Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thin line between Aspie and sociopath?

A lot of people who write me show signs of both, maybe not quite fitting either. For instance:

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?


  1. M.E. makes me sad. NOT in a bitter sense, but in a sympathetic
    sense. I don't like to see people hurting, and I think M.E. IS hurting.
    I saw the entirety of her interview with Dr. Phil for the first time
    the other day. She came off as intelligent and composed but lonely.
    The best way to acess personality is through Chaldean Numerology.
    I broke down M.E.'s real name, the one that begins with a "J."
    It's easy to see why M.E.'s childhood experiences are so important to
    her. People who's names begin with "J" are like elephants who never
    forget. It's also easy to see why M.E. chose the law as her vocation.
    People with "J" names are concerned with "justice" and evening scores.
    However, I DON'T see M.E. as a TRUE sociopath. M.E.'s first name
    tabulates to #12. 12's are HIGHLY intellectual, educated individuals.
    Makes sense with M.E.'s academic backround. Most sociopaths, like
    Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias have #13 first names. Also, M.E.'s
    middle name, or "soul name" tabulates to 21, which also reduces to 3.
    M.E. has gone far in the world and could well go further. M.E. is
    intelligent, perceptive and "tuned in." She generally doesn't HATE,
    like most sociopaths do. M.E.'s last name, or "family history"name is 9.
    That's usually the least important of names, unless we're making a
    final tabulation. All of M.E.'s numbers add up to 42, which reduces to
    6. Therefore, it is not surprising that M.E. CAN love, and that M.E.
    dreams one day of marriage and motherhood.
    M.E. has done good and valuable work in promoting understanding
    about sociopaths. But M.E. is NOT an especially evil woman and
    unless she was the victim of extradinarly bad luck should stay on the
    right side of the law.
    This is just my curisory analysis of M.E. I don't know her actual
    birthdate, which would hone it down much better but, for Heaven's
    sake lady, you're not getting any younger. Take the money and run
    while you can!

    1. this is some serious esoteric aspie shit. can you see into the future?

    2. The fuck are you smoking?

    3. i'd be interested to see M.E.'s face reaction to this, hajaja.

    4. What a surprise it would be if it was actually M.E who posted this.

      Not really. Go away M.E.

    5. Hmm, interesting opinion original anonymous. First, I thought to myself "hahahaha" but then after I'd read a bit more I was still laughing "hahahaha" only out loud.

    6. On a separate note, has M.E. ever been known to post in the comments as herself? People frequently address comments to her as if they're expecting an answer but as far as I can see they've never got one, unless it comes in the form of a new blog post.

    7. ^^ ""I saw the entirety of her interview with Dr. Phil for the first time
      the other day. She came off as intelligent and composed but lonely."" ^^

      i saw dr.phil's show thingy, personally, i think dr.phil might think he's dr. genius. he don't really let you get yr words in edge wise (sorta i guess to his manipulative slant {i swear he has one}). seriously, don't really watch the show, not my cup of tea really. yes, i do have a tainted opinion. he treated M.E's thoughts about sociopathy like rubbish in my opinion. woulda loved to know what M.E's internal dialogue was at the time, because i was kinda fuming inside for her. im non-neurotypical. his rapport with people is different to me i guess. i think he's kinda macho mean in a sense. do an interview with another doctor whose not biased/partial about what "HE" thinks the traits of sociopathy are. M.E's good friend on the phone.. is a keeper. she cares for her :)

    8. I ones posted here telling about the time I beat a police officer and enjoyed it, setting an example that you can well not regret and well enjoy being un-empathic but still possess the abillity to feel empathy and not be sociopathic/psychopathic. I was told on this forum I was plain stupid, and now I see ignorance unfolding before my eyes on this forum.

      One might well strongly disagree about the ideas and thoughts of someone like for instance original Anonymous November 19, 2013 at 4:18 AM(not me), and find them unfactual. But replying with laughter and poor behaviour is in my opinion ignorant and shows poor taste. The intelligent thing to do is one of three:
      1. Dismiss the subject if it does not interest you, and respect that someone else has taken the liberty of forming different opinions.
      2. Take up an non-"ad-hominem" discussion with an open mind even if you initially disagree while forming your own opinions on the topic you disagree on.
      3. Investigate further, eventually choosing 1 or 2 if so desires.

      But jumping to idiocracy and adolecent behaviour even if you might be right is just plain low. But then again, I guess there are sociopaths in here that are more like children then adults, so showing decency and respect might be a little bit too far fetched.

      I sometimes find comments in here straight out illiterate and that is a strong contrast to someone who is supposed to be low-functioning like I was told in here. For the record, M.E. does give this blog almost all its intellectual value, with a few exceptions.

      Speaking of uneducated illiteracy, here is some information about the viking sagas and the discovery of Vinland/North-America, and don't let the title deceive your simple mind into believing what the outcome is:

      The Viking Deception

      I will trust my mensa scores long before I trust many of those ****** in here, and with this text I state this is the simplest I can make it for you.

    9. lol, ya i thought about my judgments in having a chuckle (knew someone would be on that ); it just was funny to me. maybe i shoulda withheld, but i didn't. I see what the original commenter was trying to do. so overall they meant well, and wanted what was best for her. different, but where all different. no pun intended :)

    10. A UberEmpath read ME i think with ancient numbers. It takes a true one to be able to read that well =)

  2. I'm a borderline case of about four types of personality disorders but not a sociopath. Most people who meet me find me personable and friendly, charming and intelligent and...then something 'mis-clicks' and I get fired / into a fight / blanked in some way... I do not understand many social cues that neuro-typicals take for granted and have real difficulty maintaining relationships with people who are not off-center (recovering alcoholics, ex-cons, failed academics, darkly comic depressives etc) themselves. I know I'm not a sociopath because of how much I love animals (and that love is usually returned too - animals are great) and how much I enjoy a good thread of sardonic humor (sarcasm is pretty tedious). But where do I fit? No idea... It helps a bit just to gain different perspectives - like from you lot.

    1. You probably fit in lots and lots of places. and when you are more in control of the fighting, etc, you will be able to move fluidly through different circles.

      IMO, people with charm and intelligence are given a ton more slack, they're pursued and invited into more circles than others. More people want to be around you than you think :)

      I always thought to myself that normal people would probably find me too "out there" . But now i'm thinking that normal people are too "out there" for me. I will never fit in like i always wanted to.. Instead, i move t h r o u g h those circles. It's not a horrible way to live and i get to see so much more this way. Like being in an amusement park :)

    2. It might just be that you are bright. It's harder than average for bright people to feel emotionally at ease within mainstream culture because they get more frustrated with the stupidity that is everywhere.

    3. My pdoc said some of the brightest people are borderlines. Many geniuses are bipolar.

  3. I dont think anyone really feels remorse.

    1. I do. I've made some serious mistakes in life and the remorse that followed has provided a strong motivation to make amends for those mistakes.

      It's not a comfortable feeling.

    2. just burning R A G E

    3. that's regret not remorse

    4. I appreciate your helpful comments Machemp. (helpful to me.) I've felt remorse too. I guess if you haven't felt it you can't understand it , just like it's hard for us to understand someone without empathy/conscience.

      The line between all these personality disorders is murky. The good news is we're talking about it.

    5. less talk more vodka

    6. @ anon 930-
      regret is when you wish things had turned out differently but don't take it so far as blaming yourself for the outcome.
      Remorse involves a recognition that your actions precipitated harm for somebody else in a way that you feel was undeserved.

      There is no need for "amends" if what you feel is simple regret. But if you are haunted by a nagging sense that you have unfinished business you need to put right with another person, I'd say that's remorse.

      Of course, because this is SW I suspect that the only unfinished business that is related to emotion is the desire to enact revenge to put a wrong right.

      If remorse seems impossible to wrap your head around maybe the best way to think of it as a state of mind about a past event that is the complete opposite of the desire for revenge. One is about blame. The other is about taking responsibility.

    7. Mach, you're one unpleasant old cunt, aren't you?

    8. *Sigh*
      This is what passes for trolling these days? Where is your trolling spirit, 1108? A generic insult like that, that shows no insight, no humour is maybe worthy of an eye roll. At best.

      Mach, that's actually a pretty interesting explanation.
      I have a few family members that are riddled with regrets and remorse. Won't shut up about it. But refuse to actually do anything, preferring to wallow in it instead. Have you ever dealt with those types?

    9. >11:40
      Thanks for your worthless opinion.

    10. :) That was cute, I'll give you that

    11. @ 1108
      Yes- you are correct- but only to the fools who would mess with my children. Your characterization is quite mild, actually.

      To seek my attention through negative reinforcement ( your audacious use of the c word) but then quiver behind the moniker anonymous, I suspect that you needed some unpleasant cunt to stick up for your inner child. Who was it that left your inner child so needy?

      @ Bite Me
      I have a grandfather who is 99 who is like this. He is a case study for the deteriorated covert narcissist. I am of the firm opinion that it is wisest to provide them with much alcohol within a short time frame so their misery is replaced with a drunken stupor and an inability to recognize that you are not listening to the endless loop of whining. Makes things much nicer for all parties involved.

    12. Remorse can be a positive thing.

    13. I agree, Aspie.
      The unexamined life is not worth living. -Aristotle

    14. I think that quote was attributed to Socrates by Plato.

    15. quite possibly...
      I'm getting rusty in my old age ;)

  4. You really can't compare the two disorders.

    1. we're all one crazy familly
      doing bad things and laughing a lot

  5. I was once, years ago, in a long term relationship with one who was diagnosed with Asperger's. Their father and their sibling as well as many of their other relatives had the condition as well.

    The biggest difference, looking back, between they and I was what we would do and how we would feel with our dearth of empathy. They were terribly upset with their relative lack of empathy and their relative inability to connect with others on an emotional level. They would resort to giving lavish gifts and complete obedience in order to express to me in tangibles what they could not via emotional bond. They would often go out of their way to make others feel special and cared for as a means for dealing with their own guilt over not being able to share in those feelings.

    I would gleefully accept their submission and gifts and think nothing more than how to get more. Whereas he felt guilt over lacking certain emotional and empathic features, I saw it as an advantage. It was one that I exercised for the duration of the relationship.

    1. He and they sound like there were issues beyond autism. Also sounds like you are doing some spinning and mindreading. I wouldn't be so sure the gift giving was all about guilt.

  6. In "balls to the walls" situation almost everyone become a psycho, right? This type of discussion is surely only possible among well fed folks, a luxury "thang"? Middle class people on cushioned chairs used having absurd paychecks for some symbolic service which they provide sure love to find some "tickling" stimuli, violent movies or tales about some horror-class in society, living out their secret longings?

  7. I think the reader has Excessive Parenthesis Personality Disorder.

    IMO sociopathy and aspergers have little in common.

  8. I care about the environment. Why? I think because I like things to be healthy. Because when things are healthier, they're more effective, and they benefit me more that way. So I do feel compelled to take care of it. Its what serves me.

  9. Hello. My boyfriend is on the sociopath spectrum and my 16 year old son has aspergers. I am a lawyer with some aspergers traits. I feel that i can get along with my sociopath boyfriend becuase i have formed a close bond with my son over the years and am not expecting either one to behave as an empath. In addition i am an uber empath : )

    1. That's good advice. Next time I interact with a socio or aspie I won't expect them to act as an empath. I'm starting to understand how to handle this a little better.

  10. I think I'm a mix of narc, aspie, and a sociopath. I love making others uncomfortable by violating the social norms as well. But just like what C. said, doing so would erode my power base and I've been trying to prevent that from happening. I love to see people freak out for the stupidest reasons though. I think I might be an aspie because I'm definitely not that charming guy in the room, although it could just be the fact that I grew up in a few different countries and I still haven't quite figured out how the social cues work in the American society yet. At the same time, I also don't enjoy destroying people's lives since it doesn't benefit me and I'm just lazy to go out of my way to exercise that power I may or may not have. But since I do love to spice life up sometimes out of boredom, I do toy with people from time to time and making them become suicidal is always a fun activity for me. Although I seem to have questionable moral values, I am doing pretty well in life (working as an actuary) and I'm highly reliable and not violent. I'm still trying to figure myself out, I might not be a sociopath after all. I do love my sociopath friends though, they make life a lot more interesting.

  11. What do you think you'll get, when you push an aspie too far?
    What do you think you'll get, when you push an empath/neuro-typical too far?
    What do you think you'll get, when you push a psychopath/sociopath too far?

    1. I've seen enough aspies in rage.
      Distance is not the most concise answer.
      The difference is in the level of self control.

    2. aspie- disengagement
      empath- drama
      sociopath- revenge

    3. Lanza; the rare case where HFA/Aspergers went off on a killing spree rage

  12. ME,

    There is no border, link, or relation between Asperger's Disorder and what you refer to as sociopathy. What you are doing, caused by your narcissism, is keying in on one small aspect of a variety of traits that compose a diagnosis without taking all of the criteria into consideration. If you look at other disorders you could find other traits or symptoms that appear to overlap and that you may feel you exhibit. For instance, you could just as easily say you exhibit symptoms of ADHD/ADD due to your restlessness, not keeping jobs, etc., or OCD because you how you so overly focus on one idea.

    So the question is, how come you are focused on Asperger's, which is a developmental disorder and no where in the realm of a personality disorder, and not looking at (or talking much about), anything in the Axis II personality disorder clusters?

    Hmmm....does this come back to the question of whether can someone with a personality disorder really know they have a personality disorder?


    1. Personality disorders are merely adding the numbers to fit the answer, vice versa. In the vast spectrum of human traits, what defines someone is how those traits are applied along with brain chemistry of course.

      I only see personality disorders as something that is an occurring encumbrance. In saying so empathy could be classed as a disorder.

    2. @ unburdened.
      my SO would very much agree. i always try to analyze, (where do you fall in.. what trait.. where does he lean towards on the spectrum). He's like, um "human traits." he looks at personality disorders as waste basket disorders. i somewhat very much agree and do disagee with him. he keeps shaking his head at me. lol

    3. And sociopathy/psychopathy is not a developmental disorder?
      Just because someone doesn't give a damn about something, doesn't mean they can not learn to give a damn.
      Practice makes the the master.

    4. Not sure what you're referring too VoV.

      Superchick, where is your horse hitched?

    5. i cant make out what you mean, i suck at sarcasm, might have an idea, :-)

    6. Yes, what about new hybrid mixes of disorders. Not new really, just not termed. Say you have a half empath sociopath. Or would that be a psychopath?
      What do you call it if you get possessed trying to stab someone and feel like you are fighting yourself to gain control back over whatever is controlling you?
      Has any SuperEmpaths had this problem? Or am i a psychopath haha

  13. Where are you on the spectrum.

    Also it was just a comment Will Graham made on Hannibal.

  14. O, lols. hehe ;)
    borderline. milder end of spectrum. but if you met me, you might think im bi-polar. id say bpd/bi-polar tendencies (hypo-manic in seasons). high-functioning though. been aseessed by the docs, both have different viewpoints. one says bpd traits. another bi-polar. both disagree with each others labels. my family doc always thought ocd. ha! he calls it waste basket disorders, says people are overly-diagnosed, or under-diagnosed. i don't know, i'm just me. it works, just being me.

    And you unburdened? where are you on the spectrum?

    1. Seasonal Affective Disorder possibly? (It can be common; especially if you live in an area where seasons change).
      Also if your BPD is so mild, would it be possibly it's a form of complex ptsd instead?

  15. wow this thread is really active thas cool

  16. I know this couple that are a severe BPD/NPD and have been together a rocky 15 yrs yet they are making it!

  17. i do believe there is a thin line
    back when i didnt know the word sociopath i used to think i have some kind of asperger because of my inability to bond with other people
    but that was it.


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