The time shortly after I was diagnosed as psychopathic was a very difficult one.  I essentially was diagnosed with stage four cancer of the soul.  There was no way to candy-coat it.  I was, and am, a member of one of the most hated groups on earth.  It did not trouble me that I was considered psychopathic by a professional administering the PCL-R.  I didn’t want to be a psychopath.  I didn’t want to not be a psychopath.  The label itself bore no immediate internal meaning.  I was interested in learning about myself more than anything.  However, once I had time to digest and reflect, it became difficult.  Ignorance was bliss in many ways and now I had to reconcile the diagnosis with my own perception of self – which, granted, involved a lot of turning a blind eye to the actions of my past as well as downplaying my lack of empathy and conscience.  When I finally had to confront those “demons” head on, I flailed.  I was in denial.

The professional that I was working with to prevent relapse of the depression I had suffered from during previously in life agreed with the diagnosis.  They worked tirelessly to assure me that nothing fundamentally had changed and that it could be a great opportunity to learn about myself.  I was still fighting the diagnosis tooth and nail, though.  I had never been convicted of any crime and I had always been a relatively productive member of society.  How could the diagnosis be right?  Sure, I was completely without empathy or conscience, and I’d lie, and I’d manipulate and I’d do a whole host of different unsavory actions, but doesn’t everyone from time to time?  Was I really that fundamentally different from others to warrant such a diagnosis?  Whether or not I was psychopathic did not matter, what mattered is that the correct diagnosis had been made.

I still struggle with the diagnosis from time to time.  Even today, I neither want to be a psychopath nor do not want to be a psychopath.  I just want to, each day, understand myself better than the day before.  I am complex and I am different than most.  I see the world through more distant eyes and I have no reservations about using deception to get what I need or want.  I give to charity and I offer non-emotional support to friends in need.  However, none of this changes the fact that I am different.  I can nitpick the diagnosis to no end, but in the end I am still psychopathic.

The facets that the diagnosis measures will not kill me – directly, anyway.  However, my personality is still cancerous.  On any given day I may feel confident that I’ll go to sleep in my own bed in the evening, but over time I may become weaker in a sense.  I may slip one day and cause fatal damage to some important relationship.  I might cross a line and attract the ire of the authorities.  My recklessness may literally kill me.  I can cover my eyes and my ears all I want and pretend that I’m like everyone else, but I’m not.  The diagnosis itself matters little as long as I am free.  What does matter, is that I use it as a learning opportunity.  I want to know myself better today than yesterday.  Sometimes that knowledge just might be uncomfortable.




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