I think I'm a little bit psychopath.
I didn't notice before, but I actually could have known for a long time... The last hint was a 5 minutes clip on youtube
, that summarized 10 psychopathic traits and pointed out that these are not even so rare as people often want to believe. I got goosebumps while watching it, because I felt addressed by every single one
of the points mentioned. It somehow made me sad, because I still want to be a good person - at least not a bad one - but it also gave me a weird sense of belonging. And I was happy, because I better understood what my Mom was so damn frustrated about some months ago and probably still.
I have a coldness in me. I do understand emotion and I'm actually pretty good at analyzing and explaining it, but I don't automatically feel the emotion of people surrounding me. It always requires me to put myself in the position of the other one on purpose, then I can get a glimpse of what they might feel. There is a certain distance, which protects me from the feelings of others and if I don't put in some extra effort it doesn't go away.
That makes me a pretty good counselor for depressed friends, because I can handle their desperation. Even if they really have every reason to be depressed and even I cannot find anything positive in their current situation, I can still be there for them and just endure the sadness. But it also makes me pretty insensitive at times, without me even realizing. I can find humor in another one's death wish or anxiety and if I misjudge the situation I may make inappropriate comments, which I regret later on.
Maybe that's also what makes me crave intense emotion so much, that I became an expert of indulging myself in even the slightest feeling of love. I can make myself high on appreciation - especially when expressed physically - and it took me years to seperate this drug perspective from true love. At least I was able to see the difference now...
Seriously, I think I was only able to not notice my slightly psychopath nature, because I learned psychology since childhood and because I grew up in a family that valued both rational thinking and charisma.
Apparently psychopaths take great care that others perceive them as best as possible, and - who would've thought - I'm very good at that. I'm good at lying and pretending without anybody noticing and just recently decided, that that's not the way I want to behave. The big epiphany that lead me to this: It's not okay just because nobody notices. Being honest is a quality in itself and it's okay if not everybody likes me. Sounds trivial to you? Well then you're probably much more normal than me...
I don't know, but I have the impression, that all my behavior prior to last September was based on me wanting to be loved. I found so many different reasons and arguments but basically everything I did boiled down to this. All my inconsistencies can be explained by that being my main driving force. That's why I was watching out so much not to offend anyone, not to say the 'wrong' things - even though I sometimes knew that they were true - and to not be too different. I always wanted to fit in - it's just that I wanted to fit in with the ones that were different. I succumbed and adapted to goth arrogance and punk dresscode, to politically correct speech patterns, as well as psytrance drug bragging. And it was never completely inhonest; I just assimilated so much, that my whole patterns of thinking and perceiving shifted depending on who I was with and who I subconsciously wanted to impress. It didn't change from one day to the other though, this always was a subtle process of me actually weighing different perspectives and arguments against each other and then finding reasons why the ones of my current peer group were best. I became a master of self-deception but at the same time learned understanding and appreciating different world views - just not at the same time. And I didn't even understand what was happening.
But still, I don't think this quite rational perspective I seem to have is bad per se. It's just different, apparently, and the funny thing is, that I'm still prone to emotional, or rather impulsive, decisions - which is yet another characteristic of psychopaths...
In retrospective I can say that my impulsive actions have always been aimed at pleasure and/or status. I justified them with emotion, but it always was a choice. I guess that's also why I like alcohol so much: It's simply the best excuse to behave this way. And it weakens the boundaries I learned to respect because of societal convention. Me myself I don't know any boundaries. I need given constructs of acceptability and an elaborate infrastructure of logical rules to follow. Normally I keep myself in control by bringing myself in situations of peer pressure. If I say that I'll take care of a task for example, I'll make sure to hit the deadline, because I don't want to disappoint the people depending on me. Without a deadline though nothing would happen probably. If it was just about myself I'd only be enjoying life to the fullest every single day...
The cynical thing about this is just that 'enjoying life' includes a certain sense of purpose. I need people to remind me of that. I need other people pursuing goals I support to get active myself. But my activity is mostly due to me wanting to impress these people I look up to, that's something I just recently realized. It's not really flattering, but I'm a follower. I don't have big dreams of my own, at least not concrete ones. Still, when I find a dream worth following I can - and will - take on a strong role in realizing it. Is that paradox? Possibly...
So, what does all this boil down to?
1. I'm a poikilotherm, always adapting to the surroundings.
2. I want to be loved at all costs. And as intensely as possible that is.
3. I react mostly (only?) to direct social stimuli.
4. I come to understand myself more and more and I'm pretty proud of that...
I don't think I'm a bad person. But I also don't think that I'm a good person. That's okay though, I do what I can and I always try to do justice to the people dear to me. Self-reflection is satisfying and I think I do make a lot of progress. So the biggest insight probably is this:
5. Being slightly psychopath is not bad.
It's just important to know, that most people are warmer than I am. They are more vulnerable and less rationally controlled probably and I shouldn't judge them for either of these attributes. In contrast I'm easily confused morally and sometimes don't know what 'truth' to hold on to. And even if I still see this as an asset rather than as a weakness, because it keeps me being open to the endless possibilities to structure intersocial behaviors, I need to keep in mind that this flexibility comes at a price.
Oh and one more thing, that is pretty important:
6. This is no binary distinction. (But what actually is?!)
I think I have a predisposition to psychopathic behavior, but in the end it all comes down to how I handle it. I never abused animals and I never bullied people, because I was taught that these actions are unexcusable. If I hadn't learned that I maybe would have had fun doing it, but since my life went differently, I just never saw the benefit of dominating beings, that cannot defend themselves against me. Likewise, I'm not a pathological liar (anymore), because I learned that it's one of the most horrifying feelings to realize that a whole construct of lies collapses, so I avoided building those since over a decade ago. I am, after all, the master of my own existence and thus I can choose which impulse I follow and which I fight.
And so do you.