Psychopaths fill a niche. In a prosocial and empathic world, there is an advantage for a group to act both antisocially and without affective empathy. If this were business, we would celebrate the ingenuity of such a group to find such a niche and to capitalize upon it. However, this is not business, this is life, and as such, neurotypicals lose their collective shit when faced with someone who can act while the rest of the crowd stands still. We acknowledge the annoyances of the mosquito with its bloodsucking ways, but we do not eradicate it for ecosystems are calibrated to survive with its existence. The same train of thought should be applied to the realm of psychopathy. I will concede that the unchecked psychopath may be an irritant to those neurotypicals around him, however I do believe that society could not function for long without his existence.
While I may not respond to comments in the manner I used to (I try to be hands off these days unless clarification is asked), I do read each and every one of them. In fact, I encourage comments as a supplement to the topics that I write about; I want to see different perspectives just as much as I imagine my readers do. All of that said, one comment in particular really struck me as odd:
Many people wish there was a cure because they happen to love psychopaths and hate the reality that doing so is a waste of time because psychopaths can’t ever reciprocate love and will only manipulate.
I say I find this odd because it is my experience that neurotypicals bring out the pitchforks once they’ve identified a psychopath. This particular comment may have been in reference to romantic relationships, but I think the alleged point can be expanded to general interpersonal interactions. The neurotypical claim it would seem that psychopaths are certainly worthy of love and respect, so long as they keep their psychopathy in check. This is not dissimilar from what homosexuals face from the religious community or religions ask of one another: “abandon the traits that make you you, and we’ll abandon the witch hunt.” This is forced conformity at its finest.
The sins of academics that study psychopathy are great. They are intellectually stunted individuals that lack curiosity. In no one area is this more evident than with their insistence to study only those psychopaths in prisons. This sin knows no nationality as the whole lot results to opportunity samples, the bane of statistical sampling. As a result, research tends to be used solely in criminological circles which leads to mass hysteria regarding the condition, should individuals even consider the disorder to be real in the first place. I am beyond tired of the common conversations that I hear regarding psychopathy and the fault lies solely with the academics “studying” this condition.
What if oncologists refused to treat patients with terminal cancer? Chalking up the afflicted for dead, imagine that they withhold treatment that could extend the quality of life for those dying as well as for those around the dying. I would imagine that there would be a great murmur from society, proclaiming such withholding of treatment to not only be unethical but antithetical to the promise of life. Why then is it acceptable to withhold treatment from those having personality disorders? This post will focus particularly on the lack of available treatment options for those with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), but this can extend to other disorders considered taboo or worthy of scorn by society; those such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder. “Fluffy” disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are not meant to be part of this discussion.
Over in the realm of tumblr, I see many bloggers that have victim complexes. They believe that at any moment that they will be persecuted for the most mundane of reasons and that their well-being or even their life will end as a result. They live in complete fear, refusing to take opportunities that exist for the worry of a specter that may or may not ever materialize. Frankly, it’s disgusting. It is one thing to make note of the biases that exist in the world and the probabilities that something bad may happen. It is another to be so crippled with either fear or hate that one does not make any attempt to move forward.
I’ve written about the psychopath’s tendency to completely walk away from interpersonal relationships when the terms are not favorable. I don’t believe I’ve really gone into those transgressions that cause a psychopath to burn bridges, however. Most neurotypicals find that there is a lot of give and take in interpersonal relationships, that the going will not always be good but there is a belief that both parties will give a good faith effort to make forward progress. My experience and communication with other psychopaths implies that there is no give and take, usually, when it comes to the interpersonal relationships that the psychopath forms. Regardless of effort shown or given by the psychopath, the only metric that matters is the worth of the other individual. Any falter or transgression may very well be fatal to the interpersonal relationship.
I’m in a state of transition in my life. I will probably be exploring new towns and new adventures sometime in the near to mid future and my desire to do much of anything in my current town is dwindling. Such stagnation (and anticipation) renders me fairly impotent and desiring anything to satisfy my ennui, my eternal boredom. I’ve returned to the realm of video games, choosing games that satisfy my need for stimulation in the best way possible. Just five more minutes, I tell myself, as five minutes turns into six hours. It may not be the most productive use of my time and no history will certainly be made from doing such, but it keeps me occupied. It does not satisfy the beast that wants more, however. I still want anything to make this life worth living; I want that one fix that will cure my boredom for good.
Both the relationship I have with my readers and the relationship I have with the world are not lost on me. I choose to remain visible and open and honest with my psychopathic condition and I how I choose to be defined by it (or not be defined by it). This means that I am often fighting on two fronts. I present my visible self to a world hostile to my existence and I present that same self to those that come looking for answers for the peculiarities they’ve noticed in their own lives. I am open and exposed with no visible allies. I’m not sure that I would have it any other way; I know what the stakes are to all involved.
Therapy took an unexpected turn last evening as we turned toward the topic of mortality. For various reasons and with various addictions, I do not take care of myself to the extent I should. I smoke, I don’t exercise as much as I should, and I suffer from various eating disorders. Yet, in spite of all of this, I am still alive and not too unwell. I tend not to be grateful for the luck in my life. I’m bipolar, often with severe and life-threatening depression, but I have access to mental health care. I’m alone yet I’ve built an online empire. One day I will die though, and I suspect my life expectancy would place my death in my 40s with the way I live this life, but for now I am vibrant. Just because I am alive and well does not mean that everyone else is, however, and last night I found out that my therapist could be taken from me by the same force of Chance that keeps me alive somehow. The loss may or may not come and it may or may not be imminent, but it is eerie to be placed in a position that I never thought possible: a state of concern and worry regarding another human life.
Violence sells well these days. We sit glued to our televisions and to our theater chairs watching the latest and greatest dismemberment or murder. Violent books line the shelves of our bookstores and violent headlines are front and center on our newspapers. We live in an age in which all are expected to stay riveted to such sensationalism. And, you know what, it works. Violent images are made for violent minds.