Editor’s note: A reader who identified himself as a sociopath recently posted this comment on the Lovefraud Blog, and sent it to me in an email. I am posting this piece because it provides a good description of how sociopaths view themselves, and explains why they are quite comfortable taking advantage of the rest of us. Be sure to read the question I asked him, and his response, at the end.
We are uniquely gifted
“Sociopath” is a misleading word: it implies a disorder, something wrong and unnatural with the person, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. We, the people you refer to as sociopaths, have nothing wrong with us. We are instead, the uniquely gifted. Our gifts have been mischaracterized and maligned and it’s time someone set the record straight.
What the experts call superficial charm, I call having a natural ability to win friends and influence people. What experts call manipulative and conning, I call an affinity for persuasion based upon an innate ability to pinpoint others personality strengths and weaknesses. What the experts decry as a lack of compassion, I call pragmatism and clarity. What experts call a “problem with authority”, I call embracing personal power and celebrating the independent spirit. What experts call “delusions of grandeur”, I call self confidence and optimism. What experts call “shallow emotional affect,” I call freedom from the tyranny of irrational emotions. And finally, while the experts say that guiltlessness is a disorder (because it is the lack of guilt that separates the sociopath, psychopath and Machiavellian from the general population), I say it is the enhanced ability to do the things that build civilizations and keep societies going, the very things that the guilt afflicted shy away from. It is no coincidence that our lack of guilt so often comes with abnormally high intelligence and charisma.
We are born to lead and many of our traits support this conclusion. We are born knowing this and the rest of you know it when you see us. It is these very traits that make us necessary for the survival and success of the human species, especially since the dawn of civilization. It’s why you elect us, follow us, and often give your very lives by our command. Though we are found disproportionally in prisons we are found with even greater frequency in your governments, your corporations, your military. Who else but someone devoid of conscience could order thousands of soldiers to die, regardless of how noble the cause? Who can fire hundreds of workers to save a company from bankruptcy and then sleep peacefully that night? Who can so elegantly tell the lies that must be told, to protect the very people to whom the lies are told? It takes one of us to make those calls, the calls that the rest of humanity cannot make.
And yet a distressing number of us become the very thing you fear us all to be; criminals and abusers. This creates a cycle of ignorance, as all the “sociopaths” identified by the news are killers or wife-beaters, and so we identify this collection of gifts as evil, as pathological, and thus those of us in our proper roles feel the need to disguise ourselves for fear of being labeled evil. A similar cycle of ignorance has kept homosexuals oppressed for decades; homosexuality has been associated with child molesters and perverts, drug use and disease, and it was called “evil” for this.
We are not evil; you simply do not recognize the “good” ones as the same phenomena. Google “sociopath” and all you find are ways to recover from contact with a sociopath, information advising you to run from relationships with sociopaths, and misinformation that will claim that “sociopaths cannot feel love” or that we “cannot think of others as human beings” or that we are “parasitic”.
It is very distressing to discover, for a child who has always known that he was different, that he is a monster… that he is doomed to live a loveless life and become a criminal, that he will never be able to hold a job or raise a family. Indeed, one must wonder how often do one of us accepts the mischaracterization of our abilities and instincts as things to be repressed and rejected due to ignorance? How often do the young among our frequently demonized minority discover what he is, buys into the paranoid misinformation and simply does what he is expected to do, withholding from society the very qualities it needs and secretly wants to maintain itself and imprisoning himself in a state of confusion and needless pain as a result?
What is the so called sociopath? A sociopath is one of your potential leaders, labeled by the fearful and unreasoning masses as something sick and evil. “Sociopath” is a negative label which only serves to further alienate people who simply need to be allowed to embrace their gifts. Getting rid of this misleading term should be the first step towards fully understanding who we are and the role we play in this world. We are not the embodiment of a pathology. On the contrary; we are instead the uniquely gifted.
Editor’s note: I sent the author this question: “How do you justify lying and deception?” His reply:
Justify? Did you forget the “no guilt, no remorse” part already? We have no need to justify the lying, as we don’t see anything inherently wrong with it. Deception is merely a means to an end. Nor is it necessarily malevolent. We simply act in our own self-interest. We know what we want and the easiest way to get it. It’s a gift.