I enjoy every moment of it.
I’m high on myself.
This post is copied from my website, The Slytherin’s Journey formerly called “The Hero’s Journey” but I decided I didn’t want to be a hero, I leave that to the Gryffinders (Harry Potter reference).
Psychopathy is possibly the only “personality disorder” that those affected don’t want to be cured of. Psychopathy isn’t painful or unpleasant. On the contrary, unpleasant feelings that normal people are subject to don’t affect psychopaths. These include guilt, shame, anxiety or fear. I should go into therapy in order to have those feelings restored? I think not. Psychologists and psychiatrists seem to take that personally. They act offended and withhold diagnostic services to those (like myself) who decline to be “cured.” Not that anyone has ever found a cure. As Dr. Michael Stone, a world-leading specialist in psychopathy, said in Psychopath Night, “Psychopathy is like diamonds. It’s forever.”
Neuroscientists have found differences in the brains of psychopaths from those of “normal” subjects. The amygdala and frontal cortex don’t respond the way most people’s brains respond to stimuli particularly of people suffering and in distress. Parts of the brain that normally light up stay dark in the brains of psychopaths. This explains the lack of “empathy” which most people experience and the psychopath does not. As M.E. Thomas (a pen name for the author of “Confessions of a Sociopath”) says, “…the oddity that I consider empathy to be. This is somebody who claims to be feeling what other people are feeling and isn’t that weird?” Professor Dutton, not, himself, a psychopath, believes psychopathy confers considerable advantages to those who “have” it. “Psychopaths are optimists. They’re positive… They have a remorseless ability to focus on what they can get out of a situation, often to the expense of safety, danger, other people’s feelings, anything, even their own pain.” It is this very trait that has given psychopaths such bad press. Dr. James Fallon, a neuroscientist who discovered psychopathy in his own brain scans once took his brother into a part of Africa where ebola and many fierce predators were known to exist. He didn’t tell his brother about the ebola because he wanted him to come along but he considered it a wonderful adventure. Years later, his brother found out what they had risked. “It was a great experience,” he told James , “but I can’t forgive you for bringing me to that place.” Dr. Kevin Dutton, professor of psychology at Oxford, had some friends arrange a special treat. They manipulated his amygdala in such a way that he was able to experience psychopathy.
It isn’t long before I start to notice a fuzzier, more pervasive, more existential difference. Prior to the experiment, I’d been curious about the timescale, how long it would take me to begin to feel the rush. Now I had the answer: about ten to fifteen minutes. The same amount of time, I guess, that it would take most people to get a buzz out of a beer or a glass of wine.
The effects aren’t entirely dissimilar. An easy, airy confidence. A transcendental loosening of inhibition. The inchoate stirrings of a subjective moral swagger: the encroaching, and somehow strangely spiritual, realization that hell, who gives a shit, anyway?
There is, however, one notable exception. One glaring unmistakable difference between this and the effects of alcohol. The lack of attendant sluggishness. The preservation—in fact, I’d even say enhancement—of attentional acuity and sharpness. An insuperable feeling of heightened, polished awareness. Sure, my conscience certainly feels like it’s been spiked with moral Rohypnol, my anxieties drowned with a half dozen shots of transcranial magnetic Jack Daniel’s. But, at the same time, my whole way of being feels like it’s been sumptuously spring-cleaned with light. My soul, or whatever you want to call it, immersed in a spiritual dishwasher.
So this, I think to myself, is how it feels to be a psychopath. To see through Gary Gilmore’s eyes, To cruise through life knowing that no matter what you say or do, guilt, remorse, shame, pity, fear—all those familiar, everyday warning signals that might normally light up on your psychological dashboard—no longer trouble you.
Another advantage, is a natural charisma most of us have. I think it’s a biproduct of our joyousness. People who enjoy life are fun to be with. I think it is the childlike acceptance of the moment that does it. According to Dr. Robert Hare, we have “superficial charm.” What would “deep charm” be like? I think charm is superficial by it’s very nature. But Hare adds the word “superficial” to take away anything complimentary in his description. Too bad. He seems like a nice person, at least to empaths.
A trait of psychopathy that I really enjoy is grandiosity. It feels so great, like a warm cloud that lifts us above the ordinary that we can float on; a cloud of euphoria.
I have not mentioned crime as yet. As I said in my essay, Free to Chose, psychopaths don’t have to chose crime. We have the option and can do anything heinous with no repercussions from the conscience we don’t have. But an option is not a compulsion. Sure, I have broken the rules of society, sometimes violating the law and sometimes just the norms. But I’ve managed to avoid the nasty consequences “misbehavior” can cause.
No, dear doctors and moralists. I will not be changing what works for me. Love me or hate me. I wave to you from my cloud of euphoria.
To the Haters
I wrote the comment on someone’s blog that had a revolting number of hostile comments after it, all signed “anonymous” and all denying the blogger is a “real” psychopath:
I notice most of the hostile comments here are labeled “anonymous.” Seems like you haters can dish it out but not take it. I also find it interesting that many people like to deny the psychopathy of anyone who proclaims him/herself as a psychopath even when they’ve been diagnosed. None of these anonymous nay sayers are able to claim professional credentials but still seem to think they are more qualified than a professional to contradict his/her professional opinion. At the same time, people are highly prone to call people “psychopaths” when they have done something the hater doesn’t like.
I challenge every anonymous poster to identify him/herself or shut the fuck up.
- What Are Psychopaths For? A brilliant speech analyzing psychopathy as an intellectual construct with a look at the psychopath as a scapegoat for society’s Jungian shadow.
- The Cluster B stigma and the nature of evil. I look around and notice a lot of people who are a little to comfortable with the label of “victim.” I think considering oneself a victim erases all guilt and fault because it is the other guy who is really “evil.”
- What’s your opinion on psychopaths. A neurotypical friend of the author gives a balanced answer to that question.
- How a Psychopath Views You
- Psych Forums. My link is specifically to personality disorders. They have other things there but this is my area of interest.
- Do Psychopaths Know They Are Psychopaths? Part of a fascinating blog I was turned on to by my friend, Suzanne, from Facebook
- Lucky Otter’s Haven, an Aspie’s musings about narcissistic and borderline personality disorder. Lucky Otter has added her own thoughts to the blog, Psychopathic Writings.
- Narcissist or Psychopath…Both are human predators. Another spot-on critique of the DSM for removing psychopathy from their ever growing, politically influenced tomb. She puts her finger on the problem by indicting these experts for looking only at behavior and not at the person behind the behavior. Sam Vaknin thought the DSM V might combine psychopathy and narcissism into one disorder. Instead, they continued to discard psychopathy for the much less meaningful “antisocial personality disorder.” Well, it’s their choice to make psychology increasingly less relevant.
- Psychopathic Writings. The blog from which the above article was extracted.
- A Psychopath’s Take on Morality. Funny this appears on a website called “nopsychos” but I found it on Psychopathic Press. I see ethics as a means whereby people are able to form a somewhat stable and comfortable society based on mutual cooperation. Some of us opt out without bothering to let the rest of society know that, of course.
- A Psychopath and a Scholar, Memoirs of a Misfit
- 10 Careers With the Most Psychopaths, Alternet, Kali Holloway
- Can a Psychopath Learn to Feel Your Pain? Jill Suttie interviews James Fallon.
- Dr. James Fallon Makes Being a Psychopath Look Like Fun
- I, Psychopath, Sam Vaknin.
- Diary of a Narcissist. Sam Vaknin’s Journal
- Kevin Dutton is an expert who holds a positive opinion about psychopaths.
- Young Lawyer Reveals ‘Deep Inside Me There’s A Serial Killer Lurking’. Interview by Dutton, the psychopath’s best friend.
- Psychopathic Writings Is there such a thing as a spare time psychopath? Probably not, so I guess I’m a professional one. In the last decade or so researchers and experts have published much new knowledge about psychopaths and psychopathy for the public to learn more about this 1% minority of the world. I think some insider information has been missing from the picture and this is why I have decided to contribute with some of the knowledge that only someone who lives with the condition can provide.
- 10 Careers With the Most Psychopaths by Kali Holloway of Alternet
- Psychopathy Can Be Fun
- James Fallon, a neuroscientist who discovered he is a psychopath.
- Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas
- Without Conscience, Robert Hare, considered an expert on psychopathy. His checklist is a frequently used diagnostic tool. Unfortunately, the tool is used most frequently in prison. If someone scores high on the psychopathy spectrum, he is denied parole.
- James Fallon discussing psychopathy on Insight.
- From Internet Troll to Psychopathy Expert: The con-artistry of Thomas Sheridan. This man seems to suffer acute paranoia, delusional thinking and histrionics.
- Can a Test Really Tell Who’s a Psychopath?
- The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil by Camille Paglia. This article was snipped from a much more complex page on the Time website. Paglia is the prime maverick of the women’s movement.
- Psychopath Night, Channel 4 UK
- Psychopath vs. Antisocial Personality Disorder and Sociopathy
- Francis Dolarhyde, the Red Dragon
- Sociopath World, M.E.
- Grandiose is my Indian Name
- Ich leide nicht an Psychopathie, sondern genieße Sekunde—Perspecteva German translation of this article.