I’m trying very hard to rein in my spending these days and for the most part I’ve succeeded – even if only because my credit cards are maxed out. I’ll be moving soon and I need every penny I’ve got to find a new residence, make initial purchases, and secure utilities. I find that restraining my outwardly antisocial behavior is easy: society would punish me greatly for slips on that front. Restraining my inwardly antisocial behavior is much more difficult, however. When I am the only one that suffers from such behavior and I’m the only one that can place judgement – of which there is none – how can I ensure that I’m not destroying myself as I live my life?
I believe this is a relative curse of psychopathy. The inwardly antisocial behaviors psychopaths possess can lead – and often do – to great ruin without a minute being spent in jail. There is no value judgement for our actions; they simply are. I have no emotional state over my chain smoking, nor do I have any feelings regarding my impulsivity that leaves me in financial ruin. Such feelings lead many neurotypicals to self-correct; they are not at the psychopath’s disposal. So we are left our intellect and logical mind. Such a mind dictates that emotion not enter the picture but this same mind also dictates that pleasure is achieved as quickly and often as possible. It is a dangerous combination that leaves many psychopaths in the lurch. However, we are the only ones that benefit – and the only ones to fall – from such inward behavior, so what is there to dissuade us from ourselves?
This need for pleasure, antisocial impulsivity, can also lead to great addictions. Food, spirits, sex … all of these can be abused and misused by the psychopath. Once again there is no feeling state toward such addiction. I spent a decade of my life enslaved by the bottle and I was a vile and dangerous fiend while I was in its control. I never did see it as a problem nor did I ever feel shame from such, though. It was an activity, like many others, that was fueled by my constant need for stimulation and my inability to delay gratification. It was addiction, pure and simple. Smoking, food, self-harming … I’ve seen many addictions and I am sure that I will see many more. I need pleasure and I need it then, now, and forever.
I struggle to tighten my coin purse. I’m in more debt than some people make in many years. I have nothing to show for it. My money (and many banks’ money) were used on items I no longer possess or on thrills that have long passed simply because I could not delay my impulsive search for pleasure. I struggle to remember that my logical mind dictates that I must restrain myself. I may not have feelings of value judgement for my actions, but I certainly can feel brief bouts of pleasure. These brief feelings are fleeting but they are required to keep functioning. I have given up the bottle and I know what withdrawal feels like. Not spending money on items that bring pleasure is leading to another sort of withdrawal. My mind aches as I think of what I could be doing in my spare time with money that I do not have. Just this evening I had to stop myself and distract myself until the thought of spending another thousand passed. Even then and after then, my mouth salivates at the thought of acting in a manner that justifies my narcissistic and grandiose self. I want pleasure, but I know that I can no longer handle the pain.
There are many drawbacks to being psychopathic. Our insatiable need for stimulation and our inability to delay gratitude until the terms are more favorable are at the top of that list of drawbacks for many. I have to learn to slow down. My ability to succeed in this next chapter of my life depends on it. Maybe I’m learning this just in time or maybe I will join the ranks of many psychopaths that fell to their own blade. Maybe we’ll fall from addiction, reckless spending resulting in financial ruin, reckless behavior ending in physical ruin, or some combination thereof. All I know is that these demons are one that I will be fighting until the day I die, and I know that I’m not the only psychopath with such a battle. The arrival of ruin for most psychopaths is initiated by the search for pleasure.