

      But thankfully I also was never needed to repeat the experience for a long time.

      Studying the sins one had to confess in preparation for the "holy communion", there was one struggled enormously with. Added as some type of appendix to the general sins. Either I did myself, or we had to base our confession on the adults prayer book meditations, brainstorming for the event. In any case that's where the sin surfaced. "Did you have relations with people of other creed". My fucking best friend was a Protestant at the time. Ok, I didn't confess it, based on the advise by my mother. So I strictly, maybe I swallowed the symbolical "holy body", a peculiar experience in itself, "in sin".

      I moved a lot till my father returned back home and build up the German branch of a Swiss firm back home, where in the town, where he came from, things changed somehow.

      At that point my brother and I got blackmailed by his mother, our grandmother, to go to confession. I still hear her pleading voice and see myself taking the money she offered for doing it. I guess it felt like an empty ritual already then. Hmmm, never thought about it, but it may be the source of my aversion to prayers. Pray: five "Our father", three "Holy Mary's" (a rather late invention, really). „Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.“ Do you see any Mary here? She definitively had to be prayed to though, always if I remember correctly.

      *bearing children, raising them, bartering with sex

      Marriage became a sacrament rather late in Church history too. How could it have been otherwise?

      Pretty hard to take my mother out of my private religious equations. Her interests had moved on the Buddhism at the time, I read some of it. Never thought about that either, she may have been pressured by my grandmother too, but never surrendered. I have to ask her.

  4. There is no one side fits all for everyone. There is no easy and fast line to what the world and humans are about, what they should do or shouldn't. Or how they should be or shouldn't be.

    Our grasp of the world is limited and that is exactly were religion enters the space, whatever you feel about it. The main thing it has to sell, if you like, is trust, hope and believe, among dealing with the troubles in life or dead for that matter. Powerful instruments no matter how you look at them.

    I sympathize with your take though, I never left my church only for one reason, I realized that it was much more easy to argue against it, then for it. Worse religious people seemed somehow ridiculous. Where exactly was the "living God" during the Holocaust? Thus there obviously was some type of negative consent. As most of my peers, I looked at it just the way you did. And up to this date, I don't have any connection to the rituals of my church, they don't touch me in any way. The only thing I appreciate are the educational endeavors of the Jesuit academy here in my town. Which at one point, by the way our "bishop" who is ridiculed a lot wanted to abolish. It still exist though as a privately sponsored institution.

    On the other hand, this is a random pick: I didn't want my mother to die of cancer early, about 20 years ago. What could I do apart from from getting as much information about her cancer type, cancer generally, treatments, alternative approaches to chemotherapy and x-rays. It ultimately comes down to if you live or if you want to die, I firmly "believe" by now, even in the most serious circumstances.

    But I also entered into a contract with "the hopefully listening God", since I cannot really pray, and the idea that one can get something for free may have been one of my core prejudices against my Church. Godly grace that is, more dominant in the Protestant tradition.

    I am not really interested, if my "offer" had any influence at all. I don't want to boast myself either by writing this. But it was an attempt to get something like hope and trust, something I needed inside first to be able to pass on to her. My mother is a skeptic interested in all type of religions more theoretically, which gives her a solidly ethical outlook without any church. But I cannot remember her ever going to church apart from special events concerning her kids that were absolutely necessary. My father comes from a strongly Catholic family. My mother's heritage shows a lot of intermarriage among the different religious creeds.

    In any case my mother survived without chemotherapy or x-rays. There are times, when your "rational mind" is confronted with its ends. That is were religion or hope, trust and believe enter the stage. Something your rational mind has not so easily on offer.

    That said, I respect the core ideas around the historical figure Jesus. What basically always made me "angry" is the misuse of his story. To the point of asking if it may not be the main source of bigotry. But, he is ultimately the core of what feels like brotherhood out there, from this perspective even you are my brother or sister. But obviously it also has limits ...

  5. I find this post interesting as I can identify with what the writer says. Being middle class and lazy I have only had to "play the game" my whole life to get what I want - decent job, good house etc - petty crime for kicks when I was a bit younger. But a criminal career would never have paid as reliably and would have entailed more work. Maybe if I'd grown up in a bad neighbourhood or in the care of the state I would have gotten into more serious trouble as the things I wanted probably wouldn't have come to me as easily as they have.
    When I was at school I was looking up words about sex and drugs with a couple of my followers. I looked up psychopath as the term was used for the bad guy in "Dirty Harry" and one of my followers said "That's you".
    It still happens now, and I'm 42. Only now they say sociopath as it seem the more fashionable term.
    But no, I'm not a bad person. I don't need to be. By being so nice I find people only too willing to help and accommodate me. And if I see something I like and it goes in my pocket, nobody ever thinks I would have taken it.
    I don't believe there is a god. I regard my philosophical position as "moral nihilism". I feel emotions, but they are my emotions. I sometimes manufacture emotions in other people just for fun.
    Does this all make me a sociopath? I don'e really care. I stumbled across this blog a while ago after being given a copy of "The Psychopath Test" by someone who said they saw it and thought of me. My interest in the subject is purely intellectual and I may well get bored of it and never bother to consider it again.
    Why am I even writing this? I'm at work and avoiding doing boring stuff, which I can because nobody watches me because they know how trustworthy I am.

    1. and avoiding doing boring stuff

      I assume that is what a high percentage of people are doing here.

      But a criminal career would never have paid as reliably and would have entailed more work. Maybe if I'd ... ;)

      Hmmm, Dirty Harry A classical lone-rider-fighting-evil tale. Yes, Scorpio's plot would have benefited from a little reflection and preparation. All slightly ad hoc activities. Did the film convince you crime as a profession may be too much work after all? ;)

      What is the message of the film? To fight a psychopath you have to be slightly psychopathic too? Which may well be true: after several decades in corruption and organized crime a friend tells me his (moral?) shock level has vanished into oblivion. Initially he was shocked about the apparent believe in the corrupts sense of entitlement.

      Screenplay by
      Harry Julian Fink
      R.M. Fink
      Dean Riesner
      John Milius

      Story by
      Harry Julian Fink
      R.M. Fink

      I remember a couple of early work by Don Siegel, but none really left a deep imprint on my mind, but maybe I forget. I seem to remember the one best that stars,Peter Lorre. No surprise there. One of my favorites in the earliest movie actor generation:

      Writing in 1944, film critic Manny Farber described what he called Lorre's "double-take job," a characteristic dramatic flourish "where the actor's face changes rapidly from laughter, love or a security that he doesn't really feel to a face more sincerely menacing, fearful or deadpan."[5]


      Take the Psychopath Challenge. I am a 51,5151...% percentage scorer. I guess you must be higher up, if what you write here is the truth.

    2. wrong: Initially he was shocked about the apparent believe in the corrupts sense of entitlement.

      correct: Initially he was shocked about the apparent believe in the sense of entitlement, the onces caught exhibited. By now he has realized it is and was to large extend business as usual.

    3. 21 !

      not a psycho! Today!

    4. This may be silly, but my mother did the test and got a 5. So, perhaps it isn't hereditary?

    5. you are a psychopath?

    6. 24/33 High. But was I answering honestly?

  6. Deeply religious countries like the US probably are tougher areas for hollow folks to exist in than the opposite (like northern europe), they surely are looked upon as the seeds of Satan? In scandinavia its more "media-linked" to business-corporations than criminals actually, but politics have no psychos according to these beliefs. If somebody acts like a snake in a suit in parliament they are labeled "bullies" or "buffalos". And one never hears about psychopathic doctors or teachers. A strict business-phenomena!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. "We fear loss because we want to be safe, but safety is an illusion "

    so depressing and nice at the same time

  9. I can identify with a few things this reader said.
    Guilt was very big with my family too.
    It's the bread (and shame is the butter) of the abusive narcissist after all.

    Problem is, I didn't feel it. But in order to avoid punishment and other (less pleasant) methods they had of getting me to do things, I learned that it is completely unnecesary to feel guilt, as long as I act as if I did.
    People need to see signs of guilt to know that you hurt too and are more likely to have learned your lesson.

    It's easy, really. When I don't much care about the outcome, sure, I will laugh at them, or bullshit and try to manipulate or guilt them back, etc. A lot of times even get away with it. But this can build up and backfire badly.

    But when I do something "bad" inadvertently to someone I love, it's different. They deserve better. Even if I don't feel bad, they got hurt. In order to maintain the relationship, to avoid loss of trust, bitterness and resentment, it needs to made right.

    So I have learned to take responsibility, apologise for the hurt and do something nice for them. Make it up to them. Let my actions speak for my intentions. They know me and are far less likely to fall for my bullshit anyway. Much better outcome for all concerned to actually show them that their feelings are more important than my pride.
    Preserves the relationship...and makes it easier to get out of other situations later, if needed.

    And I know that this "bad" thing is something they get upset about and make my life more difficult for, so avoid it (or do it more later if I really want to piss them off :) ).

    Who gives a flying fuck that I don't actually feel guilty?

    1. @G.E. -- It is disconcerting just how true what you said is. I reflected on guilt, comparing it to your story, and realized I could easily have wrote it because it's exactly how I'd say it too. This chills me a bit. I don't know why. It bothers me, but is it because I want to feel guilt? I never like to say "sorry" unless I mean it. I never like to say "love" unless I mean it. I always equated it to respect of someone, if I meant those things. Feels like a lie if I say it and don't mean it. More and more, it seems that people really prefer a lie. I'm reeling a bit, so I may sound incoherent.

    2. chris pearson/GE you are describing me too. I do say i love yous and it feels good to me. It feels so nice. They want to ear it and they treat you so nice and kiss you so nicely. it is worth it . wrap your lips around the words IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII LLLLLLLLLLLLLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUV YYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    3. Hey Chris,

      Thank you.
      Also, you're kidding, right?
      Of course people prefer the pretty lie. The truth is all too often much too ugly to be palatable. And those that cry they want and live the truth can be the biggest liars of all. Especially to themselves.

      Look how much of society is based on lies. Imagine if people started to actually say what they really think or want to say, even half the time...Seriously, think about it for a minute.

      Example: take one of those women who loves beauty and truth, but to her friends whines about her exes (or all men) being jerks. The pretty lie that she wants to hear is that it's not her fault, she's a wonderful person who's just got bad luck with men because these assholes are attracted to her goodness, her light. She just has to stay positive an she will attract her perfect soulmate when the time is right...etc.
      Complete and utter bullshit. But bullshit that will make her feel better, cement the 'friendship' and basically let you get away with murder if played right.

      Now, if you were to give her the truth: that she is deeply deluded. That she has this idea in her head of her perfect Prince Charming. That she may talk about truth and beauty, but she does not practice it at all. That she meets men who she considers exciting and lures/traps them. But she doesn't love them. She loves the idea that they can change to become her Prince Charming. So starts the nagging and making their lives hell. Eventually the poor guys just can't take anymore and leave. Rinse and repeat, but she become a little more jaded each time, so the next man will get even worse treatment.
      Essentially, it's mostly her fault. The guys might not be perfect, but who the fuck is? If she was living the truth and beauty idea, she would love the man, not the idea. She would see the beauty in him as he is. Would encourage to be honest with each other, even if the truth is the ugliest fucker. And they could grow together. They could find a common ground that both are happy with.
      She needs to be brutally honest with herself about what she wants and what she's doing.
      But try and tell her that.
      Yes, I have been dealing with someone like that this week. How she hates me now :)

      It's amazing how I went from being "the most wonderful, supportive friend in the world" to "fucking psycho bitch" in 40 minutes flat.. but such is the price of telling the truth.

      Feed people's delusions and they will love you. Try to break through to them with the truth, to help them, and they will turn on you 90% of the time. Who the fuck wants all that drama?

      And that is exactly why I say we can lie through our pearly white teeth to the world. Give them all the bullshit we want. But try to be honest with ourselves.

  10. I knew every lie you told. I don't need to watch a video about lying. I figured you out the moment I laid eyes on you and I made a decision after your fence admission that I would never trust you again. Nor would you ever have my respect.
    I don't care how many personas you take or personalities you steal. I am not a BPD and I get mad after every discovery i make. You can switch between the devil and God any time you want. I told you I would accept you, if you stopped fucking with me and you are incapable of doing that. I don't care what you want to call yourself. You can call yourself Yankee F-ing Doodle for all I care.

    You can dedicate all the songs and posts you want. I do not believe you and I am not stupid. Do you get that? I may not understand your reasonings because you are strange and rather mentally deranged.

    You will discover that there are some things in this world that can not be manipulated and I am one of them.


  11. Hey i got a question. i was a teenager and sat on the toilet and wouldnt let my sibling get on it. she had to take a shit .. BAD

    She pleaded and pleaded and i told her no i wont get off and go get the basin and shit in it

    And she DID ! In front of me while i sat on the bowl.

    And I laugh abt it to this day.

    Is i a psycho?

    1. Chris Pearson you asked abt narcissism needing an audience.. if it will go unnoticeable if there isnt another personality to dominate.
      i look at it as a condition they feel superior to everyone and everything.

      if you watch a narcissist browse through a bookstore, rolling eyes, putting their nose in the air, you can observe what you think their inner monologue is: the books and the people who read them are below him.

      they dont have to socialize to be/feel superior . you mentioned their dominance. How do you think/do you think dominance and superiority are related ?

    2. Here you go, sink.

    3. Yes anon thank you for your assistance but i believe sink was addressing me. As I was going to say to sink :

      If you believe you are superior and if you find yourself in any position of power, well then it is your way or the highway isnt it? Hence, dominance.

      If you feel superior wherever you go, you may have the urge to try to dominate in every situation you find yourself...this requires others. This is what i meant by an audience, sink.

    4. Thank you Chris Pearson !

  12. when i was little, my mom had a job for money at a church but we aren't christians, she would drop me on a different floor at the church for their sunday school while she worked..
    I got a pretty picture book with turtles and jesus stuff written in it. I was showing it to her to with happiness and she took the book and threw it on the floor of the car. She put me in the sunday school and when i had sthg to like, she threw it in the floor and said it was bad.

  13. I found a life-sized Barbie doll known as "Adult Barbie." It's a sex doll.

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