It is another year but the same old dog and pony show. Empathy can easily be weaponized, and true manipulation preys on it. This time around, empathy is being used to further a cause without the participants paying the required price for civil disobedience. Yes, I’m talking about the recent walkouts across America by underage political activists seeking to severely weaken (or abolish) the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. I have no dog in this fight at the surface, but I do believe that the rights bestowed upon the American people should be as wide and far-reaching as possible and that attempts to limit or take away rights, no matter the rationale or net impact, should be placed under the most objective gaze of scrutiny. What interests me, however, is the common and far-reaching attempt to use empathy as a weapon in the war for the hearts of man.
The question of disclosure has been weighing on my mind heavily as of late. Under what circumstances should a psychopath or otherwise antisocial disclose their status and to whom? I already see my antisocial readers rolling their eyes as they read these words. “No true antisocial would reveal themselves,” they probably are thinking. I certainly can understand that as the degree of disorder rises, the inclination to disclose weakens. However, I do believe that there are matters that affect psychopaths that today’s zeitgeist of being “more antisocial than thou” silence. I have reason to believe that I am not the only antisocial individual that seeks a bond with the world. I also have reason to think that a level playing field is agreeable to many antisocials. The reasons may vary, but ultimately there are legitimate thoughts that would lead to disclosure. The reception may – at this stage of human progress – be chilling and unilaterally hostile, with some exceptions, but this is part of the calculus that any antisocial must perform when determining how he wishes to relate to another human being. I encourage all of my readers to put down their preconceptions and defenses for a moment and examine the charged subject of disclosure.
Maybe it is because I surround myself with those mentally ill that are of questionable character, but I cannot find any upside to coddling the mentally ill. Many do not want to get better. Hell, I stated in my previous post that even I can succumb to tired stereotypes of not wanting to improve psychically. People with mental illness tend not to improve on their own – in the absence of external stimuli – and many will resort to manipulation knowing that others know that they are mentally ill. The former case is uninteresting and I will leave that topic to the reader for reflection. The latter is what is of great interest to me. I have used my mental illnesses to manipulate others and others have used theirs to manipulate me. The intention of the individual to commit interpersonal harm may vary, but I cannot believe that all that are mentally ill are not tempted by the reward of using their illness as a crutch. In a society that coddles the mentally ill, the rewards become self-evident and tempting to even the most pious individuals.
I watch my marionettes dance in front of my eyes. They will do what I want them to do and they will do it without realizing that they are under my spell. There is no such thing as mind control, but the psychopath’s manipulative tricks come close. The reasons why vary. Who wouldn’t want to play the puppet master and see the way the limbs move and the feet swing? Who wouldn’t want to see the lips move in rhythm with the words in one’s head? The end justifies itself. I would say that I manipulate because I am bored – and that may be true at times – but ultimately is not the demon’s dance set to the haunting melody that I make reason enough?
I mentioned my mostly stoic but sometimes incredibly over-emotional acquaintance in a previous post. We were going to move to another city together but that fell through for many reasons, not the least of which being that I realized that he was attempting to use me for emotional support that I am simply unwilling to give. Yes, I led him on regarding the move and I suppose I’ve led him on this past week in which I’ve kept quiet and left him with false hope that a move was still in the works. He’s the kind that threatens suicide whenever things do not go his way, but he also threatens suicide whenever he’s depressed. I bring all of this up, because when I break the news to him that we are not moving, I suspect that he will, once again, threaten suicide. Now, this does not concern me much other than it would violate my general principle (these days) of avoiding harm for others when possible. I brought all of this up to my therapist who relayed the following to me, the point of this post. “We can influence others, but they are the sole arbiters of control and choice in their lives.”