Sunday, February 7, 2016

Graduating to every other week therapy

I've never been to summer camp. The closest I got to the experience was sixth grade camp, when as an 11 year old I went up to the mountains (snow! cold!) with all of my classmates for a week. I still have so many vivid memories of it. Everything I know about recognizing constellations I learned there, camp songs, a love/hate relationship to the hot dog, making snow survival shelters (we surely would have died if actually required to live in ours) and what seemed to be the startling amount of trust and freedom I enjoyed in leaving my family and any real responsible adult supervision and running amok in the mountains with a 15 to 1 ratio of camp counselors (barely more than children themselves) to children, and with knives and other sharp tools. Even though it was just a week, I came back from camp a changed person. Not to say that the person I was before was bad or even that I needed to change in that particular way in order to mature. Nor to say that the person I changed into was any less me than the person before. It's hard to describe the sensation, but whatever it was I was ok with it because for whatever reason I still recognized the person I became.

I recently graduated from every week therapy to every other week therapy. The change was precipitated by me reaching and maintaining a certain level of awareness and understanding about myself, other people, and the world. I feel the difference, but I also don't feel that different. I recognize who I am. I just feel more proficient, like if I had always been only a music sight reader and then finally learned how to play by ear, or vice versa. And naturally I understand the world in a more fuller and richer way, simply because now I engage with it in more ways than I did previously. Everyone has a blindspot. That was always my special talent to know growing up. Now I know better my own.

The most interesting development has been my more nuanced view of self. How is it that I am the same person I was as a too-aggressive child, a manipulative teenager, a scheming young adult, a risk-taking 30 something, and now someone who has graduated to every other week therapy. But even odder to realize is that during the periods that I was "truest" to "myself", those were when I was most engaged and satisfied by life, no matter my financial situation or family situation or anything else that may have been weighing me down in the world at large. It turned out it wasn't the fact that I was born/made a sociopath that caused most of my problems. It was actually my ill-informed adaptations to the world that I had picked up along the way that made my heart shrink and blacken. Some of you will understand what I mean and I apologize for not being able to explain better, but it was the societal emphasis and rewards based almost solely on appearances, end results, and bottom lines that created all of the wrong incentives -- versus a focus on the process over the outcome and learning through making mistakes = ok and understanding that society will (and must) adapt to you sometimes, it can't always be you adapting to it, and how to know when is when and what is what. Self-awareness about my sociopathic tendencies didn't make me better, it made me worse as I came to internalize how unpalatable that was in society. That's when my behavior became so aggressive, passive, hollow, desperate, and impotent. That's when I started wearing masks basically all of the time. Sayonara to my sense of self. I may have hurt others a little less but it was accomplished by hurting myself much more. Because I could always fit square pegs into round holes, even if it got a little ugly and I got dirty doing it. And it felt like that was the solution -- that was what was being asked of me as part of my faustian deal to make things go down easier for me, to avoid having to deal with any negativity or fall out based on anyone's disapproval.

But now I wonder, what to say to everyone? How do I respond to people who email me? How can I communicate this adequately to others so that they won't make the same mistake -- won't wait until there are decades of barnacles of garbage encrusting them, until they finally cease being recognizable to themselves, before they realize that who they are is not a problem that needs fixing. I want my little relatives to know this, you all, anyone who also will wonder about the meaning of the lyrics to Landslide or wonder what does it feel like to keep living (and most paradoxically keep changing) after you feel like you've finally discovered who you really are. To know how to resonate with this life, both so maddeningly static and so dynamic. And to learn what one must never, never sacrifice, even just to get by, even if it seems like that is what is being required of you to do. 


  1. I wonder how much early acceptance would play into things. I myself knew not only that I was different early on I grew up with parents who so long as I didn't go too far over the line let me be me. Or well based on what they knew that I wasn't going too far over the line, not that they knew everything I did. But even as they accepted that I wouldn't ever feel, think or be like other girls because I'm incapable of it they juts accepted that as me. So I always had a sphere in which I knew I was accepted as myself even as I picked up that to the world at large my true self wasn't exactly acceptable. It didn't turn me into some angel, but it gave me the sense that my thoughts are mine and so what if I will never be able to perceive things as others do let alone act along the same guides for conduct? Even as I found out there are people who would wish me death or to lock me up just for what I am, I never felt that how I was defective or "wrong". Which isn't to say there are many people who know my truth, but as detestable as I find certain people and their views, I feel no sense that I have to be a certain way to all people to show that I'm "good" or "worthy" lest they find out how I am. Instead I feel that I do belong, maybe not their way, maybe not your way, but my way. It's not always compatible with the way things are but it's me, if I tried to always fit then I would be trying to change who I am and no good can come of that.

  2. Congrats, M.E.

    Thanks for sharing your personal story. You ask what to do next: that's a very powerful message, encouraging others to grow in accordance with their own nature.

    And it's a lifetime of practice ahead finding the balance of when and how to shape the social environment and when to adapt.

    Never fear that there is more to grow into! Shams Tabrizi:

    Blessing is excess, so to speak, an excess of everything. Don't be content with being a faqih (religious scholar), say I want more – more than being a Sufi (a mystic), more than being a mystic – more than each thing that comes before you.

    I find myself in a similar place, asking what is the 'more' I seek next?

  3. An excellent post, M.E.. Much of what you have written resonates with me very much, and it is posts like these besides the constructive conversations that I seek to have with others in the comments section that keeps me coming back to your blog, because so much of what you have to say feels like I'm looking into a looking glass, except the reflection has so many more details to give me deeper insight about myself as an individual that I would otherwise might not perceive myself.

    I was self aware enough at a very young age to the fact that I was different from my peers, and as a young adult I became educated enough to recognize that my personality came with the label of "sociopath". With that came a deeper understanding that if I were to be successful being what I am, that I not only I had to continue to broaden my perspective and understanding of myself, but also of the world around me. Each day from then on and even now, my thirst for knowledge strengthens as I seek to build a more accurate model of perception of reality, to push myself to stretch the boundaries and limitations of my maladaptive personality traits so that I can flourish in the best possible way I'm capable of. I shouldn't have to see my supposed maladaptive traits as barriers holding me back, but as walls to be climbed to the top of from which I can have a higher perspective on life that no typical human being would even have the opportunity to see. I've developed a healthier outlook on life and of myself and my unique personality, that every negative experience born from my personality traits is an opportunity for me to overcome and grow as an individual and not truly a set back for me.

    Something I've gotten out of working with my mental health therapist is developing a finer ability to grasp at my egocentric and fleeting emotions; I'm not sure how to better describe it, but it's like fishing for small and slick fish by the edge of a fast running river. With enough patience and development of dexterity, I begin to grab them more effectively so I can better reflect upon the meaningfulness of those emotions to me and how they relate to my lack of empathy for others, and in that sense if of course it isn't to develop affective empathy it is to exercise and strengthen the utility of my cognitive empathy like a muscle so that I can be a higher functioning sociopath.

    ESTP Sociopath

    1. *fishing with your hands

      ESTP Sociopath

    2. "but as walls to be climbed to the top of from which I can have a higher perspective on life that no typical human being would even have the opportunity to see"

      What a wonderful vision! It's humbling to me.

  4. That's a really excellent story, very interesting. I am glad that you are "finding yourself"; it takes a great deal of effort and being true to yourself, accepting yourself, your weaknesses for what they are, not letting them "get the best of you".
    Self-improvement, experimentation, "forging" your own identity, your own path in life... Those are things I consider we should all be striving towards. Mistakes are inevitable, they are just another part of of life, but we can always learn from them, learn not to make them again, get ourselves back up, and come out stronger.

    Everybody's different, and everybody has to make his own path. Once you find what works best for you, what makes you feel at peace with yourself, nobody can do a damn thing to you, your "weakpoints" evaporate, and you become something greater - unbreakable, unshakeable...

    "What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger"
    "Out of the hottest fire comes the strongest steel."
    "Know and believe in yourself, and what others think won't disturb you."

    Forget you're blood and bone,
    Stand like you're made of stone;

    1. Socioempath-Spoken to perfection!!! Thank you for the music.:)


  5. M.E.-I love this tweet: "I optimistically believe that "good sociopaths" can exist and attempt to lead my live in such a way."

    I agree, and think you are brave!!!

    I just heard this quote, and wanted to share it: If you are brave enough to live it, the least I can do is listen. Cynthia Bond

    M.E.-You are brave enough to live it, and the least I can do is listen...


    1. Totally agree, always believed in the " good cop , bad cop" analogy. Good sociopath vs the not so good sociopath. Same with many cluster b personalities. I believe sociopaths " the good ones " have far more empathetic qualities than the average human being. It's what angle of the lens we view it as.

    2. I have just started reading Robert Greene's book, "Mastery", in which he calls the moment of inspiration, the moment where we are extremely focused on something and ideas and solutions just seem to flow through us, as - Mastery!

      According to him, mastery represents the combination of our rational mind with instincts, when we are most "connected" to reality, where time works with us rather than against us, and it stems from out ability to imagine (put ourselves into "other's shoes"); someone who masters a certain tool will feel "as one" with that tool, and instead of thinking about the steps needed to take (how to use the tool), it allows him to focus on the situation and environment (say, a hunter tracking and hunting for prey, or a sculpter sculpting a sculpture).

      By that extension, mastery over ourselves frees us up to do whatever we want, we are unaffected by external factors (fears, threats, manipulations... don't work on us, as we "know ourselves"), and we can "connect" with reality instead of being limited by our narrow views and misconceptions of it.

      I found the book interesting and insightful so far.

    3. Sounds like an interesting read, thanks for sharing that ~ will look into it. Always interesting in gaining mastery.

  6. Another one of my favorite quotes, I thought I'd share:

    He who looks outside dreams, he who looks inside awakens.
    -Carl Jung.


  7. M.E. So many great tweets!!!

    "Graduating to every other week therapy -- or why/how society sets up all the wrong incentives for young sociopaths"...

    Society definitely sets up all the wrong incentives for young sociopaths and non-sociopaths alike...

    "France becomes first country to force all supermarkets to give unsold food to needy" (re-tweeted from The Independent)...

    I don't know that "force" should be used, but I would like to see a lot more businesses, do this type of thing. I had a friend who worked at a bakery. The bakery advertised, that all of their baked goods, were "baked fresh daily". If baked goods went unsold, they were thrown away, at the end of the day. Later, the bakery allowed their employees to help themselves to any unsold baked goods at the end of the day, followed by people who worked at surrounding businesses, and finally-anything unclaimed was left outside the entrance for the homeless to help themselves to. I didn't like seeing all of that good food being wasted in the beginning, and was glad to see it go to people that wanted and/or needed it, eventually...


  8. "Neutral" socios sure can exist! Just don´t expect them to be good. Nobody gets bothered by a neutral psychopath, he´ll be almost like the famous Scorpio specimen that "leave men behind to seek the desert or jungle" (this can actually be a library or a bedroom). If nobody pokes that Scorpio with a stick, he´ll be as docile as a bear in hibernation. Do you have a "neutral" socio as neighbour? If you do: don´t bother him...let him be free from mankind! Then he perhaps one day may "re-enter" society & "overcomes" his hatred?

  9. Anon 3:47-I completely agree!!! This applies to socios and non-socios alike...


  10. M.E. You put smiles on my face, word by word smiles, congrats! You are delightful and a breath of fresh air!

  11. Yes, I think it is quite true that my sociopathy was never the sole reason for the issues I've faced in life, but my "ill informed adaptations"; perhaps my personality traits may have helped shape them, and also my contempt for the facade of society, but also that to some significant extent society is at fault for setting the wrong standards that gave me the incorrect perception of incentives to shape myself as an individual; society itself creates sociopaths as much as they are also simply born into the world. It makes an awful a lot of sense since it is both environmental factors and genetics that makes up my personality disorder.

    ESTP Sociopath

    1. Etsp what do you consider the facade to be covering? And what are the wrong standards you feel society set for you?

    2. The facade covers up the fear of self acknowledgement of the fact that humanity as a whole is no better than savages, animals that have evolved to have great enough egos to fool ourselves into thinking that we're any better than that. We're just waves clashing together, balls spinning and rolling wildly against each other on the pool table that is our world.

      "Underneath it all we're just savages
      Hidden behind shirts, ties and marriages
      How could we expect anything at all?
      We're just animals still learning how to crawl

      We live, we die
      We steal, we kill, we lie
      Just like animals
      But with far less grace
      We laugh, we cry
      Like babies in the night
      Forever running wild
      In the human race"

      ESTP Sociopath

    3. Well said-I completely agree. That is new music for me, and I always enjoy and appreciate new music.:)


    4. Thank you estp. I appreciate your thoughts. They are a vivid peek into an expansive area I'm not as familiar with but would like to understand more.

    5. ESTP Sociopath,

      I think you'd enjoy reading The Art Instinct by Denis Dutton. Dutton gives a rich account of humans as evolved creatures, an account that doesn't fall into the trap of rigidly classifying or diminishing the human race for the fact of our evolutionary heritage. The focus is on the very human activity of art production, but the exploration extends to most domains of human life.

      I found it fabulously insightful and it subsequently formed the basis for my new understanding of myself and the world, which I continue to develop. If I were to pick the first real catalyst for the changes in my life, this book would be it. It was from reading this book that I began to see the drivers of human behaviour are far deeper than morality. In short, it made sense of my internal conflicts to the smallest degree - but enough for me to start acting to resolve them.

      For a quick but pertinent and valuable introduction, I recommend this interview of Dutton conducted by the late and greatly missed Alan Saunders.

      The Art Instinct: evolution and aesthetics

      Peacocks have tails; we have art. Dennis Dutton, Professor of Philosopher at the University of Canterbury, argues that art is a form of costly display designed to attract members of the opposite sex. But there's more to it than that: the arts take us into the minds of the people that made them and so they're an aspect of social life that is beneficial to human beings. This week, we explore a subtle, Darwinian approach to the painting of paintings and the telling of tales.

    6. Here's the intro:

      o what he has to offer is essentially an exercise in what's known as Social Darwinism. And to be honest, that's something about which I've always been a bit suspicious. If you can explain everything we do on the grounds of natural selection, if you explain everything we do in terms of the need to multiply our numbers, you haven't really explained anything at all. Doesn't human culture have any autonomous existence of its own, apart from biology?

      Dennis Dutton's account is much more nuanced than that. He wants to explain the human mind as, in his words, 'the creative, exuberant, imaginative, romantic, wasteful, storytelling, witty, loquacious, poetic, ideology-inventing organ it is.' And, he believes, Darwin's book, Descent of Man, by regarding the mind as a sexual ornament, presents us with a first step towards that. 'Adding sexual selection to natural selection', he says, 'we begin at last to see the possibility for a complete theory of the origin of the arts.'

      How wonderful is that! How amazing if we could embrace that view and explore it openly, breaking the shackles that limit us; outdated conceptions of the human animal!

    7. And this, I suggest, which has applications for our own lives:

      What we want to do is explore culture, understand culture, move culture forward, always at least knowing that in the background, as ostinato sort of undercurrent beating down there, there is in our Pleistocene brains, this sort of insistence to want to come back to basic Pleistocene values, that we understand it is enough, not that we let it dictate our taste to us.

    8. I like much of what you have to say, North. I'm ever always trying to stretch the plasticity of my mind as much as it's capable of doing so, always doing whatever I can to better shape my model of perception of reality. I think that, in my opinion, much of intelligence is in our power to observe; to utilize all of our senses in a manner that allows us to take in all the right information, and from there to the best of our ability make use it it in a way that allows us to function more effectively in society. I really like and very much relate to M.E.'s thoughts of how it isn't our sociopathy that is the true issue but the ill informed adaptations that shape our perception in a way that has us following incentives in a way that permits antisocial behaviors.

      North, thank you for the recommendation. I'll see if I can make the time to look at it,

      "But there's more to it than that: the arts take us into the minds of the people that made them and so they're an aspect of social life that is beneficial to human beings."

      That line has me intrigued already. The arts have always interested me as in a way I see them as a window into people's minds, or at least a facet of their inner being. Maybe some of what I could rationally perceive from art might possibly be projection of meaning, but pieces of art are much like micro-expressions of human expression that has some significant meaning behind it. I might view a painting at a gallery and the artist happens to be present, and I might inquire what kind of emotional significance their artwork represents to them. To my perspective, a lot of it can be boiled down to motivations and weaknesses, and in that way I can grow to appreciate the meaningfulness of other people to me in ways I wouldn't have seen before; the uses and perceived utility people could have is not always readily apparent to me, and when it's made apparent to me it's like a light bulb going off in my head. It's like if I take the time to consider to not immediately objectify people as tools, their is so much more to see within them that is beautiful to me. Each individual might not just be a tool, a means to an end to get a direct benefit or further my own interests, but a living art exhibit for me to delve into and discover mysteries that I want to turn inside out and to be able to own that thrilling experience as my own. In that sense, art is very meaningful to me. I can look at my art, my acrylics on canvas or my drawings, and see it as an opportunity to express a kind of honesty from within myself to other people that they wouldn't otherwise get to experience with any typical human being.

      Yes, I think I'll give "The Art Instinct" a good look through. I'll see what amount of salt I might be able to pick out of it.

      ESTP Sociopath

    9. *there is

      *light bulb turning on in my head

      I smoked some really dank weed.

      ESTP Sociopath

    10. Art is the calling card of the free spirit. Or the spirit that has freed itself.

    11. I may check out "The art instinct", once I finish reading R. Greene's "Mastery"; I've been reading his book for a few days now and it has made me think...

      I have always been the happiest, most satisfied, most focused, when there was a seemingly "impossible" problem, when there is something that "just is". In other words, if something has "cons", I'd get obsessed with finding a practical, permanent way around those "cons", that anyone could repeat if they put in the effort - if there's a way to improve something, I'll find it and show you, in practical ways, why and how you CAN have your cake and eat it! I couldn't accept something "as-is", I'd spend a lot of time investigating the "why's" and "how's", from various unrelated fields and sources of information if necessary and combine that knowledge, until I find what can be done and what can't.
      Give me something, get me interested in it, and I'll improve it to the limit of it's potential.

      For example;
      * A few "pros" of apple were easy usage, "superior" sound, battery life, fast response... And I'd get a lot of lecturing from friends that it "just is", and that I should just accept it.
      So, what did I do? Custom roms. Viper4Android (amazing sound - undeniably, objectively superior). Xposed Framework. Custom kernel (precise hardware tuning). Et cetera.
      And the result was an android phone without "cons", proving to all those friends badgering me to "switch", that my phone was better in just every way, objectively, in front of their eyes, just so they'd stop bothering me with their useless "advice".
      * I don't smoke weed now, as it merely made me lazy, "slow," and stifled my "creativity", but while I did, I have noticed that it hit me better after I exercised. Scouring the internet, I also found that heating it in a oven, at ~120 °C, for 5-20 minutes, inside a closed aluminum foil (so it keeps it's "essence", it's "taste") increases the amount of THC, and it reminded me how weed forgotten for a month or so (drying naturally) always seems to hit you stronger. And I also found forum reports (and even some "official" scientific reports) that drinking/eating (ripe if possible) mango 30-60 minutes prior to smoking seems to wastly enhance and prolong the experience - mango and weed both contain myrcene, myrcene helps the THC cross the blood-brain barrier. So I concluded: doing physical activities, ingesting mango, and thermal treatment would make even the weakest weed very potent. And every time I did those steps, it was as it was my first time!

      My strength was also my weakness, as I'm sure you've concluded. So to "fix" myself, I became "socioempathic", learned discipline and patience. I concluded recently that, due to my nature, when I read "official facts" about sociopathy, my subconscious just couldn't accept the fact that it was "impossible" just because it was "accepted" - maybe it was impossible, but not 'till I know for sure; if there's a way, I'd find it, no matter how long it takes, and I'll be able to combine the best of emotional and logical - mere "stoicism" just wouldn't do! And now, I am free from the shackles of "negative neurotypical" emotions. Unlike somebody adept in stoicism, I don't have to "keep on top" of my emotions. Yet I can use them to my advantage, as I already had them all my life and know them intimately.

      I highly recommend the book to anyone looking to find their "true calling", to "find themselves", as I consider it interesting, insightful, it's very "to the point", with a lot of real life examples. It's a easily digestible, engaging read that will probably get you thinking deeply about yourself...

    12. ESTP Sociopath,

      Thankyou for opening this window into your way of seeing the world. There's a particular kind of beauty in what you write, a kind of isolated strength - like a watchtower.

      I find you have a knack for pulling me beyond my own perceptions in a useful way.

      Personally, I've found that breaking old patterns to find new paths is like snowboarding in a blizzard: pure whiteout with no guide but a faint sense of motion and the edge of my board in the snow. It's difficult and slow going but is rewarding in a deeper sense.

    13. Socioempath,

      I read your note on Mastery above. It sounds like an application of Czikzentmahalyi's Flow? It does sound interesting and may be useful to me.

      I also like to think everything is possible and take great pleasure synthesising solutions, getting things to work. The art I seek to master is when to shape and when to let go. I'm reading The Art of War and Tao Te Ching as I seem to have landed naturally on the shores of Taoism. But I like to explore different views for their usefulness.

    14. I didn't read "Flow", but from what I could gather, it might be - he describes the moments of inspiration, as akin to a "flow", as ideas surge through us.

      It certainly helped me further "discover" myself, as I'm constantly having these deep thoughts, about myself, about the reality, solutions, as if there's a constant flow of unique information. And I'm not even halfway through the book, imagine that!

      I like it for it's "practicality" - as mentioned, it contains a lot of real life examples. It also has theories based on science and biology, practical steps to follow. It's less "mystical, poetic", and more "practical", yet it still has that "spark" that keeps you transfixed for hours and hours...
      If you've read "Laws of Power" (same author) you'll know what to expect, altough here the focus is less on power, and more on self-improvement, taking the "hard way", going for what you love to instead of money (attain mastery, follow your passion, and the money will eventually flow), and so on.

      Even though I had knew the what the book has to say intuitively (after all, I wouldn't have attained and kept socioempathy without going the "hard way" and practicing), it further enhanced my understanding of it all - now it seems much more clear! So I'd recommend it to you if you seek to master something, as it most definitely will help you find your "uniqueness", help you find the root of your behavior and you can work with that to attain skills; for example, Greene says that Einstein, as a child, would spend an inordinate amount of time watching a compass move on it's own, completely flabbergasted by it, and all his accomplishments came from his fascination by the invisible forces affecting the compass needle, and the world, not by his interest in physics.

    15. Interesting indeed. I'll check it out, thanks.

  12. I saw this today, and thought I would share it:


  13. This song came to my mind today, and I thought I'd share the lyrics:

    Rush "Limelight"

    Living on a lighted stage
    Approaches the unreal
    For those who think and feel
    In touch with some reality
    Beyond the gilded cage

    Cast in this unlikely role
    Ill-equipped to act
    With insufficient tact
    One must put up barriers
    To keep oneself intact

    Living in the limelight
    The universal dream
    For those who wish to seem
    Those who wish to be
    Must put aside the alienation
    Get on with the fascination
    The real relation
    The underlying theme

    Living in a fish eye lens
    Caught in the camera eye
    I have no heart to lie
    I can't pretend a stranger
    Is a long-awaited friend

    All the world's indeed a stage
    And we are merely players
    Performers and portrayers
    Each another's audience
    Outside the gilded cage


  14. Gaslighting is a term you possibly know, but in the event you don’t, it means the act associated with telling and effective someone that his or her feelings or perceptions are not really true. Inside context of social relationships, gaslighting is thought to be an abusive conduct, as it can certainly render people incapable of trusting themselves and their very own judgment, instead placing an undeserved trust in the gaslighter.

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  15. A friend of mine that I've decided to come out to as a sociopath because I decided she is intelligent enough to take what I have to say in way that informs her well enough to not hold prejudice against me (I walked her through the idea that sociopathy is not truly the sole reason for a sociopaths issues or destructive antisocial behavior, but actually ill informed adaptations made by the sociopath to cope with their mental illness and more or less function in society in a manner that isn't necessarily good for themselves, etc). She apparently suspected for a long time that I'm a sociopath, so I not only confirmed her suspicions but educated her in a way that would allow her a sense of security and allow me to be more of my self more or less.

    One thing that came up in conversation was that she posed the idea that my supposed inauthenticity of my social chameleonism is in fact, in a seemingly ouroboros fashion, my authenticity; she asked me to shift my perspective of my ever shapeshifting mask as something that was sabotaging my ability to have a truer sense of self to that of the idea that perhaps this it could just be quality of myself no less valid then my static personality traits like my lack of empathy and inability to experience genuine guilt or remorse. I also then think more of the words of Alan Watts, to consider myself much like a cloud or a wave; who has ever seen a misshapen cloud an imperfect wave? Never, as they always are as they are meant to be.

    I still have to be cognizant of lingering ill adaptations in relation to these things; finding the middle way of being true to what my inner self while still utilizing all the same mechanisms built within my self like my chameleonism. I think if I could truly master that I could have a more fulfilling and enriching life.

    ESTP Sociopath

    1. Your friend's position makes natural sense to me. In fact it kinda puzzled me that sociopaths don't tend to see it that way - is it an understanding of the difference to others or a genuine concern over a lack of self?

      I think when I responded above about you particular kind of beauty, this would be something I recognise - or formulate in my mind - as part of my conception of you. And with **-*, there were things that were more or less static and intensely beautiful about him that he refused to share.

      What I am trying to say is that we can conceptualise you or another sociopath as having this flexibility of presentation but can also recognise the more static traits or characteristics. It's the package we recognise as you - even if that is something revealed over time.

    2. Speaking for myself, I think it's a bit of both; recognition of the significant difference from myself from others and seeing how in comparison in society that my underlying static traits are not exactly traditionally appreciated in society, and from throwing so much of myself into my ability to blend in to always externally represent to the people I make use of in life a certain amount of uncertainty of true self is allowed to ruminate within my mind. In a way it is like how Alan Watts says to how so far in one extreme is to inflict a kind of self harm, whereas if I pulled back and realized if I could consider the right amount of balance between my chameleonism and following my true sense of self, I can be that well formed storm cloud, or that perfect tsunami. I understand what M.E. means with,

      "Self-awareness about my sociopathic tendencies didn't make me better, it made me worse as I came to internalize how unpalatable that was in society. That's when my behavior became so aggressive, passive, hollow, desperate, and impotent. That's when I started wearing masks basically all of the time. Sayonara to my sense of self. I may have hurt others a little less but it was accomplished by hurting myself much more."

      I can say this was true for me as well. I don't want to throw away my mask though, it's a valuable mechanism I've spent my whole life developing and perfecting. It's something I can still use to my benefit, not for ill informed adaptations, but as a tool to positively build the kind of fulfilling life I want to have and make the kind of impact I want on my environment.

      I might want to think that it is your ability to empathize, North, that truly lets you see a more solidified identity within sociopaths that we ourselves would otherwise be oblivious to. By default we see ourselves as the mask, whereas your external perspective and empathy allows you to see within us something much more than meets the eye. Is it projection, or is something truly there? As you described it yourself, "It's the package we recognise as you - even if that is something revealed over time."

      ESTP Sociopath

    3. Thanks for your reply, ESTP Sociopath. I like your approach and think it will be fruitful for you.

      The most important thing I learnt from my experiences with **-* was to live and grow in accordance with my own nature. It was clear to me he was doing this. He is high-functioning; after 4 years in our company people thought he was a "nice man", "zen-like", and "a genius". Only one person said he was "a pain in the arse", but then later when he became **-*'s boss said "he was a funny and nice guy". That's not to say **-* couldn't have done things better - I'm sure I've already pointed some of those things out! He has found a way to use his masks productively yet still get what he wants from life.

      And likewise with myself: I am growing and making mistakes and have endless things to learn and avenues to explore. Learned helplessness still paralyses me sometimes and that's next on the list.

    4. Hmmm and perhaps you are right about my empathising, external perspective enabling me to see you as a package revealed over time.

      I think the core of the empathic functions is projecting our own experience. So, what I am perhaps really judging is that if I were to use flexible social masks yet have persistent traits, I would still perceive myself as that same, coherent self.

      I noticed that, for example, when sharing my story, A predicted, or at least explained **-*'s behaviour very nicely. And she's not the only one. In fact, the people most helpful to me in learning about and coming to grips with **-*'s behaviour were all psychopaths. Two of them from INTJF invested significant energy into doing this.

      And it seems sociopaths generally have as much clue about other sociopaths as neurotypicals do of each other. Sometimes we are on the money, other times less so... we are all black boxes :)

      I haven't seen any evidence against my projection hypothesis and though I haven't articulated a clear argument for it here (I do have additional sources to draw on), I'd be interested in yours or anyone else's thoughts. When I told my psychologist, he got a little bit cranky and things went rapidly downhill, meaning it was our last session together. But he didn't convince me otherwise, lol, he just upset me about **-*.

    5. North I don't know why your Dr didn't get it. I know I was guilty of "being a creative thinker who imagined someone was more. " I think that is to be expected.

    6. That doesn't sound like something one should be guilty of ;)

      How did that play out for you?

      He was probably wondering why I was showing up in his clinic spouting philosophical theories when my life seemed more or less in order. I clearly wasn't articulating the problem; but then that was part of the problem. I had thought I'd need the psychologist for as long as I felt I needed **-*; on that day, I flipped the equation, deciding I didn't need the psychologist and hence didn't need **-*. Did the trick :)

    7. That sort of math makes sense to me. I know I'm not guilty of anything more than filling in the blanks. It didn't turn out well. I think about the conversations. There were so many over a long period and yet I only consider one to be a true organic conversation and not some weird preplanned sound bite. That seems impossible but I have really thought about it. They seemed like a tourist in their own life.

    8. A tourist in their own life - I understand what you mean. Yes, it was all pre-planned. Except for one or two surprises from me.

  16. M.E, I want to challenge you to shift your perspective; you can have the cake and the ice cream, the mask to still be utilized and enough self respect for your innermost self. I think it is genuinely achievable, or do you think they are mutually exclusive?

    ESTP Sociopath

    1. I definitely think it is possible.

      My theory:
      Let people believe what they want about you, it doesn't matter what they believe, everyone's a critic, the reality and the truth is all that should matter to you. Do your own thing; pursue your hobbies, learn valuable skills, follow your interests.
      By being genuinely proficient in a lot of things, you can develop your "own identity" - you are what you do. Your work and deeds will speak for itself.
      That way, you can navigate the "social minefields", utilize your mask for defense and deflection, use it to advance and promote yourself, so you still get to manipulate (at least, until you are so powerful you might not need it as much), and the skills will help you when the times are tough and the mask is useless. By relying on your hard-earned skills, doing it the "hard way", you will prevent the downfall that happens when you "don't deliver" too many times.
      In addition, doing it the "hard way" will eliminate your weaknesses, teach you discipline, you will be much less impulsive and prone to destrucion and boredom.

      And once you attain enough power and influence, you will be much more free to change the rules and public perception to suit yourself and your agenda (say, sociopathic rights).

    2. Thank you, Socioempath. Your words are appreciated. I've had some of these same thoughts myself.

      ESTP Sociopath

  17. " She threw away all her masks - And put on her soul."

    M.E. Just saw s pic on Facebook , reminded me of you in this post :-)

    1. "In my defenselessness,my safety lies." My soul needs no armor.��

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