Monday, February 24, 2014

The adaptable brain

If you believe that there is at least some genetic component to sociopathy, is it possible to find a workaround? This recent Oliver Sacks article from the New York Times discusses the incredible adaptability of the brain:
While some areas of the brain are hard-wired from birth or early childhood, other areas — especially in the cerebral cortex, which is central to higher cognitive powers like language and thought, as well as sensory and motor functions — can be, to a remarkable extent, rewired as we grow older. In fact, the brain has an astonishing ability to rebound from damage — even from something as devastating as the loss of sight or hearing. As a physician who treats patients with neurological conditions, I see this happen all the time.

For example, one patient of mine who had been deafened by scarlet fever at the age of 9, was so adept at lip-reading that it was easy to forget she was deaf. Once, without thinking, I turned away from her as I was speaking. “I can no longer hear you,” she said sharply.

“You mean you can no longer see me,” I said.

“You may call it seeing,” she answered, “but I experience it as hearing.”

Lip-reading, seeing mouth movements, was immediately transformed for this patient into “hearing” the sounds of speech in her mind. Her brain was converting one mode of sensation into another.

In a similar way, blind people often find ways of “seeing.” Some areas of the brain, if not stimulated, will atrophy and die. (“Use it or lose it,” neurologists often say.) But the visual areas of the brain, even in someone born blind, do not entirely disappear; instead, they are redeployed for other senses. We have all heard of blind people with unusually acute hearing, but other senses may be heightened, too.
***
The writer Ved Mehta, also blind since early childhood, navigates in large part by using “facial vision” — the ability to sense objects by the way they reflect sounds, or subtly shift the air currents that reach his face. Ben Underwood, a remarkable boy who lost his sight at 3 and died at 16 in 2009, developed an effective, dolphin-like strategy of emitting regular clicks with his mouth and reading the resulting echoes from nearby objects. He was so skilled at this that he could ride a bike and play sports and even video games.

People like Ben Underwood and Ved Mehta, who had some early visual experience but then lost their sight, seem to instantly convert the information they receive from touch or sound into a visual image — “seeing” the dots, for instance, as they read Braille with a finger. Researchers using functional brain imagery have confirmed that in such situations the blind person activates not only the parts of the cortex devoted to touch, but parts of the visual cortex as well.

One does not have to be blind or deaf to tap into the brain’s mysterious and extraordinary power to learn, adapt and grow. I have seen hundreds of patients with various deficits — strokes, Parkinson’s and even dementia — learn to do things in new ways, whether consciously or unconsciously, to work around those deficits.

That the brain is capable of such radical adaptation raises deep questions. To what extent are we shaped by, and to what degree do we shape, our own brains? And can the brain’s ability to change be harnessed to give us greater cognitive powers? The experiences of many people suggest that it can.
Can my brain adapt too?

102 comments:

  1. I think the question is not so much if, but how.

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  2. Pablo Escobar was a psychopath.

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    1. Pablo Escobar was a businessman.
      Corrected that for ya.

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  3. It's funny to me because my closest friend's interpretation of what I am is as follows:

    You are a sociopath. You are biologically a murderer but were raised by parents with such strong values and intelligence that you have a strange sort of system of values. You could have been a serial killer except that you learned to fit in with people and have enough influence from your parents not to end up in prison.

    I won't say she's right or wrong. I don't know that I'm a sociopath but in most instances I will freely admit that she knows me better than I know myself. I do have a moral system - but it's completely made up by me. I designed it to be logically consistent rather than to adhere to the ideas that most people have. I have a hatred for hypocrites and the cowards who do things they believe are wrong. I don't *feel* any morals but I do try to follow them because of the logical construction I've created and my disgust with hypocrisy.

    If none of that made any sense I blame the alcohol. I'm more than a little drunk.

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  4. @Unmasked... I find it curious that you say you don't 'feel' morals. It's curious because I also wouldn't say that I 'feel' morals. My system of morals is also constructed to follow a workable system that will keep me out of trouble (read: prison) and not lead to damaging repurcussions. This is true except for some of the most extreme of human potentialities but even then I can't always hold onto a 'feeling' of right and wrong unless I actively try to hold onto it.

    I do believe that to an extent you have a choice of who you can be. Humans have the ability to control their actions and therfore control the choices that make and define who they are. But the extent of this control variest. What determines the extent of that control? Who knows.

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  5. Incredibly coherent for someone who's "more than a little drunk" ¬_¬

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  6. Sociopath Anthem Video on YouTube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSQZQ3hJZuQ&feature=related

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  7. Hai gais my names unmasked n im biologically a serial killer ... Am I cool now? Im gonna say I'm drunk to save myself a little embarrassment ... Lols

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  8. ME says 'can my brain adapt too?' Adapt to what? What does he want to change? I don't know anyone who'd rather be blind or deaf. SO motivation to change is high there, but in case of ME or UKan or Notable, this boils down to 'why change,' 'what to change to' and 'how much to change?' UKan wants no change, both UKan and Notable want to change you not self.

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  9. Unmasked, I'd say we're very much alike for whatever we may be. I don't exactly fit the textbook definition, at which I actually smirk. Count your blessings I suppose.

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  10. I definitely think almost any change is possible. Its just a question of how difficult it is.

    Even other parts of the body. I know someone who was near sighted and did eye exercises for like a year straight. He now has nearly perfect vision.

    We can mold ourselves into just about anything.

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  11. CONTRADICTION OF THE DAY

    Unmasked:

    I don't *feel* any morals
    ---------------------------------
    I have a hatred for hypocrites and the cowards who do things they believe are wrong.
    ---------------------------------

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  12. @ME
    'normal' people are no happier. what is it exactly you would want to change? would you like to be a slave to your emotions, would you like to be so unaware that you can't manipulate anyone. if the choice came down to it would you choose blissful ignorance over knowledge and awareness of how things actually are?

    you probably have a touch of SAD and you should either ride it out or stare at a lightbulb for a while before you make any drastic changes.

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  13. i think ME has SAD and if he just stares at a lightbulb for a while he'll realise that he doesn't want to become more NT. it's not like NTs are happier anyway...

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. arrrgh!
    2 attempted posts with a hyperlink that have been spam binned. be warned.

    my point was that ME sounds recently like he has seasonal affective disorder (SAD). i'll not link to wiki this time...
    he needs to stare at a lightbulb for a while and his crazy notion that becoming more NT is a desirable thing will go away.

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  16. I want to become an unfeeling monster. How is this accomplished? How may I bend my brain to become this? I need to become empty. Void. Completely free.

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    1. why not start a long therapy of headbanging and intensive PCP usage

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  17. We can mold ourselves into just about anything.

    See, I don’t buy that. Are our brains malleable? Yes, the evidence more than suggests that. Are they infinitely so? No, the evidence does not seem to warrant that conclusion. At least, not at this time.

    Would I want to feel instinctive empathy and moral emotions in general, like guilt and remorse? Nope. Not even a little bit.

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  18. Daniel, you are an aspie, right?

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  19. Daniel, you are an aspie, right?

    Not I said the spider to the fly.

    I’ve never had a problem picking up on social cues of all kinds, I’ve had a variety of interests, learned motor skills on time, have no problems with changes in my routine and so on.

    But I did dream of ruling the world with an iron fist as a preteen. Does that count as an aspie symptom? Or more like a typical delusion of grandeur?

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  20. You can adapt to your personality, but I don't think you can change it. I'm sorry m.e., but the comparison is way off. The blind man didn't regain his vision, nor did the deaf girl regain her hearing. They learned to adapt.

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  21. Everyone dreams of ruling the world, that doesn't make you psychopathic.

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  22. ^Who said it did?

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  23. Lol, i see what anon is trying to do to Daniel, manipulators are dumb in a way because they have primitive animal like mind sets aka bullies, remember though John Gotti didn't run New York by being a philosopher.

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  24. Anon1:27, Stevie Wonder can see it too. It was that obvious.

    Still, you never know. Every once in a blue moon, someone clever and very insightful will catch me unawares on here. It's interesting when it happens.

    And if I ever aspire to be a mafia kingpin, it'll be along the lines of Joe Bonanno rather than John Gotti. I don't and won't, but since we're talking mafiosos, I'm just sayin.

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  25. JG was the man, every kid in New York wanted to be him, he was too ruthless for his own good.

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  26. I remember my sister saying she lived next door to some big time mafia guy named Banana when she lived in Tucson.

    Must've been that dude. I need to ask her about that.

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  27. are we communicating here?

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  28. Is it not true that the more you think a certain way, the more the wiring of a brain gets set that way? Sociopaths may use their wiring as an excuse for the way they are, but the bottom line is that that is the way they choose. It's just easier to say you can't help it.

    It's just so disturbing that it doesn't disturb some people that they have no empathy, feel no guilt, don't care about anything but using others to exploit them. Then they shrug their shoulders to say who cares. If they did CHOOSE to care, to make like better for others, and ultimately for themselves, they can rewire their brains.

    It doesn't worry you that you make life hell for others? Then indeed, you would be happier in hell than heaven.

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  29. Can sociopathy be comorbid with a learning disability/disorder?

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  30. My sister says:

    He lived down the street — Joe Bonnano. A package for him got delivered to our house by mistake once. If I had known who he was at the time, I would have delivered it to his house myself rather than giving it back to UPS. Except that he had a "beware of dog" sign on his front gate.

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  31. Is it not true that the more you think a certain way, the more the wiring of a brain gets set that way? Sociopaths may use their wiring as an excuse for the way they are, but the bottom line is that that is the way they choose. It's just easier to say you can't help it.

    Sure, the socipathic mindset might be regarded (sort of) as a choice, at least when one is young, but the keyword here is 'set'. Once you reach a certain age, the ability to change is limited. Like trying to re-groove a record without sanding it down first.

    How does one go about sanding down a brain?

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  32. "It doesn't worry you that you make life hell for others? Then indeed, you would be happier in hell than heaven."

    It's not just sociopaths who make life hell for others. But they are the ones who do so whilst NOT calling themselves 'good' people.

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  33. Me choosing to have empathy is like you choosing to have none. It won't happen. I wish I could let you live in my head to show you how I feel, but I can't. I can't just choose to. When I do it becomes an act. The motivation of my act will always be to get you to feel similarities between us so I can benefit from your usefulness.
    Take for instance I backhanded somebody at the club on new years. When my security went to use the restroom, he tried to intimidate me thinking I was vulnerable. Four months before I had broken someones ankles because he said he was going to tell the police about a situation. The actual owner of the club said he had enough of the violence I had brought to the venue, and said one more incident and he would have to end our relationship.
    During the week after new years I read his favorite book (his idealogy), and spent time playing the video game his business partner enjoyed. On the way in I told his partner my favorite bits of the game, and told him I would play him online. He said towards the end that he knew of the incident, but didn't care.
    I took time to talk to the owner about his beliefs and tied it into what I was doing. He barely brought up the other incident and said he probably had it coming. I spent the rest of the night going around shaking hands and finding out what the main people in the place wanted me to be. The problem was I had let my ego run away and started thinking I could do what I want and that they all owed me. What was the truth was I can do anything I want as long as they justify it. to get them to justify it they had to relate to me. The only way they can relate to me is for me to pretend I care.

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  34. Just sounds like good business practice to me.

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  35. Ukan, empathy doesn't come naturally to me either. But I choose to increase in it, because otherwise, I get selfish and I hurt people. I don't like being hurt myself - I know everyone at least feels physical pain, and doesn't want others to hurt them because they know it is not pleasant.

    I mean, honestly, do you want to live in a world where you don't connect with others, and where others exploit you and harm you? I think I know what the answer is for some - "I don't care." And that's what is so evil - that you don't care that it is evil.

    So why do we bother rehabilitating prisoners or running violence intervention programs for abusers (not that all are sociopaths)? If they don't see anything wrong with it, just lock them away - they don't care anyway.

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  36. It's an interesting subject, focus.

    I remember watching Dr. Joseph Newman's interview on criminal psychopathy and psychopathy in general. I've seen it a few times. He talks about how shallow affect can be manipulated momentarily to compel someone to feel something they normally don't.

    On a not quite related note, one of his anecdotes was that several criminal clinically diagnosed psychopaths said that sometimes when they saw a person in need, they'd help them for no benefit, it was just something they felt compelled to do. It wasn't a matter of right or wrong, but just aiding a fellow human. It's something I could relate to.

    It makes me wonder about the lines we draw, especially in psychology and philosophy.

    But what the one reader said, focusing on being good, or helpful, that just doesn't work. I'm a coin. I land on heads or tails, helpful or hurtful, just because that is what I feel like doing for the moment. If I focus on being the good guy, it gets draining, it makes me resentful, and all the urges and impulses I try to fight just cause me to lash out up and beyond my normal shtick. It's like climbing a mountain top and going off the cliff instead of easing your way around it.

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  37. So why do we bother rehabilitating prisoners or running violence intervention programs for abusers (not that all are sociopaths)? If they don't see anything wrong with it, just lock them away - they don't care anyway.

    That's a loaded question, allsociopaths are clever, in a program, they would leave an amazing impression. Dr hare says it best, sociopaths come off as more modest than you're average person, it's called false modesty.

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  38. @ TNP, depends on who the subject is, personally i don't get anything from helping people in need, i feel stronger when i don't come tot their aid.

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  39. It's not a matter of feeling something for helping them. I was pretty clear about that, I thought.

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  40. I am so very unhappy with my self, self image, the way I relate to myself in my head--I am an empath with bipolarI. I also have some borderline criteria, but most of that comes through if I'm unstable. I'm not great now, as my depression is awful this time of year. The grass is always greener when I'm depressed. I come on here to escape into the socio's world because I perceive it to be so much more free. I'm a slave to my moods, and you guys make slaves of others? I'd love that, but unfortunately not in my nature. I can pretend, and that can work sometimes because I have the ability to bend my sense of self to some extent(-I'm also an actress.) Sure it FEELS like there are parts of the socio life I want to lead when I'm feeling like crap--. SO , to ME-- In my world this would be a phase. This is about perception -If you want bipolar advice: your side of the lawn will be green again when you work whatever it is out, or when the season changes. Cheers
    This is Mila, TNP.

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  41. Notme kind of mila?

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  42. I know others feel pain (mental and physical), so I cause them pain. I do this because people avoid pain, so I know if I cause them to feel this they will do what I want.
    I know others feel pleasure, so I make them feel it. I do this because people seek pleasure, so I know if I make them feel this they will do what I want. (This isn't neccessarily sexual in nature).
    You think of others pain and think of how it would make you feel. I don't see what your pain has to do with it. You are inflicting it on someone else, so its irrelevant. How will this help you to get what you want from people?
    Prisoners rehabilitation is a joke. People like me get out of everything, because of people like you. The people who we use are the ones who do the time. I was just laughing about that a few weeks ago with a friend of mine.
    You may think I'm evil. It doesn't matter. When you run into me on the street I will guarantee that you will see me as not only the model citizen, but a exceptional one.

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  43. notme, mila, what difference does it make? Just pick yourself up, Mila. Get a lot of light, buy some, fight seasonal depression.

    One said: "It's not just sociopaths who make life hell for others. But they are the ones who do so whilst NOT calling themselves 'good' people."
    I completely agree, empaths in their caring can act very controlling. To me any empath/sociopath in position of power (parents/boss) acting out of caring/conning to change me would read as control freak and I would stop him in his/her tracks and take pleasure from frustrating him/her.

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  44. Hey Mila,

    Hope you feel better soon.
    I can relate to some of what you're saying. I'm also a slave to my moods. So, can't really offer advice, and i don't think you'd want any from me!
    Anyway, stick around. Are you a famous actress?! Angelina Jolie perhaps? hehe. ;)

    Let loose, no one knows you here - well, unless you are Jolie of course.

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  45. Thanks notme.

    I am completely unfamous. I bring up being an actress as it relates to the altered sense of self for me. -I don't like to talk about my career. It's a pain in the ass, and a bore. The craft is interesting as hell.

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  46. Exactly, Ukan. That's exactly what I mean. Sociopaths know others feel pain, so they inflict it to get what they want. They use others for their selfish gain. Isn't that what we teach kids not to do? What would you say to your young child, if you had one? Do as I say, not as I do?

    And they don't see anything wrong with it, as long as it gets them what they want. That's not right. Why? Because people suffer. And they shouldn't. They matter, whether we like them or not. That's what laws are for, to protect people. Even if I were a sociopath, I sure don't want my kids being taken advantaged of by one.

    I think there's some sociopathic traits in all of us, which is why people can point to empaths or whoever else, and say they call themselves good but are also controlling. A controlling empath is no better than a controlling sociopath.

    And by the way, simply because you can admit you make life hell for others doesn't make you good. It makes you upfront. But wait, sociopaths lie, so you can't say you are honest about it. Or any of your responses. Do you even believe yourself?

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  47. No probs.

    I can imagine it's very interesting. I became addicted to it when I did drama at school, the rush of a performance and the audience.
    I'd make a better actress now than i was then - i was a bit crap then, too naive and emotionally contained. (lol they all say I'm still naive here, but hey).
    I do think it's a wonderful outlet, but I can see it as quite exhausting too.
    (but like you said, I won't talk about it anymore, pwarmise) :)

    If you haven't already, check out HavenNyx's channel for a view on borderlines.

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  48. Its hard for me to be depressed. I guess because I love myself so much. I get paranoid sometimes after I've done something I know I fucked up on. It puts me on edge.
    I used to tell girls that were depressed to wake up the next day and look in the mirror and tell themselves how amazing they are. It worked for most. One girl went out and got her dream job.
    The image people have of you is entirely up to you, not them. The reason people are drawn to people like myself is because I am confident. Not the confidence where I make up bullshit and believe myself. I believe I am one of the greatest people to walk this earth. You might not get other people to go that far, but with enough confidence they will think you are the most amazing person that they ever met.
    There's no value in humility. If you get out of your chair and offer it to me you didn't become a more valuable person. You just became a uncomfortable
    one.
    Mila you said your job is a bore. How much time do you spend doing it?

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  49. I don't believe in good or evil. I believe in gain. Why should I care about people suffering? Maybe they should think about suffering before they try to impede what I'm trying to accomplish.
    I will teach my children to go hard towards their goals, and not to listen to people like you who limit their potential with morals and laws.
    If people suffering is not right, then why have people suffered? Maybe because your god failed them, just like he's failed you.
    I believe in myself, that's the only thing I truely believe in. Surely its taken me further than your beliefs have taken you.
    There was reasoning behind the tale of satan being cast down to freely roam the earth. Its because here among men you will always find what you call evil, heaven is a pipedream. The peace you idealize will only come in death.

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  50. 'There's no value in humility. If you get out of your chair and offer it to me you didn't become a more valuable person. You just became a uncomfortable
    one'

    I don't think it's about attaining value as a person, it's intrinsic/instinctive in some people to give things up for the comfort of others. It's called empathy, and in this example, it's sort of a staggered logic, which is about long-term effects. The only people not to reciprocate in the future by offering up their seat to you in return, are those not worthy of your empathy and friendship. We can't win every time.

    We've been through this before, I'm starting to feel like a broken record.
    I do however agree with loving yourself and deriving self-worth from yourself rather than others.

    But you thinking you're the best thing since sliced bread is not to everyone's taste. Just saying. I'm not in the mood for an argument, but I just thought I'd slip that in anyway. :)

    WV tranic = tranny tantric?

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  51. I say my career as an actress is a bore because it is a PAINFUL bore...I could use your confidence, Ukan. I could use more arrogance, I could use a hell of a lot less humility. A great question, Ukan....the answer ? Not enough time. Doing the business side of it, that is. There's no room for hurt feelings, insecurities, lack of self confidence in this business--the irony is that you're asked to bleed in front of people for a living , and the living is dog eat dog-- I'm tired of complaining about it. I'm at a crossroads-I either do it or quit, and quitting isn't for me. Gimmee some socio mindset.

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  52. Notme

    Thanks.


    How do I get to HavenNyx's channel?

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  53. scroll up til you see her name and click on it.

    :)

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  54. Mila:
    Walking into a career with a lot of competition can be daunting. When you are faced with a lot of competition try doing something the rest of the competition isn't doing. Try learning from the competition and combining their techniques into one person: you. You now have more things to add to the business than anyone else does.
    A long time ago in my business I had a lot of competition, of course, because I was at the bottom. Most of the time people despise their competitors. I played the fool for the entire year asking people how they do things. People are so eager to teach you things. It strokes their ego. However, it surprised me that they were so caught up in how they thought that they were better than their enemies that they refused to learn from them. Its like they are afraid they would be less if they were a copycat. Me, I am total copycat. Everything I am is a copy.
    By the end of the year I had combined all the tricks each of them taught me. I started climbing. In a few months I was on top.
    Its not about talent. I have no talents at all. I'm terrible at sports, singing, building, or any other category that would propel society forward. Its about how you play the game. Use people. Use everyone around you. Stop worrying what people think of you and start worrying how useful people are. People don't start wanting to help you because you are in need. They want to help nyou because you feel entitled to it. You would be surprised at how many people will deny you nothing.
    If someone is unlucky, unconnected, or negative cut them out of your life immediatly. If someone can be useful later then see them seldom, but not to long to where they will notice you called them only for favors. If someone has a close future use then keep them around you. Surround yourself with only the people who are important. Don't help anyone unless you see them being of use. Especially don't help people lower than you, unless its done in the presence of someone who is higher.

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  55. "I don't believe in good or evil. I believe in gain." That's exactly my point - therefore, I don't know why people try to give sociopaths chances to change. They don't care about good or evil.

    "Why should I care about people suffering? Maybe they should think about suffering before they try to impede what I'm trying to accomplish." That kind of self-absorption makes living with sociopaths in society impossible.

    "I will teach my children to go hard towards their goals, and not to listen to people like you who limit their potential with morals and laws." Why? Why do it at the expense of others? Oh, I forgot, others don't matter.

    "If people suffering is not right, then why have people suffered?" Because right has not happened.

    "Maybe because your god failed them, just like he's failed you." Oh no, he hasn't failed me. If not him, I would still be duped by sociopaths in my life.

    "I believe in myself, that's the only thing I truely believe in. Surely its taken me further than your beliefs have taken you." If you believe in yourself, what about when you let yourself down? And how do you know that your beliefs have taken you further than anyone? If you are capable of deceiving others, how do you know you haven't deceived yourself there?

    "heaven is a pipedream. The peace you idealize will only come in death." Eternal peace sure beats eternal unrest. But I do get a taste of it now anyway - in connecting relationships - pure heaven! Just not the concentrated pure version of it, because the wheat and tares have to be together until the right time.

    I just wish people would stop assuming that sociopaths (or narcs, or BPD's) should be given a chance to change. If you don't get it, what's there to change?

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  56. You seem to be the only person that wants us to change at the core.

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  57. Nice, Ukan. I took an audition class where competition was brought up, but only a bit. This stuff was glossed over, but in softer lingo. It's funny you say you have no talent--I doubt that.
    But I have always relied too much on my talent, and not enough on my cunning ability. i feel ready for that. If I can do both now, simultaneously, I will be so much better. Thank you very much.

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  58. You are living in a society with sociopaths, so saying it is impossible is foolish and dramatic. There is no good and evil. There is balance. You need me in this world like a forest needs fire to clear its brush. Like overpopulation needs famine. Like creation needs destruction. Like your father in heaven needs his lucifer down below.
    Your god has no power here. Even in your texts it is true. Ha, his son was butchered by humans. Look at you now. Bitter. How pathetic. Where was your god when he duped you and put you in pain. Nowhere. You hit rock bottom and that's what pulled you out. I'm sure you will tell me that god put you through pain for his own reasons that he doesn't have to tell you. I know a lot of abusers who say the same thing. I hate to tell you, but you are still a dupe.
    So now you have switched your dependencies? That's good, because you are naive, so will be emotionally dependent on something your entire life.
    You will never get your dream of having no aspds, because your empathetic friends will be in our corner giving people like me victim status while you yell and scream sounding like a fanatic.

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  59. 'I just wish people would stop assuming that sociopaths (or narcs, or BPD's) should be given a chance to change. If you don't get it, what's there to change?'

    Er, are you lumping us all together now? Interesting. Do you know what BPD is?
    I'm finding it hard interpreting the sentiment of your last paragraph. But it can be taken as quite an arrogant statement. Who in the world believes they are entitled to the position of giving me the chance to change? Of holding the belief that they are doing me the favour, watching the clock, waiting for me to become what they want me to be?

    I don't think you know what BPD is - it is pretty much the opposite of sociopathy.
    And what do we not get? Empathy? I do, very much so. So, I think you need to read a bit more about BPD.

    I don't really understand the point of your fatalistic comments.
    You really seem to be over-generalising and lumping everyone into one big bag labelled, 'Unsalvageable.'

    You've made your point. But I think you're simplifying too much. And it doesn't show much empathy or compassion, or even a full understanding at all.
    Anyway. I've said my piece. We're all here to learn so it's fine, and what you say is not outlandish, it just lacks comprehensiveness, which is important when you are addressing individual human beings, all whom are quite different, even though they share some similarities.

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  60. The only reason yourchoice is lumping BPD with ASPD is because yourchoice is a bible thumping, ignoramus.

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  61. er, i really should clarify. The god stuff, I personally think IS outlandish. I was referring to the fact you think we can't change in a fundamental way. I personally, don't disagree. But as Ukan said. The world is about balance, and the extremes are part of that since there's no perfect UBER-HUMAN that embodies all things at once.
    Btw, you display a BPD quality called splitting. Look that one up too while you're at it. lols.

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  62. Yourchoice,

    Go get a kleenex and drown yourself in your own tears and blood at the incongruency of this world you live in. (This imagery is rather delightful.) Oh, and shut the fuck up.

    Your's truly,
    2

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  63. I know what BPD is, my family member suffers it. I am not saying they are the same - just that they are unlikely to change.

    Who wants them to change? Professionals who are in the business of doing therapy with them. If people don't want to change, they won't. If they do, it doesn't matter about brain wiring - the brain is adaptable.

    It's easy to label someone bitter - people do it all the time when they go "no contact". That doesn't mean they are. Just convenient to label them such - you immediately get an advantage. A great ad hominem.

    It's not that I don't have compassion for sociopaths (I was told I had too much), they deserve compassion as much as any human being. It's just that compassion often overlooks the facts. It's not even compassion they need or want.

    Ukan, don't think I got to hit rock bottom. Ex wasn't a physically abusive, alcoholic, addicted, obviously evil person - he was fun, intelligent and only sometimes nasty. But terribly selfish, manipulative and scheming. And he did get in trouble with the law in the end.

    Where was ANYONE when I got duped? That's life on earth, where humans rule - bit of heaven, bit of hell. At least God was there and helped me out. His son got butchered because he planned it that way. lucifer was just too stupid to see it.

    notme, I wish people were salvageable. I always thought they were, like the professionals I came across. And my experience is that many people change. But most disturbed characters don't want to. And that's fine - as long as people realize that there are people who don't "get" that most people think it's not OK to remain manipulative and selfish. And yes, I am surrounded by selfish people, but it does bother most of them and they do change. Dramatically at times.

    I know I am still learning. I've taken a huge leap in understanding just by reading how sociopaths think, so thanks folks for your input. See ya for now.

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  64. Being selfish is only inappropriate when it reaches destructive levels, and even then, do you really care?

    You should always take care of #1 first. You shouldn't be helping anyone if you first can't take care of yourself.

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  65. 'If people don't want to change, they won't. If they do, it doesn't matter about brain wiring - the brain is adaptable.'

    I suspect the next thing you're gonna say is that homosexuals have a choice to be that way. Even if you don't, I'm still totally done with you.

    You are bitter and a bit ignorant about all this.

    Christ Almighty, I hope you get to grips with reality cos you're testing my patience. And you've been very insulting. I'm not a sociopath yourchoice, far from it, so choose your words carefully. The reality is that I do try to get better and find ways to make life work for me. Your attitude is very insulting and hurtful actually.

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  66. Yourchoice:
    "And by the way, simply because you can admit you make life hell for others doesn't make you good. It makes you upfront. But wait, sociopaths lie, so you can't say you are honest about it. Or any of your responses. Do you even believe yourself?"
    Are you referring to what I said earlier? I didn't say it makes you good. Good and evil don't exist in the first place. Oh, and I'm not a sociopath myself, I'm extremely empathetic (and possibly a Narcissist). Though I believe you're a worse person if you try to claim you're kind whilst making life hell for others.

    Oh, and also... sociopaths lie, yes. Empaths also lie. Sociopaths lie for fun, or to get what they want. Empaths lie for fun, to get what they want or to convince themselves. Sociopaths are aggressive. Empaths are aggressive, but try to pretend they're not. Sociopaths are sometimes sadistic. Empaths are sometimes sadistic, and such a truth hurts them greatly because society says it should. Sociopaths manipulate people for their own gain, feeling no guilt. Empaths manipulate people for their own gain, feeling some or a lot of guilt, and do it, often, wrong, then try to justify it to themselves and those close to them. A lot of sociopaths commit crime and don't feel guilt. A lot of empaths commit crime and feel guilt, but do it anyway. Sociopaths cheat on partners. Empaths cheat on partners. Sociopaths hurt their partners. Empaths hurt their partners.

    I could go on.

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  67. @notme

    I'm so glad you said all that, I was bristling so much I was rendered speechless (I have BPD too).

    Thanks

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  68. Interesting anecdote Medusa. I’d read somewhere that Bonanno settled in Arizona. Thanks for checking. Small world, no?

    @yourchoice: be grateful to your ex. In his way, he was trying to disabuse you of the naive notions you have about the way life works. Instead of resisting it, embrace reality as it actually is. The inevitable outcome of such an embrace will be greater clarity, which will make you stronger in the long run.

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  69. that's cool anon.
    too much idiocy for one night.

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  70. UKan: I'd like to know why you helped Mila. It is very unlikely that she will help you in any way, so I guess the standard 'I helped X because X can be useful' reasoning does not apply. I admit that I did not read all the comments on this blog but from the ones I read it seems that you consider yourself a sociopath. How do you explain your action in this case? What do you think about the reason of helping Mila?

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  71. Well, there have been stories of people who "see" through
    the tip of their nose, and through their fingertips.
    I had a minor stroke a few years ago, and didn't bother to get
    it tended. I agree with M.E.: "Who needs those bastard doctors?"
    The effects of the stroke eventually dissipated, and I was MOSTLY
    back to normal, except for a slight curve of my mouth.

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  72. The question of how the brain would compensate to those who are empathy blind is fascinating, I spend my time searching for an alternative to navigate the empathsphere-always hoped that hope of a treatment would come from digitising the sociopathic psyche somehow-maybe a binary method of defining emotion.

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  73. "Can my brain adapt too?" Do you want your brain to adapt? Many on this blog write about how their sociopath qualities are superior in terms of intelligence, rationality, decision making, less rigidity, and non-judgmental.

    If you could go to sleep one night and wake up the next morning with an "empathic" brain, would you?

    How do you think your life would be different?

    MelissaR

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Cannot imagine, but let me attempt to, it would be dizzying-senses swamped by colour texture and sense-atmospheres and nuances crashing like waves on the crenellated coast of the spinal column...like trying to explain blue from a point of lifelong blindness...

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    3. If I could, would I?

      Perhaps for an hour or two, to see what it is like, but outside of that no. I am satisfied with what I have.

      Also, what makes you think sociopaths are non-judgmental? Sociopaths may be able to see things from a detached viewpoint, but that doesn't mean they don't judge. It's just that they judge from that detached point.

      Delete
    4. Bob, I don't know (and don't have an opinion) if sociopaths are non-judgmental or not. I'm just noting some of the past comments I've read on this blog. I too what like to see what it would be like to have a different brain for an hour or so. But I'm glad you are satisfied with what you have. I am satisfied with what I have too.

      MelissaR

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    5. Psykopath, you give some pretty vivid descriptions. No one can say you are lacking in creativity!

      MelissaR

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  74. The question related to sociopathy, is their a desire to change, do things differently? Ben clearly wanted to change and develop his 'other senses'. Do sociopaths want to change? According to the research thus far the answer is no.

    This is a fascinating story and I'm curious what diagnosed sociopaths think of this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neuroplasticity and epigenetics can potentially change things to a limited degree. It does account for environmental influences in the development of sociopathy as a child.

      It is possible, in compensation for lack of empathy attributed to underused (or non-used) regions of the brain, that other cognitive factors are augmented. It would explain increased adaptability, intelligence, and other cognitive areas for some sociopaths. While not universal to all sociopaths, the prevalence is statistically significant.

      Delete
    2. By the way, my personal response to your question would be "No." For a low-functioning sociopath there might be if cognitive reasoning is powerful enough to override apathy or ambivalence. Otherwise I would assume for most high-functioning sociopaths the answer would be in the negative, since there isn't any real reason for it.

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  75. I've read for some sociopaths, their sociopathic symptoms lessen to some degree as they age. Maybe , if they have the desire, this would be an opportune time to attempt to develop some 'rewiring' of the brain? Via meditation,other sensory heightening techniques like Ben found.

    Interesting question ME, what do you think? The fact you spend so much time finding these sources is inspiring. Like your on the cutting edge of possibly finding some alternatives for socios who would be willing to try something different? Some blind people are content doing nothing sitting in their houses for 40 years. Some are like Ben and take action and develop other resources to help themselves.

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    Replies
    1. It is more likely a sociopath has better adapted socially than having traits diminish overtime. Infact, studies have shown that neuroplasticity actually diminishes significantly after reaching adulthood, and gets worse the older you get.

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  76. I don't know why you'd want to change. In this society, a hierarchical society based on money, power is everything and sociopaths are the ones that can gain power without feeling bad about stepping on people.

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  77. "Because we can" is not a good enough reason for "We should".

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    Replies
    1. Do socios enjoy or prefer to deal with other socios in real life ?

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    2. Theoretically that depends on the person. Due to the rarity as well as difficulty in publicly identifying sociopaths, it's hard to say. Unlike, for example, homosexuality, sociopathy doesn't have a real equivalent to Polari. Even if sociopathy was observable in someone, it is difficult to walk up to them and introduce yourself. There are numerous problems.

      Delete
  78. @ Anon 1:32

    This *is* real life (albeit with pixels).

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  79. @ Anon 8:45

    "I've read for some sociopaths, their sociopathic symptoms lessen to some degree as they age."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    I prefer the term "sociopathic traits" rather than "sociopathic symptoms".

    "Symptom" implies that there is something wrong with the sociopath. Symptom (noun): a physical or mental feature which is regarded as indicating a condition of disease (OED).

    Trait (noun): a distinguishing quality or characteristic belonging (particularly) to a person (OED).

    Symptom has emotional and negative connotations; trait does not. One might just as well apply the term "symptom" to certain traits exhibited by the average empath.

    I do not consider sociopathy to be a disease. I'm not sure that I even consider it to be a disorder. Utilising the "history is written by the victors" phrase, one could argue that certain "disorders" (a term no less subjective than "normal") are defined by the majority.

    Sorry to sound pedantic. I just feel that language is very important.

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  80. I wrote that in a hurry this morning rushing out the door, I agree, 'traits' would have
    been a better word choice.

    Did you watch the 10 minute clip about Ben the blind boy? What do you think about that? Do you think ME is on to something regarding rewiring the brain ? Do you think any sociopaths would even have any interest in that. From my research on the subject sociopaths don't have any desire to change or be different.

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    Replies
    1. u have a very low iq...

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  81. oh, thank you, I'm sure your highly superior to me asshole. fuck off!

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  82. Wow, A world of Hypocrites and know it all people, lol. Empaths that say that Sociopaths cant Love or be Loved. Sociopaths that say they are so bad and proud of it.
    Its absurd. Or the real Gods, the professionals that have blogs and therapist that have the final say. Here is the truth. If you can make a statement claiming something, you will have to prove it. I have been studying for 21 months. I have no preconceived bias. I only have facts. facts and eyes witness accounts.
    If you say that sociopaths can't be Loved and there is 1 person on the planet that does Love a sociopaths, then well, you see why I say " know it alls"
    And if we are dealing with truth there is no room for false accusations. That will not stick.
    I have not heard one professional or concerned person ever make a comment like
    " there has got to be some new form of treatments or approach to helping sociopaths."
    And that's human, lol. To give up and judge and be so negative. Yet they are so bad?
    Or they try to group everyone in certain categories. List all the negative shit, And give hopeless claims.
    All the things that we have accomplished and discovered as a human race. And they are so quick to give up on the sociopath. That is callous. That is no heart. That is no Emapthy. To me that is a person with no hope and is a looser. But can easily rant on a long as blog and regurgitate all the other sites that say the same. But they are so human right? But we teach our children to dream big. For what? only for the little stuff. And I have seen so many mightier than though people that say that sociopaths are not human. But they are? or that sociopaths are reprobates.
    To claim that being a sociopath you are no good. Garbage. Run, get away from them.
    How to deal with a sociopath is cut contact. Then in the next line say that this antisocial behavior can be hereditary or from childhood trauma. And the same person writing about dignity and Love. Stop please.
    I think in society as a whole most people are closer to sociopaths if anything. I have not seen many real empathetic people making a stand and at least trying to make a difference. I'm not trying to change but just an analogy.
    Run away, missing or exploited kids. Everybody can talk and pretend to be concerned or care. But in reality they don't. Where i the passion? All the advancements and innovations. Only if it's for their gain or wealth. Where are all the good people? So called real people. Where is the education?
    And people that believe in God. God is there for them right? And Loves us all right? Everybody except the sociopaths. Why? because they don't have emotions? A conscience? No Empathy?
    So not only are they victims of human trauma. They get a double dose. They are a victim of God.
    All this crap online, from good people that know it all. Haven't seen anything about Hope. I guess that is for normal people only, without disorders or a Anti social personality. Has the limit been set. Murders or violent criminals that is where the hope ends. Wow,
    This word Love though, it is tossed around like a good feeling word. What does it mean to Love? They don't even know. But they will say sociopath cant be or cant give Love.

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