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By | December 18, 2007 155 Comments

What does the psychopath ‘do’ with this diagnosis?

LoveFraud reader buzzibee raises some important issues in a recent comment.

How does a tested and proven psychopath usually respond to being told “You have a mental disorder. You are characteristically a psychopath”?

Are [they] so arrogant to dispute a medical diagnosis that they have a mental disorder? Do they display any desire to learn more about the disorder and at any point admit to it?

In order to be diagnosed as a psychopath, a person needs a score of 30 out of a possible 40 on the Psychotherapy Checklist-Revised test (PCL-R). This is a very time-consuming test which only trained personnel can administer, so by and large only prisoners and research subjects are likely to have it.

Psychopaths don’t see themselves as having a problem and so wouldn’t present themselves for testing anyway. Unless they thought they might benefit from the diagnosis in some way. So that’s point number one: psychopaths are unlikely to receive the diagnosis unless they are incarcerated, and probably not even then.

Point number two is that those who do get the diagnosis respond like psychopaths; in other words they use it as yet another tool to manipulate others. Here’s a quote from a December, 13 ‘Nature’ article on research scanning the brains of psychopaths in order to better understand empathy:

All the subjects seem to find the experiment to be nonsense. “It was stupid, boring,” says inmate Willem Boerema (not his real name), who claims to have taken part only because he likes Meffert [the young female researcher]. Then, contradicting himself, he adds that “if they say the study can help people then it’s good”.

Boerema, smart, articulate and multilingual, has a PCL-R rating of 35 and a big problem with the term ‘psychopath’. He views it as a fashionable label abused by the judicial system to keep people like himself from being released. “The courts look at your PCL-R rating and add two years to your sentence, then another two years, and then another.”

When he entered the prison five years ago, Boerema says, ‘borderline personality’ was the fashionable term, and his designated pigeon-hole. “The psychopathy label is more damaging though it prompts everyone to see you as a potential serial killer, which I could never be.” (Note, in reporting this article it was agreed that inmates’ crimes would be neither asked about nor reported on.) But Boerema also wears the score as a badge of honour: “I think my high psychopath score is a talent, not a sickness I can make good strong decisions, and it’s good to have some distance with people.”

I’m reminded of Freud’s comments on the following “piece of sophistry”:
A. borrowed a copper kettle from B. and after he had returned it was sued by B. because the kettle now had a big hole in it which made it unusable. His defence was: “First, I never borrowed a kettle from B. at all; secondly, the kettle had a hole in it already when I got it from him; and thirdly, I gave him back the kettle undamaged”….We might…say: “A. has put an ‘and’ where only “either-or” is possible.”

‘Boerema’s litany is classic. It’s ‘nonsense’, ‘stupid’, ‘boring’. I’m going along because I like the doctor, I want to help people. It’s ‘fashionable’, ‘damaging’, labeling, used as an excuse to keep him in prison. It’s a badge of honour, a talent. It’s not a sickness… In short, there is no such thing as psychopathy, but to the extent that it’s true, it’s a good thing.

Just two other uses to which the diagnosis might be put are: as a threat, and to elicit pity.

—————————–

There’s never anything wrong with the psychopath. This is perhaps the main reason why therapy doesn’t work with them – they have no motivation to change. But that’s a topic for another day!


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Espressogirl

Oh my, this behavior is quite familiar!

During a custody dispute (years ago) we were court ordered to have psychological tests. My ex’s came out poorly – he protested it was wrong and demanded another from a different Dr. We did another one, and he refused to pay because he “knew” in advance it was wrong. Somehow he managed to manipulate the situation so attention was off him. He then found 3 more psychologists and a social worker for more testing to “prove” he wasn’t psychotic, then never went back or paid any of the bills.

When I received a call from the last one telling me he was there and this was an “emergency” and I needed to drop everything and show up immediately, I gave him the names of all the previous MDs, and told him no, this game is over.

Nothing was ever wrong with the guy, but he did cost our family a lot of aggravation and upset with invented problems.

Wow! This shows how a chain of -yet again- orchestrated events would suck the victim back in to the pity play, where the paramoralisms run rampant but more importantly, it demonstrates to each of us why the No Contact policy is so critical.

As much as we WANT to help them and as much as THINK (hope) we can … we just cannot. The famous Serenity Prayer applies beautifully to us all –
“God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

I think I speak for all the good folk here when I say that so much thanks has to go to Donna Anderson, Dr Liane Leedom, ML Gallagher and of course to Dr Steve and this site for your tireless efforts and the care and professional advice you have given to us all. I doubt any of us, wherever we may live in the world would have found such awesome “treatment” in any place, other than on the Lovefraud site.

THANK YOU !!

I’ve never been administered the PCL-R so I’m no diagnosed psychopath. I was, however, diagnosed at an early age as having APD. I received intensive “therapy” for many years following the diagnosis.

As I got older and the therapy progressed, I did a lot of my own research to find out just what a sociopath really was. I read classic cases of the sociopath turned serial killer, the petty criminals, the con-men. I read what was the only solution for such a character – institutional incarceration.

This wasn’t my idea of where I wanted to end up, piss poor end for someone who’s supposedly self serving!

The result is probably the best case scenario for rehabilitating a sociopath. I’ve developed strong impulse control and have seamlessly integrated, as a productive member, into society.

This is not to say I’m not still extremely manipulative. I still partake in behavior that is not seen as “productive” or “good” to any social groups. It simply means I’m much better at getting away with it as my urges are satisfied over long term well thought out plans and not quick useless lying based upon impulse.

I would never say a label as a sociopath would be a badge of honor as it ostracizes one from the social groups which we NEED. Unless, of course, the social group in which one is involved with after incarceration is adequate. I’ve spent time in a box, I have no intention of ever doing so again.

So perhaps the best one can hope for with a sociopath is to be able to remove the sociopath/psychopath label and just be comfortable in calling them a self centered manipulative jerk.

And to the point of this comment – I used my diagnosis (and while not a psychopathic one, it’s close based upon the criteria used back when I was diagnosed) to find out what the end result of such a diagnosis usually meant, and did everything I could to avoid it.

I’m cured!

SecretMonster

notquitebroken

I think SecretMonster has something there. It appears to me that the intelligence we’ve found in these guys indicates most of them get better at what they do over time. I know that the man I was involved with has gotten steadily craftier and better at what he does. He learns from the mistakes that get him busted and he figures out how to use those experiences to his advantage. He tells a better tale each time and picks up a woman who makes a little more money or is slightly prettier, thinner, or brighter than us, but she is also more needy and less likely to call bullsh*t when she finds it.

Society commonly thinks of sociopaths as serial killers, but I suspect the ones who are truly good at what they do never make the mistake of killing someone and causing an enormous manhunt. They move through life gaining more skill at manipulation. Some even become downright useful to society and can completely ape the actions of a normal person, feigning empathy they will never feel.

I still think that the man I was involved with believed all the lovely things he said to women. He desperately wanted to have the feelings of compassion and caring and love that normal people do, and he knew he was broken. He longed for the love he could never feel. He thought that if he told a girl she was the love of his life enough times, they would both come to believe it eventually. She always fell hard, and he grew steadily more angry with her for not eliciting the feelings in him that he wanted. Truly, I think he wanted someone who could manipulate his feelings in much the way he convinced others to adore him. The catch here is that he is completely incapable of experiencing those warm and caring feelings, and it makes him angry when someone else can’t make him feel what comes naturally to the rest of us.

Strangely, that knowledge has helped me reach a certain level of forgiveness I thought I’d never find with him. He is smart, and he is certainly responsible for his actions, but he will never know what it’s like to hold someone in his arms and have his heart fill with the sort of tenderness and adoration we’re all entitled to. He is well and truly broken, and he is also irrepairable. It would be terrible to know, deep within yourself that you are incapable of the loving feelings that make us basic, decent human beings. To some degree, it isn’t his fault that his wiring is broken. Isn’t that where they get us all? We’re empathetic and feel sorry for this poor, dear man who is so obviously broken that he doesn’t even realize the scope of how messed up he is. Talk about a Catch 22! We just need to remember that he is untreatable and not allow ourselves to get taken in again.

In the comments to a previous post, someone mentioned that we’re all afraid the next one will actually be the one who could do what we couldn’t: handle it all and keep him happy. I know that’s bothered me a great deal, too. Ultimately, though, what the next victim will get is a false relationship with a man who is merely improving his manipulation skills and getting better at evil manipulation for his own selfish gains because he is not even remotely capable of love.

kathryann

My ex-husband was diagnosed as a sociopath in prison, unknown to me at the time I married him (of course). You are right, he knows it, but now he’s better at it. When he was in prison it was for armed robbery, 11 years in a row, when he got out he just figured that if he told women he loved them, he didn’t have to commit armed robberies anymore for his drug habit, so that’s what he does. He uses women and their money to keep his drug habit alive and well, and in the meantime, goes from woman to woman to take care of him, thus he doesn’t have to go back to prison, or commit crimes.

notquitebroken: Extremely well put. I wish I had something quippy to say.

alohatraveler

Noquitebroken,

That is the trap… thinking there is something to handle. I think we handled a lot!!! I compare my relationship to being a twig withstanding a hurricane and I didn’t snap. I am surprised I didn’t.

There is no way of pleasing these people and if we did, what would be the reward anyway? That we get to keep a cruel, manipulative, heartless being for our very own? Its kind of like being the other woman that wins and gets the man… a cheating man with a proven track record.

No thanks.

Aloha…… E.R.

“What would be the reward anyway? That we get to keep a cruel, manipulative, heartless being for our very own?”

WELL SAID Aloha!! … that question and answer is exactly what each of us needs to hammer into our own hearts and spirits until we fully understand it … and believe it.

To secret monster
Have you ever experienced affection for another person?

apt/mgr

What do they experience in place of affection? Do they get that euphoric feeling over a special day or event? Do they feel any kind of intimacy during sex or is it just a release for them? I’ve pondered the feeling thing for so long. While I forgive those in my life who messed with my emotions, money and such, I don’t excuse them.

Is what they do who they are? I’ve sometimes felt guilty for being so harsh in my assessment since the dust has somewhat settled. I love peace and tranquility, and with these kinds of people it’s anything but. I’m not into the drama, but it’s like I’ve been provoked until I flip. Then when I finally explode, I’m told all he wants is peace. I’ve realized that he must deliberatly provoke me. Do others find this to be so?

I’ve found too they leave a woman very frustrated, either sexually or emotionally. For me everything was a game. I have had a very difficult time determining which part was real. I don’t think anything was. I’ve found, in observing people, they concentrate on the physical aspects of living, i.e., eating, sleeping, pottying, drinking, drugs, etc., but to go deeper, they just don’t know how. I’ve been told that I’m just too deep for the ones in my life. Apparently everyone here is, too.

The sad part is that we all have intelligence, and it just proves how good they are. I keep blaming myself for not seeing it coming. I wasn’t out looking for anything, but it showed how deep my hurt was from my husbands treatment, that I fell for all the lines. I didn’t even label it abuse until I described his behavior to a friend. I just knew I felt horrible at the hands of someone who said they cared. If that was caring, I’d dread being hated by them. I guess I was. Love doesn’t cause that kind of pain and disillusionment.

I wish these people came with instructions. They do now, because I know to keep my heart guarded and to look for the signs. I’ve read where, if you can recall and not hurt, then you are pretty much healed. I think I’m pretty much there. I’ve done some ranting and raving to rid myself of him, but I don’t have instant recall anymore. I don’t dwell on it like I use to. Thinking of him doesn’t bring the thrill. It’s more of a dread. I can’t change the past but I can prevent it from happening again. If it does I have no one to blame but me.

Dr., I should probably reply in private to keep the length of this comment manageable. But here goes!

I’m not sure, to be honest. I have no basis for what your definition of affection is really like. My value of the people around me is based upon intellectual appraisal. I have people in my life that are more valuable to me than others. I don’t mean to say this to sound ominous or cold – This could be very close to what you’re talking about. Is it really so different? Doesn’t everyone try to keep those people out of their lives that cause them harm, or who aren’t a positive force in their life?

For instance, I have a specific friend who is like me in action, but completely different in motive. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to an open relationship with anyone. I would go out of my way to keep him as a friend. I find his friendship ultimately rewarding. Not monetarily or in any physical parasitic way. In fact, if you were to really look at the entirety of the relationship, I’ve undoubtedly bought more rounds than he has.

He is very important to me. I daresay, more important to me than anyone.

I’m involved in a conversation with someone at the moment who asked what my relationship with my mother was like. I found myself not really able to answer. I don’t really know? I want to say things like “She’s the only one who knows me for who I am.” and “She’s the only person I’ve ever loved.” or something else appropriately dramatic, but the truth is… well, the truth is I suffer her. That should say something, I suppose. I don’t typically suffer fools.

I’ve seen first hand countless times where women, specifically, seem to assign an intrinsic value to someone, when logically, none of it adds up. This is the only thing I can really interpret as emotional affection: When your attraction or attachment to someone is a purely emotional appraisal, devoid of reason.

Love is blind, and impervious to reason? Isn’t that what they say? This is the saying of a true sociopath, manipulating a world of young pop culture romantics. Never has a phrase allowed so much human suffering. People stay in relationships for, god knows what, because love is blind and they can’t choose who they love, and there is value there! Intrinsic value, without a name, or a sum, or a face, or even a definition! Sure, good one. Wish I thought of that.

I think the ticket is to have equilibrium between an emotional and intellectual appraisal of a person to by in sync.

You see, how I just explained that made me seem like an unemotional automaton, and that’s just not accurate. I do feel. Again, I’m not sure I’m the best person to be answering these questions as if these days especially, I don’t feel I fit the mold of a classic sociopath anymore. I’ve sort of grown out of it.

With that said – Sex is a peculiar area with me. I won’t get into the details here, in a comment, but I will say what I get out of sex has nothing to do with intimacy. The closest thing I can think of is… well, triumph, success, and power. Women who are promiscuous rarely hold any attraction to me. I appreciate the women who withhold themselves for someone “special”. I like feeling special. It obviously feels good physically, as well.

As far as a day, I’ve always been fond of 4th of July. Euphoria? Hah. Yes, I believe I know what euphoria is. I feel it, occasionally.

Take this all for what you will. I’m no expert, and I even doubt I’m a sociopath anymore. I think I’m just different.

SecretMonster

apt/mgr

For me, I find a person very stimulating who knows who they are and why they do what they do. The ones who bother me are the ones who have hidden agendas and go around using people for personal gain and really don’t want an exclusive with anyone. I’d much rather be told by someone they hate me, than to say they love me, and treat me like I’m hated. The hot/cold of men, as in my case, has left me cold.

I truly thought no man ever talked about feelings. I thought for so long, because I was sheltered raising my children, that the only real emotion men felt was anger. I made a vow to myself that if all men were like my husband and the other male members of his family, spare me ever having another man in my life. That was about the time I met a man who wanted to be my friend, and I took his bait. He saw me as a target and I’ve been nothing more than a challenge to him. He’s tried for 12 years to wear me down, but the longer he persists the more I resist. I refuse to just be another notch on his bed post and from what I hear, that’s all he wants from women. I won’t give him the satisfaction of having me. But I digress.

Maybe we put too much emphasis on feeling. Maybe the ones who don’t feel real deep keep themselves from getting attached. I’ve heard and have known couples who were so attached, when the one died, the other soon followed or fell into such a deep depression, they couldn’t be helped. I really don’t want that kind of relationship. But I think I know how to love without smothering. I know I don’t go around hurting others and messing their heads like mine has been.

For me, I’m glad you answered some thoughts that caused me to wonder. I know we are all individuals and what is euphoric to one, can be ho hum to another. That I can deal with. It’s the constant rejection and frustration dealing with one who doesn’t know what he wants but refuses to dig deep to find it, yet expects someone to fix it. But it’s good to be different in a good kind of way. I’m a loner and am very different. I’ve marched to a different beat the most of my life. I might be called a non personality, because I don’t like drama in my life. I want peace and tranquility along with harmony. Makes me sound like Suzy Sunshine. That’s why I’m such an easy target. But now that I know what I know, a moving target is much harder to hit.

glummerman

WikiAnswers:
Did Freud say that the Irish are immune to psychoanalysis?

Answer
Did you resently watch the Departed? I watched that too and wondered why Matt Damon said that. I don’t know, being Irish, maybe it’s that we are to complex to analize???

What Freud said
What Freud was quoted as saying about the Irish was, “This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.”

wp

Secretmonster: Thanks for sharing your perspective.

The thing is, you say “I don’t mean this to sound ominous or cold” – so you must have some idea that it does indeed sound ominous & cold.
But do you not feel the deep aversion when someone refers to another human being as “valuable” or being “more or less valuable”?
It has a sharply negative emotional connotation that I would’ve thought obvious.

Secretmonster wrote:
**””Doesn’t everyone try to keep those people out of their lives that cause them harm, or who aren’t a positive force in their life?”**

Ideally, yes. But … I see ALL human life as equal in intrinsic “value”, whether I like them personally or not.
Whether to “keep someone around” or not is a completely different issue from that.

Of course I probably base that partly on some intellectual appraisal, in the sense that most close to me have earned my respect. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve increasingly found it unwise to be friends with, or heavily interact with, people I don’t (or can’t) respect, because it’s not good for either party involved, regardless of the reason.

But respect alone does not explain my strong long-term friendships by any stretch of the imagination. I’m sure there’s loads of people out there who I do, would, or could respect, but there’d be a dozen other things factoring into it – possibly that are incompatible with me.

Secretmonster wrote:
**””I’ve seen first hand countless times where women, specifically, seem to assign an intrinsic value to someone, when logically, none of it adds up. This is the only thing I can really interpret as emotional affection: When your attraction or attachment to someone is a purely emotional appraisal, devoid of reason.””**

Oooh, foul. I’ve seen men operate this way too. I don’t think either gender has a monopoly on this.

It is true that there are those people, women and men, who seem to operate purely on emotional chemistry when choosing people to be around, or making all sorts of decisions. But they seem to be a troubled minority.

People suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder come to mind. Which is interesting because most mental health workers agree that antisocials & borderlines seem drawn to each other like interlocking pieces in a bomb.

But from what I’ve observed, a large portion of people have a myriad of factors that go into affection & friendship.

But about those seemingly purely emotional devoid of reason people…

When I’ve taken a little time to look critically at these people who seem inexplicably drawn to someone who is destructive to them, I’ve come to understand what THEY believe the value is. Often it’s completely irrational to me – but it’s there, and it makes sense to them, because their value system is somehow different than my own..

For example, some people value “not being single” so highly they’re willing to cling to a horrid unhappy relationship out of fear of being single for any length of time, because they really feel that’s an even less happy state to be in.
And this isn’t so crazy really. Society has always put significant pressure on people to couple. In ancient Persia, if a woman died single, the family would marry her corpse off before burial!
And even if we’re not so drastic today, the messages are still there, and still very persuasive. “The night belongs to lovers”, “holidays are special when you have a special someone to share them with”…
Even the U.S. economy is based on a TWO-income household, making it difficult or even sometimes impossible, for single adults to manage anywhere near as well as their coupled counterparts.

Unless these things change, there will always be people determined to stay coupled at any cost. Those people who are unable or unwilling to suffer the social & financial pressures put on single adults. A surplus of unhappy marriages are almost assured when you view this cultural structure.

**””Love is blind, and impervious to reason? Isn’t that what they say? … People stay in relationships for, god knows what, because love is blind and they can’t choose who they love””**

To love is, to me, and most people I know, something very different than the act of loving & sharing one’s life with another. I can feel love for someone without inviting them into my life. Indeed, I can love someone while completely avoiding interaction with them, if that’s necessary for my well-being.

It’s the same with lust, or any other emotion.

I may think some celebrity is really attractive & alluring, but that doesn’t mean I have to go out & find them, and if they’re uncooperative kidnap them, & rape them.
I may really detest someone, but that doesn’t mean I will uncontrollably hunt them down to hurt them somehow.
I realize that there are a certain amount of people out there that, between impulse & action, there’s much they miss… But if any more than a small minority of people acted that way, we’d be living in complete anarchy. As it stands, most people like that wind up in jail at some point. There are plenty of people in jail, yes, but there’s far more people who actually obey most laws most of the time.

Of course this might not be obvious to everyone, depending on their situation.

Someone who has grown up in ‘gangs’ might assume criminal activity is the norm.

I’ve known people who assume everyone drinks fairly often. In reality, of course it’s not true.
In fact, I read a study a few years ago that said in the U.S., something like 10% of the population buys 95% of the alcohol.
Meaning that there are some people who drink a very lot and/or very often, while the majority of the population barely drinks much at all, ever.
Someone who’s been a bartender at their family owned pub for 20 years would most certainly be oblivious to the truth of the big picture on this topic.

Someone who has worked in the mental health profession for years might feel there’s a lot more emotional unstable people in the world than there really are.

I used to think most people had pets… And I’ve come to realize there’s loads of people who’ve never had a pet in their life.

eyesopened

WP: That’s interesting about the special attraction between antisocials and borderlines.

If it’s true, what is this connection based on? What needs are they meeting in each other? What are the dynamics? And, what are the true definitions of both disorders and the origins of each? Maybe one of the doctors can provide some answers.

eyesopened

Secret Monster

I wouldn’t count on your self-diagnosis of being “cured.” Your blog suggests otherwise.

It appears from your writing that your wife will be your next victim. I was initially saddened for her but not so, now. By orchestrating your divorce, you’ll actually be doing her a favor in the long run. I hope you’ll tell her about this site when you do. She sounds like a lovely woman, like one of us.

She’ll go through the pain you’ve read about here, of course, but then she’ll heal and grow past you. And we’ll be here to help her.

wp

eyesopened:
Why there would be a ‘special attraction’ between sociopaths and Borderlines? I don’t really know for sure. I’m not an expert in psychology, I’m not even in that profession.
But I’ve heard about this a few times now from people who work in the mental health profession (a psychiatrist, a psychologist with a masters, & a social worker), and they say that this is something their colleagues have noted. Maybe it’s just anecdotal, but since it’s almost considered common knowledge, there must be something to it.
I’ve known several people over the years with BPD, (at least 4 definitely with the condition), I believe it 100%, because each one of them seemed to have repeated problems with people that perfectly match the description of a sociopath. In fact, that’s what led to my interest in sociopaths, having known several victims of them. I’ve never known one personally myself, I’ve just watched people I care about get mixed up with them. (Though I’ve had problems with a few people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder over the years, and in my opinion, but for a few exceptions, the results are the same as much of what’s described on this web site. I think the personalities & results are very similar.)

The only thing I found on the web about borderlines & sociopaths was credited to Dr Drew Pinsky (the radio shrink). And nobody elaborates much on the topic.
And I think that’s a pity for several reasons.
First, because of some victims of sociopaths have Borderline disorder and don’t know it, and if they found successful treatment for their disorder, it could help them prevent becoming victims again, or even in the first place if dealt with early enough.
Second, because if the reasons were pinpointed, it could explain why even people without the Borderline condition, are targets. There might be certain traits or issues in many people, Borderline or just average people, that actually attract sociopaths. And I think that information would be invaluable in helping people protect themselves and their loved ones from predators, cons, and abusers.

I think at least some of the reasons these things are not out in the open have a lot to do with the issues discussed here. The shame or self-blame that victims sometimes feel. Or that others might be accused of blaming the victim if they try to help someone protect themselves.
Some people may feel that if there’s something about someone that attracted the sociopath, then it’s their fault they were victimized by someone cruel – when of course that’s not true! Only a perpetrator is responsible for their own immoral or criminal actions. But it certainly makes sense to protect oneself from perpetrators’ immoral or criminal tendencies.
Just because a bull might be attracted to red doesn’t mean it’s inherently bad to wear red – it just means that you might not want to wear red in a bullfight ring! Or at least maybe to be careful not to go in the bullfight ring with bulls while wearing red!

But this isn’t always so clear to everyone. Borderlines are often considered the perpetrators rather than the victims, because many cause grief to those around them, because of their emotional vulnerabilities and problems.
I think this has a lot to do with the fact that people with BPD have been so victimized, it’s hard for their problems with sociopaths & other pepetrators not to spill over into other people they know.
I’m sure many average people here who’ve dealt with sociopaths would understand this on some small scale at least.
For example, if you have a sociopathic brother-in-law, it’s going to effect you, even if you’re not the main target of the sociopath, and you yourself haven’t chosen to to associate with a sociopath, you wind up with one in your life anyway, and problems because of it. And it would be difficult for you not to place some of the shoulder of blame on your sibling who married the sociopath, even though that sibling is a victim themselves.

I think as long as some people in society continue to operate with fingers of blame, in states of guilt or shame, sociopaths will always have fertile ground for their manipulations, cons, and use & abuse. And as long as sociopaths have people they can use & abuse, they will have absolutely no reason to do anything to correct their behaviour even if they have a diagnosis & know something’s not normal with them.
Why would someone who feels nothing is wrong, choose to change anything if they’re getting away with it, and getting by fine the way they’re operating? They won’t.

That’s why I think web sites like this, or books like “The Sociopath Next Door” or “The Gift of Fear” are so important. The better informed we are in society, the better we can protect ourselves from those who will harm us if they get the chance.
And I’m glad that people like Donna Andersen & ML Gallagher have chosen not to give into guilt, shame & blame nonsense that leads many to keep quiet. Because keeping quiet helps nobody but the perpetrators & cons. And it’s just another win by the sociopaths using their favored tools of shame & guilt.

eyesopened

Very interesting, WP. Thank you for your thoughts….and your tips on the two books. I’ll try to get them.

Happy new year to you.

wp

happy New Year to you too.

I found one page about the topic:

http://faculty.ncwc.edu/TOCONNOR/428/428lect16.htm

**””Dr. Drew’s theory (and one with wide ramifications since he pretty much defines an antisocial tendency as thinking about one’s self first) is that women with certain kinds of disorders, like borderline personality disorders, tend to be attracted to and hook up with men who manifest symptoms of psychopathic personality disorder (see Lecture on BPD & OCD) and that such match-ups may or may not be dysfunctional.””**

I would say though that I don’t see how a relationship with a sociopath can be functional, because sociopaths’ brain physiology makes it impossible for them to RELATE with other people in the usual way to have normal relationships. And the idea that someone with overactive emotional responses (BPD) can have a functional relationship with someone with non-functioning higher emotions seems preposterous.
Also, the people in the profession I know have said things about BPDs & sociopaths such as “and it’s always a relationship from hell”.

Also, I see a chicken/egg issue here. From what I’ve observed, it’s not so much that people with Borderline are attracted to sociopaths, it’s that the sociopaths seem to be attracted to, and actively and vigorously pursue, people with Borderline traits/symptoms/behaviour, because for some reason, they recognize them as an easier mark.
I think people with BPD, having intense emotional responses, are more likely to be drawn in by the dramatic and overt pursuits that sociopaths use because they might mistake it for evidence that the sociopath feels as intensely and deeply as they do.
But from what I’ve seen, women I’ve known were actively pursued by the men initially, not the other way round. (Which is culturally normal I guess, for the men to do the pursuing.)

apt/mgr

http://www.narcissism.operationdoubles.com/

I found the above link having a lot of insight into the differences between the personalities. I would never have suspected there were so many different types of people in existence. I know that sounds so naive, but I viewed others from my take on life. I had no idea that men would project the anger for their mother on their wife. I never suspected a woman would marry a man as a substitute for her father. Etc.

Many years ago when I was starting out in life, all that was talked about in the circles of my life, were the extroverted and introverted personalities. But it’s their odd response to situations that draw attention. I’ve been a watcher of people since I can remember anything. I’ve watched how people do life and did comparisons. I really haven’t found anyone I want to emulate, other than Jesus Christ. I’ve wanted to love in that unconditional way. That is what got me into trouble. Not as far as my children are concerned, but the man I married, then the man who became my friend, at his insistence. I have questioned their perception of me throughout the course of the relationship.

Now through this site, and the others recommended, I have answers. It now explains the why. I no longer blame myself for not being what they wanted. I jumped through hoops trying to please another. What utter garbage! No one should have to do that. I don’t expect someone to do that for me. Since I’ve been enlightened, I’ve lost a lot of my obsessive compulsiveness, that drove me nuts. Mine was just about straightening rugs, pictures, hems, etc. My husband slammed me one day and said I thought I was perfect. No. I thought he thought he was, and I wasn’t good enough, so I needed to perfect my skills to earn his love. Talk about a messed up way of thinking. Love isn’t earned. It’s a choice.

These blogs have helped to show me that we who want to love, end up with ones who don’t know how to love, so we exhaust ourselves trying to prove our love when we shouldn’t have to do that. I show my love by what I do, but in my case nothing I did made a difference. No wonder my head and heart took such a beating. I’m not totally healed, but my thinking has quieted and my heart doesn’t hurt as badly. I no longer carry around a load of guilt for the lack in someone else. It really isn’t my fault that he has convoluted thinking and can’t receive what I have to offer. I literally wore myself out trying to please someone who just wanted to be mothered. Done!

I found myself being the man and woman, mother/father, etc. I was trying to pick up the slack. I don’t say that boastfully. It was an exhausting experience, one of which I don’t want to repeat. I like being an independent woman but I still like the company of a real man. I just can’t find any.

I really look forward to reading the thoughts of others here. Makes me feel less alone. We can commiserate together and pass this information back and forth, resulting in a clearer picture of the debacle that was our life. Helps me know what I’m looking for now. Thanks.

wp

Thanks for that link. That’s a very good (if emotional) description of narcissists.

But I saw this:

**””In fact, all psychopaths are malignant narcissists, but whether all malignant narcissists are psychopaths is still being debated.””**

I’ll believe that most or all sociopaths have many or all narcissistic traits.
However, I know that not all people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are sociopaths. It just doesn’t make sense.

The reason being is that to be like the described Narcissist, you would have to have really intense feelings underneath in order to have those motivations described. For example, they use people for emotional sustenance of a type (popularly called narcissistic supply).
Sociopaths have no such feeling-motivation. The problem with sociopaths is that they don’t have those higher emotions.
That’s why a sociopath has no qualms at all about trying to get pity from people, to get people to feel sorry for them to get what they want, and they use it all the time. And most of their motivation is based on material desires.
Narcissists usually do not use the pity ploy, they wouldn’t want to be seen as weak in that way, their pride just won’t allow it.
But otherwise, as far as the effects of dealing with one, I really believe narcissists are just as uncaring toward other people, just as likely to behave immorally, just as likely to take advantage of someone, can be just as abusively destructive, and are just as hopeless as far as them ever changing their ways.
The differences seem to me to be that narcissists won’t generally use the pity ploy, they’re not always after money or the material, and they’re far less likely to wind up in jail – though not necessarily less likely to commit crimes.
But they’re con artists just the same, just pretending to be like the rest of us so they can get what they want.

apt/mgr

I totally agree. I am still somewhat perplexed by all the facets of these people. They adapt to whatever situation they are in. They can be poor or rich, happy, sad, etc. It’s become kind of interesting to me to just see how they will react and who they are today. The ones I’ve dealt with have a combination of all the traits. I’m someone who has a reason for everything I do. If someone were to ask me why I did something, I could respond. But with the ones in my life, nothing made sense, because there was a different excuse for each happening. I don’t know how they keep up with themselves.

I question the simplest answers because most of the time it could be a lie or a half truth. It’s so difficult to converse. Most of my family and friends will answer a question immediately. The one in question in my life hesitates before he answers anything. Like he had to think of a suitable answer or wants to say something that will be profound. I use to think it had to be me. Until I got out working and was around a variety of people and they actually like me. They keep coming back just for the heck of it. That’s when I began the comparison. I couldn’t help it. That’s when I saw the flaws and became really upset at them for blaming me for their deficiency. I keep saying, all these years. All this time, I could have had my head back on straight, instead of waiting for them to get it. They just won’t get it and it really has nothing to do with them being a man vs woman. They just don’t get it.

I see a life that is filled with disarray. I like order in my life and that’s why we just couldn’t agree. It had nothing to do with man/woman. It really was personality and the disorder that followed. I guess there would be no way to find the tie that binds, because there isn’t one. The only thing I saw that was consistent with them was their inconsistency. I’m so glad I journaled through all that. I very seldom look back, and if I do, it’s just to see how far I’ve come and I’m not there anymore. I’m becoming freer of my past and it sure is a good feeling. God’s word says, forgetting the past, I press on towards the mark…That’s what I want for me. We none of us know the end, but we can walk in freedom as a result to coming to terms with this disordered relationship. I know for me, I’m much calmer in my demeanor and know I’m not at the mercy of this person who didn’t think I was worth much, except to toy with. I like the sound of no. It is okay to say it. We are to say no to drugs and such. We can say that to someone who doesn’t have our best interests at heart.

I overlooked this blog entry, I shall do my best to respond. Italicized text represents quoted text, for ease of reading.

The thing is, you say “I don’t mean this to sound ominous or cold” – so you must have some idea that it does indeed sound ominous & cold. But do you not feel the deep aversion when someone refers to another human being as “valuable” or being “more or less valuable”? It has a sharply negative emotional connotation that I would’ve thought obvious.

Well, yes. Of course I understand that phrasing it that way has negative emotional connotations. I’ve been around long enough to understand that. However, it’s the most accurate way for me to describe how I consider these concepts. Does that make sense?

Oooh, foul. I’ve seen men operate this way too. I don’t think either gender has a monopoly on this.

Ok, fair enough. I haven’t witnessed or paid attention to the men who have done this.

For example, some people value “not being single” so highly they’re willing to cling to a horrid unhappy relationship out of fear of being single for any length of time, because they really feel that’s an even less happy state to be in. And this isn’t so crazy really. Society has always put significant pressure on people to couple.

This isn’t so crazy? And people call me crazy… The threat of misery is so great that they much clutch the real thing so fiercely?

There has been people in my life who have endured ridiculous abuses, OBVIOUS and overt abuses, and when that abuse is threatened they cling desperately to it, with excuses that “I don’t understand the whole story” or they make some other ridiculous excuse for their addiction. They confess for someone else’s sins. It’s all because they are “in love”. I’ve seen so much misery in the name of love I count it up there with religion in terms of the amount of human suffering it’s caused.

I’m the least of the worlds problems. People need to have some self respect.

I wouldn’t count on your self-diagnosis of being “cured.” Your blog suggests otherwise.

Tongue-in-cheek. Proclaiming myself as cured is about as ridiculous as someone self diagnosing any host of mental illnesses.

It appears from your writing that your wife will be your next victim. I was initially saddened for her but not so, now. By orchestrating your divorce, you’ll actually be doing her a favor in the long run. I hope you’ll tell her about this site when you do. She sounds like a lovely woman, like one of us.

Nonsense. People get divorced all the time for a host of reasons other than their husband/wife happen to be sociopaths. My wife would never end up on this website and if she did, she’d count herself lucky to have never ran into a sociopath. She won’t ever consider herself a victim.

I can’t think of a single woman I’ve been involved with that has ever considered themselves victimized by me. Even the few who caught me cheating – they just think I’m a jerk. One of them I still talk to today. We’re “Friends”.

There was probably more I could comment on but it’s late.

SecretMonster

notquitebroken

While I have to reluctantly agree with you, SecretMonster, about the fact that we all need to have far more self-respect than we do and the notion that more stupidity and wrong is committed in the name of love than possibly religion, I have to say that one of your statements really smacks of the characteristic arrogance one has come to expect from a sociopath:

“”I can’t think of a single woman I’ve been involved with that has ever considered themselves victimized by me. Even the few who caught me cheating – they just think I’m a jerk. One of them I still talk to today. We’re “Friends”. “”

I’d be willing to bet that more of them feel victimized than you realize. Women like me tend to get ourselves in over our heads and sublimate our own feelings so thoroughly in the interest of taking care of yours that we don’t realize what’s happened until it’s all over with. That’s how we get sucked into relationships like this to begin with. We forget to take care of ourselves at all because your sort has us thinking you’ll do that part, but it just isn’t true. It can take months or even years for the anger to surface after a relationship like this. I even tried so hard to stay “friends” with my former sociopathic lover that I even found myself giving friendly advice to subsequent girlfriends because I genuinely wanted to see the son of a bitch happy! What you’ve had are the willing victims your sort seeks out. You still manage to think you’re doing them a favor by gracing them with your charm and presence even though you’re emotionally breaking them down without any remorse at all. Look at what you’re doing to your wife. And you’re evening rationalizing the behavior by saying she’ll never know what happened to her because you’re some sort of gentleman sociopath. And here I thought you were trying to be honest with us and with yourself. I’m not sure you’re capable.

apt/mgr

Go you, notquitebroken,
How can he(secretmonster) or anyone else justify cheating on someone and cheating them out of an honest relationship, and just call themselves jerk? Now that there is a check list and the ones who do what they do can be labeled, they are more than a jerk. There is no justification in someone duping another, just because that person responds to you, probably because you fed her all the typical lines generated by your kind, and you get these women to fall in love with you, only so you can take full advantage of them. You are like Satan, on the prowl, seeking someone to devour. It’s one thing to pursue, but another altogether different matter to prey. When you set out with the only intention of using someone for your pleasure, and they are innocent of your deceit, it will rest on you, totally.

Obviously from your comments and your cavalier attitude, your heart must be full of guile to want to do this to another. You really don’t deserve love if all you want to do is see how far you can get, until you become so bored, and you go on the prowl again. Maybe once these women of yours, secretmonster, start seeing you in the right light, they will label you just like the rest of society will. You make light of what you do to another. That’s sadistic and cruel. It would be one thing if you were evenly matched with another “jerk”, then you have an even playing field, but when you just use the love and innocence of someone who wants to love you and be with you, to provide entertainment for your sick mind, you have a problem. You are more than a jerk.

But I don’t even want to waste words on someone like yourself. I’m sure you get off on setting someone on your case. Time is wasted on the likes of you, when you see no value in another human being, other than sport. You’re actually cheating yourself out of a real life. But I forgot. You don’t know what real is.

Gentleman sociopath! That’s rich.

And yes, I’m actually trying to be honest and no, I’m not sure I’m capable. Which is a little more than disturbing. I’ve always demanded, at the very least, honesty with myself. Know where my motives come from, know my own agendas.

Maybe you’re right, I don’t know. I just read stories like the ones you all share about how their anger overwhelmed you, or they ruined your credit, or took you for everything you had, or emotionally/physically abused you – all sorts of torturous things. When I take a look back at my life, and with exception of my younger years, I can’t see how I’ve done any of that.

Do relationships end naturally or for normal reasons or is it your position that if a relationship goes south, clearly one of them is a sociopath? Are all men/women who cheat on their loved ones sociopaths?

I’m just trying to figure this out. Remember my overriding agenda throughout my life has and is to remain hidden.

apt/mgr: Yes, I’m more than a jerk. You know that, I know that, but do the people in my life know that? That’s sort of the point. And when you say “Take full advantage of them” what do you mean? Specifically.

You may be surprised at how well I handle negative emotion. Don’t assume so quickly – You’re talking to a person who’s lived decades with a diagnosis that means if that ever comes out into the light, I get ostracized from every social group and person in my life. Just like you, I don’t want to be alone. Just for different reasons.

So with that said, everyone has condemned me but no one has offered an alternative. What am I supposed to do? Seriously?

SecretMonster

eyesopened

ummm…get help?

Beverly

Hasnt it alot to do with personal perception and intention and personal integrity. There are different ways of intepreting these qualities. If we cultivate these qualities from the weak ego self, then our intention will be self interest and then some of the outcomes from our actions will be from a lower denominator and will be in the short term self fulfilling for one and disruptive to the other. In the longer term, there will be no long term foundational quality to life for the instigator, because the results of these actions are not coming from a unity consciousness.

ummm”get help?

What I am is a result of years of therapy. Who knows what I would have been if I hadn’t of received it. I was exceedingly violent. A serial killer? Never know.

Beverly: Some of the vernacular you’re using is a bit over my head. Also, you’re assuming the long term foundational quality to life is the same thing for you and I. I think that’s an inaccurate assumption. What makes you ultimately happy with life is very different from what I need out of life.

And I think that’s where there is a big disconnect. How can you identify with someone who doesn’t ultimately want the same thing out of life that you do? Something that’s so fundamentally human and hard wired into almost everyone. Almost.

SecretMonster

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apt/mgr: I have thought much along the same lines. I’ve had those thoughts about how many times, there are people who seem to have no reason for something they do, at least no rational reason, or probably more accurate to say they had no reason they could comfortably tell other people! If someone has a sinister reason for something they’ve done, they usually won’t give the real reason, that’s for sure!

And you’re right, I no longer believe too much in that “mars / venus” bullcrap to explain the inconsiderate actions of the opposite sex. The fact is, inconsiderate behaviour is inconsiderate behaviour. Both genders have their guilty parties who can’t carry on a healthy normal human interaction, and both genders have their respectable members capable of communicating with each other, and getting along with each other, fairly successfully on a regular basis.

Most normal, healthy, people want a fairly ordered life that runs smoothly & sensibly as often as possible. I used to be tempted to buy into the “I’m spontaneous & you’re too rigid” nonsense that people would throw at me, to explain their inconsiderate unconsciencious behaviour. No longer. It’s one thing to make a mistake once in awhile, or do something on the spur of the moment occasionally, or forget something here or there… But someone who habitually finds it difficult to stick to a plan or respect someone else has larger problems than “free spirit ism” or whatever!

As for secretmonster’s posts… It’s possible he’s hell bent on blaming the victim for the behaviour of perpetrators. If that’s the case, there will be no talking sense to someone in that mindset. For someone who places the full shoulder of blame on a victim is someone who has an underdeveloped concept of personal responsibility.

That said, I have some time, and the topic is interesting, and may be of some interest to someone.

Secretmonster: What should you do in order to have the company of others?

The answer is bloody simple and I should’ve thought very obvious.

Follow some moral rules. If you know about them, you can FOLLOW them.

That alternative you’re asking for is so clear a blind man could see it with a cane.

If you can’t, it’s because you don’t want to, and you’re just looking for someone to feel sorry for you & let you get away with whatever wrong behaviour you happen to want to get away with.

And you won’t find that sort of blindness here, of all places!

If you don’t want to choose right over wrong, then don’t expect decent people to cut you slack & want you around. Simple as that.

I think that applies to everyone. If you’re unwilling to operate decently and rationally, you’re just going to wind up, best case scenario, having no choice but to associate with other dysfunctional people. And even they probably won’t put up with it for very long.

I’m certainly not going to feel sorry for someone who just doesn’t see the value in playing by the rules, and so doesn’t. I’m certainly not going to feel bad for someone who knows right from wrong, and chooses to do wrong.
If someone wants pity for that, that’s so preposterous it’s laughable.

The way this thread has gone on reminds me of some of the comments posted on Amazon.com in reference to the book “The Sociopath Next Door”, criticizing the book for “targeting” sociopaths and dehumanizing them.
I was dumbfounded by those (para)moralizing reviews, and had to laugh at the incredulity of it – because I think sociopaths don’t need any help from Martha Stout, or anyone else, for that. Sociopaths do a fine job on their own seperating themselves from humane humanity.

But a split second later, the lesson of the book itself was clear.
Again with the seeking pity!
The sociopath’s favourite & best ploy.

Like how dare you try to protect yourself from poor me! How could you be so nasty as to object to my wrongs!

doh!

Another fine example of turning the tables on their own wrong actions, and making themselves the victims, even in their own wrong actions.

If there are sociopaths who obey the laws, and follow the moral rules of society and human relationships, nobody would notice them as the sociopaths described in that book, or here on this web site. Nobody would wish to jail, them, ostracize them, or even criticize them if there was no reason to avoid them, no reason to criticize.
Hello – Logic.
They could probably get along with the rest of humanity quite easily if they put their effort into using the same play book as the rest of us.

If they refuse to follow those rules & laws, or find themselves unable to want to, it’s absolutely preposterous to assert that anyone should be obliged to put up with it!

That’s like saying you shouldn’t fight off a crazed attacker simply because the crazed attacker is crazy.
Utter nonsense and completely illogical.
I’m going to defend myself, it’s as simple as that.

Even in the most dry sense of the law, if someone is found not guilty by reason of insanity, that doesn’t mean society gives them a free pass to break the law with impunity, and everyone would consider it OK.
And in the case of a sociopath, all evidence shows that sociopaths DO know the difference between right & wrong, and therefore CAN decide between right & wrong. Which makes the idea of a free pass all the more strikingly ridiculous.

The alternative. Simple! CUT THE CRAP and start behaving like a decent person instead of “a jerk.”

If you want to cheat, if you want to behave inconsiderately, if you want to break the law, if you want to use or abuse people, if you want to play con games, if you want to take & not give…
Then accept the fact that there are consequences to that. Accept that you will be judged, ostracized, criticized, or even institutionalized or jailed, by the majority of decent society on the planet.

You either behave correctly and reap some benefits, or you behave incorrectly and suffer some consequences.

There’s no magical Door Number 3 decent moral healthy people are going to show you to.

You can’t stick a round peg into square hole & make it fit. That’s a lesson most people learn as toddlers, but some fail to apply the lesson broadly enough later in life.

But it’s never too late for any of us to learn & apply.

I enjoy the company of others already, that wasn’t my question.

Also, I don’t blame my “victims” as you put it, nor do I seek pity or forgiveness or any of that. As you said, this would certainly be the wrong place to get either. I get along with the rest of humanity quite easily – but I’m acting. It’s all mimicry.

And to entertain myself and to glean some enjoyment or satisfaction out of life at all, I involve myself in little intrigues. These intrigues involve all sorts of things everyone here would condemn as terrible or whatever, and that’s fine. I’m not apologizing, but what if this is as good as it gets? What if this is best case scenario for a true sociopath? To identify them young and subsequently train them (i.e. therapy) how to blend in? Train them that they HAVE to blend in, that the alternative is essentially death.

I can’t help what I do because a life without these simple pleasures seem too dull or lifeless to bother with. It’s what keeps me going, gives me the ability to focus almost constantly on maintaining the show. It gives me a big picture to work towards, an end goal of life undetected. I’m alone in enemy territory, forever. I’m not free to do what I want, when I want, how I want. All my urges and desires have to be held in check. Every response has to be conditioned and calculated. I have to mimic giving a shit in situations where I absolutely don’t.

This is what therapy taught me. It taught me that there is something wrong with me that can never be fixed. It taught me that I would likely end up a petty crook or worse, a serial killer. It taught me that my utter lack of regard for the value of life in general meant that I had a huge chance of ending up dead or locked away at a very early age.

I was arrested at a point early in my life, and spent a brief period of time incarcerated. It was the exclamation point to the lessons of my therapy.

My wife knows about that, she knows I was a troubled kid. We’ve had enough thanksgivings with my mom around for her to hear all the stories. But even my mom knows to avoid talking about the diagnosis and the years of therapy. It was simply a phase I grew out of.

So please, don’t confuse the conversation with me trying to figure out how to live a “decent and moral life” by your standards, I know. Trust me, I know. And for the most part, I do play by your rules.

I have to satisfy this damn need that crawls under my skin. You have no idea how stir crazy it can make me when nothing is going on. It’s like I can’t sit still, I can’t focus, I get irritable and short. Cracks start appearing in my mask. The desire to act out becomes uncontrollable. That’s when the real damage could potentially take place. That’s when people can really get hurt. So I do my best and satiate this hunger before it gets to this point. So I use your heart as a pinata briefly, I’m trying to avoid running it through the blender. Not for your sake, but for my own.

I need the tension, and the chaos, and the anxiety – but the goal is to keep it to small doses. Manageable doses.

I recognize how petty and stupid it is. I’m not a complete moron. Ohh, so I got some girl to fall for me, and believe in my little story.. ohh, soo smart, soo crafty I am! Please. But I tell you what, when you get that hit, when you’ve been working on a intrigue for awhile, and it’s gotten really tricky, and when the odds are against you, and it pays off… it’s like lava in the veins. The exhilaration and euphoria I get from that is… intoxicating. It’s the perfect drug.

And that’s what I aim for. Usually after the success, I will start cooling things off and engineer its end. I don’t “get off” on acting like a parasite and stealing material goods/money from these people. I’ve always paid the rent. It doesn’t delight me to see them in ruin after I’m done. That’s counter to my end game goal of being undetected.

Give me a pill that changes the catalyst of this rush to something else, like… I don’t know, writing a haiku – would I take it? I wonder.

Maybe you all can use my perspective to your advantage, and it can help you understand a little bit of a different side of things. I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert in these matters, but I can tell you I can spot a true sociopath a mile away. I run into them often enough in business, and more often then not, they are extremely successful. But with that said, I think people are a little too liberal with the armchair sociopath diagnosis. We are all on the spectrum, after all.

SecretMonster

P.S. Reposting this response to my blog as my description of the urges and payoff has been something I’ve been wanting to write about.

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SecretMonster: What motivated you to post all of that here?

EnnLondon

I don’t want to disagree with anyone for the sake of it, but I really do want Secret Monster to keep posting. I think to have a go at him is to take out the anger we’ve felt towards our own sociopaths – and to be honest, puts us at risk of falling for the same crap again.

His posts have given me another level of insight on the matter and raised again the question that I’ve asked myself so many times. What is society meant to do with these people? And how do we expect them to behave if they don’t have the same motivations as we do? What this thread’s demonstrated is that if Secret Monster and people like him *are* honest (and as a result less harmless to us) they are immediately ostracised. However appalled we are by this behaviour, it is incredibly bad strategically for us to deny it or try to shut it up!

SM, how do you relate to the concept of emotional pain? I see a lot of conflicting stuff about depression – some places say that sociopaths don’t suffer from it but other places say that their life expectancy is a lot shorter and they do suffer pain. (Having said that, ‘devoid of feeling’ is the closest thing I can come to describing my own experiences of depression).

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EnnLondon, my question was sincere.

My question wasn’t a hint to shoo him, if that’s what you thought.
I don’t do hints, as I find it a manipulative, tiresome, dishonest, and ineffective means of real communication.
I wasn’t implying anything. I was expecting an answer.

(Not that I would take his answer at face value, of course, considering the way the conversation has meandered strategically away from any direct linear path of open communication thus far. But that, in itself, is interesting of course.)

And also were sincere my statements on life relationships in society, as they can apply to anyone, sociopathic, anti-social, or any garden variety human in civilization.
If any of us behaves incorrectly, the results are the same.

Secretmoster says: “I’m not free to do what I want, when I want, how I want.”

Are any of us? Can any of us do whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want without effects to, and consequences from, society?

The fact remains, if you, as a human without wings, jump out of an airplane in flight, you will fall.

EnnLondon said: “What this thread’s demonstrated is that if Secret Monster and people like him *are* honest (and as a result less harmless to us) they are immediately ostracised.”

As far as I know, the only person who could ostracize someone from posting here is the web site owner, and that hasn’t happened, and thus far I see no reason for it to happen.

But I’m curious to know – what do you think the alternative should be? What alternative is there than to disagreeing with him and stating our opinions on the matter?

Should we be obliged to agree with SecretMonster, to give him accalades simply for his honesty, and ignore the ethical disagreement to his assertions and descriptions of behaviour, just to keep him around, while studying him silently?
That wouldn’t be very honest of us, would it? Or if it was honest, would it be true to ourselves?

(Anyway, I hardly think someone like Secretmonster will be driven off in tears because of some strong opinions against some things he’s said.)

And also, what makes you so sure that SecretMonster IS being completely honest with us, and even if he is, that it makes it less harmful?
I’m not saying that SecretMonster is lying, or that what he’s saying is harmful. I’m not even saying he’s a sociopath. As I’m not sure about any of that, of course.

I’m just asking you why you’re so confident in that he’s being honest? And why you’re sure that it’s less harmful?

I mention this because of DrSteve’s BRILLIANT exposure of one of the things I see as KEY in understanding the intrinsic problems & pitfalls involved with communicating and relating with sociopaths, or anyone of a similar perspective…

http://thetoptwoinches.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/myth-psychopaths-are-great-liars-part-3-the-nature-of-lying/
DrSteve says:
“I’ve argued that for the psychopath telling the truth and telling lies are equivalencies and that it not so much the psychopath’s intention to deceive as to dominate another.
The psychopath is a pathological liar and so is by definition a pathological truth-teller. It’s one and the same thing to him – a set of devices to enable him to dominate another.
If the psychopath does not tell lies or truths in the same way as a regular person, does it make good sense to say that he’s up to the same thing at all?”

Meaning that a sociopath will tell the truth out of the same motivations for which s/he lies. So is even the truth honest in that case?

DrSteve brings together the information offered by Martha Stout in “The Sociopath Next Door” and combines them with the explanation found in Patricia Evans’ book “The Verbally Abusive Relationship”, forming a picture that I came to understand only after reading both those books, and considering the implications for some time.
This marriage of ideas culminated in my now firm belief…

That there are people who fall into, let’s call it group X
X = anyone bent on manipulation/dominance/power-over, (be they sociopaths, narcissists, borderlines, co-dependent, or with whatever issues that have put them into viewing others from that perspective)

And people who fall into group Y
Y = people who function from a stance of empathy, equality with fellows, cooperation, and fair negotiation & compromise

(Patricia Evans calls these groups Reality I, and Reality II in her book.)

My firm belief now is that there is no true direct communication, and therefore no relating in the way most of us think of as normal, between a person operating from group X and a person operating from group Y.

And that in some cases, this is a permanent unchangeable condition. Some people, like sociopaths (or narcissists), are permanently in group X.

It was certainly a disillusionment when I realized the hopelessness in situations with certain people.

But it was also a source of freedom… (In a way I’d find very hard to explain without going on for 3 more paragraphs! LOL.)

I’m not saying I don’t see any use in talking to someone in group X, ever, for any reason, in any context. But I recognize I’m not going to get anything like the same results nor similar type of communication I would get with other people of group Y. And to expect anything like it is to set oneself up for disappointment or worse.

One could, of course, decide to use group X tactics when dealing with group X.
But I have come to believe that group Y methods are actually more effective and save much in the long-run.
Though not in the way you might think.
And certainly not in the way it would occur to someone coming from group X perspective, that’s for sure.

As for sociopaths & depression. From my understanding from everything I’ve read suggests sociopaths are completely capable of feeling things like anger & frustration or resentment – which I believe are more closely related to depression than even sadness.

I think generally we often use the word “depressed” or “depressing” in our vernacular to mean “extremely sad”, which confuses understanding of the actual clinical state of Depression. Kind of like “sad” is to “pain” as “depressed” is to “excruciating”. (I use the word myself that way, shame on me. 😉 )

In fact, I think “loss of feeling” or “emotional numbness” is actually a described possible symptom Clinical Depression. (As well as a possible symptom of some other emotional/mental maladies such as PTSD, Borderline, or Bipolar.)

The shorter life expectancy thing really isn’t a mystery to me. I mean when sociopaths are described as reckless, as risk-takers, and as social antagonists, it’s not really surprising.
At the risk of of a crude comparison, the same way it’s not surprising indoor-only pet cats have a much longer life expectancy than outdoor cats. 🙁

Er.. happy new year all. I’ll reply when I’m not drunk and can actually see straight. Cheers!

EnnLondon

Hello WP (and Happy New Year all!),

I didn’t meant to suggest that your question was sincere (and I hope he answers it) – my post wasn’t aimed at you (or anyone in particular – I just noticed people getting angry with him, and whatever his reasons for being here, or whether he’s honest or not, he’s valuable to this forum). I just wanted to be another voice. My posts to this forum (and I apologise cos they’re waffly and disordered) represent me trying to make sense of the whole issue. When I said that thing about ‘being ostracised’, I was really asking the question myself; I’m trying to understand their motivations and really whether there’d be any benefit in them outing themselves.

Anyway – for all these reasons and more I thank you for writing that post.

Re: human responsibility – I agree that none of us are free to do what we want when we want, but our consciences keep us in check. The fact that some people don’t have them is absolutely blowing my mind, and I am just trying to understand what it must possibly be like to have that sort of a brain. To do that, I have to try and get a grip around what pleasure and pain feels like to the sociopath. That’s the sort of insight I’d like from someone like SM. Such as: How did he feel at the point when he proposed to his wife? How would he feel if his wife beat him to it and left him? (I’m imagining no emotional response, but I’d love to know what sort of an impact the losing control element has pain-wise). How would he feel if he got someone pregnant? I know that sociopaths are prone to substance abuse but is that really always for kicks? Do they ever ‘drink to forget’, for example? Do they enjoy looking at the chaos they leave behind, or curse it for limiting their options to create more upon being ‘discovered’?

In answer to your question, I have absolutely no idea what I think the right response is! (Helpful or what?!) I’m interested in all responses even the ones I appear to be arguing against – I don’t want *anyone* to leave this discussion, or stop contributing. I don’t even disagree with anyone who posts – I am just reasoning aloud really, and I can’t believe how many paradoxes the whole question keeps bringing up for me.

And no, absolutely not – we shouldn’t be obliged to agree with Secret Monster. As I said, I just want us all to stay around. And of course – I am not at all convinced that he is being completely honest with us :-).

In short (now she tells us!): Every single post I read on here heals me a bit more, and the more diverse it gets the better (I think!)

EnnLondon

LOL sorry, I meant of course to say I didn’t mean to suggest your question was *insincere*!!

wp

But of course, by all means, think out loud!

I just think if SecretMonster is a sociopath, I don’t know that you’ll ever get real insight into what it’s like to be him, or be a sociopath. A sociopath will always be inclined to serve his own purposes. And you will always be inclined to project your own capacity of feelings onto whatever a sociopath says.

I think it’s like trying to explain color to someone blind their entire lives. And you can’t imagine what it’s like to be blind your entire life by just imagining that you’ve got your eyes closed.

It’s a catch 22.

This is the conclusion I came to after reading the Hare book.

Beverly

For me the shock came when I realised that the person I thought ‘at times’ had good personal qualities – integrity, trust, loyalty, stability – turned out to be a total fraud and that he had groomed himself to prey on me, like the others before me. I feel very angry that I have been ‘had’. But at the end of the day, he may have got one over me and got his fix from that – but by his actions he has condemned himself to a life of ongoing torment – as much as an addict looks for his next fix and high through exploiting other peoples trust and love – There is no real lasting satisfaction, superiority or triumph in that. It is pseudo, short lived and as phoney as the behaviour that goes with it.

I agree with EnnLondon. Every post made by SecretMonster helps me understand things more and I feel he is a value to this forum.

Cheers

WP: Regarding why I posted that.

I think my post is consistent with the theme of the blog entry. What does someone like me do with my diagnosis? I have no idea if I fit the classic profile of a sociopath anymore. I know that I used to. People here seem to think I’m still a sociopath but I think that label is given out a little too liberally. But who knows, maybe I’m the typical “garden variety” scum bag sociopath everyone thinks. It doesn’t really matter.

You suggested since I know the rules, and understand the definitions of the emotions and when, approximately, I’m supposed to feel them, that I just “CUT THE CRAP” and start behaving like a normal human being. I’m trying to give you some insight into why I do what I do.

It isn’t that simple for me. I also understand that trying to explain that is, as you say later, like trying to explain color to someone who’s blind. It’s the same thing if you really try and get me to understand how empathy feels.

Regarding not being free to do what/when/where/how etc.. You have to again understand that my desires are likely polar opposites of yours. Society works and gets along (for the most part) because the overwhelming majority of society wants the same thing. Be that love, acceptance, success, whatever. It’s a universally human desire. Sure, you may want to rob a bank or want to beat up that guy who cut you off, or whatever, and societal laws prevent that sort of thing, but that’s not what this is about. This is about fundamental quality of life stuff. I get satisfaction in places most people find pain.

I’ve no idea what the future holds for me. There is an internal assumption that at some point I’ll be too old for this shit anymore. I don’t have everything figured out and maybe that’s part of what I’m trying to do now. I’m no spring chicken.

Anyway, regarding me lying or not. At the end of the day, if I’m lying to you, what does it really matter? If this is some fanciful piece of fiction that I, being a deranged sociopath, have dreamed up. Who cares? What’s the point?

EnnLondon:

I’ve seen the effects of depression first hand and I can honestly say that I’ve never been like that in my life. I can’t even imagine what it feels like. I’ve no basis for comparison.

Emotional pain is tricky. I’ve been in situations where expressing sorrow is the appropriate response, but it’s more boring to me than anything. You’re asking something I’m not sure how to answer. I’ve felt frustration and anger before. I know what these feel like. Are these considered types of emotional pain? I think not. Would I be sad if my mother died? No. Would I be sad if my wife was killed in a car accident? No. I would play the part, soak up the attention and take some time off from work. No one would ever know I wasn’t sad, but that doesn’t make me sad.

My “feelings” don’t get hurt. I get irritated when things don’t go my way. I’m the proverbial spoiled brat. Maybe that’s why I do so well in an Islamic country. It’s full of spoiled brats who stamp their feet and shake their fists at the world when it doesn’t suit their small minded views. I fit right in.

The lack of a bar really burns my ass though. I figure half the worlds problems with islam would be solved if they knew how to relax and have a damned beer once in awhile.

Mr. Green: You little devil.

SecretMonster

cleotokos

SecretMonster, what do you think of the other sociopaths that you have run into in your life? Do you feel any sort of affinity towards one who is in some way like you? You mentioned previously that you had something close to “friendship” with somebody, just curious as to exactly what you might value in the companionship of another.

Depends. I don’t consider them any different than anyone else, really. The business world is so full of narcissists and borderline personality disorders it’s sort of common. I sure as hell don’t feel any affinity towards them. Although, there is a certain amount of interest and charm in the few women sociopaths I’ve run into.

Regarding the person who I “feel” most close to. He gives me unbelievable insight into the workings of emotions, as he’s ruled by emotions. He’s entertaining, and just as bad as I am but for completely different reasons. He would never believe I was a sociopath, though.

I don’t think my “value” and your “value” would be the same. But then again, maybe not so much? We all want people in our lives that add value to it in some way shape or form. Maybe they are well connected, maybe they can get seasons tickets, maybe they flatter you and make you feel better about yourself, who knows? Why do people end up being friends in the first place? Like mindedness, shared views, etc? You try to keep those in your life that are positive forces and remove those who are negative forces.

It’s all pretty much the same when you break it down. I might not get the warm fuzzies you’d get, but the result is the same.

SecretMonster

lesley

Secret Monster,

The sociopath I was involved with passed himself off as a single man, though he had in fact been living with a woman for years (while having numerous side flings.) I’m intensely curious about something here: If sociopaths get bored easily, if they have no strong attachments to other people, how can a man who is one live with/be married to a woman for years and years? Doesn’t it get wearing for him? What would be his motivation for staying with her? Ie, why would he bother? I’d be keen to know what you have to say about this, what your experiences with this are? Wouldn’t you begin to hate your wife for boring you, grow contemptuous of her? ARe you short with her? What’s the quality of your daily interactions like? And why do you think a woman would stay in a situation like this? A woman who has must have realized fairly quickly that her partner doesn’t really love her. I mean, sweet talk, mimicry only go so far–beyond that, people feel things in their bones.

Lesley

cleotokos

Hmmm, thank you SecretMonster. You echoed some of the thoughts I have been having over the past few days. Why do any of us keep people in our lives? Often because they make us look good, feel good, or for some other self-serving purpose. No perhaps we’re really not all that different. In examining my friends and family members, it seems like many of them have different degrees of psychopathic tendencies. I was curious about whether a psychopath would be interested in conning another psychopath, wouldn’t that be the ultimate “game” to win?

notquitebroken

Lesley, I think I can sort of answer your question based on my own experience with a sociopath, even though I’m not SecretMonster. In my case, the man I loved so dearly needed one woman as a solid base of operations. There had to be someone on whom to cheat, someone to deceive constantly, someone who suspected that there was something wrong but willingly and blindly closed her eyes to it, even when she found a strange woman’s underwear on her bedroom floor. That was part of the power, to him. He was not only manipulating the ones he cheated with, but manipulating the one he lived with into being a willing victim. Power, control, humiliation. That’s what it’s all about to them.

EnnLondon

I also think we’re a useful ‘smokescreen’ – the potential partners (who they *always* seem to be close friends with for a while) think ‘look – he can have normal relationships. I was fooled in this way by his ex – ‘Oh he must be capable of relationships, he’s been with this woman for ten years.’ She was massively depressed obviously and I have no doubt he cheated on her/messed her around relentlessly.

Secret Monster, I know you’ve said you don’t really seem to know ‘hurt’ as we do, but I think you also said that the biggest damage that you can imagine is being ‘found out’ and the whole thing unravelling.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know: In the event that the sociopath ‘comes back’ (and they all do – and I’ve had the first sign mine wants to) what would be the biggest knock to them of all? (I have NO intention of being involved with him ever again in any capacity). Totally ignoring him, or telling him ‘ I realise you are a sociopath, I’m going to warn everyone I can about your condition, and stay out of my way?’

Also…if you messed a woman about and she later wrote a book that was obviously about you (without naming names), would you be flattered or appalled?

Lesley – As sort of hinted at already, long term relationships give credibility. Obviously, this credibility is used for different things by different people. It can be a spring board into future relationships, sure. It’s also used in business, and in social circles. It looks good to be in a good relationship.

Daily life can be considered quite good. Her family loves me and says they are so happy her daughter finally found someone who knew how to make her happy. I believe that – She is very happy. We never fight, there is never any contention or unhappiness in the house. She’s a very charming and funny woman, we share a lot of laughter. She’s also very adventurous, which fits in with me quite nicely.

I think the last real depression she was in was a couple of years ago when a valued family member died. It was a hard loss for her and I was absolutely pathetic at trying to comfort her.

Otherwise, I appear quite loving and affectionate. I’m very good at what I do.

Notquitebroken: Humiliation doesn’t interest me, the other stuff? Well, yeah. Guilty as charged. She would, of course, be humiliated if she knew the truth of matters, but i go to long lengths to avoid that.

EnnLondon – Being found out unravels a lifetime of work to become the person I am. It’s engineered and fought for every step of the way. I’ve exercised a lot of self control and pulled of some amazing shit to get where I am today. To lose it all would mean that all this effort was for naught. I want to take who I am to the grave.

If I’m looking for a re-spark of an old fling – it highly depends upon the circumstances involved with the separation.

Let’s just say worst case, the thing that really makes me lose sleep at night – She ignores me completely. Any attention would be better than none, any communication is better than none. Communication still gives me a window, any window. So if she shuts me down completely, no contact at all – eventually I would move on, BUT my biggest fear is if she starts infiltrating my social circles.

I imagine walking into a room where a large group of my most valued social circle, and there she is – and everyone turns and gives me a judgmental look. Just the thought of it makes my pulse quicken.

Engineering my demise without contact to me is worst case scenario for me. Your mileage may vary, of course. It all depends on what his/her deal is. Is he a loner? Successful? One of the losers? What?

People are easy to figure out, sociopaths are even easier (for me anyway). I can figure out how best to crush almost anyone if I put my mind to it.

Appearing in a book? A little of both. Flattered that I could have such power, but personally appalled because of the ramifications of it. I’d have to go on damn near full time damage control and work to discredit you anyway possible. I would find your ghosts and skeletons, and if none existed, I would create them.

If this happened in my life, I would stop at nothing to make you look like a raving lunatic to preserve my cover.

SecretMonster

notquitebroken

SecretMonster, when you say, “People are easy to figure out, sociopaths are even easier (for me anyway). I can figure out how best to crush almost anyone if I put my mind to it,” I am inclined to think you might be able to use your powers for good rather than evil, if you chose. I’d love to be able to crush the man who wrecked me and so many others. I’m tempted to seek your advice on the topic.

The question is this, though: crushing another sociopath would do more harm than good, wouldn’t it? Isn’t it true that your sort merely learn from even the most devastating of experiences and refine their techniques unless incarcerated? As much as I’d like to crush him, I think I’d only be giving him a leg up for the next conquest, helping him to refine his ways rather than truly crushing him or teaching him a lesson in the ways a normal person can be taught.

Also, when you say you’re not into humiliation, I would have to beg to differ. You might not be into the sexual aspect of humiliation with your wife or others, but isn’t it the potential to crumble their lives that gives you a sense of power? That’s humiliation, my friend. Power over others used at your sole discretion can be extremely humiliating to them. Isn’t that what you seek? The outcome of humiliation itself isn’t as important to you as the potential to use it as another weapon in your arsenal, I believe.

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