A common theme throughout my book is that of passing. Passing is the act of successfully convincing another person that you are something that you are not. A transgender person passes when pass through spaces gendered according to their target gender undetected. A psychopath passes whenever others are not aware of his callousness or affective empathy deficit. Passing, of course, applies to other groups as well. A person seeking a promotion needs to pass as confident, regardless of any inner shaking. The father consoling his scared daughter needs to pass as fearless. Passing, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. It is a mechanism for survival and for advancement that humans have adopted for millennia. As with all things, it can certainly be spun in an impure fashion, however.
The only way to know that there is a wolf in disguise among your sheep is to look for the paw prints. The classic, successful psychopath is not nearly as restrained as I am. Once again, lest the reader misunderstand, I am no saint, but I am certainly not the sinner I was in the past. I’ve heard countless accounts from neurotypical readers where they associated with possible psychopaths, let them in close, and then were surprised when the flock was dead. At the risk of stirring paranoia, I wish to warn the reader: many psychopaths that are not incarcerated are on the lookout for new prey. This can take the form of your wallet, your livelihood, or even your emotions. They wear the clothing of sheep to get close to the shepherd.
The recent controversy surrounding Caitlyn Jenner, the affluent transwoman, and Rachel Dolezal, the NAACP official who is Caucasian but identifies as black, has brought an unholy storm upon social media. Those that are easily disgusted find that they are appalled at the seeming blurring of the lines of groups held sacred. The truth is, most neurotypicals are queasy about “out-group” members invading spaces that “do not belong to them.” Whether it is the transman transitioning from female to male or the black individual having a skin condition that makes them gradually look Caucasian, people are easily disturbed by this. What then of the psychopath that wears the mask of the neurotypical in order to avoid the stigma conferred by society? It would make sense that these psychopaths if found out could face their own backlash and gnashing of teeth.
It has been quite a while since I’ve discussed the topic of “passing.” The reader may recall that the concept of passing is quite simple. To pass is to be perceived as a member of group X regardless of whether an individual actually belongs to group X. We often hear of individuals passing as members of the opposite sex; that is, passing is often referred to in the transgender realm, but I would argue that the concept extends to many more areas. What of the poor person that passes as affluent or the mentally ill individual that passes as mentally healthy? The truth is, that we often need to pass in order to get what we desire. Consider the introvert that passes as an extrovert in order to appear socially acceptable or the businessman that is insecure that appears commanding and powerful. Passing is an important skill for anyone, not just the transgender and certainly not just the psychopath.
Since diagnosis, I am much more attuned with the needs of passing as a neurotypical. Only by realizing how I was different, could I appreciate the efforts needed to blend in with the crowd. By understanding that I possessed a lack of affective empathy, I could make “corrections” in order to convince others that I was like them. By realizing that others did not tend to react so violently and angrily to the slightest triggers, I could begin to rein in my own irritable behavior around others. As rigid as the hate toward the transgender is by society, tolerance does not exist for those believed to fall on the right-end of the good/evil binary that is foolishly believed in. Such a binary does not exist and most probably fall closer to the middle than they would like to admit, but that does not make the witch-hunt any less vicious. It is in my best interest to hide my sociopathy, even though I would much rather be open and unmasked, if only out of convenience.