Reply To: Hi – I'm a sociopath.



Alaska, I’ve been thinking a lot about the comments here. It occurred to me that perhaps people who have big abandonment issues (I don’t want to limit it to BPD or any diagnosis) are attracted to sociopaths BECAUSE of the mirroring. There is a school of thought in psychology that says that abandonment issues occur when a baby is not mirrored adequately by its parents. This is called “self” psychology and a guy called Kohut (or similar) developed it.

Basically, babies learn that they are loved and valued when they are validated. Parents do this through baby-talk with babies, comforting and hugging a child who is frightened by a nightmare or a storm etc. Parents also mirror good things, like if a child brings home a painting they did in school, the parent is thrilled and displays it proudly on the fridge. All these mirroring activities act to inform the baby/child that their feelings are valid and that their feelings are important to the parent.

According to Kohut, problems occur when the parents do not ‘validate’ the child. Say, for example, a four year old comes running into the house with a worm. They are excited! They found this wonderful, squirmy thing in the garden. They expect mommy to be as thrilled as they are. When mommy’s response is “ugh, you dirty child… take that ugly thing outside”, the child is “disavowed”. They don’t know where to put their joyous, excited feelings, which are obviously “wrong”.

If disavowal of feelings happens “too often” (for either or both good and bad feelings), the child has no sense of the feelings part of “me”. Self psychology as a therapy consists of basically mirroring feelings back to the patient so they get re-parented regarding having feelings of love, hate, anger, fear, joy, envy, pride etc validated.

I am now thinking that sociopaths would be extremely seductive to people who have a history of having their feelings (and therefore their ‘self’) invalidated. It’s like people with BPD are the “hand” and sociopaths are the “glove”. The two fit together so well.

I agree with everything stargazer has said. This is just another thing that has been percolating in my head the last couple of days, and it might help you in starting to answer “why?”

If my idle musings aren’t helpful, then feel free to shrug them off. I don’t know you, so I am talking in a general way rather than pointing you in a specific direction. Amongst your and my many powers, is the the power to ignore someone’s comments (and not even give a reason).

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