Saturday, February 1, 2014

Fear of death?

This funny exchange with a reader:

Hey, it recently hit me that most people don't can't think about death without getting really bothered. 

E.g. you're going to die. If you have kids, they'll all die. Families, races, countries and species all die out. 

Nothing lasts forever.

I suspect a good test as to whether or not someone is sociopathic is can they take the facts - the incontrovertible facts of life - stoically.

Can you imagine going up to a mother with a little kid and saying, "what a nice kid! Too bad he'll probably be dead in 80 years or so. I sure wish he'd live forever - but you know how life is."

I can remember being a kid and black kids would taunt me by saying, "yo mamma." I'd say, matter-of-fact, "I don't have a mother. She's dead. She killed herself when I was 3." They often felt sad and apologized to me; it made no sense to me. One minute they were insulting me, the next minute feeling sorry for me.

Ha, hilarious. Did your mother really kill herself when you were 3? Can I publish this?

It is all true. Yes, you can publish the whole thing.

My experience of it was of misunderstanding. I didn't hate the black kids for being verbally aggressive, too personal and insulting. I thought they were a bit robotic with their insults - the black kids would reflexively say, "yo mama." Of course, it turns out I was the robot.


55 comments:

  1. The simple way to get over our inbread fear of death is not to
    hold on to the "life" of the ego, which is actually no life at all.
    Once we realize that EVERYTHING is transitory we don,t fear "loss"anymore then we attempt to damn up a flowing river.
    As far as our actually physical deaths are concerned, Jesus Christ
    BOTH lived and died for our sins, and salvation is IMPUTED by GRACE.
    Of course, it takes FAITH to see this, and the FAITH ITSELF is given
    through GRACE by God.
    A man could no more reach down and tie his shoes, if it was beyond
    the perview of God's will.

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  2. I don't think this quality is exclusive to sociopaths. I think trauma survivors who have been able to heal and integrate the experience also possess it. It reminds me of stoic philosophy.

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    Replies
    1. The difference is that trauma survivors can and do experience grief. Since sociopaths have a lack of grief, any period of mourning is significantly abridged.

      That of course isn't to say sociopaths can't experience and express genuine emotional loss. When my grandmother passed away I experienced it for about 10 minutes during her burial. While that may not seem like much to empaths, it was extraordinary for me. I had initially faked it at the burial site, but I recall being remarkably surprised at how freely the tears eventually ran and that I was actually experiencing an emotion from it. ME's recounted experience, about being both emotional as well as detached at the same time to observe it and your surroundings, was certainly true in this case. I'm still fascinated by the experience.

      I consider myself fortunate because my ability to fake it is quite limited (though truthfully I haven't practiced it enough in front of the mirror), so when it did occur I solidified myself empathetically with the rest of the extended family.

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    2. Do sociopaths fear death?

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    3. Sociopaths can still have a fight-or-flight response. If anything, survival instincts can be heightened. Of course, actual fear may either be inhibited or non-existent. For example, I was almost ran over by a truck yesterday while crossing the intersection because I was deep in thought and not paying attention to the lights (an admitted rarity). The fight-or-flight response was there, but it was more cognitive and less emotional. There was momentary adrenaline with its associated physiological sensation, but not really fear. After the incident I was irritated at myself for a minute, and then it was over. I have not thought of it or worried myself over any of it (or mortality) until this question.

      It may be less of a fear of death, and more of a case of not wanting life (and the opportunity to experience it) to end.

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    4. I get the opinion moments of fight-or-flight feelings are momentarily and do not hang around for long. Right? I get the opinion that sociopaths can bracket their feelings quickly.

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    5. Sociopaths can contain feelings they may have, when they have it. However, sometimes they can't. The occasions can come seldomly and unexpectedly, which can lead to atypical responses. In a way you could say, with what emotions we do experience on these occasions, that we are emotionally immature.

      Fight-or-flight is momentary, and is at its basis a pure physiological phenomenon designed for survival. It is, at its design, meant to be transitory. It should only trigger when you need it. You can also separate it from emotional fear.

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    6. Thanks. You have explained it well.

      As an empath, it is beneficial to bracket feelings and emotions; one that we have to master. This comes easy for the sociopath. :)

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    7. I do not agree with these interpretations of emotions and the conclusions that are made in this sub-thread. People relate to theyr emotions very differently, some of these relations to emotions are culturally based, learned through experiences or evolved otherwise.

      Mentioned this before, but for the record; I am not a sociopath, according to a psychologist I score high in antisocial traits, but I ain't stone cold yet.. Not trying to disrespect anyone here by these words.

      Fear of death; you don't know fear before you see it in the eyes. Almost being run over by something would piss me off, not make me afraid. I would propably want to strangle whoever was responsible. If my offspring were involved and endangered I would propably be at the edge of attacking. Would expectthat goes in the same lane as the socios in here.

      Fear of death; not normally. Not in a fight. Not under pressured circunstances or immediate danger; however I do have common sense. I don't take stupid chances. If I have to, I seek the opportunity to prepare sp that I can plan the outcome. Jumping in front of a truck and hoping to live is just plain stupid, and not either sociopathic nor brave.

      You say you don't fear death? Have you died(silli question), or almost died? Have you ever sustained traumatic injuries ripping your body open or apart throwing you into a flow of physical weakness? Have you been at the edge of dying while disabled to react because of a injury and just waiting for the inevitable? No, not really? Then you don't know what you are talking about.

      Almost falling off a boat, down a cliff or almost being run over by a truck can be a shock. But most people with some nerves handle it fine. They get an adrenaline rush, then it is over. The scenarios I described just in the last chunk of text, they generate real fear.

      I have always been convinced that even the most suicidal of the suicidals, they fear death in the few moments right before it happens when they no longer are able to turn back. We are programmed to fear death, even when we want it.

      By the way, you USA'nians have to get over eachother. It looks like you are in a crying competition every god damn time I turn on the TV. What happened to the good old masculine values? OK, men can cry, yes they are human; but not over every fact in life?!?!

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    8. Really, when have you seen Obama cry? He's on the tube everyday ~

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    9. That's like me. I got a 90 on the psychopathic deviate scale on the mmpi, but I'm not quite to the level of being a sociopath. Anything over 65 is considered high.

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    10. As the anon at 9:56 and 10:18, I was speaking from personal experience as a diagnosed sociopath (I also rank very high on the PCL-R, with the exception of sexual promiscuity and crime since neither interest me). Have I ever come close to death? Yes. Did it ever scare me? No. I respect it for how it affects me - I can clearly rationalize its impact on me - but I don't fear it. I was momentarily irritated at myself for not paying attention, for being inappropriate reckless. I was also not angry at the driver since I was at fault.

      It is important to understand that I am not claiming that I, or any other sociopath, does not feel emotions. We do, just at a much lower "volume". There is a reason why psychologists refer to it as a "lack" instead of an "absence".

      It is also important to understand that there is a significant divide between not having a fear of death, and being suicidal. I have no intention of committing suicide, nor do I remotely seek it. This follows the same misconception where because a sociopath may lack the ability to experience grief or remorse, that they are all violent criminals. Just as there is no negative barrier to stop an act, there is also no positive catalyst/reinforcer to start/maintain it.

      I do get how there is doubt when you believe the person in question is a non-socio. I have seen a few potentially faux-socios post. But absent of me posting my psychological evaluation like ME did, for the purposes of discussion you can readily assume that this particular anon is a socio.

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    11. Anon 4:31 PM

      Is anger lower in "volume," also?

      Delete
    12. I was told by a psychiatrist there is a genetic component or group of genes that predetermines fear. If they have found this to be true it would explain different reactions of fearing death.

      Anon 5:39

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    13. "Is anger lower in 'volume', also?"

      Yes and no. It's different. I don't get angry often (rarely, and I am excluding irritation from this), but when I do it's typically under the surface and not enraging. ME relates it to being cold-hearted instead of hot-headed, and for me I can relate. I don't yell or get red in the face. In fact I have found myself to get quiet, but I do think about ways to get back (or more fulfilling, to get even by getting them into trouble). If it is significant enough I may even fantasize/theorize about inflicting harm, but it never goes beyond transitory thoughts. I haven't had an experience like ME with the subway worker.

      That being said, I still think very clearly and lucidly during the experience. It's interesting, because I can see how it is analogous to a predatory response. I almost wonder if the term "cold-hearted" is sufficiently accurate enough for the state, because there is an almost predatory state to it at the same time.

      It's a very deep-feeling sensation. You feel remarkably more powerful, capable, and focused in it. Confidence becomes a surety. Your thoughts become more distinct and you do become more aware of yourself and your surroundings. There is no tunnel-vision to it, yet you are momentarily driven to a singular purpose in thought. Once it's over, the state evaporates quickly, though not necessarily the thoughts. You could say, if the "anger" was significant enough, there is a degree of brooding afterwards. It depends. Eventually it dissipates almost completely in fair order.

      That is an extreme example. I can only think of 1, maybe 2 occasions where that ever happened to me to a potent degree. Outside of that there are brief, less intense instances which go away very quickly. I can never really stay angry with anyone. It is there, and then it is gone.

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  3. I agree, Mach. I don't stress about death because I am an atheist.

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  4. Ummmmm.....not everyone believes that death means that everything is over.

    Maybe a better test of sociopathy would be if you have the impulse to walk up to strangers and ask them weird questions.

    MelissaR

    P.S. Thanks for stirring up the Jesus crowd (Anon 3:17) with this post.

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  5. But nobody really believes they´re going to expire, not really? If they did, why would they run around in a frenzy trying to collect money, cars & houses?

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    Replies
    1. It can be said it is because of mortality that the desire is heightened for those things.

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  6. I recently told a psychologist that I don't have a fear of death. He said he didn't believe me so there ya go..

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  7. Lol, I can't take this post seriously with the "yo mama" thing.

    People say sociopaths are so impressionable, but the reason non-sociopaths are so insulted by statements like "what a nice kid! Too bad he'll probably be dead in 80 years or so. I sure wish he'd live forever - but you know how life is." is at least partially because people were taught to recognize that as a rude statement. But sociopaths are less susceptible to those teachings and so in a way they are less suggestible as well. At least they question things firsts.

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    Replies
    1. I admittedly did use such a comment myself as an attempt at humor. Which is unfortunate, because I even purposely smiled (instead of giving it deadpan) to overtly give a sign it was meant as humorous. I remember being a little irritated afterwards. Did they not see the toothy grin? In retrospect I've recognized to observe the recipient longer to see how well they might receive deprecating humor.

      As for tact, it is more of a learned and active process for sociopaths. You have to work it to get covered by it. It can be remarkably tiring to follow social etiquette over a period of time.

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    2. "As for tact, it is more of a learned and active process for sociopaths. You have to work it to get covered by it. It can be remarkably tiring to follow social etiquette over a period of time."

      I've seen this learning curve take place among the people with whom I work, low-functioning socios, hard-to-house hookers, addicts, petty thieves and dealers. Their struggle to mimic social norms is awkward, even painful-looking in the way they contort their faces and restrain their bodies. It does appears exhausting and enraging for them to have to wait for anything; to even have to pretend to be nice infuriates their sense of self-entitlement. They want what they want and they want it now, whether it's food, access to rooms and equipment, a shoulder to cry on. Course, for many this process is exacerbated by drugs.

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  8. I have a serious question for the sociopaths here. Do sociopaths pick up on tongue in cheek humor?

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    Replies
    1. To answer your question, I do some of the time. It depends on the person's facial expression, tone of voice, and context of what is said. After years of observation (sitcoms are especially useful with their laugh track cues), I can recognize certain patterns that let me know something was meant in humor.

      But not always. Sometimes I'll take it literally, especially when I am not actively looking out for humor. The recognition pattern has its limit. That being said, I often generate witticisms using the pattern to good effect. "Deadpan off the cuff" delivery is not that hard. I am often surprised and intrigued at how many people laugh at it, which is useful when trying to fit in.

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    2. As an addendum, I have found self-deprecating humor to be quite effective. It is easy yet potent. The difficult part is the timing and frequency, as it can only be effective when used during the right context and not repeated.

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    3. Personally I like satire, the more cutting and cruel and red in tooth and claw the better (thank you Mr Chris Morris!).

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  9. Everything ends. Marriages, health, jobs, companionship with children, beauty, love, hate, money and desires. Attachment is unrealistic. Living in the moment is more permanent.

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    Replies
    1. You could not be more wrong. The law of conservation of energy is a law of science that states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed from one form into another or transferred from one object to another.

      MelissaR

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    2. That may be true, but the laws of thermodynamics do support entropy.

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    3. Don't agree. The energy may be transferred or changed but it ends in the form it was created.

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    4. That is a part of the definition of entropy. I can't see how that is a disagreement. Both the laws of thermodynamics and law of conversation of energy work hand-in-hand.

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    5. My disagreement was with the 9:36 AM post :)

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  10. People aren't really afraid of death itself, they're afraid of what leads up to it. It's those last moments of sheer helplessness where, no what they try, they are completely and utterly powerless to escape, e.g. if you're drowning or falling out of a plane without a parachute.

    Can anyone claim they aren't terrified of feeling helpless?

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  11. Yes, I am very uncomfortable with the thought of helplessness. But I was terrified of being alone, too, and now rather enjoy it. I guess the question is, why are we attached to the feeling of being terrified? Does that mean we somehow have power over it? I wonder.

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  12. This exercise class right and the whole rm is filled ith dieters ans women wiho do facial exervises and 100 push ups per day, who take comescueticals roght.

    I say, hey, im getting botox, so excited,


    I get oh honey honey dont do that. Why are you doung that? Thats stupif. You are hoing to ruin yourself ur beautiful. Why??????
    I say because I have low self esteem. I get blank faces. Nothing zip nada. ? Then, a long as voice message from who?. The ringleader of the speech abt how I dont nneed botox. I ended up consoling her. I dont get that . Why do people do that in the first place. Evryone gets botox.

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    Replies
    1. uuummmm okkkk??

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    2. Maybe you should get spell check before the botox.

      MelissaR

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    3. And now that i think abt it, i was wrong. I didnt have low self esteem at all. I had esteem enough to give myself a gift .

      I dont think I realized that till now. Its amazing what happens when I interact with mean people.

      Thank you so much, melissa and anon.

      Delete
  13. Is this new information that we're all going to die? Hilarious, I didn't know that, thanks for the information. And that's hysterical about his mother killing herself,soooooo funny!!!!!!
    You guys are a kick, this is great! Can't wait for more of this impressive knowledge.

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  14. I like this post, soooo true, this part especially: “One minute they were insulting me, the next minute feeling sorry for me.” Feeling sorry for something someone does not have, is probably as bad as being insulted for it.

    I wonder which one did this writer prefer, getting their pity or their insults?

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  15. Damn, that ended cool

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  16. Replies
    1. I thought you committed suicide homo, stulker !

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    2. And by stulker, I meant a stalker who sucks in stalking= you

      Delete
  17. I have never understood fear of death. When I die, I will not exist and therefore I will not care that I am dead.

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    Replies
    1. Some people like existing.

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  18. I exist.
    I enjoy existing (more often than not). Life is mostly fun, in other words.
    I will cease to exist in my corporeal form within 70 years at best (unless science does something amazing).
    While I exist, my relentless objective is to enjoy myself on this entertaining rock.

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  19. I am not sure what I am. I exist. I have a body. My senses tell me that I have a wife and her wife and their daughter. I am 70 years old. Each day I wake up in the same house in the woods. I have almost died 30 or 40 or 50 times, but except for a scar on a leg (from blood poisoning from an infection) I have no scars or marks. My aunt was murdered when she was 20 years old in Los Angeles (I was 12). My father (whom I hated) died of a heart attack when he was 43. I am alive and relatively healthy at 70 years, though my mind is going faster than my body is likely to.

    No reason any of you should give a shit about what happens to me. I am not quite a sociopath but I am cold. When I started to think of myself as a very unempathic person at the age of 70 and started reading this web site, I felt like a burden had been lifted. Almost every body around me boasts about how empathic they are and constantly strives to do good. I have done some good. I have perhaps (not sure) stopped two people from committing suicide. I have a very limited amount of empathy. The only people I care about are my wife of 48 years, my 47-year-old daughter, her wife, and her wife's 10-year-old daughter. It's a relief to say to other people, "I don't mean any harm to you. If I can help you with very little effort, I might take the bother. But probably if you drop dead in front of me, I will shrug."

    A meme of our times is the DEATH CAFE. Even us cold people like to keep busy. So I am working on sponsoring a death cafe in Everett WA. Perhaps somebody reading this is in Everett WA and wants to work with me to sponsor a death cafe there. I am not sure any of you are real. It would interest my pallid end of life experience to actually meet someone from this web site so we could shrug at each other and sneer at everybody else. Odds against: 1,000,001 to 1.

    ReplyDelete
  20. More people need to be on http://sociopath-community.com/

    !!! it used to be connected to this blog but was disconnected over a year ago. We need fresh blood and lots of interesting things have happened recently (relates to kiwifar.ms drama: https://archive.is/M2tXa) that will go down in the forum's history! Be sure to check out http://www.psychforums.com/antisocial-personality/ too, as some of its regulars are regulars on SC too!

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete

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