I have no filter between my brain and words or my brain and my hands. I act instinctually and often to the dismay of others. I am a landmine in plain sight, just waiting for someone to step on my detonator. In the written world, where I spend most of my time, I find that I can often catch myself before doing something rash. In the real world though, all bets are off – though if you should bet, always bet on red.
Irritability and poor behavioral controls are common in psychopaths. Essentially this means that our lack of a filter causes the antisocial thoughts in our minds to become antisocial actions. Everyone thinks antisocial thoughts from time to time, but most do not translate such thoughts into actions as they realize both the consequences to be had and the abnormality with respect to the personality that they project. The psychopath is a mental four year-old in many respects. We think, we act, we move on.
My mouth is what tends to get me into trouble. In meetings, I can either be the perfect professional or a loose cannon. My anger can boil over and no one is safe from whatever thoughts are in my head. I’ve thrown objects at my therapist when we’ve had disagreements (though she claims to understand and keeps working with me, thank gods). Most notably, I’ve become especially belligerent and unsavory when intoxicated in the slightest.
One day, years ago, in college I had few too many drinks with a friend at a bar local to the college town. We walked to the bar, had a grand time, and then, while walking home, he – in his own drunken state – began to call me silly names. Not derogatory, merely childish names. However, for whatever reason, my eyes saw read and I prepared to attack him in the middle of the street – screaming that I would kill him. I had to be restrained and the next morning we had an awkward conversation about the side of me that he did not know existed.
Lest the reader think that the antisocial irritability of the psychopath be solely linked to drink, there are many other examples in my own life that deal with animal and verbal abuse – over the slightest things according to most neurotypicals – toward those around me. I try to be more mindful as the years go on and I have gone sober in order to ensure that my lack of a filter does not get me into more trouble than it has.
Many (most?) criminal psychopaths found guilty of murder are often in legal trouble due to this facet. Oh, the prostitute simply pushed my buttons too many times. Oh, he said the wrong thing to me. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. A disproportionate response to many trivial slights has left many dead in the wake of some of the more savory psychopaths out there.
To the outsider, this is certainly a facet of the condition that disturbs. How can a person go from a cool-headed individual to a violent and abusive maniac in mere seconds? Why don’t they stop and think about what they are doing? Why do they seem like a grown child throwing a tantrum? The answers to all of these questions are the same: we simply lack the ability and the mindfulness to impose a filter that most possess. We lash out without thinking and the consequences are often grave.