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. 

94 comments:

  1. The "normal" saying that folks should work to achieve their dreams/goals against all odds..this is psychopathic talk. The normal attitude should be that if a goal can be reached with reasonable effort, few losses & gain that motivates the effort, well then maybe this rational, perhaps.

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    1. Interesting, I would've said it's the other way around. If you're high-functioning you would most likely pick the rational option. If you're low-functioning you would go on about all manner of unrealistic plans and schemes, what you call dreams/goals, but never follow through ergo, not working to achieve against all odds.

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    2. That's because most people either do not know or reject the notion of high-functioning.

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    3. Very true, the upside to that is "sociopath" is not something that comes to mind for most people if you're high-functioning.

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  2. Chinese Astrology works! I have never know a sucessful romantic
    partnership where the couple did not have compatable Chinese signs.
    Likewise, I have never seen a harmonious couple with conflicting
    Chinese signs.
    We all know of the sociopathic fraud J.F.K. He had a son that the adoring
    media labeled a "prince" J.F.K. Jr. Everybody was pulling for this "adonis."
    It was only a question of time before the media would put him up for
    President. You need no qualifications for "stardom" or the Presidency as
    long as the media is behind you.
    As a member of America's royal family, the Kennady's, he had to make
    the proper choice for a wife. He chose Carolyn Bisset, an attractive
    wealthy woman that worked in the fashion industry.
    J.F.K. Jr. was born in 1961, The Year of the Ox, a very conservative and
    traditional year to be born. Carolyn was born in the Year of the Fire
    Horse (1966) Fire Horses are known to be more then a handful, which is
    why many Chinese women submit to abortions rather then give birth to
    them. Every Chinese Astrology book says Oxen and Horses are
    incompatable. They bring out the WORST in each other. DON'T GO THERE!
    How does this relate to our fairy couple John and Carolyn? Even BEFORE
    they were married, they had rip rawing battles that were caught on camera. Screaming at the top of their lungs at each other that left John
    crying. The brought out the WORST in each other. John sported scratches
    on his face, and bandaged hands from their "go rounds."
    Carolyn didn't like the spotlight and lack of privacy that came with being
    a Kennady and rebelled. She was soon back to drugs and extramarital
    affairs. They fought like caged animals. It is said that just before Hiallery
    Clinton had John's plane shot down in 1994, (He was set to announce a
    run for Senate, Hiallery could never beat him.) John and Caryoln were on
    the verge of divorce. I have NEVER-I mean NEVER-seen an incompatable
    match of Chinese signs suceed, just as I have never seen a compatable
    match fail.
    The next time you read a story about a celeberity divorce, check the
    Chinese signs of the parties. You can verify it yourself.
    BTW, M.E. was born in the Year Of The Boar (1983). She will NEVER
    engage in "grimy" sociopathy activity. Boars love luxry, and a wealthy
    style of life. They don't like the atmosphere of the penitentry. M.E.'s
    "crimes"-if she commits them, will be strictly "white collar."

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    1. I think I said this before, but you remind me of this dwarf, he was 4'10, who owned a mortuary.

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    2. This is supposed to be about science,
      not superstitious nonsense.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. We did not have enough of youJuly 26, 2014 at 7:25 AM

      Did you feel good after you wrote this down? How many times have you read it so far yourself? How many more times will you read it? Are you hoping people will attack you here too? Can you go ahead and tell us more about enjoying being beaten by others, a bit of a masochistic little victim in you? How little is your self respect in general?

      My questions stand whether you're telling the truth or putting out your fantasies. I'm curious. Suck this attention and answer some questions (for yourself)

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    2. I wish he had answered some of your questions rather than deleting his comment. I was curious about having ASPD with bpd tendencies. Usually it's the other way around. Someone might be identified as having bpd with aspd tendencies.

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  4. I tried reading this post (when it was first posted) and I realized (after reading it a few times) that I had no idea about (or at least not a very good idea) what the author was trying to say. I feel like (and legibility is something I do feel is important) the author used just a few too many (and by a "few" I mean WAY too many) parentheticals to make his meaning clear. Such parentheticals (or asides) can be used to elaborate on (or add useful information to) the point one is making, but using them too often (and this guy really did use them too often) just obscures the meaning of what you are trying to say (or the point you are trying to make.) At some point, I (as the reader) get tired (not really tired, more like bored) of trying to untangle all of these disparate thoughts and quickly stop caring (not that I cared that much to begin with) about what the author has to say. A good rule of thumb (or general rule) is if you find yourself tempted to use parentheticals too often (like once or twice every few paragraphs) is to just insert that information in a new sentence instead.

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    1. haha that's funny

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    2. Lol I feel like this about most of the posts on this blog.

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    3. SW rule number 7: do not overuse parentheses (or was it rule number 8?)

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  5. I've been mulling over it, and I'm not quite sure what the doc is getting at either. I do have to agree with what he said about the term "empath" though. Where does that put someone like me who has blips in empathy and morality? I think humans are far too complex to place in to one of two categories.

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    1. I think most people have blips in empathy and morality, yours are just different and probably more extreme than most people's. The term "empath" makes me think of one of those rare people who almost never experiences blips, and feels horribly guilty when they do. I agree two categories doesn't work. It's like trying to express something algebraically, when really you need to use calculus. What would a good, or at least less bad, way of classifying people look like to you?

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    2. hmmm...well in my opinion classifications get tricky. I'm not entirely opposed to them at this point, but I suspect with advancements in neuroscience we're really going to see the variations in each of these personality types. When examining the brain with some kind of nueorimaging technology we'll really get to see just how complex people really are, and it makes me wonder what the effects will be on the field of psychology, and if we will then finally do away with diagnostic tools such as the DSM.

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    3. Neuroimaging by itself wouldn't be enough, I can say that much for sure based on personal experience in neuroscience. Neurochemical analysis, to see what neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones are in abundance (or lacking), as well as genetics would need to be included. Only with the combination of sources could a comprehensive and refined model be empirically usable.

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    4. At this point there are a lot of limitations, but you don't think that neuroimaging technology is going to continue to change and advance?

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    5. I can't imagine neuroimaging wouldn't continue to advance, but using other measurements in conjunction would give a more complete picture. Especially if the technology gets sensitive enough to detect a lot of individual peculiarities, it may be difficult to parse out who is what without some other measurements.

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    6. The technology is already improving, however the neurological factors associated with personality disorders include more than just what regions are active (or not), which is what it primarily focuses on. Chemical and genetic factors also need to be considered, which is something neuroimaging does not focus on. These different physical aspects need to be explored so as to reduce false positives/negatives through multiple quantitative sources. To use a metaphor, it is like seeing color. The human eyes have specialized cells which individually see one of only three colors - red, blue, and green. However, when information is analyzed by all three color sources, the brain is capable of perceiving millions of colors.

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    7. I'm kind of surprised that genetic and chemical analysis aren't already used as part of the criteria for some mental disorders. Particularly diagnoses with serious ramifications, like a diagnosis of psychopathy in a forensic setting. Plus, the practitioner would have some information about how a patient might respond to drug treatment before proceeding. For example, I found out from genetic testing that SSRIs would have trouble crossing my blood-brain barrier and will cause sexual dysfunction instead.

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  6. Once its established that someone is an official psychopath, what happens then? Do they receive a diploma to frame and hang in their living-room? Then the "hang-around"-time is over & they become "full patch member"? Disturbed and proud?

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    1. You get hauled off to a midieval dungeon where you get chained up to an iron ball and will live on water and bread until you die from a stroke

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    2. Yes, Anonymous at 11:59 AM, i believe they get a real pretty frame to honor their special talent. The frame is customizable. Personally i'd prefer one that shows off my lovely personality more. I've heard that if you stay long enough you'd become an official member of the club. You also receive awards for every person you destroy. Sounds like fun?

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    3. It's pretty much like Freemasonry. You get brought into the club after proving you're one of them. Then you get your "pretty frame" or diplomats and legal papers attesting that you're in. After that, as Kitty stay long enough and you become an official member. You up in rank the longer you stay and the more deeds you do for the cause. When you reach the 9th Level you become an official member. Secrets, off the chart missions, as well as influential (political or otherwise) members get introduced to you. Every rank has a title and a goal. The highest rank (as far as lower ranks know) is 30th Level. The ring you get can open up special hidden doors around towns when you press it against our hidden symbols, or flash it to certain people. It's pretty cool actually.

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  7. You get a special ring that you wear on the last Friday of the month. This to let other psychopaths know you're a member of the club without tipping off any non-psychopaths.

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  8. He uses fancy words to avoid spelling out things: he gambled away his life savings, steals from his kids, has a raging drug habit and has a giant kiddie porn collection. And he washes his ass in the sink of public restrooms, if nobody is around.

    Just kidding. classic lack of insight into what he is doing, how shicking it is and how others feel about it from the outside.

    and short of asking people how he comes off, he is in no position to say that he is holding it together or not. he just can't know.

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  9. "becoming more sociopathic. traits 'leaking out more frequently since tumor, radiation, meds. for seizures, etc.' Makes sense. The brain has been traumatized by these events, which has increased sociopathic behaviors. Sounds consistent with theresearch. Brain trauma/injury worsening symptoms. Brain cancer?

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  10. Uhmmm, okay. I can't find any kind of a question here, or even a discussion point related to his central reason for writing to latch onto. Perhaps that brain tumor affected more things than he thought.

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    1. Perhaps he thought more things than that brain tumor affected.

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  11. ...Tinker...where the "h" are you? Dear lord! Narcissism has found its sauce in this belchy, blog-o-rama, but such a menu is void of sociopathic stain. More to the insert, pot-luck fare in the basement of dilusional children fondeling the sticky pages of serial killer bios, and masturbating about what powers they might have had, had their restraints of being so normal not held them in such a pathetic grip...

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  12. Myers Briggs works! In the Myers Briggs system there are 16
    personality types based on intraversion/exrtaversion,
    sensate/intuitive, feeling/thinking, and judging/percieving.
    Most sociopaths are E (etraverted) S (sensatory. They make "real world"
    evaluations.) T (They THINK rather then feel.) P (They are NOT "sticklers"
    about commitments.)
    Take Casey Anthony-party girl. She was EXTRAVERTED. (E)
    She was SENSAORY. Concerned about things her eyes could see. Not
    immaterial concepts, like "education", religion, and philosphy. (S)
    She was a thinker not a feeler. "My daughter dead?" Who cares? (T)
    She was a perciever, not a judger. She was consistant only in her
    inconsistancy. She lived a parasite's life. She came and went as she
    pleased. (P)
    The best book on Myers-Briggs is "Please Understand Me II," by David
    Kerisey.
    Now, to M.E. We have verified by other groovy methods that she is NOT
    a sociopath. Here is how she breaks down:
    (E) Extravert: That's obvious.
    (N) Intituive: M.E. is concerned with MORE then just visual appearences.
    she is concerned with intangable concepts like education, the law,
    religion, psychological concepts. etc...
    (T) M.E. is a thinker. Mere feelings would not enter into her decision
    making. That's where her self admitted "cold" aspect comes from.
    (J) M.E. is a Judger. She has some moral absolutes. She has principles
    she would abide by. She is disturbed by inequalites. She is not totally
    narcassistic and she is consistant in work and obligation.
    She would NOT murder her child and throw it in the trash. The fortunate
    other who nets M.E.'s affections will be lucky indeed.
    ESTP's are best avoided.

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    1. You should read up more:

      http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/sensing-or-intuition.asp
      http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/the-16-mbti-types.asp#ESTP
      http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/the-16-mbti-types.asp#ENTJ

      By "we verified" I am assuming that meant you, and be "groovy methods" I am assuming you took it for her.

      Also, to reiterate - again - the MBTI, like the other personality tests, are not designed for people with personality disorders.

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  13. So is everyone here analyzing each other or

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  14. Yes. That's all they do. This is utterly pathetic.

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    1. Somehow you still found your way in here. And stayed long enough to know that's all we do. But, you find it pathetic... You must be even more pitiful if you're forcing yourself to keep up with petty people's affaires.

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  15. Off topic.

    I’d like to ask the people who read and the people who participate on this site why they do.

    My reasons are quite simple. I have this “friend” who is a sociopath. Over the past few years, he has helped me grow and get stronger and more self confident. Not really sure he actually did it on purpose, but looking back, he was a key factor in my recent development. I also have to say that had I not had very resilient emotional connections with friends and family, I might have collapsed. He put me through hell. But there always was a very exciting and entertaining side that helped me navigate through it all. He certainly put a lot of thought and work into the relationship. To this day, I am not quite sure why and that is one of the reasons I am on this site, to try and understand better.

    Another reason is that I’d like to figure out how to be a good friend to him. Or if I should even continue trying. I feel I have to repay him for the effort he put in me. I’d like to help him grow further and be even more successful than he currently is. I know him well, I am very familiar with his strengths, and also sees his weaknesses. I know he likes to get into people’s head, but I am not sure he is comfortable with the reverse, though my aim is to build him up, not destroy him. But perhaps this is something he would resent, though we have spoken many times about being each other’s growth partner. I also realize not many people he knows, if any, would have the guts or the desire to tell him what he needs to hear.

    I ask strange questions sometimes on this blog, and if I put people on the spot, that is because I want to see how they react, to better “empathize”. And I realize one sociopath is unlike another, but they do have common traits. I am not here to try and belittle or shame. I am here to understand how a sociopath can best use his gifts in life without shooting himself in the foot long term. And I am also here to try and answer any questions from the view point of a neuro-typical person, one that has made the journey of accepting without judging. I particularly enjoy the weird questions that cannot be asked face to face for fear of being unmasked. They make me think.

    Why is everybody else here?

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    1. How did you meet this friend? Psychopaths aren´t supposed to be all that friendly, are they?

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    2. That is a misconception. Sociopaths are quite friendly to start with, especially if they want something from you. They can be extremely charming if they want to seduce you. And very fun and attentive. But they can be extremely emotionally cruel as well, not right away, though. They need you to be attached in some way before they can be cruel.

      In my experience, it is only when you have been close to a sociopath for an extended period of time (think more like years, not months) that you can truly understand how their thought process is different from most other people. They do not get attached - not in the same way most people do. They do not rely and cannot on feelings to guide them.

      I do not like the word sociopath or worse, psychopath. They both have a very negative connotation. I'd rather think of them as people with Autism who have learned how to interact with other humans and can be brilliant at it.

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    3. One thing to note is that you do not necessarily need to be attached to someone to be cruel. Apathy, including to people's feelings, can be extended to random strangers. Infact by not needing to care/attend to their feelings, by virtue of being superfluous or otherwise unimportant, you tend to factor in the consequences even less.

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    4. I agree with Bob. That's why when strangers are in my way my mind immediately jumps to whatever will remove them from my path most expediently. This is frequently something extremely harmful or lethal to said stranger.

      Why do I participate? The blog posts tend to be thought provoking, and there are interesting people having interesting discussions. Plus, mask not required.

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    5. for the mental workout, sort of

      plus ME's the coolest

      : )

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    6. OldAndWise, you mentioned that he puts a lot of work in the relationship but, you have also mentioned that he put you through hell. Does he do it intentionally, with the goal of hurting you? And what do you mean by he puts a lot in the relationship? You seem to be confident that he is not just playing you, how are you so sure that it's not what he wants you to think? I'm not saying that it's not possible that he actually values your friendship, but you might want to make sure before you invest any of your time in him. By do you mean by growth partner. To me it sounds like some sort of counseling therapeutic thing. I would imagine that most sociopaths would laugh at the thought of that. I'm pretty interested about what you have to say since I found myself (from what she told me) in a pretty similar situation with a girl whom I was friends with for a couple of years (she was the one who felt the way you do by the way). She seemed pretty frustrated and got mad at me for my lack of empathy a couple of times, and often mentioned how I kept hurting her and how she felt that she would eventually lose it if she remained friends with me. I asked her a lot of times why she stayed as my friends even with all the problems I caused her (the logical thing to do would be to distance herself). Her answer was that she had put too much effort into being my friend, and that even though I made her crazy she felt comfortable speaking freely to me sense I tried to be nice and already had her mostly figured out.

      As for why I come here, as Dev mentioned, because there are interesting thought provoking topics, stories that I can often relate to, and the comments and replies of people that actually understand my questions/statements, and understand where I'm coming from. It's nice to be able to habe an actual converstation without having to sensor or sugar coat your thoughts.

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    7. I think its very true that some more refined psychos are not just "users of others"; to say that they´re cannot be friends are wrong. This is a good discussion. Somebody mentioned the movie Ripley´s Game before, and it shows this type of "game playing friendship". The antihero of the movie does not want to "suck his friend dry", and the "psychological portrait" of this is very realistic. But such a friendship is more demanding than others. One perhaps has to accept being studied as an object? One perhaps has to accept "psychological probing"? One perhaps has to be extremely loyal, and any "straying" from this may result in a rather sour aftertaste? One perhaps somehow then accepts, to some extent, to be "owned", as an object? But be aware: the standard social interaction with "average joe"-psychos will only be a miserable time for the "friend": his function there is to be mocked, taunted, used & then discarded. Refined sociopaths are rare to find.

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    8. Bob, Dev, I did not mean to say that you need to be attached to the person to be cruel. I meant that the person needs to be attached to you before you can be emotionally cruel to them. I would say strangers can be mean to me, but not cruel. I believe only a person with which I developed an emotional connection and built a certain level of trust can affect me to the point that I would call it cruelty.

      But perhaps I have not met the right stranger yet!

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    9. Tii, I have read your answer, thank you for this. I will respond later.

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    10. Anonymous@0840AM. I understand exactly what you are saying and have been asking myself some of those very questions for quite a while. You are the first person I feel has understood where I come from and where I am now. You must have some first hand experience yourself at this game playing friendship.

      But I always have to remind myself: How much is he bringing into my life right now, because when he goes, I don't want to feel I am on the "losing" side. That emotional connection that usually gives you a sort of safety net is not there... As it stands, I feel I am on the "winning" side in terms of give and take. This is why I have this urge to repay him for the effort he put in me. Even if he had fun doing it. I had a lot of fun so far myself, even hell was interesting when I was there :-). I will try and explain better in my response to Tii.

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    11. Tii, out of anybody that I have seen on this site, you remind me most of my "friend". Though one big difference. You call yourself lazy. He is anything but.

      Did he put me through hell intentionally? I think so, though he still says that was not his intention. With the goal of hurting me? Probably. I do realize it is entertainment to him, and sometimes I have overplayed the part a little. But this had the side effect of making me face some inhibitions and uncertainties that had been lingering since my teenage years. He tells me things nobody else would dare tell me. I found strengths in me that I had no idea I had. And I let go of some deep seated hang-up I did not realize was in me.

      The other thing i learned is to sort through my feelings. Because it can be neuro transmitter cocktail city when he is around! I felt I had 2 choices, if I did not want to collapse. Either shut off any feelings, which I had already done once for a few years when I was quite a bit younger, or embrace them and understand and deal with them. I chose the latter. I did not want to become an old cranky women. And I enjoy "feeling" too much.

      I do have objective proof (other than a feeling) that he has put a lot of thought in the relationship, factoring in the time he has spent with me over the years, and finding out things personal to me to "entertain" me. I nearly always let him come to me. I very rarely go to him. He has always been here to help when I requested it, though. I don't recall one time that he has not. I try to do the same. I don't want to be more precise, I feel that I would break the very small amount of trust he has been able to place in me.

      I do think he is playing with me, but to me it is a reprieve from the monotony of life. He is my personal poet. He makes me think, and he makes me laugh. It is not perfect, the relationship has had its ups and downs. Very different from any other relationship I have. I am a very stable and calm person. I do not fight with anybody. It is hard for me to get even a little mad. He sees a side of me nobody else does.

      I have no idea if he values my friendship but I value his presence in my life.
      I have always had some sort of a guilt problem when people like me more than I liked them, especially men. No chance of that with him :-). I can flirt for the first time in my life, and that is liberating. Am I making any sense at all?

      Your ex friend was probably a bit like me, but perhaps was not mature enough to appreciate you for just who you are. If you are anything like I think you are, you are probably amazing to be around. In small doses, though... The author of "the wisdom of psychopaths" says that they are like sun light. A little exposure is very good for you, but too much will give you cancer. My feeling exactly.

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    12. To tell you the truth you sound just like my (not exactly sure where we left the whole thing hanging/ ex) friend. The way you explained your relationship is pretty much the same way she explained it to me when I asked her what she saw or felt between us. Most people feel intimated around her (especially guys) because of her air of confidence, her attitude, and how quickly or hard she can snap if youpress the wrong button. But if you pay enough attention to the details of her facial expressions, every few minutes for a split second she let's her mask drop. That was really easy for me to notice and realize she was actually pretty soft. In all honesty at first the only reason why I approached her was to see how long it would take me to fully penetrate the barrier she kept around her, and to see if I would be able to go deeper in than most people. I managed to do that but in the process realized that she's pretty interesting to be around and it's easy to have interesting conversations with her (though I'm not sure she fully understood them herself). I found it pretty fun to push her out of her comfort zone during our conversations (whether it be flirting, or just things she didn't generally talk about to others) and forcing her to admit that she enjoyed them. Eventually I found that she began to mention that I kept hurting her too often, plus the fact that I didn't really care made it even worst. To be honest it became a bit annoying, plus I don't like to appear as a bad guy, especially when we have some friends in common. So since I try to do what I think is right I tried making her hate me by being as blunt as I could and I guess as cruel as I could. It destroyed her but somehow she kept hanging on to the tiniest bit of hope there was. So I figure out another way to make her distance her self from me, which seemed to worke. The reason why I'm still a bit confused about whether or not we still are friends is because she usually clearly speaks her mind and is the type of person to tell you that she's done with you, this time she didn't. It's an unusual pattern and I'm not sure if things went as I planned.

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    13. "...too much will give you cancer", so true. That's why I keep people at a certain distance. Even passive activities like mirroring can cause difficulties with some. People who are honest and comfortable with themselves are easier for me to spend time with. Those who are a bit self-deluded are difficult. I can see their problem festering away like some infected pustule. It gives me strong urges to poke at it until it ruptures.

      The feeling is similar to watching a sick/injured animal nearing death, very arousing (not sexually). I've never been cruel to animals, but if they need to be put out of their misery I enjoy doing it. If there are any socios on here who have been cruel to animals, would you describe the sensation similarly?

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    14. OK, yes, Tii, a bit freaky but she sounds quite a bit like me, except that she snaps and I never do. The relationship sounds similar as well, though I don’t think she ever made it through that “haha!” moment where she truly realized who you are, how different you are and how you operate. I believe she would need to pass through this before she could be a friend again. If/when she makes this discovery, she will understand that it is not her that is not being liked, it is that you who cannot like anybody in the common sense of the term. Sounds pretty simple and this may not mean much to you, but it would make a world of difference to her. I knew intellectually that he could not like, but the knowledge did not sink in deeper than the intellect until literally years later. I remember crying when it did. Not for me but for him. Go figure, a Genius at summoning feelings in others that he never experiences himself first hand… At piano virtuoso who is also a deaf man. Does it make any sense to you?

      In terms of being annoying, I have a couple of things to say. First, in most cases, I let him come to me, because I have learned that if I catch him at the wrong time, it can be disastrous. Second, I know that I can be annoying. As a matter of fact, I can be so annoying that he has blown a fuse a handful of times already. Is it not what good friends are for?? He annoyed me greatly to the point of hurting me when he got me to face my weaknesses. The times he has lost it is when I got him to face some of his own. Weaknesses, you will say? Well, he’s got four that I can see, and they all detrimentally affect his long term relationships. And since long term relationships are needed to be successful in life, especially in his chosen field, then I am pretty sure he would actually see them as such if he could grasp how they may affect his long term future. My aim is not to change him, it is for him to know himself better. Knowledge is power.

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    15. I found the exact quote from Kevin Dutton:

      "Psychopathy is like sunlight. Overexposure can hasten one’s demise in grotesque, carcinogenic fashion. But regulated exposure at controlled and optimal levels can have a significant positive impact on well-being and quality of life.”
      ― Kevin Dutton, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success

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    16. She actually found out towards the end because I told her. Though I'm not sure whether she believed or not, anyways she was cool with it, until I pushed her away.

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    17. Personally, I am here for the discussions. Although the overall IQ level of many discussions in previous posts has bordered on room-temperature, I find some commenters smart, interesting and like-minded. Sometimes you really have to wade through the inane posts to find them, though. I am currently on break, so I have plenty of time on my hands. The insight I have gained has definitely been worth the trouble.

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    18. You having told her is not enough. Even if she understands and admits it to herself intellectually, she still needs to internalize it emotionally. This is the difficult part and a complete paradigm shift. Took me close to 3 years between the two. I am not sure I can explain it well. The way I try to view it is that I am now able to trust my friend intellectually, and not emotionally. I am able to dissociate the emotional trust from the intellectual one. This makes me more resilient to him hurting me. Probably not as much fun for him, then?? .... I guess i am now able to appreciate him for what he gives me in the present with no future expectations.

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    19. I guess you're right. I mean, you would know better than i do on that subject. But unfortunately I don't have three years to spend waiting on someone, nor am I the type to get attached enough to try to doing so to save a friendship. I try not to make any enemies and I always welcome friends. I've already told her that I'm here if she ever wanted to comeback or needs anything, as long as she understands that I can't give her much more than a perfect act. It's up to her to decide. Sure she was fun to talk to, and pretty interesting but, one more or one less friend doesn't make much of a difference.

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    20. I read a book called "The Sociopath Next Door" and I finally understood what was going on specifically with guys I'd called friends for many years. Suddenly it all made sense. I realized it was all about them and would always be that way. I don't need those kind of friends.

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  16. Would be kinda scary is one knew about this secret society with strictly psycho members, all wearing snake rings. If one saw one of those rings flashing, then one knew that that person had gone past the "If i feel nauseus after eating too much bacon, is this a sign of psychopathy?" stadium. Almost as "hairy" as if one noticed a black clad biker gang with a single silver "M" on the back of the leather jackets (one has to be familiar with the zodiac teachings to understand this)..

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  17. Interesting thoughts OldAndWise. I wish I thought it was possible. The longer I observe sociopaths I honestly don't think I can help in any way. Any attempt has been unsuccessful, however I am fascinated by all types of people and their various personalities/personality disorders, and how we all inter-connect in this web of life. I guess that's why I occasionally visit the site. We are fascinating creatures. Good luck with your friend.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Anonymous@921AM, you sound quite thoughtful. When I say I would like to help him grow, I do not mean helping him grow emotionally. I do not wish for him to develop "feelings", or understand what an emotional connection is and what it brings to other people. I have made my peace with the fact that he cannot quite a while back.
      But I know what his definition of being successful is, and that is where I think I can provide feedback.

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    2. Anon, what is your experience with sociopaths? How many have you known and in what capacity have you observed them? Friends, family members, co workers, patients?

      Delete
    3. The Buddha described us as a collection of five changing processes:
      the processes of the physical body, of feelings, of perceptions, of responses,
      and of the flow of consciousness that experiences them all.
      Our sense of self arises whenever we grasp at or identify with these patterns.
      Our world and sense of self is a play of patterns. Any identity
      we can grasp is transient, tentative.

      Jack Kornfield

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  18. Have any of you been properly diagnosed lol

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  19. As I lurk its AMAZING to me of those who either are wanting to be a sociopath or self diagnosing. Sociopaths are not anything special.. just in their own minds. Most here seem like the everyday normal Joe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reading this made me smile, i agree with you for the most part.
      Everyone wants to feel "special", don't they?
      Why not give them their five minutes of internet fame? For a good cause or not.

      I mean, a little ego stroke (at least that's what it's felt as to some people)
      couldn't do no harm, could it?

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  20. Its cuz they ARE normal. The problem is, they dont want to be normal, so they pretend they are sociopaths after self-diagnosing. Then, they sit on this board because they obviously have no lives, pondering their sociopathy. Please, a psychopath isnt bickering on this board, i promise you. They are out and about, not giving a shit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sociopaths wouldn't visit a site about sociopaths, or talk about sociopathy in anonymity? You're right, they don't give a shit, which is precisely why they equally would as they would not. It's called boredom and stimulation. When you don't really care about it, it is just as important to consider "Why?" as well as "Why not?"

      I have little doubt a number of the self-professed aren't sociopaths, considering the spectacle of the label, but if only 1% of visitors were actual sociopaths, it is hard to say that 100% of them wouldn't be here, nevermind comment. Because, put simply, it doesn't really matter either way when everyone is anonymous.

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    2. I'm gonna say 4% of the people on here are sociopaths.

      Delete
  21. Being a sociopath is not an achievement or anything to be proud of!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it something to be ashamed of?

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  22. OK, I am ready to reply. I have for years thought of myself as a Sociopath. My Mother in Law was the first to say this, (though she happily showed off her tits and flirted with me). As a child, I laughed at locking my younger sister in a cupboard for hours. When the ice came, I banged on the garage door, and made her look up to the ice block that I made smash into her face.

    I have always seen the bottom line with regards to war, (Maggie Thatcher clearly invaded Argentina to win the election. Tony Blair clearly invaded Iraq to gain Oil revenue etc).

    When 9/11 came, my first reaction was to contact the Investment banks and ask for a job, given they would need new people to replace the dead guys. I still remember people thinking this is a joke. Why??

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    Replies
    1. I was wondering when Margaret Thatcher was going to come up on this site :)

      Delete
    2. On 9/12 I bought a plane ticket to New York ( I have a friend who lives in Manhattan) because I figured tickets would never be any cheaper than they were gonna be right after the attacks.

      Delete
  23. Just a little touch of star quality.

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  24. Many people believe the more complicated, the more accurate.
    This is not true at all. Actually the more simple the best.
    People spend thousands of dollars to get "educated." They should really
    call it: "To get programmed."
    Think of it: To this day people-even experts-continue to confuse
    sociopathy with psychopathy, There is little to no concensis about what
    the cluster B conditions are, or who suffers from what. It's like the
    blind men/elephant parable. These "experts" are NOT so expert.
    Take the "femme fatale" sociopath, how would you charaterize her?
    The female sociopath is ESTP. She is:
    Extraverted: She draws energy from social interactions.
    Sensory: She works with things she can see, not imagine. Visual things
    like photography, graphics , and fashion. Cars, if she is a tomboy.
    Thinking: She is "hard broiled." She doesn't have much time to waste
    with nurturing. She is tough and indifferent to suffering, maybe even
    enjoys to see it. She acts from percieved self benefit, NOT from
    empathy.
    Percieving: She is very casual with her obligations. She is only as loyal as
    she feels fit to be. Freedom is everything. People are only objects to be
    used.
    We don't need any "Rube Goldburg" scientific mumbo jumbo. We only
    need Myers Briggs. "Please Understand Me II," is the only book we need.
    Is it any wonder why people are so taken with sociopaths? They are
    capeable, bottomline, realistic people. They confidently interact. They
    are handy in practical "real world" things. They stay in the now, and don't
    cry over spilt milk. They are often physically attractive, risk taking, and
    live the life they want, until they get caught. Nothing at all is complicated
    about them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like these:

      She acts from percieved self benefit, NOT from
      empathy.

      Percieving: She is very casual with her obligations. She is only as loyal as
      she feels fit to be. Freedom is everything.

      Delete
    2. People are not objects to be used; they are people to be used and to be loved.

      Delete
    3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-grant/goodbye-to-mbti-the-fad-t_b_3947014.html

      http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-myers-briggs-personality-test-is-pretty-much-meaningless-9359770/

      http://fortune.com/2013/05/15/have-we-all-been-duped-by-the-myers-briggs-test/

      Read them and weep. Myers-Briggs is crap. And before you say "No it isn't!", the reason "just cuz" is not an actual answer.

      Delete
  25. The Purge 2 movie now soon will be available on dvd! This movie series is the most interesting since the Lord of the Rings. It seems "inspired" somehow? Is America longing to "purge"? They have handguns for sale, they have death penalty, they have their gory flicks & they have beggars and really wealty people & the corporations run their politics, is this somehow not enough? Does the average american feel a strong longing...for more?

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  26. Lord of the Rings; isnt the fictive character Saruman the most sociopathic in that trilogy? His bone-dry comments, sly persuation-tactics & ruthless planning somehow stands out. His only flaw seen from a "hollow perspective" surely is the firm handshake with Sauron: to imagine that such master would tolerate such cunning servant once his usefulness was spent seems like a folly, a mistake a "power-oriented" psycho would not commit....

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  27. Has anyone seen Under the Skin? Worth a look.

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    Replies
    1. Loved it. In fact, reading this thread made me think of Scarlet J's excellent performance. The script is, in my humble view, simply amazing. The alien donning a human skin (her female mask), enabling 'Her' to successfully prey on smitten males, is a perfect metaphor for the sociopath. Most aptly stunning and sad was her fate at the film's end, when her human skin is torn, made useless as a disguise. As she blankly gazes upon her discarded but still-feeling human face, the pathos of her alienation and desire to connect, to relate to other life forms in new, less lethal ways, literally fills the screen. I think many sociopaths will find the film a sympathetic portrait of themselves.

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  28. I think its funny everyone is trying to grasp/understand sociopathy which is like as elusive as you can get so i dont know if you can do it.

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  29. How does psychopathic fearlessness works in bad neighborhoods? Do you imagine people want to harm you but not give a damn or do you just assume nobody wants to hurt you?

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    Replies
    1. You know it, but you don't feel any apprehension or fear. Walking in a bad neighborhood feels the same as walking in a good neighborhood. Most of the time you are thinking of something else while going from A to B. You don't really think about the environment or the people, other than navigating shortcuts.

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    2. I used to live in a city with a terrible crime problem. I didn't live in fear, but rationally I knew better than to walk or drive in certain areas.

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    3. When I walk in a bad neighborhood I rarely think about the dangerous situation I can find myself in. Like Bob mentioned I often have something else in mind. When I do think of the "bad" neighborhood it's usually more along the lines of "I wonder if I'll get attacked today, might be a nice change of pace, a little distraction" instead of worrying. Then I either start thinking about the million ways I could fight off a mugger, or just start thinking about things that are more interesting.

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    4. As a borderline i don't have fear in the tougher parts of the city that I lived in, but I think thats because i grew up in it, and we ruled the streets when we were young, ;-) . If someone stole, say for example: my sisters bike, Id make sure id chased the bastard nine blocks away and wouldn't stop till I got that bike back. And if one of my girlfriends ended up in a domestic violence situation, id call the bastards out, always. I was never scared of defending or sticking up for someone, and even ready to fight them on the streets. I bullied the bullies. :P
      I now live out rural, very nice part of country living and farming, but at times I go out with some girlfriends and bring coffees and muffins to the hood back home example: prostitutes

      But as a borderline I realize a pattern of defending people, but failing to defend myself: at the expense of putting myself under the bus. So Im trying my best to balance this out.

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    5. I maintain situational awareness because I'm rationally aware something might happen, but I don't feel anxious. Basically, I just make sure to not zone out.

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  30. I am wading into this thread because I admit to a certain fascination. However, whatever is going on here is legion. Being predatory, wanting to win and wanting to feel/appear invincible is utterly human; I suppose, then, sociopaths most outstanding quirk is their lack of feeling and conscience. Horrifying and tragic as that may seem (to me), after reading on this site for two days, I can see how the remorseless lens through which the world of the sociopath is filtered is emotionally barren, causing them pain, fear and alienation. I work with very low functioning sociopaths: thieves, gangbangers, twenty dollar prostitutes, murderers, drug addicts, the mentally ill, etc. I see how futile their existence 'feels' to them and how catastrophic the effects of emotional isolation from others can be.

    That's why I particularly admire OldandWise's comment, July 29, 2014, 7:18 pm:

    ... she will understand . . . that you . . . cannot like anybody in the common sense of that word. I knew intellectually that he could not like . . . but the knowledge did not sink in deeper than the intellect until literally years later. I remember crying when it did. Not for me but for him. Go figure, a genius at summoning feelings in others that he never experiences himself first hand."

    Precisely.

    Perhaps that's one reason why some sociopaths cannot help but spare some friends and lovers versus others, i.e., the easy patsies: Perhaps they're fascinated by what they lack (feeling) and enjoy not just observing for the sake of perfecting their mask and winning socially, but to absorb the mystery of the other by osmosis? I wonder whether an intense curiosity and a desire to expand their actual emotional range, to actually know on some level what it's like to feel another's pain, plays some role.

    ReplyDelete

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