Friday, February 7, 2014

How do you cope?

From a reader:

A little bit of background on me; I'm 27, male and I've been trying to figure out what is wrong with me since middle school. At first I thought it was my upbringing - and I'm still curious if that played a role in how I've turned out. I had a tough childhood, and I was forced to become defensive at home and at school. More recently I'm noticing that; as far as I can tell I don't connect with people or have the same emotions or thought processes they do.

It has worked out for me fairly well in my professional life, I tend to advance quickly in the things that I do, because I have an innate understanding of what people want. In my personal life, it's just about destroyed it. It's not so much that I attack people, I do subtly manipulate relationships in my personal life - and much more in my professional life. The problem is I can't relate to people, I can't relate to their emotions at all. There are times I feel like I should be sad, because I can tell everyone else is sad, but I'm not. The emotions I generally feel strongest are anger and frustration, or irritation.

I feel like I can only juggle a handful of relationships, otherwise it's too much to keep up with and process. I guess what I'm getting at is this; if I told people how I really felt, or what I thought about life, and how they go about their lives, they would be horrified. If I acted as I feel I should, and I were really how I am, they would not want to know me. It's not that I'm aggressive, or violent, but I don't understand how they think. Everything seems to go through some sort of filter and come out dirtier than when it went in. Personally, I think in terms of A+B=X, about almost everything - including relationships.

So I guess my question is, how do you cope with this? Was there a time where you just decided to accept who and what you are? I don't know if I'm a sociopath, I don't really understand any of it, mostly because I don't have anything to compare it to. It would be helpful to understand where you're coming from, and possibly other sociopaths as I might actually relate to it.

My response:

This sounds very close to my own experience, although I couldn't say for sure whether that makes you a sociopath. I don't know if anyone really accepts himself completely. The problem with the idea of finding yourself (perhaps particularly if you're a sociopath) is that you're aiming for a moving target. But I think you'll be surprised that many people will be able to understand you or at least accept the bulk of you if you are honest with them -- particularly those who are most empathetic, oddly enough. Many of the people you tell may disappoint you, but you at least have the option. Should we see what other people think?

58 comments:

  1. "The problem with the idea of finding yourself is that your (sic) aiming for a moving target."

    How fucking insightful. This is the best thing youve written in a while. You should quote it.

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  2. I agree. I am super empathetic and also bipolar. So i feel "odd". Maybe like someone with sociopathy or other PDs, that have difficulty feeling deeply.

    I feel TOO deeply. So I do empathize and I do accept you.

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    1. I know how it feels to, at times, feel like your on the outside looking in. Like ME said, we all struggle with self acceptance some times in our lives.

      I feel too deeply also, so I have to be careful and engage with people that can understand and respect that. ( the opposite side of the coin your on.)

      Maybe try to find people that are less emotional like you to be friends with, so you don't unintentionally hurt the super sensitive people.

      The fact that your asking these questions shows you'd like to create a decent life for your self, that's a good thing. Your difficult upbringing probably did shape you as a person, but your an adult now and you get to design your life. Maybe some outside help would be good. Every choice we make of every day impacts our future.

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  3. I suppose I'll have to tolerate your insolence for the time being.

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  4. Yes, that's good advice, be honest with those people in your inner circle that you trust. My psycho ex was fairly honest with me about who he was and I accepted him. If he hadn't begun to devalue me - an inevitable part of the pattern it seems - I wouldn't have left him. So while disclosure won't solve all your problems, it will liberate you somewhat and enhance your progress.

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  5. I'm very puzzled about why sociopaths question their sucess.
    Could it be that EVEN they don't know what they're doing right and
    feel like phonies?
    If I am sucessful but can't understand why, this provokes
    anxiety because I can't call up my "mojo" at will. Therefore, I
    believe all my "achivements" might be taken away from me.
    "Luck" can dissipate.
    Rest easy my sociopath friends! Nothing suceeds LIKE sucess!
    Once you've attained a perch, it IS very difficult to be DISLOGED
    unless you foolishly fuck up like Philip Seymour Hoffman.
    Reputation is EVERYTHING and as long as you've got a good one,
    (Deserved or not) people will be highly resistant to seeing you any other
    way.
    People see the world NOT has it is but as THEY are. The two biggest
    objectives are "Love" (sex) and Money. As long as people believe that
    following you can provide them with both, they will ALWAYS remain
    with you, even if you DO have "feet of clay."
    I

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    1. Nonsense. Since most sociopaths achieve 'success' in much the same way as gambling, i.e. phoney and without solid foundation, they can lose it just as easily as they gained it - and most of them know it. Hence their unease.

      And just because you (and sociopaths in general) conflate love with sex doesn't mean the majority of people do. Money is the cherry on the cake but if the cake is no good, the cherry will not satisfy. Look around you and observe how many wealthy sociopaths end up alone and lonely.

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    2. Big difference between love and sex. Why are sociopaths so over sexed? Yeah, sex is great, but it's not everything. There's so much unbalance in that thinking. Part of the sociopath personality, oversexed and unbalanced?

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    3. Sex brings physical pleasure. Sociopaths still feel it biochemically. Coupled with lack of inhibition, it becomes less of a case of "Why?" and more of a case of "Why not?"

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    4. By the way, it is overly stereotype to suggest that most sociopaths are not successful. Sociopaths may lack impulse control, but they are not idiots.

      For example, I invest for my future retirement. My investment portfolio is considered "aggressive" (fairly risky), however by conducting significant personal research I have a portfolio which reliably outperforms most funds over many years. Statistically speaking it is very much in my favor that I will retire with a lot more money than I have put in it. My former economics instructor was genuinely impressed by its performance - so surprised that he joked that I should invest his retirement money for him.

      From the real world example above, this is a microcosm of what a sociopath can really do. Our sociopathy and intelligence allows us to take calculated risks and act on them. When applied correctly it leads to great success. The above example's results came from two first-year ECON classes and three days of personal research. Does that sound unbelievable? It's not. I just used cold facts, ignored every recommended fund by advisors (since vast majority are lemons, to make money) and took the smart route. I am not surprised in the least ME has been able to secure her retirement. I have.

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    5. In case you're wondering what the magic is, for understandable doubters who want facts, you invest in an S&P 500 Index Fund and dollar-cost-average monthly contributions. That's it. Don't put your money anywhere else. Don't waste your time on anything else, because vast majority of funds never outperform it. Don't try to time the market and just use DCA, because no one really can. No "system" works when you try to beat the house, so just invest in the house.

      A sociopath can readily dismiss the glitz and glamor of hustlers. Once they do that, they succeed by getting the hustlers to work for them.

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  6. "I had a tough childhood, and I was forced to become defensive at home and at school."

    "I don't connect with people or have the same emotions or thought processes they do."

    This is an attachment disorder which is VERY common among children that have experienced abuse and/or neglect. I feel this young man has a very good chance at changing this because he appears self-aware and he has reached a point of stability in his life where he can address this in therapy. There are many therapists that specialize in treating adults that have experienced childhood abuse. I wish him luck and hope that he is able to connect with a good therapist.

    MelissaR

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    Replies
    1. Thats bullshit. I had a hard childhood too, BUT EVEN BEFORE I had never been normal. No fear, no deep feelings... After my life changed at the age of 9 i became what i am today now.

      And I will tell you something. There are many therapists for childhood abuse, but if you tell them about your thoughts and whats really deep in your mind they will be shocked. They only want to treat a victim. Not a victim that can be at least sometimes a real predator.

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    2. About therapists - that's been my experience. If I go in and don't say too much, they'll think I'm your basic INTJ, a bit non-traditional, a bit too rational and dispassionate.

      If I go in and tell them what I know about myself - what I have learned through taking a long and hard look at my behavior, but have come to terms with - they want to wash their hands of me and refer me to forensic psychologists. They get scared and don't want to deal with someone like me, because indeed, my psychology is more psychopathic than anything, despite me having been disciplined enough to avoid hurting people physically or getting imprisoned.

      I'm too cheap to spend thousands of $$$ and many hours to have a forensic shrink say, "yeah, you have impulsively and compulsively abused animals, done a bunch of crimes, manipulated people, treated people like objects, run your life recklessly, etc," and even if I had the time and money to spare, the indifferent manner of the shrink (he has spent 30 years dealing with criminal psychopaths - the sort that compulsively kill or rape humans) put me off. If I want to talk to someone, my psychopathic-spectrum friends are a lot more understanding, compassionate and practical. As in, "ok, you did that shitty thing. Don't get bothered. if the thing to do is to make amends, do it now. otherwise forget about it and move on."

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    3. After you make amends can you change your behavior and not hurt that person in that way again? My experience is....no. You don't have control (at all times. you never know when your 'impulses ' will 'take control'.) You will hurt that person again in the same way, or worse. That's why a therapist can't help you. (forensic or otherwise) if you wanted to change, that would be different. Is this correct, you have no desire to change, and even if you did, you can't. It's not in your nature.

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    4. S-C,

      I went to a mechanic to get my car fixed, he couldn't fix my car, all mechanic sucks, and my car will never be fixed.

      MelissaR

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    5. A person with downs syndrome will always have downs syndrome. Are some higher functioning than others, yes. Some work, some have loving, supportive families that make sure they have the best of everything. There's variations, but , as sad as it is, and difficult to accept, they'll always have down's syndrome. Some people with down's syndrome might be very good at repairing cars.

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    6. Finding the right therapist is extremely tricky, since many don't do it right.

      As for the comments about coming out to those close to you, that too is extremely tricky. It involves a good degree of education to give on your part, which depending on the person can be tough. It'll also change certain outlooks a bit, especially during discussions where they might wave the "sociopath card", which can be a weak fall-back.

      You have to ask yourself: "Can I educate this person about what it really means after I tell them?" followed by: "are they the type of person who will not see me as manipulative/with an ulterior motive every time it suggest something?"

      Make sure to be prepared ahead of time, because in this day and age, they will Google it and get bombarded by junk.

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    7. @ MelissaR

      You are a blind foolish sheep. Do you really think I talked to one? Sorry but cant stop laughing. Oh let me think about. Im not sorry. im shaking my head about you stupidity.

      A person like you would be perfect to play with and left destroyed behind me. :D

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    8. Maybe your getting a picture now of what a true psychopath is. It really is hard to believe for folks like us. They exist, their around us, and they don't give a shit about us. And they look normal and can appear normal (until you really get to know them) Do some research, read a ton of reputable books on the subject, and more importantly, learn how to spot em so you can run like hell in the other direction!

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    9. S-C, MelissaR was joking. She gets it. Hence the analogy.

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    10. Haha!! S-C, thank you for the best laugh I've had today.

      It is simply adorable how hard you tried to come off as a badass.
      Impress us with some tales of the destruction you have wreaked, you big, scary predator you :)

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    11. Downs syndrome is a birth defect not a mental health disorder.

      MelissaR

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    12. in my opinion, sociopathy is a birth disorder too. ME uses the same example in her book.

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    13. Given the genetic component, it is inherited. The environmental component exacerbates it during development.

      It is important to accept that some people are born this way. For some it was never a choice.

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    14. Genetic, epigenetic, whatever.
      At the end of the day a sociopath can choose to take responsibility for and control their most damaging behaviours. They have the ability, even though they often don't have the will.

      It's a weak individual indeed who uses this label to rationalise and excuse being an asshole. And yes, I can see why you would be tempted to offer the label to others so they can "understand" and forgive. But it will wear thin sooner or later.

      If you are happy being an asshole surrounded by scorched earth, good for you. Have fun.

      If you don't like it, then sit down and figure out why you do those things and how you can better handle those urges. Helps if you have someone who sees through the bullshit and wants to help you. If nothing else, you'd be surpised how insightful people can be here.
      Then pull your head out of your ass and do something about it. No points for trying.

      I would greatly recommend you read Stanton Samenow's books on the matter.

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    15. This is impressive. Asking the sociopath to take responsibility for their actions and impulses. One of the best comments I've seen that can benefit the sociopath and those their involved with. Hare and Cleckley talk about these kind of ways to improve the situation also, even though they recognize how difficult it will be. At least people are starting to ask how to improve these situations.

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  7. If i met ME. I know I'd hit it off with her. I'm a super empath -- but it's gotten me into trouble. This blog does helps me balance my emotions. To take them right out of situations. And i think rational and logical. The missing link. How do I cope? I follow the dbt model to a tee. It's skills skills and more coping skills. If I don't -- my mindset will suffer. Which is unneeded and wasted energy. The sociopath would be an excellent dbt instructor in my books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check out Byron Katie - DBT on steroids.

      I suspect if you tested her years ago, you'd say she was a psychopath. Now you'd say she is a well-balanced person with ridiculous amounts of equanimity.

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    2. i checked her out. liked what I saw. my goal is equanimity. Thanks for recommending her. :)

      Delete
  8. I don't cope. Thats weak. I seize opportunities (rather than state intentions).

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  9. People cope with me. I don't cope with them.

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  10. Maybe i do cope with them. But there is no "how". I just do.

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  11. If by them you mean Parents, then I cope with them by staying away.

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  12. Wow, reading this, I thought I wrote it.
    I recently just lost a[nother] friend because I was just too honest. He has been a play toy for 6 years, keeping him around because he loves me and I grab him when I need attention or to feel loved and push him away when I'm satisfied. I over shared my feelings recently about him, thinking after all these years, he couldn't be so blind. He was. It crushed him to know how little he actually meant to me.
    I felt selfish, for wanting something more true than it was. I wanted a genuine friendship and with that, I lost what I had.

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes the best friends you can have are your enemies.

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    2. Your enemies leave you alone. Your friends, they bug you.

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    3. The most Ironic place to be is easy.

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    4. AIDS is for life <3.

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    5. By your own account you never had a friend, just a play toy. Maybe if you want a friend you should be a friend.

      MelissaR

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    6. Tmac, I'm really curious, do you wonder around the house just talking to yourself a lot?
      Don't worry about friends so much in your case. Consider cats. Lots of cats :)

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    7. I wanted a genuine friendship != all the other words

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  13. Genuine psychos don´t have a religious faith. That´s the biggest misunderstanding of them all. None is more cynic than the hollow man. To really get somebody with little regrets feeling disgusted, try and sit at a dinner table and thank Jesus father for the food on it! Fanatic belief in nazi values, neoliberalism or satanism likely are the preferred creeds. But perhaps only as an "focused outlet" for destructive urges, not real faith? This could be a new topic: why christian faith is a big nono, both for conscious Scorpios and for psychopaths.

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    Replies
    1. I must add: scorpios take mental health risks by being christian church members; this goes against every grain in their body & mind. (And they generally are very suited for religious study/practice).

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  14. On a professional level, I consider this issue often. The more I read this blog, the less I truly see the connection to Aspie's but more towards Schizoid Personality Disorder mixed with any of the Cluster B personality disorders (as per the DSM-IV-TR). It makes sense. And I don't recall ME having discussed this.

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    Replies
    1. There is great controversy whether Schizoid Personality Disorder is a real disorder, or another attempt at the DSM selection committee to pathologize something unnecessarily. It is, simply put, defining introverts as having a disorder. There is significant cultural bias which the DSM fails to take into account.

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  15. My problem is I don't listen to a single word you say. Its gibberish to me. So like I scan over it cuz thats all thats required of me and then i respond.. I assume that its all accounted for, but there's always room for doubt.

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  16. Okay here this is how it happened. So I'm like this really smart person, and all I like to do is solve problems and at one point it came to be that there were no problems left and I was really bored so I thought hey SCHIZOPHRENICS are smart and creative, and then I thought okay lets get schizophrenia (so that ill have more problems to solve, thus more intelligence gaind in the end). Anyways so went into schizophrenia... SO MUCH INFO.... anyways eventually i decided that the label wasnt working for me. And then when reading your book I remembered that I was sociopath... but its so hard (no cross referencing) and so anyways now im like borderline, autistic, psychopath, sociopath, but preferably I'd like to have aspergers.

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  17. I like to steal people (steal people?) like.. thats how I interpret it. You could call it sharing but I call it stealing..

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  18. And I can't spell. Gibberish to me

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  19. Schizoid P/D and introversion are NOT, by any means the same.
    Schizoid P/D and Schizophrenia are NOT, by any means the same.
    Could the people who have no idea what they're talking about kindly refrain from replying with dumb comments?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Schizoid Personality Disorder has less to do with Sociopathy than Aspergers. Introversion is a trait as described by Guntrip. The important delineation is the additional traits coupled by severity. That being said, there is a bias as described by Hickey.

      Sociopaths are not remotely trapped in an internal/fantasy world. The only similarity is the trait related to affectiveness.

      Understand why some people make certain comments to yours. If you have questions, ask them to explain why first.

      Delete

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    ReplyDelete

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