Thursday, May 15, 2014

Female sociopath: fact or fiction?

Merve Emre writes for Digg ("The Female Sociopath") on the popularity of the female sociopath in fiction (TV/books, etc.), and the reality. Worth reading in its entirety, the first little bit:

If you don’t know who Rosamund Pike is, you will soon. In October, she will appear in David Fincher’s film adaptation of Gone Girl, one of the most popular and addictive novels of the past decade, as Amy Dunne — the beguiling and cerebral housewife who stages her own murder and frames her philandering husband. Amy’s creator, the novelist Gillian Flynn, has proudly described her character as a “functioning sociopath,” which she is quick to distinguish from “the iconic psycho bitch.” The iconic psycho bitch, Flynn explains, is crazy because “her lady parts have gone crazy.” Think of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, so consumed with desire for Michael Douglas that she boils his daughter’s pet rabbit to death; think of Sharon Stone and Jennifer Jason Leigh (and Kathy Bates and Rebecca De Mornay) chasing men through dim rooms with sharp objects. 

Unlike these women, the functional sociopath isn’t “dismissible” as a slave to her emotions. She is not outwardly violent. Patently remorseless, clear-eyed and calculating, she is chameleonic in the extreme, donning one feigned feeling after another (interest, concern, sympathy, simpering insecurity, confidence, arrogance, lust, even love) to get what she wants.

And why should she feel bad about it?

For M.E. Thomas, author of Confessions of A Sociopath, such affective maneuvers are tantamount to “fulfilling an exchange.” “You might call it seduction,” she suggests, but really “it’s called arbitrage and it happens on Wall Street (and a lot of other places) every day.” Whatever you choose to call it, its appeal is undeniable when linked to the professional and personal advancement of women. “In general, the women in my life seemed like they were never acting, always being acted upon,” Thomas laments. Sociopathy’s silver lining was that it gave her a way to combat that injustice, in the boardroom of the corporate law firm she worked for in Los Angeles, but also in the bedroom, where she marveled at how her emotional detachment let her commandeer her lovers’ hearts and minds. Somewhere along the way, pathology became recoded as practice — a set of rules for how to manage the self and others.

No wonder the female sociopath cuts such an admirable figure. Intensely romantic, professionally desirable, she is the stuff of fiction, fantasy, and aspirational reading. And while actual female sociopaths like Thomas are rare, and sociopathy isn’t even recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the female sociopath looms large in our cultural imagination. Amy Dunne may stand as the perfect example — a “Cool Girl” on the outside, ice cold within — but she is not alone. Of late, she has faced stiff competition from fictional females like Lisbeth Salander, the ferocious tech genius in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, or Laura, the shape-shifting alien who preys on unwitting men in Under the Skin. Network television has been even kinder to the female sociopath, placing her at the center of workplace dramas like Damages, Revenge, Bones, The Fall, Rizzoli and Isles, Person of Interest, Luther, and 24. Here, she has mesmerized audiences with how nimbly she scales the professional ladder, her competence and sex appeal whetted by her dark, aggressive, risk-taking behavior, and lack of empathy.

And so we lean in to the cultural logic of the female sociopath, for she is the apotheosis of the cool girl power that go-getter “feminists” have peddled to frustrated women over the last half-decade. The female sociopath doesn’t want to upend systems of gender inequality, that vast and irreducible constellation of institutions and beliefs that lead successful women like Gillian Flynn to decree that certain women, who feel or behave in certain ways, are “dismissible.” The female sociopath wants to dominate these systems from within, as the most streamlined product of a world in which well-intentioned people blithely invoke words like arbitrage, leverage, capital, and currency to appraise how successfully we inhabit our bodies, our selves. One could easily imagine the female sociopath devouring books with titles like Bo$$ Bitch, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, The Confidence Gap, and Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman to hone her craft — to learn how to have it all. From atop the corporate ladder, she can applaud her liberation from the whole messy business of feeling as a step forward for women, when it’s really a step back.

The result is a self-defeating spectacle of feminism that finds a kindred spirit in Rosamund Pike on the cover of W, erasing her own perfect face to reveal that what lies beneath might be nothing. Like Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne, who confesses that she “has never really felt like a person, but a product” — plastic, fungible, ready to be consumed by anyone, at any time — the female sociopath is a product of a broken promise made to women, by women. She is a product poised to disappear into the immense darkness from which she came. 

One of my favorite parts of studying music was learning that the representation of women in professional orchestras skyrocketed when they started doing blind auditions (i.e. the judges couldn't see who was performing). When I taught, I told my students to use their initials on their C.V.s and résumés, because it seems like every year there is another study that shows that everywhere in every field there is gender and racial bias. Sometimes I wish we could do the equivalent of blind auditions everywhere. Maybe we shouldn't out any sort of name on our résumés. Maybe we should make that illegal, like it is illegal to put your name on a standardized test. Because why should it matter?

When I first started writing this blog, it was like a blind audition. No one knew who I was, only what I wrote. I didn't realize at the time how great that felt, what a respite from my normal life that was. Without realizing even to what extent, I had been swimming against the current all of my life, until I was allowed to just be me. And then when I came out as being female there was a certain significant portion backlash that wasn't really explainable apart from being a reaction to my gender. (See also, popular science blogger Elise Andrew who got a cyclone of hate only after it was discovered that she was female.) There was probably as much backlash in my sociopath life for being female as there was in my normal life for being a sociopath. And now when I write or say things, it is seen through a different, distorted lens of my perceived femininity. I used to never get accused of the typical "oh man, you won't believe how crazy my ex-girlfriend was" type behavior -- "classic female traits" like self-harm/cutting, attention seeking, jealousy, vanity, histrionics, woman-scorned flavored vengeance, man-hating flavored vengeance, or anything else that is likely to get a woman slapped with the term "crazy". Now I get them all of the time. Which was sort of a surprise to me. Why did it bother people that I had been given the diagnosis "sociopath". Because it really seemed to. They took what I said and twisted it to fit something else, until I was "just borderline." as if the biased-female diagnosis was lesser than the sort-of male equivalent. Until I was "just crazy". Until I was something or someone that could be dismissed as a nobody nothing. Because that's how we marginalize people, I guess.

See also SNL – Red Flag | Katabatic Digital


  1. what females lack in sociopaths they make up in with borderline

    1. i take a psychopath over a borderline every day

    2. M.E., I sounds like you care how others perceive you. I am a high functioning empathy. Male 40 yr old. I've always walked to the beat of my own drum ( since self discovery in my 20's ). I care less what anyone thinks or says about me ( except in my professional life. Have to make the $ ). Thank is true freedom. P.S.- I love my job.

  2. ME, You are very likable for the most part. Sociopath or not. :)

    Bipolar empath

  3. “In general, the women in my life seemed like they were never acting, always being acted upon,” Thomas laments.

    This is so true. I know a lot of smart women who all started off on equal footing with the men but looking around now, the men have all the goodies. The women who are most comfortable in life are the ones who took the traditional route of marriage and babies. These were the smart, bitchy, psycho women who had it all worked out way back, and who didn't believe any of the shit they were being fed about careers. The wide-eyed, brainy types who tried to make it on their own are f*cked.

    I love Gone Girl, not because I admired the psycho Amy - a total horror - but because it fuelled my revenge fantasies of squashing every asshole who ever tried to impede my progress for reasons I never understood.


    1. There are certain similarities between being screwed over for being female - and for getting involved with a psychopath. You're trying to make your way in the world just being you, but they are playing a game that has no discernible rules.


    2. I loved that book. ^

      What I wanted to say was that , I agree with Carrie. Give me the rules and I will break them or win. I just have to know the rules!
      Bipolar empath

    3. bullshit ! how many smart women are there REALLY ie women who studied
      REAL studies that is not gender studies/sociology, I believe bending reality to ur wishes. as well there arnt many rules except for the ultra elites, most people and "male dominated workers" are treated like that because of a bad economy, and because that is the reality of being male, u dont get free anything and stomped on please stop this bullshit "Im fighting against patrichary" its a crutch have u thought maybe ur just SHIT ??? and theres competition . ur self-absorbed stop wanking

  4. Denial is one of the most common traits people have.
    If people have been raised with falsehoods about "ladylike"
    behavior, they will cling to these untruths.
    For example, who wouldn't want to believe that his mother or his
    wife didn't have his back? It's almost sacreligious not to believe
    that. All angels are beautiful, but not all beauty's are angels.
    This is the reason for the Halo effect and why over the course of
    a century, 100's of male murders are put to death for every
    female murder put to death.

    1. Agree. It took me half a lifetime to realize the only back my mother had was her own.


  5. Maybe if you'd actually kill someone, people might start taking you seriously.

  6. I remember reading and commenting on your blog before your identity was revealed. From the way you wrote, I couldn't tell if you were male or female. I also felt fairly desperate and exasperated to know, because sex colors all of my interactions. When I learned you were female, I was pleased by the revelation.

    You write as someone who has agency, who is an actor rather than an object. In women, that is an (unfortunately) rare quality, and one that I greatly admire. I am a feminist, so I take special interest in issues of women's inequality. I am completely and utterly convinced that inequality is a social construct rather than a biological one. I am also aware that women are fighting an uphill battle to reach equality, and I cannot fathom how they could possibly reach the peak. I'm a pragmatist, and so I appreciate the fact that overturning stereotypes that have existed for millennia will not be easy, if it is even possible without the use of violent and deadly force.

    'Traditional values' carries a negative connotation for me. Equality in the treatment of men and women, as an end, is objectively good. I would not be averse to fighting a war to help women achieve equality, it might be the most noble cause ever fought for. I have an abundance of patience, but not for something I see as moving so slowly. And I expect it would end the same as racism against blacks, where we've reached a stable level of socially acceptable discrimination. Yeah, I'm ready to fight, but I'm not sure if the first bullet fired shouldn't be shot at me. As someone who knowingly perpetuates inequality through inaction, perhaps I'm most deserving of a bullet.

    1. You're a moron being pro-radical feminism. I won't even bother to write a couple of paragraphs and arguing. You're just stupid and the "feminist society" has manipulated you into a fine soldier.

  7. This sounds like media bias to me. If a woman is a cool operator, why must she be a sociopath? Maybe she just has her act together. Life is hard, and being a single woman in the business world can be a nightmare, no matter what your wiring. Writers want to write stories, so they focus on the fallen angels, and the monsters in their imaginations. I'm confident a real sociopath, if spotted, would prove to be a surprise.

  8. I really enjoyed this post today- but it's almost like three blog posts in one. First observation- over the past month I've had at least 2 fellow commenters be surprised that I'm female even though I've never made any effort to hide that fact. The point that female "evil" is out of control and reactive instead of cold and calculating is very true.

    While I would hope I don't give off an evil vibe, I'm well aware that my hyper analytical way of thinking and writing tends to give off a very left brained vibe. The thoughts that this blog causes me to explore are thoughts I'd rather examine from a place of emotional neutrality. In Western culture, that tends to be construed as "male" thinking.

    On a different note: I have watched and shared "red flag" numerous times with single friends because it is so hilarious and spot on. Kristin Wiig nails the persona of the physically attractive but deeply damaged woman who will allow herself to be victimized once she's been "hooked" into an addictive interaction. For all the disparaging of women like this, the fact remains that they draw men like flies.

    They may be capable of committing evil acts from a place of reactive emotional volatility, but the malice displayed is a very transient thing and generally seems rooted in acting out after a love affair goes wrong. What's unsettling about the universal acknowledgment of this sort of "crazy" woman is the fact people don't talk about men aggressively seeking this sort of woman's attention and then disposing of her when she asks to be seen as anything more than a receptacle for lust and release that some men struggle to achieve with "good" women. There seems to be a mechanism at work where a man pours out all of his obsessive longing and angst into a woman like this and then abandons her once he's gotten whatever ego boost the interaction provides him with. Because the crazy woman archetype exists, he is able to dispose of her callously while society looks on approvingly.

    No wonder "red flag" women are angry. It's reactive aggression, and it's a predictable response to this sort of treatment. Far from being crazy or sociopathic, it resembles the sort of acting out of old wounds related to fractured relationships with primary characters.

    Sociopathic women are another breed altogether. They have a "kill switch" for emotions that might render them vulnerable to the sorts of manipulations that drive "red flag" women crazy. Their detachment allows them to see a mans obsessive need to empty all of his "badness" into a willing receptacle and to play the good girl/bed girl game with sophistication. They understand that they must never lose the upper hand in terms of emotional control in the relationship.

  9. I'm going to pull out some of the verbs you use to describe "red flag" women.

    Allow, draw, commit, display, acting out.

    And from the men who interact with them.

    Seek, dispose, see, struggle, pour, abandon.

    Usually your posts are quite clear to me, but this one was hard to follow. Perhaps it's due to some deficiency on my part.

    I have an abundance of respect for you, M.E., green eyes, and other women on this site, but it has nothing to do with a lack of emotion. To the contrary, I see great emotional depth in all of you (though that may very well be projection on my part, rather than insight). You've described an actor/object relationship between "crazy" women and their "victimizer" men. I'm not seeing an emotional/female rational/male dichotomy in your writing. The relationship between victim/females and victimizer/males is deeply emotional for both parties, and greatly troubling. These issues wouldn't be solved by the women being more rational or the men being more emotional, but rather by both men and women perceiving women as actors with agency rather than objects.

    Am I making sense, or am I missing something here? I'll never claim to fully understand someone else's point of view, but I'm always willing to offer my perception.

    1. Rollback the mental perceptions to back when she was an unknown "genderless" entity, play it in your mind on a given post, then run a comparison with the same view with knowing she is female. Any differences you see and feel will be the gender bias, which you can discard. Isolate and discard.

      Gender is meaningless on its own. It's an attributable factor, like having red hair, but by itself is nothing more than that. Why people get caught up on gender or race is a bizarre disappointment. Each person is a unique entity, as the sum of its parts - one facet on a jewel isn't anything more than any other facet. People get attached to a certain viewing angle on that jewel, from that partcular facet, and think of it as the entire jewel.

      People are forgetting that you collect jewels, not angles.

    2. "People are forgetting that you collect jewels, not angles".

      Bob, that was both poetic and profound.

    3. @ Erik

      I think my last post was a bit convoluted so perhaps disorganized writing is the real culprit here. :) My first 2 paragraphs were intended as an affirmation of ME's point that there are stereotypes about the way men and women communicate. A woman who expresses herself in a hyper rational fashion is often assumed to be a man if no other clues to her gender are present. Likewise, a man who expresses deep feeling is generally assumed to be "an artistic type" that is different from the Marlborough Man archetype- strong and silent. Depending on our socialization most of us do it to some extent and to Bob's point- to reflexively cling to those categories is limiting. So a post like this is good because it alerts us to our prejudices about gender.

      What I was trying to convey in exploring the archetype of the crazy woman as object/victim is that mainstream western society tends to heap the most scorn on women who "act out" if they fit this pattern. The cool as a cucumber female sociopath escapes public disdain because she does not fit the expected character description of a "bad" woman.

      Women are far more easily victimized if they are perceived as crazy and bad. Their lives are worth less because they are viewed as spoiled. Each time a victim is victimized, there is a shared understanding that she carries the burden of an ugly interaction. She has two choices: stay silent about being victimized and potentially still be considered "good"- or speak about what has happened to her and invite the disgust of those who observe, because she now carries the shame of the interaction within her.

      After a certain point of being a receptacle for exploitative and cruel behavior, a victim's capacity to self regulate falters and she exposes her "shame" in the form of "unladylike" anger. The emotion that shows through the mask of politely pretending nothing bad happened is used as evidence that a female is broken and close to a breaking point where she is capable of truly antisocial (evil) behavior. This "proof" that she is crazy absolves the victimizer from responsibility. This is also why being emotional in this way is considered shameful to both men and women because of the implied victimization and vulnerability that likely preceded the emotion.

      Because gender constructs dictate that women are usually victims and men are usually victimizers society hasn't figured out how to categorize female sociopaths who are able to act with extreme malice before any sort of observable negative emotion. A sociopath who is female can exist under the radar much more easily than a male sociopath, for their aggression is less likely to be observed because it does not come in the "typical" packaging of rampaging bitch. People are far more willing to see and judge men as cold and calculating.

    4. That was a useful exercise. There are a lot of thoughts swimming around now, so let's see how they line up.

      The primary difference in my perception between a genderless and female M.E. is that a genderless M.E. evokes less fear and caution. If this is generalizable to others, then please consider the strong similarity and ties between fear and respect.

      Working within me, this causes two changes. As I have less fear of her, I am more likely to challenge her. However, because I want her to like me, I'm also more inclined to support her. I see my comments as a sine wave, where my lack of fear coupled with my desire to be liked increase the amplitude. My challenges and critiques are harsher, but my support is that much stronger.

      To be quite honest, my sexual orientation makes me more inclined to seek interaction with women, even in the absence of romantic intention. So, while our interaction is almost entirely one-sided, for me it is more intense, and and I'll allow conversations to get closer to the core of my personality. I've always been one to seek intellectual intimacy, but never with another man.

    5. It wasn't meant to be poetic nor profound, but an analogy that makes the concept more easily digestible. Still, it is a positive reaction, so thank you for the compliment.

      I'm not sure if it is generalizable to others, so I am curious as to the feedback from others who attempt the exercise. I would like to be wrong in my assumption, because I'm not sure I understand the reaction fully.

      How does the bias invoke fear and caution? Is it because of your sexual attraction towards women that you find yourself more vulnerable to the sociopathy?

    6. @Bob:
      I have more fear and caution of sociopathic men. I feel they may be more likely to target me for sport. As for women, I have (misplaced?) confidence in my ability to be more useful to them as a tool, rather than a toy.

      "A woman who expresses herself in a hyper rational fashion is often assumed to be a man if no other clues to her gender are present."

      This is extremely difficult for me to separate. I'm going to break people into four different subgroups based on two dichotomies. There is the principle of agency versus those who are acted upon. There is also the principle of rationality versus emotionality.

      If a person presents without a gender identity, but speaks with agency, I will perceive a "male" quality regardless of how emotional or rational they may be. An emotional person with agency will express themselves through feelings, often anger, and they will seek to control the people around them. A rational person with agency will appear calm and collected in most circumstances.

      I will perceive a rational person without agency to be female. They may be very intelligent, but they perceive themselves to be objects and will present themselves that way. An emotional person without agency has accepted that they are an object to be used by men and will likely suffer abuse because of it.

      You have my respect and admiration, Mach, because you lived a substantial portion of your life as an object. Did you really "discover" rationality when you separated from your husband? I don't think so, I believe it's an innate quality of yours. The switch was from seeing yourself as an object, to seeing yourself as an actor. You took control of your life and decided to walk your own road rather than the one that was pointed out to you by a society founded on misogyny. Whether you communicate emotionally or rationally here, you communicate with agency. One of the primary reasons I support feminism is because gender equality would produce more people like you. You're far more interesting than someone who perceives themselves to be an object only capable of being acted upon, rather than acting.

    7. I've always been someone who ponders reality. In fourth grade I was very upset for almost a year when I realized I had to be a girl within evangelical Christian culture. It felt like a death sentence. My agency was limited to the extent I was dependent upon individuals who expected me to play a silent submissive female. I married at 20 to escape it- only to have married a man who reverted back to the belief structure we both came from. Because I had children right away, I was trapped when he wanted to be alpha male. Escape from that world was calculated. Not because I would characterize my ex husband as abusive, but because of his family which I not so jokingly called the Christian mafia. It took a lot of strategy to leave without having my children taken away that I won't bore you with the details of.

      A few days back ME posted a quote about cunning developing as a result of tyranny. I think that's very true. A disempowered individual leaving a corrupt and powerful institution must be Machiavellian in their understanding- not to exploit- but to anticipate the motivations and dirty tricks that will be played. It's kind of like judo (or another form of martial arts that is primarily centered on self defense).

      My nature is to be very empathic, but it was the Machiavellian side of me that helped me break free. People look at the hyper rational female who keeps her wits about her as being evil when she is able to escape... but escaping is different than exploiting. In many ways women would benefit if they were willing to take a break from the loving and vulnerable side of their natures to rationally ascertain what the other side wants from you so a win/win outcome can be crafted. That's how you avoid being crushed.

    8. @Erik -- I find your agency-no agency dichotomy a little simplistic. There are times in a woman's life when she feels invincible, and times when she's about as effective as a dormouse. Sometimes everything goes according to plan, and other times you could give Sisyphus a run for his money.

      You don't shift from one state to the other and sail off into the sunset. Life is a series of circles, not straight lines. And none of us fits in a box.


    9. @Mach -- Did you always have a Machiavellian side or did you have to work on it? I am way too emotional and far too easily swayed by other people's suffering or the prospect of their suffering. Lately I'm developing a little cunning - which allows me to see when I'm being used and manipulated - and learning to withhold information but my god, it doesn't come naturally. Could you reccommend a book or is it a case of trial and error?

      I escaped by sneaking away. He was so sure I would be back, I was well away before the penny dropped.


    10. if you escaped you already have one. :)

      There's no malice involved, really. For years you likely walked on eggshells and anticipated every mood. You understood what triggered their moods more than they did. You know them better than they know themselves even as they completely underestimate you.

      The key is to identify what matters to them- not what they say matters- what actually matters. Generally they want to win and to feel they have crushed you. So figure out how to give them that.

      For me it played out in asking for signifigantly less money than the courts said I could have and never telling his secrets. I allowed him to scapegoat me and told him I loved him the whole time but I just couldn't live the double life he was asking me to. I also went to the church the family went to and allowed there to be a "Scarlet Letter" situation, but didn't crack in the sense I didn't leave and also said "I am a repentant sinner" and brought the kids each Sunday. For this reason, they would've faced serious blowback had they tried to fight dirty (which they very much are known for doing). I knew it was a waiting game bc my ex had never done much with childcare and wanted his freedom. As much as he said he wanted the kids, he didn't want the work. So I didn't fight back, and always took the kids on his weekends so he could "have fun" and by default, he and his family realized I really was a better person to have as an ally than not. Kind of like- I am the ultimate nanny for their offspring. I've never been into money so they just didn't understand that I really didn't care about money and wouldn't spill secrets. I just wanted freedom from ugly secrets and a dominating relationship.

      What's really funny is that I am at peace with his family and friendly with him. meanwhile, my children (most notably my daughters) are free to be themselves and have a very different life than I did. That was my goal.

      So was that Machiavellian? I don't know- but the only other people (1 man, 1 woman) who have left "the family" had such a legal and social smear campaign conducted against them that they lost their kids, home, and community- and had ten year court battles. The key is- I figured out where our interests were aligned and played to that. It worked.

    11. Mach, I think you are absolutely brilliant!

      You had strength enough to do whatever it took for your children.
      You were wise enough to give that asshole what he wanted and not let ego drive you and your children to destruction.
      You learned from the experience, but did not allow it to make you bitter...

      I have great respect for women like you.

    12. @mach 12.59

      I like this post. I started to be trapped like you with a child, I had a severe narcissistic bully at work and I liked an aquaintance who turned out to be a targeting socio. Your "soft" machiavellian approach is very suiting for very empathic personalities and I chose the same step by step approach to get things under control again.
      you must see sociopathy as a personality-ILLNESS. A mentally ill who let fall a heavy weight on your foot and laughs. For socios the problem doesn't get any deeper. It only looks like that because the methods seem sophisticated.

    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    14. @ Green Eyes- thank you. As a woman who used to be terrified of the sort of persona your avatar suggests (thankfully I have moved beyond that) I am appreciative of your kind words. I always secretly admired women like you, and ME and other female socio types because you had the guts not to be doormats. I survived my situation and was able to escape, but it was by playing the same game in which I had been pawn and doormat for so many years. I still fail to act with the boldness I see many other women on here capable of.

      An interesting thought along those lines that was actually suggested by my daughter to me that has become a bit of a touchstone- We talk openly about the controlling world I left and about the fact I was simply a pawn in others manipulations for many years. Because we play chess, she drew upon her knowledge of the game to say something that I think every female victim of intimate partner violence needs to hear:

      "When a pawn travels all the way across the board and is not taken in battle she becomes a queen. And the queen is more powerful than the king ever could be."
      (-a fourteen year old girl who has watched her single mother get knocked down by life and then get to her feet)

      Thanks to all of you for kind words and for calling me on my bullshit over this past year. ME's book was what brought me here for the first time and it was to explore further how sociopaths thought (a mystery to me) that drew me- but the generosity of spirit, insight, lack of moral judgment,and wisdom have kept me here.

      I have very much appreciated the level of candor the discussions on SW lend themselves to. To be frank, when I first began commenting I was a little bit terrified- I think I thought the boogey man might get me. ;) Not really, but this community has been so helpful for me in understanding that despite our range of felt experience, there is nobody who is not sympathetic in some way (even if they don't always present the warm and fuzzy sides of themselves)

      I love that this is a place where you get called on your shit- this community provokes me to think differently and be braver. While I am not assuming that everyone who is silent is silent from a place of affirmation- I do get the sense that what pisses off most individuals who's consider themselves existing on a sociopathic spectrum are less disdainful of the empathy part of empath thinking, and more irritated with the assumed moral superiority and sloppy thinking empaths often manifest- the "But I'm a GOOD person" defense/indignation that follows perceived exploitation.

      This community has helped me see that in the grand scheme of things, no one really gives a shit if you are a good person or not when it comes to how they treat you. People tend to have a range of behaviors that you trigger that have far more to do with them than you. You guys have taught me- if you don't like how you are being treated, don't complain- do something.

  10. Charles Manson identifies as female.

  11. Very little political stuff going on, surely "being a socio and proud" means being republican or nazi? Left wing-psychopath..? DONT THINK SO.

  12. Why is being a dancer a red flag and why does the guy spit her drink back into the glass??

  13. lol she lived in vegas for 11 years :P

  14. "And then when I came out as being female there was a certain significant portion backlash that wasn't really explainable apart from being a reaction to my gender."

    Umm... not so sure about that.
    It's an explanation you're not going to like, but that does not mean it (and others) don't exist.
    Partly it's because it really did feel like a catfishing experience.
    The way you talked, you presented yourself as this darkly seductive, mysterious, very good looking, cunning, fun, brilliant, sociopathic person.

    You made all these claims about how you really are and the things that you do, but because you did not interact with the "audience", there was no way to really question the claims. So in a way, we had to take your word for it.

    Now, everyone exaggerates sometimes and everyone withholds things, but I think it was not your gender being revealed, but the way you really are, that created that backlash and drove most of the sociopaths off the site.

    The book came out. And sorry to say, but it wasn't very good. And some of the stories you gave... all I could do was roll my eyes.

    And Dr Phil. The darkly seductive, mysterious, master manipulator with a sexy accent turned out to be a moderately attractive woman in a horrible wig.
    One who was clearly longing for attention and recognition, while staring at him like a deer in the headlights when challenged. No trace of that accent either.
    Makes you wonder just how much of it all was exaggeration, delusion and plain ol' bull.
    And don't think it's all "Dr Phil is a bastard because of editing, etc.." Come on, it's fucking Dr Phil. Don't tell me you expected a warm hug and for him to gush about how awesome you are.
    You wanted attention, you got it ;)

    All the religious crap did not help you here one bit either.
    Nor did this ridiculous shit with entering some warped characters before every comment.

    Seriously, it was mostly not your gender.
    It was the fact that they simply lost all respect for you and this place stopped being fun.
    Just remember what they were saying before they left. You're not someone they would ever take advice from.

    1. one word: possums

    2. Sorry, green eyes.


    3. "And Dr Phil. The darkly seductive, mysterious, master manipulator with a sexy accent turned out to be a moderately attractive woman in a horrible wig." I'm kind of surprised that was your perception. I hate to get overly hung up on the superficial stuff, but I was surprised at how pretty ME is. I could hear the accent too. Before seeing the Dr. Phil interview, I saw an interview where her face was blurred, and I noticed she pronounced certain words differently. I think it's interesting that she has tried to cultivate an accent.

    4. m.e.:
      Haha! That was cute :)

      Dr Ginger:
      I'm surprised you are surprised that people have different tastes :)

      Put it to you this way, if she hadn't been such an attention seeker and gone on Dr Phil, but rather chose to do an Andy McNab style interview with a... less wanky reporter, I would have respected her more. Chances are, so would have some others.
      But putting on a horrible wig and pretending she cares about her anonymity? Seriously? Does she still fall for peek-a-boo games too?

      I also would have recommended running a draft of the book by at least one person who cares enough to tell her those ugly uber truths. Then actually putting ego aside and heeding their advice.

      As for the accent... pronouncing a few words slightly differently, while maintaining a rather generic soft American accent does not make it sexy, interesting, a sign of shifting accents, or anything of the like.
      She has tried to cultivate, she has failed and made herself look like a deluded narcissist instead. Not a good look.

      And just in case you are wondering, yes, I actually do quite like M.E.
      But I think she needs to stop trying to find excuses, really look at what happened and learn from it.

    5. Infamy and money are good standbys. Reckless, but it has potential rewards like those. How many people have made money on sociopathy?

    6. I have a friend who is an attorney who is licensed in California, and we were talking about her appearance on the Dr. Phil show. It's obvious it wasn't a good disguise, and that she wasn't trying very hard. In fact it's almost like she wanted people to slowly figure out it was her. It seems like I recall her saying somewhere that she would just rather be more herself rather than always having to adjust, and be something she isn't.

    7. Sorry about Dr. Phil, the wig, that the accent didn't appeal, I won't do it again. Sorry for the self delusion, I'll try to be better. Email Piles, I'm sure she'd love to hear from you.

    8. I find the intense judgment of ME's performance on Dr Phil to be uncharacteristic of this forum- because if ME is a sociopath, she is a chameleon. The mask she wears is tailored to the audience she is trying to charm. The daytime tv watcher (Dr Phils audience) doesn't strike me as a terribly sophisticated viewing population and ME (correctly, I think) surmised that subtlety would be lost- she had to present a sort of broad brush strokes persona if she was going to create enough of an impression with this audience to generate book sales (which is why I assumed she did this in the first place- publishing contracts go beyond the legal bc of long term relationships w/agents and the corporate end of things - and can be a real pain in the ass in terms of the author having to fulfill certain obligations. My sense is that ME thought it was queer and didn't overthink it- resulting in an awkward performance that came off as more like a deranged flight attendant than cool headed sociopath.

      But who cares? That's no more her than whatever product she presented herself as to generate this blog. Both were her creations. It's possible to love some art and artist creates and find the rest of it trivial. It doesn't make the good stuff any less good.

      Reading back through old comment streams I am struck with the fact there was a definitely banter with a certain rhythm to it. That rhythm got broken up with the book momentum (partly because of commenters like myself who posted long (sorry, guys) posts that completely interrupted the previous flow. SW pre- book was kind of like Camelot in the sense that it was a great experience but one that would never have continued indefinitely as the chemistry of the group changed. Group dynamics always evolve and while ME's Dr Phil appearance was weird it was perfectly in line with the understanding about crafting different masks for different situations - with all the indignation I find myself thinking- Did you guys expect her to go on DR Phil from a place of authenticity? From a place of "here, like me, I'm so cool?"

      Frankly I respect ME more for not taking Dr Phil seriously. He's a blowhard and she had to give him something- so she essentially gave him nothing dressed up in a blonde wig. What she did there is very much compartmentalized from SW.

    9. Bob:
      There's a difference between infamy and being a bit of a laughing stock to sociopaths; some kind of hero to narcissists who are desperate to feel extra special; and a passing curiosity to others.
      And I have a feeling there wasn't all that much money involved.

      Dr Ginger:
      That would be fair enough if she was actually wanting to do a big reveal. But doing blurred face interviews after?

      Funny the first time. "Eh" the second. Sorry.

      Indignation? What indignation?
      Not sure if I gave you that impression. If so, that was entirely unintentional.
      There was no indignation. There was never the sense of
      "Oh cruel fate! We have been lied to and cheated by this despicable woman! How dare she?!!"
      More like disappointment mixed with laughter at the fact that the "darkly mysterious, seductive charmer" turned out to be...a pretty ordinary narcissistic woman.

      Kind of like someone coming in and proclaiming themselves to be the embodiment of sociopathy.
      But then after questioning it comes out that they are middle aged virgins, who don't drink, don't display any anti social tendencies, have a very fragile ego and think that going into a room with a restrained patient is imminently life threatening (I couldn't resist, Bob :D )
      There is no outrage or bad feelings. It's funny and a little annoying. Can't help but shake my head and think "What a wanker", then give him a bit of a kicking.
      Because it's fun and I'm a cunt :)

      When the book and the Dr Phil show came out, the sociopaths were laughing it up on the forum for a while. Then it got old and they started leaving.
      The puzzle had been solved.

      "Did you guys expect her to go on DR Phil from a place of authenticity? From a place of "here, like me, I'm so cool?" "
      Nope. More like we didn't expect her to go on Dr Phil to begin with. Like I said, it was just so hilariously cringe worthy. And she did do the whole "I'm a sociopath. I'm sooo bad and cool. I could like totally kill someone some day" while he made her look delusional as hell.
      If it was about wearing the appropriate mask to charm the audiences, then sorry, but fail on that front as well.

      "It's possible to love some art and artist creates and find the rest of it trivial. It doesn't make the good stuff any less good."
      Aaah, but yes, it does. It puts everything she said into an entirely new light. Hard to take all that talk of how sociopaths are, how seductive she is, what a master manipulator she is, etc. very seriously after that.

      As for group dynamics evolving, yes they do.
      And just look what they have evolved into...
      The sociopaths are pretty much gone.
      Lunatics like TMAC and "Jesus healed my psychopathy" freaks actually dominate various blog posts.
      There is you, whose opinions I can respect and who actually gives great advice
      And the occasional voice of reason provided by Mr Fox, Melissa and Erik.

    10. I hear you, I just know what assholes publishers can be. ME may well have been roped into it and it wasn't the battle she was in the mood to fight she simply phoned it in- that's why it sucked, I think. Sometimes we all bring our "D-" game. Every other interview I heard was better.

      Thanks for saying that though- I appreciate thinking through stuff on here and you've all been very helpful to me.

    11. Sorry for being a laughing stock. Sorry I didn't do it for you. Sorry for going on Dr. Phil to begin with and after making that choice, being hilariously cringe worthy. Sorry for being a narcissistic wanker with a fragile ego. Sorry you thought I was a darkly mysterious seductive charmer and then feel like you catfished. Sorry that I made it seem like sociopaths were seductive charmers than made it seem like sociopaths act like they're all bad and cool. Sorry about all of the fails. You are right. When people disagree with you, pushback and insist that you are right. Please keep coming here and talking about it. I will try to enjoy it as much as you do.

      Sorry you don't think these comments are funny anymore (is this one even worse than, "eh"?).


      p.s. Piles says she wished you looked half as good as your avatar and she thinks it's false advertising for you to keep using it. She says she felt like you catfished her.

    12. A year later after all of your heroes have had their laugh and left you are still kicking but it is not because you are outraged but just because you think it is fun?

    13. m.e.:
      That one was actually kind of funny.
      Made it sound like M.E. was having a hysterical episode.

      p.s. you're going to have to try much harder than that to cause narcissistic injury :D

      Anon 4:33:
      Why would I be outraged?
      What, do you think that the site and her image meant sooo much to me that I am now ruined, in tears and shaking my fist at the sky, crying "how could she do this to me?!!"?
      She was wondering why there was backlash, if people had turned on her because she turned out to be female. I simply told her the truth. Not a very palatable one, granted.

      As I said, I actually quite like M.E. and this site was always a source of amusement and learning.
      That's why I'm still (sort of, anyway) kicking.

    14. This just sounds like a desperate attempt to get into M.E.'s pants, greeneyes


    15. I think you're projecting, Green Eyes. Someone told me that the unpalatable truth is you. Think about it. It explains everything.


  15. I was surprised because i thought it was written by different people, not just one.

    What if ME is several people?

    bipolar empath

  16. @ green eyes -- " this place stopped being fun" ... What was this site's heyday in your opionion? My recollection is a bunch of guys with names like UKan jostling like school kids and threatening to give it to each other up the ass. When were you a regular?

    @ Mach -- Your post yesterday about shame, silence, the good girl was so spot-on. I've been thinking about it on and off since. Why should people who are abused carry shame for something that was not their fault? It makes no sense on one level but there is no denying that a victim is tainted. Small wonder they stay shtum.


    1. Hi Carrie,
      "bunch of guys with names like UKan jostling like school kids and threatening to give it to each other up the ass"

      That is a very, very shallow way of seeing what was actually going on.

      I have been on this site over 2 years now.

      UKan was brilliant. I actually respect the man.
      He was a sociopath who saw through the bullshit in a way that most could not and he had the balls to tell people exactly what he thought. Yes, he could be immature sometimes, but what you didn't see is that it was usually to get a reaction that allowed him (and others) to better assess a person by seeing how they react to different approaches.
      The type of man who put a mirror to you and tell you all those ugly uber truths you've been desperately trying to avoid. Open your eyes and help you be a better person.
      And he did not take any excuses or shit from anyone.

      Then there were the other sociopaths.
      Loki, Raven, Ellicit, MMP, Piles (who on top of being exceptionally bright and playful, was a fantastic artist. She drew this image of me).
      There was also TNP, incredibly clever and possessing a sense of humour that had me in stitches regularly. He was also fantastic to turn to for advice regarding psychopathy.
      There was Slimey, he was just...beautiful. Wicked sense of humour too.
      I could go on and on.

      Point is, this was a place where you could come to really learn about sociopathy, or just talk about issues in your life. Where ugly uber truths flowed and none was immune. There were jokes and games that made it hilarious, sweet empaths like Monica trying to help everyone, "slayers", trolls that could elicit the right reaction from people,

    2. Sounds fun alright. I only ever dipped in once in a while then so my perspective would indeed be shallow. I remember a guy called Rich the Uber Empath 'good morning Sociopath World' and Monica, and someone winding her up that he had ODed but then he reappeared. Where have they all gone I wonder.


    3. Haha!!

      It was widely suspected that Monica was Themes and Rich the Uber Empath was actually Slimey playing one of his pranks.
      I used to get all sorts of themes dedicated to me too, from sweet to seductive to a little hateful. Depending on who I was playing on here.

  17. Themes for SW Regulars once did a theme for me: Feral Friday :)



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