Thanks so much for your fabulous book, which has really helped me to understand myself. I know (partly because you specifically say so in the book) that many of your readers say this, but I see so much of you in me and me in you.
I've always known that I'm different, given my inability and disinclination to form deep emotional bonds and to make personal sacrifices for the sake of morality. I once thought that I might be have Aspergers Syndrome, as it's a common condition among geeks like me, but there are some characteristics of Aspies that I can't relate to at all, most notably their tendency to feel genuine remorse when they finally realise that they've hurt someone.
Until recently I didn't believe that I could be a sociopath because I was prone to worry and upset, and because I thought that I was terrible at playing the game. However, since being medicated for anxiety and depression I've become much less susceptible to distress, and your book has helped me to understand why I don't always win (as I previously assumed that sociopaths do) when playing the game - like you I crave stimulation, this unfortunately means that I have a tendency to throw away the game in favour of the momentary thrill of riling someone up.
Also like you, I struggle to react appropriately to other people's confusing social cues (the main reason I thought I was an Aspie), and must train myself to behave with "sensitivity". Although I'm almost your age I'm not as far along as you in that regard, but I'm making progress (I think about half the people I meet today find me charming, as opposed to about 10% when I was in high school), and your success gives me hope that I'll eventually develop into a convincing wolf in sheep's clothing, able to form long lasting relationships (like you, I'm not completely immune to loneliness) and to keep a job for more than a couple of years. However, I have no desire to become an empath, even if that were possible - over the last few years a series of setbacks destroyed my supreme confidence, feeling like I was just like everyone else was so horrible that I went to my doctor to get doped up.
I know that some people think that my life - directionless, meaningless, and solitary (like the fictional vampire you mention, I didn't seek out a lonely existence but I live one to the fullest) - must be terribly sad. I don't give a damn, in fact, one of the things that I really like about going to restaurants, movies, etc., alone is that it's defiant. I just love making others uncomfortable, watching them squirm as they decide whether to confront my violations of social norms - I feel empowered doing it, even though I know that, in the long run, making enemies erodes my power base. I'm not as big a risk taker as you though, my taunting of others is usually limited to staring at people (like you I have a predator stare, I used to think that my unusual eye contact habits meant I was an Aspie, but I can make normal eye contact, I just choose not to) and flaunting my high carbon footprint lifestyle (environmentalists are my favourite targets, partly because their ridiculous irrationality and hypocrisy invites it, partly because, like you, I find it infuriating when someone tries for force me to experience guilt or shame).
On the subject of the hypocrisy of empaths, I found your discussion of East of Eden's Cathy (whose insight into the frailties of others leads her to conclude that people are gross hypocrites and wholly unworthy of her respect) absolutely fascinating. Unlike you, I've never had anyone teach me that empaths are "just like me" (I've never had any close relationships - my megomanical father and highly anxious mother were always cold to me, my relationship with my brother is very competitive, and I've never bothered to build close friendships or long lasting romantic relationships), all I see when I interact with other human beings is hypocrisy - they judge me for being inconsiderate, yet they don't consider my needs when push comes to shove (during my depressive episode most of my "friends" avoided me and my boss and colleagues pushed me out of my job). I haven't read East of Eden but I'm going to, I've been making an effort to read more fiction since I heard that Aspies are told to read fiction to learn (the very useful skill) cognitive empathy.
Anyway, you may or may not hear from me again - I've become an avid follower of your blog but I'm a lurker, like you I think that we learn much more when we just listen (or read, as the case may be). I think that you've achieved your goal of creating a community of like-minded individuals who have a lot to learn from one another - thanks again.
Sincerely (or as sincerely as a likely sociopath can write),
I have a personal interest in solving the mystery. A lot of my relatives seem to have one foot in both aspie and sociopath camp. Does anyone else fall along this border?