I often am confused by others’ focus on proclivities rather than actions. I’ve never been convicted of any crimes. I’ve never physically assaulted anyone. I may have a sordid past, but these days everyone who interacts with me tends to get some benefit. Why should my wiring and my latent state matter at all? As long as I show restraint toward antisocial behavior, why should my psychopathic nature be relevant?
On one hand, the thought of consequences can be enough to deter me from acting poorly. On the other, if I fail to “feel” the potential consequences, how can they really deter me from anything? The same can be said about positive consequences. An honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work is appealing, in theory. If I do a good job at what I do, then I will be appropriately compensated. However, if I cannot discern between a hard day’s work and a shoddy day’s work both leading toward a paycheck, how can I be sufficiently motivated to put more than the minimal effort required to maintain a job? Thus, I am often skirting the line in all of my daily functions; I put in the minimal amount of effort, or restraint, needed to achieve a pleasant outcome. This can be dangerous as I am always teetering on the boundary between reward and punishment.
One of the most maddening misconceptions of psychopathy is that we are unhinged lunatics waiting to slice up the first person we meet or that generally we are ready to lie and steal and assault and kill anyone at any moment. For most psychopaths, this is simply not true. We may have a different, and disturbing to some, mindset – but we are capable of keeping our destructive tendencies in check. It just may be remarkably difficult at times, akin to the compulsive gambler resisting the urge to go to the casino. We need not run free with our desires and it is insulting to hear over and over again that the only true psychopaths are those committing heinous crime on a daily basis.
Every day I touch the center line. Every day I wonder if this is the day that I’ll finally cross it. I swerve and I return to the side I belong in, but some day I may not catch myself in time. Of course, the danger of crossing the center line totally depends on the traffic coming the opposite direction and the vehicle you are driving. However, it is a boundary to be respected and kept on the right side of. [Read more…]