Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fantastic Mr. Fox

This is an old comment from UKan that I've been meaning to give its own post. It describes why psychopathy is not necessarily maladaptive, but rather can be quite fantastic:
See here's the thing that bothers me with people who write about psychopathy. They display all the traits of a psychopath as a weakness. As if all the psychopaths out there are doomed to eternal suffering in a emotional void. In a psychopaths point of view it is quite the opposite.

Its all about perspective really. Robert Hare, which many of you know to be the worlds leading expert on sociopathy said he believes he would find more of a percentage of psychopaths in the cut throat business world than in prison. That doesn't really sound like a disorder to me. The hype over psychopathy is over a small minority of sexually violent predators, most of whom went through serious child abuse.

My lack of impulse control allows me to take risks others could not. In business its all about taking risks. If you don't have what it takes to make quick decisions you are fucked. Especially my business.

Constant boredom is a great thing to have. It keeps you busy and enables you to multi task. It sets you apart from the rest.

Being grandiose can be self actualizing. We belong in roles of power even if we have to creste it from thin air. If you make yourself look great and you are so convinced that others around you believe it to be true, does that not make it so?

A psychopaths temper is quick, sharp, and its also effective. Why not get it all out there instead of bottling it up till you have to go cry to some therapist. If I don't get my way I'm fucking angry. Guess what? Most of the time I get my way. Who wouldn't want that?

Psychopaths don't have shallow emotions they just have different reactions because they lack empathy. Is rage not potent? Is possessing someone not passion? I feel want. I want it all.

Which brings me to this pirate shit. What a cheeky way of portraying a psychopaths constant hunger for more. Some people are satisfied with a mediocre existence. Not the psychopath. This constant need for more gets you more. Funny how that works. Who wants to employ someone who is satisfied over someone who will never be? Dissatisfaction can make one ambitious.

Like I said its all perspective.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Everybody's different

This was an interesting story from an older Mormon prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith, about difference:

We need to appreciate and love people for themselves.

When I was a boy, we had a horse named Junie. She was one of the most intelligent animals I ever saw. She seemed almost human in her ability. I couldn’t keep her locked in the barn because she would continually undo the strap on the door of her stall. I used to put the strap connected to the half-door of the stall over the top of the post, but she would simply lift it off with her nose and teeth. Then she would go out in the yard.

There was a water tap in the yard used for filling the water trough for our animals. Junie would turn this on with her teeth and then leave the water running. My father would get after me because I couldn’t keep that horse in the barn. She never ran away; she just turned on the water and then walked around the yard or over the lawn or through the garden. In the middle of the night, I would hear the water running and then I would have to get up and shut it off and lock Junie up again.

My father suggested that the horse seemed smarter than I was. One day he decided that he would lock her in so that she couldn’t get out. He took the strap that usually looped over the top of the post and buckled it around the post and under a crossbar, and then he said, “Young lady, let’s see you get out of there now!” My father and I left the barn and started to walk back to the house; and before we reached it, Junie was at our side. She then went over and turned the water on again.

I suggested that now, perhaps, she was about as smart as either one of us. We just couldn’t keep Junie from getting out of her stall. But that doesn’t mean she was bad, because she wasn’t. Father wasn’t about to sell or trade her, because she had so many other good qualities that made up for this one little fault.

The horse was as reliable and dependable at pulling our buggy as she was adept at getting out of the stall. And this was important, because Mother was a licensed midwife. When she would get called to a confinement somewhere in the valley, usually in the middle of the night, I would have to get up, take a lantern out to the barn, and hitch Junie up to the buggy.

I was only about ten or eleven years old at the time; and that horse had to be gentle and yet strong enough to take me and Mother all over the valley, in all kinds of weather. One thing I never could understand, however, was why most of the babies had to be born at night and so many of them in winter.

Often I would wait in the buggy for Mother, and then it was nice to have the company of gentle old Junie. This experience with this horse was very good for me, because early in life I had to learn to love and appreciate her for herself. She was a wonderful horse with only a couple of bad habits. People are a lot the same way. None of us is perfect; yet each of us is trying to become perfect, even as our Father in heaven. We need to appreciate and love people for themselves.

Maybe you need to remember this when you evaluate your parents or teachers or ward and stake leaders or friends—or brothers and sisters. This lesson has always stayed with me—to see the good in people even though we are trying to help them overcome one or two bad habits. …

I learned early in life to love and not to judge others, trying always to overcome my own faults.

I think it's interesting the different reactions I have gotten from readers. Often they're positive, they agree that sociopaths are much maligned for just being a mental disorder that people don't choose to have and have very limited ability to change or even modify in themselves. And of course some people see sociopaths as subhumans that should be exterminated. Of course that will usually happen, a split of opinions on something, but the interesting thing is the reasoning. Often religion is used to justify both positions. Efficiency is used to justify both positions. Certain philosophies (e.g. utilitarianism) are used to justify both positions. What I learned in law school is that there are always two sides to every coin. The more you argue that certain people are worthless, the easier it is for those types of beliefs to become acceptable or even desirable as standing on good "moral" principles. The more those beliefs become acceptable, the more likely someone who is willing to act on those beliefs will come into power. The more people in power who are willing to act on those beliefs, the more risky it is for anyone to live in a way that is both different and authentic.

Why don't we just kill off all sociopaths? Maybe because like the horse Junie, the same traits that make them sometimes dangerous, obnoxious, disgusting, or reprehensible are also the traits that will promote survival and success for them and all those attached to them in certain dangerous, obnoxious, disgusting, or reprehensible situations.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Baron-Cohan vs. Fallon

From a reader:

Hi M.E.,

If you haven't seen this, it's an interesting watch and I would be interested hear your take.  Simon Baron-Cohan (Ali G's cousin) is part of the panel and there is some interesting back and forth on Aspie's vs. Socio's and such with folks on the panel.

With all the debate on the forum of "who is what" and what the diagnosis mean and such, it might make fore some interesting fodder as well.

For me it was as much a confirmation of "whatever he is, I'm a lot like that."  Not exactly, but close - as an engineer, I can seen both elements in myself.

There is a funny quote around 45:00 about being the guy, in the case of trouble, "running down the street with two machetes in his underwear."  ...knives out and grinning!  8D~

And the "coming next time" bit on cultural alcoholism is a crack up!  I love the Ausies!


Monday, October 27, 2014

This American Life

I just got around to listening to this This American Life episode on psychopaths:

It's largely more of the same from the NPR articles, but in audio format. More from Jon Ronson about sociopathic CEOs, sociopathic stares, small amygdalas make you "dangerous," and the role that the "predatory spirit" plays in success.

The most entertaining section is the part about Jon Ronson meeting a sociopathic seeming CEO who fired an employee who happened to be bragging about his car thusly: "You may have a fancy sportscar, but I'll tell you what you don't have -- a job." Gasp! Psychopaths can be so straightforward and tactless!!!!!

Spoiler alert, host Ira Glass practically outs himself as a sociopath, but not really, according to the psychologist, because he wasn't malicious enough (is that the hidden PCL-R trait, that only psychologists are privy to?)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pursuer of Potential

This was an interesting comment on an old post (including a lot of traits that many of you will recognize -- but I'm always a little surprised and even a little bit charmed to see them so consistently in so many strangers):

Harvard Student, Wealth Manager, Pursuer of Potential
Parameters for this comment:
I've never publicly shared my ideas on the subject. I won't be proofing this since it's anonymous. I'm sure this comment will be very self-centric, as it will be a break from academic writing. If I offend you, this probably isn't the best thread to cry me a river on so try to enjoy a different perspective.

So I’ve been told that I am compartmental, principled sociopath, extremely objective, a/o very manipulative. In short, I began a career in financial services, study at Harvard, am in a 5+ year relationship and I've never truly confided in anyone. 

It seems the only thing I genuinely recognize as off limits is targeting innocence. Since I was in grade school I would prey on bullies or tough/popular/show-off classmates because I viewed them as being game to compete against others; especially if they unjustly picked on others. Innocence though, goes for most children, naïve house pets, and highly sheltered adolescence/adults. In these cases, I view the subjects/people as defenseless or helpless. I've been viewed as empathetic by my family because at a young age I learned how to read emotions/truth/lie from other people so as to emulate them when I went to "sell," something. This was not crying when I didn't get a desired toy/candy rather, stealing it next time without mention to not raise suspicion or to barter with my mom. I found success at 8 years of age by borrowing a rake, shovel, or lawn mower and going door to door. I had all the toys/candy I wanted by half ass-ing child labor to charge $25. I simply made a poster for a fund raiser and taped it to my mower. I even got called out when parents didn't like that their kids did the mowing for me and took home $7 while I kept the difference. When confronted, I simply told them that they ensured their kid wouldn’t work with me again.

My principles have been established over the years. I realized I needed them when I was in kindergarten. I hung out with high school kids in my neighborhood in exchange for doing things that they needed. This included being the one to get hoisted in to windows to unlock a house from the inside or start fights with other kids when there was a stupid dispute. The worst thing I remember doing was defending my "friends" from another kids' large dog using the chain from my bike. It was at this point when I decided that I would use principles to decide what is "right." For the most part, risk and reward are the biggest drivers. It doesn't matter what it is or at least I haven't met a decision that's made me feel uncomfortable. Is my risk being matched with equal or greater reward? If not than no-go, no matter what. I do, however, enjoy a hero or even god complex. I've saved a person from drowning, dodged a car accident only to pull off and rescue them from a flaming car (which did NOT explode...). I enjoy holding the high level of importance to one's life and then giving it to them so that they feel fortunate. I suppose a sociopath who saves people isn't unheard of, but I'm in no rush to save starving kids from labor in under developed countries. In my opinion, under waged child laborers in those countries are turning a buck for their family as opposed to competing with the other children begging on the streets. In my belief, there is a choice and while companies could give more money to the labor, I know I would choose the most effective option. Until the customer demands it and it becomes as important as the fabric used to make the shirt, then the company should be as lean as possible. (off-topic)

I've come a long since I was in grade school.
I've been in a relationship now for 5+ years and I haven't had any tendency to harm anyone since I was younger. Back then I never went further than breaking an arm or hand in a brawl or fight along side my friends. The rush was good but part of me looks forward to me finding a legal outlet to get a better rush. Growing up, I've experimented with guys and girls sexually and I could honestly go for either. It's really just about the fun of learning how each other tick and triggering that tick. I decided to stick with females for a couple reasons. It's been easier to blend in with a woman, and my fiancé pushes me to do more. Also, I enjoy aiding the damsel in distress act. What's curious to me is while I've never cared about actually helping others, I find enjoyment in taking on that "helping" role in the relationship. Also, I find that I've never truly confided in anyone. This goes for significant others, family, and friends alike. People who know me, know a certain version of me that I've created to best suit my circumstances and appear like a hero or champion. Mentors have identified this characteristic as being my most valuable trait because it will be most useful to me becoming successful professionally as well as managing the personal issues. 

Recently, I've relocated away from friends and family to follow this girl (5+ years) and it's starting to be recognized that I don't keep up communication with anyone. Simply, it's been a relief to not have to be close to these people and have to keep up with what's making them tick. While I recognize that it's been hard for some of those people, I have no urge to change what's been going on. Often times, when my fiancé and I run in to a rough patch I wonder what I would do should we ever break it off. When I met her, I was in the process of opening a bail bonds business so that I could essentially have a license to hunt the ultimate prey when they jump bail. I didn't have a desire to hurt people, but I have always enjoyed the hunt. I think many people share this urge. 

While I've never been religious, my family is Christian/Catholic. As a teen, I opened up to a family friend, and he gave me a copy of "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. I highly recommend it to anyone deciding or refining the principles by which they live their life. This book along with the study of different religions has taught me the power of prayer, habit, attitude, and how to obsess over something to make it happen. This is truly the only use of religion in my opinion. That is, furthering your potential through belief in something bigger than one's self. I am now completing my Bachelor's through Harvard and work in wealth management. Both things that I don't think I would have done without principles and setting goals to align with a woman from a "comfortable style of living." For me, it's since been all about furthering my potential and soon raising a child which will challenge my success. These thoughts and ideas have me puzzled. I live a life which has ALWAYS been positive and "glad." I refuse to let anything get me down, though I fake being bothered to those around me show that I care about something, as it seems that's what's needed to show caring... (makes no sense, and I think it's a stupid way to be...) But what I do seem to care about, even from a kid was one day reaching a point where I've dramatically climbed the socio-economic ladder (increased my class), and having a child (son or daughter) who challenges my success through their own (almost like a worthy adversary). A fantasy of mine would be to meet an exact twin of mine and square off. 

I'm interested in seeing if anyone else shares my views or wishes to challenge them. I'd also be interested in thoughts or replies which challenge my values.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Can sociopaths date other sociopaths?

A reader asks:
I have thought for a long time that I am probably a sociopath. I am good at picking up on what people want from me and becoming that person, which makes me very popular. I have mastered the art of being liked. I'm a pretty girl and have always easily found men, been married twice, and left both husbands after a few years because I was bored. Although I'm good at painting myself as the sympathetic party. The ironic thing is that I'm a social worker, and work with distressed families, people always ask me if it breaks my heart, or assume that I love "helping people", and I usually go with this. I actually enjoy the fact more that my job takes me into scary situations, threatened violence or poverty-stricken crime-filled areas, and allows me to intimidate people. Sometimes people suggest that I should be able to carry a weapon, and I always say it is not necessary and make up some liberal bullshit about not wanting to carry a weapon (the truth is I love to shoot). I don't feel like I need a weapon ever, I feel totally confident in my ability to control almost any situation. Whew. It's nice to be so honest with someone. I probably sound like a narcissist, but I'm just trying to tell you the truth about who I am and my situation as quickly as possible.

All of this to say, that within the last year I met a man who I'm positive is a Sociopath too. In fact we talked about it once, and he admitted to me that he wonders if he is. (I of course did not admit anything to him! The part I play with him is the slightly dumb but intensely caring and unable to lie enabler.) He did say that he has never had anyone see through him like that. I have never had any legal trouble, and he has been caught several times, for stealing essentially. It kind of makes me think I'm smarter than him. BUT I really do like this person, and not in the half-hearted way I liked my husbands. I am sure that it is his manipulation of me that has caught my interest, and an intense desire to WIN him. He has a girlfriend, in fact, now a fiance. He has been cheating on her the entire time he was been with her, with me. He lies to her about all kinds of things constantly because he wants to preserve her image of him as more normal than he is. (He told me he feels like if anyone knew the real him they would think he was a monster) I became OBSESSED with him. Although at times where I felt like he was into me not as much so. But the moment he pulls away I want to devour him and possess his soul.

Is it possible, do you think, for two sociopaths to have a relationship? Or will it be this constant fight for control? I feel in many ways like a relationship with him might become the most honest relationship I've ever had with someone, I've told him this, but he doesn't know what I am so he doesn't understand it. Or maybe doesn't want it. Do I really have feelings for him do you think? Or is this something that would disappear if I ever won him? I feel like he is the only man I've ever met who may hold my interest because of his own fearlessness and risk taking behavior. Wow. I'm sorry to ramble on like this, but I'm very interested in your perception of the situation. What do you think, is it possible for two sociopaths to find love with each other? Or will we just ruin each other in the end?
I actually have no clue. I've never been in a relationship with another sociopath. Anyone else have any insight?

Friday, October 24, 2014

More on compassion

These two comments as a little bit of a follow up on empathy and compassion discussion:

why is it that so many empaths expect the sociopath to unfailingly feel things the way they do, no matter how much effort is required, yet are unwilling to put the same amount of effort into managing their own emotions? 


to me compassion feels expansive, like a feeling of connectedness where no one is better or worse than you, a feeling where we're all in it together... just like a drug high but without the drugs. compassion makes me want to paint or write, create art. or freely give you money as if i'm giving it to myself. and that's cool 'cause we're one. : )

empathy feels tight and urgent, like a toothache. it's personal, in its own tight little space, and more about filling my needs even though i'm actively filling yours. i may be feeling with you, but not WHAT you're feeling. and the whole point is to calm my own feelings. if i give you money, it's because things aren't okay and i'm hoping the money will change that. empathy that has no outlet just makes me want to get drunk. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Informed consent

From a reader:

An old friend of mine and I are talking.  She too is in the legal profession, is brilliant, and scored really high on the psychopathic deviate portion of the MMPI.

She is full of crap in a pleasant kind of way, doesn't seem to have any vices that I cannot tolerate.  We knew each other 20 years ago and just started talking.  We had a wonderful weekend a while back and spend lots of time in the evenings talking or typing via social media and/or text.

She, like me, has been with people who have in one way or another been abusive.  She says that through a year of therapy, she and therapist have deconstructed her old construct for dealing with things.  At times, when I ask her how she feels about us, she says she has no access to the information.

She is very honest it seems and given me detached advice, detachment being a forte of hers, lol.  ("First: Run. Like hell. The cons are this broad is WAY to fucked up in the head to make the pros worth dealing with. If, however, you choose to ignore THAT bit of advice... Second: be patient. You are dealing with a very damaged individual who has deep-seated trust issues as well as a host of other psychological problems. If you really are foolhardy enough to want to venture into something more than a really fun friendship (which is a *really* bad idea, it will likely do more harm to you than you *ever* thought possible), you are going to have to move very slowly and carefully.")

When I mention her emotional state, she reacts like a turtle and withdraws.  If she is affectionate and I act like I do not notice it, it's ok because I am not calling her attention to it being vulnerable.  

She is trying to talk me out of being with her and seems to think that I will end up being hurt.  I think things might be workable.  We live four hours away, with her near my hometown where I go see my parents.  I don't necessarily think that choosing a partner based on logic rather than emotion is a bad thing.  In fact, our "hearts" often get us in trouble.  She seems to be a good, practical fit for me if we can work around this.  And I her.

I have questions:
1) When she says she is wary about letting me too far into her head ( "I have been straightforward about what a mess I am, and about the fact I don't believe any decent human being deserves to have to deal with my shit. I'm willing to try anything once or a few times, but I honestly believe I'm too damaged to be functional in any kind of healthy relationship and that mere exposure to the full scope of the mess in my head is enough to damage a decent person far beyond what I find acceptable. Like I said - I like you. You're a great guy. Which is exactly why I don't want to let you too far in"), what does she mean?  She is less hateful than my ex-wife, who was Jezebel reincarnate.  What is inside there, and how can I handle/manage/deal with  it?  If I can?

2) Does this seem viable enough for us to take things slowly?  We have no choice.  She is an attorney, I teach college English, and we live a little ways away.  

3) She is determined not to show "vulnerability" by acting as if she cares for me.  When I pin her on it, she says things like "i won't admit to it, but the fact that I was whining when you needed to get off the phone ought to tell you something."  Facta non verba here, correct?

4) Any other advice you might have?  I would like things to work, but I don't want to feel used either. 

"I read this recently on your blog as posted by another reader: 'With other sociopaths, I believe there is fear of rejection, inability to respond emotionally and the ever-present wall so many of us have built. We get sick of being rejected, of being labeled, judged or 'fixed.' When someone gets past the wall of a sociopath, they will typically find a deep pool of human emotions they didn't expect. These emotions are shown to few and are always followed by efforts to re-establish comfortable emotional distance. If you're not a sociopath and you had the opportunity to 'swim in the pool,' feel privileged, as few do. We're lonely, misunderstood people.' 

A friend of mine who is sociopathic claims to protect me by 'not letting me too far inside.'  What may be in there, and why the reluctance?"

Thanks for your knowledge and all you do.  Respects!  

And since I'm like 11 months behind in replying to emails, upon asking for a quick follow up on what had happened in the last year, the reader continued:

She ended up just cutting off contact. And marrying a man who was a lot like me, yet obviously dumb and easy to control.  I bet he doesnt know about her psychopathy, though he will find out about this eventually, I am sure.  Then again, there are people who are ok with this.

I ended up going on antidepressants but then realized that plenty of people have selfish motives and veil them,which may be even more dishonest.  Like some of you typed, it's kind of like surviving cancer, being let in that far.  But I don't regret the experience at all.  Big insight into human nature . . .

She did have integrity and did give me the chance to have informed consent, which she did not have to do.  Why do you think she even bothered with this?? Maybe she liked me enough to not let me in too far, or maybe because I was/am intelligent, I wouldn't be easy enough or fun enough to try to dupe.

I have learned from this: being raised by motorcycle clubs since I was 16, I am very loyal though I myself have sociopathic leanings in the eyes of the dominant culture due to this.  I put my people first.  I have learned that channeling this woman appropriately and thinking about how somebody like her might handle a situation allows me to detach enough to think critically and oftentimes give the people I work around what they want without hurting anybody *or* coming on too strong with it, which she does sometimes.

I am Wiccan and am joining the Freemasons, so these things provide me with a good background to not feel bad about getting what I want while still providing an injunction against deliberately screwing other people over.

The experience freaked me out, but it taught me a lot too.

Any commentary would be appreciated.

My response: The idea of informed consent is interesting, I find myself doing it with people that I sort of respect -- they're not the average sheep, but someone whom I could honestly see myself having uncommon meetings of the minds with. I sort of write about it here.

She reminds be a little bit of the Violet character from True Blood, if you've seen it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Feckless Aspie, Clueless Sociopath

From a comment in response to the question of why do aspie's come across so much better than sociopaths do:

I can see a few reasons.

The aspie comes off as feckless; he can't help it. 

There are a few ways the sociopath can blow it. 

1) He doesn't anticipate the disgust. E.g. an American in Thailand might pat a kid on the head. Similarly, I might remark to a mother/daughter pair, "it is amazing to think that she came out of you," because I just don't have the same feelings about things. Observers think, "the sociopath is disgusting."

2) He acts charming to get something. Then he takes it, impulsively, when the opportunity appears. Feelings of betrayal and hatred arise in the victim and observers, because the victim thinks, "he could & should have kept doing what I liked. He shouldn't have betrayed me." If you asked the sociopath why he deceived, he might say, "I gave the person what he wanted. Later, I saw an opportunity to take what I wanted, and I did."

3) The sociopath gets irritated by a person. There's stimulus -> rage -> plotting/scheming. The sociopath mostly thinks. He doesn't experience his feelings much. His response is to "act" either by doing something or thinking about what to do; it isn't to experience the feelings, question the feelings, question the assessment of the situation that led to the feelings. The sociopath might build weapons (or the equivalent) and stash them, anticipating a conflict; that's a way to "let off steam" by taking action. 

Finally, in response to a trigger, the sociopath lashes out and executes a plan, perhaps using preplanned elements. Outside observers see the sociopath as being impulsive, vicious, premeditated and overreacting. 

Feelings of horror or fear arise in observers and they decide the sociopath is very frightening, extreme and beyond redemption. It doesn't help that when they interview the sociopath after the stuff, he'll probably sound quite unemotional; observers will translate that into, "he not human."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Do narcissists love?

I've been reading Sam Vaknin's book "Malignant Self Love" and thought I would share his opinion on how narcissists view love, in contrast to how sociopaths conceive of love:
Do narcissists miss loving, would they have liked to love and are they angry with their parents for crippling them so?

To the narcissist, these questions are incomprehensible. There is no way he can answer them. Narcissists never love. They do not know what is it that they are supposedly missing. Observing it from the outside, love seems to them to be a risible pathology. They equate love with weakness. They hate being weak and they hate and despise weak people (such as the very old, the sick, the poor, and the very young). They do not tolerate what they consider to be stupidity, disease and dependence - and love seems to be comprised of all three. These are not sour grapes. They really feel this way.

Narcissists are angry men - but not because they never experienced love and probably never will. They are angry because they are not as powerful, awe inspiring and successful as they wish they were and, to their mind, deserve to be. Because their daydreams refuse so stubbornly to come true. Because they are their worst enemy. And because, in their unmitigated paranoia, they see adversaries plotting everywhere and feel discriminated againdst and contemptuously ignored.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

TED Talk on Empathy

From a reader:

I recently viewed this Ted Talk about empathy, and as a person who has never truly experienced it, the presentation was rather interesting. What I found especially fascinating was the role of mirror neurons in the empathetic process. Could it be that sociopaths cannot utilize (or do not possess) mirror neurons, thus making us physiologically incapable of empathizing with others? 

Another point mentioned was the tie between empathy, religion, and the development of society. Rifkin states that empaths are able to relate to those of their own religion and nationality. As an atheist (and someone who exhibits most of the "sociopathic characteristics" that are generally recognized in psychology), I personally cannot see why religion might create stronger empathetic bonds between people. As a Mormon, have you ever noticed yourself favoring those who share your religious beliefs, and perhaps even relating to them to a higher degree?

The speaker brought up the earthquake in Haiti, which was actually the event that caused me to question if I was a sociopath. While I saw others crying about the event on social media and even in public, I didn't have any sympathy for those who experienced the earthquake, and my callousness made me look like an outsider in a crowd of extremely emotional people. 

In the presentation, there is also a constant theme of civilization only being possible with empathy. If so, why are there so many sociopaths taking the highest positions in society almost seamlessly? Why are empaths so proud of their ability to have others influence them so greatly?

I'd love to know your thoughts on the matter. 

M.E.: I have never really felt myself feeling closer to other Mormons, maybe because I'm not enough like them to feel like one of them. In fact I remember vividly one instance in which I visited a Temple open house and was surrounded by thousands of little redheaded Mormon children and almost had a panic attack because I got it in my head that I would stick out more there than usual -- that I would be outed. I remember (also vividly) the first time that I felt patriotism, in my early 20s. Not surprisingly, it was while playing a Sousa march accompanied by 250 blaring other musicians. (I say not surprisingly because I often feel like I can get in touch with emotions via music that are otherwise not as available to me.)

The fetish that empaths have with empathy is one of the great mysteries to me. Only a few psychologists and other researchers question it's presumed dominance and importance in society, culture, and human interrelations. I have often pointed out, to those who might be interested, what I find to be the limitations and or quirks of empathy. A favorite recent examples is the story of the Norwegian child bride. I don't want to ruin the effect for anybody, who should experience it for themselves, but you can read about it here.

Still I think it's interesting what an uproar it created. And you think of how many times a similar situation happens elsewhere and how little we care. But that's empathy for you.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Passion and compassion

I liked this comment from a while ago:

Anon. continued -- and it goes without saying, I love the hell out of her. I love her the way a normal guys loves his dearest possession. I love her in the sense that I want her to be happy (agape). And I love her waist-to-hip ratio (eros).

I also love her in the way that if she betrays me in a way that hurts (not all betrayal bugs me) and I can get away with retaliating in a cruel way, I'll do it. And she knows that. 

A test: in order to stop your country from getting taken over - and a good chunk of the country purposefully killed and tortured (think of the Bolsheviks taking over Ukraine and causing the Holodomor) and dominating the country "forever", you need to sacrifice your wife. You must personally torture her to death. If you do that, your country will keep its autonomy. If you don't millions will suffer.

Would you do it?

I asked my friends if they thought I'd to that to my wife; they all knew the answer - and they knew that I'd reached it in about a second, without my pulse going up.
I asked the wife (also a psychopath). Her answer, "sucks to be me."

About the viewing people like machines, but still liking some: imagine you are a kid and you have an army of toy soldiers. You get into a "battle" with another kid and you lose soldiers. You really like yours (say they are elves). You don't like the orcs (ugly). You really want the elves to win, and you'll do what it takes to make it happen. Until maybe some of the elves piss you off, and then you decide that pointy-eared elves are OK, but the elves with rounded ears are really irritating - and have to go - preferably melted down, cut up in to pieces or blown up.

That explains why the German people were really great, until Hitler decided that all the really good ones were already dead (having followed their orders), and the only remaining ones were so disgusting and selfish they didn't deserve to live.

It is a childish and misanthrophic way to view humanity. It leads to a lot of suffering for the person that views reality that way.

The compassionate thing would be to hope that such a person could come around and see how great humans are and treasure all of them - including the psychopaths, normal people, etc.
But this isn't how normal people are. Psychopaths scare them and hence merit as much compassion as a pissed off snake.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


From a reader:

Hi, it's interesting to get a sociopath take on reality. I notice you try to 'justify' the sociopaths view of the world and this is often both thought-provoking and helpful.

However, is the socio take on the world false?

I'm interested in 'spirituality' and (as I think you've discussed before) many people who experience enlightenment believe the self to be an illusion. However, when they do experience enlightenment they all say they feel extremely high affinity for all life and inanimate objects. This is the polar opposite of a socio of course. If enlightenment reveals the truth, then the truth is we ought to have a very high degree of affinity for others. Since socio's have low or no affinity doesn't that suggest the way socios see the world is false? Possibly even somewhat animalistic and sub-human? (Btw I believe non-violent socio's ought to be tolerated and encouraged to be as open and honest as possible about themselves, as you do on your blog).

My response:

Yes, I think I sort of agree with you. The way that Buddhists seem to lose self in enlightenment is to realize the truth -- that they are just like everyone else, a meaningless spec that has fooled itself into believing that it controls its destiny. The way sociopaths seem to lose their sense of self is to be put in situations at a young age in which they see a sense of self (and accompanying emotions and loss of control) as a liability, and they are all too willing to abandon it. Sociopaths still have self, they just don't acknowledge it and give it meaning, the way they don't really acknowledge or give their emotions meaning. So yes, I would say that it is a false view of the world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On responsibility and change

A reader asks, among other things:

I think I know why I wrote to you now. You seem very intelligent. I like engaging with intelligent people even though I don't see myself as exceptionally intelligent. I like asking intelligent people questions especially someone like you who has a gift for articulation. I think at this point I want to ask your opinion: do you think it is possible that your disorder doesn't exist? What I mean is that sociopathy has a distinct set of criteria. Do you think that maybe these criteria have merely served to elucidate your identity rather than actually describing the phenomenon of a so-called mental disorder? sorry if I not making sense and you do not understand my question. It just seems as if your sense of self became infinitely more clear when you were diagnosed. Is it possible that we are all by and large sociopaths (and by the same logic- depressives, anti-socialists, aspergers and attentionally deficient individuals. All "disorders" that don't have a definite and distinct biological origin). I think you said something to the effect of: not all sociopaths exhibit the same set of behaviours but they can still be considered sociopaths if they exhibit enough of these. Would you say that the label of sociopath has given you some, if not all, of your identity and has served as a basis for all your beliefs about the world and yourself? And following the above questions: Don't you think that applying the label of sociopath to a proportion of individuals who exhibit these traits could potentially lead to a situation whereby individuals need not take responsibility for their actions? I have seen this in people with depression. In a sense the label absolves them from any effort to change their mindset. 

In this regard I wish to question whether creating a forum for sociopaths could perhaps do more harm than good. Obviously you have found resolve in the label and it seems as if it has helped you in your life. But do you think that there will be many individuals who could apply this label "sociopath" to themselves so as to validate their bad behaviours and absolve themselves of social responsibility?

I hope you can shed some light on this issue which I feel does not apply in isolation to sociopathy but rather to psychology at large. Again thank you for the read Ms. Thomas. 

My reply:

You asked "Would you say that the label of sociopath has given you some, if not all, of your identity and has served as a basis for all your beliefs about the world and yourself?" If anything, I think it was the opposite. My beliefs about the world and myself led me to be sociopathic. I'll give a quick example. I have long known that I am manipulative. But even knowing that I could not stop because there was nothing to replace it with. How could I decide what to do and not to do without considering the effect that it would have on others? And if I was considering the effect, then I was being manipulative, sort of by definition, every single choice that I made and action that I took because it always done for the purposes of getting the best result for me -- getting people to choose the thing that benefited me most.

How did I learn to stop manipulating? I had to realize that I actually did have a self, that without considering anybody else in the world I had natural preferences. And as long as I ignored everyone else's existence and just acted on my natural preference, there was no way that I could be manipulating. And so I am now capable of not doing one of the classic behaviors that sociopaths are supposedly stuck with for life.

Your question about using the diagnosis as a cop out seems sort of right, but if anything sociopaths are punished for having the label as opposed to people without it or with other labels. So even if it is a cop out for certain disorders, I don't see it happening any time soon with sociopathy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Guilt vs Remorse - the Subjective Experience

From a reader:

Typical thing you'll read: "Psychopathic offenders do not feel any remorse for their crimes even if they admit guilt. That’s an important distinction."

This is a huge distinction for normal people. it explains why psychopathic offenders scare them so much.

How it happens: in the middle of a situation, I've got a choice to make. I can zig like everyone else or zag. Zigging will cost me, but it will be the socially appropriate thing. Most people will automatically zig.

I look at the situation and "do the math". I ought to zag. It is unsocial, but it will save me a lot of pain. Yes, there's uncertainty. If I get caught zagging, there'll be consequences. My future self will have to pay for them, and I can't know what they'll be - it won't just be compensatory damages, but a bunch of other stuff tacked on for having a bad conscience.

But on balance, zagging is the right thing to do. There's no doubt in my mind - zagging is "wrong" - as in, society defines it as "bad". But zagging, on balance, is the thing to do, because its expected value is so much higher, so I zag, doing it as best as I can.

This is me, in the clutch, doing the best job I can do. It also happens to be me doing something society calls "evil".

Immediately after, there might be some fear of getting caught. I'll think, "shit I just zagged. Catastrophe A, Catastrophe B or etc. might happen." I might feel some fear or even a little guilt - pangs of conscience. As in, I should have just zigged and saved myself the trouble."

Then I think, "wait a sec, pussy. You've got a decision to make. You zagged. That's in the past. RIGHT NOW, you've got a choice: stick with what you've done (and your future self deals with any consequences) or go confess and make amends. Are you going to make amends and pay up?"

The answer is generally, "no way." Not a chance in hell. It looks like I'm getting away with it, so there's no point to caving in now.

And confessing and making amends looks very risky, because I hurt someone else, and you never know how upset they'll get. If they are narcissistic, they may go out of the way to punish me. The overall liability is not just the damage done, but the risk to reputation caused by confessing, punitive damages for being immoral, etc.

A typical thought: as much as it sucks to be a victim of my zagging, it will suck for my future self to pay the price for zagging if I confess.

How do I feel about my past self - the one that did the act?

When I look back on the past, I might dislike myself a bit. But mostly I think, "at that time, I had the mind that I had. In that situation again, with that same mind, I'd make the same decision. I didn't choose my thoughts or impulses in that moment, nor did I choose to restrain or not restrain them. It just unfolded, like water going over a waterfall."

I look at others the same way. I don't see any free will. Go back far enough and I didn't choose to be born to my flawed parents, raised in such a way that I developed with shitty impulse control. But that's how it unfolded.

What's done is done. If the bill eventually comes due, my future self will have to deal with the consequences. Hopefully it will accept them with equanimity.

There's little to no remorse - but why should their be? I don't have "guilt" that the whites arrived in the New World and killed off the Indians. How else could it have possibly gone, given how the universe was back then? Similarly, I don't have guilt about my shitty actions; how else could it have gone?

Of course, having gone through an event like this, there's a lot of learning. The next time I'm in a situation where I have to choose between zigging or zagging, it is extremely likely I'll zag at the drop of a hat, and never look back. In fact, one will likely start to zag earlier and often, or with more flair. All the while, the guilt-like fear response gets more and more diminished. If one gets caught after a run of that, one gets no sympathy or compassion.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Quiet sociopath

From a reader:

I'm just wondering if it is possible to be a quiet sociopath? I always put myself as a quiet, reserved person that can see through everyone. Then, I use my quiet personality to manipulate their emotions for my benefits. But I don't hurt's just exhilarating to do it.

Signs in me:

With the different people I hang out with, I would always adjusts myself to a personality similar to them so that I could get close to their vulnerable side. I could be any personality and can be multiple personalities toward different ppl.

I always mentally murder someone in the head if I disliked them.

My friend told me she was happy that I am normal. She said this because one of our classmate at school actually tried to strangle someone. Anyways that person is a psychopath and is diagnosed with depression. When my friend told me that, I was glad she thought I was normal and not crazy.

When I was in Grade 1, I was very self-centered and bossy, but I've realized how I'm different from others at a very young age.

I really need help!

Thanks for taking your time reading this.

I think it's possible to be a quiet sociopath. I think a lot of sociopaths actually would prefer to avoid the spotlight if they could. I often use the example of between George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Cheney is the much more likely sociopath -- the powerbroker in the shadows. Sound familiar?

Friday, October 10, 2014


From "The Last Nude" by Avery Ellis, via "The Best Bisexual Women's Literature":

Ever since my sixteenth birthday, my body had felt like a coin in an unfamiliar currency: small, shiny, and heavy, obviously of value to somebody, but not to me… My body felt coincidental to me—I could just as easily be a tree, a stone, a gust of wind. For so long, I still felt like the ten-year-old me, skinny as a last wafer of soap, needling through Washington Square on her way to Baxter Street. But my months with Tamara had worn away the lonely old questions and replaced them with a greed of my own: my body was just a fact, this night, a kind of euphoria. I coincided with it, and with the dancing crowd. Throbbing with the horns and drums, we formed a waterfall passing over a light, each of us a drop, a spark, bright, gone. The music danced us, and I knew it wouldn’t last, this body I’d learnt to love.

Does this mental detachment with one's body familiar anyone?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Liking and not liking

A reader asked me if I dislike wearing masks and what else I might like doing:

I think that it's easy to start resenting the mask if you feel like you have to wear it, that other people or your circumstances are making you wear it. And then you will do little things to act out, like a put-upon husband will look for ways to escape or sabotage his marriage, maybe. I am not sure the acting is sustainable, but the older you get, I think the less scrutinized you become.

For me the most satisfying thing I do is playing music. It's manipulative and I control it but it also controls me. It's what the best love affairs are supposed to be, I imagine. Apart from that, I think I just like doing something that I'm good at and getting caught up in the flow. I like things that occupy my complete attention, whatever they may be. They give me a respite from myself and the circular thoughts plague me. If I don't have something else to think about, I feel like my thoughts turn in on themselves, like an ingrown toe nail or like I'm standing in between two mirrors. They quickly turn meta and then meta upon meta. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Psychopathy in the Army

From a reader:

As a veteran reading “Natural Killers – Turning the Tide of Battle” by Major David Pierson, I was a stricken by the assumption that it’s sociopaths who make up “natural killers” on the battlefield.  A member of Joint Special Operations Command, I was one of the guys sneaking around at night snatching up all those high value targets in the war on terror.  I was also a sniper in one of these units.  More than one source of data suggests psychopaths are drawn to commando units and sniper teams in particular.  Hell, I remember feeling a vague sense of discomfort after reading the last DSM criteria for ASPD, which listed impulsivity, aggression, tendency to break social norms, enjoy alcohol, and engage in a series of sexual relationships with little emotional attachment.  Most of us in my unit really enjoyed our time overseas, had fun in combat, and still crave the thrill of assaulting an objective.  The implications are… unnerving.  

But despite Pierson’s presumption, there’s a more nuanced perspective of ASPD, psychopathy, and sociopathy in relation to his idea of natural killers on the battlefield.  I believe archetypal psychopaths, though drawn to commando units, typically wash out of the elite selection processes.  This is because elite military units require a strong sense of social cohesiveness.  

Major David Pierson’s research draws heavily from Colonel Grossman’s research for his book On Killing, which drew heavily from the Gen. Marshall study on soldiers’ ability to kill following WWII.  Pierson describes an experience in Iraq, in which he witnessed a friend of his, a soldier, who had become battle fatigued after a brief fire fight.  He described the soldier as being “shaken by the episode,” and “not a natural killer.”  A natural killer wouldn’t have been shaken by the incident above.  A natural killer, Pierson goes on, is callous, adventurous, possesses a dark sense of humor, is athletic, and enjoys fighting.  

These are all the common traits of the unit I served with, and traits which couldn’t describe me better.  My unit rarely had problems with guys being battle-fatigued, and never had problems with guys failing to pull the trigger when needed.  Indeed, Pierson points out that aggressive psychopaths seek out positions in “airborne, Ranger, and special forces” units.  However, Pierson jumps to the conclusion that natural killers in combat are necessarily aggressive psychopaths.  After all, the traits described above do not necessarily a psychopath make.  In fact, they only apply to some facets of the diagnosis for ASPD in the DSM.  Though many expect most of us to be sociopathic, there’s actually limited data to suggest psychopaths are overrepresented in the profession. 

In my experience, commandos do have a certain profile that is almost ubiquitous in the industry.  Obviously, thrill seeking is the biggest prerequisite for special operations, but other, maybe surprising traits tend to pop up in the community.  We tend to be obsessive, single minded kind of guys, so the addiction trait is quite, quite common (every guy I know, including myself, are mild to severe addicts).  Next is some form of mild Attention Deficit Disorder.  Last, the guys are generally smart and eccentric.  These are not the “military” types you see running around with cropped haircuts and army boots in their off time (think – Marine) though they are tough guys.

That being said, some traits above do tend to mesh with some ASPD criteria.  Being an elite soldier means jumping out of planes and helicopters, mastering weapons of violence, applying medical trauma skills at the EMT-P level, and enjoying hand-to-hand combat.  There must be a powerful intuition to suppress emotions and engage in violence.  So to a certain extent, lack of empathy and remorse, a desire to break social norms, impulsivity, and aggression are prerequisites of the job.  While Pierson’s essay encourages leaders to identify natural killers in their units, the selection process for special operations units does a brilliant job finding them, institutionally.  

The selection process for elite units can be divided into two major assessment portions.  The hard physical selection weed-out process, like hell-week for navy seals’ Basic Underwater Demolition School, or the first week of the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, coerces groups of cadets into performing strenuous group activities which depend on cooperation.  These drills require a sort of pack-like behavioral sense for cadets to succeed.  I can’t stress enough how socially demanding group drills are in a selection setting.
On the opposite end, however, comes individual talent drills which do not allow for others to pick up any slack.  One way the army selects for individual talent draws heavily from the British commando schools of the 40s, by requiring land navigation challenges, orienteering for the civilian reader, to assess whether an applicant can think on his feet and surmount arduous physical demands without any help from a comrade.  Land navigation, basically being dropped in the woods with a map and compass and told to find a bunch of points, is the LSAT or GMAT for the commando.  I suspect an intelligent psychopath could thrive on the latter, though struggle with the former.  

It’s hard to explain the mindset of working in an elite military unit.  While individual skills are necessary to succeed in the environment, group cohesion is equally important.  Small unit movements are a thing of awe.  Each member of the team works off one another, effortlessly, to flow through rooms, maintain 360 degrees of security, and achieve an objective.  There is an almost preternatural sense of being aware what the entire unit is doing, an exercise of reptilian and mammalian brain functions.  It takes a degree of yes, empathetic feeling to experience this as second nature.  The less you have to concentrate on what everyone else is doing, the more your cognitive attention can focus on what’s in front of you, and how to accomplish the larger mission.  This takes a lot of practice.  I would conjecture that the psychopath, who has a remarkably lower blood flow to the socially activated portions of the brain, would have a harder time concentrating during small unit tactics.  At least he’d have more difficulty developing the bonds necessary to thrive in the environment.  

All that being said, during my time as a DOD contractor and commando in Afghanistan and Iraq, I did come across what you’d call a traditional psychopath, albeit rarely.  I’m talking about the archetypal psychopath, the guy who stares at people and makes them uncomfortable, the guy incapable of reacting to other peoples’ emotional states without effort, who genuinely won’t feel guilty after a bad shooting incident, who sincerely enjoys playing head games with people.  But they had a hard time staying in a crew.  Sometimes it’d be the occasional inappropriate assault, sometimes the attempted murder of a comrade (yes, I’m not kidding).  There were a couple guys I knew, though, traditional sociopaths, but smart enough to fake it and control themselves to gel on a team.  I tended to enjoy their company, actually.  There’s a lot of entertainment to be had with a legit sociopath. 

Last, Pierson makes some great observations in identifying killers in a unit.  Overwhelmingly, guys in special operations come from middle-to-upper class backgrounds, are extroverted, and have higher technical scores than the rest of the military.  The class background in particular warrants further study.  While many who join the military do so for job skills or college money, men who enlist for commando units have no expectation of gaining either of these.  The types who volunteer for a professionally worthless job skill do so for adventure, and little else.  Ironically, volunteering for the most arduous, Hollywood positions in the military comes from a position of privilege.  I still struggle to wrap my head around that.  

Ultimately, I suspect most true aggressive psychopaths drawn to commando units wash out during some point of the selection process, or are kicked out because they either have a hard time getting along with comrades or get caught conducting illegal activity.  Otherwise Pierson’s description of a natural killer is pretty accurate.  To most of us who thrive during our time in a deadly unit, we have just enough ASPD traits to do well, but also enough empathy to flow as a cohesive unit and genuinely care for one another in the event of a casualty.  You could say we have ASPD in all the right places.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A (sociopathic?) poem

A young poet reader seeks to capture the sociopathic mind (accurately?):

A Sociopathic Mind
Should I laugh or should I cry?                                                                                                                            To this tragedy before my eyes                                                                                                                    Emotions and feelings tumble about,                                                                                                                     While I wonder why people need to shout.
Surrounded by exclamations of joy and fear,                                                                                                                I quietly sit with my crocodile tears.                                                                                                        Everything on this earth is part of my twisted game,                                                                                          And I am the hidden beast you cannot tame.
As the endless cycle of doldrums takes its toll,                                                                                                          I secretly plot on the avarice of souls.                                                                                                                           Deceit and lies are the tools of my trade,                                                                                                            Tools I use at my continuous bade.                                                            
I am the one with a thousand faces,                                                                                                                   To suit a multiple and plethora of tastes.                                                                                                                       And while I am different from all the rest,                                                                                                        There is no need for you to be in duress.
I live my life as a continuous gamble,                                                                                                                     With facts and odds and where loot lies ample.                                                                                              And while I do not plot for your ultimate demise,                                                                                               To cross me would be wholly unwise.
My kind hides behind charm and misconceptions,                                                                                               So I hope you will forgive us for our little deception.                                                                                         With our piercing gaze, we watch the sheep                                                                                                You will never guess what our souls shall reap.
I can be found wherever my whims takes thee,                                                                                               Even if my impulses might bring either harm or glee.                                                                                     We are free from the shackles society has set,                                                                                                       And will fulfill our goals with either charisma or threat.
We are actually a peaceful lot despite what TV has said,                                                                             Even if we do not care, we do not want you dead.                                                                                       We just want games to quench our thirst,                                                                                                          To relieve the boredom that makes our mind burst.
We see the world in a different light,                                                                                                                          Where emotions are irreverent and pragmaticity is might.                                                                            We follow the rules and love one another,                                                                                                          Although our minds are programmed differently than others.
As this poem comes to a finality and an end 
I hope that you and I can still be friends 
Even though you know I am hidden in the flock 
Fitting in a circle hole as a square block

Monday, October 6, 2014

Never Home School a Sociopath

From a reader (and let's play a game where we guess what gender the sociopathic reader is then I tell you at the end):


First, I do want to express my sincere appreciation for your having written your book.  There are so many expressions of your perspective that absolutely take my breath away with their accuracy.  I really thought I was the only one who thought the same things.

Let me start by saying that I am a miserably bad sociopath.  I have all the intellect, the lack of emotion, the ruthlessness, the egoism and swagger, the charm, the wit, the lack of absolute moral code, etc.  I rate fairly high but not the highest on every sociopath "test" I've taken so far, mostly because many tests unfairly include causing harm to others a requisite.  However, I often fail when it comes to using these advantages in the workplace or in my personal life.  When I do succeed (and I definitely have), it's often due more to raw talent and intelligence than any utilization of my skill set.

You see, for a long time, I was (and still am in some ways) completely and unfairly crippled by the fact that I was home schooled from 4th through 7th grade.  Being thrown into the lion's den of junior high school with no context or social capabilities would be bad enough for an empath, but is obviously a nightmare for someone like me.  To have those years back and be able to observe and participate in the most essential social development years would be invaluable to me.

As a result of this, I stumbled my way through my teen years, always a few degrees off kilter from everyone else and unable to understand that they most decidedly did not think or feel like me.  In fact, not even knowing there was any other way to think or feel.  I would often enter social situations and groups, dazzling them with the native charm but fairly quickly become the most hated member of the circle without ever knowing why.  They just knew somehow that I was not like them, that I didn't relate to anything they were saying or feeling.

This background has turned me into a different sort of sociopath, I think.  I have developed an abhorrence for harming others; you see, everyone I could harm during my social development years was someone essential to my survival or personal enjoyment.  This left me completely defenseless when dumped unceremoniously into the public world.  Also as a result of this, I've probably also suffered more harm than they typical sociopath might, as i developed an extreme hesitation to strike back and have typically been utterly naive to possible threats to my person.

I could go on, but you're no stranger to the aspects of wearing this strange mantle.  Suffice it to say that, although it's rather late, I'm glad to finally feel free to know and be who I am. 


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Am I a sociopath?

A reader wonders if he is a sociopath:

I had no idea what a sociopath is. Before I saw the American psycho movie a psychopath was synonym to killer in my dictionary and I am certainly not a killer so psychopath was just not the answer I've been looking for. But the movie made me do some research and stuff and now sociopath may be the answer to all my questions.

I was ten years old when I realised that I am not an ordinary child, I grew up in a muslim family with two kind and loving parents (especially my mother), my father owned a farm where we would go and spend the week-ends. You would assume that I have killed some animals in our farm but I never did. However, I did torture them all and each time I was caught by my father or any of the workers I was beaten to the ground which I didn't understand back then, but they've always told me my soul would burn in hell if I kept doing it which eventually caused me to stop. But each time they would beat me, I would sit alone and ask myself a lot of questions, what did I do wrong? Why is he hitting me? Why care for an animal? Maybe he loves the animal more than me? ... the day I figured it out I was so scared of what I've been doing that I had to create a new me, one that can cover all the evil I've been doing, so I would invent a nerd version of me, for a whole year it was just A's and books and a lonely time in my room, which would comfort my parents for a while, but I wasn't satisfied with the change I've done, I could always sense the presence of the evil within me, and the fact that everyone else seemed so innocent made me hate them all.

 by the time I was fourteen I had to create new layers of my new personality, I developed an athletic me who excelled in boxing and basket-ball, later it has become easy to create layers or masks at any moment I want. I would invent a romantic guy, the bad-ass, the good-guy, the naive, and my favorite the stupid guy. And, I never let them go, in fact I've been always aware of people around me, I could tell what they're thinking, how they're feeling. I used my masks to make contact with them, in a point that they would always feel comfortable to me, and from then it was cake to make them do whatever I wanted. The sad thing is that I did it even with my parents. At high-school I convinced my parents step-by-step that I was seing ghosts, and that I may be losing my mind so they would buy me the car I wanted, and I don't know if the psychiatrist they brought me, sucks at his job or did I excel at acting, that guy confirmed my imaginary show. I manipulated a lot of people, and I knew it was bad ,but I was good at it. And It seemed enough for me to keep on doing it. It was then when my insomnia started, and until tody I only sleep twice a week for a few hours, then I'm on the clock. Not that I spend my nights regretting anything, I never have this kind of problem, I usually spend the nights wandering the Streets looking for trouble or adventures, and at sunrise I have to shower, look good then go back to my game. With time, questions kept bothering me. Who am I? everyone seemed obsessed with seeking validation from other fellow humans, except me, why am I so different? And, why am I doing this? I got bored after all, people were getting dumber and dumber and I couldn't find a challenge, game over I've beaten the boss. Then I taught I should look for a new passion, and I was either going back to torturing animals, explore killing and stuff; Or turn the Wheel for 360 degrees and seek redemption, which I am still looking for.

 I helped a lot of people in the last two years, probably more than those I've ruined their lives. The interesting case was sam, she had some Relationship problems both in her family and with her boyfriend, (both relationships that I've never had) yet I've been able to anticipate sam's choices in a way that kept her away from harm, and strengthen her confidence, what I didn't anticipate was when sam told me she's in love with me. I panicked, and sam never heard of me again. Love doesn't make any sense to me, most people are seeking it, even in the movies, books, the human world is based on love. Which made mine seem so different. I've never loved someone, I missed people for sure, but it wouldn't cause me any mood change, or disturb my thinking. I've helped a lot of guys to seduce their crushes, I even get messages from friends saying that I give the best advice, and that I have a huge wisdom about life. That they cherish me and that I'm big in their eyes, even if I take everything theoretically; Because my logic is flawless, my lack of feelings, helps my brain to think logically.
For the physical part I am a good looking guy, tall with dark hair and big golden eyes, a strong chin and an athletic body that I managed to keep sculpted disregard my lack of sleep. So maybe I am a sociopath, maybe I am something else. I guess if my actions were of sociopathy I would find the redemption I've been seeking. If not then I am what I am.
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