Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Problems and (no?) solutions

A certain type of reader of this blog would find this comment to be incomprehensible, stupid, disingenuous, short-sighted, illogical, immoral, deceitful, offensive, over-simplifying, and dozens of other terrible things:

We do not always have a choice as to whom is part if our life. If a close relative or a co-worker is a sociopath, we may need to make room for them in our life. My point is that if there was better awareness and acceptance of sociopathy, there could be better harmony and less pain, destruction, awkwardness, hiding and running away for both sociopaths and empaths. 

Our society has learned to accept, even embrace most genetic, behavioral, physical and mental differences - people deformed by polio, people of different races, creed and religion, homosexuals, bisexual, transexual, people with down syndrome, autism, amputees, blind people, deaf people, etc. Are the sociopaths so different that they should never be accepted? Is our society too rigid to make allowance for them? 

The trouble is that sociopaths intentionally hurt people, whereas all of these other types don't, right? Or is it that those other types might intentionally hurt people, but they don't do it for sport? Or is it that those other types might intentionally hurt people, but sociopaths are so much more effective at it? Or is it that those other types might intentionally hurt people, but the types of hurts that sociopaths do are worse? Or is it because those other types are not categorically defined by their propensity to hurt people, but sociopaths are?

It's kind of convenient to say that sociopaths do terrible things and aren't at all treatable (where is the proof?). It basically allows society to wash its hands of this particular subset of people while providing a palatable scapegoat for all of the nastiness that normal people get up to but can't quite face in each other (or themselves). The tricky part is that a lot of us live in civilized cultures where for most people with psychological issues like this we try to treat them or accommodate them. But maybe you argue that sociopaths don't need to be accommodated because they thrive, you say. But what happens when you identify them and then take away their ability to thrive? If they are outted are they thriving? If they are imprisoned, are they thriving? Once you take away their ability to thrive, then do you treat them? Accommodate them? Never, because they don't deserve better? They don't seem like victims to me. If anything they are always victimizers. But what happens if one or more of them truly become victims? Collateral damage in the service of a greater cause?

Maybe even if they eventually become victim they still deserve what they get because they decide to be that way? They decided to be born with the genetic predisposition and decided to be raised in a particular way to cause them to be a sociopath? But they would chosen to be that way if they were given the choice over again? Would you choose to be who you are if given choice? How about they didn't choose to be the way they are, but they do choose to do the things they do? As much as we all "decide" to "do" the things that we do? So they should be punished just like an empath would for the same crimes? More harshly? Less harshly?

I'm being sincere. Let's hear people's best solutions, not just the first step, but all the steps that follow until we've reached some sort of equilibrium. (Or ignore the real issues and start the personal attacks, as some of you like to handle these types of posts, even though there is nothing at all personal about this post).

[Also, we all agree that there should still be leper colonies, right? Kind of their fault getting leprosy in the first place, and if any of you got leprosy you would voluntarily ship yourself off to some dungeon to rot so as not to risk infecting anyone else? I think that's how Jesus would us to handle it?]

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  1. WHOA... ME, did you just learn how to use sarcasm? She did! She did it! She's getting better! Huzzah!

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  2. This is a bit more bleeding-heart than your usual. Not sure if it's a good colour on you, ME.

    People don't like sociopaths because sociopaths are notorious for being unreliable to anyone but themselves and their obsessions. It's not that they're different; it's that their diagnosis stems from their symptoms rather than the other way around.

    Sociopaths don't go around putting themselves first and manipulating others because they are sociopaths. They are declared sociopaths because they do these things. In the same way as we define killers: it's a definition based on their actions rather than their status. Because of this, sociopaths aren't redeemable; that is, if a sociopath becomes "cured", they would no longer be a sociopath. That is not an argument for society wanting to distance themselves from active sociopaths.

    It's simple evolution. You can't fight evolution.

    -KB

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    1. Muh ebolutions.

      Sorry to break it to you, but evolution is a false hope.

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    2. False hope? I'm not hoping in anything. I'm just pointing out that it's impossible, or at least almost impossible, to fight what evolution has drummed into us.

      People who are selfish are bad for the herd. That's why the herd will shun those who are selfish. We don't even have to chalk that up to evolution, if you're being persnickity: that's just game theory 101.

      -KB

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    3. I would think evolution or more correctly the reproduction of the species would favor the sociopath. Our genes do not care if we live long or happy. The one goal of our genes is to replicate. The aspects of Sociopath such as promiscuity and partner abandonment are pro's for this. Male Sociopaths can impregnate many women. In today's society a single woman has a chance of bringing up a child alone. Not in comfort of course. Should it be a female Sociopath the reverse can be true if she abandons a child, with the state taking over.

      If anything today, we have the perfect breeding ground for sociopaths, and yes evolution may be working here. The smarter ones the more aware ones are the most successful ones, beating out the lesser fit sociopaths who end up being locked away ( and unable to breed).

      I do not know where we are heading. I can not see a society that is all Sociopath working. But we are heading towards an increased population.
      Frankly if Society wants to prevent this, Than it needs to detect and sterilize to prevent genetic Sociopaths. It needs to remove children from Sociopath parents before they create 'nurture types' .

      In a way society needs to show a little Sociopath in it to deal with Sociopaths.

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    4. The reality is, that you're more likely to be shunned because of your pessimism, your bad attitude, or even because you're ugly, unintelligent and unoriginal.

      No use blaming the 'herd' for your own shortcomings. Bitch about that all you want.

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    5. Sociopath is just a label for the harsh reality of human nature.

      Those who claim to be any better are the real fuck ups. Hypocrites.

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  3. What is normal? I don't label people. Bad behaviour is bad behaviour and as an adult you are responsible for that. You need not to defend or blame others for your actions.

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  4. What a whiny fuck.

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  5. Depends on the level of his mental sickness. My ex-socio destroyed my friendships, my dignity and my carriere. And my hopes: now I don't believe in love anymore. Almost nothing compared with torture, canibalism, murder, hurt animals and children even their on kids, rape etc. Oh yes: society is in evolution and socios are the future!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Start your recovery. You can recover from this if you choose. Re-build your life, friendships, career. If you do, you will EARN your OWN self-respect and never be vulnerable to that type of abuse again. You'll recognize it a mile away. Oh, and you can help others recover too.

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  6. I've been watching an abundance of true crime documentaries recently, and if it's taught me anything it's that even the innocent cannot hope or expect justice.

    I'll give a brief example. A 22-year old was picked up and harshly interrogated for hours about the death of his cousin. He confessed, believing that it was the only way they'd stop badgering him, and he had faith that because he was innocent, no physical or circumstantial evidence would link him to the crime and he would be exonerated. His confession contained details that were wildly different from the method by which the girl was murdered, he just did his best to acquiesce to the statements fed to him by the police.

    He was sentenced to death. A decade later, dozens of lawyers worked on his case and for five years gathered massive amounts of evidence proving that he did not commit the crime. After 15 years on death row, he was freed. What was his mistake? He had faith in the criminal justice system.

    So, take this same example and make the innocent person a diagnosed sociopath. He'd probably have been executed within a few months. Case solved, justice served.

    What would be fair would be for all persons to be judged by their actions independent of any personal qualities they might possess. We know that's never going to fly.

    For a diagnosed sociopath, there is really only one practical solution. You have to be more careful than anyone else not to end up in court. If you do end up getting arrested, you can expect to be charged for the most serious interpretation of your crime (1st degree murder vs. manslaughter), you will be convicted, and you will receive the harshest sentence possible. To my knowledge, no diagnosed sociopaths have ended up in such a situation. Sure, serial killers are often diagnosed as sociopaths after the fact, but the diagnosis doesn't precede the crime. What does that say about the generalizability of sociopathy?

    Anyways, the undiagnosed sociopath, if self-aware and intelligent, is likely to get away with most crimes. Their ability to charm, manipulate, and lie to people is extremely effective. Furthermore, one with an understanding of the negative qualities perceived by experts can hone their persona to be almost perfectly likable, especially if they can tone down their narcissistic traits.

    I've rambled this long, so I may as well continue. If anyone's read this far, I have a serious question. Do people really feel guilty when they do something that is morally wrong, even if nobody is hurt by what they do it and they don't get caught? I've only ever felt bad for things I've done if I've been caught doing them. If I get away with something, I feel totally at peace, and largely relieved, but never guilty. I don't mean to paint myself as some kind of career criminal, far from it. I've never even gotten a speeding ticket, and I've never intentionally hurt someone. If I do hurt someone, I apologize. When I was 18, I realized that other people were actually "people", with their own inner worlds, motivations, desires, and depth. Upon this realization, I understood that I had been cruel to some people during high school. I did not want to be perceived as an asshole. So, when I had to give a speech at graduation, I apologized to everyone. Not individually, that would be too much, just a blanket apology.

    I believe I may be odd.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't feel bad for things I do unless I get caught or someone becomes suspicious of me. At that point I can get panicky or nervous as I try to figure out what to do next.

      Delete
    2. If the consequences are quite negative, I'll try to come up with a plausible excuse. If it's something minor, though, I'll own up to it and admit my mistake. Admitting fault certainly doesn't feel natural, but it gives the illusion of personal integrity, which is better than displaying my thinly-veiled narcissism.

      Are you a sociopath?

      Delete
    3. I believe so, although I have not been formally diagnosed. Certainly there are times when the best recourse is to admit fault. Sometimes, the only way out is through.

      I guess what I was trying to get at is that I don't feel guilt or remorse or whatever that feeling is unless I've been caught and I'm expecting some negative consequence. But I don't think that is what people mean when they talk about feeling guilt.

      Delete
    4. Sometimes I can do bad things or destructive things, and just before doing them I can get nervous and shaky, but I'm insistent on doing it. I was wondering if sociopaths experience the same thing? If you guys wouldn't mind answering, I would really appreciate it :)

      Delete
    5. Most 'normal' people that I know rarely admit that they've made a mistake, and will go to great lengths to excuse their behavior, including believing their own lies. In essence, they need to lie to both themselves and the person they're talking to in order to avoid internal guilt and external punishment.

      If I need to lie, my lies are right on the border of truth. Also, the lies are specifically tuned to be most effective in giving the person I'm accountable to a favorable perception of me and my actions. I know that I'm lying. I may have misconceptions, but I'm always aware of when I'm deliberately lying.

      I don't have a conscience, but I also don't think I'm a sociopath because I don't have ASPD. How much of a good thing is a conscience, really? It allows people to justify doing atrocious things to other people, so long as they feel that their actions are acceptable. Consider the families of the children "killed by the West Memphis Three". They talk openly about how they wanted to torture and violently murder the three youths, because they believed that they had committed a crime. Of course, the three were obviously innocent, but someone had to be arrested and convicted and they made great scapegoats!

      In reality, they would have tortured and murdered innocent children to assuage their conscience. And they would have felt good doing it! Conscience is the source of most of the suffering and injustice in the world, not the lack of it. The phenomenon that the exact opposite is believed to be true is downright hilarious!

      Delete
    6. Yes, I would have to agree that bragging about a lack of guilt or remorse when you don't actually do anything wrong could be percieved as odd. Nor is feeling 'panicky and nervous' when caught out a particularly sociopathic trait. Once again I find myself a little confused as to what the point of these posts is, unless it is to try and establish some 'badass sociopath' credentials without taking any actual real-life risks. Again, not particularly sociopathic..

      Delete
    7. Anon,

      It's funny because I don't really understand your comment either.

      Delete
    8. How is this bragging? I'm trying to contribute to the conversation.

      Delete
    9. I am however, totally in favor of apologies. I am reminded of Futurama:
      Hermes: What do we do when we break someones window?
      Dwight: Pay for it?
      Hermes: Heavens no! We apologise. With nice, cheap words.

      Delete
    10. Thanks anon, Hermes' voice in my head was exactly what I needed :)

      Delete
    11. Bot, the bragging comment was not intended for you, and perhaps not the best term to use in the context. I tend to see every statement one makes as some form of self-promotion, otherwise why would one say it? I would certainly not discourage anyone to contribute to any discussion (actually, that's not really true now I think about it)
      But if I offended you, I am sorry.
      Erik: My comment related to your perception of yourself and your feelings. You claim to lie, but not to any serious degree, you say you don't feel guilty but don't seem to have done much wrong, and you don't have a conscience but clearly have some moral centre as you discuss the morality of others. How do you know you feel differently to others? Clearly you are still fairly young, perhaps life has not tested you to the extent you may think it has?

      Delete
    12. I have a clear, perhaps acute understanding of right and wrong. Doing something wrong, though, doesn't make me feel bad, so long as my action doesn't impact me negatively. My understanding is that when most people do something wrong, they feel guilty or remorseful, even if they get away with whatever it is they did. I don't feel that way, but others claim to, and those feelings are generally associated with having a conscience.

      I don't know that I feel differently to others. That's why I asked the question. You've presented arguments that I've also heard from someone close to me. Perhaps I've never done anything bad of sufficient magnitude to trigger a guilt response? Just out of curiosity, how young is fairly young? Do you base it on my appearance or my words, or both?

      Delete
    13. I have no way of knowing if the picture you provide is an actual representation so no, its not your appearance. And while some of your sentiments seem a little youthful, it is certainly not because of your style of writing.
      Actually its because you reference your graduation speech. If you were much older I would expect other experiences to come to mind as examples. I could be wrong of course.
      In what sense do you have an understanding of right and wrong? Is it an inate sense, something you feel when you encounter injustice? Or is it something you have been taught, the rules of society, the speed limit, etc?

      Delete
  7. This post is an excellent example of grandiosity or a "grandiose sense of self-importance" is depicted in Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Textbook.

    MelissaR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When it comes to morality, sociopaths try to understand things with logic, rules and so on. The sociopath doesn't have feelings that overwhelm his thinking apparatus.

      It makes sense that sociopaths are concerned with rules - from an early age, you try to figure out how to maximize your situation while mostly following the rules.

      It makes sense that sociopaths would use logic to analyze the morality of sociopathy and potential remedies: sociopaths primarily focus on outcomes, and hence find discrepancies in punishment important and a bit concerning - as the sociopath is (for emotional reasons) certainly going to receive the harshest punishments.

      Of course, if you've got a conscience, you developed it at about 4 years old. You didn't study rules and learn to apply them - your brain changed so that you were conditioned normally. If you are like me or ME, that didn't happen, so your whole morality mechanism works differently. A lot of sociopaths value fairness - so as soon as you start to understand how unfair punishment is, you get bothered.

      Hey - everyone reading this far should see "Cheap Thrills" (2013), especially if you've got a sadistic streak.

      Delete
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  8. "Sociopath" is only a label. People "change" every day.
    Some for better, some for worse. Death, of course, is the
    ultimate change.
    Ever adult has a choice, Not necessisarly an attractive choice,
    but a choice none the less. If one mode of life becomes too
    painful and less advantageous, a determined person CAN
    change.
    Dr, Stanton E. Samenow, aurthor of "Inside The Criminal Mind,"
    writes about workable programs that have reformed so-called
    sociopaths IF they really want to be reformed. Most do not.
    But for those that do, their fate is NOT cast in stone.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I completely misjudged why you thought people would find the comment stupid -- I figured the part people would object to was "we do not always have a choice as to whom is part of our life".

    (We do, of course. It's just that some people are unwilling to consider some trade-offs, so they don't *think* they do. But they do.)

    ReplyDelete
  10. "My point is that if there was better awareness and acceptance of sociopathy. . ."

    Get over it ME, there will never be acceptance of psychopathic behavior. You are arguing that people should tolerate abuse because it's hard for the psychopath too - that's not going to happen. Each of us has our cross to bear but self-mastery is available to all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are primary and secondary psychopathy separable? Let's say that attributes of primary psychopathy are developed to cope with socialization pressures without the benefit of empathy. Secondary psychopathy is the remorseless, antisocial behavior that comes easily (or naturally?) to those who fit the criteria for primary psychopathy.

      If they are inseparable, then your assertion is valid. All sociopaths then have ASPD.

      I posit that they are in fact separable. James Fallon is a diagnosed sociopath who displays properties of primary psychopathy without (apparently) displaying properties of secondary psychopathy. James Fallon and Ted Bundy are both psychopaths, but one is a respected neuroscientist and the other is a notorious serial murderer.

      This suggests that while primary psychopathy may be NECESSARY for secondary psychopathy, it is not SUFFICIENT for secondary psychopathy. You use the term self-mastery, and I think that's the key. A psychopath lacking self-mastery will inevitably display traits of secondary psychopathy.

      The counter-argument, of course, is that all primary psychopaths display traits of secondary psychopathy, and the difference between James Fallon and Ted Bundy is that James Fallon has never been caught.

      All serial killers have something else in common besides psychopathy. They were all emotionally and or sexually/physically abused as children. So, we have another potential player in the determination of secondary psychopathy.

      Primary psychopathy + abuse - self mastery = secondary psychopathy

      Most people don't put as much thought into this topic. It's much easier to say primary psychopathy = secondary psychopathy and be done with it. However, those are the same sorts of people who post on lovefraud and say that every asshole is a psychopath.

      What percentage of men are assholes, do you think? If it's between 1-4%, they may be correct! If the percentage is greater than that, then something doesn't quite add up.

      Delete
    2. Most people do not know that primary and secondary psychopathy exists, nevermind what they are or take into account. The complexities and granularities of it are over-simplified into a "one-size fits all" box.

      Delete
    3. This is just semantics. The judgement attaches to the behavior, not to the physiology. Primary, secondary, whatever... if Ted Bundy hadn't harmed people, no one would give a crap about the makeup of his brain.

      Delete
    4. Perhaps I should have elaborated on primary and secondary psychopathy, given the fact that you are agreeing with me while attaching the connotation of disagreement.

      Secondary psychopathy is the behavior, the harming of people. Primary psychopathy is a result of the unique brain physiology of a psychopath undergoing socialization. Certain people, like M.E. and James Fallon have the physiology, but not the behavior of a dangerous, violent psychopathic serial killer.

      Some combination of intuition, memory, and knowledge suggests that M.E. feels that she has been treated unfairly because of her diagnosis and public revelation through her Dr. Phil interview and book (sorry, I know you said nothing was personal). Without more information, I can't determine the truth of that. It is possible that she HAS been judged by her behavior, and not her underlying mental...uniqueness. In that case, you are correct and my assumption that M.E. presents an example of sociopath discrimination is incorrect.

      When hiring someone for a position, or even determining whether to keep someone on or not, people (particularly lawyers) want to know if their employee can exercise good judgment and foresight. If you skinned cats when you were a kid, you don't TELL them that. Regardless of the relative morality and societal opinion on cat-skinning, announcing it to the world constitutes behavior that most employers would find unpalatable. You can argue all day about how the cats were dead when you skinned them, and you didn't even kill them, but the problem isn't the pile of skinned cats, its the fact that you talked about it.

      Delete
    5. The point you seem to be missing is that the stigma attaches to the label, regardless of whether one acts poorly or not.

      Delete
    6. "I'm being sincere. Let's hear people's best solutions, not just the first step, but all the steps that follow until we've reached some sort of equilibrium."

      The truth of the matter is that sociopaths represent an invisible minority that is heavily stigmatized, similar to homosexuals before the relatively recent explosion in gay acceptance. There are many parallels, so naturally the path to sociopath acceptance will parallel the path to gay acceptance.

      First, feel out your friends and family. If they will accept you and love you, even knowing that you're a sociopath, you have a support system to fall back on. Second, ensure that you have very tight job security. You want to be tenured, or otherwise nearly 'unfirable' barring some grave indiscretion on your part. Third, make sure that you are newsworthy, as you're going to need to make a public announcement, and people will need to give a shit about you and what you do. Fourth, downplay the negatives, particularly anything from the branch of secondary psychopathy.

      There are, of course, logistical issues that arise because of differences between homosexuality and sociopathy. One of these is legitimacy. Homosexuals can talk about their significant others. Your PCL-R diagnosis is not going to be accepted, but your brain scan will. The other is incentive. Homosexuals felt a comraderie that made individuals value the path to equal rights higher than their own reputations and comfort. The sociopath doesn't benefit directly from exposure, so how do you get him to sacrifice his reputation and security to support such a cause?

      Well, it wouldn't be boring. Maybe that's enough for some?

      Delete
    7. The stigma attached to the secondary psychopathy is incorrectly being transferred and accepted as rote to primary psychopathy. This was Eric's point.

      Here it is in laymen's terms. Secondary is the "anti-social" aspect, also known as deviance. Primary is the neurological aspect with the lack of (insert here). Those who are high in the neurological but low in the anti-social (ie. high-functioning) are being treated and stigmatized as if having high anti-social.

      This is the crux of the issue. Sociopathy is more diverse and complex than is convenient. High-functioning sociopaths are still considered "monsters". It is like the issue with muslims - just because some are terrorists, doesn't mean the rest who are muslim but not terrorists should be degraded or categorized. But they are.

      Delete
    8. I always found that interesting. When I (falsely) identified myself as a sociopath here (under an alias), commenters talked about my 'use and abuse' of people as if they had some specific knowledge of my history. This is not the exception, but rather the norm.

      I've thought of yet another path to acceptance for high-functioning sociopaths. Again, homosexuality functions well as a base for understanding the stigma against sociopathy. Homosexuality can be divided into two aspects. There is the natural attraction to members of the same sex, and the act of satisfying the needs of that attraction. The act was once illegal, and is still seen by many people as immoral. What option is/was available to homosexuals who did not want the stigma of gay sex attached to their natural attraction? Religion, of course!

      To most liberal, open-minded people, religious counseling to cure homosexuality sounds abhorrent. How do you think people would respond to a high-functioning sociopath seeking religious counseling? I think it would be perceived very favorably. Everyone can accept that sociopathy is caused by an innate deficiency, a lack of (insert here). If all persons are created by God, then did not God create sociopaths? Just as homosexuals sought help to combat their sexual urges, so too can sociopaths seek help to combat their antisocial urges.

      If anything, religious institutions should be the most welcoming and supportive group towards sociopaths. But they're not, are they?

      Delete
    9. MR 18yr old socio

      @Erik Anderson
      Your rationality is prodigious compared to such of actual (so called) sociopaths.

      Delete
    10. Why do you think M.E. clings to her faith so strongly? If she denounces religion, she loses the most expedient path to acceptance.

      Delete
    11. MR 18yr old socio
      Indeed. It's the epitome of hypocrisy, to judge others hypocrisy from a hypocritical perspective. Not independent, not genuine, not true.

      Delete
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  11. Agreed.They should be accepted like all others. Sociopaths like yourself that have found a therapist they can work with (and like??), and are willing to ask these questions. M.E., you are a front runner here, leading the pack. Maybe you can help us find some ways for outed sociopaths to be a part of society. And thrive as you said. We all belong here, because we ARE here, now how do we get along? Non-socios also belong and have a right not to have their lives derailed for no good reason. The author Jonas Warstad of The Psychopath Exposed talks about having firm boundaries with psycho/sociopaths. I'm game. What do you think M.E.? I'm willing to consider it. But I still have the right to fiercely protect myself, and I will.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "Or ignore the real issues and start the personal attacks, as some of you like to handle these posts, even though there is nothing at all personal about this post."

    Some people seem to have glossed over that part, again. Let's try to stay on topic.

    The issue is that sometimes sociopaths are "judged" by what they think (or don't think) instead of their actions. While motive is important, crucial in fact, that just gives an explanation as to why an action was already done. However, if a person - any person - does not act like scum, why still treat them that way (much like how some high-functioning sociopaths "behave" themselves in society)?

    This still holds true for even the pettiest of reasons. Racism, which is about the color of their skin or where they were born. Sexism, which is about what kind of reproductive organs they have. Homosexuality, which is about who they are attracted to. Religion, which is about who and what they worship. Class, which is about how rich or how poor they are. And yet, the people who practice any or all of these insist that this must never be allowed to be inflicted on themselves and be treated by a better, fairer standard.

    That would be a grandiosity, of narcissism, because it isn't equality that the inflictors are asking for, but a higher standard for themselves. But not others.

    When it comes to trial, the jury is always seen as fair, even victims of responsibility. Yet we depend on a random group of laymen, who are as unfair and irresponsible as any ordinary person, to decide the fate of others based on the persuasions of a few whose interests were only to win a competition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where do people get this idea that they are being judged by what they think? Particularly in relation to a disorder defined almost entirely by our actions and effect on others. Nobody cares what you think, or how you feel (or don't).
      I can prove this to be fact. I challenge anyone reading this today to go out into the world and think any awful, depraved thing they like. Walk amongst people, look them in the face and think something. And then come back here later and list all the ways you were judged or discriminated against. Go on, I dare ya.....

      Delete
    2. What people think does matter, and people are judged and in fact punished for it. Hate crime legislation is one example, where what someone thinks about a victim is an aggravating factor. In criminal sentencing, whether someone is remorseful can often be a critical factor in whether they receive a lesser sentence.

      In social situations, not showing appropriate emotions can result in people forming adverse opinions of you, which is a negative judgment.

      If, hypothetically, sociopaths were rounded up or labelled or somehow legally or socially stigmatized (as is often suggested) that would be a judgment based on the state of their brain and not necessarily a result of their actions.

      Delete
    3. Ok, I can accept that to some extent. Hate crime legislation does not exist in my country, at least not to the same degree, though that may well change. In my opinion it is a ridiculous idea. Does that make it a lesser crime to kill somebody you love? How much do our motives, as interpreted after the fact, matter outside of establishing guilt?
      However, the examples you give are all of the actions we take or don't. You can walk around naked all day and be proud of it, just as long as you remember to put some pants on over the top.

      Delete
    4. Hieronymous,

      In the case of hate crimes, are not the perpetrators judged and sentenced based on their actions, not their thoughts? For that matter, back up a step and don't they first have to be arrested for an action (crime) or probable cause that a crime may have been committed, and not a thought?

      MelissaR

      Delete
    5. Put it this way. If you know that someone is a sociopath, but never commits a crime, will you still hate them for it? Are you judging them based n never committing a crime, or being a sociopath? Many have suggested incarceration or death just for being, but not on doing.

      Delete
    6. How is this hypothetical person diagnosed? The behavior doesn't have to be criminal, although that is one of the defining characteristics of ASPD, but there does have to be some outward, and persistant, manifestation.
      If you go around telling people you are a sociopath but your behavior is otherwise acceptable they may take a dislike to you, but it won't be because they loath and fear you. Its just because you'd sound like a bit of a dick.

      Delete
    7. Melissa,

      The variable there is what the person is thinking. What is the difference between killing someone, and killing someone in an identical fashion simply because you hate their religion or skin color? The only difference is the thought pattern, and yet one is legally considered more heinous than the other. That is exactly the point- it isn't the act of killing, or the resulting dead person that matters, but what the accused is said to have thought prior to committing the act.

      I agree with your idealism, that what a person thinks should be irrelevant and they should only be judged on the basis of their acts. But that isn't the standard in all situations.

      Delete
    8. Hieronymous,

      I see what you're saying. Thanks for explaining it like that, it makes more sense now.

      MelissaR

      Delete
    9. Likewise, take two identical murders- why should a remorseful murderer receive a lesser sentence than someone who doesn't show remorse?

      Delete
    10. The jurisdiction where I studied law, one of the factors differentiating murder from manslaughter was whether the crime was committed in "hot-blood" or "in cold blood." In other words, if you find your wife sleeping with another man and your emotional state is such that you can't help yourself from murdering him, you would be convicted of a lesser crime than if you deliberately decided to kill someone "in cold blood." That is another instance, codified in law, in which someone's state of mind, empathy, emotions, or lack thereof can result in a different punishment.

      Delete
  13. "Problems and no solutions"?

    So far I haven't really heard anyone answer this question. Maybe because it's like being on a ferris wheel that won't stop. Just keeps going round and round. I think people are getting tired and dizzy and want to get off. So far this question is unanswerable. A bunch of sociopaths would have to willingly out themselves and be willing to try some 'steps' (as you said) to see if there is a way to harmonize.

    But can you change someone's nature? Many addicts 'change', get sober, and lead entirely different lives. From the sociopaths that have responded, I don't hear anyone interested in this topic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bottom line: sociopaths cannot continue to abuse and expect to be accepted. And if they're no longer abusing, they're no longer sociopaths IMO. (Sure you can call them 'pro-social socios' if it makes you happy). And, as we all know by now, there's no known cure for sociopathy, which means socios are not going to be changing their ways en masse any time soon. So on and on it goes. I don't hold out much hope for a solution. Do you?

      Delete
    2. Of course there is a solution. ME's solution is for 97% of the population to change and accept the 3% of the population that is sociopathic. It's that simple thanks to her superior logic and the benefits of her lack of empathy. Tomorrow morning everyone is to leap out of bed and lovingly embrace anyone who has ever backstabbed you, manipulated you, and abused you. And we should all do this just so ME doesn't have to change a single thing about herself. Yay!

      MelissaR

      Delete
    3. ME's issue is a microcosm. It is an example, with a topic specifically applied to what the blog is about, regarding discrimination and hate in general (not just against sociopaths, but also sociopaths). Hence the title "Problems and no solutions". ME knows this better than most, being the subject of it extensively since coming out.

      Delete
  14. Why should sociopaths or empaths for that matter get a free pass? The choices are ours, period. God designed this world and we can either accept our own consequences or wail and point fingers with complete ignorance. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Solution: let people be how they are.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Separate out what's core versus what's choice. The core attribute of a sociopath, I think, is the enhanced cognitive empathy. The core attribute of a psychopath is diminished emotions, hence diminished affective empathy. That's who you are underneath your behaviours, to the extent that you are a sociopath or psychopath or both. You can't change those things, and nor should you. One or both of those is you. That is the area where society should be accepting you as you are.

    The other attributes of sociopaths and psychopaths are your choice to change - even if it is a very long and hard road to change, as for those who have anti-social personality disorder or other cluster B disorders. The evil behaviours cannot be accepted, but I think society should cut a bit of slack for the ones who have disorders - not in terms of permissiveness, but in terms of compassion. Disorders by their nature are very hard to overcome, and in some cases so severe as to be impossible.

    It may be necessary to keep some people with ASPD in jail, but there's no need to be cruel and punishing about it. Jail should be for society's protection, not the offender's punishment. The ones without a disorder - the subclinical - should take it upon themselves to mend their ways. In both cases, the solution is to have full acceptance of your core traits, even as they are what made you susceptible to the evil behaviours.

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    2. V-PATH LUVE MONEECA + UKANApril 25, 2014 at 3:53 PM

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  17. I think we gotta work on ourselves. Be more compassionate with ourselves, not others. There is no one out there. Its just the memory of the other person. We are addicted to self torture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You do understand you are talking about sociopathy here right? Actually, I would include all the cluster b's.
      There is no 'ourselves'. Compassion is confusing, self-compassion even moreso because its impossible to fake. There is no-one IN here, no memories of others. And many of us are addicted to everything BUT self torture.

      Delete
    2. Anon,

      What's your diagnosis?

      Delete
    3. My official diagnosis is bpd with impulse control disorder. However, I must admit I steered the diagnosis a little in light of an upcoming trial and certain unpalatable things about myself I did not wish to admit to myself, let alone have recorded for ever by a hospital shrink. Why do you ask?

      Delete
    4. Hi anon,

      Thanks for sharing. I was also diagnosed with bpd in my teens, and I like to see what some of the differences and similarities are with sociopathy. I posted the comment above about sometimes doing something bad or destructive, and feeling a bit nervous about it, but still doing it, and I know that's my bpd.

      Delete
    5. I was far from my teens before I received a formal diagnosis and, as I said, I did steer it a little. A courtroom is no place to be throwing around words like 'antisocial' in relation to yourself.
      I understand the feeling though, I have often found myself fully aware that the course of action I am about to embark upon is a very bad idea and that no good can come of it. Ihave even been known to vocalise as much, either to myself or those around me. It was one of those situations that put me in front of the judge in fact. So, am I more or less aware and in control knowing this, even though it won't change my actions?
      I don't get nervous about it though, its a simple statement of fact, like looking out the door at the rain and saying 'we're going to get wet out there.'

      Delete
  18. Is the character of Eric Cartman based on a sociopath or a psychopath?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He cries too much to be a psychopath. Sociopath for sure.

      Delete
    2. hahahha I luv eric cartman...reminds me of my son, fat and evil :P

      Delete
  19. "Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves." (Matt. 7:1AV)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Start to out yourself towards people you estimate (1%) and you think they would accept (20%) = 1%


    ReplyDelete
  21. I still fail to see how people think they are being persecuted or judged, or why they would feel the need to 'out' themselves? To what end?
    As I have said in previous posts, personality disorders are primarily social disorders. If you are not causing harm to yourself or those around you there is nothing disorderly happening. If you feel like you have to explain yourself to people because they otherwise won't know how crazy you are, you're probably just fine. Or very good at wearing your mask, in which case id be inclined to just stick with that strategy as long as its working.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or does 'sociopath' mean something different here?

      Delete
  22. Why stop with getting rid of leper colonies? Let's embrace everyone with an infectious, incurable disease. There's a new outbreak of Ebola in Guinea right now, why not hop on a plane and give everyone a great big hug ME! Think of it as a hands-on learning experience in empathy!

    MelissaR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why is it that ever sentence that begins with the promising term 'hands-on' goes on to describe something I don't want to touch?

      Delete
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  23. I find great value in a community such as this to validate that which I'm aware within myself. To recognise oneself in others brings some comfort and peace and acceptance to what/who I am. On the flip side though, I'd never wish to "out" myself publicly, for there is great power in secrecy. To be publicly known as a sociopath and have every Tom, Dick and Harry try to psychoanalyse mean would undermine my position of power and influence. It would also be a down right pain in the arse. Sociopaths are by nature wolves in sheep's clothing. So why would a wolf want to take off the sheep skin and ask the sheep to accept and embrace him for who is. I accept me for who I am, beyond that I don't give a crap for others to know me. I don't have a pressing need to fit in and belong to the wider group. I am in the group but not of the group, and that's okay.That again is one of my sociopathic traits. If I did feel that need, then I probably wouldn't be a sociopath.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankyou, I have wondered for some time what the purpose of engaging in these discussions might be. I suppose I do feel something akin to that which you describe.
      I think the idea that T, D & H might be dying to get into our nasty little heads a little grandiose though. I just don't think we're ultimately that rare or interesting outside of the actions we might take.

      Delete
    2. Being a little grandiose is yet another trait though. Perhaps I was speaking more broadly that the wider western culture seems to have a fascination with psycho/sociopathic mind sets. Take for instance the amount of TV news and TV/movie drama, and crime novels which are based around a psycho killer. It's absolutely prolific. Would the character Dracula be as scary, if the character didn't possess sociopathic traits? That character was based on a Romanian Prince Vladimir Tepes, who was an utter bastard. The original Vlad the Impaler. Modern vampire culture and writing is very different from its gothic origins. Less of the undead gorefest aspect and more on the charming, manipulating and emotionally cold traits.

      Why is the character Christian Grey so popular to women? The story Fifty Shades is not a brilliant read, yet it sold millions. Grey is a bastard who clearly has sociopathic traits. Fifty Shades is "mummy porn". Women like to fantasize about this type of man and being dominated by him for a short while. Would they like it in real life? Probably not, but a lot of women are clearly curious.

      There is a lot of money to be made in this wide field. Stories written, movies told, news to be sold, studies to be performed, and many professional to make their careers out of the study of the Sociopath. Do I think they all want to get in side my particular head? No, of course not. But they do have a strong desire to know Us at large.

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  24. I have no idea how to create links here or even if its possible, so I'm just going to suggest anyone who hasn't seen the "I'm so fucking important" speech from True Detective go find it on youtube right now.

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    1. Do you have a link?

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    2. oh sorry, just realized you said you don't know how t create links...ok going now to see if I can find it.

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    3. haha good one

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  25. Not a whole lot of progress here today on the topic,but just bringing it up might make some people think a little. Baby steps.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I really dont see what the "problem" is? The only people that are branded sociopaths are those that are dumb enough to kill, commit violent acts and be imprisoned.

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    1. Nobody is branded a sociopath. We.ll, not without a few bodies in th e g!ound.Its not a medical or psychiatric term. But yeah, you are kind of right. We are defined by our behavior.
      Perhaps if you left your address one of our representatives could drop round. With a pamphlet?

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  27. I rather enjoy my sociopathic tendencies. Interesting blog.

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  28. I suppose I know the person being referred as "ME" here. Some seem to be wondering what he is doing here. To me it simply feels like he wants to get a better understanding of the "whole spectrum" -- and yes, he does somewhat identify with many characteristics discussed here and yes, he does accept you all as part of the same spectrum. Someone accused him of "double standard" as for AS / ASPD, and this is something he had actually never even thought about before getting to know the subject a bit better. It's true: he is the last person to judge anyone for feeling even less empathy than he does, and you all deserve much more respect than xenophobic empaths, who simply judge people for being different.
    He acknowledges that his biggest issue is indeed his inflated ego, which is an issue he has lately been working on.
    (If, for one reason or other, "ME" is not welcome here, that is of course perfectly ok.)

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  29. Anon - Sociopath isn't exactly a medical term, but APD (Antisocial Personality Disorder) is a medical term that is used for diagnosis of sociopaths.

    As far as the article's questions go...

    1) The trouble is that sociopaths intentionally hurt people, whereas all of these other types don't, right?
    What a ridiculous statement! Empaths frequently hurt people intentionally. Not only that, empaths frequently hurt people BECAUSE of their emotions. For example, their wife cheats on them and so they feel heartbroken, causing them to injure/kill the wife or the party she cheated on him with. This is often referred to as "crimes of passion." Both sociopaths and empaths intentionally hurt people; the main difference is that an empath will usually hurt someone due to an abundance of feelings rather than a lack of feeling - and the empath is likely to feel guilt/remorse regarding the violent act afterwards. A sociopath may, in some cases, be less likely to act out with physical violence than most empaths. This isn't to say they wouldn't have other defense mechanisms. But basically, my point is, both sociopaths and empaths may and do intentionally hurt people - the difference is in the dynamics surrounding their actions (in terms of causes of the action and effects of the action).

    2) Or is it that those other types might intentionally hurt people, but they don't do it for sport?
    This is a little more on the right track. However, it still hasn't totally hit the nail right on the head. An empath can intentionally hurt things for sport - take hunting for example. Or an empath who decides to become a soldier to "kill a bunch of towelheads" (a reason I've frequently heard people list as their reason for joining the military). Granted, they may feel hostility towards middle easterners due to media brainwashing and social conditioning... but empaths can still kill humans or animals for sport. Moreover, although many sociopaths may make a sport, or game out of manipulating and hurting people, that's not always the case. With a psychopathic or narcissistic sociopath, this is more likely. With a machavellian sociopath, which I happen to be, it's often based more on achieving goals and productive results than a mere game/sport. Which isn't to say I have never played games with people, but as I have gotten older, such things are childs play; I have bigger fish to fry. Then again, survival in modern society is like a giant game.


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  30. 3) Or is it that those other types might intentionally hurt people, but sociopaths are so much more effective at it?
    Getting closer. Just because someone is a sociopath doesn't mean they are particularly effective at hurting people. On the other hand, most seasoned sociopaths are very effective at hurting people. An empath can be effective at it too though. Without guilt/remorse, there is less obstacles blocking the sociopath from such effectiveness. However, both sociopaths and empaths may be effective at hurting people - so even though this is close to true, there is no solid dividing line between the two on this issue.

    4) Or is it that those other types might intentionally hurt people, but the types of hurts that sociopaths do are worse?
    Again, empaths are capable of committing rather violent acts as well. For example, most of the Nazi soldiers in WWII that participated in genocide against Jews were probably empaths. Studies on the issue seem to suggest that when an individual or group with power or authority gives an order to do something that the subordinate would not do because of ethical reasons, they do it. I'm sure there must be sociopaths in existence who haven't done anything which society would consider as cruel as participating in genocide... so an empath is perfectly capable of committing what could be referred to as "heinous acts". Again, since a sociopath lacks as many obstacles regarding how much they should hurt an individual (due to lack of guilt/remorse), they can participate in animal/human cruelty without really paying it much mind. Then again, even though an empath may have more OBSTACLES to violence, they may actually be more likely to have more CATALYSTS (things which cause them to be violent) - particularly if they lack control over their emotions. Most empaths that are in prison for violent acts probably committed the crime/crimes while emotionally out of control. Also, to even really answer this question, you have to define what "worse" is. Both sociopaths and empaths have entirely different ways of attacking people. Although many people are prone to physical attacks, many people damage other people legally, financially, sexually, socially, etc... It's difficult to compare all the different ways and define which one is technically "worse", and either a sociopath or empath may damage someone in any of the above ways. To make a long story short: it depends.

    5) Or is it because those other types are not categorically defined by their propensity to hurt people, but sociopaths are?
    This seems pretty much on track.

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  31. "It's kind of convenient to say that sociopaths do terrible things and aren't at all treatable."
    I disagree with this statement. Cured and treated are two different words, and have different definitions in the medical field. To be cured means that the issue no longer exists at all. To be treated doesn't necessarily mean the issue is gone, but that you're at least managing the symptoms in some way. Most people generally agree that sociopaths are never able to feel emotion (once a sociopath, always a sociopath) - although I do sometimes wonder if this is always the case. Whether or not a sociopath can be "cured" I suppose would depend on if sociopathy is based more on genetic or environmental factors. If it's 100% genetic, then it's impossible to "cure" yourself of it, IMHO... although I sometimes wonder how much my environment played a role in the development of my psyche, and if it's mainly environmental, there could be some way to change a sociopath psychologically (at this point in time, it's socially accepted that sociopaths are not able to change at their core, however). Although I do think it's interesting to note that studies on sociopaths have noticed that most of them have had abusive childhoods; which suggests environment may play a critical role.

    As far as treatment is concerned, treatment does not necessarily mean the person is no longer a sociopath. Treatment can simply mean that the negative symptoms (and I do believe sociopathy has it's advantages) are being managed to some extent. Although a sociopath is unable to learn to change their behavior due to emotions, they tend to be very powerful thinkers. Normal people regulate whether they break rules or get along with people based on their emotions.... whereas this doesn't work with sociopaths. Essentially, a sociopath must learn to alter their behaviors based on mentally understanding the issues. Without the emotions an empath possesses, they may be less interested in modifying their behaviors. But, if a sociopaths actions often get them into trouble (or has other negative consequences), it may be food for thought and cause them to change some of their ways. I know this from experience. It's not so much an issue of guilt/remorse, but moreso a matter of strategy.

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  35. More people need to be on http://sociopath-community.com/

    !!! it used to be connected to this blog but was disconnected over a year ago. We need fresh blood and lots of interesting things have happened recently (relates to kiwifar.ms drama: https://archive.is/M2tXa) that will go down in the forum's history! Be sure to check out http://www.psychforums.com/antisocial-personality/ too, as some of its regulars are regulars on SC too!

    ReplyDelete

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