I am a firm believer that what separates the imprisoned psychopathic (or otherwise antisocial) individual and the free and prosperous one is restraint. None of us arrived at a formal diagnosis without a sordid past of some sort. The past need not dictate the future, however. I’m still digging out of the myriad holes that I’ve dug while living in a freely latent state. My impulsivity has left me essentially destitute and the interpersonal relationships that I’ve ruined with my parasitism and, often, callousness are never to return. What incentive is there to keep on such a path? What is there to be gained?
I chose psychotherapy as a means to quell my antisocial behaviors even if my lack of empathy, identity, and ability to form realistic goals (among other permanent traits) will never be corrected. I do not advocate therapy for most. That said, there is a great power in realizing that the condition need not define you, but rather you can choose to define the condition. While my relative commitment to relative prosocial behavior is a purely pragmatic one, I realize that in order to have a meaningful quality of life, it must be so. I’d rather not be in jail. I’d rather have savings and consistent employment. The psychopath in his natural state is not guaranteed any of this.
There is no gain to be had in the longterm in being a caricature of destruction. Yes, there are exceptions (I refer the reader to Snakes in Suits: Psychopaths in the Workplace as an example), but in general, much more is lost by being overtly antisocial than is gained. If there was not such a drawback, then the condition – specifically ASPD – would not even qualify as a personality disorder. In using the cold logic that many psychopaths claim to champion, there should be no question how the future should be shaped, even if changes via the separation of behavior from mindset are slow to be had. As with any personality disorder, success varies based on the individual’s willingness to change and the effort shown by the individual.
I lose no sleep if others do not choose restraint and I realize that the statistics show that the overwhelming majority will not. I know that it is essential to my own success in the future, however. I’ve lost more than I’ve gained with my antisocial behaviors of the past and when I slip in the future, I will lose again. My mind will always seek the tools of the past, but my choice must seek the tools of the present.