Thank you for your excellent blog and lovely book. I started reading the blog a few months ago and finished your book a few weeks ago.
Though I've never been diagnosed with any form of disorder I recognise myself in what you're writing. I've always known that I was different but until I started reading your blog I didn't realise how I'm different.
The first time I actually realised the extent of my odd-ness I was 16. There was this girl who went to the same class as me, we were friends growing up and we lived in the same street. When she was 13-14 or so she turned a bit wild and we weren't really friends after that. I just found her nasty and disgusting. When she was 16 she one night took a drug overdose and died and the next day in school we were told about it. I remember everyone being upset and crying except me. The only thing I though about it was that she had done the world a favour - after all she would probably have grown up living on benefits having loads of babies just like her mum and the rest of her family had turned out, so actually it saved us all the inconvenience of having to pay for it via our tax. And I couldn't understand why nobody else though of it like that - I really didn't understand why people seemed upset and kept crying. Later in the evening when my mum got home she asked me about it - and me at that stage not having realised how inappropriate those thoughts were in the eyes of most people - I said it straight out, exactly what I felt. I have never seen my mum reacting that way, although she of course knew I didn't really respond emotionally as most people (such as laughing at the movie Schindlers List aged 13 which made my teacher a bit nervous) she probably had not realised just how cold I actually am. My mum's face went pale and she didn't know what to say, she just stood frozen for a few minutes and then walked away and we have never discussed it again. And that was the moment I realised how different I am different from most people and I started censoring myself more.
Something I've been wondering about is your being Mormon. I've always been very interested in religion - quite randomly since my family is not religious at all. And I've always wished I was religious. I did my degree in Sociology of Religion and did very well - I was offered doing a PhD but after spending 5 years wearing the mask I had to get away and put on a new mask, so I moved abroad instead and now I live in London having a successful job. I therefore know more than most people about the LDS church and I kind of get what you mean that it is quite a sociopathic religion. I wish I could commit to a religion, I would probably choose Christianity (a desperate hope that even a cold hearted sociopath like me would be shown some mercy on the day of judgement?). And even though I can on an intellectual/philosophical level accept that there is a God - I simply can't motivate myself to follow it. Any attempts I have made to believe in God or practise a religion fails as I eventually loose interest in it. I guess it's because I struggle with long-term goals, I just can't motivate myself to do it when I don't see any result after a few weeks/month. I read your blog about how to break goals down to smaller pieces and I found it very useful. Do you think it's possible to do the same with religious goals? And in that case how? Because ultimately the rewards for religions is something beyond here and now, and even beyond this life. Would be very keen to know your thoughts.
My response: Interesting question. I have the added benefit of religion being pushed upon me by my family and little religious community, so that does make it easier. Maybe it would be best to start with what you believe. I know that is often hard for us to dig into, but I think that we (like everyone else) have beliefs that we aren't really aware of. Take for instance, some little thing that annoys you. Do this right after it happens. Mark a piece of paper with four columns. In the first, describe the situation. In the second, write the most irrational thought that you had as a result of this situation (e.g., this person doesn't deserve to live or I'm the best). Identify whether this belief seems to be related your conception of your own identity, your role in life (or your beliefs about the purpose of life), or your sense of individuality (not typical with sociopaths). In the third column, write down any personal conclusions, e.g. the other thoughts you had that weren't irrational. In the last, write down your reactions for these three categories: emotional, physical, mental, if any. Don't do this more than a couple of times per week. I think you will discover some beliefs that you didn't realize you had.