The Honest Psychopath – Warts and All

When speaking of honesty and psychopaths and whether an honest psychopath even exists, I think it is important to discern between a lack of pathological lying and the act of being forthright with the condition.  I do not believe that the former exists; we psychopaths have silver tongues that can spin any story.  I do believe the latter can exist as I fall into that category.  I may not reveal to everyone my condition, but I see no harm in letting myself be known in full for those that inquire.  I do this for three reasons: I wish to be a trusted source on the subject and its discourse; I am tired of hiding behind masks that drain my energy; and I believe that ultimately my freedom depends on a restraint fueled by the lack of a safety net.

There would be little reason for the honest psychopath to reveal her condition unless there was something in it for them.  Maybe one seeks the sympathy of another attuned to mental disorders.  Maybe the individual wants others to know that she is not to be aggravated.  Or, maybe there is a bit of narcissistic satisfaction to be had.  I fall into this last camp.  I want to be a source on the subject in terms of the experiences had by the successful psychopath.  We hear far too often of those that end up in prison and not nearly enough of those of us that slink about undetected each day.  For progress to be made, one of the shadow denizens must come forward.  I’m willing to be that person for my own reasons.

However, in intimate circles with friends and (sometimes) family, the motivation for being “honest” is quite different.  At nearly thirty years of age, I am tired.  I am tired of pretending to be empathic.  I am tired of pretending to be compassionate.  I am tired of hiding my misanthropic hostility toward the world.  Every time I put on my mask to emulate one of these conditions, the mask cracks more and more.  Eventually masking would be the same as not masking, so why not head this off at the pass?  It simply makes more sense for my own mental health to be myself around those that I know can handle it.  Maybe I’ll mask with a future paramour, but in the meantime I have to save my reserves by being completely open in those areas that I can.

Finally, I believe that being open – especially through my writing – allows me extra reinforcement when it comes to showing restraint.  The open and honest psychopath cannot plead ignorance if the reckoning day should finally come.  I know myself too well.  If I believe I can wiggle out of a jam, I will behave poorly.  However, if I believe that my fate is sealed if I choose to act a certain way, then I will not.  By being open, I ensure that my proverbial fate is sealed if I make a mess out of things.  Without my safety net, I can only strive for perfection.  This may not involve prosocial behavior 100% of the time, but it ensures that my antisocial proclivities mostly stay between my ears.

There are reasons to choose to be forthright with this condition.  For the overwhelming majority of individuals that are psychopaths, successful or not, it is best to remain in the shadows.  For those that want to be at the cutting edge of the unknown, save their reserves, and galvanize their restraint, there may be no better option than to drop the mask and to show everything, warts and all.

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  1. NT says

    “I am tired of hiding behind masks that drain my energy;”

    This fascinates me, Jess. It is something that I have wondered about with regards to my own interactions with personality disordered individuals.

    Specifically, the girl who got me interested in psychology (which I previously dismissed as soft science hokum until I started seeing the data coming out of the neuroscience community proving the psychologists right) was lying to me left, right and centre, and I remember at the time discussing my struggles with her with my best mate and commenting that it must be EXHAUSTING for her keeping up the pretence. Ensuring that you are thinking three steps ahead of everyone else so that you can keep your story straight, and then having to calculate which lie to select that has the highest probability of confusing/convincing the subject into dropping the issue when they are getting nosey, etc, etc. Now this girl I was involved with wasn’t very good at it, and the reason was that she wasn’t psychopathic but borderline. In my experience, borderlines aren’t very good at masking because their emotions are too wild. She made child-like mistakes. It was almost like she was three years old looking up at her dad saying, “It wasn’t me!” with chocolate smeared all over her face. Transparent.

    Sociopaths and psychopaths are WAY better at hiding it. It was only because I came across Snakes in Suits that I could even consider the possibility that I was being screwed at work by one of my best friends, and that he’d possibly been doing it for years. There was one particular event last year which allowed me to start seeing him for what he was, and luckily because I’d read that book, I could identify the sociopathic abandonment happening before my eyes. And I started drawing hypotheses as to whether he was screwing me behind my back or not. I created “experiments” to test this, and while none were conclusive until the very end, there was enough doubt to make me question his integrity. But importantly, I never had the same feeling that it was “difficult” for him as I did with the borderline girl. Lying and deceiving seemed to be effortless for him.

    So I do question your assertion that it is tiring for psychopaths keeping the mask on. I wonder if it’s not your borderline bits that cause the exhaustion you experience?

    • Jessica Kelly says

      I’ll admit, this is an interesting hypothesis you pose. I’m not entirely sure, but I do believe that any action that requires energy expenditure can lead to exhaustion if repeated sufficiently over time. The emotional components related to Borderline are not very strong in me either, sans those related to abandonment by very select people. If I have nothing else to talk about with my therapist the next time I see her, I will query her with such a hypothesis – I’m willing to reframe my argument if she is in agreement with you.

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