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.



  1. 3vin says

    This may be slightly off-topic, but I’ve been diagnosed with “sociopathic tendencies”. My psychologist told me that, if not for the social stigma, he would have simply told me I was a sociopath. Right after the diagnosis, I felt oddly free. I didn’t have to worry endlessly about what the “real” me was, or force myself to strictly tell the truth at all times, or pretend to empathize with others’ misfortunes.

    However, my friends did tell me that I seemed far colder and angrier than I had before. I’m still not entirely sure if it was merely myself, without a reason to lie, or if it was an exaggeration of my natural self.

    I feel like I probably did go overboard in the first few months, but as time went on, my portrayal of myself “evened out”, so to speak — neither the touchy-feely person I had forced myself to show, or the utter asshole (pardon my French) that I rebounded to.

    I, too, am transgender, and I believe part of the reason I acted so relentlessly neurotypical and “normal” was so that when I finally did come out, no one could tell me that my true identity was yet another attention-seeking lie, or my manipulating others to feel sorry for me.

    After coming out, I forced myself to be what I thought a sociopath, or a transgender person, *should* be; I made myself into a caricature of what I knew myself to be so that others could see more clearly what I truly am. Actually, coming out (both gender- and disorder-related) helped me immensely – I could finally fine-tune myself, rather than the lie I had forced myself into.

    Thanks for this entire blog! I love your writing.

    • Jessica Kelly says

      Thanks for sharing this. From what I have seen, both facets of your experience are common. It’s quite a relief to know something about yourself, isn’t it?

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