Psychopaths are notorious for presenting patchwork “personalities” tailored to the situation and people at hand. Whether it is mimicking those around us or dredging the waters for cadavers we left long ago, our “personalities” are not so much ours as their are everyone else’s. In other words, we pick up the mannerisms of those around us. We subconsciously adapt our personalities to what we think others wish to see. The only consistency in our presentations is our inconsistency.
It is frustrating to not have a consistent personality. Combined with an unstable sense of identity, it becomes truly difficult to know who you are as a psychopath. I have a mask of the neurotypical and a raincoat made out of those that I’d long written off as dead. Whatever you may think of me, I certainly do not. I think nothing of me, for I know not who I actually am.
I remember finding it odd in college that I would pick up the mannerisms of my professors so easily. I would subconsciously switch between sets of expressions and words depending on who I was surrounded by. Did someone need a pick-me-up? “Well Dr. X’s cadence and jokes are appropriate.” Did I need to assert my dominance? “Well this one person I knew long ago had what I’m looking for.” While others were finding themselves with their newfound freedom, I was merely regurgitating the presences of those around me. I was a parrot, not a person.
These shapeshifting tactics would continue long outside of college however. Even today, I can still see the reflections of those around me in the presence that I present. I pick the traits I want out of the personality rolodex in my mind. If we met in a bar, I would be one person. If we met on the job, I’d be another. And, if we met by chance, I’d be someone else entirely. There is no consistency except for pure inconsistency.
Ultimately we are simply wearing masks made out of the skin of those we’ve met. We use everyone else to define our presentation and remain eternally restless as we look for our own personality and identity. The blessing is that we always have a face to present. The curse is that we don’t know who lies behind it.