I was reading through tumblr when I noticed a thread arguing that human rights exist and are universal. The naivety of those arguing was astounding as they considered the argument to be self-evident. However, we realize that human rights are conferred by governments which, in most Western civilizations, mean that the people themselves are responsible for answering the question of what is a human right and to whom does it extend. It should become evident that the biases of the majority come quickly into play when determining who can have what. Those that are unlike the majority will always be subject to a different set of rules than the majority themselves. Whether it is skin color or presence (or absence) of affective empathy, those of us that are different will always be under the gun that is pointed at no one else.
This is a continuation of the previous post. I decided not to attempt to console the family member whose mother passed away. The reasons for this may surprise you, however. While it is true that I am irked with the man because of past sins he committed, I felt that it would be wiser to avoid the possibility of leaking my indifference. I can feign incompetence if asked why I did not call – “Oh, I just forgot!” – but I cannot feign feelings of true compassion and sympathy that are rooted in empathy. In a way, I am being kind by shielding him from my true apathy. As should be obvious, I have chosen to embrace apathy and have not worn my mask for some time now. As such, I do not even know how to put it back on. The actor has become aloof and uncaring and no longer knows how to play the part.
The mother of a real prick of a family member passed away the other day. I’m supposed to give him some words of consolation and show that I care, but I haven’t worn a mask of compassion in so long that I don’t even know where to begin. This is the man that refuses to gender me properly and that came to my doorstep so many years ago to question my sanity when I first came out as transgender. Maybe I hold a bit of a grudge over it all, but I like to think that I’ve cast him aside into the realm of apathy. However, I am supposed to behave civilly and respectfully, even though I could care less in the end. This highlights a problem that I’ve written about before. The more that I refuse to wear my mask, the harder it becomes to ever put it on again.
It makes my blood boil when the naive attempt to white knight the antisocial. They claim that because so many cases of antisocial personalities are the direct result of genetics or a tumultuous upbringing (trauma), that free passes should be handed out for antisocials and their questionable behavior. Those of us who are antisocial do not care about this distinction. We have learned that our actions often result in benefit even if they often result in detriment. We have learned to accept the ways in which our disorder manifests and if it works for us, we continue our antisocial ways, and if it does not work for us, we seek ways to rein in our behaviors as best we can. I highly doubt that the antisocial views themselves as prey rather than predator. Have mercy for the prey; the predator wants no such thing.
My query-handler and copyeditor has resigned to pursue other projects after two years of incredibly dedicated work for my book, A Tale of Two Masks. The book would not be anywhere as strong as it is without the heart and soul that she put in during the copyediting and revision processes as well as the feedback loop we shared while we were hunting agents to try and get it properly published. She was also instrumental in holding me to a consistent tone, which resulted in a much stronger and more biting work than I could have produced on my own.
If you have read the book, please share in my thanks for all the work that was done behind the scenes to make it something to be proud of, and something to learn from.
I will never forget her efforts and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors, hoping that their success matches the success found here.
Neurotypicals want to believe that all the evil in the world is attributable to “bad people” and that they themselves are immune from those pressures that beget antisocial deeds. We know this to be false as many neurotypicals commit great atrocities in the name of religion, passion, “duty,” or any number of other things. However, we must remember that the evil of action is not entirely dissimilar from the evil of inaction. If evil is loosely defined by definitions that include the acts of harm to others or the absence of compassion and mercy, then it becomes even harder for the neurotypical to claim that they are entirely dissimilar from those on the antisocial spectrum. The key difference is that we, particularly those that are psychopaths, do not make any claim to be righteous whereas they (the neurotypical) do.
My blood always boils when I hear claims that psychopaths are guaranteed to be soul-sucking monsters that contribute nothing to society. If psychopathy is reflective of neurophysiology in which those structures that control affective empathy and impulse control (for example) are deficient, then we must realize that not everyone with those physiological profiles are unchecked with their antisocial behavior. While I tend to be of the opinion that the antisocial facet is important to confirming psychopathy – a disorder – I also realize that the underpinnings of the condition lie in many that are not antisocial. So we are left with two counterexamples to the claim that psychopathy is always a disease on society. First, there are those that lack empathy that have found ways to avoid overtly antisocial behavior. Second, the past need not dictate the future so those that meet the diagnostic criteria for the disorder are capable of making changes if they so wish.
I’m in a period of my life in which I have many more questions than answers. Eternally skeptic, I am probably a bit too obsessive in my search for “truth” when it comes to what resides between my ears. The topics of interpersonal relationships, “love”, and my role in these endeavors have been focal points as of late. At one point I truly did believe that the psychopath could not have any investment or “buy in” to any sort of interpersonal relationship. This seemed to be confirmed by my own willingness to pot my plants and leave them in the window until they died, essentially neglecting human interpersonal relationships. As of late, I’ve begun to question the unilateral nature of this assertion. I’m starting to think that the answer to whether psychopaths can invest themselves in interpersonal relationships is “kind of, sort of, depending on the circumstances, maybe.”
Even as my overtly antisocial behavior continues to wane, there are facets of the psychopathic condition that will remain lifelong regardless of the level of mellowing and restraint that overtakes me. Most notably, my shallow affect and lack of affective empathy will remain until the day that I die. This has proved challenging in my interactions with neurotypicals, my word of endearment for those that are not psychopathic. I live with a neurotypical housemate and he often challenges my stamina with long-winded tales of accomplishment and failure. It takes all of my energy to remain engaged in the conversation and I have to fake the laughter and the smiles that others find automatic in conversations with good friends. I do value him; I just do this in a way that causes most neurotypicals discomfort. There is little emotion behind my stoic face and even less empathy for those joys and tribulations that others face. This is merely the way that I experience the human condition.