For one of those middle category of family members, I send her an occasional email from people thanking me for the book and explaining that they found some explanation, solace, support, kinship, etc., or that the book otherwise helped them to better understand who they are and conceive of a better way to live based on their own specific situation. I send her these emails because she's interested in these people. Every time she gets one, she says she's surprised. I don't know why she's surprised and neither does she. I guess it's one thing to know someone who has been diagnosed as a sociopath yourself, but I think she is never expected that there are so many with all different backgrounds who read the book and identify with what I've written there. Or perhaps didn't think this type of people would find it helpful to read the experience and thoughts of others like them? Or maybe she believed that this type of people would not care enough about the experience to write me about it? So I keep sending her the emails periodically and she reads them and thinks the whole thing is fascinating, and I think her reactions are what is fascinating. I wonder if some of you would be surprised that rather than this being just a place for sociopaths to self-justify bad behavior, a lot of people are earnestly seeking to understand how/why they are different and how to do/be better at whatever it is that is important to them. Which is a very human experience and desire that I think almost anybody could identify with.
But this the type of email that I will forward her, under the subject "A startling clarity, brought to me by you":
I've just finished your book, and felt the need to reach out to you because you've made yourself available, and because I found your story and message so engaging and refreshing.
I appreciate what you've done. The "cause" as you call it, is greatly in need of individuals like you, who are willing to lay out their experience in hopes of allowing others to gain some perspective. I'm aware that you hear this often, but I found it quite satisfying to be able to stare, for a few minutes each day, at a few squiggles arranged and printed onto paper, and feel, suddenly, a sense of understanding I never imagined possible. I have never been able to relate, in earnest, my worldview and experience to anyone I've known in person. After reading your book, don't feel the need to. I understand what I am, and that I'm not alone. I don't necessarily feel a sense of belonging, but I do feel as though a veil has finally been pulled from my eyes.
I won't bore to you the details of my life or my recent self-diagnosis, but I will say that I discovered you at the time in my life at which you were most needed. I have never looked to another human for direction, held a role model, or knelt to idols, but you should know that I have a curious reverence for you.
I hoped you might be able to offer perspective on some things, not only as a sociopath, but as a functional and seemingly successful member of society.
I want you all to know that I feel the same way reading the things that you choose to share, either by emailing or commenting on the blog. I feel like I've learned so much from reading your thoughts, either because I identify/agree with them or because I don't. I've changed my mind a lot over the past 5 years or so, which is one of the major reasons why I still love to do it. So thanks to everyone for what you do.