Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Weighing the pros and cons

I frequently get asked if I could choose to stop being a sociopath, would I? Or would I choose to remain the way I am? I tell people that I would change, because I've already lived half of my life this way and I'm a novelty seeker and it would be interesting to live life completely differently. I think what people are really asking, though, is whether I think it's better to be a sociopath or better to not. Although there are certain advantages to being a sociopath (e.g., ruthlessness or outside the box thinking), there are also disadvantages, like being unable to predict when a lynch mob will come after me or not being able to sustain relationships or employment positions. It can be frustrating and lonely sometimes. I feel like I often misunderstand and am misunderstood. So it's really a mixed bag.

I was thinking about this when I read this NY Times article about a high school long distance runner with multiple sclerosis. Before she was diagnosed she was completely unexceptional as a runner. After she was diagnosed, she became one of the fastest runners in the nation. During the race, she loses feeling in her legs. While other runners have to fight through the pain, she feels nothing. This allows her to keep up a remarkable pace, however when she gets to the finish line she always collapses into her coach's arms.

At the finish of every race, she staggers and crumples. Before momentum sends her flying to the ground, her coach braces to catch her, carrying her aside as her competitors finish and her parents swoop in to ice her legs. Minutes later, sensation returns and she rises, ready for another chance at forestalling a disease that one day may force her to trade the track for a wheelchair. M.S. has no cure.

Does this give her an unfair advantage?

Though examples of elite athletes with M.S. are scarce, some have speculated that Montgomery’s racing-induced numbness lends a competitive edge, especially given the improvement in her times since the diagnosis.
***
“I think there’s a benefit to numbness,” he said. “I don’t know anyone in their right mind, though, who would trade this; who would say, ‘Give me M.S. so I have a little bit of numbness after Mile 2.’ But I think that’s when she gets her strength.”  

Of course besides the very real possibility of a wheelchair, there are other drawbacks to her condition:

“When you push to your limit, your body usually sends pain signals to warn you that you’re damaging tissues,” said Dr. Peter Calabresi, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Johns Hopkins. He has not treated Montgomery.

“Pushing that limit is what endurance sports are all about. But if you can’t feel those signals and push from tingling to extreme or prolonged numbness, you could be doing damage that we won’t even know about until down the road. It’s a paradox.”

Sound familiar to any of the sociopaths out there? Ignoring normal fear, pain, and other emotional cues to do outrageous things, with both the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?

(On a related note to the previous post about people's perceptions being tainted by their previous experiences, those people who know nothing about her assume that her finish line collapses are seizures, fainting spells, or simply due to her being a wimp, as opposed to the less obvious but correct answer of multiple sclerosis).

(Also look here for thoughts on advantages and disadvantages to being ordinary vs. extraordinary).  

42 comments:

  1. I don't think I would change the way I am. Empaths are so blinded by their feelings it's ridiculous. I don't ever want to be that way and i'm sure if normal people could choose they would love to see the world the way we do.

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    1. if i had to choose between bpd or sociopath, id choose the latter for sure. i agree. my feelings have led me astray. its a huge learning curve and squashing the emotional bullshit.

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    2. I'm glad someone else agrees with me on this.

      -- Queue

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    3. Let me ask you a question, how do you see the world? Could you enlighten me by explaining?

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  2. IMO sociopathy comes in shades of gray, many, a spectrum.
    While one sociopath may have no trouble showing the proper emotions to match a situation; another supposed sociopath will have no clue whatsoever how to react.

    As for myself i am an empath to a degree and would like to keep the mix i am.
    Enough empathy to get by and relate to people in dire need when the time calls, and not enough empathy to get blinded.

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    1. I would not change anything about myself either. There is always confusion on this blog between empathy and sympathy. While I have a lot of empathy, I have very little sympathy. I am the last person whose shoulder you would want to cry on,

      MelissaR

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    2. Same here. I know exactly what another person feels but I just don't care. I think the most sociopaths have empathy but no sympathy. If we wouldn't understand the feelings of others we wouldn't be masters of manipulation.

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    3. You may want to check the definitions of both. And no, you don't need to experience something to understand it. Sociopaths can register the experience of emotions on occasion, though usually it is a bit confusing and/or awkward.

      http://www.diffen.com/difference/Empathy_vs_Sympathy

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  3. Over empathic but i like it. I feel I can read people very well and early on. Often times I am right.

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    1. read " mastermind how to think like sherlock holmes" by maria konnikova

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    2. Sociopaths are more in tuned to the Sherlock Holmes way of thinking - it's natural. Deductive reasoning through observation and rationalization from a dispassionate distance. The hardest thing for most people is achieving the latter, so they can take advantage of the former. It gets drowned out and overpowered by other thoughts and feelings.

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    3. People used to believe that Albert Einstein was some kind of genius, until all of his theories were disproven, and was exposed as a fraud.

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    4. If that was sarcasm, what were you actually trying to say?

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    5. Go fuck yourself you fucking idiot.

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    6. Einstein was a good example of a particular ethnic group's mental condition.

      Autism redefined.

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    7. Bob, Don’t waste your time arguing with them. She is working along with “certain” people and they do not like any intelligent or even semi-intelligent person interfere with her/their shitty game. Go see the next post. She has posted 7 long blank/stupid things, just to get rid of anyone with half a brain. They are bunch of bullies, as you see, very racist/sexist. Some of them are even University Professors, doing these things!

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    8. Idiots everywhere.

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    9. By the way Sherlock, what I meant was that you should keep fucking yourself.

      Keep stroking that fragile ego of yours...
      In public, in broad daylight, all over the place where everyone can see it.

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    10. Use whatever manipulative language you can use! yes , I love this publicity. Defend them tooth and nail. Use all your charms and tricks. What else can you do? You have to, its your blog.
      But its sad, when a professor uses every single sexist/racist word, and gets away with it. When deceives, bullies, and harasses others to just get some kind of pleasure. And then when is exposed acts like ^this^: "In public, in broad daylight, all over the place where everyone can see it." I'm not being manipulated by you. Sorry. I see, beyond this!
      .

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    11. I'm sorry, I'll stop.

      You've exposed me. I'm done.

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  4. "Sociopathy" is only a label that society applies to an
    individual. Society is ruled by "laws" and prefabracated
    definations, both legal and social.
    It's been said that if the population could be transfered to
    an undeveloped locale like a desert island, the very same people
    that were achievement oriented in civilization would be sucessful
    there. "Personality Temperment is INGRAINED! "The Ghetto
    doesn't produce the person, the person produces the Ghetto."
    It's true that if a person is removed from a damaging enviornment
    they CAN flourish if they REALLY wan't to, but that's the exception
    NOT the norm. Many "homeless" actually ENJOY their lifestyle.
    This is seen on the rare ocassions when the homeless comes into
    some money, and doesn't hold it long.
    "Idenity" is NOT static. Just as an escapee from a Chain gang or a
    "Revolutionary fugative" from the 1960's is sometimes uncovered
    living a "regular" life, there have even been cases of mentally
    deranged escapee's from hospitals reinteragrating back into
    society. Take away the police force, and these "respectable
    citizens" would be robbing and raping each other, like
    something out of World War 2.

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  5. Most aware "genuine articles" think they´re super-beings & would never ever give up their "gift". And the vast majority of them would not even reflect on such things because they´re insane (even if the law does not recognize it). The aware Scorpio probably would not like to be transformed into a meek piscean, saying "-Ah like my creepy aura just fine, ma evil gaze have practical advantages since no salesmen bother me when ah buy trousers & ma shapeshifting ability is kinda sexy, I know people that consider me some sort of cute demonic granddaddy, for sure!"

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    1. UC Davis Scholar? Mother Theresa? Sickio? You represent your agency very well. They need more professors like you. Adorable and cute, who stalk their former student around.

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  6. Seems irrelevant, as this is one GIFT one cannot take back to the store.

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  7. Looking at the first few comments, it seems the non-sociopaths couldn't stay focused on the fucking task - namely, answering the simple questions at the end of the post.

    "Sound familiar to any of the sociopaths out there? Ignoring normal fear, pain, and other emotional cues to do outrageous things, with both the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?"

    Yes and yes.

    When I read this article yesterday, it occurred to me that ME would be all over it because of the obvious connection to sociopathy and her personal circumstances: female subject, physical struggle and nature of her problem (being unfeeling). Indeed, it went to the top of the queue.

    If it had been about a guy whose unfeeling nature and focus allows him to solve math problems, not so likely.

    Of course, if you look at the real life woman, at some point people will probably feel sorry for the cute girl, tragically wheelchair bound due to neuropathy. But the ugly alcoholic male sociopath that callously runs over a few stray cats a week on his way to work - no sympathy.

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    1. The female condition is not nearly that relevant. Male or female sociopath, the capabilities are the same. By that axiom, I would have made the same post in her place. When I looked at it, I just saw "sociopath who was female", not "female sociopath". ME was hardly talking about female sociopath empowerment. Dont't forget your own first paragraph, and to follow your own advice.

      I find the parallels suggested in the post to be something to think about. There are advantages, certainly (I also have funded my retirement, and it doesn't seem that hard either), but there are disadvantages too. It would certainly have been more beneficial to have stayed with some career choices than walking away after becoming bored. Even today, after a lot of self-discipline, I still give in to the occasional impulse or risky behavior. Because I still don't care. It would be advantageous if some of the speed bumps were a little higher.

      As for smelling a lynch mob, that would definitely be advantageous. Emotional outrage is easy to incite, but dangerously difficult to deal with outside of moving to another state and/or changing your identity. It always is a concern that you will step on the wrong eggshell without even knowing it. You always try keep an eye out, but with having these disadvantages, you always run the risk of being oblivious at the moment. And all it takes is one.

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    2. Anon-
      Yes, dumb shit. I do feel more sympathy for a woman in a wheel chair due to Multiple sclerosis. I have MS and try to stay active. I don't want to end up in that wheelchair. But if I do, it is beyond my control. It is a disease of the body. I am not hurting anyone.

      Now the alcoholic sociopath does not get the same sympathy for running over cats. Because he is acting outward.

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    3. Bob, even if you ignore gender, that doesn't mean ME does. She notices and tends to prioritize thinking about females in competition, so they tend to get mentioned on the blog a lot.

      You can bet that if a story appeared in the press about a sociopath girl who saves the day by thinking and acting outside the box, ME would have it on the blog ASAP.

      There's nothing wrong with that. It is just a pattern of her that I've noticed.

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    4. They are statistically rarer, and she can identify with the group. However, that being said, she wasn't emphasizing gender in this case. That article was a real life example that happened to be female.

      It was about the advantages and disadvantages of the runner having MS, not with being a woman. That part was irrelevant.

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    5. Bob, You seem to be the most reasonable person here. And you did not decline your association to some of those UC Davis professors who have repeatedly bullied, deceived and harassed me here- my role models. I presume that I may stand a chance to communicate with you. I have asked repeatedly from them to let me know that what are their concerns or questions. But sadly it seems to me that their primary agenda is just to intimidate me in a self-pleasing way. I want to remind them that I got my M.S -GPA 3.6- without any mentorship or real assistance from any of them, due to toxicity of the climate they created. My Undergrad GPA was 4.0 –I was an honor student 4 years in the row. For next 2 months due to my son’s medical condition and sufficiency of my husband’s income, I’m not pursuing any career beyond what I am doing- I have a small home based business, if you need registration number, I can supplement. Toward the end of April I will start a part-time job. (I can also supplement further information, regarding the name of this employer too)
      Also, I can supplement our W2 for last year. We are tax payers like you, not a welfare case. In fact, we have never received any kind of “free” help or assistance from anyone but ourselves. I can provide documents for that too! Am I maximizing my assets by not working? Yes. Is this my right to do so? Yes. Am I free to choose my life-style? Yes. Do they have any right to publicly shame me? No.
      Unless there are some serious misunderstandings, other than providing these documents, I have very little incentive to reconnect with any of them. I consider the 3 years that I spent in Davis- especially the last year of it- my worst time in my entire life, worse than any fugitive camp or any hostile place that I have ever lived. Unfortunately, some of them assume that they KNOW me due to their own NPD/BPD conditions and constantly insist to project THEIR own thoughts/feelings on me. As I said, I am open to clarify any misunderstandings, and provide any supportive materials that help to clarify this situation- no fantasy stuff, pure facts.

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    6. Bob, ^The above text^ is irrelevant to this thread. It’s just my 4th, maybe 5th attempt to resolve this issue, before I seek any legal intervention.

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    7. I never had, nor currently have, an affiliation with UC Davis whatsoever. I do not know anyone there, nor have I ever been there.

      If you are unable to resolve, whatever your situation is, with the faculty at UC Davis informally, then there appears to be a Student Grievance procedure you can follow:

      http://sja.ucdavis.edu/grievance-procedures.html

      Outside of that, I am unable to assist you with mediating or otherwise resolving the issue.

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  8. Ignoring social cues? Implies one registers them, which if I do, I cannot interpret them. All emotional cues, fear, pain, are simply abstractions to me-so its hard to speculate on how they affect me, or how their absence may cripple me.

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  9. I do not understand why socios do not try to meet other socios. If I were the only atheist among 50 strongly religious people I would like to know other people like me without the religious burden......Is it because you cannot attach so it doesnt matter anyway?

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    1. Suspect our nature is isolationist-better to reign in hell etc.

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  10. Well I Will remain for my whole life a sociopath because ,hell ,I am only 18 and if I change my self into some blind empath wich is imposible it would be for me like putting me in jail, no more freedom.And fuck it the empath lose to a sociopath like me in all posible plans.

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  11. By simply reading the beginning of a few of these replies,I can see the magnitude of followers that the word Sociopath is able to obtain. I would say that I find this intriguing,but I do not. Nonetheless to answer the initial question. No, why would I alter myself in such a dramatic manner? I love who I am and enjoy what my life adventures I have cause of it. Only a fool my want to commit such a thing. And to all the admirers plz stop with the pretending. From a mile away you are spotted out and looked upon as a study subject to.say the least.

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  12. I'm not a sociopath (social-related pathology), at all. I'm a psychopath (bio-psychological-based pathology), or so I believe, because I have noticed that other people are much more aware of physical pain, dangers, and other things I barely even notice. I can't feel physical pain if I'm not cognitively/actively thinking about it, if I'm not focusing on it, so I don't actually ignore it. Pain is just not there if I don't focus on it or if it doesn't involve massive damage. For example, I can sometimes feel the pain of strained muscles, or other long term injuries, but I can't feel the pain of a slap, or other short term painful sensations, for longer than a second. For me to feel pain for a noticeable amount of time, because sometimes it seems to me like I have no pain at all, it usually involves pushing a strained muscle. I actually believe I'm numb for all physical sensations, I believe, but I won't go into that. As for fear, danger is a concept to me as much as any other word is a concept to others. I have observed how others freak out in situations where I don't even bulge. I do know that if someone was helpless and had a knife to their neck they would probably shake in fear. I was robbed once, I felt threatened and I couldn't do anything. My heart rate rose, I thought I could potentially die, and I thought of ways to get out of that situation, but I didn't feel anything other than that raise in heart rate. In terms of work-related stress, I stress about things, again, only if I focus on them. Particularly in work-related stress, I have to actually have had convinced myself that the issue at hand is actually important. For example, when dealing with clients, I don't stress or feel anything at all, where others around me, I have observed, become tense to varying degrees, because in the back of my head I'm aware that the issue will be taken care of anyways. When dealing with financial issues, same thing. I don't even care about losing money. I'm aware that I shouldn't, but I don't experience any sensation that stresses me. The only time I ever feel stress is when I feel like I lost control of a situation that matters to me, and even then, I don't even show it on the outside. For example, I stress much more about spilling coffee on my shirt before a date than about a deadline for a task. As for physical pain when dealing with exercise, if I don't think about the pain or don't push any muscles, brush bruises against objects, or move injured limbs, I won't feel it. I'll just work out until my arms physically can't do more repetitions, because I never know if I'm doing too little or too much, so I use the inability to continue as a benchmark for whether I did a successful workout or not. The pain I get from doing exercises is extremely temporary. I never get "sore," I just feel weak. Everything I feel seems to be completely internal or brought out by extreme situations, so I do relate to this numbness... (continued in next comment)

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  13. I don't ignore anything. I just barely feel anything to consciously ignore it in the first place. Now, frustration is the one thing I know I feel completely, and probably to a much higher degree than low-psychopathic or non-psychopathic individuals. I get extremely aggressive (not violent) when frustrated. I must include that I have never been aware of this massive discrepancy between how I perceive reality and how other individuals do. I used to think I was just a much more cool person, but it wasn't until I began meeting other psychopathic individuals that I noticed I truly am a completely different kind of human being. I don't mean to brag or pose as a superior wolf or anything like that, as it can get pretty fun to think about these things. I have my psychopath friends for that. I merely intend to contribute to the discussion on sensation felt in sociopathic and psychopathic individuals. By the way, to add further validity to my statements, I know they're psychopathic individuals because I have personally spent years researching the subject and gathering and connecting experimental evidence and knowledge from the fields of psychology, biology, and criminology because I have always wondered what the hell makes me so different from everyone I know and why I seem to relate to nearly every psychopath and sociopath description out there.

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  14. Also, if there is any doubt about my psychopathy based on my statement of having friends, I must refute such doubts by pointing out that many non-psychopathic people have friendships that are completely devoid of feeling. Many non-psychopathic people have friends just for fun, to go out and have a good time, to use them for a favor, to complain to them about the difficulties in their life (I personally hate going to work), or to achieve some goal (as in the case of wingmen and many political relationships). Psychopathic, sociopathic, and non-antisocial type individuals alike can appreciate the benefits of friendship without having any subjective feelings about those friends whatsoever.

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