First of all, I just wanted to thank you so much for Confessions... I personally have several male sociopath friends (we just attract each other!), but no fellow female sociopaths have ever come my way. As such, I was naturally curious how other women display their sociopathy, and how the display of my own characteristics "measured up" to other females. I'm happy to say that much of your book felt like stream of consciousness coming from my own mind. There were even a couple of adages or quotes I found within your book that I've been saying for years, haha. It was a pleasure to read.
All gushing, flattery, and gratitude aside, I wanted to take a chunk of my own life and throw it to the wolves, as it were ;) I'm not asking for clarity on whether or not I'm a sociopath (I know I am, and I don't need "reassurance" for such things), but I suppose I would like to initiate a bit of discussion among your readers as to how sociopathy can play out.
Growing up, I had all of the classic symptoms of a sociopath. I used my parents' divorce to manipulate, guilt-trip, and ultimately profit from both parents, I would get in fights at school, covering up quickly by claiming the other child wanted me to hit them because they wanted to see what I was learning in martial arts, I learned how to fake guilt in that "I guess I took it too far," with crocodile tears to boot. I would lie about the most mundane of things, like whether or not I had brushed my teeth a particular morning, and sometimes I would lie just to create emotional outbursts "for the fun of it" (ie: I was homeschooled by my stepmom, who I despised entirely, so occasionally I would come to my dad in tears, confessing I had "failed" a really important test, that I felt like I wasn't taught any of the material covered. In reality, I always got very high marks, but I gained a sort of satisfaction in watching my dad blow up at my stepmom for "ruining my education.")
All of this took a turn when I was sixteen, when my dad, in one of his outbursts, killed my stepmom, baby sister, and himself. (I was also shot, but survived.) I was "sentenced" to court mandated therapy, which was entirely necessary as I was having flashbacks, nightmares, etc. But my therapist noticed something: aside from my dad--who, at very least, had sociopathic tendencies, though his primary dx was bipolar... he was incredibly intelligent, however, and through his own wits and ways of "bending the law," he went from being a high school dropout, son of a hooker to a multimillionaire by his early twenties. I still admire and respect him, probably more than any other person--aside from my loss of this influential role in my life, I did not grieve. I was not concerned for my losses, except the man I saw as most contributing to my education and growth (he spent hours every week teaching me about social manipulation, business strategy, etc)--someone I had seen as "useful." My therapist chalked this up to a delay in grief caused by shock, but five and a half years later, I have never been so much as concerned to think of the others.
Though I was not grieving, being in therapy taught me how I "should be" grieving. My therapist used a lot more suggestive questions than she probably should have, likely to try to draw me "out of my shell" or to help me put a name to emotions I was "experiencing," but didn't "understand." So I created a persona based on this "grieving me." My performance won me a full-ride scholarship to college, many families opened their homes to me, and I noticed something odd--people came up to me, seemingly out of the blue, to talk to me about their problems, thinking "if anyone could relate," it would be me.
Having been in therapy, and having keenly observed my therapist, I simply played counselor to these people. And they would look at me and tell me how much I inspired them and gave them hope... Several told me, eventually, that had it not been for me, they would've killed themselves. The power and influence I had over these people was astonishing--and I loved it.
So I used my education to get my BA in psychology, and in the near future, I will be pursuing a MA in Grief and Trauma Therapy. I currently volunteer once a week at a grief center for teens (I specifically work with teens who have lost someone to suicide, which earns me double points for 1. working with "the toughest cases," and 2. for being "strong enough to open up to relate in such a personal way to these teens"). I also work at a residential treatment center for adolescent girls who have been through trauma and abuse. Everyone I tell my persona's story to gushes at me in admiration, and more often than not, opens themselves up ever so completely to me. They trust me, in many cases, more than anyone else they've ever met. Trusting someone is laying down your defenses completely and being bareboned honest, fearless of the consequences. People trust me so much as to let me in where no other may go. I saved their lives, and in essense, now control their lives. The power of that is incredibly intoxicating.
So, yes: these days, I help people. And I am damn good at it. But I'm tired of hearing so many people (mostly empaths and wanna-be-sociopaths) tell me that no "real" sociopath would want to help people the way I do. Even some sociopaths are skeptical. But the display of sociopathic behavior is rooted in what we want. We want power. For me, I've found the most success in gaining power through letting people trust me on what they believe to be their own terms. Yes, I could ruin them, and that is a delicious fantasy (and one, admittedly, I play out now and again with lovers)... but if I did so with clients, my reputation could be ruined more than it would be worth. By being "responsible" with my power, I gain more of it.
I'm curious what you and yours would remark on my endeavors. I don't help people because I feel "compassion" or any nonsense like that. I don't feel any sort of "trauma bond" either. Simply, I'm good at something, and people admire, praise, and depend on me (to the point of stopping themselves from suicide) for that. Any other "savior sociopaths" out there? (After all, being a Savior entails being someone's God...)