Recap – December 2013

Once again, the last post of the month is merely a recap of posts that were well received by my audience or considered required reading by myself.

Backstory (six posts) – link goes to the first post in the series; the following five finish the arc.  These are a highly,  highly, condensed version of my life and how I got to diagnosis.

Discourse – A post on why intelligent discourse from all sides in a conversation is vital to understanding any human condition.

Motives … Under The Microscope – Why is it that only the motives of the “enemy” are only the ones ever considered?  If motives really are that important, shouldn’t we look at everyone’s?

Carrot – It is not that the ASPD-spectrum individual cannot act pro-socially.  We just may need appropriate incentive.

Picking Their Bones Clean – Discourse fails when blood is deemed more important than the message at hand.

Empathy as a Weapon – Empathy comes with a price.

Occupy Boredom

These past six months have been more rewarding and busy than any in my life up to this point.  Writing on a daily basis and communicating with other ASPD-spectrum individuals has taught me a lot about the condition and myself.  However, I cannot shake the eternal boredom that comes with the sociopathic condition.  Being occupied is not the same as being free of boredom.

I’ve written about the boredom that comes with the condition before, but I’ve had more time to reflect since those words.  I do believe that sociopaths and ASPD-spectrum individuals are at the their most reckless when they are bored.  I’m not particularly convinced that anything can alleviate that boredom and the eternal need for stimulation.  To say that we are junkies is not an apt comparison.  We were never satisfied to begin with; we simply, and tirelessly, search for anything that provides any meaningful satisfaction with what we have.

Continue reading Occupy Boredom

Learning, Not Regurgitation

Since ditching my anonymity, I’ve received inquiries from a few people asking for me to gauge whether or not they are sociopathic.  The phenomenon is interesting and, frankly, unexpected, but ultimately I am not in the diagnosis business.  Even if I were, I would not explicitly state my opinion to anyone seeking my advice for such a crucial question.  I believe that true growth and knowledge comes from asking the uncomfortable questions necessary to find one’s orientation – be it gender identity, sexual orientation, or whether or not a person is anti-social.  To do otherwise is to rob oneself of an important experience.

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I wrote about the abuse and neglect that I suffered at the hands of my parents.  It is interesting; I never really considered my experiences to be eventful or harmful and, in many ways, I still do not.  I guess I knew no other way, but I also suspect that my wiring leaves me relatively unconcerned with the damage that was dealt.  It seemed mundane to be beaten for misadventures in toilet training or for any number of other minor transgressions against my father.  Likewise, being left utterly to myself for extended periods of time was not necessarily unwelcome, but I have been told that such is not considered prime parenting skills.  I have a disconnect between my feeling state toward my childhood and the objective view that others have toward it.

Continue reading Disconnect

Empathy as a Weapon

I had forgotten all about this New Yorker article, originally brought to my attention by reading a summary by M.E. Thomas, until Christmas day.  Empathy is one of the crudest components of the neurotypical and it can easily be used against them.

On Christmas day, as I lay on the couch trying to sleep, I was subjected to a torrential downpour of television commercials.  There were the usual commercials for the latest and greatest toys and electronics, adverts for the latest albums, and a metric ton of ads for charities.

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The Season of Lies

This time of year reminds me that some lies are considered acceptable, or even required, by society.  Kids are taught that an immortal obese man can give them everything they want – except for those things that he cannot make or bring for one reason or another that varies from family to family – for absolutely nothing in return.  Families “put their differences aside” for twenty-four hours in order to remind each member therein that love and kinship trumps all – at least for those days that are considered sacred.  Messages of hope and accomplishment are given to those that will never see either.  Eventually, many will see through those lies, but the idea is the same: some lies are considered appropriate for the season and are mandated by society.

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Less Human Than Human

It is the holiday season again which means partaking in time spent with the family.  They have never been particularly receptive to my decisions in life except for the status my college education and relative success conveys them by proxy.  I don’t necessarily dislike them, but, as with most in my life, I can take them or leave them.  I suspect that I will be spending the next two days telling them that I am “working”, laptop out, but really working on the never-ending stream of writing, communicative, and administrative tasks that comes with writing and learning about a subject dear to me.

My grandparents have not referred to me by a name of my choosing in nearly six years now.  First, they would call me by my former first name.  Later they would refer to me by my initials.  As of late, I am merely a letter: the first letter of my first name.  My aunt, who raised me, says that they “are trying” to respect my decisions in life, but that they will never be able to call me by the name that I prefer and that I should learn to be appreciative that they are even alive as I near my thirtieth birthday.  In professional circles, one of the first things you are taught is to always refer to a person by their preferred first name.  It shows respect and humans, apparently, love hearing their own name more than any other word in their language.  The message from my grandparents is clear:  I am not at the same level as other human beings;  I gave that up when I began HRT nearly six years ago.

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I am a firm believer that the greatest gift of life is self-growth through introspection.  Each day, I attempt to know myself better than the day before.  Yes, this requires taking into account all information – savory and unsavory.  However, I worry with the recent ascension of the term sociopath, that many are trying to grasp onto something for purposes of “edge” and not for self-growth.

I have no value judgement toward sociopaths (or neurotypicals for that matter).  To me, sociopathy is simply a condition that exists and is present in a relatively rare subset of the population.  The consequences of being sociopathic are not lost on me, however.  We are feared, for reasons that even I cannot deny, and stigmatized.  Many, naively, view the potential of being sociopathic as belonging to the “cool kids club”, but I would implore the truth-seeker to take a more mature view.

Continue reading Achtung

Picking Their Bones Clean

As I am sure most of you are aware of by now, the lynch mob was out yesterday for a certain PR executive, Justine Sacco, whose Twitter account had a fairly unsavory and ignorant tweet emanate from it.  I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to further investigate the events and the tweet that I am referring to.

Rather than look at this from a moralistic point of view, I’d rather explore the effect that such vultures have on discourse.  I am a firm believer that the key to proper discourse of any subject is to allow all sides speak, no matter how well-reasoned or intelligent the words may be.  However, the required format is implied:  only with a back-and-forth as well as a constant refinement of arguments and perspectives can true knowledge be gained and shared.  Discourse to me, is the ultimate in an approximation algorithm.  You overshoot the true value, then undershoot, then overshoot, then undershoot, ad infinitum, until you are sufficiently close to the true value you are observing.  Rarely are things as extreme as the poles wish to convey. Only through iteration by both sides on a subject can an objective and well-reasoned stance be considered.

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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.

Continue reading Altruism