Ladies and gentlemen, hello”¦and thanks for inviting me to speak to you about sociopathy. As an audience, you come highly recommended by my good friend Phil, who visited with you last winter as a narcissism expert, and who, I understand, you basically booed off the lectern.
By way of personal disclosure, I can tell you that I’ve been diagnosed as a sociopath separately by several prominent clinicians all of whom, let me establish candidly, were complete charlatans. As a matter of fact, this is the basis of my book, which of course is prominently displayed for purchase on the table in the back, entitled, “How Three Utter Clinical Charlatans Separately Diagnosed Me as a Sociopath.”
Just a little about my personal history”¦
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, where to begin?
Ladies and gentlemen, I think I’d like to start by telling you that I am a highly ethical personality, a point I choose to stress if only to assure you that I have every intention of returning the wallet that I know one of you is missing because I lifted it off you on the coffee and danish line about fifteen minutes ago.
Please”¦no need to check your pockets and pocketbooks. As I said, I’ll return the wallet shortly, during our upcoming break”¦however—and, of course, consistent with my stringent ethics—I won’t guarantee, because I don’t make promises I can’t keep, that I’ll be returning the wallet with the same cash amount as when I lifted it.
Ladies and gentleman, I’m delighted to be here. My presence here, of course, gives you a chance to glean some insight into the fascinating minds of sociopaths, and me the chance to score, I hope, with one of the more attractive women in the audience, whether she be single or not.
This way, we establish the quid pro quo up front.
My friends, sociopaths, as you know, tend to be deceptive individuals. And they tend to lie very boldly. For instance, my brother-in-law Frank, who, incidentally, tends to follow me around like a stalker—yes, he accused me of stealing money he gave me to start my hedge fund business.
I’ll never forget a recent interaction we had, which I share with you for instructional purposes:
He said, “Ron, you haven’t paid a cent of that loan back. What’s the deal?”
I said, “What deal? What deal are you talking about?”
He said, “The loan, Ron. The 50-grand we loaned you with the stipulation you’d pay it back with 5% interest.”
I said, “That was a loan?”
He said, “Of course it was a loan, you f’ing sociopath.”
See what I mean, folks? The deception? How he tried spinning what had clearly been offered as a gift of 50-thousand dollars into, conveniently, a loan? And did you notice his audacity—audacity being a very sociopathic feature?
Calling me a sociopath, when so clearly he was the sociopath? I believe professionals also call that “projection?”
Yes, I see a hand raised?
Of course my sister supported him! What a moronic question!
She’s my sister, yes, but he’s her husband. Naturally she claimed, with as much nerve as he, that it was a loan, not a gift, which they both made to me. This is a wonderful example, incidentally, of the corrupting influence that sociopaths like my brother-in-law can have on their vulnerable partners.
And to anticipate your next question”¦no, I won’t be paying a cent of that loan—I meant to say gift—back”¦because, that would be enabling their deceipt and I refuse, from principle, to do that.
Ladies and gentlemen, I must be frank and tell you that I’ve been married five times. Now what does this fact tell you? Here’s what it should tell you: It should tell you how absolutely clueless my prior wives were, inasmuch as all they needed to do to keep me satisfied was to appreciate how good they had it with me.
Even my present wife, who recently outed me for cheating on her with an ex-girlfriend I accidentally found on Facebook”¦even she doesn’t get it.
I can tell you—and I’ve told her this, trust me—that I’m on the verge of leaving her because, ladies and gentelmen, I really don’t need this nonsense. And I suspect that some of the men in the audience can probably relate to where I’m coming from?
My good friends, sociopaths really don’t get it.
And so often these perverse characters offer up glib explanations for their appalling behaviors. For example, my present spouse confronted me on the purely accidental nature of my latest liaison outside our marriage.
I remind you, just as I explained to her, that I found myself on Facebook one day and, intending to locate a childhood friend named Tommy who’d moved during Elementary School and whose whereabouts I’d always wondered about, I somehow, accidentally, ended up discovering my ex’s Facebook homepage.
Thinking, naturally, that it was Tommy’s Facebook page (it was his I was searching), I made an innocent friend request, fully expecting to hear back—hoping to hear back—from Tommy, when who should respond with a friend confirmation, but Sarah?
This should all have been enough explanation, but what did my insatiable wife want next? She demands to know how, even “accepting for the moment your lying bullshit,” I ended up screwing this ex-girlfriend for three months behind her back?
I’m laughing”¦.for the reason you can probably guess? What the hell does one thing have to do with the other? See how she’s trying to confuse me”¦jumping all over the map”¦manipulating me!
Sociopaths, my friends, are quite incapable of recognizing, or caring about, the depth and pattern of their abuse of others.
Exhibit A, my friends: each of my five ex-wives, plus the present one, all of whom, I’m convinced, have serious sociopathic traits.
Their contrivance of outrage, as I’ve suggested, upon discovering my countless infidelities during our marriages”¦come to think of it, it’s laughable.
That’s exactly why I’m laughing right now”¦ laughing out loud, and having trouble composing myself. It’s just so funny how sociopaths will contrive emotions to manipulate you.
Evidently my ex’s wanted me to feel guilt? I’m sorry, but I’m still laughing”¦it’s just so funny.
I mean my marriages, every one of them—and my wives themselves—grew so boring, tedious and predictable that—and you tell me—what option, realistically, was left but to search for something fresh and exciting?
And I’m sure you’d agree that a man like me, in these circumstances—and let’s be honest, any guy with a real set of balls—would have to be a fool, or else whipped beyond dignity, to begrudge himself relief from such oppression?
But I digress, I’m afraid.
Glib”¦.yes, I was mentioning the tendency of sociopaths to be glib. It’s good practice, my friends, to beware of glib personalities, because often a very dangerous insincerity lurks beneath the glibness”¦often the glibness is used to cover, to distract or divert from a manipulative agenda.
In other words, it’s not the glibness itself that’s problematic, so much as its function”¦which, so often, is to enable, through a form of obfuscation, an ulterior agenda.
Ladies and gentlemen, on that note, we are coming upon our first break. But wait”¦someone’s just straggled in, irresponsibly late.
Let’s let the gentleman take his seat. Maybe you can introduce yourself, first, sir?
“You owe me $50 f’ing thousand dollars, you asshole, and I’ll chase you down like Dog The Bounty Hunter till you pay up!!”
Excuse me, ladies and gentleman”¦this man must be confusing me with someone else? I apologize, on his behalf, for his rude disruption of our seminar.
Sir, I kindly ask that you”¦
“Knock off the bullshit, Ron! Why don’t you tell these kind people the criminal evasion you’ve been perpetrating on me and your own sister!”
My good friend, not only do I not know what you’re talking about, and not only have I never seen you in my whole life, but unless you leave the room at once, I’ll be forced to have security remove you.
I find it very creepy, sir, that you know my name, but I assure you that we don’t know each other, and whatever situation you’re alluding to is most certainly a figment of your delusional mind.
Yes, thank you, security, for removing this man at once. Yes, take him out kicking and screaming, and hurling his ugly threats. There he goes, ladies and gentlemen, kicking and screaming, removed by the courageous, well-prepared security guards. I’m so sorry for this untimely intrusion.
Have you noticed, my friends, or is it just me, that mental illness seems to be on the rise? It’s such a terrible shame the kinds of delusions people seem to be harboring and their growing tendency to impose them on us?
Well, if nothing else, that was pretty entertaining. I’ll have to check up later on that poor soul and make sure he was properly committed to the right institution.
It’s hard to know what to tell a guy like that, other than”¦next time you make a financial arrangement along the lines you were babbling about, make sure the contract’s drawn-up by attorneys. That way you avoid the kind of trouble he was ranting about so incoherently.
Strange how many people think they know me, and have accosted me over the years with outrageous, paranoid accusations.
I seem to have one of those faces that’s commonly mistaken for others.
Ladies and gentlemen, let us take our first break, and use the next few minutes to recover from the surprise appearance of that very sick man.
Feel free, of course, to purchase the books in the back”¦and more importantly, please approach me about becoming Class A investors in either of my two superstar hedge funds, both of which have yielded annualized returns of over 40% since 2004.
That makes Madoff’s returns look paltry, and he was cheating, whereas we—meaning me, and my accountant, Lucciano—operate strictly on the up and up.
And you”¦over there”¦yes, you”¦who’s glaring at me with that homicidal look”¦come on over and get your wallet.
(This article is copyrighted (c) 2009 by Steve Becker, LCSW)