Regret is not an appropriate word for my feelings toward my transgender state. I don’t wish that I could go back and live a cisgender life, but, at the time time, I would not be opposed to such a hypothetical reversion. There are drawbacks, of course, given society’s fear and disdain toward transgender individuals. The careful eye and ear can probably determine that something is “off” about me, although unless one is attuned to the characteristics of transgender people, I am usually able to blend in with the crowd. In many ways, my place in the world is similar to the tattoos that litter my arms. Depending on how careful I am, the edges can be seen peeking out from underneath my long sleeves, but the true gravity of my difference is kept out of sight.
The reaction of my transgender acquaintances when they discover how forthcoming I am with my sociopathic condition is that of horror. They see their struggle, in part, as one of perception. Deviance from the narrative of a demographic struggling to do no harm while being given respect for their dysphoria results in a great uneasiness. These acquaintances of mine fear that, by acknowledging that every condition, including the transgender condition, comes with myriad subtypes, the support of those that can only accept “puppies and unicorns” will dissipate. That is, they worry that if the underbelly of their cherished demographic is exposed, then support from many will erode.
I love greatly the ability to create. Whether I am writing a blog post, developing cutting-edge software, or composing music, there is great satisfaction to be had in knowing that I am in full control over the life and success of such projects. Such “creation” can extend to the realm of parasitism, where false bonds are constructed in order to build a rapport that leads to an interpersonal relationship of inequality. All of these creations are not spared from my cycles of self-destruction, however. The reasons vary, but I seem to always be one bad day away from destroying that which I created, no matter how much time or energy has been spent on such endeavors.
Yes, I’ve been bad about daily posts; I am attempting to return to a daily format. Trust that I am not merely sitting idly on the days that I do not post.
I often work on my endeavors from the comfort of a local coffee shop. The patrons of the shop are diverse as are the topics spoken within those four walls. As I was sitting there attempting to determine that which to write for today’s post, I overheard a most interesting conversation regarding human sexuality. A group was seated at one of the tables and was having a passionate, but amicable, disagreement as to what extent the presence of sexual themes should be appropriate in society. All of the patrons were in agreement; they wished to see an increased acceptance of human sexuality in society. The disagreement was as to the route to take in order to gain such acceptance.
I was raised in a conservative sect of Christianity. One of the most important portions of any church service that I would attend was absolution. Churchgoers would repent for their sins and the pastor would relay God’s forgiveness. Absolution always confused me as we were taught that belief in Jesus Christ would render our sins meaningless, being that faith in the Son was the only route to heaven. At the same time, absolution required that we feel remorse for our sins and for our transgressions against God. If faith alone would send us to heaven, why was remorse and repentance even necessary? Why would my fellow sinners repent only to commit the same crimes again by the time church rolled around the next week?
A common trend among the recently diagnosed or those that have otherwise come to an identity involving ASPD or sociopathy is to lash out. ”This is what I am good at, therefore this is what I will do.” I know that I went through a, thankfully, brief stage involving such a mindset. Some people never outgrow that thought process. Some want to use an identity or diagnosis of ASPD / sociopathy as a means to justify poor behavior. I argue that the true power of either condition comes from strategic use of the tools that we have. Ending up dead, behind bars, or destitute does not make for a productive life now does it?
The proverbial carrot is our freedom and our standing in society. The sociopath that leaves a wake of destruction in her path will be incarcerated or otherwise made a pariah very quickly if her behavior is not controlled. It is certainly possible to use the traits our wiring gifts us in a way that is both beneficial, to us, and relatively pro-social in terms of what society expects. Take the sociopathic surgeon for example. Her blade is a controlled one and does not shake based on the gravity of the situation in front of her. She is focused on one thing: a successful outcome in order to further her standing as a surgeon.
I was in some class in college, years ago, goofing off or any number of things other than listening to the lecture and a student asked a very humorous question. They were concerned about their grade, as it was the end of semester and they began a somewhat heated exchange with the with the professor.
Certainly our effort means something for our grade. Will you give us “try points” to put us over the edge if we are close to achieving a certain grade?
No, your effort is rewarded through your results and aptitude. There are rarely “try points” in life.
The professor was true to their word. An 89.9% was always going to be a B when they went to hand out grades. I do think that the professor may have underestimated the value of effort in everyday life, but there are many arenas in which their words ring quite true.
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.
It seems that neurotypicals (NTs) are attracted to the joy and pain of others without giving the slightest thought to the actual worth that person brings to the table. I cannot, and probably never will, understand the need for NTs to become involved so deeply in the lives of others in such a fashion. It seems that the only time people have worth for many NTs is when there is accomplishment or suffering. Hey, let’s go wish so-and-so a happy birthday! Let’s go visit some-nobody because he broke both of his legs! There is little actual thought, it seems, as to what constitutes the energy expenditure with regard to others. NTs seem to be drawn to the flames of situations requiring empathic energy and are nowhere to be found otherwise.
I cannot speak for all sociopaths, not that I would want to anyway, but I know that my latent state makes meaningful human interaction and companionship quite difficult. How can I truly become close to someone if I am always running, and rerunning, the calculus regarding their benefit with respect to my energy expenditure? How can I form connections when something as vital to humanity as empathy is missing from my person? As I mentioned in another post, I was once married. Even that was of utility rather than love. All of my interactions are selfish. If there is not immediate benefit, I will not be around for long.
My friends, of which there are few, recognize these things about me and accept me anyway. I do appreciate that of them. However, I am always left with the nagging thought that there is some invisible wall between us. I can see them and interact with them, but I can never “touch” them and vice-versa. My inability to have genuine interest in others’ and my lack of empathy means that even my closest interactions are reduced to a parody of what many neurotypicals experience with their interpersonal relationships.