Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ocean to my shark

From a reader:

I read the entire thing yesterday. It was fascinating. I'm not a sociopath or psychopath - I took the test and ridiculously low. I actually wouldn't mind being just a little bit sociopathic; I care way too much about the stuff that doesn't bother sociopaths at all, which is a big part of why I'm interested. 

Anyway, I'm really interested in atypical neurology; as I've tried to understand other people and myself, I've learned that part of the reason people are different is that their brains genuinely process things differently. So my reading brought me to Kevin Dutton's books, and then to yours. By the way, if you haven't read his more recent book, The Good Psychopath's Guide to Success, I highly recommend it. One thing I like about his books is that he acknowledges that neural atypicalness doesn't automatically doom people to evil or uncontrolled violence, that there's a lot of other factors.

This is actually important to me partly on account of fictional characters; I get probably too involved in some of my favorite fictional worlds. After Thor 2 came out last fall I got dragged into a six-month flame war on tumblr because I and a few others pointed out that the supposed villain's actual behavior isn't any worse than that of the supposed hero - actually, it's much better; he kills fewer people and with better reasons. And the way the supposed good guys in that movie treat their enemies is horrifying; a limit on how cruel you are to your enemies is supposed to be one of the distinctions between the good guys and bad guys, but a lot of the people who flamed us for this seemed to figure the whole point is that once you label someone as a bad guy, anything you want to do to them is okay. It's just like people saying that we ought to put sociopaths on islands or something. And while I'm not a sociopath, I am a misfit, and gay, and converted to Judaism a few years ago, so I am all too aware of the danger in such thinking.

We got some sympathy from some Harry Potter fans, because the fans of that series have been arguing fiercely for years about Slytherin. Are Slytherins just evil by nature, or is it just that people distrust their habits of manipulation and opportunism? And what kind of society labels a fourth of its population as evil at the age of 11 and then treats them all like dirt for the rest of their lives? And while I don't think all the Slytherin characters are sociopaths, I also think most sociopaths would be sorted into Slytherin.

As I've read these books on socipathy, I've realized that some people I've known were probably sociopaths. Most of them weren't violent, but they were skilled at manipulating and were emotionally detached from a very young age. I am terrible at manipulating people, so people who are good at it intrigue me. Some of the sociopaths I've known have harmed me, but empaths have caused me a lot more pain and damage because they couldn't or wouldn't control their emotional impulses. I'm inclined to think the world could use a few benign sociopaths, like you and some of those Kevin Dutton writes about.

I think it was really brave of you to tell your story, and I'm sorry you had to stop teaching because of it. I don't think that was right at all when you didn't do anything. I think we can hope people are starting to understand neural atypicality more and that law-abiding sociopaths won't continue to be condemned for what they are instead of what they do. Maybe.

You might like to read the novel The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten. It's a spoof of Twilight, in which Bella (Bonnie is her name in this version) is the sociopath and she seduces Edward because she likes the idea of being immortal. She's not a benign sociopath - she's killed people, for one thing - but from what I've read, the book seems to have accurately captured the sociopath way of looking at things. There's one line where she scoffs at the label "antisocial": "I love society. It's like the ocean to my shark."


  1. Awesome analogy. I'm gonna remember that.

  2. May as well face the fact: You are going to suicide yourself.
    What's better? Dragging along for 30 years and threatening to "jump in the lake,"
    or jumping in the lake now?

    1. Do I smell a little animosity? No, I understand. You've seen what the future holds and don't want this substandard person to suffer years upon years on this unforgiving earth. You're a most thoughtful person. Unless, indeed, you despise something of this person. Are you homophobic, is it the chosen religion, because the controversial and apparently analytical views of Thor 2 and the Harry Potters disagree with you, or is it because this person shares admiration with sociopaths? Maybe you're nothing but a troll telling random people to swim with the fishes.
      In any case, I say to you: "Way to put on your big boy pants."

  3. Not for nothing, but OP's behavior does sound like someone who is more comfortable than not with a bulls-eye on their forehead.

  4. I read most of "The Good Psychopath's Guide to Success".

    Kevin Dutton is of the opinion that the psychopathic personality consists of a particular combination of traits which can be attenuated or amplified. While I agree with his assessment, and concede that the book may be helpful for people who wish to develop and/or harness psychopathic traits to their advantage, it doesn't offer useful advice for those of us already on the spectrum, whose psychopathic "dials" are turned up a bit too high.

    That said, the strange looks people are apt to give you for reading such a dubious book are indeed amusing. XD

    1. @A

      The most useful advice to psychopaths I can think of is that they figure somehow to resist taking advantage of their friends. Psychopaths are focused on gains so much that sometimes they can't see the aftermath of their game. Like any creature, psychopath wants to stay alive and function well. But they may flip themselves over, "loose feeding opportunities" by flipping the near and dear.

    2. I get what is really an unhealthy pleasure out of doing just that. The looks that people give you when reading any book on sociopathy or psychopathy can be priceless. What's even more fun is when someone has the balls to ask you about it.

      I haven't gotten to Dutton yet, but I plan to soon.

      My take on S/P-pathy is that it's a perfectly natural adaptation that sometimes presents "out of context." With fairly rare exceptions as far as I can tell, abuse and neglect result in fairly consistently aggressive people (this seems to extend to many animals as well but I don't want to loose focus). Given this consistency and the overall fairly high frequency of people on the spectrum (~5%-ish depending on the study and source and who's funding it), to my eyes that looks a whole lot more like natures way to adapt to things not going so well.

      There are also some studies that have linked heavy metals (lead, cadmium, etc., not Slayer or Black Sabbath...;p) to high crime rates. Given some of the industrial practices of the past couple of hundred years - particularly the 20th Century, my guess is that there are some epigenetic triggers lurking in there we'll be hearing more about in the future.

      The difficulty is the expression of those aggressive traits where they are not appropriate and in ways that are more destructive than helpful. If it's a region beset with violence, (e.g. The Middle East), than growing up to be aggressive is not the worst thing that can happen to you. However, if these traits are triggered during times when things are going well, they would be out of place and the person can have some difficulties in life.

    3. I'm having a bad typo day...Ack!!! XP

    4. "The difficulty is the expression of those aggressive traits where they are not appropriate and in ways that are more destructive than helpful. If it's a region beset with violence, (e.g. The Middle East), than growing up to be aggressive is not the worst thing that can happen to you. However, if these traits are triggered during times when things are going well, they would be out of place and the person can have some difficulties in life."

      Exactly. Cluster b spectrums can be used to ur advantage or for ur own destruction. In dialectic behavioral therapy we learn which dog to feed and which dog in us that need to starve. But it depends what situation is being presented. Sometimes the claws can be a good thing. :D

      Leadership clergy in the church is filled with narcs. Not bad people until you stop feeding their supply. ;) They love the high seats. Anyone sit in their seat - watch it buster ! Haha. My ex pastor is a narc I believe.. loves the glory upon him... very charismatic. ...charming. He tried picking me up once when his wife wasn't around. I was dumbfounded. Years later - I have figured out. Never told his wife - wasn't worth it..she wouldn't believe me and I'm not into wrecking families. But I lost my respect for him. I wasn't mad, I just left. Can't be bothered with that shit.

    5. "Sometimes the claws can be a good thing. :D"

      And FUN!!! XD~

      I do very poorly with narcs - any indication of being seen as "supply" usually ends badly and sometimes in interesting and entertaining those outside the drama. For those of us involved...I can't think of any "repeat offenders"...well, other than me...

      Hats off to you for your self control - keep them doggies healed! 8)~

    6. @Superchick: Your Pastor was a jackass. I would have taken pleasure in gutting him, right on the spot. I have no respect for those who abuse the trust of others in the name of God... who misuse His name to mask their true intentions, or promote self-righteousness. I am not religious, and I am both a narcissist and an asshole- but I am a believer.

      "The fear if God is the beginning of wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding".

      By that definition, I possess neither wisdom nor understanding- but I am not in the pulpit attempting to preach what I cannot practice. There is nothing I disrespect more than demons who masquerade as angels-

      Probably because my own halo fell off a long time ago.


    7. YOU GOT TO HAVE A HALO!?!?! What was it like? ;p

      I've been thinking a bit on this and I've never felt like I "had a halo." I've faked it on more occasions than I can even hope to recall, but I've always had a sense that I'm...not good? That's not quite's more that I understand that I can take actions that most people can't allow themselves to consider.

      I choose to do more "constructive" behaviors, but I really do see it as a choice.

      Near as I can tell, it is deeply connected to my view that actions are a choice - I can do anything I choose to. I choose not to do a lot of things that would be good. However, I'm not really bound by much more than a choice and a commitment to acting in this way.

      I can see how "empaths" might find this disturbing...

    8. That was a glib statement, HL. I never had a halo. But I do try to be good. Sometimes. In some ways. :P

    9. :D @ HLH & A
      Assuming I'm an empath (and so long as my emotions weren't switched off, I'm fairly certain I would test that way), I don't find it disturbing. But I do find it interesting.

      Conscious intervention between impulse and action.
      Would either of you say if you thought this 'habit' of conscious intervention (just my phrase for it) might make you exempt from mob mentality?

    10. @A: I know - my comment to you was meant to equally glib and playful and I was just riffing on it. 8)~

      @SD: I recall having a conversation years ago about "choice" with a girlfriend who had (has?) a sister who lost an eye. I don't recall the specifics now (this happened some 30 years ago), but the situation was that either remove the eye or the baby dies.

      Most people don't see this as a choice - if it happened to my kid, there is no question what I would choose to do.

      But to even suggest that someone might choose otherwise resulted in quite the knock down drag out with her. The suggestion was, it would seem from her reaction, brutally offensive.

      I would say that I'm less inclined towards mod mentality - one simple example (where it turned out I was wrong) is Mel Gibson. When he went on his first rant calling a cop "sugar tits" and blaming Jewish people for the world ills, my reaction was, "the guys was being a drunk asshole - nothing to see here."

      When second round of bad behavior came out I was less understanding, but mostly I just stopped wanting to watch his movies - his personality gets in the way now. I can't see past his obnoxious behavior to enjoy the story. I'm not interested in "punishing him." That's not my job in this world. I just want to enjoy the movie I paid to see.

    11. @ A. You're a hoot. I'd love to have someone like you in my life more. I'm attracted to narcs, sociopaths, cluster b individuals. I have a deep respect for people who look inwardly and heed wisdom like you have. There's are many empaths , narcs, bordelines who are mean-spirited. But if you know what you are... and work with it as best you can....not perfectly...but willingly ...that's the kind I really heed too and respect. I guess that's why I'm attracted to M.E.'s blog.

      Do you have Facebook. I'm on there sometimes. Would like to see who you are. If your comfortable with that. No pressure. ;)

    12. Thanks, Chiquita. I won't share my personal identification here; that is a boundary I have set for many reasons.

      You seem like an insightful, lovely person, and I do appreciate your kind words. I likewise enjoy tour comments. I hope you will keep sharing, so that I can get to know you better.

    13. Totally understandable. :)

      Definitely. If you ever do change ur mind... you can reach me at

      I can share my Facebook page there. Or else well just see eachother around on the blog here. ;)

    14. @A: I (Harry - my on line alter ego) has a FB page. HLHaller

    15. I looked up "HLHaller" and variations thereof, which didn't turn up anything.

  5. Oh, shit. I'm not really a psychopath or a sociopath. I'm just old and confused. How the fuck did that happen. Yesterday, I killed a squirrel. That was the nastiest thing I was able to do. Does the world end tomorrow? Probably just mine. I'm almost ready.

  6. WHY? HOW?


    1. What's the matter, "A"? Too cowardly to post under your own moniker, so you usurp mine?

      That wasn't me, Flaccid. Enjoy your stewed squirrel. I hear they taste like chicken-shit. XD

  7. Sociopath advisor. Many gullible empaths most likely would like to have a benign, sophisticated sociopath as advisor? Many smaller countries which excessive welfare has made soft & whose leadership look like cute piglets when meeting the "snakes & tarantulas" of international politics perhaps could improve by hiring psychopathic advisors? Not everyone can be Machiavelli, so why not be able to be adviced by Machiavelli? Imagine the media furore this would create. It would be described as worse than if known fascists were involved, far more "sinister". The following debate would contain nothing but words like "evil", "horrid" & "ghastly"!

  8. A good read OP
    Why did me have to stop teaching? Very unfair. ��

  9. Imagine being able to consult "the Bee-Keeper"? I guess he would not let down even the "Am I psychopath?"-crowd with his olde advice based on a "gnarled" sense of solitary wisdom, not unlike a fine oak barrell in which exclusive spirits have been kept for decades? He´d probably advice them to: "stop trying to be bad, stop this silly romance with evil". If so, a rather sound advice. "-Smell the fresh roses instead!" may be his earnest last word in that matter? I´m not putting words into his mouth, I´m only speculating..

  10. When I was young, (approx. 8) I knew this neighbour girl. She was a little
    blond girl my age. I saw her on her pourch. She didn't have any legs, and
    she had a perpetual scowl on her face. She was living with a BLACK family.
    She piked my curiosty. My parents told me to keep away from her.
    She seemed very unhappy, lonely, and unloved, so I thought I would try to make
    conversation with her. Gradually, I won her trust.
    It turns out that she lost both parents in an automobile accident. She sustained
    terrible injuries herself. In addition to losing her legs, she required special care
    in dressing and hygeine. She had to wear a diaper because she was incontinent
    in BOTH areas. The state paid the black family to take care of her (They were
    more then happy to recieve the money.) in some weird "social experiment. This
    WAS the 1960's.)
    The caretakers didn't discourage my interest in her, because I was only 8 myself. I brought my red wagon around and would take her for "rides." She
    would be the "navigator" and direct me where she wanted to go. She would bark
    commands at me, and even shriek like a harpy. She was totally unstable and
    tears would come from her eyes. I put up with abuse, because I was the only one she had.
    When we'd walk down the street, other neighbour children would flee. Ocassionaly, they would throw things.
    One day, while pulling her around, we were chased by the neghbourhood children. I had to run very quickly with the wagon. My mistress toppled out of
    the wagon like a sack of potato's. Mortified, I ran back to her and put her back
    in the wagon. I got a handful of piss and poop for my problems. Luckily, she
    seemed shaken up but not hurt. I took her home.
    A week later she was dead. I cut school to attend her funeral. I always wondered
    if I caused her death.

    1. Anonymous, you probably did not cause the crippled girl's death. As the invisible being called "god" could have prevented her death, not to mention her crippling accident, "god" caused the little girl's death. You have my permission to "kill" "god." Staking "it" to a cross is a popular method of torturing and killing "god."

      If you insist in torturing yourself with guilt, only do so if you are an empath and if you get sexual pleasure from self flagellation. I am sure there is a psychotherapist (a few are not crazy, though hard to find a sane one) who needs to send her kid to college and will take money to listen to you whine.

      We're crazy monkeys with complex brains. Every human being is dip shit crazy. Distract yourself. Drink yourself into oblivion (as long as you have a designated driver). Lick heroin off a sidewalk if you are fortunate to live in a location where rich careless junkies dribble/spill shit as they stumble down the Boardwalk.

      Read the death rant of Dutch Schulz. There's a good web site where you can get help, inspiration, and fine meaning. It's called sociopath world. Or something like that.

    2. My previous post was too positive. Here's some "raw meat."

    3. Let me play Devil's Advocate. You took an orphaned child, who could not defend herself or walk away, and paraded her before an increasingly hostile and fearful peer group until she was cast down into the dirt and covered in her own waste. Even though her unhappy tone of voice should have given you clear indication that she was unhappy about the arrangement, you continued to subject her to daily humiliation. Then she died.

      There are too many unknowns in this scenario to assign blame, but you never say what your intentions were. Did you want to break her spirit? Did you want to parade a freak around town? Or did you think you were helping someone out? It's probably safe to say that she died thinking the world was a hateful place.

      That's what your parents were trying to tell you.

    4. The Resurrected ONEApril 5, 2015 at 8:19 AM

      Anonymous [5:04 AM],

      "Consuetudinis magna vis est."
      ["Old habits die hard."]

  11. Maybe its Empath Arena these days? The change was subtle, it came slowly creeping millimeter by millimeter, but finally the Mainstream World was erected? New sobbing confessions and fresh "petty shite"-probing as soon as the sun rises & the birds begin to chirp..

  12. What if a "McCoy" suddenly came into the saloon and started reading about all the "pimple issues"..?

  13. "After Thor 2 came out last fall I got dragged into a six-month flame war on tumblr"

    That is just sad. Who spends six months arguing about Thor?

    (A bunch of 16 year old fan-girls and geeks, that's who. :)

    @OP: In spite of the fact that you rely very heavily on fictional characters to do it, you make a valid and salient point.

    Ironically, you identify the root of the problem through the mechanism which fuels it. It is this tendency that people have to over-identify with fictional characters and narratives which promulgates inaccurate stereotypes about sociopathy. Aside from it just being fun, this is why I occasionally launch tirades against the idiotic comments people sometimes make here about sociopaths being evil monsters. These misconceptions are literally based on the fact that most people are too stupid to realize that it is ludicrous and intellectually facile to derive and inform their understanding of complex concepts like personality and abnormal psychology from two-dimensional characters in literature and movies.

    Psychopathy is a label which certainly and singularly stigmatizes the person bearing it. M.E. can no longer teach. I founded and run a medium-sized organization. If I were to proclaim loudly and proudly that I am hypersexual, sadomasochistic sociopath whose father did jail time for ripping someone's ear off, you can be certain that I would not be doing myself any political favors. xD

    Of course, you'll never find a bunch of sociopaths banding together for "emotional support", or to cry on each others' shoulders about being unfairly persecuted, like a bunch of whiny victims on We don't need societal valuation or affirmation. We'll just keep maneuvering deftly within your ranks, besting you at your games, and hiding in plain sight. :)

    1. I think another reason this occurs is on account of the media sensationalizing the most violent cases- which constitute the exception, as opposed to the norm.

      For various reasons- including the fact that it is sometimes true- the term "psychopath" has become synonymous and interchangeable with "axe-murderer" and "crazy motherfucker" in western public consciousness, today. Responsible reporting is not widespread, and even if it were, I am not sure it would be realistic to expect reporters to educate the masses concerning specific characteristics personality disorders, except in the case of in-depth reportages.

      That is why blogs like this are useful. They can be helpful in terms of educating people, and helping to dismantle widespread misconceptions and generalizations regarding sociopathy. I think M.E. deliberately and compellingly challenges some of these.

      If sociopathy is really a combination of co-existing personality traits, then Kevin Dutton is correct in saying that it is only when the dials are turned up too high that disorder is present. Entrepreneurs, lawyers, fire-fighters, investors, law-enforcement agents, military personnel, and other successful individuals likely to have sociopathic traits are often showcased by the media, but it is not their sociopathic traits which are emphasized, lauded, or even recognized. It will take more time, scientific research, and the widespread dissemination of this information before sociopathy is recognized as a form if "neural atypicality" as opposed to "what Jack the Ripper probably was".

    2. Bearing in mind that if no proto-human had been prepared to go outside of the 'group comfort zone' we'd never have come down from the trees, which personality type would have been the most likely to make that move first?
      My money's on one with at least some sociopathic traits (prospecting, for starters, considering the increased hazards).

  14. Those of the interesting information you always bring out the best that I know, thanks.

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  16. A you have a beautiful mind. This is a very interesting blog and it only take a scan to identify those who could fit the perceived mold -whatever that is.

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