So what do you do if you think you are a psychopath? The acceptance of the label (or condition, if you will) ‘psychopath’ (or sociopath, whatever you like to call it) is a huge deal. My experience has been that accepting that I was a psychopath was a lot like accepting that I am transgender. Once that realization hit, I couldn’t go back to my state before. I couldn’t “unsee” the reality and could not return to ignorance. To seek assurance as to whether you are psychopathic is to open Pandora’s box. There is no guarantee what will come of it and there is no guarantee what focusing on your possible psychopathy will bring.
The time shortly after I was diagnosed as psychopathic was a very difficult one. I essentially was diagnosed with stage four cancer of the soul. There was no way to candy-coat it. I was, and am, a member of one of the most hated groups on earth. It did not trouble me that I was considered psychopathic by a professional administering the PCL-R. I didn’t want to be a psychopath. I didn’t want to not be a psychopath. The label itself bore no immediate internal meaning. I was interested in learning about myself more than anything. However, once I had time to digest and reflect, it became difficult. Ignorance was bliss in many ways and now I had to reconcile the diagnosis with my own perception of self – which, granted, involved a lot of turning a blind eye to the actions of my past as well as downplaying my lack of empathy and conscience. When I finally had to confront those “demons” head on, I flailed. I was in denial.
Being diagnosed, via voluntary administration of the PCL-R, as a psychopath is akin to opening Pandora’s box. I think some will use the diagnosis as a means to do immoral actions. Some will become wrapped up in self-hatred and fear. Most, I suspect, will continue on as if nothing happened. But I think, as described in my previous post, that there is another option that reflects the hope left in the opened box. For the intelligent psychopath, diagnosis may be the key to finally making the uncomfortable journey of self-discovery. This is the path I chose. It is not enough just to determine what makes the person however; they must use this information in order to craft their future. For the psychopath, this is admittedly difficult, but absolutely necessary.
I briefly mentioned my emotions of the actual assessment in the preceding post. The post was very brief intentionally. I believe too much is made of the assessment itself, even for the voluntary subject. A person is not different because of what the assessment reveals in terms of score: if she was honest taking the assessment and the case files were unbiased, then she is the same as she was before the test. She still retains all characteristics she had prior to the test. However, she does have a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon herself and her motivations after the score comes in.
I remember when I was diagnosed as a psychopath. Like many stories of people who had the privilege of taking the PCL-R voluntarily, I was first introduced to the term by an acquaintance. They wondered how I could so easily ruin people, how callous I was, how I possessed a severe lack of empathy, why I was so self-centered, and so on. At first I shrugged it off thinking that such was horseshit and only terrible people who do terrible things could be in the realm of psychopathy. As I did my own research, I realized that psychopathy is a mindset more than it is a reflection of action. I realized that such a mindset could very well be mine.