Any regret that the psychopath has is purely self-centered. We do not regret what we have done to others, only what we have done that affects our self. For me this is most reflected in my decision to transition as part of being transgender. I have regrets, but not for the reasons you may think. The second post of this topic will address the regret we do not feel when wronging others. This post will specifically address any regret I feel as the result of being transgender and acting on those feelings.
I use the term ‘transgender’ in a fast and loose way at times. The term encompasses both people who wish to physically change their sex and / or those who want to present a different gender than is expected according to their biological sex. A person who is transgender is not required to change their bodies as a result. Many are content with merely ‘performing’ a different gender without changing their sex characteristics. I chose to change my body through hormones and surgery. The result has been dramatic. However, there are consequences.
As I’ve alluded to before, I have not always had incongruence between my sex and gender identity. Up until age thirteen or so, everything was fine and I was quite happy. However, starting with age thirteen, deep dysphoria set in. I’m now at the point where gender means very little to me (not out of satisfaction but due to the absurdity of gender in general) and I feel that if I could do things over again, I would have not transitioned. So wouldn’t that leave me with a lot of regret? Yes and no. Once again, regret would not be for the reasons you would expect.
Gender is completely arbitrary. It exists because it existed for the generation before us. Yes, there are differences in the sexes physically, but that need not translate into gender. Gender is performance; sex is actuality. However, gender is a performance that is required because it is so entrenched in society. Few understand why they feel like they have to dress and act the way they do; why they undertake gendered roles which artificially inflate or hold back people. Most do it because it is demanded. I’ll go into much more depth in the future, but for the curious reader I suggest reading any work on Queer Theory. This is not to be confused with studies of gays and lesbians; Queer Theory is more an evolution of postmodernist thought that challenges all held assumptions of society.
So having come to the conclusion that the gender I present is completely arbitrary, why do I identify with one gender over another? The long and the short of it is: my gender has become engrained from previous dysphoria and it is now what I know. I have fallen away from the original congruence and have accepted discontinuity. In order to honor the choice I have made, I must identify as the sex (and associated traditional gender) that I have gravitated towards. If this seems arbitrary, it is. Now, I may have arrived via different means, but I am no less legitimate than the transgenderist that has had dysphoria all of their lives. We are all going against the grain; some of us via different reasons than the norm.
However, just because I identify as a gender other than is expected from my birth, that does not mean that I, at times, do not wish that I could go back and do things over. The reasons are not because of the radical, and irreversible, changes that I have made to my body. The reasons are not due to the many ‘friends’ and ‘family’ that left me at my most vulnerable point. The reasons are that it makes things quite inconvenient. Depending on where I live, which changes constantly, I could be denied any number of tangibles that cisgendered people lay claim to. This could be do to legal inability to fight back or crafty, and subtle, transphobia. Prison definitely becomes interesting depending on where the transgenderist lives and, although I have no intent in going to prison, my predisposition and diagnosis make this a fear that I will never be able to shake. Seducing people is also a bit harder as many do not want to be in relationships or one-night stands with a transgenderist. It makes the entry bar for my psychopathic traits much higher with many people than for the cisgender. How can I can full advantage of a person or entity if they are putting up walls because I am transgender? So I hide. The motives of ‘passing’ for a marginalized group need not be pure for the individual.
And I think this, even focusing on the transgender viewpoint, illustrates the primary point of regret for the psychopath: we regret what we’ve done if, and only if, it hinders us. We want to move forward at all times with our own ability being the only thing that stops us between our definitions of success and failure. Slipups cause us to lose valuable resources. Deciding to transition was one such ‘slipup’. Although I am happy with the physical result, I regret that it has made my ability to succeed much harder. I would be very curious to hear the experiences of other transgender psychopaths on this front. I do not doubt that the dysphoria I felt was real, even if non-traditional, but I wonder if it leads me to a different conclusion than most on the interaction it has with my psychopathy. Would someone who had dysphoria for their entire lives have a different take on the ‘inconveniences’ it causes?