I am a loose cannon. I rarely consider what the best long-term plan is and give undue weight to what satisfies in the present. My narcissism may require a modicum of validation from other people, but by and large, I do not care how others perceive me. I know that I am superior. A reminder from time to time is nice but not required. Regardless, I often get myself into trouble because I am perpetually unhinged.
I’m twitching like a cockroach in its death throes. Every time that I think I make progress, I take two steps back. Impulsivity will eventually ruin me, but not today. Maybe I’ll be a parasite to a host that fights back. Maybe my lack of foresight and goals will catch up with me. It’s quite possible that I’ll put off the wrong person with my supreme megalomania. There are so many facets of this condition that could eventually burn me. I’m a small child, putting my hand on the stove – over and over again – not caring if it is hot or not. My outwardly antisocial behavior may be on the way out, but the secondary traits of the condition may prove more fatal, even if I do not end up in a jail cell. However, that day is not today.
Motivation is very difficult for me, especially as I grow older. The relatively focused drive I had back in my late teens and early 20s has evaporated as I near my 30s. When I was young, everything was full of relative wonder and I had not yet come to believe that nothing can be truly stimulating and satisfying. I suppose I had goals back then, but they were nebulous and ill-defined. “Get my degrees and I can do … things,” I told myself. What things? I didn’t know then and I don’t know now. How the NT can plan into the future in a realistic fashion and summon the energy to see it through is beyond me. Why would I spend so much energy on anything when the end result is neither guaranteed nor stimulating and satisfying.
I feel like a junkie looking for some fix that will bring a true and lasting high. I scour through the possibilities that lie all around me, try each one on for size, and conclude that I really gained nothing. I suppose that the lack of long-term and realistic goals as well as the insatiable need for stimulation are the biggest drawbacks of the psychopathic condition. Now, ten years later, I’ve come full circle: “get another degree and I can do … things”. This is what I try and tell myself, but the nagging thought in the back of my mind remains. What things do I wish to do? Will I be stimulated enough along the way in order to see this nebulous goal through? Is there anything in life worth experiencing? I don’t mean this in a fatalistic or depressed sense, but in a logical one. When nothing registers as enough, how could I be motivated to move forward? How can I climb the stairs before me if I’ve convinced myself that they lead to a place that cannot be reached or if I otherwise do not know where they go?
As usual, as of late, I am up very late reading. As I get ready to transition back to an academic-filled life – I’m returning to school with the intention of going to graduate school this time, although in a different area than I studied ten years ago – I am training myself to be educated again. Not a passive education, but an active one in which I make it an endeavor rather than an afterthought. I’ve been reading books on neuroscience and psychology, mathematics and programming, but one book that has struck me especially is the one I am currently reading: The Last Lecture by the deceased Randy Pausch. It is a memoir of a dying man, giving a “last lecture” talk. For most, the “last lecture” is merely a theoretical exercise in summing one’s life work under the pretense of imagining what a final lecture would be like. For the author, this was to be his last lecture as he was soon to die from pancreatic cancer.
The book is a page turner and I suspect that I will not sleep this evening until I have finished it, but that is not the point. The point is that, faced with his imminent demise, the author pains a most compelling argument to chase one’s dreams and to set goals that can be accomplished through hard work and a bit of luck. According to the author, challenges are not meant to destroy the trajectory, they are merely opportunities to prove just how badly one wants something.
So what does this memoir by a dying neurotypical have to do with psychopathy? Everything.
Psychopaths are creatures of impulse. We act without thinking things through and the consequences can be dire for the psychopath. For instance, I have all of my mail sent to a family member’s residence given the fact that I move so often – most times without properly analyzing the cost and benefit of such moves. If I live at a place for more than a few months, I’ve done an impeccable job of keeping my wanderlust in check. However, the downside of having my mail sent to one central location (namely, with family) is that they can often see from the envelopes’ outsides what is contained therein. They’ve been on my case lately about my debt as the loan sharks are after me wanting to offer me a deal too good to pass up. Why? Because I’ve spent close to 50,000 dollars on items using credit over the past couple of years and I have nothing to show for it. I see. I consume. I purchase.
I’ve nearly quit jobs on a whim without another to fall back on. The idea of planning out a fail-safe solution does not register as do any goals in my life. Drugs and random other substance abuse were not entirely uncommon in my early to mid twenties regardless of the damage I intellectually knew they would cause. I got married after knowing my ex-spouse for only a couple of months. I transitioned without thinking through the consequences. Combined with the psychopath’s need for stimulation, impulsivity can cause real problems.