Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sociopath like me

I recently got my waterproof iPod replaced under the warranty. They must have given me one that had been returned, because it had all of this music from the band Skillet and its ilk, which I have not really listened to before. Rather than change the music to my own, I've been listening to this music, trying to imagine what life must have been like for this guy (I assume male, statistically), who happened to have gotten this iPod, perhaps for Christmas, then decided he'd rather have something else instead. When I swim laps to his music selected largely by tempo rather than artistry, I feel like a meathead, and it's a nice change of pace.

This happened to me once years ago when I had bought a used ipod from a friend of a friend (a Brooklyn hipster before anyone knew what that was). I would wander the streets of my city listening to Sufjan Stevens, Xiu Xiu, and Neko Case. It was so fascinating to me to make that the soundtrack of my life for those months. For one, my music taste was for once very of the moment. For two, it happens to be very easy to to get concert tickets for up and coming acts before they've made it national, which was fun to see these artists in very intimate settings. But I also just felt like I was peeking into the head of this particular guy. The songs he chose to exclude from albums told me as much about him as the ones chose to include. (Also, the experience made me wonder, does absolutely everyone have a Michael Jackson song tucked away on a laptop or MP3 player somewhere?_

You learn a lot from people by stepping into their shoes for a little bit. I know there is a mix of people who read this blog: some who identify as sociopaths, some with other diagnoses, some who love/hate a sociopath, and some who are just curious. This invitation is probably most directed to the curious.

People have often opined to me that sociopaths are hated because the particular individual does bad things, not because the diagnosis itself maligned and misunderstood. In my own personal experience, this doesn't ring true -- there seems to be quiet a bit of pejorative force to the label/diagnosis. (I had a long holiday conversation with a cousin whom I hadn't seen in a couple years. He told me how he spent a long weekend worrying about how I might try to kill him or his children, finally deciding that it was not too likely.)

So here's the invitation: pretend to be a sociopath. Do like the guy in Black Like Me. Act otherwise completely like yourself but with this additional label. I'm curious to see what people think about what it feels like to have people see you through the lens of that label.

And as a parting gift, this classic from Bobby Caldwell who was advised to disguise his whiteness.

65 comments:

  1. That is a fascinating experiment to propose. I would like to see the interactions. Not only from the receiver, but the emulator. A sheep in wolves clothing? I wonder how accurately they could emulate? It would be a dual game as well - could we spot the sheep tells?

    Probably, but it would make it more interesting, in that way where you know their inner secret but others don't. What an intriguing proposition.

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  2. Not a bad idea.

    Think I'll dress up in a banana suit, put on a black cape, and tell random strangers about how evil I am.

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    1. Can you post the video on You Tube?

      MelissaR

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  3. All great art coveys a message.
    The classic Broadway play West Side Story, has a song that is an
    excellent encapsulation of the Socopathic delemmia:
    "Gee Officer Krupkie."
    The song is about the causes and proposed remedies of Sociopathic
    behavior in youth.
    Though the song is 57 years old, if you listen to it you will find out that
    we are no closer to solving the sociopathic riddle!

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  4. The thing about mental health labels is....you have to out yourself. You can't see a mental health disorder. The military is struggling with this issue right now because you can't see a traumatic brain injury (concussion) or PTSD. Folks return from combat, act differently, and the response is, "just stop dong what you're doing" or "don't act like that". That's why it has taken the military so long to address the issue and offer help.

    But if you choose to share your diagnosis with people, you have to ask yourself why. What are you getting out of it? Especially if you choose to share in such a big way, like writing a book, a blog, and going on the Dr. Phil show. What did you think you would get out of it? What did you actually get out of it? Was it helpful? Would have done things differently?

    MelissaR

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    1. That's not the question. What you're asking is rhetorical - why ME did it and what happened as a result is well documented.

      Ask yourself: what would be gained - what is the utility - in being a sociopath for a day? It's to increase awareness. ME took an (overestimated) step in the show for publicity but also increasing awareness. There is so much about sociopathy that is misunderstood or twisted that by taking a step - much like the first people to out themselves as homosexual - it will hopefully destigmatize it in the future.

      But as the adage says, "Settlers get to colonize, pioneers get to be slaughtered." Even so, it was a worthwhile step. Besides, being (and more importantly thinking/experiencing) something different is important in increasing understanding.

      Why is there such fervent backlash from even attempting it? Fascinating how all the replies have been concerns over what others would think. Now try being born and raised this way without having a choice. Now people are starting to get it.

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    2. @ Anon 9:26
      It's my question so I asked it. I don't presume to know any of the answers. Apparently that works for you. I don't see any "fervent backlash". All I see is people discussing a topic on a blog. Wow! Kinda sounds like thinking and understanding might be going on, imagine that!

      MelissaR

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    3. Speaking of ME's motives for the blog, book, and show doesn't relate to the question of what it would be like to emulate a sociopath as an empath. That is comparing apples to bumper stickers. The question is rhetorical, because the answer is already known - she stated it repeatedly in the blog, the book, and the show individually. You're a regular, you already know the answer.

      So what about you Melissa? Would you be willing to emulate a sociopath for a day?

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    4. Are you emulating a blog moderator?

      MelissaR

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    5. I'm being a sociopath, or more specifically am being open in speaking as a sociopath. There is no malice in the words, only statement of fact. The discussion is about Point A (apples), but your question is implying judgment regarding Point B (bumper stickers). If you were implying judgment in point A then you would have given an opinion and point of view on the topic in discussion. But the discussion isn't about ME's reasons for the show, it's about trying a day-in-the-life as a sociopath. What does critiquing and judging ME's actions on the show have to do with an experiment in "trying" sociopathy? The disjunction is mathematically apparent.

      It can be readily assumed based on observation that as a regular commenter on the blog, you are aware of the reasons why ME went on the show. This operates under the assumption that you have, in fact, watched the show segment you were criticizing, where she directly answers why she went on there (Dr. Phil asked the question). This also operates under the assumption that you have read her book in its entirety (albeit this has a lower probability), where she also answers the question. Because of this, it can be rationalized that since you already know the answer to the question, you are not actually asking it as a real question. Since it is in the supposed format of a question, it can be deduced that it is rhetorical in nature - more specifically as a disingenuous and negative assertion given the connotations in your phrasing.

      I am not offended by your remarks (since your latest two replies are meant to incite it), but for the sake of clarity I disassembled your statements and revealed the underlying intentions. The question asked in the end is not only to overtly lead back on topic, but is also of genuine interest. It can be readily assumed based on observation of your previous posts that you are an intelligent empath and would have unique insight into the dichotomy of trying to be sociopathic.

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    6. VEGITOPATH LIKES SCRILLEX AND UKAN AND MONICAFebruary 15, 2014 at 11:29 PM

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      Delete
  5. I've actually tried this experiment and pretended to be/feel like a sociopath for a few hours at a time. That's about all I can handle. I've read about many books on the subject, the most recent The Sociopath at the Breakfast Table. A very good read from two authors from the U.K. Goes into great detail of the effects on children with a sociopathic mother which was very interesting. Also discusses the 'Apath' (an apath is an accomplice to a sociopath, one who colludes in the sport of the sociopth, "apathetic". The reason for my study of this subject is because I've had several close relationships with sociopaths and I want to understand my patterns better.(the first was my step-father) This may have been one of the factors that set the stage for the relationships that followed.

    Anyway, back to the topic, I am so far from being a sociopath. I can't even pretend for any length of time. But,no, I don't think people do like seeing you through the lens of that label. And in my case, it was the bad behavior/ mistreatment in private that was so devastating. Maybe you could try the experiment and see how it feels to be an a very sensitive empath?

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    1. Sociopaths pretend to be empaths everyday already. The problem though is the internal aspect - it's one thing to purposely turn down something you already have (ie. empathy). It's another to turn up something you don't have. Besides, the primary issue is to allow empaths to try experiencing sociopathy to raise understanding. Not have black people try being white.

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    2. I've been thinking about how I would "act" like a sociopath for a day and I'm really not sure what I would do.

      Here's what I've done so far today: I walked to the bank next door to make a deposit, got in my car and went to Dunkin Donuts, read the paper while I had coffee and a muffin, came home, walked to the grocery store, got home and went on FB for awhile, watched some You Tube videos, watched tv, then took a nap.

      What would I have done differently to be a sociopath? How would this look different as a sociopath? Maybe I'm just too boring to be a sociopath.

      MelissaR

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    3. In this case, while your actions and behavior were standard, it is what you are thinking during those events that count.

      For example, you go to Dunkin Donuts. In front of the cashier there is a donation box for, say, helping local families in town displaced by the winter storms. The cashier, while tallying your order, notes passionately and sincerely regarding Dunkin Donuts accepting donations for it. However, you only have enough cash on hand to get a coffee (without the muffin) if you make a donation.

      Here is the question to ask yourself. A genuine emotional appeal has been placed on yourself that will have a very small, yet direct impact on the lives of people affected by the storms. Imagine what it would be like if the emotional appeal held no weight on you whatsoever. You would blow it off and get both the coffee and muffin. You want the caffeine for the morning, and the muffin will help your appetite. Maybe you put in a nickel or two you had left over, but only for the sake of avoid public persecution from the cashier. They can't tell what you put in it. Besides, you don't want to carry the excess change, it's too small in value. They'll obviously assume it is more than a trivial amount. You throw in a small, knowing smile and nod, to make it look like you empathize, and move on. The only thought on your mind as you leave is to find a seat, eat, and read your paper while you wait for the caffeine to wake you up.

      All thoughts about the cashier, the charity, and the people affected by the storms, are gone. Which reminds you, you should pick up an ice scraper for your car, because using your credit card this morning took too long.

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    4. O.k., that makes sense. I have done this experiment, and believe I do have a sense of that it feels like to be a sociopth with no conscience, remorse, guilt. It is an interesting experiment, and a good idea to raise awareness. She's brave to be one of the first to willingly 'come out' to better educate/inform the public. Which may possibly result in better outcomes for all dealing with this disorder.

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    5. Anon 2:34

      Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your response. Here's what I would actually do: Smile at the cashier, say I've already donated to the storm victims (lie), pay for my coffee and muffin, thank her and say "have a great day". I would forget about the exchange within 2 minutes of reading the paper.

      I don't think this makes me a sociopath. From reading this blog, I'm starting to wonder if the people who think they are sociopaths really are. Or maybe there is a misunderstanding that empaths just walk around ready to cry at the drop of a hat.

      MelissaR

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    6. That isn't to say empaths can't think like that, but it is an example of a typical "internal conversation" of a sociopath. As Anon 2:34, yes I am a diagnosed high-functioning sociopath (but you are right, most claimants I have seen are not, so your suspicion is probably correct in that regard).

      Real sociopathic thoughts are more utilitarian than they are notorious. Also, while you could easily lie (which I've done in similar circumstances to the example above), it's also about external image. High-functioning sociopaths try to be mindful of how they are externally perceived. Things such as impressions and reputation are very important. It is to make sure you can blend in and get results as effectively as possible. Remember, the example given was constructed to highlight the process itself - all things being equal. As a personal point, I hold nothing against the charity, but at the moment my concern was drink, food, and a few minutes to read a paper.

      Now, take the above example and multiply that for every waking moment of every day. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, it works this way for everything. Empaths in general can think like the example during specific moments, and may feel a degree of guilt for lying about it. Sociopaths think like that as a matter of course, and feel no guilt for the lying or deceiving (any real concern is about getting caught in the lie or deception, because that invariably leads to some sort of consequence).

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    7. Thank you Anon 6:15. You have a really good way of explaining things!

      MelissaR

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    8. Anon 234, indulge me please?

      I'm curious why you keep mentioning in practically every post that you are a diagnosed high functioning sociopath? Who diagnosed you and what exactly prompted you to obtain that diagnosis?

      It just seems to me from the way you talk and from the example you gave above, that you are not very sociopathic. Yes, I am referring to the nitpicking designed to make yourself look superior. The near constant mentioning of your sociopath label, which seems as if you are desperate to be seen as such. The way you talk as if you are an absolute authority on sociopathic behaviours... I will say however that I rather enjoy your writing.

      It made me think that whoever diagnosed you did so based upon your being intelligent enough to memorise the traits and buzz words of sociopathy and detailing those to him/her/internet test. Such as providing them with that example and presenting it as evidence of your emotionless, calculating, selfish nature.
      Perhaps you may have also used an example along the lines of overtipping a rude waitress and all the crippling emotional pain and guilt she felt as a result (ha!) as testament to your manipulative nature...

      An incorrect diagnosis that serves to reinforce delusions is not going to do you any favours.

      Cheers

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    9. When you post as anonymous in comments where most claimants are as you've mentioned, a declarative statement helps for clarification, in particular one's state of mind. Short of me posting a letter of my diagnosis online and revealing myself to the degree ME has, it can be taken as statement of fact. If you don't believe it, so be it, since you were not provided with clinical proof. How can you be expected? You are justified, to a point, for skepticism.

      However, since you've asked, what kind of behavior do you expect to signify a "real" sociopath? If we operate under the assumption that my claim is true, what is it about your own ideal model of sociopathy is not true?

      Based on how you've structured your reply, and the fact that you posted under the moniker "Bite me", it can be easily assumed this was an attempt to incite a response. A flame. It would not be readily assumed that it is an emotion lashing - your structure is too well-constructed and precisely tuned. Instead it is evident that it was done because the constructed attack was pleasurable for you. It lacks the outrage necessary to attribute to retaliation to an offense. There is a degree of sadism apparent, based on this. Also control, since it was crafted in such a way as to make a defense based on your statement ineffective.

      Your structure does portray intelligence, which makes you feel power and control, however it is too well-constructed. It betrays your intent.

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    10. Come now...
      Thank you for the analysis, but my curiosity remains. While it was the intention to provoke some reaction, I did wish a reply after all, there is no need to be so evasive.

      I would never be so bold as to ask for your letter of diagnosis, or your identity. That would be akin to walking up to a complete stranger and telling him "You! Strip naked while telling me your darkest secrets". As fun as that may be, would be a rather hollow victory if he complied, don't you think?

      I am asking you to tell me a story. Your story.
      Including a part about why you sought diagnosis and from whom (internet/counsellor/shrink...). No real names are necessary of course.

      As for my moniker, don't read too much into it. It does have more than one meaning after all. I have been using "Bite me" as my name on my phone. It's a hassle to log into my account from there.

      And if that is the reason you keep mentioning your diagnosis, I would recommend you pick a name and create an account. It will make contributions more...meaningful, will make you sound less like one of the narcissistic types endlessly repeating their "diagnosis" in an attempt to convince others and lend their opinions on the subject of sociopathy some credibility. It has the added benefit of avoiding those trolls who occasionally like to imitate.

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    11. Noted and considered, though for the sake of privacy in an easy information age I have been using the anonymous moniker. ME is an unfortunate example to learn by. But yes, it would have undeniable advantages.

      In summation, I didn't seek a diagnosis. The diagnosis was given to me as a late teenager. The origination of seeing a psychiatrist came from the simple act of skipping classes repeatedly and only attend days which had an exam (which I did surprisingly well despite never studying or attending class). At that age, I didn't want to go since I was bored, so I would simply walk out without regret. I was neither a bully, nor the bullied. I would manipulate the teachers, the counselors, and the psychiatrist (the last one was both aware and stoic about it, as I had manipulated him once too many times). There were no incidents of violence, drugs, sex, or crime.

      In truth, I never identified with ASPD or what the psychiatrist let slip a couple times as "psychopathy" - this was before the Internet became mainstream, so the only words that leant any weight to me were "anti-social". I was relatively harmless. Which in honesty, was the truth given the lack of deviancy (besides truancy and manipulation). I took the definition in literal terms, in "not liking to socialize (chit-chat, small talk, or a part of social cliques)". And that was that.

      Genetics did play a part in my case. The heredity as well as the early childhood behavior provides evidence to the notion. For example as a young boy taking martial arts, I "creeped out" the instructor, who regimented that I stop staring at people's eyes. I had significant difficulties understanding humor, or things like sadness. It was both puzzling and at times irritating (you could call it "empathic miscommunication") due to it being confusing or contraindicating. Psychopathy/sociopathy during pre-adolescence is a perplexing time. There are a lot of unknowns.

      It took many years to gain social traction. After doing so, I discarded the mistaken "anti-social" label. I became not only capable, but fluent in social situations. I was well liked by acquaintances and coworkers. I have received numerous phone numbers of many young women without solicitation (though in atypical form, I have no interest in sexual or romantic relationships so the numbers are promptly discarded). I have also attracted a few homosexual men as well (the atypical form remains the same). Women or men, they are all courteous acquaintances as far as I am concerned.

      It wasn't until my first university psychology class did I learn the truth. I can recall the professor covering personality disorders, and he translated ASPD's as Psychopathy and Sociopathy. He covered Hare's PCL (which I recognized having been assessed by it in the past). I was quite surprised. He must have made a mistake. I use to have ASPD (though not anymore, since I was no longer "anti-social"). I am certainly not a crazy axe-murderer. After the class I spoke with him and noted the error, only to have him re-affirm it. I was somewhat irritated and perplexed with this abnormal response, and afterwards conducted more in-depth research into what ASPD "really meant". In an effort to solidify my position, I had inadvertently discovered the truth. I still rejected it, due to the incompatible pro-criminal/violent nature of the diagnosis.

      It wasn't until I read ME's book (not knowing of the blog until reading the book) that the rest of the pieces fell into place. While there were several differences to my situation, the vast majority accurately portrayed not only behavior and actions, but like-minded thoughts as well. It was revealing in terms of recognizing and accepting something I have always taken for as normal. Granted the psychiatrist or counselor could have explained it in detail, however I understand why, given the age and the inappropriate stigma attached to it.

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    12. Thank you!
      I appreciate this and apologise for taking so long to reply, it's been rather hectic here.

      It was fascinating for me to read and I would like to ask you a few more questions on the topic, if you don't mind.

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  6. I have lurked here for a while an d do believe that it is time to post something. I agree with your post Melissa.

    Sometimes you just have to ask yourself what exactly is the point of outing yourself. You could perhaps do this as a publicity stunt and maybe even siphon a suitable income but outside of that, I feel that it is not worth the hassle. People look st you differently as their gaze is full of contempt and fear. Being on the receiving end of that is not a good feeling ad you have to work to restore your previous relations and even then, it might not work. If you must out yourself, then do so to those you KNOW can handle the truth and not run away.

    --Q

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    1. One part narcissism, one part genuine exposure to bring up the discussion. Just remember, the Dr. Phil segment was heavily edited and sound-bited. While that blew up, the book and blog have not.

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  7. OK, so perhaps I'm being really thick here, but I don't see how this experiment is supposed to work. If your curious readers are going to act completely like themselves, where is the change? In the 'black like me' experiment, the man underwent a surgical procedure to have his skin darkened. He also shaved his head so it would resemble more closely African American hair. So, there was an outward, visible change to himself, despite the fact he continued to remain true to his own inner 'white' personality.

    Now compare this to the proposed 'socio like me' experiment. There is no outward change in appearance (why would there be?) and no change in behaviour. So, I ask again, where is the sociopath? Is it just a frame of mind, for the person to have the idea in their head that they are a sociopath? Because I don't think normal people are capable of that level of self-deception, certainly not without that deception leading to a change in behaviour (this is cognitive dissonance, right?). Or perhaps they are supposed to inform their friends and colleagues that they are a sociopath? I can see a number of flaws in that, the biggest being that telling everyone you're a sociopath is exactly what a sociopath doesn't tend to do. And no matter what condescension you may have of 'normals', most are aware of this folk psychological 'fact': a sociopath never admits (s)he's a sociopath. They also, in my experience, either don't know what the term sociopath means or they know perfectly well what the word means and are aware of the basic traits of a socio. So it seems likely that such a label will not be bought or accepted as true by the 'test subjects', and will be simply laughed off as a joke or an error on the part of the experimenter (the person claiming to be a sociopath).

    As an aside, anyone who has 'come out' as having a mental illness will know that once the label has stuck it does not simply peel off on a whim and becomes very hard to get rid of. For this reason, I can't see many people willing to don such a potentially damaging label of 'sociopath' for the sake of some experiment.

    I don't know, perhaps I've missed the point entirely. If anyone thinks this is the case, I'd welcome 'feedback' (i.e being corrected, challenged, harangued etc) because I recognise that somewhere in this somewhat vague proposal is the bare bones of an interesting idea. 'Black Like Me' is fascinating, so there's no reason why a properly realised 'sociopath like me' experiment couldn't be equally interesting. Thoughts?

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    1. The point is to allow the experimenter to step inside the mindset of real sociopathy. It is to increase understanding and awareness.

      By the way, in sociopathy there is no cognitive dissonance, though for the purposes of the experiment it may provide at least some surface insight to have it and contrast from it. What would it be like to have certain traits? In the end, it'll increase personal understanding.

      Remember it's a thought experiment right now. Getting caught up in the practicalities is besides the point - it's the mental experience (to be in a sociopath's shoes for a day). It'll stimulate questions as well as provide a few answers. Since sociopaths, as you've said, act as empaths externally, you don't need to worry about any incidental repercussions. But at least you will understand. Think about the thought processes, not the actions. It's not about behavior, it's about the mindset.

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    2. Think of it this way. What was the whole point in trying to be black? ME related this parallel for a reason.

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    3. So if I understand you correctly, the idea is to think like a sociopath. That makes much more sense, and shouldn't be too much of a challenge, because of course you'll just be indulging your most selfish whims for a day or so. It's obviously considerably less complicated than I was making it, so I appreciate the explanation.

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    4. The important part to remember is that when referencing "lack of", it requires less of a counter-weight into opposite emotion, and more towards apathy or ambivalence. For example, let's say you usually get appalled by seeing someone getting manipulated by another person. You will want to avoid the opposite reaction, as it is a false stereotype - you don't want to feel significantly pleased or happy because of it. Instead you will want to seek the "lack". Apathy and ambivalence. A non-caring either positively or negatively.

      That being said, you might feel mildly humored by it, maybe entertained or impressed. Outside of that, think about what it would be like neither feel bad about it, or particularly good about it.

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    5. Anon 1:45

      I think what you are saying is it's more about internal dialogue (or lack of) than outward appearances?

      MelissaR

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    6. Mostly. One refinement on what you've mentioned is that there isn't any lack of internal dialogue - it's just that the conversation inside is different.

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  8. Another great Sociopathic anthem is "Ben" by Michael Jackson.
    It sickens me that people are trying to deprive M.E. of her human
    rights, saying she is unentitled to love, and that she can NEVER find
    love.
    M.E. Is scared that one day she will awaken in the morning like an old
    Twlight Zone episode, and find that no one knows or cares about her.
    Fear not M.E.! Any guy would want a girl like M.E.! Not a repulsive hag
    like Nancy Grace!

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    1. ME has friends and family that love and care about her. She doesn't necessarily need a man. This work she's doing right now of raising awareness of what it's like to be a sociopath is HUGE on the world stage. Do you see anyone else so open about this topic? I 'm taking all this in because I have personally loved a few sociopaths and the cause is important to me because of that.

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  9. I was thinking how much I like how M.E. describes sociopaths "not having a sense of self" and how true I consider that statement. It's because you're not saying that sociopaths don't have a self, they just don't sense it. Is that an accurate description or am I just splitting hairs? Because not having a self and not having a sense of self are two different things. If that, I think it's worth considering why don't sociopaths feel their selves. Do the rest of the people feel their selves as in be able to visualize them independently of what ties them to earth and society? Sisters, brothers, achievers, underachievers? Are the rest of the people able to visualize themselves independently of what they rapport to? Are we something if there's nobody there to consider us that?

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    1. I would say for me at least it's just more difficult to find things that define me. This was especially apparent when people made value judgments people's actions, such as the treatment of animals, or recent crimes, or even just romantic relationships. I also can't truthfully say things like, "I am generally a happy person" or, "There was this event in my childhood that personally affected me". This was slightly confusing to me until I was diagnosed as a sociopath, after that it just made sense.

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    2. Anon 12:42

      In a way it sounds like you are describing depression. In reading your post it sounds very truthful and sincere, and a little bleak. It also may seem like in person you would have a rather flat affect. But it also sounds like your diagnosis was helpful to you; that's all that matters.

      MelissaR

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  10. Can someone who is an empath become a cold hearted sociopath?

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    1. The better question is, is an empath willing to try for a day to see what it is like?

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    2. Me for instance, I'm an empath who is willing to try. But can it be done?

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    3. Yeah do it, and please keep us updated. I'm writing all the comments today, that's how excited I am, also a big text grin :-D

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    4. No,someone who is an empath cannot become a cold hearted sociopath. But they can 'pretend' for a few hours. You can't change your basic biology. If your eyes are blue, their blue. You can wear brown contacts, but your real eyes are still blue.

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    5. Sociopathy is only partially genetic. The other part is the environment - the circumstances of you growing up (what psychologists refer to as nature and nurture).

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  11. I think it would be very interesting if someone pretends to be a sociopath and then gets into a situation where they would have to do something they think is wrong, or goes against their morality or something like that, to keep acting like a sociopath. I wonder if they would. What if they liked it and didn't want to change back?

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    1. Depends how well they've adopted it. Would they be suppressing their empathic traits in favor of sociopathic? If there was a magic drug or device that could literally remove, or substantially reduce, non-sociopathic traits, perhaps they would like it.

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    2. Yes, I meant that they would suppress their empathic traits, ended up liking it, and wanted to stay that way.

      Is it possible to adopt sociopathy? If you could, would that mean that you were a sociopath all along and didn't realize it?

      Delete
    3. There is indeed such a device! It's called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and is designed to temporarily shut down the amygdala. 'Psychopath expert' Prof Kevin Dutton has given it a spin In The Name Of Science, and definitely not because he secretly wants to be a psychopath. You can read his report here http://chronicle.com/article/The-Psychopath-Makeover/135160/

      But without access to such expensive paraphernalia I would predict such an empath in the situation Damaged describes would succumb to guilt after a time. A lot of empaths secretly enjoy doing horrible things but they have to psychologically suffer for the privilege, hence why so many non-sociopath career soldiers end up with PTSD.

      Delete
    4. Fascinating account. I would be interested in asking more about his experience, to see how close it would be to my own.

      Delete
    5. Damaged: Possibly. To paraphrase ME, sociopaths do typically know they're sociopaths, but not necessarily by using or identifying with the terminology. If you have been like this since you are young, it is natural to think this way. Because of its natural foundation, you don't necessarily see it as wrong or broken, only different.

      There is a misconception where, because sociopathy is "abnormal", it is also ill-fitting. It's not. You are not cognitively crippled by it. While it is true there are occasional incompatibilities from trying to understand more subtle emotional situations (or at least those which are easy for an empath to understand), your ability to "think" (to perceive and rationalize intelligently) is intact. You are no less capable to succeed in society (in fact, some can objectively argue that you are more capable). As a result, you can legitimately overlook any self-analysis into the condition.

      Delete
    6. @anonymous 7:05

      Maybe they think they're just really smart or depressed or something insteadof being a sociopath. Either way I think it would be interesting.

      Delete
  12. M.E's real name is Jamie Rebecca Lund.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're going for wow/shock factor, that train left the station a long time ago. We're not impressed.

      Delete
    2. Thank God you posted that anonymously.

      Delete
    3. Don't listen to these moany old queen Victorias. I for one am dead impressed, she shares the same first name as me and the same last name as a famous Danish TV detective. I wonder how many knitted woolen jumpers M.E. has?

      Please continue to wow us with your avant-garde investigative journalistic style and maybe you too will one day be hauled in front of the courts for phone tapping or a similarly heroic invasion of privacy.

      Delete
    4. thought you should knowJune 29, 2014 at 5:41 PM

      "Lund" means "penis" in Hindi.

      Delete
  13. Depends on the guilty pleasure being offered?
    Ha!Ha!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think this is the question she was ultimately leading us to.(trolling us?)
    I'm not blind to all the manipulation that goes on here. It's part of the disorder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean manipulate you into thinking and talking about what it's like to think like a sociopath? You make it sound so disingenuous, like it's some nefarious plot that you must defend yourself against. As if it has some nasty ulterior motive.

      It's a blog.

      Delete
    2. You do know that no one forces you to read the blog, right? This is not a plot to turn you into a Sociopath. I for once think is a very informative blog. It makes you think and if you are not a Neanderthal, to do more research on some topics you find interesting and actually learn something new.
      Read this post again and think about what you wrote. And then maybe you will understand. ;)

      Delete
  15. You should read 'Outsiders' by Howard S. Becker. Is a very interesting approach, about how society labels us and once we are labeled as such (eg. Drug Addicted, homosexual, or in this case Sociopath) how people start treating us differently, even though we are the same as usual. I first came in contact with this book during a class, in collage. But since then I've been researching the topic - Sociology of Deviance. Give it a go.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I just wanted to say I was booted from the forum and can't get back on. So, bye.

    maria/deborah

    ReplyDelete

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