Friday, March 27, 2015

Teenage sociopaths

From a reader:

About a year and a half ago, I stumbled across your blog - how, I don't recall. At 15, I had never heard the term sociopath before. The term psychopath had been thrown around, but I only knew the cliché version - sadistic, cruel, and with no emotional capacity. The type of person you wouldn't want to be alone with.

Reading about sociopathy was oddly fascinating to me. I found myself able to understand and relate more than I would have thought. The question has been tugging at me ever since: Am I a sociopath?

I recently purchased and read your book. I enjoyed it immensely, and while I could not identify with it 100%, which might be due to age and experience gaps, much of it struck a chord.

The weak sense of self was particularly relatable. I've always felt that "chameleon-ness", the ability to put on different personas without a second thought, and not feeling attached to any. Alone, I realize, I almost feel like a shell of a person. Without others to react to, there's not much of a "me". So for that reason, I like being around people. They give me substance.

The destruction of others has been a fun game for me. I know not to do it with my friends or family too much, since I'm likely to lose them if I do, or not get what I want out of our relationships. After all, I like my friends. They're funny, intelligent, and interesting for the most part. They're like puzzles that I'm trying to solve. But the thrill of destroying others is too much to resist. I have toyed with students I'm not fond of, turned people against certain individuals, tried to see if I could break a good relationship between a student and teacher once or twice. I don't think I've ever caused permanent damage. I just like the feeling of destroying something in the instant.

The last part I truly identified with was the attachment to family. Well, in a way. My mother and brother are too emotional and empathetic for me to relate to. They're mine, and I'd defend them if they were threatened, but saying I love them might go to far. My father displays sociopathic tendencies, though I don't know if he's one or not. What I mean to say is - I romanticize the concept of family. The concept of family lines is a beautiful thing. Which is why getting married and having children is something I am very interested in. I want to have something that is mine, to have an extension of myself.

The defining factor of a sociopath though, the empathy, is something I hesitate on. I'm only 17. While I can't think of a time I've felt truly empathetic towards another, that doesn't necessarily mean I can't. My emotions are egocentric, yes. I'm motivated by myself. I can logically understand emotions, but I don't connect with them. The worst thing people can do to me is cry. I don't know what to do, and I always feel like I'm just making it worse. Which means they cry longer, and I still have to feel uncomfortable/irritated.

My other hesitation with self-diagnosing myself is my emotions. I feel them, perhaps not as strongly as I should, especially the negative ones. But I feel happiness when doing something I like, frustration or sadness when something doesn't go my way. As for love... I don't think I've ever felt it, but it is something I want. I wonder if all sociopaths want love, though. It's a rather selfish thing, or so it seems. I want someone to possess, and I want the adoration that comes with being loved.
Part of me wonders if I'm too young to be a sociopath, truly, since I could still "change".

This has ended up being a larger email than I intended, and I apologize. I'm almost done.

What is your opinion on sociopaths and imagination? I don't just mean violent day dreams (who hasn't fantasized about slitting the throat of a rival?). I mean stories, like coming up with your own world, own plots, own characters. Not actually believing in them, but treating them like a book in your head. A distraction from boredom. I haven't seen anything on your blog about it, but could have just missed it.

My other question: do you think sociopaths are naturally curious? Or just people in general? In your book, you struck me as a curious person, but I may be wrong. I myself am absurdly curious, since knowledge can always indirectly affect or protect me. Truth be told, I am dying to know your name. But I can understand why you wouldn't want to tell me, and I'll live if I never learn it. Either way, I would like to thank you for your book. It was enlightening and fascinating.

My response:

I'm not sure if we have different imaginations or that we imagine vastly different things. Maybe we imagine things more explicitly and are more self-aware about it? Like I imagine in the ruining games that I've really seduced someone so much that they will never get over me, but who knows if that is really true. I also imagine what it might be like to be other people in the cognitive empathy sense. I also imagine ahead of time several strategic steps if I'm playing some sort of game or even in life, which makes me a good plotter, I guess.

I consider myself a truthseeker, although I'm not sure if there's complete overlap with curiosity. I have always thought that maybe it was because I grew up living in the warped reality of a narcissist and in a lot of ways also lived in my world of my own imagination in which I was this powerful figure, that I always wanted to be sure to distinguish between real life and make believe, unlike my father?

79 comments:

  1. I'm curious too (it's why I'm on this site, since I'm not a socio). I think curiosity is a particular mindset and lack of 'generalized' fear, or low levels of it, may play a part in it. That's based on the fact that most children seem to go through a "Why?" stage, where that question is asked almost relentlessly, and then some of them seem to stop; I speculate that a consistently negative reaction (lack of information/irritation) to the "Why?" question feeds them the impression that it is not 'safe' (welcome/polite - insert synonym here) to ask it. Those for whom safe is a priority perhaps cease questioning. Those for whom the answer is more important than being comfortable - perhaps even who find the lack of an answer distinctly *un*comfortable - or whose questions were not discouraged, continue to ask them. Or go away and find the answers for themselves - questioning silently.

    Science seems to me to be based upon questions. Analytical minds tend towards curiosity. Everything I have read suggests socio minds are analytical.
    "Why this?" > "Could it be..." > (Test hypothesis and observe) > Yes=okay, No="Then maybe it's..." (Test another hypothesis)
    The above is my attempt to capture the analytical process as I see it. Generating a hypothesis requires imagination, in my opinion, as it goes beyond the present 'reality'.

    M.E's response above stated that she "imagines ahead" - like a chess player sees, not only the board as it is at that moment in time, but also how it will look as a result of *this* move (and then that move, and that move). Chess players do this multiple times before committing to a move - speed chess players can process it within seconds. It's innate to human and non-human nature, but some people (even some animals) seem actively to enjoy the process.

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  2. I am noticing a pattern here. Do you only show your responses when you consider someone a sociopath while allowing others to post their opinions on the ones you don't?

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    1. I believe M.E. wants to create dialog on sociopaths to help develop insight. The key to living a fulfilling life, as the monsters we are, is taking the time to analyze ourselves and others.

      Any thoughts, A? (That sounded fucking Canadian haha)

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    2. Lots of thoughts, bug. :)

      It sounds like the O.P could well have sociopathic personality traits, but I wouldn't characterize her behavior as disordered on the basis of this letter.

      When I was her age, I was acting out in ways that were much worse. I guess I followed a more "typical" antisocial behavioral pattern... I stole, destroyed people's property for fun, lied pathologically to authority figures, engaged in all manner of promiscuous, reckless, thrill-seeking behaviors, skipped school constantly, showed up for exams inebriated (and still managed to ace them!) got into several fights, brazenly and aggressively defied my teachers and parents, argued relentlessly, and did all kinds of drugs. The list goes on and on. I was eventually made to see a psychologist by my concerned mother, who diagnosed me with ODD, but I was not honest with her.


      I treated my mother very badly. I bullied and emotionally abused her horribly. When she had finally had enough of my father, and kicked him out, she was terribly depressed. I remember her crying on the couch, clutching my dead grandmother's pill stash, earnestly contemplating suicide. I got angry with her for being so weak, and left to party. I didn't give a shit at the time. And I *love* my mom. I would never do that today.

      The one thing I don't relate to is the desire to destroy people for fun. If I didn't like someone, or they got in my way, there was a time I would relish making their lives miserable. But I am not like that anymore. I honestly wish everyone well- until they mess with me, or what's mine. But even then, I aspire to treat others the way I would want to be treated. I am just spectacularly bad at it, because the normal deterrents of guilt and empathy are not fully functional in my personality.

      I've noticed that m.e. tends to publish letters from individuals whose sociopathic traits align with her own. I don't think she was ever overtly rebellious, or a juvenile delinquent. I haven't read her book, so I am not in a position to judge, but she strikes me as an intelligent, thoughtful person. I would assume that if she considers herself to be sociopathic, there is good reason for it.

      I am of the opinion that sociopathy is a spectrum of sorts, with some individuals having more of certain traits than others. Empathetic people are not all the same... Why should sociopathic personalities all follow a cookie-cutter pattern?

      I tend to view it more as a personality orientation, that becomes "disordered" only when certain traits really get out of control. Most of us suffered abuse as children, which made us callous and unable to process emotional input "normally", because we have had to protect ourselves. So we develop "sociopathic" coping mechanisms, in which we refuse to internalize emotional pain when we are young and tender- refuse to fully experience it, choosing, rather, to suppress and cut it off, which can result in a lifetime of attenuated emotions. Of course, there are also genetic factors at play.

      I will always struggle with poor impulse control. I will never be extremely empathetic. But I don't think I am a monster. I like helping others. I enjoy using my gifts and talents to benefit people.

      And socio.... I don't know if the key to fulfilling lives is taking the time to analyze ourselves and others. While this can be helpful in terms of self-discovery, I think it is more important to find constructive, helpful (or at least non-harmful) ways in which to sublimate and channel these traits. On that note, places like this blog can be a lot of fun. :)

      I am tremendously fulfilled by helping others. I currently head up an organization whose mandate is to help kids. But I need to be in a position where I can exercise leadership, and not feel oppressed by rules or excessive routine, or I will just get bored and fuck off- regardless of the consequences.

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    3. Hi A
      M.E's book does touch on some rebellious events, but not in much detail.

      I agree re the cookie-cutter point. Whole-heartedly. (The anal retentive truth freak in me wants to change that to "Whole-mindedly". Maybe it's both.)

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    4. Wow A, that was extremely insightful. I'm not even upset, anymore, that you metaphorically raped me the other day haha. I'm not a badass who goes around inspiring fear in people. Many people can succeed with that type of mentality, but I personally do not think it would work for me. I get what I want by being charming and intelligent. I bounce around job to job, but I always manipulate the next interview.

      I do love to systematically break someone down who is arrogant or to put someone together who has a low self-esteem. It's more hobby than emotional passion. Finally, I think you said the same thing, regarding a fulfilling life, but just worded it different.

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    5. "I'm not even upset, anymore, that you metaphorically raped me the other day haha."

      Anymore? Never let what anyone says here actually upset you. About two years ago, this place was brutal. Anyone who took what was said here personally left immediately. Those who stayed were often traumatized. Those who held their own came with tough skin, and left with impenetrable scales.


      Luna's SC forum maintains a bit of that dynamic, but it isn't good for me to be there. I invariably "misbehave" atrociously- and it can get a bit obsessive. :P

      "I do love to systematically break someone down who is arrogant or to put someone together who has a low self-esteem."

      Me too. And yeah, it is kind of like an amusing hobby. Online, I tend to choose my targets, and how I will play with them, impulsively and arbitrarily, whereas in rl, I am much more forgiving. Everyone has exploitable strengths *and* weaknesses. :)

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    6. Your misbehavior on the forum isn't atrocious. :)

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    7. "Anymore? Never let what anyone says here actually upset you. About two years ago, this place was brutal. Anyone who took what was said here personally left immediately. Those who stayed were often traumatized. Those who held their own came with tough skin, and left with impenetrable scales."

      I was being sarcastic, but thanks for the empathy ;). That John guy, from the other day, seemed a little pfffted.

      "whereas in rl, I am much more forgiving." That and we aren't invincible. Fuck with the wrong person, and they might get you when you least expect it.

      Or another example, I once worked for a narcissist. She was a POS and I wanted to tell her to her face and watch her cry. But instead I casually played the part of pawn and jumped ship when I had the chance...is what I would have done but I kept showing up late so I got fired.

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    8. "I was being sarcastic, but thanks for the empathy" ;)

      No you weren't, narc. "I'm not upset anymore because you metaphorically raped me" might be a glib, facetious statement- but it is not a sarcastic one.

      Nonetheless, the pleasure was all mine.

      Now bend over, you POS. I want to watch you cry, so I can practice my empathy.

      *That* was a sarcastic statement.

      Or maybe not. Let's give you another stab, shall we?

      "But instead I casually played the part of pawn and jumped ship when I had the chance...is what I would have done but I kept showing up late so I got fired."

      So you wasted your time in a dead end job, working for a bitch of a narcissist, who ended up firing you because you weren't valuable enough for her to overlook your petty tardiness. You didn't "play" the part of Pawn- you embodied it, while fantasizing impotently about taking down the Queen. But she knocked you out of the game before you managed to make a single move, let alone muster the courage to speak your mind.

      You don't plot for weeks about how to tell someone off if you plan to "jump ship". That is something cowards tell themselves to assuage their egos when they don't have the balls to speak plainly.

      Better luck next time. ;)

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    9. I understand what you mean about constructing stories, in my head I have maintained one story for over 2 years now, first as a distraction while trying to get to sleep but now I slip off into my head any time I am bored (which is an awful lot). I won't bore you with the details but it is a mighty and multifarious work of imagination the details of which take up a considerable amount of my memory and deserves a series of books roughly thrice the size of the Game of Thrones series.
      I also know how you feel about friends, I have a small circle of friends whose conversation and intelligence I consider sufficient to merit maintaining relations with and any others I merely enjoy toying with.
      I fell empty without them, and indeed any person to talk to, but not in a sad way, I just use my imaginary story to occupy my time or just think nothing at all (This is essentially the mental equivalentt of being in a totally silent, pitch black room) sometimes for hours at a time.

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  3. Sociopaths are "fast witted" people (risk takers, gambler's) who bore easy.
    They are impatient with wussy cautious folks.
    When there were new world's to conqure, they did fine. The only new world
    today is the world of human relationships.
    Instead of cutting through physical jungles, the cut through the "human jungle,"
    often at the expense of "weaklings."

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    1. Bullshit. Anything novel can be described as a "new frontier" for the person who has never experienced it before...

      Jump out of a plane. Learn to kite surf (trust me on that one :D). Buy a one-way ticket to an exotic destination, and figure out how to survive without knowing the local language or customs. Take up mountain-climbing or whitewater rafting. Get drunk, venture into a seedy part of town, and see what strip club or glory hole you stumble into. (Or maybe not, lol.) Try something hot, sharp, and dangerously kinky...

      There are many ways to inject oneself with adrenaline, which don't include messing up other people's relationships. One need only stretch one's imagination and limits.




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    2. I used to love being an absolute dipshit on sport bikes - the drunker the better.

      On the other hand, seducing an "attached" woman (the more attached the better) was really the "crack" of my younger days. One of my fonder memories is having sex with a woman while her partner sat on the front porch.

      Living on the perimeter - I don't know I can do it any other way...

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    3. Sexual impulsivity and depravity are what I struggle controlling the most. Ironically, I married a very possessive, strong, dominant man. He's good for me in every way. :P

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    4. Yeah - being a guy in this case is different from the experiences of gals.

      I do better with women who aren't at all possessive. Can't say that's I've never "stepped out," but women who need to have a very large share of my attention tend to feel like work. I've always liked the notion that "it doesn't matter where my apatite comes from as long as I come home for dinner."

      I'm working on a divorce just now - I guess I "chose poorly." (smirk)

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    5. Yeah, well... I don't necessarily translate "good for me" as "what my depraved self optimally wants". If it were up to me, I'd have an open marriage with very few limits. He does not share my preference in this regard. Though I have never misled him, it frustrates and troubles him that I am this way. He thinks I am too flirtatious. (To be fair, I do get hit on- a lot.)

      In that way, we embody a bit of a role-reversal.

      I got pregnant very young. I never thought I'd have kids. Even though he denies it- and I do get pregnant very easily- I sometimes wonder whether he did it on purpose, lol. But he has proven to be an extraordinary father, partner, and friend. He has managed to keep me in check- in every conceivable way. :P

      Most of the time. :)

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  4. I discovered this blog while taking a psychology class in school. After doing some reflecting on my life, I thought I possibly could be a form of sociopath and got interested in the subject.

    @ Anonymous 4:44 AM. I also believe that people with sociopathic tendencies can find other areas of interest to "conquer", whether it's hobbies, academica, or careers. Solely focusing on how you can play on the weaknesses of other people in the world of human relationships as you put it, to me sounds like the pleasure of a simpleton. Luckily we live in a world where things like capitalism exist that make room for people to have all kind of different skills and benefit from and add to society in their own way, and not in the dreaded ultra-socialist world where only looks, physical size and social status matters. In the future, I hope people generally will be more educated. I think it hard to believe any highly educated person will put up with a sociapath who is a negative influence on others because he perceives the world as a jungle and people different than him as weaklings.
    We might be animals, but we're also human, for better and worse.

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    1. Academica = academia

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  5. When I was a teenager, I definitely remember have general "emotions" about things, but they never fit the situation. I was diagnosed with ADHD, Depression, Bipolar, Anxiety, etc. yet I had a large group of loyal friends. I even tried committing suicide.

    I chalk it up to hormones. Sociopaths still respond to mental stimuli as much as anyone else. I think that the difference between an empath and sociopath is that the empath can create a response that goes past the chemical response.

    This might explain our frustration (adrenaline), satisfaction (seratonin), pleasure (dopamine), etc.

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  6. If you want to choose curiosity over awe, be my guest.

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    1. She never does. She just likes to make cryptic comments on occasion, then scurry back to the safety of whatever enclave she likes to hide in.

      Jeliza Rose, aka Bonobo Tree... Will you come out and play with me? ;)

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    2. HiIIII Smartie... {eyes rolling}

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    3. HLH,

      Jeliza Rose is definitely not Stay Smart. If you look at Jeliza Rose's history on this site, you would be able to see that it is not Stay Smart's style or thinking at all.

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    4. This is also true, HLH. Stay Smart does not have profiles on Google+.

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    5. She's my pretty rose petal.

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    6. Curiosity is a lens. When you get rid of the lenses... you can live in a state of constant awe. If you're curious, you'll always be curious..there's no end to the curiosity but seriously curiosity is fun too. I just prefer to be in a state of constant inspiration and awe. My personal preference.

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    7. Hey if you could explain why Jeliza Rose is not "Stay Smart" and what you found on my history that would be extremely helpful its time to get rid of her anyways.

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    8. I don't mind criticisms from ppl i dont even know.

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    9. Learning Ho'oponopono (the way you can live in constant awe), I learned that things like compassion or a heart felt connection are just bullshit stuff. There is no out there. People come into our lives to bug us.

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    10. "Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." -Rumi

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    11. LOL! Fair enough - I'll step off JR. 8)~

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    12. @HL: I won't.

      So... You walk around in a state of constant awe? I don't care what New Age variation on ancient Amerindian mysticism you've been swallowing- that seems rather unsustainable.

      ::Jay-Z opens a can of tomatoes to make black bean chipotle chili::

      **Gasp!**

      "These are so mundane, and yet! Each of these floating red masterpieces consist of billions of atoms, which, in turn, are comprised of mostly empty space!"

      Several hours later, having eaten said chili, nature takes it's course. As Jay-Z rushes to the bathroom to take a shit, she ponders, in a state of dumbstruck amazement, the advent modern plumbing, the cycle of life, and the glory of the human body.

      Suddenly, the telephone rings!

      **Gasp!**

      Amazing! The miracle of modern telecommunication, you ask? No. That anyone should call Jay-Z, and manage to coax her out of the closet. ;)

      What manner of skeletons are you hiding in there? Come on. You can share your dirty little secrets with me.

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    13. LOL! JR hasn't done anything to get on my "to do list." But I that's where my compassion ends. Go to town cowgirl! 8)~

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  7. all teenagers are psychopaths

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    1. Now you're talking. It's my own theory of sorts. I didn't even now what a self was when I was 14. I had been extremely emotional as a little child, then turned into a callous detached being. I think every sensible child has a psychopathic period while growing up, once they've figured out you really can't trust emotions, people, your surroundings.

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  8. "I mean stories, like coming up with your own world, own plots, own characters. Not actually believing in them, but treating them like a book in your head."

    I do this all the time. I love it. Some stories get written down, others stay in my head. I love to create imaginary parallel universes and build up social/economic/political structures and characters handling those structures. Actually, I spend some hours intotal everyday to do that.

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    1. Have you considered focusing your efforts and writing a book?

      I don't think I am creative or perseverant enough to do that.

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    2. I've considered writing a book, actually begun to do so, but lost motivation half way through.

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    3. Haha! I can certainly relate to that.

      What is the book about?

      Whatever the plotline, you should get your ass in gear and finish it, already. You're halfway there. Think about it where you would be if you had decided to keep working on it 6 months ago... Likely done! Now, imagine yourself six months down the line- with a book ready to be published under your belt.

      You will thank yourself when it is finally done.

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    4. That was years ago, 'bout a serial killer or so... Already too long ago to remember details... I'm too drunk though to lead lead a discussio now.

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    5. I like building my characters in my stories the same way that I build my masks.

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    6. Anon@5:49 pm, Lol. That's what writing stories is all about. Unmasking the multiple self. Many minds live within one skull. Apparently the universe wanted it that way.

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    7. You made it half way!!! ;p

      I've got a few "ideas" I've been mulling over for some time - however, every time I come back to something I've written, the characters all seem paper thin.

      Waddyagonnado?

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    8. Hi Harry,

      How's it going? :)

      I find it hard to fathom you writing paper thin characters.

      I'll buy your book, whatever the plot or subject matter.

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    9. Hi Faust,

      Living the dream as they say. ;p

      The weather where I live is summer like, which usually improves my mood. Also a couple of the irons might be getting warm - been doing business development and one project seems to be threatening to come together - which would be great!

      LOL! The real problem I have is that I'm so visual what I really would want to do is make it a movie. I am rarely happy with my descriptions of people or places - actions and ideas are easy though. I tend to drift towards it becoming an essay rather than a story.

      I took a number of photography classes some years ago (film and paper). A consistent theme in the critiques was that I was too cerebral and not emotive enough. They were right - everything starts with an idea rather than a feeling.

      I do well telling stories - that's fun. But again, it's because I can be visual (and it gives my inner narc a chance to come out and play).

      Writing on this forum has been something of a nice exercise for me - by it's nature, I have to rely on the words only. Good practice maybe. 8)~

      How about you? What's the update on the errant shop keeper?

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    10. I spent some time recently outlining an idea that came from this blog about being an asshole. I might have to write that one if work or business doesn't start coming in. XP

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    11. This 'shopkeeper' is on paid leave and getting treatment for PTSD. A relief to be sure.

      As for stories beginning with an idea rather than emotions, I recall the published writers telling me that's quite common. And not to worry about it. If you can label an emotion, then you can describe it _in action_, what the feeling looks like, etc. And avoid the usual bland narrative style most people chose "he felt angry" and then through internal dialogue tell the reader why he's mad.

      Writing a screenplay is very challenging and excellent for someone who finds writing about emotions difficult. Screenplays are all talk and action, usually very little introspective mulling gets on screen. So it's a great medium for writers who can 'see the action' rather than feel it. So long you understand what the feelings look and talk like.

      I think you'd write a very witty, funny and insightful piece drawing on characters inspired by this blog. Hope you go for it. You're a very lucid writer.

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    12. Thank you Faust! With encouragement like that I might have to make a run at it.

      I took particular interest in technical writing as un undergraduate realizing that being able to write clearly would distinguish me from many other engineers - that has proven to be a good investment from a career standpoint. But I think it's also one of my barriers - I'm very conditioned to a style of writing (impersonal, active voice, present tense, etc.), Working through that might be helpful.

      Actually, I have an adaptation (a pretty bad one) of Rendezvous with Rama that I did a couple of years ago. I came to realize that, for that project, I would really need to either "commit" or find access to a bunch of graduate students (various fields) to pull it off with anything that wasn't a sad derivative of a great story. But, I found writing the characters there a whole lot easier - because I didn't have to worry so much about their internal dialog. I could focus on describing what the director would want to explore.

      Maybe RwR was a bit ambitious for a first go... (smirk)

      I am also less clear as to how I would go about shopping something like that around. My ex is familiar with book publishing, and she would be willing to help get it in front of people.

      The idea I outlined is really set up more as an essay at this point - I may have to give some thought to making it into an actual "story." I need to give some thought to the idea of describing emotions as actions - I may just be all wrapped around the axel trying to understand them internally. That's the very trap I fall into.

      Glad to hear the "shopkeeper" is somewhere where they will be doing less damage. Hopefully, the PTSD treatment does some good. Gotta chuckle tho - is this one of those "cycle of violence" things? They are being a jerk because someone else was a jerk to them?

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    13. All writers have their strengths and weaknesses. Chilly Nabokov nailed his characters to the cross through a narcissistic lens and now it's a classic. Humbert Humbert is a mean-spirited cad whose charm, wit and insight (crooked though it is) draws readers into an unforgettable experience. His perception, or lack thereof, of Lolita's suffering, is so appalling that we want to tear him apart. Yet we admire his wit and can't help but agree with most of his views of the other characters and their selfish motives. This type of writer, who can tap into his dark side via a character and present it in a witty, cutting, insightful way, has long been revered in literary history.

      I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think you've got some of that type of mojo and I would encourage you to do something with it.

      You're right about 'wrapping around the axel'. Forget all that. You don't need to understand the emotions internally: All you need to do is be able to do is describe what they look and act like and the reader will fill in the rest. Use concrete actions to describe emotions. Example: His white flat lips emitted tiny bubbles of spit when he heard her reply, No! His hands crushed the unopened Valentine card.

      Not the most elegant example, but I'm sure you see what I mean. We know this guy is mad without going inside his head and without having to explain why. All in a mere two sentences. In a screen play, the above would be even shorter, sans white lips, foam at the lips, etc.

      Please do give your talent a go, Harry. Talent is a sacred thing, if there's anything sacred at all.

      This shopkeeper has learned a valuable lesson: Don't work for CEO psychopaths who don't give a shit about employee safety and hire people who wear knives to work. And, Don't try to keep safe those who would dance on your broken bones.

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  9. Do you anwer all your emails? Do I have to send it back? I wish you could help me to figure it out if whether or not I am a sociopath

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    1. Why do you care so much about whether or not you fit into a particular box? Will a label change who you are? Why is it so important for you to know? Why allow someone else to define you? And what makes you think that a perfect stranger can diagnose you accurately, if you cannot even figure it out yourself?

      Read current studies on the topic, and decide for yourself whether you are a sociopath. If you have sociopathic traits, learn to make the best of them.

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    2. "Why allow someone else to define you? And what makes you think that a perfect stranger can diagnose you accurately, if you cannot even figure it out yourself? "
      Yes. Absolutely.

      Delete
    3. As A and SD said - quit worrying about the label. Focus more on why you want to know. Why is that question even relevant? Usually it is because you realize that something in your life is amiss - figure out what isn't working for you.

      If you have to give it a name create your own descriptor.

      But reading first person accounts like M.E.'s or Temple Grandin's (Autism spectrum) and getting up to speed on the latest thinking about what your specific issues can be much more productive.

      I spent years in intensive therapy getting my impulsive behaviors under control and working out my anger. My official "label" was Major Depression. I asked my therapist about my diagnosis a couple of times and she was evasive (but artful enough to not trigger me). Truth is if she had told me that I was ASPD or BPD (either of which I can make a case for), I might have ended myself.

      I really should look her up and thank her...

      Delete
    4. I can't relate. I haven't really cared one iota what anyone thinks of me since before high school. I hardened myself to the opinions of others many, many years ago. I had no choice, with my father being such a hard-ass at home, and my having so much trouble in grade school. I haven't really experienced shame since then, either. Truth be told, my emotions are rather shallow. They come in flickers, I guess.

      I have never experienced depression. I have moments where I feel down, but I very quickly return to a flat baseline. (Usually in less than an hour.) I cannot hold on to emotional states for long. Sometimes I wonder if that is what everyone experiences... whether people choose to exaggerate their feelings.

      I wonder about your diagnosis. During the time you were supposedly "depressed", did you feel sad much of the time? Angst-ridden, or lethargic? Sapped of motivation? Were you prescribed medication? An acquaintance of mine took antidepressants for a time and said it dulled her feelings. I suppose that is the last thing anyone with sociopathy needs, lol.

      I can't imagine anyone confusing sociopathy with BPD. A relative of mine has bpd. She is hypersensitive, and drives me nuts with her emotional hysterics.

      Delete
    5. It was more aggression and impulsivity. That's why I would question the diagnosis from time to time - didn't really feel like a complete picture.

      There's the old saying that depression is anger without the enthusiasm.

      I was always angry and I would react with aggression towards any trigger. When I got (get) overstimulated, I shut down emotionally. In the past, I would do some of my worst acting out in this mode - I was trying to feel something - anything - in this mode. I was trying to discharge the aggression. Becoming less angry and learning to ignore "inappropriate" anger was a big part of what I worked out back then.

      When I "crashed" it was after a rather a long aggressive bender and I would still not feel any better but I would have made one hell of a mess of things. That cycle got to feeling rather pointless and I lost enthusiasm -

      I understand what you mean by, not seeing sociopathy and BPD as similar, but that may be more my personal view that all of those labels are poor and imprecise.

      That's been the bee in my bonnet of late - I am coming to see the labels and being more of a barrier to progress than helpful. I usually insert some caveat like, "people will disagree with me,"

      Unless you're interested, I won't go into detail, but it's a bit of a math problem - for BPD (a similar argument can be made for ASPD), five of nine criteria need to be met to qualify - I'm too lazy to do the cypherin' just now, but that is something north of 100 different presentations. Crappy definition - even the APA knows it.

      That's why I've been on the "anti-label" campaign of late. 8)~

      Delete
    6. "I was always angry and I would react with aggression towards any trigger. When I got (get) overstimulated, I shut down emotionally. In the past, I would do some of my worst acting out in this mode - I was trying to feel something - anything - in this mode. I was trying to discharge the aggression. Becoming less angry and learning to ignore "inappropriate" anger was a big part of what I worked out back then."

      ^I *really* relate to this. I mess up in this area a lot. Sometimes, the extent to which my reactions are impulsive, harsh, and disproportionately aggressive catches me off guard- and yet, there is a part of me that always remains rational and emotionally detached from my reactions, regardless of their severity. I can go from hot to ice cold, to smiling with good humor in a matter of seconds. Family members have told me that it's "creepy". :P

      Aggression and conflict do not traumatize me, but the part of me which should empathize with those for whom it does is numb, so I am not always cognizant of the emotional damage I am actually causing.

      I agree with you re: labels- but what you describe sounds more antisocial than BPD-ish to me.

      I am interested in anything you have to say, because I find myself relating to much of what you write.

      Delete
    7. ...Now that you have clarified what you meant by "depression"- which really doesn't sound like depression, to me. At least, not in terms of how I have heard it described by those I know who struggle with it.

      Delete
    8. Like I said, I was always a bit dissatisfied with the diagnosis, but I do think she did the right thing. MD had some positive prognosis I could latch onto.

      I was frustrated with myself and I turned that aggression inward and became destructive - "to myself and others," as they say. In the 1990's anything PD related was more or less treated as a either a write off or a cash cow depending on the therapist. She really did some hard work (counter transference can be a bitch I hear and I wreaked her on a few occasions) with me and the more I think on it, the more a debt of gratitude I owe her (my AA meeting and all that - 8)~).

      The reason I pick BPD is because of something Dr. G posted that I really liked - she called BPD "Part Time Sociopaths." BPD's can function more of less normally until triggered whereas ASPD's are full time - or so goes the argument (as I understood it - Doc: you lurking? Wanna set me straight?). There is also a lot of overlap between the two. Really, I see the two as points along a spectrum (with some "flavors" ala Milton's Subtypes).

      Likewise, I enjoy your posts - your experience does seem to have some parallels to mine and it's fun reading your...critiques. (smile)

      Delete
    9. Yeah. I dont know. My relative with BPD is an emotional basket-case. She is hypersensitive and takes *everything* personally. God help anyone who disagrees with her. She'll cry and foist accusations of insensitivity on whomever speaks to her bluntly. Now, I am rather outspoken and vocal about my opinions. I have "hurt" and offended her on more than one occasion. She once told me that she couldn't believe that her beloved brother ended up with such a grade-A bitch, and that she had waited years for our relationship to end in a gigantic, fiery explosion. (We do fight a lot, lol) Oh well. :)

      She is constantly thinking about interpersonal dynamics... About how she feels slighted and victimized by people and things.... I honestly can't relate to her emotional baggage.

      *Nothing* causes me to lose sleep. I am not an anxious or angst-addled person. We can argue vehemently about something, and I won't even think about it 10 minutes later. She'll carry it around for 10 months- and act passive-aggressively towards me, rather than simply confront me about how I've (once again) managed to offend her. It's always push and pull, push and pull. I cannot fathom carrying that weight around all the time.

      Delete
    10. When I used to become emotional, I would also become a handful. I don't know about your sister in law, but in this mode, just about anything that comes out of the persons/people's mouth(s) is taken as an insult. Every action is seen and taken as confrontation. It's sort of an angry paranoia (it's really unpleasant for all involved). For me, that meant anger and manipulation with little self control or regard to consequences. I expect you can see how that would end in piles of rubble.

      As long as I keep myself calm and happy, I find that I don't need to "go there" and I've found ways to smooth life out. Letting go of anger (and learning to let go of "new" anger) went a long way towards calming me down. And that's central to my parenting for many reasons.

      In an interesting parallel, just as hate and anger tend to breed more hate and anger, finding ways to bring calmness and happiness into ones life tends to breed more calm and happiness. It isn't as easy as anger (for me anyway), but the more I work at it, the more I get it and the more motivated I am to be calm and happy.

      As to sleep - I've never been much of a sleeper - it's not angst, though for years I thought it must be, and sometimes it is, but not usually. For me it's just that I am "normally" hypomanic. There's just not enough hours in the day for me to do and see everything I'm interested in (one of the reasons spectator sports hold little interest for me - sitting and watching other people do stuff if usually not fun for me). Been this way since puberty -

      I do have to be careful with my sleep - it's easy for me to run myself to exhaustion.

      Delete
    11. By the by, it turns out, if I did my math right, there are 255 presentation of BPD (5 of 9 criteria). Not all have to be the weepy, bitch victim - that's just one that gets a lot of press.

      And that doesn't even address the degree of severity of the presentation of each criteria. Crappy way to "help" people.

      Delete
  10. I'm about halfway through "Almost a Psychopath," by Harvard MD and James Silver. The jist of it is that there exists a spectrum of consciousness, qualities and traits that manifest in clusters, not evenly divided lines. Trying to place yourself in a box is futile: There is precious little psychological evidence to support a definition of normal. The boundaries are wide and deep. Nor am I confident whether labels help anyone mount obstacles or help find ways to live in relative peace and harmony with others in a frankly crazy world. A world hellbent on destruction of ecosystems on which we all depend. All for profit. Personal gain.

    Humanity exists on a spectrum of light and darkness. We're all angels and demons one way or another. We can accept and learn from that or perish destroying each other and every other living thing.

    Hopefully the writer will take the good advice to make the best of whatever frequency they live on.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ok, OP: bottom line. What do you want to be? Truly want, and over the course of your lifetime. Be that. Bollocks to the labels and whether what you want to be fits any psychological or personality profile. They're just labels, they're not you. You are you.

    The above is not meant to sound harsh, although it may seem so. I haven't had enough coffee yet, so I'm in unfiltered mode ;) Good luck and remember there's no rush to figure yourself out. You're worth taking your own time over.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Not sure genuine articles want families or enjoy friends or are empty vessels which others presence fill? The psycho want "somebody to bother" more likely & others presence do not fill them with content. The majority of "up" psychos are often serious blabberers, almost like folks on drugs, they have a need to talk bullshit to other things than the walls at home. The minority "not up" psychos see no need of almost any company & are not interested in "up" psychos bs either..

    ReplyDelete
  13. Low functioning, undiscilpined sociopaths can only durive meaning from
    harming someone. The closer they are to you, the easier they are to fool.
    They are completely shocked that you would want to harm them, and can't
    process it. Their sentament is there weakness.
    A lot can be accomplished through sexual secduction. Even within families.
    Don't you think the young M.E. could have had her brothers and father IF she
    wanted them? If there was any resistence at all, it would have broke down fast.
    It's got to be the most terrorfying experience for a brother, boyfriend, or husband
    when they get stabbed in the midst of sex. Travis Alexander never knew what
    hit him.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have a FRIEND but I dont know what it is that they want from me. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is it that you think they want from you?

      What do you want from them?

      Delete
    2. @A, You got it.

      What do they want from you and you them.

      That's the only Q these days, I'm afraid.

      Delete
    3. I think they want something that they can get alot more of somewhere else. As for what I want from them.... a walk along the beach!

      Delete
  15. Stop fetishizing abuse/neglect/manipulation.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I dont even know what that means

    ReplyDelete
  17. They are fetishes.. if you go to fetlife.com you will find abuse neglect and manipulation on there im pretty sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...A little something for everyone. :D

      Delete
  18. Daima güncel tek film izleyebileceğiniz en iyi adrestesiniz.En iyi yerli filmlerin hd kalitede bulabileceğiniz ve türkçe dublaj film izleyerek keyifli zaman geçirebileceğiniz bir film sitesi üzerinde çalıştığımızı ve sizler için en iyi aksiyon filmleri izleyebileceğiniz güzel bir site yapmaya çalıştığımızı belirtmek isterim. Kaliteli animasyon filmleri izleyebileceğiniz ve en önemlisi tek part film izleyebileceğiniz bir sistem kurmanın gururunu yaşadığımızın bilincindeyiz. Keyifli zamanlar geçirmeniz dileğiyle.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "I consider myself a truth seeker"
    Unfortunately this is impossible with extensive history of rationalizing and compartmentalizing. Doing this changes the structure of the brain....into one that literally cannot know truth.

    ReplyDelete
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