Thursday, March 27, 2014

An aspie's view of sociopathy

From an Aspie reader reader:

I found your blog by chance, a week or two ago, and can't help but feel intrigued. I have Asperger's syndrome (or as the next version of the DSM has it, "autism spectrum disorder") and the experiences you describe seem to have as many similarities to as differences from my own. 

We both find it necessary to mask ourselves for daily life because most people, most of the time, don't want to know what we're really like. They want an interface they know how to use, and an impression they can easily categorize. I don't switch masks with the fluidity of a sociopath, nor do I have as large a repertoire to choose from. I'd be willing to bet that I have to put more conscious effort into each one, so once a given mask passes I have greater incentive to stick with it and practice until perfect. (I don't know what you look like without yours, but at times when I can't maintain a mask I've been told that I either don't emote, or that the other (neurotypical) person doesn't know how to interpret my body language.)

Changing contexts, some facets of my personality behind that mask may fold away and others unfold such that people in either seem to form substantially different impressions of me, but I don't make a conscious decision to change what aspects I have on display, nor bother with deception. I simply omit what isn't relevant.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that I lack the typical sociopaths' need for stimulation and excitement, nor do any of your examples mention sociopaths with a typical autistics' sensory hypersensitivities. Sitting in a quiet room with dim lights, my experience is finally not *over*stimulating.

In that vein, there's one thing that I really don't understand. What do sociopaths get out of manipulating or otherwise having power over other people? What about it interests you? To my view, people are mostly boring and interacting with them is a nontrivial drain on my resources. (There are rare exceptions to that rule, and I've married one. He describes me as "asocial".) And so I have to ask: Why bother?

I look forward to your answer.

My response:

Thanks for this! I think that sociopaths get a lot of things from power. They get a sense of connection and intimacy with another person. They get a sense of purpose or sense that they are a being in the world that acts, not just gets acted upon. I think for a lot of sociopaths there was some sort of childhood trauma that made them feel like they weren't the masters of their own destiny. Not everyone is bothered by this, but I think for sociopaths it goes too strongly against their megalomania. But these are sort of just guesses. For me I have felt the need for power as a basic need, like the need for love or acceptance must be for most people, but I'm not sure why. Thoughts?

37 comments:

  1. "What do sociopaths get out of manipulating or otherwise having power over other people?"

    I feel positive excitement when I manipulate people. E.g. I hear that a guy says inappropriate things. When I meet him, I can't help but manipulate the conversation. He says some ridiculously inappropriate stuff, but except for a friend who knows me and how mischievous I am, nobody suspects I had anything to do with it.

    Thrills are addictive. Two reasons: thrills are rewards (sociopaths get addicted to rewards quickly) and thrills wipe away the constant boredom (a big problem for sociopaths).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've always suspected sociopaths were 'living off' addiction and excitement. You folks have a lot of energy! I enjoy some excitement sometimes, but I suppose I relate more to aspie, I don't like over stimulation. I need the quiet room with the dim lights often.

      Delete
  2. "What do sociopaths get out of manipulating or otherwise having power over other people?"

    It's a control thing, I'm smarter than most so I just like to prove it myself by making them think how I want them to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not really. By manipulating them, you are tricking them. If you really were smarter, you would persuade them so that the outcome is consensual and they won't end up resenting you for it.

      Delete
    2. Anon 2:30,

      What do you get out of proving how smart you are to others?

      MelissaR

      Delete
    3. Hate to break it to you, your really not smarter.

      Delete
    4. No comment to anon 2: 30, but to anon 4:44, tricking= persuading= manipulating are equally harmful if the incentive and outcome are less than desirable (e.g. fake incentive, destructive progression…). But I do agree that consensus of both parties always should be present at any stage of a mutual project. Win- lose situations tend to degenerate overtime to lose-lose, packed with resentments and other unpleasantries.

      Delete
    5. MR 17soontobe18 yr old socio
      Anon 2:30, nobody is aware that somebody's being manipulated, so you're just proving yourself smarter to yourself (because if somebody noticed, then it's not manipulation, it's showing off). Self-reassurance. You are practically competing with your own mind.
      BUT! MelissaR, everybody gets something out of proving how smart they are to others. It's like being an inventor, you create something great once and everybody finds it useful, so you will feel that you're able to make another one. It motivates us, in this case, to become even smarter, because being once smarter than others proved inspiring. It's exponential.

      This is narcissistically ironic... please ignore it... <:)

      Delete
    6. MR 17soontobe18 yr old socio
      Yes, A Touch Never-Dies :o! I missed something! it all comes down to the intention/objective anyway doesn't it?

      Delete
    7. Hey MR 17 Whatever,

      No, all comes down to your “action”. So, you and your not-so-busy coworkers at UC Davis take an action and read this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberstalking

      And do less mind-reading/interpreting/ judging/harassing. Good Luck!

      Delete
    8. MR 17soontobe18 yr old socio, not whatever :P!

      hahahah, anyway; What? UC Davis?? wouldn't you mean UCSB in that case anyway? *BAFFLED* I don't get it?! I don't even go there. Neither! I'm a senior. So who's the mind-reader/judger/harasser here?
      & what are you saying? that you'll sue me? for what exactly, having an opinion?
      Please explain, you are referring to me, but I don't understand on what basis.

      Delete
  3. I think that sociopaths also get a thrill from bursting another
    persons' pretensive ballon. Sociopaths are frauds, and they can
    detect insecurity and pretense in others.
    Confusion is the norm. Most people follow unworkable "rule books"
    in an attempt to show they have it all together. But they give
    themselves away. Sociopaths are cool costermers no matter what,
    This bluffing trait (Seen in people like "slick Wille Clinton, Jodi Arias
    and Lance Armstrong) gains them fascination, respect and
    admiration from "weak" empaths who don't have their "act"
    together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't necessarily think we're, or at least most of us, frauds. We try to be what people expect from us to not be absorbed by the stereotypes that don't apply to all of us. When trying to become the façade or mask we wear we usually have to be cunning, deceitful and sometimes callous. The main reason we have to do this, or have to, is because without it people are blinded by their emotions and fear that when they see something or someone who doesn't meet the standards of normality they freak.

      Delete
    2. aspies and psychopaths start at the same place
      they are wierdo's and try to fit in
      psychopath just gets beter at it
      so good it's called manipulation

      Delete
    3. Katie,is it tiring for you to keep up all the facade's and masks? Do you feel well adapted to it, or would you like to genuinely connect with others?
      I'm really interested in what you think about this.

      Delete
    4. Anon 9:25
      No not really I keep it interesting. It's something you just get used to and it becomes second nature like breathing. I don't think I would ever want a real connection to people they never turn out well for me for some reason. Any genuine connection I ever had I was screwed over.

      Delete
    5. That sucks. I wish you could experience genuine friendship with one person and know what that feels like. Thanks for sharing your truth, I wish you the best.

      Delete
  4. Sociopaths or people with narcissistic traits remind me of people who walk along texting on their cell phones then fall in a fountain. They are so focused on themselves they are unable to take in any input from the environment right in front of them. Because of this, they have a very false sense, sometimes delusional, as to how they appear to others.

    MelissaR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. do you think psychopaths need the same supply as a narc
      (admiration status trophywife )

      Delete
  5. Sad really. Only a narcissist could come up with a silly label such as "narcissism" to describe his obvious problem of pride.

    ReplyDelete
  6. MR 17soontobe18 yr old socio
    HAHA! agreed anon 6:24. Anyway, what would I have to say concerning the passionate need for power & manipulation in socios...... hmmm, well, for one thing, they trust their judgment more than anybody else's, so everything (even other's decisions) that goes against their last conclusion after having thoroughly evaluated the situation is classified as 'wrong'. They believe they're doing the right thing when they persuade others (like anon 4:44 said) to agree with them; in case they fail to, they respect the other's decision but still believe they're right.
    And as of manipulation, surely different (compared to persuasion) but usually overlooked, they do it when they are in an unhealthy state, when their self-esteem falters. To prove themselves they have power over others, that they're smarter than others & superior to others, because they feel weak. They show off for their own sake. They need to be powerful in order to not be dependent, weak, manipulated themselves, ignored or inferior. They seek control over other's lives because they don't have it over their own: they depend on power to feel ok.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I want someone to ruin someone's life. Do you guys think you can help me? Somehow? I want this person in pain. I want it to be excruciating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm thinking of getting AIDS and then getting romantically involved with them and giving them AIDS. :|

      Delete
  8. Wow, there are so amazing. But why to mask themselves, if they are so good and and cute and sweet and tasty as any other, maybe even better. I'd like to be aspie or sociopath if I could. So be a sociopath is my new dream now. btw M.E. awesome blog I'm ur fan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The most stupid one ever.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous, you made me cry T-T, you're evil and I hate you... I can't trust you anymore. :(
      Nah I can't be mad with you, you always gonna be my favorite one, don't be jealous.

      By the way did you know the meaning of "stupid"?, u need to know my age to make better your analisis of my "CI". And you never gonna guess my age, because I gonna tell you I'm 30 pears.

      Delete
    3. Try to hide that you are 35 pretending to have 7 is soooo smart.

      Delete
    4. OMG, can you read my mind?, teach me how.

      Delete
  9. I like to seduce people, mostly women, from time to time. I think what I conceive of as seduction isn't literally seduction, sort of in the same way that when M.E. says she likes to "ruin people" she isn't literally ruining their lives. I like to flirt and manipulate someone until they are ready to have sex with me. I don't usually have sex with them, and the sex isn't really important, I just like getting them to the point that they are ready to surrender to me. Once they are good to go, I will usually beg off with some excuse, like how my wife is getting suspicious or something. I recently did this with a good friend of mine, and I am pretty sure it contributed to the breakup of her marriage. She was really disappointed when I turned her down. She hates my guts now, but strangely I've become pretty good friends with her ex-husband.

    ReplyDelete
  10. And for that u r proud of yourself???? Sociopaths r truly sick!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Anon March 28 8:57 AM

      What amuses me about a lot of non-sociopaths (such as yourself, apparently) on this site is their deadly combination of grammatical ineptitude and third-rate abuse. It’s like watching a donkey trying to eat a gatepost.

      Delete
  11. Power is necessary to have any effect on the world around us. Power is the ability to do something and without it we are powerless. lol therefore useless.

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  12. Love and power are ideals to develop.

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  13. And then the essence of power is influence. So power comes from the ability to empower, not control.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is understanding the nature of power. Once you really have it, you MIGHT recognize it. You can get the thrill of control, of power, of manipulation, by doing good, building another, not breaking them down. That's actually very easy and everyone can do it.

      RV

      Delete
  14. Baby cow approves.

    ReplyDelete

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