I hadn’t planned to write yet another post about how we are demonized but this post by Donna Anderson of Lovefraud pisses me off to the point of once more putting virtual pen to virtual paper and sounding off. The article was called A sociopath explains how she loves. The article quotes two emails from a self-identified sociopath who explained what love means to her. Her email is courteous and complimentary to Donna and her website. And yet, Donna’s reaction totally lacks the willingness to meet the author of the email even part way. She concludes “sociopaths may not always be lying when they say, ‘I love you.’ Sociopaths may think they do love you. They simply don’t know what the word means.” Good grief! How condescending! We don’t know what the word “love” means although Donna certainly implies that she, unlike us ‘paths, does know. Maybe nobody ever explained to Donna that there are many forms of love. No. There is only one kind that counts with her. From her lips to god’s ears, here is the straight dope:
Three parts to love
What exactly is love? Poets, playwrights and songwriters over the ages have struggled to describe the sensation of falling in love, and the pain of losing love. No matter how beautiful the language, words are often inadequate. We just know love when we feel it.
Scientists have also tried to explain love. Philip R. Shaver and Mario Mikulincer wrote a paper called A Behavioral Systems Approach to Romantic Love Relationships: Attachment, Caregiving, and Sex. Their explanation of love is useful for us because it illustrates why sociopaths can appear to be in love, when they really aren’t.
Shaver and Mikulincer say there are three distinct components to romantic love:
- Attachment you want to be around and spend time with the person you love.
- Sex you want to have physical relations with the person you love.
- Caregiving you want to take care of the person you love. You are concerned about his or her health, wellbeing and growth.
Real love has all three of these components. Sociopath, however, only experience two of them.
The “component” of love we are deficient in, it turns out, is the third: caregiving. Our overtures of love are fraudulent because “sociopaths are not capable of true caregiving.” She explains why she didn’t bother to show the simple courtesy of replying to the sociopath‘s (please note, she is never even identified with a name) email. “I never replied to author of the above email there is no point in engaging a sociopath.” Is this an example of how loving, how caring, the empathic folks are compared to us nasty ‘paths? Not that it is they who are deficient. It’s because we are such terrible people, we don’t deserve acknowledgement. (Thanks for the warning, Donna. I’ll never try to communicate with you.)
But the nameless sociopath didn’t give up so easily. Since she never received the courtesy of a response from Donna, she emailed her again. She wrote…
Do you think that just because I’m different from you that I deserve to be ignored? It isn’t my fault that I was born a certain way. You could have just as easily been born a psycho. Would you ignore normal people because you think you’re better than them? I don’t. I know that both types of people—and we are both people, I hope you aren’t so deep in your own world as to think we aren’t—have their merits, strengths, weaknesses, and perspectives that are worth considering. Don’t you agree?
Charming Donna replied, “Actually I don’t agree. Yes, it’s sad that sociopaths are born with the genetics for the disorder, and often grow up in difficult, even abusive, environments. But when someone says she’s a sociopath, and sounds like a sociopath, I have a choice on how to respond. I’ll play it safe and stay away.” She is “playing it safe.” One can almost feel sorry for such a fainthearted soul. I understand the concept and reasoning of going “no contact.” When a relationship has become unproductive; when there is more pain than joy to be had, I see the point of no contact. But going no contact with someone just because s/he is a sociopath strikes me as mean-spirited, not to mention narcissistic. She is so much better than we are. She knows what love is but we don’t. La dee da, la la… This from a woman who is so caring and empathic that she markets advice to our “victims” rather than simply giving them her pearls of wisdom.