Sunday, November 10, 2013

Call me sociopath?

A reader wonders if he is a sociopath:

First of all great blog. I really like that you don't talk about sociopathy, but through it. I find it similar to reading for example Nietzsche - nothing new, but if I find it HERE people must see it differently, it's funny how blind they are.

Moving to main part of this email I feel, that I will screw English terribly ;) If you want to publish it feel free to fix anything that sounds really bad.

I'd like to ask, what would you consider me to be. I tried tests – I always score full points on “lack of feelings and machiavelism” scale while having average score on aggression. On PCL-R I get about 17.
Where to start...
Maybe with what I'm not. I don't like killing animals and never did. Ants, some frogs etc, but not mammals. I don't commit crimes on daily basis and I'm not impulsive. I cheat in any way available and I find it enjoyable, but I didn't steal for fun or anything like it. When I had to fight few times in my life I just turned off anything but anger, so I could aim for eyes and veins, but I it was always a choice and I could stop at any point. I also wouldn’t say I’m fearless, I know that emotion pretty well. That will be it about being normal.

I’m narcissist, but I work on it. It’s like drug and I don’t like anything to control me. I guess you know that nice feeling, when people say how they think, that they know you really well, when they only know mask – or even better feeling, when they tell you, how they can see through your mask and describe another mask as “real you” ;) But the drug part is the only thing that I fight with. I feel better, I don’t think about “difficulty level” when I choose goals and so on.

I play with people. I see them like they were sets of algorithms. I read “Influence” by Cialdini when I was 8-10 year old and I never stopped learning psychology from that point(I’m 21 now). I always could easily imagine how to break someone or how to help him evolve and I find both ways enjoyable – what I care about is how good am I with it. And I am pretty good ;).

I don’t think there is any “real me” behind all that games.

I never felt remorse. I also didn’t feel love, attachment or friendship and I don’t think I fully believe these are real things like people describe them. I know it on cognitive level, that they exist but I just feel like it was some fake. I know happiness, anger, some lust, sorrow(and I think it’s nice),fear/anxiety and flow. Actually, I heard few times that people find it hard to imagine me in any other mood then happy.
I’m also pretty smart. I like math, physics or philosophy and can understand them as well as I can remember lots of biological stuff. At the moment I study three full courses and it’s just fine. I even prefer when I have more to do and I find time pressure fun.



  1. I would say to this person: Don't be so anxious to label yourself.
    You might take the label for the reality, and be bound by it.
    You have some traits that people at various times have termed
    "sociopathic.' But the REAL, essential YOU, is beyond limiting labels.
    When not bound by words, you can be free to be who your truly are:
    A free agent who can make his own positive choices for maxime
    happiness. But be certain to learn a practical skill that places you in
    demand so you have enough money to earn your keep. Then,
    (As long as your health holds up.) the world is at your feet.

    1. Labels do not have to be limiting. I like to think of labels as being entries in a dictionary, you can get the general information from them and then turn to the etymology to find out the unique story behind it. In my part of the world, in talking with "queer" sociopaths, labels are invaluable. I get to spend much less time talking about the nouns of a person and much more time discussing verbs and adjectives (what makes them distinct). However, I also fully believe that a label must only be a 'first step'. Let the presence (or absence) of it light a fire that causes that introspection. Labels simply the big picture but the onus is on the one using the label to add the detail.

      Rather than rehash what I've written many times to the queer sociopaths and sociopathic-leaning individuals that I communicate with, I'll just paste one such instance. It was in response to a homosexual sociopath that feared adding one more label to his list of many.

      "Receiving a diagnosis of psychopathy did not change the person that I am. It merely gave a new vocabulary for the person that I always had been. I could then begin to learn about myself further. There was a word, a diagnosis, for the facets of my life that seemed so alien to others. This diagnosis had research associated with it, which would be a treasure-trove of valuable information for learning. No longer was I a seemingly unconnected mess of behaviors and thoughts. I was able to retain my individuality and complexities, but I now had an idea of what a large part of me was. Like early humans mastering the spoken word, I could now communicate with myself and with others a cherished and important of my being: my psychopathy.

      Many argue that the use of labels reduces the individuality of those associated with such. I believe this can be true. I am much more than my gender or psychopathy. I am a complex individual with many nuances and quirks. I am unpredictable, wild, and not caged easily. Would not the diagnosis of psychopathy cage me or put me into a box that I could not escape? I don’t believe so. The individual’s use of the label means much here.

      A label can be vital for understanding the conditions one lives with. The chronic pain sufferer the learns they have arthritis can take steps to change their activities as well as accept the potential lifelong pain. The psychopath can learn behaviors to rein in impulsivity and better understand the path they must walk to stay free, while also accepting (which is usually not a problem) that they will forever be psychopathic.

      As importantly, this vocabulary allows for concise conversation with others. That said, no two psychopaths are exactly alike: we have our individual differences as well as strengths and weaknesses. However, with a proper explanation, the word ‘psychopath’ can turn volumes of explanation into a few sentences. With those that I correspond with, we can can get to the interesting qualities of the person without belaboring the condition. With myself, I can have a similar conversation, focusing on the quirks that make myself who I am and setting a good portion of the larger picture aside as a single word.

      There is no shame in being a psychopath. The diagnosis was a gift for me in many ways. It allowed me to see a bigger picture, even if some details are murky, and allowed me to research the condition in order to live the most fulfilling life possible. It let me realize that there are others like me and it gave me the vocabulary to speak articulately with my confidants as well as my psychopathic brothers and sisters. I am a label? No. However, the label makes many things much easier."

  2. Must psychos, in general, be "dubbed" like a knighthood (by a psychiatrist instead of a queen) and recieve a diploma stating it, black ink on white paper? THEN they are psychos, if not not? Would they prefer special schools just accepting hollow folks, and refer to themselves as a collective as "my people"?

  3. I think you'd really enjoy reading James Fallon.

  4. Which one/s do you associate yourself with?

    1. The Unprincipled Psychopath

    This subtype can be frequently seen in conjunction with the narcissistic personality patterns. The unprincipled psychopath often manages to stay clear of the law and rarely enters clinical treatment programs. They are quite self-centered and indifferent to the attitudes and reactions of others, preying on the weak, and enjoying their dismay or anger. They are rash and willing to risk harm, and do not fear threats or punishment. Glib and adept at charming others, they tend to project malicious tendencies outward.

    2. The Disingenuous Psychopath

    This is a variant of the histrionic personality pattern. While showing a veneer of
    friendliness and sociability, the disingenuous psychopath is often unreliable, impulsive, and resentful towards family members and other close friends. Flagrantly deceitful, this type is also insincere and calculating and enjoys seductive play. Their greatest fear is that they will only be loved if the other is made to do so. Their strong need for attention and approval eventually erodes, giving rise to manipulation and cunning.

    3. The Risk-Taking Psychopath

    This type – a variant of the histrionic personality pattern - may engage in what appears to others as foolhardy risk taking for the mere sake of itself; of the excitement it provides, and not for material gain. Thrill-seeking is an end in itself, and in so doing, risk-taking psychopaths demonstrate their lack of dependability as well as the irresponsibility of their actions.

    4. The Covetous Psychopath

    Aggrandizement, an essential feature of the DSM’s antisocial personality disorder, as well as of the OCD’s dis social personality disorder, is at the core of this subtype, which feels that they are “owed” by life and the world. They are driven by envy and a desire for retribution, to take back what they have been deprived of by destiny. The far extreme of the disorder plays manipulative power games, rapacious in their covetousness for that which others have achieved or earned. Nevertheless, no matter how much they acquire, their insecurity drives them to remain ever jealous, envious and greedy, ostentatious and conspicuous.

    5. The Spineless Psychopath

    This subtype whose dynamics are derivative of the avoidance and dependent personalities, is deeply insecure and irresolute, possibly even cowardly. Thus, psychopathic aggression in this sense “represents a paradoxical response to felt dangers and fears" precisely in order to prove that one is neither weak nor fearful. Violence is a counter phobic act, presenting a fa├žade of formidable strength in order to divert and impress the public, and is viewed as a means of overcoming fear and insecurity. The swaggering tough guy and petty tyrant as well as the psychopath who joins militaristic groups that seek to cleanse the world of shared scapegoats are prototypical of this variant.

  5. 6. The Explosive Psychopath

    Close in nature to the pattern described as sadistic borderline, uncontrollable rage and fearsome attacks upon members of their own family characterize this subtype. These “adult tantrums” are instantaneous reactions to cope with frustration or fear. The outburst “serves to discharge pent-up feelings of humiliation and degradation” is The explosive psychopath is often hypersensitive to feelings of betrayal. Certain persons come to symbolize their sense of frustration and hopelessness, and interaction with them may cause this subtype to commit acts of violence.

    7. The Abrasive Psychopath

    Often exhibiting features otherwise associated with the negativistic and paranoid personality disorders, this subtype is characterized by overt, direct contentiousness and quarrelsome behaviour. Intentionally abrasive and antagonistic, fault finding and dogmatic, this subtype delights in using reasoning to frustrate and undermine opponents. The pretension of principled behaviour is a mere veneer, rapidly penetrated by the slightest opposition, and countered by bitter complaints, nagging, and criticism.

    8. The Malevolent Psychopath
    Especially vindictive and hostile, this subtype displays hateful behaviour and is destructively defiant of society. The cold-blooded ruthlessness of the malevolent psychopath is a result of anticipating betrayal and punishment. Others’ emotions are rejected due to a deep, underlying suspicion that any effort at goodwill is merely a ploy to deceive them. Fearless and guiltless, this subtype displays characteristics of the sadistic and paranoid personality disorder. Many murderers and serial killers fit this psychopathic pattern. They appear to feel minimal guilt for their violence, dis¬playing instead arrogant contempt for the rights of others. Nevertheless, while they appear incapable of feeling guilt, they do know the difference between right and wrong. Interestingly, and unlike other variants of psychopathy, “they do not lose self-conscious awareness of their actions, and press forward only if their goals of retribution and destructiveness are likely to be achieved:

    9. The Tyrannical Psychopath

    This subtype, along with the malevolent psychopath, is among the most frightening and cruel of these variants. Although both relate to others by attack, intimidation, and both are destructive, the tyrannical subtype is often stimulated by resistance or weakness. This encourages attack rather than slowing it down. They seem to obtain a very peculiar sense of satisfaction from being unmerciful and inhumane, from creating suffering and seeing its effect on others, and from forcing victims to cower and submit. While they are the purest type of classical psychopath, they exhibit both the sadistic and negativistic personality disorders. Calculatingly cool, they instinctively know how to choose their victims for their submissiveness. They are violent in order to inspire terror and intimidation. They are driven by their fear that others may recognize their inner insecurities and low sense of self-esteem.

    10. The Malignant Psychopath

    This subtype shares patterns with the paranoid personality disorder, and is best characterized by its “autocratic power orientation”, mistrust, resentment, and envy of others. While the malignant psychopath has attempted to abuse and tyrannize others, in contrast however to the other psychopathic subtypes, it has found itself on the receiving end of hostility and harsh punishment in exchange for its efforts. The strategy of arrogance and brutalization has backfired too often, and thus retribution is sought, but not through action as much as through fantasy.. They see plots and treachery everywhere, projecting their own venom, malice and ill will on others, and persecutory delusions may ensue. They are consumed by their primordial need to retain their autonomy and belief in their own self-worth.

    1. You forgot about the self sacrificing psychopath, who at different times encompasses all of the subtypes you have provided.
      I think the proper way to describe this subtype is a self-searching psychopath.
      A human being lost in the anomalies of the so called psyche.
      I call shananigans upon the systematization.
      In the end there is only one rule...

    2. I am a little of everything, very introspective, as it appears to be a common characteristic among almost everyone on this blog.

      Also, what rule would that be?

  6. Why be afraid of labelling yourself? Are you concerned about the stigma or think you have to act in certain ways? It's just a word. My ASPD diagnosis was one of the most liberating moments in my life. I finally understood myself in a way I could never articulate before then. Self acceptance is the first step to self actualization. And a self actualized socio is a formidable person indeed.

    Just look at ME.

    1. You don't need to be labeled by a doctor to achieve self acceptance and self actualization. It's not that the sociopath is afraid of being labeled, as if it will change something in him or herself, instead, he or she simply doesn't feel a need to be labeled.

      That said, a lot of problems can occur from being outed as a sociopath. People generally don't trust psychopathic individuals, due to the stigma, and it can result in a lot of problems both socially and in the work place. It also closes doors for specific jobs, try to become a doctor or a psychologist if you've already been diagnosed with sociopathy, the ethics committee would be watching you like a hawk, assuming they even allow you to take part in that line of work.

      In regards to ME, she had to get professionally diagnosed to give credit to her book, and even then she has said that some part of her regrets the decision due to the problems the book has caused. It's not as simple as telling people you are sociopathic and they'll just overlook your unique personality because they understand. Imagine if a bear was wearing a fish costume, swimming with the fishes, and suddenly he took the costume off and said hey fish, I'm not really a fish I'm a bear. Sure the fish might not swim-away completely, but I can guarantee you they will be staying a good distance away from the bear, and always watching.

      But I digress, the main point is getting labeled is not for everyone, nor is it important, if you need to get labeled because you are insecure and unsure of what makes you different than go for it, but if you are comfortable just being yourself, without needing to attach social stigmas to your personality, than I would say it's better to avoid the problems that come with getting diagnosed.

  7. psychopath-I-logicalNovember 12, 2013 at 6:02 AM

    It would seem that diagnosis allows the sociopath to see themselves in a continuum. The condition means that the narrative of self can feel like a collage, shifting and moving with abrupt cuts and fade in, flashbacks to memory, the disordered mess that passes for the sociopaths emotional back-story, the diagnosis gives a short hand and allows one to deal more coolly with some of the stranger and more jarring aspects of the condition.

  8. "At the moment I study three full courses and it’s just fine. I even prefer when I have more to do and I find time pressure fun." Cool, you're like me. Without something done and something to finish next, there's not much left.


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