Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quote: Akin

"Fish in the deep sea are luminous so that they can recognize one another; might not men and women also exude some kind of speechless luminescence to those akin to them?"

Angela Carter

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Brain matter

From a reader:

I've just completed your book and was particularly struck by a few things towards the end.  Its inspired me to share a few things with you mindful of your comments in the epilogue (which I'm guessing you intended would draw attention to your 'vulnerabilities'?).  

As a highly sucessful health professional with experience and interest in the brain it has taken me a while to realise where on the spectrum I lie personally.  I doubt I am fully sociopathic within your conception though certainly have family history and personal features (impulsivity, occasional recklessness, narcissism, lack of inborn empathy - though I'm a good actor) recognised by a psych friend and my therapist. I score pretty high up on the various formal inventories I have filled.

Your book I found entertaining, certainly does strike a chord and there is much I can resonate with, so I guess you have succeeded in part of your mission to demystify and encourage tolerance and understanding, if only to those whose experience of life fall within the same ball park as yours.

My principle reason for contacting you relates to your thoughts about the relationship between neuroanatomy, neuropsychology and neurochemistry in hard wiring the features of sociopathy.  I have had the unique (to me at any rate) experience of having had parts of my neuroanatomy and chemistry rewired following neurosurgery for tumour, radiotherapy and the commencement of psychoactive drugs to control resultant epilepsy.  My MR is a battle field. Of interest to me, and perhaps to you, is that this has not really changed who I am. It has (pre diagnosis of my tumour and subsequently as the years of 'recovery' have rolled on) attenuated, and in some cases damaged, my carefully honed life skills which have enabled me to deal with myself and what life throws at me.  

In studying myself going though this I have begun to realise  (I think I already knew) that I have controlled most of my sociopathic features in ways that have generated professional and (to casual observers) personal relationship success over the years.  Having acquired structural neuro damage and been forced to take drugs whose neurochemistry is well understood to have bad effects on people like me, these features have not gone away (I'm still me) , but have become more likely to leak out in ways I find increasingly difficult to control.

I guess I'm saying that to me I'm still the same (despite the re-wiring) but to others (family and colleagues - largely but not exclusively empaths as you call them - terrible term but I know what you mean) I've become more difficult and more 'sociopathic'.  This to my mind gives credence to some of your speculation about aetiology and might be of interest?  I have certainly worried about my kids' genetic predispositions and sought to parent in ways that teach them how to deal with whatever emergent traits might given them difficulty as they grow. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sociopath or not?

From a reader:

I've read your book, Without Conscience, Sociopath Next Door, Women Who Love Psychopaths, and Wisdom of Psychopaths, and still haven't been able to figure out if I'm a sociopath, because I don't fully fit into the category of empath or sociopath.

I don't do things because I will feel guilt, remorse, shame, etc., if I don't. I can turn off my emotions at will, and feel nothing for hurting others, and the results of an IQ test in high school showed I had an IQ of 147. 

The thing that confuses me is that, while I can't empathize with others' emotions, I have a rule for myself that I won't do anything I wouldn't be okay with others doing to me, because I hate when others cheat and screw me, so I want to make sure they know what their dealing with, but it's an intellectual decision to treat ppl the way I'd want to be treated, but at the same time I could be a total douche to people and not care. Also, I'm honest with people because it takes too much effort for me to lie, but I have no feelings about lying when it's easy and convenient, or manipulating someone's sense of morality and personal emotions and beliefs to protect myself, or get what I want (in a survival of the fittest way).

Unlike most of the sociopaths, though, I don't crave stimulation or power. Roller coasters bore me, I don't take pleasure in anything with others (like having power over them makes me feel nothing, and being below them makes me feel nothing). I have no anger towards others either; like if someone gives me shit I don't feel anger or have any desire to hurt them, but I don't feel fear or anything either; it's like I'm eternally emotionally neutral towards everything; like I enjoy being around people or out partying, but I enjoy being at home with a book exactly the same, because my inner emotional state doesn't change according to what happens in my outside environment.

I don't care or get affected by what others say about me, I don't feel fear (or much any emotion) in response to situations, fear or otherwise. For example, a woman with a phenomenal body and breasts walked by in a bikini on the beach, and all my friends will be drooling over her, and, while I'd enjoy fucking her, I'm apathetic, and will just observe her like a car walking by, other than reading her body language and studying her like a science textbook, then I went up to her, played out a few lines and shit I'd seen out of movies like The Notebook and books like 50 Shades of Grey, fucked her, and thought nothing of it. 

While all my friends were too wimpy to approach her, I felt apathetic the whole time, even after I fucked her, I walked out with a, "well, that was nice, time to move on with my life" mindset and attitude.

I'm don't have any of the hallmarks of empaths, but I lack many traits I read that are common in sociopaths, so I don't know how to classify myself, and knowing you have more experience in this area I figured you had the answer.

I considered many disorders. They all came back to the conclusion that I no one could find any evidence I suffer from delusions, am fully aware of my behavior, actions, and consequences. I'm brilliant at analyzing situations, people, and rational and abstract reasoning. 

The psychologist who gave me my IQ test said he had to re-check part of the test, because he thought he added the score twice, and that in 22 years of giving over 1,200 tests he only had 3 people ever scored higher than me in this area. I've always been able to read people's life story like a book within 30 seconds of meeting them just by reading their body language.

The confusion about where I fit in, is that, around people, I can appear engaging, passionate, funny, or whatever else, and I don't really care if I'm alone or with people, but I never have a preference to avoid situations with a lot of emotions and shit, or close relationships, and I don't get uncomfortable. I just use these situations as experiments to entertain myself, and to experience and learn new things I can use to better manipulate people better to get what I want in the future, but I am indifferent to what people say/think of me, and even though I act my mood rarely changes... it's all a facade.

I also like sex a lot, but I don't give a shit about the intimacy; just the rush of dopamine that comes from an orgasm... it has nothing to do with the other person. 

At work or school I'd always do whatever I could to get good grades and make myself look good with the least amount of effort (in college I always went on RateMyProfessor and picked the easiest teachers so I could get a high GPA with little to no effort).

I want you to put this on your blog so I can see what sociopaths have to say. Most of the therapists and "experts" I know don't know seem to know shit beyond what they read in some book. It would help to hear what other sociopaths think.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sociopath on drugs

From a reader:

Hi there, 

I literally just now (10 mins ago) discovered your site, and found myself wondering about sociopathy and drug abuse. I'm learning to embrace the term currently, as it seems to be utterly precise in describing myself, but I'm also a highly functional alcoholic. Are these things in conflict, or does it make sense that this would be the case? Poor impulse control, managing this addiction unbeknownst to nearly everyone around me, etc. On the one hand, it seems like (from the descriptions on your blog) a sociopath would be hesitant to engage in things that strip them of control, but given that I feel like alcohol firmly restores my control -- and allows me to more fluidly (pun!) manipulate my environment, the abuse of alcohol doesn't seem to be at odds with sociopathy. 

I am sure you're busy and won't respond to this, but since it is such a profound quandary in my own life, I thought it might help a lot of people to include it in your FAQs section. Many people have a hard time navigating their sense of self amidst drug abuse. What is my brain? vs. What is my brain on drugs?

M.E.: I have heard conflicting things about addictions. I myself don't like the feeling of loss of control that I get from any narcotic type substance. But I have also heard that sociopaths can be very prone to addiction -- maybe because they don't care about the supposed immorality of abusing substances? Should we post what you wrote and see what other people have to say?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Morality experiment

From same reader:

My experience my entire life has been people trying to lay a moral "trip" on me - in the sense that I "ought" to be "good". They never gave me a convincing reason. It was always easy for me to see, for instance, that me taking what I wanted led to me getting what I wanted. Maybe I got punished, so I needed to be sneaky and not get caught. I have a calculating mind, so I'd take risks if it seemed like the benefits outweighed the costs. This is classic sociopathy/psychopathy. I've been this way as long as I can remember.

Recently, after the losing-my-sense of self experience (see previous emails), I noticed that depending on how I behaved, I'd have more or fewer thoughts about "me". That is, if I had a conversation with someone and I wasn't truthful, I'd replay the conversation in my head. That gets in the way of having fun. Rather than being able to enjoy what's in front of me, I'm replaying my lies. Of course, it makes it easier to remember the lies and whom I lied to, but it isn't as fun as being able to enjoy whatever I'm doing when I'm doing it.

So I did some reading, in a book written by an embezzler (sociopath?), "A Practical Guide to True Happiness". In it, he explains that when we do things like kill, lie, steal, etc. that is exactly what happens: we'll feel more disconnected from life. If you've experienced being connected to life and then the feeling of contraction, you know that one is nicer to live. So his advice is that we eschew lying, stealing, etc. And if you notice this stuff, you change your behavior. Once you figure out that the stove is hot, you stop touching it.

After experiencing things and paying attention, I've decided to change my behaviors and behave morally - so that I'll have peace of mind. It has nothing to do with good/bad or moral/immoral. I feel relieved to have figured out this. For about four decades, I've been a deliberately amoral person. As you'd expect. I've treated people badly, treated animals badly, lied all the time (aka "living a secret life"), cheated, stolen, etc. Relief is near immediate. You get peace of mind and it stays.

This is the one way I can see an evil person deciding that he wants to live a moral life: he decides he wants complete peace of mind.

I should have figured it out by now - but as you know, sociopaths aren't that good at learning from negative feedback (in this case, contraction of mind) nor do they have much insight (into what their mind is like from moment to moment). The classic way of trying to tell a sociopath to behave ("do it or else" or just "be good") doesn't work at all and leads to resistance.

I thought I'd propose the following exercise for your sociopathic audience:

1) Pack a bag of waste paper, empty bottles, etc. into a plastic bag. Try to make sure it has some trash that blows away.

2) Go out on a walk in nature on a windy day. Make sure you are alone. Do deep breathing to get REALLY relaxed. Watch the play of light, sounds and feel your feet and legs as you walk around. If you concentrate on your breath, you'll get more and more relaxed. There might be a feeling of contentment. Your sense of who you are may be feeling "bigger" and more vacuous - check and see if you feel that way, or if you feel like a robot made of meat, trapped in your body. When you are very content and relaxed, move to step 3. Even if you are anticipating step 3, try to set that aside, and focus on relaxing and noticing as much as you possibly can.

3) Take out the bag of trash and empty it. Watch the stuff blow away. Try to see how you think and feel. Does your mind contract? Do you feel more or less like someone trapped in a body. Does your mind fill with justifications about why littering is OK? What is your mind doing? How does your body feel?

4) Notice - how connected to nature do you feel? Any regrets?

5) Leave all the trash there and get away. Notice if your mind replays the incident later, or if you have any thoughts about it.

Another similar exercise:

1) Drive your car in some traffic. Get into a relaxed, happy, content mood. Pay attention to the breath as you drive. Reflect on how miraculous it is that you've got a body, a car, eyesight and all that you need to drive down the road. Try to notice how you feel in your body. Big and vacuous sense of self? Or do you feel weak and like you're trapped in your body? When you're feeling relaxed and content, or even joyous, move to the next step.

2) Do some bad driving in front of other people. E.g. run a red light. Go through a stop sign that you should. Do a u-turn in the wrong place. Just pick some maneuver that is anti-social, but that won't get you put in jail. Do it. Do a bunch of it.

2) Notice how you feel in your body. What sort of thoughts are you having? Do you feel better or worse than when you were relaxed? Is your mind filled with justifications. Do you feel connected to your fellow humans.

3) Note if you replay the incident in your head, replay what you'd say if told not to do it, etc. The point is to notice if what you do impacts your experience later. Does it?

When I did these experiments, I was bothered at how it felt to be me afterwards. I enjoyed being relaxed and happy more than I enjoyed being selfish.

It might be nice if your readers would do some experiments and send you responses. You could get two blog posts out of it. :-)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Liberation unleashed

From a reader:

Hey, I thought I should tell you I made it through the gate.

It would be very interesting to see what would happen if more sociopaths did it. Fearless, curious and introspective sociopaths ought to be able to do it.

In the process of doing it I noticed a bunch of stuff for the first time.

My everyday life is a lot nicer since doing it. If you were stuck in solitary, you'd want to live it out with a non-dual mind.

If nothing else, I suspect the lack of a strong sense of self explains a lot about sociopaths being happy even as they wreck their own lives.

M.E.: What do you mean?


I realized that I don't have a self. There is no self to be found.

You can know that intellectually, or live your life that way from moment to moment.

When you live it moment to moment, it is a lot like being a focused sociopath (flow: sensory clarity and focus), but absolutely without any striving or clinging. It can go on for long periods of time.

One continually noticed thoughts that take one out of the moment - typically "I" thoughts - but one recognizes them as thoughts about something that doesn't really exist.

That's describing it in words - and words don't work. E.g. describe "thrill" to someone that hasn't experienced it.

Sociopaths are actually quite close to realizing the truth that there is no self, but being close isn't enough. Why is the sociopath in jail? Because although 99% of the time he accepts WHATEVER is happening, there's that 1% of the time where he thinks he needs the money, the sex, the whatever - and he acts as though he believes it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A cold dish of revenge

This is a really amazing story in the New York Times of an incredibly elaborate revenge scheme:
When Mr. Ramrattan, dressed in a suit and tie, first entered her restaurant in 2006 and introduced himself as a police detective, Ms. Sumasar, a single mother, recalled being impressed.

The two began dating, and Mr. Ramrattan eventually moved into Ms. Sumasar’s house. At first, he seemed attentive, but she grew suspicious of him. He lied constantly, she said.

“I said to Jerry, ‘You tell so many lies, I think you actually believe what you are saying,’ ” Ms. Sumasar said.

Throughout 2008, she said she begged him to leave but he refused.

After Ms. Sumasar said she was attacked, on March 8, 2009, she pressed rape charges against Mr. Ramrattan, who was arrested and released on bail. Soon after, Mr. Ramrattan sent friends to intimidate her, prosecutors said.

They said that when she would not back down, he vowed to put her away.

The key to his scheme, prosecutors said, was to spread fake clues over time, fooling police into believing that all the evidence pointed to Ms. Sumasar.

They said he coached the supposed victims, driving them past Ms. Sumasar’s house so that they could describe her Jeep Grand Cherokee and showing them her photo so they could pick her out of a police lineup.

The setup began in September 2009, prosecutors said. An illegal immigrant from Trinidad told the police that he had been handcuffed and robbed of $700 by an Indian woman who was disguised as a police officer and had a gun, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said Mr. Ramrattan had persuaded the immigrant to lie, telling him that he could receive a special visa for victims of violent crimes.

Six months later, another man said he had been robbed in Nassau County by two police impersonators and described the main aggressor as an Indian woman about Ms. Sumasar’s height. The man said he had managed to take down the first three letters of the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s New York license plate — AJD.

All the while, Ms. Sumasar had a strong alibi, including cell phone records showing that calls were made from her phone at a casino in Connecticut on the day of the robbery.

But Sheryl Anania, executive assistant district attorney in Nassau County, said Ms. Sumasar’s business was foundering, so she appeared to have a motive.

The final fake crime was conjured in May 2010, officials said, when an acquaintance of Mr. Ramrattan said she had been held up by a couple posing as police officers. She said they were driving a Grand Cherokee, but she gave a full Florida license plate number.

She said she heard the pair call each other by name — “Seem” and “Elvis.” Elvis was the nickname of another former boyfriend of Ms. Sumasar, who owned the Jeep.

When the police looked into the Florida plate number, they found that the day after the purported March robbery, the title and the plate for the Cherokee had been transferred from Elvis to Ms. Sumasar’s sister in Florida.

Ms. Sumasar, who holds a Florida driver’s license, had driven the car to Florida to register it. To the police, she seemed to be covering her tracks.

With all the evidence pointing to Ms. Sumasar, the police arrested her. Bail was set at $1 million.

Prosecutors said the scheme unraveled in December 2010 — just weeks before Ms. Sumasar was to go on trial — when an informer told the police that Mr. Ramrattan had staged the plot. The informer gave detectives a number for a cellphone owned by Mr. Ramrattan.
On the one hand this shows the sheer ingenuity and potential determinedness of someone like Ramrattan. On the other hand, it sort of reminds me of an episode of Scooby Doo for over the top nefariousness ("and I would have gotten away with it too..."). Still, it's a cautionary tale for those who might underestimate the potential harm from engaging with a sociopath.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Famous sociopaths (part 2)

Another recent find is the artist Amedeo Modigliani, as featured in a recent NY Times article:
  • A recent biography "recasts the artist’s character from dissolute victim to active performer, one who controlled the way his life would be viewed by his contemporaries, and by ­history."
  • "[H]e tended to carry himself like a prince. And the experience of having survived a series of childhood health crises, including tuberculosis, only increased his sense of exceptionalism.
  • "Unsurprisingly, he viewed artists as privileged beings. At 17, he wrote that as a species they had “different rights, different values than do normal, ordinary people because we have different needs which put us — it has to be said and you must believe it — above their moral standards."
  • In seeking financial support: "Sometimes it came in sustained relationships with women like the British journalist and poet Beatrice Hastings. Hastings, under the name Alice Morning, wrote a running account of the Parisian art scene for an avant-garde journal called The New Age. She had a caregiver’s temperament (she collected stray animals and nursed wounded wasps back to health) and money she didn’t mind sharing, and she liked to get high. She was everything he needed.
  • "[H]e consciously used intoxicants as a cover to hide a “great secret,” that being the recurrence of his tuberculosis. . . . Modigliani, terrified of the social ostracism that would result if he were known to have the highly contagious disease, deliberately fostered a reputation as an alcoholic and addict to prevent detection. This cover allowed him to freely drink the wine that soothed his coughing, use the drugs that gave him energy to work — his output of paintings surged in his last years — and pass off as drunk and disorderly any irritable or violent outbursts. . . . [T]he very idea of someone keeping quiet about a lethal and contagious disease raises serious ethical issues. Did he ever warn his friends, and his countless lovers, about their risk of infection from him? We have no evidence one way or the other."
  • "[O]ne of his dealers, described him as 'all charm, all impulsiveness, all disdain.' The writer Max Jacob, who was very much part of Modigliani’s bohemian crowd, called him 'the most unpleasant man I knew. Proud, angry, insensitive, wicked.'"
  • Cheated on his pregnant, teenage girlfriend, who killed herself days after he died.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


From a reader:


First I have to say that I found your book absolutely fascinating. 

Now, to start with, I've done plenty of my own research, asked my therapist various questions, dropped casual questions about their observations of my various behaviors to friends and family, and I've come to the conclusion that, while I am not diagnosable as a sociopath due to a lack of recorded juvenile delinquency, very few relationships, and no police encounters, I decidedly identify with a higher level on the antisocial spectrum.

You talk in your book about how sociopaths don't "tap into" true human emotion, and that part of the condition is that we have to work in order to understand social currents. A reply you highlighted on your website said we are different "in the sense that they do not comprehend normal emotional responses and connections."

I've always understood human emotion. I'm brilliant at reading facial expressions, changes in posture, word choice, and I don't find it too difficult to empathize, though only ever for a brief time (about 10 seconds, or however long it takes me to successfully get a grasp on how the other person is feeling in order to properly respond,) and then it's as if I slip out of the emotional persona and back into my usual self with the understanding of the mechanics and nuances of that state of mind. Isn't this comprehension? And, more importantly to me, does this put me outside of the range of an antisocial personality, despite the rest of the traits accurately describing me? 

This question has been the greatest road block in my being able to accept my own (probable) identity as a sociopath. Everything else about sociopathy rings true to me, but my ability to understand and experience emotion confounds my ability to truly identify.

If you have time I'd love your opinion on it.

My response:

This is an interesting question. I'm not sure I really understand what the difference is either. But here's a story that I think illustrates it ok. Recently I was with my father, someone that I believe could probably be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. He was talking to an employee of his and was joking around about how he has chickens and you can eat chickens but his grandchildren just got kittens, and can you eat kittens? I knew that the lady he was talking to had a dog and a cat and had just gone back home during the lunch hour because she was worried that the HVAC system in her home wasn't working properly and they might be uncomfortable (she told me the whole story), so I was like 94% sure that she would not think his joke was funny and pretty sure she might actually be horribly offended. So I understood and predicted her emotional reaction better than he did. I've also been around empath types who get so caught up in their own emotions and their own issues that they lose track of their ability (or choose not?) to identify with others. And they say that people with autism have affective empathy but not cognitive? And sociopaths are opposite? So I guess I don't really understand what people mean by empathy. I certainly am able to identify people's emotions. And often I do that by sort of imagining myself in their shoes. And I think that's cognitive empathy, but it's hard for me to understand how affective empathy would be any different. 

What do you think? Should we publish exchange on the blog and see what other people have to say?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Loving a sociopath child

From a reader:

I have just finished reading your book, Confessions of a Sociopath, and appreciate so much the wider view I have gained as a result.  Having read every published work on sociopathy previous to yours, I had become disheartened by the firmly held clinical theory that all sociopaths are “unredeemable” and therefore not worth the effort to help them to manage to live among “the rest of us” (whoever “we” are).  This is a position without hope for the sociopath or those who happen to love them. 

I spent all of my adult life trying to understand my childhood and how I was different (and therefore somehow less than) the other members of my family.  It was in my graduate education to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor that I came to understand something that years of therapy had not shown me: that both of my parents and two of my siblings are sociopaths.  A genogram study of my family-of-origin, going back four generations from mine, looks much like that of an alcoholic family: mostly sociopaths with an “empath” or two thrown in for fun.  My antecessors and contemporaries were not the productive-but-easily-bored variety, however.

Fortunately, naming a thing can grant one dominion over it, and this was the effect of that understanding for me.  All the literature pointed to the fact that it was “them” and not “me”’ thus providing me with the permission to “feel” and also the label of “normalcy.”  I determined not to repeat the past.

Unfortunately, though, one of my own children, my only daughter, is also a sociopath.  Her birth 27 years ago provided the impetus for a different view of the “problem.”  How can one not be part of the “problem” while also producing a child, which by all accounts, is “damaged goods?”  Her lack of empathy, fear, and conscience, as well as her intelligence, manifested themselves at the age of 14 months in a single event that I captured in pictures because I was so baffled by it: When I left the kitchen for a brief minute, this child climbed from the floor to the top of a wire-shelved pantry, removed an unopened 5 lb. bag of flour from the top shelf, climbed back down, opened the bag with a sharp knife retrieved from a drawer with a toddler lock on it, and began loading the flour into the cat food dish on the floor to “make them stop crying, and you took too long.” She was angry and NOT worried about the cats.  She was angry with me for leaving the room.  She also moved to “fix” the problem of the crying cats by feeding them in a way she had identified as a means to her own sustenance.  I did not at that time know the significance of that cluster of behaviors. 
This child’s lack of fear and empathy caused me so much distress in her early years that her brothers are significantly younger than she is.  I knew I did not have the capacity, and I certainly lacked any sort of empathic filial support, to bring another child into the world until this one was pretty much self-sufficient.  She marched off to kindergarten about the time her first brother was born.  Her entry to school seemed like a much-needed break from the “watchful” parenting and constant lessons in application of the Golden Rule.  However, this was when the real problems began, as public schooling only served to exacerbate the difficulties she encountered in trying to “fit in” with their fungible “rules” and lack of training in any sort of excellence.  We tried private schooling, Christian education, and finally ended up homeschooling her (and her brothers) so that she might adopt a set of values not unlike the ones you described having in your book.  It also became necessary to terminate contact with unproductive and sadistic sociopathic relatives. 
All of this served to produce a woman who is beautiful, somewhat ruthless, intelligent, talented, and never governed by her emotions.  I think she cares for her brothers, and she is always checking in with me to make sure she handles relationship and communication issues with coworkers appropriately.  She never emotionally eats or drinks.  She moved to NYC about 3 years ago right under our noses with a man more than twice her age so that she could live the big city life.  She dumped him like a hot potato (on Valentine’s Day, no less!) when he decided that at 60, he might like her to join him in living a slower, more rural life in Iowa.  She went back to NYC and slept on the couches of “people in her network” (“friends” to us empaths), tolerating circumstances for months that more feelings-oriented folks would find intolerable for the sake of her own goals.  She is currently seducing her next “provider” because “it is simply unacceptable for me to live for long in a three-bedroom apartment in this city with two other people without demoralizing them or wanting to ruin them, Mom.”  I do not subsidize her lifestyle because that would be to invite the ruin of us both, and I often feel like the ethereal father of the sociopathic killer on the series “Dexter” working to help her to identify “the code” by which to live the most fulfilling life possible.  I don’t know whether she actually loves me, or not.  I love her deeply, and have thanked God every day that he should give me the daughter I had wanted as a young woman nurturing her precious life in my womb.  I focus on being the kind of mother I need to be, doing what is best for my adult child as I did when she was an infant.  I think she has taken the tools I have given her and put them to mostly good use.  She has taught me not to ask God for what I want, but to be thankful for what I get.
I appreciated your view that sociopaths are just different.  This is what makes the world go round, and my belief in an all-knowing and perfect Creator informs me that just as Judas was part of God’s plan for the redemption of mankind through Christ, my daughter has a purpose known to him, too.  I had questions of faith with respect to the definition of words like redemption, sin, forgiveness, remorse, and evil.  I have come to believe that sociopathy cannot be a mistake, but is, rather, an act of creation and for the benefit of mankind.  Sociopaths are fearless, and in difficult times, this is defined as “courage”.  Your book was very helpful to me in the challenge it provided intellectually, maternally, spiritually, morally, professionally, and personally.  I wanted you to know this.  Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. 

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