Reply To: Hi – I'm a sociopath.



Dear Me, what kind of snake do you think you would like? I have a boa. I’ve had her for 10 years. I used to have another, but he died of cancer. A snake is a wonderful pet, as long as you can accept it for what it is and not expect it to behave like a cat or dog. This is where most people get put off.

I see your dilemma of wanting to open up to people but people being put off. In opening up, you are pretty much telling them that you are the kind of person who is likely to exploit them. Catch 22. It would put me on alert, too. I always wonder if there is a way to share your direct experience without the label – sociopath, borderline, etc. I dated a guy once for three years who told me upfront that he had “sociopathic tendencies.” I didn’t really know what that meant and got involved anyway. Three years later, he discarded me in the cruelest way. After that and a few other experiences like that, I learned what the word meant. If you feel that you will not necessarily treat the person like that, then I would not use the word “sociopath” to describe yourself. You could say you fight the tendency, or something like that. But in all honesty, knowing what I know, I would still be wary if I were the other person.

I think it’s really important to see a person (or even a pet) for what they are and know what they are and are not capable of. This can allow a person to navigate safely in the world. You can care about someone but not think it’s a good idea to get involved. It’s a lot harder IMO to trust too easily, find out you’ve been exploited, and then stay stuck in the anger, blame, and judgment phase, unable to move on. It is rather like getting bit by your pet snake and taking it personally rather than realizing it is a snake and taking precautions so you don’t get bit. That’s why it’s good to take your time to get to know someone and observe them in different settings. Granted, relationships are always a risk no matter what, and there will be some con artists who will just exploit others. But, to use the snake analogy, if you don’t like getting bit, better not get a snake for a pet. Or if you do get a snake, know that is is a snake and not a puppy.

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