Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Childishness

I've been meaning to write a post on the childlike qualities of sociopaths for a while, but luckily a reader did it for me:
I'd like to prod something on which I haven't found a discussion on the blog, yet. To wit, the issue of the emotional childishness of the (apparently) typical sociopath. Personally, I find that despite my relative intelligence, rationality, education (and modesty~), etc., there's an undercurrent of selfish, childish rage beneath many of my actions—and even the associated thought patterns. I refer to the people in my sphere of influence as my "toys" and so on. Standard objectifying/dehumanizing nonsense. I doubt I need to explain it in any great detail, but it frames my following thoughts. Like a child, I become unreasonably angry (and violent) when people damage my toys. Like a child, I am fickle and become easily annoyed when they don't meet my needs, e.g., they're busy or unresponsive when I want them to spend time with me, even (or especially?) when the reason they can't is outside their control. It tends to be a short-lived annoyance, as I usually find something to do eventually, but it's irritating nonetheless.

On another level, there are benefits to this (rather literal) inner child. Datamining is a commonality between us, but this may be where our methods diverge. When collecting data, I am of two minds; in the developed, relational part of my datamining process, I am calculating, rational, blah blah blah; in the instinctive collection phase, however, I can take in large amounts of "raw" data, uncolored by preconception, overthinking, or other noise. I can then feed it through the relational mechanism and form otherwise disparate data into a cohesive whole, or I can leave it unprocessed if the situation calls for it. In this way, it is possible to prioritize information. The brain being as it is, this is a mostly instantaneous and automatic process. I imagine it would be a bit of a chore if it were more deliberately conscious.

I gather from your writings that some of this will seem familiar, but I'm curious about your thoughts.
Childish traits include being heavily self-involved, pettiness, manipulation as a primary social tool, tantrums, anger issues, impulsivity, an overindulgence in certain things without knowing when to stop (like eating the equivalent of candy until we get sick), among others. There are also childlike traits, like love, naiveté (until disabused of it), a perhaps overly simplified way of looking at the world, and a sensitivity to rejection and its corresponding desire to please.

Sociopaths share a lot in common with children, it's why we can get along so well with them. In fact, I think child sociopaths only really learn their opportunism and jaded mentality by attending the school of hard knocks. That's one reason why I think the comparison between sociopaths and aspies is so potent for me. I have wondered if I would have ended up seeming like a helpless, clueless aspie if only I were raised on a deserted island isolated from the harshness of the world, Blue Lagoon style.

I'm looking at you, society.


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112 comments:

  1. if only I were raised on a deserted island

    You wouldn't be the first to fantasize about sociopaths being put on an island around here.~ I remember one particularly vexed anonymous who thought it was the only fate deserved.

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  2. That's what Australia was supposed to be.

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  3. My psychopathic soon-to-be-ex-husband shocked me once by asserting that his insulin-dependent diabetes was a far weightier cross to bear than our children’s autism. Since my lamentably belated moment of clarity regarding his true self, I have realised that yes, things are worse for him than they are for our loving, conscience-encumbered, socially inept, language-disordered offspring, although not because he’s obliged to stick a needle in himself several times a day. Another of our daughters has to do that also, but rather than burden the entire family with responsibility for her blood sugar levels, she just gets on with it.

    I wonder about a genetic connection between psychopathy and autism/Asperger’s. Does anyone know if research on this has been published?

    Deb

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  4. I don't know about genetics, but I think there is relation between diagnostic expectations and outward symptoms.

    For example.

    "Psychological phenomena of central importance to understanding serial killers such as deficits in empathy have frequently been explained as originating from a psychopathic core," they say, "thereby missing the possibility that deficits in empathy may also be due to autistic psychopathology."

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  5. I wonder about a genetic connection between psychopathy and autism/Asperger’s. Does anyone know if research on this has been published?

    I doubt it; given that no one has devised a widely accepted, focused explanation for either disorder, it would be pseudoscientific at best to connect the two.

    In some way, I'd like to distance the two conditions. Not to form some walled garden, but to reduce the likelihood that they'll start repurposing Aspie/Autie therapies for sociopaths, e.g., hugboxes, petting dolphins, and whatever other weird hippie shit they get up to.

    If it turns out there's some connection, though, I'll be very interested to read the research... and get us a fucking lobby on Capitol Hill.

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  6. On an unrelated note, I was just reading the Wiki page about colic (as ME brought it up recently), and stumbled on this rather hilarious line:

    The total financial burden (medical costs, lost productivity, legal/penal, adverse long term health effects, etc) of the 500,000 infants/year in the United States with colic may exceed $1 billion dollars/year, paralleled by even greater human and emotional costs.[citation needed]

    That (perceived) tinge of inhumanity at the end gave me a fine chuckle.

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  7. Fairchild says, “Our findings suggest that antisocial behavior or violence may not simply reflect bad choices but that, at some level, the brains of individuals with antiso- cial behavior may work differently."

    Oh, wow... he's sooo ahead of the curve.~ I've never heard such paradigm-shaking proclamations.~

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  8. Yea. I can relate...im defiantley childish. I hate to wait in line. And I hate it when old people are getting on the bus right slow. I have NO patience. I get this little fantasy flash through my mind of pushing them on the bus and rushing past them.

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  9. @Postmodern
    That (perceived) tinge of inhumanity at the end gave me a fine chuckle.

    That's common to almost all scientific (biological at least) presentations. Bugs the shit out of me too. I wish people would just state that they study things because they are interested in it, or possibly to help cure it, but all this oh, the horror of the suffering, ugh. Plus, I think most (many??) researchers don't really care. That sort of statement is just masking, unnecessarily imo.

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  10. I refer to the people in my sphere of influence as my "toys"
    I'd say "pets" but for the same reason. (They walk around without batteries like my turtles :-P)

    Aaaaand once again, study after study on (a) prisoners and (b) children with psychopathic tenancies. By virtue of being (a) dumb enough to be sent to prison and (b) unformed children, I find these findings suspect. Where are all the studies on college students? That's who usually participates in psych experiments.

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  11. why are you so indignated about being connected to children ?

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  12. to postmodern and bibi

    the drive to find a cure for the 'suffering' is because suffering is a result of the illness. if language is what separates the sociopath from the non-sociopath then the two are separated by mere perspective. with your mastery of logic, i see loopholes there. the idea (propogated by socios) that sociopaths are superior for nothing other than the fact that they lack insight into a depth of human experience ie. other facts, is, well, illogical. be the true logician and drop the narcissism. if you can. lol

    B

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  13. @B
    I don't see sociopaths as superior. And I believe that most (many??) researchers are in it for their own interests (intellectual, livelihood, etc), not the suffering of others.

    I view the statements about the suffering, as sort of histrionic posturing. There is pain (and suffering) all over. The idea that the suffering of "these particular people is so immense it deserves (over others, these things being limited) the money/time we put into it" is what gets to me. I honestly don't think that's why people do research. And the actual caring that they have for others, I find suspect.

    It's just overblown emotionalism IMO.

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  14. bibi

    in terms of the intention behind their work I won't disagree with you. it's likely as you say.

    i guess my interest lay in your apparent suspicion of the use of emotional language in general.

    did i jump to conclusions?

    in what context would you not find emotional language suspect i wonder?

    B

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  15. B said: the fact that they lack insight into a depth of human experience ie. other facts, is, well, illogical.

    Hi B,
    I have to respectfully disagree. I think that I see the world as it is, instead of through emotion-colored glasses. It seems to me that a lot of people make poor choices based on their feelings instead of the facts. (Yes, he is bad at his job and a liability to the company, but he's so nice, lets keep him anyway. Yes the first deal is better, but I didn't like the sales guy- lets go with the more expensive one from the sweet girl. etc.)

    Also, "insight" isn't the word I would use for what we lack. Maybe "intuition" would be better. While some can intuit that a person is having a bad day or is in love, I can pick up on key signatures that indicate these things. At times, not intuiting can be a disadvantage (particularly if that person is experiencing something I've never encountered or studied before), but other times my methods can be an advantage. For example, I pick up liars and those holding that one secret back with more ease than others based on how much they deviate from those telling signatures.

    This doesn't make me superior, but it does make me better in some things, while it causes me to struggle with others. I do, however, (because its only fair to be honest) find emotions and emotional responses below me for the most part. So, just don't cry and I won't feel superior. :-P

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    1. "It seems to me that a lot of people make poor choices based on their feelings instead of the facts."

      Feelings ARE facts. This is what socios don't understand.

      You think your decision-making is superior because it involves just the "facts." But these are the facts that are apparent to YOU. Empaths are dealing with additional "facts" you don't perceive, and those facts are just as valid as any other criteria. Empaths' decisions, which incorporate feelings, aren't necessarily worse than socios' decisions, which don't incorporate feelings.

      For example, I paid more when I bought the item from the nice sales girl. I got to talk to a nice person! What if that is more important to me than paying less? Who are you tell me that my decision is somehow less valid than a decision you would have made under similar circumstances?

      There are better and worse ways of dealing with/ expressing/ channeling one's feelings, of course, but that's a different issue.

      Delete
  16. As for research *shrug* some people like to solve puzzles and answer questions. Definitely, though, the direction of research is determined by where the money is, which is determined by what is trendy at the time.

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  17. Pythias

    right back at ya. just cry and I won't feel superior. get it?

    also, my brother is a sociopath, and was beyond terrible when it came to picking up on body language. the number of times he falsely accused me of lying about something when i was totally innocent was beyond a joke. his arrogance convinced him that he knew body language so well. clearly, he didn't. he studied psychology at uni and I would tease him about how limited that was as he still misunderstood, essentially, the intention behind people's actions sometimes. constantly on guard for an attack, this colours your perception. you think you judge without emotion and that puts you above others, when in fact, your natural, hyper self-preserving stance colours how you receive the world around you. ie. that is very much an emotionally reactive way to live too.
    you make victims of others whilst you yourself are a victim too, uncomfortable in this world. you just don't see yourself as a victim, but the strongest people accept they eat and can be eaten. i'm not hoping for any resolution with this, as none of us can help who we are. I'm just opening discussion.

    B

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  18. B (the other one):

    I think you're judging too many of us based on your experiences with your brother, who's just traded one set of blinders for another.

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  19. Heh, I actually use false body language cues to make people think I'm lying to them for kicks (if I think they're smart enough to catch them)

    Change in tone, intense, strained eye contact, nervously touching the hair near your neck. Drives them nuts.

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  20. sidenote

    i do think it's funny that when someone does something 'wrong' they justify it by saying 'god, i'm only human!' whilst people see sociopaths who arguably do a lot of 'wrong' things as inhuman. lol

    B

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  21. Apparently it was unclear which part of the colic comment I found funny, judging by all this idiotic conversation my comment spawned. I was only laughing about "[citation needed]", since it followed an obviously hyperbolical comment about the amount of suffering caused by colic.

    On a side note, I love how empathetic people are so insistent that empathy is some deep, transcendent thing, and not having it necessarily makes one blind to some great truth of the world. Church of Empathy, anyone?

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  22. I am waiting for my T-shirt: "Sociopath Pride", or at least this is my feeble assault on the whole Aspie thing.

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  23. I'm sure it's being added to the list of T-shirts we've come up with around here as we speak, Anon.

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  24. Check!
    Let's see, there's "Psychophant", "This Shit Smells of Victory and Winning!" and "Sociopath Pride". All done on black shirts, because UKan loves Goths.

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  25. Wasn't it Victory and Thriving or something like that? Eh. I want a shirt.

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  26. That sounds closer to right, Post. I think it was "...Thriving and Victory!"

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  27. Hi B,
    I have to respectfully disagree. I think that I see the world as it is, instead of through emotion-colored glasses. It seems to me that a lot of people make poor choices based on their feelings instead of the facts. (Yes, he is bad at his job and a liability to the company, but he's so nice, lets keep him anyway. Yes the first deal is better, but I didn't like the sales guy- lets go with the more expensive one from the sweet girl. etc.)


    But isn't that a rather Pavlovian kind of "world view" ? I have always been fascinated and sometimes astounded by the differences in perception of right or wrong choices by sub cultures even just within my own country(which professes to be constitutionally multi-ethnic). For example in some towns, folks will actually strive to find a place at work for somebody who may have some impairment without even batting an eyelid or overpay someone less qualified based on a personal instinct. They seem to factor in other variables (trust?) to make choices on whats right or wrong. I have even taken refuge in such communities when the work culture/economics in urban centers cities occasionally didn't add up.

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  28. Anonymous -- make your T-shirt. Don't wait for it.

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  29. That shirt needs to have an anti-lovefraud logo and sociopathworld.com on it as well.

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  30. Lovefraud + SociopathWorld sittin' in a tree....

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  31. Forgot to add to the post before; "from my observation, nobody seems to have come out the poorer or lost anything more significant than in the cities where choices were more to be made based on institutionalized rational processing."

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  32. rationality ≱ irrationality

    irrationality ≱ rationality

    Depends wholly on your goals and values in life, and what forms of rationality/irrationality you're talking about, as obviously they are not mutually exclusive within a single person, socio or not.

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  33. Postmodern Sociopath

    'I love how empathetic people are so insistent that empathy is some deep, transcendent thing, and not having it necessarily makes one blind to some great truth of the world.'

    I do not think there's anything transcendental about empathy, it's a tool. It's a route for logic. much like painting by numbers is for you.

    don't dismiss something cos you don't have it. oh, woops, that's what a narc does isn't it?

    i think what you are is great really, it's just narcissism is so self-defeating don't you think?

    B

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  34. I'm not dismissing it, other B. I'm pointing out the ridiculousness of assuming that without it I'm somehow less aware of the world.

    Are you trying to imply that I'm a narcissist? I'd be entertained to see your argument, but I'd be willing to say you're wrong. A touch narcissistic, surely, but certainly not a candidate for NPD.

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  35. postmodern sociopath

    i didn't mean you were less aware, but i was counteracting the position many of you take in thinking you are superior.

    also, i was refering to the narcissism inherent in sociopathy. i assumed you don't have NPD.

    B

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  36. Hey guys, just to prod a little from the Topic Post which kind of hit rather close to home for me. Is this Childishness in the extreme OR Something else

    As usual its fascinating to see how things can be processed differently from another culture. From your perspective it might seem bizarre that Children could be capable or even accepted as successful leaders of adults.But as with all things go in mysterious Asia today, much is new and unknown so more seems to be accepted without going meta or psychoanalytical. Not to say that I think such cases should be just dismissed as examples of cultural primitivism. But I do think that it would be tremendously interesting if anyone would care to apply systematic reasoning and analysis to the psychological context here, to see if the outcome that eventually becomes a "known" or knowledge might be something quite different to whats been widely held/debated here.

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  37. Someone has to be superior, other B. There's always a hierarchy. It is the nature of humanity to assume that one's own group is at the top.

    In short, I am countering the position that many empathetic people take that sociopaths are inferior.

    Personally, I am not made superior by my lack of empathy, I am made superior by being measurably better than many other people in ways I find important.

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  38. Why are they heroes, though?

    Do you really think they were capable in having any choice in the matter?

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  39. Narcissism inherent in sociopathy? What about Narcissism by choice (because it either attracts or is necessary) or pathological narcissism which arguably cannot be helped (NPD). Quick, which one is real?

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  40. Medusa: Mostly it's the chain smoking.~ But also, it's spectacular that they built such a legend around themselves, accidental or not. The Htoo twins were a folk legend, and the whole story is great.

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  41. postmodern

    not all empaths think they are superior by the way, just another type.

    as for the rest. i get it.

    B

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  42. Why stop at a T-shirt? We deserve rights! Possibly our own theme park, and no I do not mean Las Vegas.

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  43. inferiority can cause illusions of grandeur. flip-side.

    i'm just goading cos i know you like it ;)

    B

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  44. I can imagine you being highly successful in the situation those kids were in PoMoSo

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  45. I like this B person.

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  46. Gang up on PM day: I think B meant "delusions" of grandeur. They now sit corrected.

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  47. Whats Childishness? Is it something that can be turned on and off?

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  48. PS, you disappoint me as you did not get my joke. "PM". *wink*

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  49. Posted without seeing your PM comment. My bad, Anon.

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  50. i don't get the PM joke.

    and 'illusions' works just as well.

    B

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  51. Making fun of PMS's grammar OCD.

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  52. speaking of childishness

    this is catchy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXwLv4KYFzc

    B

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  53. I see he dropped the ~, it was rather catchy.

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  54. I was just thinking last week, when I was having a fit because something didn't go my way, that nobody ever comments about how childish we are. Now the points made.

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  55. Safe to say that some grudges we will take to the grave.

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  56. I commented about it on another site.

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  57. aspies learn too... we take a long view to "winning" imo

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  58. I thought some of you might be interested in another text about the subject of Sociopaths and Society and how another labeled sociopath see things.

    I really should've posted this link under an article that fits the topic better - and I probably will - but I decided to leave it here for now.

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  59. Deb,

    you wrote:
    "I wonder about a genetic connection between psychopathy and autism/Asperger’s. Does anyone know if research on this has been published?"

    M.E. has written a post where he expresses the same thought.

    I myself have come to wonder about this also, as I've begun to notice many special traits that seem to occur in both groups.

    F.ex., the other day a diagnosed psychopath that I correspond with mentioned in passing that he looks much younger than his age and that he thinks it is because his flat affect emotional habitus results in him not so often having facial expression, the skin and muscles etc. thus not being changed with time as much as for the common person.

    I have noticed the same thing about myself. I have also noticed the same thing with my friend who has Asperger's and apparently this is very common for them.

    I have noticed other things as well, such as the childishness described in the article. I also tend to feel some emotions stronger, anger and frustration coming to mind.

    So yes, there are at least a few people who have wondered about these seeming likenesses.

    I'm trying to find something written or said about it, but so far I've found nothing that suggests research is being done, planned, or even considered.

    The coincidental traits are interesting, and it should definitely be looked into or explained if the reason is already known.

    If you ... if any of you ... find anything about or pertaining to this you're very welcome to stop by my blog and leave a note. Your courtesy will be much appreciated, so thanks in advance!...

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  60. I think the important issue to not here is that personality is what is childish, not our person.

    It's quite the opposite of dealing with most empaths. I find most of them lacking in wisdom and insight, as if they rely upon intuiting life for many issues. It often makes them seem rather foolish, and sometimes outright idiotic. As much as I can't help being childish, they can't help relying on irrational gut reactions. I personally find the latter more disparaging, but to say I'm being biased would be a vast understatement.

    Speaking of grudges, I find these completely irrational. I understand not forgetting someone wronging you, or participating in petty (or sometimes extreme) revenge, but harbor anger for years? This is something I cannot comprehend, and I'm sure it is very unhealthy.

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  61. to note*

    and

    harboring*

    Edit button, please!

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  62. That's odd, because I have a baby face and so does two other sociopaths came across in my life. We (my friends) even used to say that the baby faced ones were the most ruthless of us.

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  63. Awwww... I missed all the fun. Stupid work getting in the way of sociopathworld commenting. :)

    Anyway, I constantly get that, too. Last week I was mistaken for a high-schooler... but I'm 10 years older than they were. I teach college students part-time and they are always surprised on the first day that I'm the teacher and not another student.

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  64. Medusa (quoted):
    "Psychological phenomena of central importance to understanding serial killers such as deficits in empathy have frequently been explained as originating from a psychopathic core," they say, "thereby missing the possibility that deficits in empathy may also be due to autistic psychopathology."

    Yes, I believe Dahmer had Asperger's and find it a likeable trait about him. - I wonder why a prominent leading specialist such as Hare list him among Serial Killers who are sychopaths.
    Hans Asperger refers to those with Asperger's Syndrome as "Autistic Psychopaths", maybe that's what Hare means; maybe he think people with Aspergers are a sub-group of psychopaths. Somewhat offending to the many with this condition who live quiet lives, have families and contribute to society on a daily basis.


    All over the globe and in all cultures at all times Autistic individuals have been considered born with abilities to connect or contact the "supernatural world", "Astrality", "Underworld", "Dream Plane", "Heaven", etc. etc..
    My friend (who has Asperger's) early on told me about having a kind os visions. I've visited clubs for people with Asperger's and thereby got to know several, and I've read a few biografic articles on the Internet too, and it turns out that having visions, seeing "ghosts" (entities), Out-of-body-experiences, and so on, are not uncommon with them. Even many of those who had grown to despice everything that wasn't empirically proveable, when I got close to them, would sometimes confide that they had had such experiences (though they dismissed them as "halucinations" and such).

    Then it happened that I was told by an online acquaintance with whom I correspond (the above menti0ned Psychopath diagnosed and a guy who clearly is in fact a psychopath/sociopath) that he used to sense a "presence" when he was a child and in his early teens. He doesn't have these experiences anymore, in part because he was given electro shock therapy, and in part (perhaps the real reason) because he himself "blocked" the events and they subsided.

    And here's the catch: I share many traits with what we call Sociopaths (or psychopaths ... enough to having been diagnosed as such when I was 18 yrs old). And I too have had such experiences ... not only have had, I can have them today, at will (at least in part).

    This very thing is one of the facts I have secretly kept as my personal "proof" that I could not possibly be a psychopath. And then I come to M.E.'s blog and find ... what?

    ...that M.E. is damned and should be send to purgatory on an empty island without Internet connection for messing with my selfassured smugness! lol

    Actually I am still quite certain I am not a sociopath or psychopath. But that's another discussion (I've written a few lines about it on my blog).


    PandorasBox,

    The hating to wait in line is one of the well known traits of ADHD. And guess what" ADHD is recognized as being related to Autism.


    UKan,

    no one mentions how childish you are? I think that's got to be coincidental. Personally I've heard it many times, about myself and about sociopaths.

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  65. I meant the blog. My girlfriend tells me that I have the emotional development of a two year old mixed with the intelligence of someone over forty. I'm the first to admit it. It's all about me, my, and mine.

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  66. Zhawq.

    The thing about a lot of these "disabilities" is the fact that many of these people don't have the sensory filters that most people have. Or at least that's the theory. Which may be why they are seeing "ghosts" and sensing weird stuff and whatnot.

    Tourette's, for example, is an effect of lacking sensory inhibitions, which causes the tics.

    Hence such people with these disabilities often have crazy talents like recreating a detailed scene from memory with a drawing, listening to a song once and sitting down at the piano and playing it, doing insane mathematical calculations in their heads, etc.

    They are using parts and potentials of the brain that most people don't (though sometimes at the expense of other things).

    Dr. Oliver Sacks has a keen interest in this stuff. Usually from a musical standpoint.

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  67. They are using parts and potentials of the brain that most people don't (though sometimes at the expense of other things).

    I should add that it's either that and/or they are able to use external information and stimuli that most people's conscious filters out.

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  68. It's similar to my previous point.

    Sociopaths become savants at human study, and typically know people and viewpoints from vast amounts of social interactions, minus the emotional baggage. It sometimes paints us as 'very wise' or 'smart' for our age, when although we might be (in comparison) we really don't have some innate Sage within. We simply filter out many key distractions.

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  69. Everyone has gifts. It's a matter of using them. Nobody in my mind is better than the next. It's about being useful.

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  70. extremes are outwardly childlike. even non-socio types.
    i agree that emotionally there is an apparent immaturity, whilst often, intellectually they are way ahead of the pack and often perceived as stupid, crazy, or dangerous.

    i liked the comments about peers and how they aren't really influential to socios. it's the same with me and i'm an empath (uber). for me, there's a feeling of being without context, which, detaches you but which is the sole reason behind your strength or 'self'-awareness. let's face it, we are more attuned to our animality. yes, people do find us perplexing; childish and yet insightful, perfect at some things, awful at others.

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  71. I would really like to see M.E. do a post on the Paranormal, something I have wondered about and have done some investigation into.

    I thought it might never come up on this blog but suprised again because it has.

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  72. @ medusa and notable path.

    i believe what you are describing is latent inhibition.

    i think socios have normal/high latent inhibition.

    'This tendency to disregard or even inhibit formation of memory, by preventing associative learning of observed stimuli, is an unconscious response[2] and is assumed to prevent sensory overload. Latent inhibition is observed in many species, and is believed to be an integral part of learning, enabling an organism to interact successfully in an environment (e.g., social).'

    'Most people are able to ignore the constant stream of incoming stimuli, but this capability is reduced in those with low latent inhibition. It is hypothesized that a low level of latent inhibition can cause either psychosis or a high level of creative achievement[3] or both, which is usually dependent on the subject's intelligence.[4][2] Those of above average intelligence are thought to be capable of processing this stream effectively, enabling their creativity. Those with less than average intelligence, on the other hand, are less able to cope, and so as a result are more likely to suffer from mental illness.' (wiki)

    deanna

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  73. fecking hell i haven't posted much but in first post i spouted off some thoughts about game theory and the next day PoMoSo posted a long blog espousing his thoughts. A couple of days ago I posted a comment under the "definitive test for socio" blog including a link to an autism spectrum test... maybe i'm psychic, lol!
    i'm def not an aspie but at the same time i'd say i could understand them more than the average person.

    @medusa - thanks for the links, v interesting!

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  74. perhaps tomorrow's topic could be drug effects. asked on TNP's blog about how much other socios were affected by cocaine but annoyingly no replies.
    e.g. see http://www.crimetimes.org/03c/w03cp6.htm
    i've long suspected that my almost complete lack of response to coke and my muted response to Ecstasy was related to my personality type, by being related to my body's production/response of serotonin and dopamine.

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  75. extremes are outwardly childlike. even non-socio types.
    i agree that emotionally there is an apparent immaturity, whilst often, intellectually they are way ahead of the pack and often perceived as stupid, crazy, or dangerous.

    i liked the comments about peers and how they aren't really influential to socios. it's the same with me and i'm an empath (uber). for me, there's a feeling of being without context, which, detaches you but which is the sole reason behind your strength or 'self'-awareness. let's face it, we are more attuned to our animality. yes, people do find us perplexing; childish and yet insightful, perfect at some things, awful at others.


    This is a fairly good point. It seems that childlike qualities are most apparent in those who possess an extreme amount of any particular personality characteristic, for instance most people categorized under the personality disorder spectrum.

    And, like you've mentioned, one can be childish/immature in a number of areas either emotional, social, or intellectual.

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  76. I took the Autism Spectrum Test (developed by Simon Baron-Cohen, Borat's cousin) a couple days ago, as it's going around Facebook right now. I've taken it about 4 times over the past decade, ever since it appeared in Wired.

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  77. What were your results?

    I got 23, no surprise there.

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  78. I second the notion. I am also interested in hearing more about the effect of drugs on a sociopath.

    I suspect I may be a sociopath. I've realized there is something different about me, like I have a missing circuit in my brain(if you will imagine two electrical poles, one sending signals to the other; the other being dark and turned off, unable to receive the signal)and I've noticed I seem to have a different reacition to drugs than most people. I have a high tolerance to most drugs, except alcohol, which is odd considering I am a 110 lb female. Adderall makes me extremely horny, literally all I can think about is fucking someone ha the opposite desired effect for a college student (the side of effects of adderal claim to lower the libido) and nearly everytime I take adderall I have an extreme mental breakdown and cry for hours when I come down. I stopped taking adderal because of the breakdowns.

    I want to hear more about the effects of MDMA, shrooms, and LSD on a sociopath. A person, whom I suspect to be a sociopath/psychopath, told me rolling for him was more intense than tripping. Is this true for sociopaths? I was intruiged by what he said, I've rolled several times and tripped on shrooms once. When I rolled I was very chatty and more interested in talking to people, but I never felt increased empathy towards others, in fact empathy wasn't on my mind at all. I actually felt in-inhibited to recognize and call out other people's intentions with thier actions and words while rolling, something most people don't respond well to. Not to mention I was also more vulnerable to the trickery of others who were not rolling, something I didn't much care for. I've also felt sad several times and almost cried when I was rolling. I thought rolling was susposed to just make you happy? When I took shrooms I had a bad trip and consider it the single most horrible experience of my life, therefore I'm not fit to properly judge his statement. However, since the second time I met this person I have noticed there is something off about him, a bit frightening even. We have exchanged several wide eyed gazes where I can't recognize the look on his face, unusual for me. And based on the way we treat each other, like were invovled in a power struggle, I believe he's noticed something off about me too. Do most S's recognize each other, or at least recognize there is something off about the other person that most people don't see?

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  79. no one, I range between 30-35.

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  80. I see we have a SPAM-er in our midst.

    Medusa, so that would make you borderline Autistic, wouldn't it? What's your opinion on this test by the way? Accurate or absurd?

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  81. Looks like our lovely friend Vaknin has already written something about this here.

    And something else...

    Patients with most personality disorders are skilled communicators and manipulators of language. In some personality disorders (Antisocial, Narcissistic, Histrionic, Paranoid) the patients' linguistic skills far surpass the average. The narcissist, for instance, hones language as an instrument and uses it to obtain Narcissistic Supply or as a weapon to obliterate his "enemies" and discarded sources with. Cerebral narcissists actually derive Narcissistic Supply from the consummate use they make of their innate loquaciousness.

    In contrast, the Asperger's patient, though verbose at times (and taciturn on other occasions) has a far more limited range of tediously repetitive topics. People with Asperger's fail to observe conversational rules and etiquette (for instance, let others speak in turn). The Asperger's patient is unaware and, therefore, unable to decipher body language and external social and nonverbal cues and gestures. He is incapable of monitoring his own misbehavior. Psychopaths, narcissists, borderlines, schizotypals, histrionics, paranoids, and schizoids are similarly inconsiderate - but they control their behavior and are fully cognizant of reactions by others. They simply choose to ignore these data.

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  82. anon at 11.58

    'what's childishness? is it something that can be turned on and off?'

    it just means an apparent emotional immaturity. behaviours include laughing at obvious, silly jokes, sexual innuendo, playfulness, strong sense of and need for fun, outpouring emotions like anger, joy, impatience, frustration. its about a sort of exaggerated response to things I guess. the constant need for stimulation,'i'm bored, entertain me!' kind of thing. often a quick loss of interest in things and then a strong immediate interest in others. (but that's just me, can't speak for everyone).

    i can switch from playful to serious pretty quickly. I don't have much in between; the in between of playing 'adult' is uninteresting to me. i either am having ridiculous fun, or having cerebral conversations, hopefully with people who have something mind-blowingly interesting to say!

    i don't think it's like a tap you can switch on and off, it just depends on your moods. but when people are boring me and i want fun, often i'll just leave rather than adapt.(and try to make my own fun).

    hope that's explained a little on childishness. one more thing, do not underestimate a seemingly childish adult...;)

    B

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  83. As a diagnosed Sociopath myself, I have to say this description is spot on. I really relate to everything you've said here.

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  84. Medusa, so that would make you borderline Autistic, wouldn't it? What's your opinion on this test by the way? Accurate or absurd?

    Like most psychological tests, I've decided the results are pretty much useless in determining anything, and the questions and answers are circumstantial.

    All it really does is pinpoint that I like being a loner, that I'm a control freak, and that I have to deal with a fair amount of sensory overload. All of which could be for a variety of reasons, not necessarily because I'm autistic.

    Also, the answers to many of the questions could easily change depending on circumstances. For instance, in some things I look at the big picture, and in others I'm more interested in the details.

    So I don't put much stock in the results. A few years ago I did actually briefly see a counselor who specialized in Asperger's, but I found it useless because all the counselor can do is teach you certain social skills that most people learn instinctively. I didn't have an interest in being more social at the time, and besides, it's not that hard to figure out on your own.

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  85. That's the trouble with many of these tests; they're actually quite accurate representations of the rather crude ways in which the mental health institution categorizes indeterminate agents into neat little boxes.

    And, the trouble with expediency is the loss of accuracy and detail.

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  86. Exactly. Much of psychology says a lot more about the institution of psychology than it does about any individual.

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  87. I'm definitely childish and it helps me relate to my students. 'Pettiness" describes what sets off my rages too.

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  88. Sociopaths are the consumate childlike "tricksters." (With their
    duping grins.)
    Two excellent studies of sociopaths are the films "The Haunting"
    (1963) about an evil "sociopathic" haunted house; and "The Strange
    One" (196?) about a wicked military cadet who has his classmates
    terrorized.

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  89. The emotional behavior of each psychopath is roughly equivalent to the age that particular individual developed antisocial defenses to protect him/herself from overwhelming emotions that were incompatible with surviving as a dependent child in a hostile environment. That's why the psychopath is stuck.
    The way to emotional equilibrium is to work through emotional responses and allow logic to inform the impulses. But for whatever reason, it is impossible for the child psychopath to tolerate the intensity of his/her emotions, and therefore must insist they don't exist. Because this typically happens before abstract reasoning is cognitively possible, there is no interaction between the repressed emotions and often well developed capacity to engage in logical thinking. The two "ways of knowing" are divorced from each other, and the split off emotions remain developmentally arrested at the same age the were split off from the psychopaths self concept.

    It makes sense that an adult psychopath would have little desire to revisit those "pesky things" that are actually his/her own primitive emotions that have been split off from consciousness. Functioning on a purely logical level is far less threatening because the psychopath can reason his/her way through situations that formerly evoked despair and terror in a powerless child.

    The autistic mind is different. There is more of a structural inability to feel emotions. They simply don't have the ability to perceive them. The psychopath, on the other hand, has made a habit of refusing to feel them for so long it looks like he/she can't either. But the difference is: the will of the psychopath WON'T allow the feelings, but they lay buried in a murky place of pain and occasionally bubble to the surface when a certain inner threshold had been reached. The destructive acts that follow are simply the cost of living anxiety free for the rest of the time.

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    1. The emotional behavior of each psychopath is roughly equivalent to the age that particular individual developed antisocial defenses to protect him/herself from overwhelming emotions that were incompatible with surviving as a dependent child in a hostile environment. That's why the psychopath is stuck.

      Interesting. Can you share an author or research article on this? I'd like to know more. For example, is there a rough frame of age/behavior patterns ratios like how a person who decoupled at say age 5 versus one who decoupled at 8 or 9?

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    2. This is from personal observation and study. I am working on a theory that seeks to locate exactly how the pathology occurs.
      My theory (roughly speaking) is that a child with a particularly strong will gets into power struggles with an authoritarian caregiver. In chaotic homes the abuse that results happens in an inconsistent/brutal fashion that is consistent with the profiler's understanding of the psychopath's childhood. I am less interested in this pattern than the one that (I believe) produces a high functioning sociopath/psychopath. (ME would be an example of a high functioning sociopath- so would Bernie Madoff)
      High functioning sociopaths are crushed by authoritarian caregivers who tend to be more narcissistic. They use shame to compel obedience and must have complete control. For this reason, they are particularly hard on strong willed/stoic kids- it's the same mindset of a person determined to "break" an animal. In homes with "pillars of society" narcissistic parents, children can be subjected to horrific abuse. These "upstanding" parents can't face that their need to control has led them to abuse a defenseless child, so they typically tell the child "see what you made me do"- thus forcing the shame of the abuse back onto the child at the same moment they have forced the child into a completely humiliating submission. If an interchange like this is followed by a reestablishment of loving attachment, then a trauma bond forms, and the child becomes a good little soldier that becomes a synchophant for the abusive parent/system.
      High functioning sociopathy occurs when something interrupts the reestablishment of the attachment bond. Perhaps the child begins to guard against being "soothed" after an interchange like this because he/she distrusts the love that can not protect when he/she needs that love the most. There is a deep sense of abandonment that accompanies the shame/humiliation.
      The combined effect of repeated cycles of "breaking" a strong willed child's will is the child is left with an enormously toxic reservoir of emotion they have to capacity to process. So to ensure psychological survival, they split their emotional experience from consciousness. Then, to pay lip service to the tyrannical authority figure, the child learns to outwardly comply with the "rules" to ensure survival. And thus... a player is born.

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    3. final paragraph - toxic reservior of emotion they have *no* capacity to process

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    4. There is no research that I am aware of. I am in the process of pulling together a research proposal of how to treat conduct disorder based on this theory. What I'd like to see tested is if the child can be removed from the toxic environment if it is possible to dismantle antisocial defenses before they become fixed character patterns.

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    5. High functioning sociopaths are crushed by authoritarian caregivers who tend to be more narcissistic...

      This is a perfect description of my upbringing. I'm not sure I'm entirely high functioning though, I slip more than I like.

      How do you account for the neurological variation people with ASPD display? Is the variation already there due to genetics and sociopathy is the response to the stated trauma while a neurotypical person would have another response? Or is the variation in development an outcome of developing an anti-social response to said trauma?

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    6. Last sentence: variation in brain structure

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    7. Both, I think. I think neurological differences manifest in an ever more pronounced fashion as behaviors become patterns.
      For preadolescents with conduct disorder, the main biological markers suggesting this disorder is a 5-10% less than expected density in the paralimbic system and smaller than average subgenual cortex. These physical variations are connected with an individual’s response to negative feedback.
      A brain scan for a child with a diagnosis with ADD would likely reveal similar abnormalities. The brains are different, but I do not believe that they are definitively different in a pathological sense. Vulnerability, perhaps, is certain, but a "bad seed" view of a developing brain is archaic at best.

      In the last 5 years the scientific community has yielded study after study indicating the marvelous plasticity of the adaptable human brain. Our biology mirrors our chosen histories, so to speak.

      The difficulty of treating ASPD is not in the fixed nature of the antisocial brain. Rather, it is convincing the antisocial subject to examine his cognitive defenses against emotional pain. And it is rarely in his/her self interest to do so unless one is taking a very long term perspective.

      To have the capacity to "cure" AsPD, a clinician must first effectively demonstrate to the AsPD individual that is in their own best interest (not society's at large) to deliberately open doors that will result in those individuals feeling the enormous pain antisocial defenses were constructed to block.

      First, the patient must be willing- if the patient is willing then it's my belief that AsPD individuals will progress well in therapy because they are unusually strong willed and tough minded. So the real question becomes: what would it take to convince a high functioning psychopath to genuinely commit to the therapeutic process? Figure that out and within 30 years our prisons will be far less crowded.

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    8. The difficulty of treating ASPD is not in the fixed nature of the antisocial brain. Rather, it is convincing the antisocial subject to examine his cognitive defenses against emotional pain. And it is rarely in his/her self interest to do so unless one is taking a very long term perspective.

      That's the trick, taking the long term perspective into account. It took me most of my twenties to move past living in a state of daily crisis management and even now I have trouble thinking concretely more than a week or two in advance. Longer term thinking is just an abstract exercise for me but I also know, again in the abstract, that keeping myself under wraps is to my ultimate benefit.

      I know some sociopaths don't think that way. I had a colleague in graduate school who was not as high functioning as I am. They openly terrorized their students and bullied our professors. Their downward spiral into self destruction was quite enlightening (and entertaining). Of course, I spiraled into my own a few years later but live and don't learn.

      So the real question becomes: what would it take to convince a high functioning psychopath to genuinely commit to the therapeutic process? Figure that out and within 30 years our prisons will be far less crowded.

      I've always felt it's the low functioning ones that are in prison.

      As for committing to therapy, I speak only from my own experience, but incentivizing has been a good tactic for me. My pro-social behavior stems from an understanding/belief that a) I can get I want out someone, both now and in the future, by not overtly antagonizing/harming them and b) it is to my benefit to behave in a normative fashion.

      Then again, my therapy sessions alternate between me gloating over my latest antics or venting about whatever set off my most recent rage and my therapist reminding me of the above incentives.

      This has been interesting, thank you.

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    9. I wish I could believe this. You've read Hare, I assume - he spends a lot of time citing studies that show nature overpowers nurture, in this case. But those studies may have been wrong, for a variety of reasons. And neuroplasticity has HUGE role to play, so thank you for bringing that up. When your research is done, you'll have to post a link to your paper here!

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    10. I have read Hare. Like Diarist above, his conclusion is that the only thing that works for incentive is reward based, because punishment does not work.

      The tricky thing here is I'm not looking to motivate individuals to change behaviors. That is superficial enough to not be terribly threatening.
      It may not even be possible to provide enough incentive to get diagnosed AsPD individuals to do this. If this theory were to be tested I think it would have to be at the conduct disorder phase of things, perhaps within the context of a residential program. My reason for this is that the personality structure is not as fixed as it would be 30 years down the road. That's why I mention decreasing prison populations. The therapeutic process I'm looking to try out would be for adolescents. 50% of kids with conduct disorder go on to develop AsPD. So if we can shift that percentage to 30/70, then there will be a measurable positive impact on society in terms of future prison populations, and a positive (but less definable) effect with less high functioning sociopathic behavior interrupting the rhythms of society at large. But beyond the future impact on society (which is what I have to focus on to secure funding), the real impact would be to improve the quality of life of those suffering because they keep engaging in a pattern of self sabotage. it's not so much about transforming morality (which is subjective, anyway), but to help AsPD individuals face less ostracism that is of the sort that provokes them into acting in a highly destructive (both to self and others) manner.

      ME's book was a big part of making me pursue this theory- her story of the way she was impacted by her friend Ann (who she dedicates the book to- as "my Virgil") in a way that made her value relationships more. If only every late adolescent potential AsPD kid had an "Ann"...

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  90. i like the reruns
    looks like ther's actualy a lot of ppl here commenting

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  91. Many scorpios are also rather "juvenile" at heart: a big "meeeeeeee!" Then there is the Virgo. Old souls, often fascinated by these screamers.

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    1. Stop bringing up this astrology crap, this isnt some pseudo-science nonsense blog... This is sociopathy and personality disorders!!!

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    2. As if that is some established hard fact "science"! Mere theories about why bad folks do bad stuff, born from a longing to be able to lable..

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  92. Playing the blame game is another way adults act like children ( if only I were raised on a deserted island isolated...I'm looking at you, society). Rejecting accountability and blaming others is common among any type of abuser (physical or otherwise), and also any type of substance abuser.

    Mel

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