Many people who are diagnosed with anything become highly attuned to their symptoms upon diagnosis. Some may, with a recent personality disorder diagnosis, even unconsciously amplify those symptoms until they’ve fully digested the bigger picture. I am curious what affect an ASPD or psychopathy diagnosis has on the actions of an individual. I know from my own experience and the experiences I’ve heard of several readers, that the time period following diagnosis seems to be an unstable state where everything is amplified, but I do not know if this is generalizable to the ASPD/psychopath population as a whole. I include ASPD in this post as I think there is much to learn from the ASPD individual who is not psychopathic. They may “act out” as we can, but the reasons tend to be different.
As I’ve mentioned several times, the biggest part of the maturation process for the psychopath is to realize that severely antisocial behavior must be curbed. It does not satisfy our long-term goal of freedom and self-sufficiency and it certainly does not help those that are our “victims”. From my own experience and from that of several readers who I have posed the same question to, it seems that the time immediately following diagnosis can be a time that is full of recklessness and anti-social behavior. Both intensity and frequency of such actions seem to increase. As one reader put it, paraphrased, “if this is what they believe me to be good at, then this is what I will do and I will do it well.”
The period after I was diagnosed was especially tumultuous. I had always realized something was different about me, but really could not connect the dots, so to speak. Why was I completely lacking empathy? Why would I choose means to further my goals that did not take anyone else into consideration? And so on. Being given a plausible explanation of my mindset seemed to bring clarity. However, it also left me unable to comprehend what it all meant. I don’t think I ever consciously told myself that I had to prove anything to anyone or that I had to act a certain way to validate my own being. That does not mean that I did not crank my actions to eleven in order to put the image into focus. I just was not, and still am not, aware of why I was doing so.
I am curious if any other readers have had such an experience. Are ASPD/psychopathic individuals really trying to prove to themselves that they are different and that such a diagnosis is justified? Are we trying to make sense of the chaos? Or is it a natural human reaction to news that was unexpected? I’m still searching for the answers, but in the end the focus must be on maturation. Some of us will achieve a maturation in which we can operate stealthily and in the shadows. Some of will continue to act out and eventually seal our own fates. The difference is perspective and introspection, something I sorely lacked when I was diagnosed. The result was that I am lucky that I did not completely spiral into destruction. I amplified my actions for reasons I may never understand, but I eventually learned that there really was nothing to prove to myself or anyone else. I am what I am, but I certainly can always strive to lie in the shadows rather than turn on the lights as I do what I am good at.