Sunday, January 27, 2019

Hyperrational or sociopath?

I've met a couple people now where I half wonder if they're not so much sociopathic as hyperrational. A lot of them will sense the difference themselves, i.e. they're the ones telling me that maybe they're a little on the sociopathic spectrum or have similarities, but it's primarily on the hyperrational side. I got a recent email from a reader along those same lines, maybe we can get other people's thoughts?

First thing first, I'm sorry it's a long read, and since English is not my first language there could be some unclear passages, but I tried my best.

I admire your introspection, M. E. I found your book casually surfing the internet, while I was seeking info about personality disorders. I read it in a night, with my admiration of you growing page after page. I share some personality traits with you (sociopath traits), but at the same time, we have some big differences, which are leading me to question myself, and I am writing to you for this reason. Only recently, despite my young age, I came to realize that there’s something not quite right about the way I look at the world. I don’t have empathy, at all. There are really a few people I have feelings for, almost all of them close family members. After recent events, I realized that whereas other people suffer seeing someone else feeling pain, I don’t. I am incapable of feeling any negative emotion about someone else. I am glad to be this way. I look down on empaths, so emotionally unstable, feeling miserable just because of others feeling that way.

I feel no guilt, no remorse. I am ruthless, I have no moral code. To me, there doesn’t exist anything good or bad per se. It all depends on the point of view. One big difference with you though is that I usually don’t engage in behaviours risky for my life. Being dead is not a great way to succeed. I learnt to control my impulses and to be cold, especially if I sense some great danger. Usually, if I’m about to do something that others consider bad, I think twice about the pros and cons, and the likeliness of getting caught. I am cold and callous, and I don’t really care about other’s emotions and needs. The only person I truly care about is me. I dislike strong emotions. I get annoyed when someone around me is crying or yelling or complaining.

I consider others chess pawns in my hands, I maintain a relationship only if I can profit from it. If the bads outweigh the goods, I shut the door. I believe that everyone is completely replaceable. “friends” are no more than people I use, and I enjoy putting one against another. In fact, I plot in the dark and I instil doubt in people, unaware of my deep feelings. The best situation for me to act is war, conflict, enmity. When everyone is against each other my manipulation is more effective. I seek this situation, I try to create it trough suspicion and lies.

I don’t really like talking, communicating, if there isn’t a clear purpose. Most of the times I find people talking do me annoying.

I get easily bored of what I do, what I study. I have a boring life, and anything different than usual thrills me.  For example, a friend of mine has been recently diagnosed with BD, and although everyone else is sad about it, I find it extremely exciting. It’s out of the ordinary, it’s a new thing. I am interested in mental illnesses and psychiatric drugs, so I find an extremely positive thing for me. This is one of the facts that led me to this period of introspection: I am happy for a thing considered bad by everyone.

Until this point, I believe I met a sufficient number of criteria to be diagnosed as a sociopath. I don’t want to be officially diagnosed, that’s why I’m asking your insights. Anyway, the truth is, I often don’t succeed in manipulation this way. I am not the classic sociopath who can manipulate others and bend their will in any situation, but I was. Now I am the perfect sociopath just in my mind. Fantasies about controlling others are sweet as honey, they give me pleasure. Plotting itself is so satisfying. I am not so charming anymore, unfortunately.

The first experiences about manipulations were in kindergarten. Back then I was really good. Kids were really easily bent, especially if younger than me, and adults too, even if to a minor extent. Elementary school was also quite a proficient period. And here we come to the main reason I am questioning my sociopathy. After elementary school, I was not the same anymore. I started being inhibited, I wasn’t popular, I wasn’t charming, I was kinda shy. I became no one. I never had a good physical shape or strength, and given how was the “social value” of someone measured in middle school (and generally by teen population), this could be a reason I lost my charm. Now, more than half a decade later, I am trying to restore my social power. Even during those years, I kept not having feelings for others. But due to my lack of social prestige, I was down psychologically, maybe depressed, I don't know. This is really a thing I regret about my past. So I’m not immune to depression if it involves being socially powerless. Is this a relevant feature? I am not immune to anxiety either.

According to your book, you kept that charm and those manipulative skills throughout the whole childhood and adolescence. I wish I was like you in that sense.

I blend very well with society now, and in the past too, maybe because in the past years I wouldn’t even seem a sociopath. Maybe I wasn’t. Maybe I’m not. But my dark and cold heart Is difficult to ignore. I rarely disclose what I really think, who I really am. No one really knows me, maybe because there is nothing to know: I’m unsure about my identity, I don’t feel having one. People build a world around me starting from the chunks of information they have. I am well used to then become who the other person imagined. No one got the bigger picture yet, even if my lack of empathy was noticed sometimes. I try to conceal under layers of lies my real thoughts and what drives me.

I don’t get upset easily, I am quite detached. There are a few people who can make me lose my temper. In that case, I can harm them verbally and psychologically – but not physically, I already said I am not at my best in that sense. There are many emotions I can fake, but I have a hard time crying fakely.

I think a lot about killing. I never even attempted, obviously. I have no intention in going to jail. But my enemies' destruction is a sweet fantasy. I wouldn’t mind sacrificing someone innocent to obtain the destruction of my enemies.

I am very intelligent, more than literally anyone I know. Probably more than you too. I was extremely precocious, my early infancy is totally relatable to yours. While other kids wondered about princesses and superheroes (kindergarten) I was already deeply aware of myself and my surroundings, and I was experimenting with every kind of scientific thing. At 4 I discovered that joining the two poles of a battery with a wire and touching the poles I would get a mild shock that made me drop the battery. Silly thing, but I was very curious. I learnt reading at 5, by myself. By the time I was 6 or 7, I would know more about science in general that someone entering high school. I used to read any sort of things, and I still do. I like knowledge. Knowledge is power. I learn just for the sake of knowing things. Of knowing more than others. I feel joy when I am the best, in every field. I had the habit of talking to myself too.

I am interested in people, in the relationship between them. In elementary school I wrote secret papers that contained strengths and (especially) weaknesses of everyone I knew, addressing ways to bend them and secret information I could use if my plans failed. I get a thrill about it just remembering. I have a good memory about people’s secret. I crave them.

I am not in university yet. Over the years I often had confused ideas about what I wanted to be. Right mow I want to be a surgeon. I completely relate with the trauma surgeon you wrote about in your blog. I don’t want to be a surgeon to do something good for patients. I just want to operate for the sake of operating, to interact with flesh and organs, to have power over someone. And to excel in what I do, be groundbreaking. Emergency surgery is what I like the most. I like the rush, the speed you have to make challenging decisions.

I will have success. It’s not sort of a megalomaniac and narcissistic delusion. I am born to be the best, to shine. I already had some personal successes, but I will not talk about it here.

I am sexually fluid, and I experience sexual love or lust. But they’re just superficial feelings, I believe, even if they are strong.

Generally, I understand what people want, even if others made me notice that I sometimes don’t recognise if someone is sad. One of the things I am so bad at is comforting people in grief. I am clueless, even if I know that is socially required to comfort sad people. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t even wanna know people’s problem unless I can use them to manipulate. I learnt to know people, but I still don’t understand them completely. I don’t understand how they can have such strict moral codes that they are unable to live their life freely but I suppose it’s better for us this way. It would be impossible if everyone was ruthless and cold-blooded. There can’t be only lions. There must be sheep too.

Concluding, this is the first time of real introspection in my life. I had a hard time getting to know myself, and I feel like I’m unable to grasp the majority of things anyway. And I don’t know what I am. I struggle in defining myself, I would seem sociopath if not for the negative emotions, I could be a malignant narcissist maybe? Or am I just a sociopath with some narcissist features? I need your opinion Ms Thomas, and I am thankful I found your book.
Thanks in advance 

My response:

I guess you are still a bit young, which makes me hesitate to say anything definitive, but I would say that you appear to be on the sociopathic spectrum. One thing that has surprised me as I've gone around meeting people is that I have met people that are less charming -- only like 2 out of 15 or something, but it is interesting to meet them, and yet still know that they are like me in a lot of other ways. It makes me think that there are sort of 12 traits of sociopathy and people sometimes have more of one and less of another. For instance, you seem to be high on conscientiousness to the point where you almost seem to be just hyperrational. And maybe you are, maybe as you continue to age and develop, that will be the more pronounced thing about you. But I feel like even hyperrational people are able to recognize the emotions of others (e.g. recognize when someone is sad), even if they don't have a ton of empathy. This suggests to me that there's something more going on then just hyperrationality. But should we post what you wrote on the blog and see what people say?

8 comments:

  1. what does everyone think of Joes character in the netflix show "you"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joe is great. Clearly a sociopath, but he has a weakness, and that is his deep need for validation and acceptance due to the fact that he never recieved this as a child. He has all the right tools in him to be high functioning, and if he refocused his goals toward something that properly benefits him (instead of irrationally dedicating his time and energy to one person), he would be much happier

      Delete
  2. A dragon advisor in a fairytale told an attention-seeking nobody: "-Try to be something, a somebody." "-But I have disguised my odd weirdness with a vampire cloak!" yelled the strange one. "-Why not try hard to be something cute instead, a goofy daffodil, isn´t that what you really are, for real?"

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  3. With this post I totally understand. I am very similar, also young (19), female and pretty much everything you said I can relate to myself. Email me alponz11@gmail.com and we can compare stories

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    Replies
    1. To ME, OP and Anon@Jan 28, 5.33pm:
      Yep, that was also me when much younger. Being as naturally explicitly charming as ME is not the default; a lot of us are more introverted and more interested in doing our own stuff than interacting with other people much. Your inclinations towards science (like mine) also would ensure your focus is on analysing the natural world, and humans as objects of your analyses, than objects to socialise with (and waste time charming, since they are of no use). But it's an acquired skill, refined over the years, more easily acquired if you're extrovert by nature, and ultimately, only necessary on occasion.
      Also, be aware that psychopathy is dimensional and more an emergent property - NOT taxonomic. Read Kevin Dutton's 'The Wisdom of Psychopaths' especially his music mixer analogy, to understand that. Also, ignore any research connected to R Hare and his associates over the years, including the PCL-R assessed stuff; and focus on the traits as outlined within Lillienfeld's PPI-R measure. That will give you a more rounded and realistic basis of an accurate research model for that particular constellation of traits.
      Furthermore, if you want to delve into the topic in greater detail, acquire and read Christopher Patrick's second edition of 'The Handbook of Psychopathy', 2nd ed, 2018.

      Welcome to the sorority, OP. 8-)

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  4. Very rare to feel empathy for someone you don’t trust, but not impossible?? I’d be interested to hear you elaborate on the exception to that rule

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  5. I would like to read about the "bad" things this person does.

    This has the same problem as on this womans book, she had no criminal history. Something that is required for to be diagnosed as a sociopath.

    If you have no early criminal history, you are not a sociopath.

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  6. 1. I agree, I would like to know what is classified as "bad"
    2. For me, I break the law a lot but I never get caught thus have no criminal history. Maybe it's the same for them?

    ReplyDelete

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