Psychopaths and Regret

I don’t understand the point of regret.  I suppose this is tied indirectly to the psychopath’s inability to feel guilt or remorse.  Ultimately, as a psychopath, the only person that matters is myself and I just can’t be bothered to get worked up over actions, due to shallow affect, that have occurred in the past.  If I feel any semblance of regret, it must be the result of something that directly inconveniences me.  These feelings are few and far between and can be mostly summed up as “it would have been nice had I not done that but oh well.”

Let’s use my excessive spending as an example.  I’ve accumulated over 30,000 dollars in debt on items that I cannot remember.  I look around in my living quarters and a see a few thousand dollars of toys, but ultimately I cannot figure out where most of the money has gone.  The neurotypical may beat themselves up, wishing that they had never brought such hardship upon themselves.  However, I merely shrug.  Yes, it is an inconvenience to be saddled with such debt, but ultimately I am still alive and able to do nearly anything I want.  The realization that I spend half of my paychecks combatting this debt does not register with me.  I simply see it as something to be eventually squashed, like a fly in the room.  I have no regret for such frivolous spending.

 The concept is simply foreign to me.  Much like guilt and remorse, regret is a theoretical construct in my mind.   I understand that others feel it and I have a vague idea of the symptoms of it, but regret simply does not register as a tangible feeling state.  Then again, I have no concept of joy, sadness, or any other slew of emotions, so this does not surprise me in particular.  I suppose this, in part, fuels my lack of goals as I know that there is zero possibility that I will be with regret while on my deathbed.

I would love to hear from my neurotypical and psychopathic readers regarding their own feelings of regret or lack their of.  I suspect that the psychopath is simply incapable of feeling regret.  Whether this is beneficial or not, I am unsure.  I know that given the psychopath’s inability to learn from the past that there would be little point in having regret anyway.   If the past cannot change the future, why should one feel bad about the past to begin with?

When a Psychopath Ends Relationships
Psychopath / Neurotypical Relationships ... Aardvark and Ant


  1. FNP says

    My typical response to people trying to get me to feel these things is something around the lines of “Oh, woops, sorry (for getting caught)”. The next day, I’ll do the same thing again.

    • J. Kelly says

      I can relate to that all too well. I sometimes *want* to stop getting in trouble, but that either means becoming more clever or ceasing the act. I know the latter will guarantee a non-punitive outcome, but the former is too tempting.

  2. Anonymous says

    I have such regret sometimes, the feeling also comes back after years, and then I wish I could be cold hearted because it is really annoying… For a NT it’s possible to process the shock that induces such a long term regret but this process is very very slow. For a NT taking the cold rational viewpoint is as tiring as taking the empathic viewpoint for a psychopath, I guess.
    If we want to be rational, we have to filter our emotions continuously and this makes everything very slow. (But possible.)
    About the relation between NT and psychopath: it’s very wavy. There are shorter periods when the NT and psychopath have some common viewpoint, typically when some new action should be done, when both of them should be effective. But then there are longer periods when they interpret the results of the action in different ways and that makes the distance between NT and psychopath. For example the NT is slow but the psychopath needs stimulus. The NT is looking for emotional bond as you write but the psychopath even doesn’t know what is that. Usually the pattern is that they make some new action and then they go to their own way. Then again something new happens and they find common things and then again they separate for longer time.

    • FNP says

      It’s not a matter of choosing not to take the empathic viewpoint vs the rational one. As far as emotional bonds go, I understand that NTs need them, but I simply don’t have any use for them unless it’s a one-way thing benefiting me.

  3. Will says

    The phychopath ‘could’ get into the reward of guilt/regret butmau have to be a system set in place neurologically from a trama/abusive pattern in upbringing. Or what i call ‘self saddism’. Have observed one with sociopathic tendancies who used emotions to abuse both self & others. Can a true born phychopath evoke the release of brain chemistry via thought?

  4. Lilly Bloom says

    I’ll post this here, too, as I’ve already done on another thread. Lilly

    You wrote: ” I suppose if I could do my life over, I would try to show more mindfulness and avoid those risky and reckless actions that have defined my life.”

    Comment: I and a couple of friends of mine who have been studying psychopathy for 30-years and a criminologist friend who interviewed almost 300 criminals over a 25-year period and tagged 62 as psychopaths do not believe a genuine psychopath could even think like your statement reads, and that would be after any amount of therapy, whether counseling or shock therapy.

    No treatment or situation could make them think that way. They may try to con someone into believing that, especially if that someone is a mark or has power over them, e.g., a penologist.

    We’ve never known one to think like that, and that would make the possibility very, very unlikely.

    If anything, that is, if one could admit to any past wrong or fault (and most cannot), they would blame everyone around them for their actions. They never take responsibility for their actions.

    Besides, to a parasitic psychopath, what they do is not wrong. They can’t even understand why they should not cheat their neighbors, their classmates, their work associates, or their families.

    Their deeply ingrained entitlement mentality causes them to believe they deserve anything they want—no matter where it comes from.

    Seeing as how parts of their brain are deformed, it would be impossible for them to think on several subjects as normal humans do. However, in some cases, such as conscience, they may have a very low amount (at times) due possibly to lower degree of brain deformity.

    • FNP says

      The vast majority of criminal psychopaths lack the addition of borderline PD. They also have no reason to tell the truth to someone who thinks that psychopaths are deformities, like you clearly do.

      Secondly, there are many types of psychopaths, and it operates on a spectrum. Most criminal psychopaths are higher-scoring on the PCL-R than Jessica is. By and large, they are also significantly lower IQ. The ones you would be interviewing if you could are the psychopaths that score high and have high IQ, but they aren’t typically in the criminal system, and don’t submit willingly to questioning.

      Parasitic (or malignant) psychopaths are the purely antisocial ones that can’t think of a larger picture, and are clearly not the type that she is. You shouldn’t be ignoring, for example, the tyrannical type.

      As a tyrannical-type psychopath, I do not share Jessica’s sense of wanting to do things differently. I also don’t have the desire to avoid conflict in these comments that she typically displays, and I’m definitely the only constant in the conflicts that arise here.

      You also state that it’s impossible for psychopaths to think on several subjects as neurotypicals do. This is simply categorically false, as I’m a polymath and perfectly capable of thinking on virtually any subject, including guilt, remorse, morality, ethics, and philosophy.

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