Yes, the majority of psychopaths give nothing to those around them. They take and pillage without a hint of redeeming value. In addition, most psychopaths cross the line society has drawn and will spend (or are spending) time in prison with little hope of ever contributing to society in any meaningful fashion. I’ve been struggling lately with respect to my own place in this world. I have never been convicted of any crime and I am trying (gods, am I trying) to walk a path of restraint in the post-diagnosis world of relative clarity. However, many do not care. They discount any endeavor that I engage in as being tainted by psychopathy. There is no escape from those that would rather see me fail in every way imaginable. Likewise, I cannot flee the footsteps at my back that seek to discredit anything I do regardless of whether my psychopathy influenced such endeavors.
Anyone that deals with me voluntarily should realize that they are dealing with poison. I am rarely concerned with anything but benefit when it comes to interpersonal relationships, and only those that I respect on a profound level are relatively safe from my tricks.
It is nothing personal. People are tools, to be used when I need them and, otherwise, left aside for potential future use. I am parasitic. Parasitism is my “strongest” sociopathic trait. If my host is not actively trying to swat me, I certainly will try to gather as much blood as I can before I hunger again.
One of the questions I often get by those that know I am sociopathic is whether I perform altruistic actions. I would rather turn the question back on those asking. Are they altruistic for anything but the most minor of actions? Would their altruism extend to actions that actually took effort? Or is their “altruism” really a result of societal expectation and self-aggrandizement?
I think that I am more honest with what is “altruistic” and what is not. Like most everyone, I hold doors open and tip nicely and a slew of other “thoughtless” actions. I don’t consider whether my actions are zero-sum or negative-sum for me in these situations; they are simply too trivial and are demanded by society. Yet so many others will chalk up such as examples of altruism. No, altruism needs to rise to a higher level. Not just a higher-level, but to a degree above and beyond what society has engrained into group expectations. The alternative is a circle jerk of self-aggrandizement that was gained without effort.
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.
Those that know I am psychopathic are obsessed with my motives. Every action and every word is under the microscope. They assume that I must be up to something nefarious at all times. At the least, they believe that I must have an angle of some sort because I am so focused on myself and the benefits to be had. This last statement is true more often than not. I rarely act without a tangible benefit. Whether it is a symbiotic interpersonal relationship or ensuring that certain perceptions are upheld, I do tend to act in a manner that ensures that I am in control and with benefit.
However, the focus on motives by those around me seems limited to placing those that are different under the microscope. No one asks the priest what his motives are for preaching. No one asks the good samaritan what her motives are for helping someone. The fixation is solely on those that are perceived to have an antisocial angle. As with many things neurotypicals do, this greatly confuses me.