I spent this past weekend exploring a town that I was considering moving to. I was going to move there with an acquaintance in the hopes that a change in scenery would alleviate the wanderlust and eternal ennui that I possess. The city did not resonate with me for many reasons, but I bring this up because of one particular incident that happened on the trip. My acquaintance and I were exploring various housing options when we came to the conclusion that most “nice” places to live were outside of our budget. Having looked at some more affordable options, we visited on a suburb that was a bit unkempt but not too bad. After we looked at the property, my acquaintance burst into tears, lamenting the lack of luxury that the property in question had. I was immediately put off. How can I expect to associate with someone that needs emotional support from me when the going gets tough? The short answer is that I can’t.
I occasionally get inquiries as to why behaviors and activities such as recreational drug use fall under the antisocial umbrella. The DSM-IV lists one of the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder as being (paraphrased) a lack of interest for the safety of others or self. From this diagnostic trait, it becomes evident as to why drug use would be considered antisocial in nature. Use of some drugs and misuse of other substances can certainly result in self-harm; I know this all too well. What of other activities that blur the line between a disregard for the self and others? What about reckless driving or other adrenaline seeking behaviors? Do the lines blur with impulsivity? Just how distinct are the characteristics of this disorder? It’s all a bit fuzzy.
Today marked an important day in the sociopolitical landscape in the United States. The United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the Constitutional right to marriage. The weeping and gnashing of teeth as well as the numerous celebrations are plentiful and are not the focus of this post. What segues into the heart of this post is the erasure that innumerable bisexual people are feeling right now. Gay pride flags are plentiful but bisexual pride flags are nowhere to be seen. Enemies, allies, and everyone in between are referring to the ruling as an issue of “gay” rights dealing with “gay” marriage, ignoring completely that bisexuals are subject to the benefits of the ruling as well.
Even though the outward appearance of a bisexual in a same-sex relationship may appear identical to that of the homosexual, there are important nuances and distinct experiences that are lost by distilling everything into an issue of homosexuality. Bisexuals differ from homosexuals in many ways and can only be properly represented if they are taken as they are: as bisexuals. This is no different than the psychopath that gets lumped into the same grouping as those with Antisocial Personality Disorder. The two look familiar and aspects of psychopathy overlap with that of ASPD, but they are not the same. In essence, the psychopath is erased by those focusing on the ASPD condition. Just as the bisexual should reject erasure by the masses, so should the psychopath.
I’ve written before about what Cleckley referred to as “unmotivated antisocial behavior.” In that post, I spoke of the “demons” that psychopaths battle and the antisocial proclivities that can often bubble up to the surface. A recent comment by one of our regulars had me thinking a bit more on this subject, however.
For me, at least, the problem comes when rolling the dice becomes the more interesting option. I mean, I *could* do it the pro-social way, but the little devil on my shoulder says “Fuck that, do it the fun way,” and I usually end up choosing the antisocial way.
And therein lies part of the problem, now doesn’t it? I think there is a huge component of human nature that says we could live a little by letting ourselves go, by choosing antisocial behavior. Isn’t that much of the allure with drug use, reckless driving, and other “fun” activities, none of which need be prosocial? As with most things, I believe the psychopath is simply more honest on this front with these desires.
Psychopaths are pathological liars. We lie to the people we meet and we lie to ourselves. I would surmise that a differentiator between the successful psychopath and the unsuccessful psychopath is not only the magnitude of the lie but the frequency of the lies as well. Some psychopaths come up with incredible lies worthy of their self-grandiosity. Some, like myself, tell mostly truth so that falsehoods are swallowed whole. It is a diverse spectrum of lying, but there is one constant that unifies all psychopaths: we lie to get what we want and feel no remorse over those lies we have spun.