I loathe writing posts on the maturation and mindfulness that I’ve acquired in recent years. The reason for this is that I do not want the reader to frame these posts under the romanticized light of redemption. When I think of redemption, I think of love stories where someone cleans up their act in order to be welcomed back with open arms by a paramour. Or, I think about the mythical hero of the day, throwing away their background and the odds in order to heroically save those around him. These are tired tropes. I would propose that the antisocial is beyond redemption but not necessarily for the reasons you may think.
Awakening for many psychopaths comes at the time of realization. Either through formal clinical assessment (which was my route) or through self-assessment, the time in which the psychopath discovers who she believes herself to be is an important time. From what I have seen — and through my own experience — many psychopaths become especially dangerous and reckless during this critical juncture. “This is who I am. This is what I do” mentality, if you will.
Such a period of self-realization is important, but it is more important that the psychopath quickly enter a second state of awakening and quickly: maturation. Psychopaths have the human ability of free will and should exercise it. To be left in that first, crucial stage of awakening is to engage in unnecessary risks for your own freedom and status within society. Lashing out because your assessment results or internal belief seems to dictate that you have to honor yourself in a certain way is foolish. It should be acceptable to exist in a state without empathy. Criminality, however, is quickly abhorred by those around you.
I’ve spent a lot of time away from writing and discussing issues of psychopathy lately. I wanted to see what a post-realization state looked like in the absence of surrounding myself with the latest accounts and anecdotes of psychopathy. I’ve still got much growing to do and maturing to seek, but I am at peace with the unexpected diagnosis and implications at this point. Had someone never admonished me for my parasitic and ruthless ways, I would have both neither appreciated the power that I hold nor the freedom of showing relative restraint. You cannot treat pain if you cannot identify the source. My pain, the ruin that I inflict on others and myself, needed a name. Someone had to tell me that name.
I don’t want it to seem that I am an angel these days. Far from it. However, there are degrees of most anything. To live in the grey areas of life rather than in direct discordance with the mandates society places on me is an improvement. Diagnosis (more accurately assessment or confirmation) of the condition was the first step. Learning how to live authentically with the mind that I have been given while staying in the good graces of those around me is the next. This next step will take my entire life and I am certain that I will never be free of shadow.
Sometimes it takes being called out by another person to realize that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Once my depression abated due to the bomb known as electro-convulsive therapy, my therapist and I began to explore my identity. As I have written before, such exploration led to uncomfortable questions about my wiring as an individual. My years, especially before age 25, were reckless, irresponsible, and amoral, at best. I have taken great strides to ensure that my present and my future will reflect more pro-social behavior, but I do not believe that I have ever properly explained the reasons why. It is not that I am concerned about my “soul”, rather it is that I am concerned about the consequences of letting my latent state run unchecked.