Inside the Mind of a Drug-Addled Sociopath
Hi there! I hope y’all enjoyed the little spirituality vacation we all just went on. I know I sure did. Now that I got some options in all my archives, I’m switchin’ gears back into my default mode and goin’ after mental health and addiction de-stigmatization.
The first thing I wanna do in this vein is clear up some stuff about Antisocial Personality Disorder (Psychopathy/Sociopathy) that got left out of the other two essays. Honestly, this is gonna be the most sterile, clinical look at the disorder of the three essays and I’m hoping it’ll be the last time I need to come back to this subject. Keep in mind this is all informed by self-research and introspection. A psychologist diagnosed my ASPD in 2015, and my counselor’s given me some tips and techniques to help deal with managing the disorder, as well as made some observations relating to comorbid traits. As far as how it all developed and what brought me to reform, I’m working off personal experience.
Rather than viewing this as a description of everybody diagnosed with ASPD, look at this as one potential archetype out of many, and view my accounts of formation as unique to me. I don’t know how other people’s ASPD functions internally or how it developed, and the only other person I know who has the disorder behaves very differently from me in a lot of ways, which to me suggests there’s some key differences in how we think even if the core of the disorder has us seeing eye-to-eye more than we do the rest of the world.
The thing about ASPD is most people who have it don’t ever accept the diagnosis, and those who do accept it don’t look at it as a disorder. The fact that I’ve accepted the diagnosis, committed to reform, and then stuck to that commitment for an extended period makes me extremely rare. I also had some extreme circumstances that made it possible, specifically Pop’s suicide.
I’ve been doing a lot of online research, and I’ve discovered that I was correct in my assumption that ASPD is a spectrum disorder and many people fall somewhere on the spectrum without having the disorder. In fact, all personality disorders are essentially one massive disorder, “General Personality Disorder/Personality Disorder NOS”, and if you have a specified personality disorder you fall on the spectrum for all of them in some way. When you fall high enough on the spectrum for more than one personality disorder, the other personality disorders aren’t diagnosed separately, but viewed as traits applied to the main disorder.
In this sense, I actually have three personality disorders: Antisocial PD, Narcissistic PD, and Histrionic PD. I *think* this would be classified as “Antisocial Personality Disorder w/ Histrionic and Narcissistic features” but I'm not a doctor. For clarity, here’s the Wikipedia definitions of all three:
“Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD or APD) is a personality disorder characterized by a long term pattern of disregard for, or violation of, the rights of others. A low moral sense or conscience is often apparent, as well as a history of crime, legal problems, or impulsive and aggressive behavior.”
I wanna note that this personality disorder stems from us rejecting of social constructs. We disregard and/or knowingly violate the rights of others because we don't see the social constructs behind those rights as valid. I personally reject social constructs because they're an illogical product of groupthink. I have a friend who also has ASPD and his rejection of social constructs is based on the same logic. I can't speak for all people with ASPD, though.
“Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive attention-seeking emotions, usually beginning in early adulthood, including inappropriately seductive behavior and an excessive need for approval. Histrionic people are lively, dramatic, vivacious, enthusiastic, and flirtatious.”
“Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder with a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. Those affected often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or on their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of social situations.”
Now, I’m not gonna list all the criteria for all three personality disorders, but I just double checked the DSM-V to be sure, and I do meet the criteria for diagnosis for all three of these disorders, as well as the criteria for general PD.
*Don’t self diagnose. Self-diagnosis by a layman who lacks true understanding of the conditions in question along with conditions that have similar symptomatology is almost certainly going to be incorrect in some way*
What I just did doesn’t qualify as self-diagnosis. Even though I used the DSM in order to verify assertions about myself, a psychologist diagnosed me with ASPD properly in a hospital setting, and my counselor has made observations relating to comorbidities. I looked at the DSM to better understand things professionals have already told me. I didn’t make claims about myself without prior professional input.
Anyway, the reason my particular personality disorder gets classified as “Antisocial” first and foremost is ‘cause that’s the disorder that most accurately describes my baseline behaviors, and I meet every single criteria for diagnosis. I meet enough of the criteria for Narcissistic and Histrionic PDs to warrant a diagnosis as well. However, there’s a lot of overlap with ASPD’s criteria, I don’t fit every single criteria for them the way I do with ASPD, and when ASPD behaviors come into conflict with one of the comorbidities, the antisocial behavior always takes precedence.
Now, the pioneering mind behind classifying most of these personality disorders was a dude named Theodore Millon. He suggests subtypes for each personality disorder based on it’s comorbid traits that I wanna share with you. These aren’t officially a part of the DSM or the ICD, but they definitely do describe me very accurately:
Reputation-defending Antisocial (ASPD w/ narcissistic features): Needs to be thought of as infallible, unbreakable, indomitable, formidable, inviolable; intransigent when status is questioned; overreactive to slights.
Risk-taking Antisocial (ASPD w/ histrionic features): Dauntless, venturesome, intrepid, bold, audacious, daring; reckless, foolhardy, heedless; unfazed by hazard; pursues perilous ventures.
Both of those subtypes describe me perfectly. However, the subtypes of the other two PDs when combined with antisocial also describe me extremely well:
Disingenuous Histrionic (HPD w/ antisocial features): Underhanded, double-dealing, scheming, contriving, plotting, crafty, false-hearted; egocentric, insincere, deceitful, calculating, guileful.
Unprincipled Narcissist (NPD w/ antisocial features): Deficient conscience; unscrupulous, amoral, disloyal, fraudulent, deceptive, arrogant, exploitive; a con artist and charlatan; dominating, contemptuous, vindictive.
These are my core personality traits. All my behaviors, even ones that appear positive on the surface, actually fit one or more of those descriptors. Whenever you see me doing something that seems outwardly positive which makes me appear like there’s some redeemable quality in me, assume it’s for ultimately corrupt, reputation building, narcissistic and manipulative reasons.
Yes, even that last sentence that superficially appears honest and humbling fits that description. I’m aware of how that honesty appears in the minds of others, and even though I’m telling the truth, I’m doing it for dishonest reasons centered on bolstering the “humble spiritual dude” reputation I aim for. Really that’s just a character that’s in no way representative of who I am internally. Paradoxically, it's who I wish I was and who I work towards becoming. That's what I meant in last week's essay when I said “The Demon King” and “The Grand Shaman” are two dudes who live in my head.
While we’re here chillin’ at the starting gate, I think now’s a great time to explain where the whole “Psycho-killer cannibal torturer” understanding of “Psychopath/Sociopath” comes from. Another comorbidity that can come with Antisocial Personality Disorder is sadism. Now, sadistic personality disorder is no longer an official diagnosis, however sadistic traits are often found comorbid with antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. “Sadism” is the quality that leads someone to derive pleasure from causing pain and humiliation to others. This sadism comorbidity combines with Paranoid PD to form:
Malevolent antisocial (ASPD w/ Paranoid and Sadistic features) Belligerent, mordant, rancorous, vicious, sadistic, malignant, brutal, resentful; anticipates betrayal and punishment; desires revenge; truculent, callous, fearless; guiltless
Now, like I said earlier, once you have general personality disorder, you posses some traits of all personality disorders. In regard to this subtype “Anticipates betrayal and punishment” is very prominent in me, as are fearless, callous, and guiltless. However, I’m not resentful, malignant, belligerent, etc. The "darker" traits that lead this particular subset of Antisocial to fall into that Ted Bundy stereotype of sociopathy people have in their heads aren't really driving factors of my particular form of sociopathy.
I will say that there’s aspects of my personality that are similar to sadism, but they’re more domineering. Rather than getting off on hurting others, I get off on having mental control over people and getting them to worship me. So many people have called this page a great endeavor and given me so much praise for making such a brave stand without realizing I do a lot of this for really disingenuous, manipulative reasons. That praise is actually toxic for me, and reinforces my narcissistic traits.
In reality, it’s a calculated effort by a master manipulator and character actor to craft the ultimate holier-than-thou image that so I can blow down on people in the most condescending fauxwoke manner possible and act enlightened. I'm fairly authentic and honest but there’s definitely something my revisionist memory has shown me which works towards my desired image that's been inserted in my memoirs without me knowing. I’m glad people enjoy my writing as much as I enjoy writing it, and it’s nice being able to be honest. Don’t treat me like I’m above or better than though. I aim to be equal. I’ll get to that later.
Okay, now that we’ve got the fact that I’m a self-absorbed, attention seeking human trash can out of the way, let’s move on to how I became this fucked up ball of self-worshipping, thieving, pathologically manipulative abusiveness.
There’s a lot of discussion about what causes these personality disorders. First and foremost, it’s proven that genetics create a predisposition for this shit.
Looking back, I can see how there were definitely signs from the start. Cruelty to animals is one of the most cited early warning signs, and I definitely had a specific behavior as a child that fits the bill. I didn’t hurt kittens or puppies. I actually had a cat that I loved dearly who used to follow me to the bus stop, knew when I got home and waited there for me everyday, and slept in my bed with me.
The cruelty to animals came out in the form of making ants fight to the death. I’d grab a the biggest ant I could find from one colony, *very carefully* bring him over to another colony where I again grabbed the biggest fucker in sight, and then gently touched their heads together to let them feel each other out. Once they got signals indicating a rival colony was on the attack, they'd curl up into a ball and roll around ripping each others limbs off until one eventually decapitated the other. The winner was always missing a few limbs and/or his feelers; obviously going on living that way was no sort of life he’d wanna lead, so I always did the benevolent thing and mercy killed him too.
(Ain’t I just a sweetheart?)
The other boys my age loved the shit, and always asked me to make ants fight once they’d seen me do it a couple times. We’d place bets, look for the colonies with the biggest ants, and compete with each other to see who could pick the best champions. There was a few weird teachers at school we’d have to be careful of, though. For some reason, they’d always break it up and lecture me about some strange concept they called “The sanctity of life” and tell me that making living creatures fight to the death for my amusement was unspeakably cruel. I’d tell them that compared to an insect I was essentially a god, so I was allowed to do whatever I wanted with them to amuse myself. For some reason, that explanation just made the weirdos even angrier. I could never get them to understand that ants were lesser creatures. Fuggin’ strange folks, huh?
(I dunno how such illogical people got into teaching positions, honestly)
There’s also some physiological correlations, though from what I can tell the correlations haven’t been empirically proven causal and aren’t present in all cases of general PD. Head trauma is among these correlations, and I definitely suffered an extremely severe head trauma in a car accident at the age of nine that’s been talked about in two of my other essays already.
Those factors almost undoubtedly created a strong predisposition, but I can also pinpoint certain events and patterns in how I was treated by people as a child that led to all the many facets of my personality disorder developing.
First up, the narcissism came from how the education system treated me, and from how easily I outshined the other kids around me in class. Throughout all of elementary school there was only one other kid that functioned on my level in the entire school: Jessica Billiard. In the end, she usually ended up proving herself the better of the two of us, but I always explained it away by saying she also worked a lot harder than I did. I didn’t understand that fact was what proved she was smarter than me rather than refuting the point the way I thought it did back then.
(Yes, I realize now that thinking is pure fucktardation. The narcissism took root early)
This next level intelligence that had me breezing through any work they put in front of me also had all the other kids comin’ to me for help with homework and cheating off my tests. In addition to that attention from my classmates, I had adults showering me with constant praise and telling me that when I grew up the world would be my oyster.
Apparently, I’m also not half bad looking either. Once I got to an age where dating was a thing, girls would get crushes on me, people would tell me how handsome I was, and obsession with my looks became a core part of my self-image in honor of my ideological patron, Narcissus.
That attention from girls for my looks, classmates looking at me in awe for answering things I saw as simple, and adults showering me with praise for my high potential also made me fiend for the spotlight. I developed a neurotic obsession with being the center of attention at all times, and still carry that behavior to this day.
(Are the motivations behind this site becoming apparent yet?)
So there’s the two comorbidities. The antisocial has a much longer story with far more highly influential events combined with the same sort of constant input that made those two aspects of my personality develop.
The constant inputs came from a few places. The most prominent one was my father. Pops was a great man, don’t get me wrong. He was far better than I am for sure. However, he had a wild temper and a blatant disregard for rules and social expectations. He used to explode on people at the drop of a hat and use physical intimidation along with verbal assaults to get his demands met. He was also conniving as all hell. One time we were at the movie theatre and he found a shard of plastic that had broken off something on the ground. He goes, “Check it out, it’s our lucky day!”
(‘Cause of worthless plastic Pops? What’re you up to, you sly dog?)
What the old trickster did was demand to see the theatre’s manager over the piece of the popcorn machine that broke off into his bucket of buttery snacks and almost choked him to death. The manager was really understanding, of course. The manager was sorry for the safety hazard his unattentive staff created, and was relieved that everything resolved without serious injury. As a gesture of goodwill, the manager gave Papadukes vouchers good for tickets to any movie we wanted for my brothers, himself and I.
(You crafty fucker. You’re a goddamn genius!)
I can’t remember anything Mom did in that vein, but she does sometimes have an emotionally charged element involved in how she convinces others to go along with her point-of-view. That likely contributed to how emotionally manipulative I became. She’s also got a pretty strong contribution through another event that I’ll get to in a second.
The next persistent environmental factor was the kids at school and in the neighborhood, along with the adult authority figures who weren’t my parents.
I lived in a majority black, section 8 townhouse complex until I was 16 years old, and I got bullied a lot for being white. I remember when I was really young (5-6~ish) I had a best friend named DeJuan. I only ever went into DeJuan’s house once, and I wasn’t there for very long before DeJuan got into trouble for the weirdest thing. Apparently, he wasn’t supposed to bring people with white t-shirts into his house, ‘cause his mom flipped her shit immediately when she saw what I was wearing and told DeJuan to “Get that whitey out of my house right now!”
(I seriously thought it was my shirt she was talking about at the time)
After that, we had to play somewhere that DeJuan’s mom couldn’t see, and if she was ever looking I had to let DeJuan pretend to beat me up.
This sort of thing was a recurring theme in my childhood, and I caught a lot of shit for being white. When it came time to teach us about MLK in elementary school, that treatment led to some confusion for me. The book said something like this: "White people were prejudiced against black people, and prejudice is bad. MLK fought against prejudice so Black people could be treated fairly by White people." Up until that day, I thought the kids in my neighborhood were mad about t-shirts I wore. At the age of six I didn't even know people could be different races.
I told my teacher that my book was misprinted and it was the black people who were "bad". My teacher was black, and thought that I'd been taught that black people were bad by my parents. I was sent to the guidance counselor, and when I explained what I meant it I was told something to the effect of, "Black people can't be prejudiced." I knew for a fact this was untrue, and tried raising the fact that I was getting bullied for being white a few more times after this day before giving up.
I learned quickly that the system didn’t give a fuck about reality; society’s understanding was an immutable truth, regardless of how much my personal experience conflicted with it. I stopped going to adults at school for help, and tryin’ to get my parents to intervene just made it worse.
I’ll be honest, I spent the first half of my life bitter and vengeful towards black people ‘cause of this. Eventually I learned better, and today I understand what happened but in my teens I was an unapologetic racist. What I didn’t understand back then is that ultimately, white privilege created this bizarro environment where society’s understanding was opposite from my experience. When I was a kid though, that wasn’t clear to me and the double-standard formed the foundation for my eventual rejection of groupthink.
Then there were things I was taught from a very young age about how society functioned that turned out to be less than accurate:
For context, when I was kid we had a joke we'd always tell each other: “Today’s Opposite Day! Everyone means the opposite of what they say!” We'd tell each other this joke all the time, and it essentially worked out so that everyday was Opposite Day. At first I took it to be a joke, but because of the lessons I learned from these stories, my young mind eventually began to take it literally.
One time, when I was 6 or 7~ish, a neighborhood kid came up to me and told me what an awesome bike I had. I mean, dude was tellin’ the facts like they were, so kudos to him. After the two of us talked for a minute, he asked if he could borrow my dope ass bike to go to his house and get his pogs so he could show me the really cool slammer he had, and we could play a couple games. (Oh, 90’s)
Now, first of all pogs were the shit, and he had one of the really awesome holographic slammers with the 3d picture on it; of course I wanted to see that slick ass shit. Besides, the dude needed my charity and Jesus said love thy neighbor. What possible reason could I have to tell my new friend “No” after such an innocent request? There just isn’t one. Sharing is caring
He hopped on my super sweet Huffy, thanked me, and told me to wait right there ‘cause he’d be back in 10 minutes, then headed of to get his pogs and his sweet holographic slammer. I think he got lost, because he said he'd only be about 10 minutes and that was 25 years ago. I dunno, I’m sure he’ll track me down and get my bike back to me someday.
(I hope he’s not too upset that I don’t have my pogs anymore, though…)
That story and similar ones taught me all the lessons drilled into me about sharing, being honest, being nice to strangers, and making new friends at Sunday school and on posters in class was all BS.
In my neighborhood, there was only two other white boys my age: Two brothers named JB and Johnny. Johnny was my age; JB was a year older. The fact that we were the only white dudes meant that we were best friends by default. These two were a strong influence on my descent into sociopathy, and I wanna tell you two stories to illustrate how.
One of the very first times we hung out, the brothers stole a few cans of beer from their stepdad and a cigarette from their Mom. I wasn’t a huge fan of the beer, but the cigarette felt great. I loved the way it made my heart race and my head spin. I never realized that was why grown-ups smoked ‘em. Dad always said he wished he could stop, and I just assumed they weren’t all that fun ‘cause of that. I told my two friends that I could get the things super easy ‘cause Papadukes kept a whole carton in the freezer at all times. Thus, my very first heist was plotted.
A little later, JB told me that in the 7-11's around our neighborhood the cigars we kept out in the aisles instead of behind the counter. He really got me interested in the cigars by saying they'd give me an even stronger buzz than the cigarettes we'd been smoking. Then he surmised that if the three of us played our cards right, two of us could block the clerk’s view while one of us put a box of cigars in their pocket then got out of the store. The three of us talked about it, and I was chosen as the guy who would pocket the cigars. Looking back, I can see the two had planned this all in advance. They were intending to have me take all the risk before they even told me about the cigars, and they pressured me into doing it even though I objected.
I remember my head felt hot and my adrenaline surged as soon as my hand touched the box of cigars. They were honey-flavored Dutchmasters, I still remember it clear as day. Once I had them in my pocket and started making a beeline for the exit, every step became sheer terror. There was no way I was getting out without dude stopping me; I just knew it. I got to the front door, put my hand on the glass, shoved it open as quickly as I could, and stepped outside just as fast. A wave of relief mixed with amusement at how easy it was washed over me. There was a literal high I got off all the endorphins from it. I was fuggin’ hooked. That feeling was easily my first addiction.
This is when my moral compass started to break. Up until this point I had been a goody two-shoes and thought if anyone ever did anything wrong the police instantly knew. Once I’d figured out exactly how easy it was to get away with this sort of thing, my mind started subconsciously seeing what other ways I could bend the rules placed on me by society. I started being emotionally manipulative, and the more that got me what I wanted the more the behavior became a pathological habit. The high I’d get from shoplifting started turning me into an adrenaline junkie, and my risk-seeking behavior began to form alongside all this.
At this point, “Opposite Day” thinking was still just a nebulous idea that floated in the back of my head, and I didn’t feel it applied to everything. I felt some stuff was inherently understood amongst all people to be a lie, but other things were still pillars of society that worked the way I was told. I still hadn’t come to see all humans as inherently corrupt and society as a total lie, which was ultimately the thing that signified my full transformation into sociopathy.
So like I said before, JB and Johnny were legit the only friends I had and I trusted them implicitly. One day during summer break, the three of us were going to the community pool where we’d spend our days and we stopped off at this kid Tony’s house to see if he wanted to come. Tony told us yes, and let us in to use the bathroom while he got his trunks on. While I was cutting through his Mom’s room to get to the toilet, I saw this beautiful gold necklace. Prior to this, I’d never seen actual high quality gold I don’t think. If what my Mom had was real gold, it certainly wasn’t as well polished and taken care of this one was. ‘This thing didn’t just reflect light; It fuggin’ glowed. At this point in my life, I still had some semblance of morality and so I didn’t even consider taking the thing. I headed outside to the living room and told Johnny he could go take a piss.
Later that day, at the pool, Johnny found a different gold necklace at the bottom of the deep end. (Crazy coincidence, huh?) Now, I knew the right thing to do was take it to the lost and found, but Johnny insisted on looking for the owned himself. As the day started winding down to a close, I noticed JB and Johnny still hadn’t found the original owner. I decided I’d do them a favor and took the necklace to the lost and found to save them some trouble. They were pretty upset about that, ‘cause they insisted they coulda found the real owner if they took it home and came back the next day. I was confident I’d done the right thing, though.
The next day while I was eating breakfast there was a frantic knocking on the door. From the sound of the knocking it sure seemed important, so I forgot my oatmeal and got there as quick as I could. I opened the door to see a very frantic Johnny huffing and puffing as if he’d run all the way to my house.
“Dude, you gotta give the necklace you stole back or Tony’s Mom is calling the police!” he said.
(lol… obviously he’s confused)
“Dude I’m not kidding. That necklace you stole… you gotta give it back quick or Tony’s Mom is gonna call the police!” my dear befuddled friend repeated.
“I didn’t steal any necklace man. She can go ahead and call the police,” I corrected.
“Oh my god! Dude, why are you lying? You showed it to me at the pool! What’d you do with it?” he said with urgency.
I insisted I hadn’t stolen anything, and the cops got called to investigate.
The two brothers told the officer I’d shown them the necklace at the pool. I told the cop they were lying and that Johnny was the one who’d shown me the necklace. (aka. The Truth) The cop said he didn’t know who to believe, but he intended to get to the bottom of it. Being the upstanding citizen I was, I did my best to assist the officer. I was sure he’d see I was telling the truth, ‘cause the brothers just kept lyin’ and tellin’ him “I dunno” whenever he asked them anything.
Eventually, the policeman stopped asking about who showed everyone what and started asking about what happened next. I told him that after the brothers couldn’t find the original owner, I turned the necklace into the lost and found. I added that I was sure it wasn’t the same necklace, ‘cause I knew I didn’t take anything from Tony’s and Johnny was no thief.
You see where this is going: The necklace Johnny had shown me was in fact the stolen necklace. After we’d recovered the missing jewelry, the cop started askin’ all three of us a bunch of questions about how the necklace coulda gotten to the pool without one of us stealin’ it. JB and Johnny just kept sayin’ “I dunno.” I kinda thought that not offering any assistance to the fine defender of justice and peace was silly, ‘cause it proved they were guilty. I did the right thing and proved my innocence by offering the cop all the help I could in solving the mystery. He kept asking for ways it could gotten from Tony’s house to the pool, and being the upstanding citizen I was, I used my superior intelligence to offer as many hypotheses as I could.
My helpfulness had given the cop all he needed. He declared with confidence that he knew who the culprit was: Me.
How’d he know, you ask? Well you see, JB and Johnny were clearly innocent ‘cause they had no information. Meanwhile, I knew where the necklace was AND kept coming up with all kinds of crazy crackpot theories about how it got to the pool to cover my ass. He trusted the brothers story about me showing them the necklace, and he was certain it was me. He told me to stop lyin’ ‘cause it wasn’t worth my breath. He’d seen my type 1000 times he said, and he wasn’t hearin’ any of my bullshit. According to him, I was just lucky he wasn’t charging me with a crime. After giving me that little speech, he told Tony’s mom to go around to all the other parents, including my Mom, and let them know that I was a thief.
This confirmed a long growing suspicion that the system was broken, and behaving in accordance with stated social expectations was a liabiltiy. “Opposite Day” thinking transformed from a joke that held some truth in it to a full-on fact of life.
The thing that took all these various lessons and attitudes I just told you about and crystallized them into a full-on rejection of society happened in the 9th grade though. I’m not gonna do the full story again, cause I did already in “The Life and Times of a Total Loser (Part Three)” but the gist of it is that my mom lied to the police to have me committed to a psych ward, because I was out of control and she didn’t know what to do. That psych ward amounted to psychological torture. I didn’t get any sort of counseling there, none of the “professionals” there even attempted to hear my side of things or understand. It wasn't about locating the root of my problems and working to solve them. It was about breaking me into submission by force.
This is when I full on broke from “morality”. I started watching everyone, expecting they were gonna betray me sooner or later if I left myself open for it. I also started looking for openings to betray other people. Manipulating people for attention and personal gain became the only way I interacted with anyone. School became a theatre for me to put on my act. Here’s the weird thing though: I thought everyone else had reached the same understandings I had, and we were all secretly vying for attention and constantly looking for ways to get over on one another. I saw humanity as inherently evil and corrupt.
I became really anti-conformity. Most people’s minds go, “Well everybody else is doing this, I’m gonna do it too!” My mind did the opposite. Whenever something was so popular everyone else was doing it, that was my signal to drop that thing like a bad habit. I developed a really spiteful view of herd-mentality and came to see the majority of people who operate on some form of groupthink as mindless lemmings. At this age, these thought patterns and the behavior generated by them are termed “Conduct Disorder”. As I got older and they became more deeply ingrained in my subconscious, they progressed into full-on Antisocial Personality Disorder.
After I broke from society, I stopped going to school altogether. I’d spend my days doing whatever I wanted and lashing out at anyone who tried to stop me. I ended up surrounded by other kids who did the same, and the people I ended up surrounding myself with reinforced the perceptual distortion that told me all people were inherently corrupt. I became attracted to evil in a sense. When I’d see women being manipulative and heartless, that shit turned me on. I’d see it as a game, and try to out-manipulate them. A lot of my relationships have operated with a dynamic where we mutually used and abused each other to get what we wanted and hurt one another for fun.
As far as social interactions went, I built a “character” of sorts that I’d play. The real me was too morally bankrupt and hateful to show the world. Instead, I crafted an image of benevolent, loving tolerance. I projected an image that I hoped would make people see me as a champion fighting to bring good back into the world. Underneath it all, I was the most corrupt out of anyone and I’d accidentally reveal my true nature without realizing it quite often. In my mind, I wished I could actually be the character I played, but I saw that as an unrealistic dream that would get me hurt. To an extent, this character is what you fine folks see come out in my writing, though I’m a lot more genuine than I used to be these days.
Life kept snowballing down this path, until I ended up homeless at the age of twenty-one. This is when I learned that the world just didn’t give a fuck about people, and was adamant about not changing. At least, that’s how the perceptual distortions generated by my ASPD led me to interpret things. I’d been antisocial for a very long time prior to this, but this is when I gave up on the idea of ever finding good in humanity and started viewing people as nothing more than tools for me to get what I wanted.
I still had a sort of “honorless code of honor” that acted as a self-constructed moral compass.
As a principle, I’d only actively target corporations in regard to theft. When I ripped private citizens off, it was always a spur-of-the-moment type thing that I’d do when I saw someone leave a glaring opening for it. I saw it as teaching them a lesson about the streets. In my head, I’d done them a favor. If I could see someone “truly understood life” and was able to take care of themselves under my set of rules, I’d give them some level of loyalty and try to work with them to form a mutually beneficial “friendship”.
Basically, I saw three kinds of people in the world that were all made up of two of these three traits: Street-smarts, Classic Intelligence, and Morality. I saw morality as a liability that people needed to be broken of, and I saw intelligence as the core attribute that defined a person’s worth.
If somebody was intelligent and moral, that meant they were naive and I had to target them with my bullshit in order to help them survive. I was teaching them the way of the world with “tough love”. (Very generous of me)
I think this is a very important thing to understand about the "perceptual distortions" I see the world with: I see my lack of empathy as beneficial to the people on the receiving end.
I would love to live in a world where empathy and kindness weren't a liability, but that isn't the world we live in. The world we live in doesn't allow for the loving kindness I wish I could show people. That sort of thing will get me taken advantage of, and teaching others to believe in it will hurt them in the long run.
I've got a great example of this: Yesterday, I was in my backyard smoking a cig and a stray cat walked up to me. I could tell it was someone's pet that had either gotten loose or been abandoned because it walked up to me expecting me to pet it instead of being afraid of me. I played with him a bit by throwing a balled up piece of tinfoil then gave it some chicken I had leftover from dinner.
By doing that, I actually hurt that cat. It's eventually gonna come across a person who wants to hurt it, and that person is gonna lure it in by pretending to be friendly. By teaching that cat to expect kindness from people, I most likely got it killed.
~~~~~4 Months Later Edit!!!~~~~~~
The cat was a “she” not a “he”, I eventually found out, and she’s muh babykins. Over time as I saw her going about life in the alley behind my where my apartment, I came to realize she was declawed and couldn’t hunt. For some reason, she reminded me of me so I started feeding her, then started letting her in when it rained, and then eventually just became my pet. When my lease ran out, I took her with me. That’s the story origin story of Dao Dao the NinjaKitty. The fact that I saw myself in her is what made me give a fuck. Like I’ve said before, I feel empathy but only under certain conditions. Seeing a person/animal as an extension of myself is that condition.
~~~~~Back To The Show!!!~~~~~~~
Treating people with kindness and empathy teaches them to expect it from a world that isn't going to give them any, and ultimately that hurts them more than being callous does. That's my sociopath argument against empathy. I really wish shit was different. I didn't make the world; I'm just doing my best to survive in it.
If someone was street-smart and moral, that meant they were dumb and I viewed being dumb as something that excluded people from personhood. Because they were lesser beings and not real people, I could do whatever I wanted to them. This stems from my narcissism, and from being raised in a family deeply rooted in academia. Essentially, I saw intelligence as the only quality that gave a person value.
If someone was street-smart and intelligent, that meant they were immoral snakes. These were the ones I told you I’d seek out symbiotic relationships with. I operated under the assumption that we’d be trying to fuck each other over any way we could in order to keep ourselves on top of our games, but I saw that behavior as in our best interest. These guys still got the most “kindness” from me because I saw them as useful, and wanted to stay in their good graces so they’d coordinate with me. None of these three archetypes was truly “safe” but this archetype was able to protect themselves, and thus were the safest.
Many of the behaviors associated with personality disorders are generated by perceptual distortions formed in the subconscious based on deeply ingrained beliefs about the world. For some reason, one of the perceptual distortions I was most victim to was being unable to see people outside of these three archetypes. Another perceptual distortion generated by the APSD was that I saw the common conception of morality as toxic and worked to break people of it. I honestly couldn’t see the logical contradiction in that, and I thought everybody with any understanding of the world thought the same way.
After the car-dwelling fiasco, I ended up in Florida as my Dad’s home caregiver. The fact that he was forced into relying on me combined with his deep love for me to make him almost defenseless against my toxic behaviors. I loved him, but I felt my abuse was morally justified and the things I was taking from him were owed to me. My thinking was like this “It hurts me so much to have to watch my Dad die slowly. I love him more than anything in the world, and he refuses to get better. In return for all I do for him, he owes me whatever I ask for. Whenever he refuses to give me what I want, he’s being selfish and ignoring how I feel.”
There was a lot I didn’t understand back then.
I loved my father more than anyone else in the world. Throughout my whole life, I saw him as the only person who ever really cared about me, and thought he was the only other “good” person on Earth other than myself. When Pops left, it forced me to see through the perceptual distortions and recognize the effects my behavior had on the world for the first time in my life. When that happened, I was overcome with remorse. Realizing what I’d done crushed me.
I spent the next five years heavily conflicted because I didn’t know what to do anymore. I saw the error of my ways, but I couldn’t see any other way of approaching life. I tried cleaning up my act by joining the workforce to earn an honest living. I was actually pretty successful in sales environments because the manipulative aspects of my disorder lend themselves to that profession. I was paralyzed by guilt though. That guilt compounded with my pathological maladaptive behaviors and stopped me from ever maintaining any long-term employment.
The guilt also generated a lot of problems for me in my social life. I’d drink myself into blackouts and then drunk text everyone I knew about how much I missed Dad. I’d be at parties and just break down into tears, ranting about how I killed my Dad. I couldn’t function as a thieving, con-artist sociopath the way I had been my entire life, but I also couldn’t function as a regular member of society either.
Somewhere during this time, I had a manic episode and got ordered by my probation officer to sign myself into the state mental health facility. This was a crucial moment for my eventual commitment to reformation. All the guilt, the confusion about how to go forward with my life, and the fact that my confidence in the beliefs that were generating my perceptual distortions had been shaken allowed me to set down my lifelong grudge against the mental health community and be legitimately honest for the first time. I decided to give their methods a shot, just to see if working with them would help. When I got discharged, there was a new diagnosis on my papers that I’d never had before: “Antisocial Personality Disorder”.
My first thought was, “What do they mean ‘Antisocial’... I love socializing. Didn’t they see how I had the whole unit looking up to me and coming to me for support? I was a goddamn social butterfly!” After I thought about it, I realized they had to have seen that I was fairly extroverted and realized “Antisocial” must mean something else. That’s when it hit me: “Oh. The diagnosis must be because I reject social constructs. I never knew that’s what that word meant before,” I thought to myself and left it at that. I never once talked to a counselor or doctor about it, because I didn’t feel it was a disorder. I viewed my ASPD as a necessary tool that’d kept me alive ‘til that point. I treated the new information as a fun piece of trivia I’d tell to people at parties and bars to sound smart. “Did you know antisocial doesn’t mean what we all think it means? I swear it's true! I have antisocial personality disorder. It means I reject social constructs,” I’d tell people without realizing I was informing everyone around me that I was a sociopath.
The next step on my path towards reformation came when I ended up living in my car for a second time. I spent the first few weeks of car dwelling binge drinking and harassing my mother, my brother, and my best friend for not doing more to help me, then I gave up and tried to commit suicide. That failed suicide attempt and the gratitude for life it gave me put some positive thinking back into my worldview, and that newfound positivity is a crucial tool I use to combat the perceptual distortions.
That shift in worldview coincided with me linking back up with an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a little over a year. He and I started hanging out a lot because he’d been having trouble finding weed and I had a good connect. He was staying with his girlfriend, and I started spending my time at their house to get inside and out of the heat. I kept my living situation secret, but eventually my friend’s girlfriend pieced everything together. After about two weeks of me hanging out with them almost daily, she offered me a place to stay despite the fact that she’d just met me. She didn’t ask anything in return, and I knew she wasn’t really getting anything from it that she wasn’t already getting from the current dynamics of our friendship. It was a genuine act of kindness, and her doing that broke the perceptual distortion that told me humans were inherently evil.
While living with her, we ended up discussing mental health a lot, and I hit her with my little trivia tidbit about the definition of antisocial. She asked what behaviors came associated with the disorder. She had borderline PD, and wanted to see if maybe some of the behaviors might be comorbid. I’d never actually looked it up or talked to anyone about it beyond the little trivia tidbit I’d extrapolated from the name of the diagnosis. All I knew was “Antisocial” meant I rejected social constructs because that’s the only way the diagnosis could apply to me. Her and I went to the wise and all-knowing wikipedia for more information, and that’s when I found out I was a sociopath.
That knowledge shook me. When I told my mom and my brother about it, both of them reassured me I wasn’t sociopath and that they’d know if I was. I told them I’d checked and double checked, and that the diagnosis described me perfectly. Once I sat down with the two of them, I walked them through the criteria for diagnosis and asked them to tell me which of the criteria didn’t describe my behavior. They had no choice but to admit that the personality defined by that set of criteria couldn’t have described me more perfectly. In a lot of ways, I’d somewhat suspected it for a while but every time I talked about the suspicion with someone, they’d always reassure me it wasn’t the case. Knowing for a fact that I was a sociopath made me feel like a monster in a lot of ways, but ultimately it was a relief. I finally knew why I was the way I was.
When Kat and I first found out I was a sociopath through wikipedia, she asked me if I thought the disorder was something I needed to fix; I answered with an emphatic, “Hell no!” That rejection of social constructs is what kept me alive I told her. It protected me from abuse, and made me immune to the hive-mind mentality that makes so many people incapable of rational thought. I was still riddled with perceptual distortions, and didn’t see how I was pathologically abusing everybody who came into contact with me.
Over time, I started to see more and more of my behavior for what it was. Being aware that the disorder was causing habitual abuse of others made me able to see the behavior when it was happening sometimes. I started to realize a lot of the friction with society that I’d always blamed on other people was actually being generated on my end, and that altering my behavior was necessary. That’s when I committed to reform, even though at the time I didn’t know what that meant.
My other essay on reform is a good general overview, but honestly it’s incomplete and I’m *still* not sure exactly how to go about generating the shift in my subconscious that I’d like to create. Like I said in the reform essay, I still operate on the same morally bankrupt principles I always have. I’ve just used mental gymnastics to shift my perspective in a way that makes those principles generate more “prosocial” behavior.
Essentially, I’ve learned to look at behaving morally as something that generates the material gain, attention, and praise from others that I crave. This little writing career I’ve kicked off is largely motivated by a desire to craft that “good guy” image I aim to project, and get people to tell me I’m a good person for trying to change. I’m not saying that I’m being completely disingenuous with my writing. I really am trying to be a better person, and I’m being honest when I say I hope the things I write help people. It’s still kinda fucked up and narcissistic, though. I’m not trying to help people because it’s the right thing to do, I’m trying to help people because doing it makes me look good. The end result is a positive, but the underlying intention isn’t what it should be.
When people see my essays or look at my carefully curated FB timeline, they’re seeing a dude I wish I really could be; they’re not actually seeing who I am. In my day-to-day interpersonal interactions I still struggle a lot with treating people the way they deserve to be treated. I regularly find myself bullying people and belittling them in debates on the Facepage, I have a lot of trouble interacting with people without being a condescending prick because I still see myself as a higher life form. The people who care about me end up getting a lot of snarky verbal abuse from me and I lash out at friends and family for unfair reasons constantly. People who need things from me often get ignored completely until I also need something from them. The people who care about me the most get the worst of all my bullshit.
I promise, if you were able to become a part of my life and had to deal with me on a regular basis, you’d have a much different image of me than you get from reading my work and interacting with me solely online. I like to think the fact that I’m honest about who I am makes up for it some, but really it doesn’t. Being honest with myself and others just creates the possibility for me to change; it doesn’t absolve me from my dickish behavior. I can’t spend the rest of my life telling people, “Sorry I attacked you for no reason and treated you with a total lack of respect. I’ve got a personality disorder.” Somehow, I need to find a way to become the person I pretend to be.
I really do want to change; it gets hard though; there’s parts of the personality disorder that are beneficial. The narcissistic traits make me hold myself to a higher standard than I hold others, and a lot of my self improvement comes from that higher standard I place on myself. The histrionic features create the showmanship and confidence that makes writing this stuff and putting it onto the internet without fear of judgement possible. The rejection of groupthink and toxic societal values actually liberates me from a lot of the stress and self-repression most people go through, and it gives me a completely different perspective on life. Without these personality disorders, nothing I write would be worth reading. (I know, most of the time it’s still not worth reading)
I spend a lot of time practicing techniques taught to me by CBT. (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) I look at maladaptive behaviors to identify underlying beliefs, and then analyze those beliefs to weigh the pros and cons of holding on to them. Many times, I’ve realized I can modify the beliefs in a subtle way that mitigates the negative effects and promotes the positive ones.
I constantly watch myself and analyze the way I’m viewing situations in order to root out perceptual distortions. This leads to me looking at things from a lot of different angles and keeps me open-minded. I still fuck-up and end up falling victim to those perceptual distortions constantly, because the beliefs that create them are so deeply ingrained in my subconscious. I’ll look at the different perspectives and see one that’s the most realistic interpretation of things, but because it’s also the one most in conflict with the distortion my subconscious goes, “Well that’s total bullshit. Only a moron would believe that,” then locks back into my toxic viewpoint, even though deep down I know I’m wrong.
My Mom often ends up telling me when this sort of thing is happening, but in the moment I absolutely refuse to hear it. When the disorder is triggered, I take her telling me I’m not seeing clearly as an attack instead of the well-intentioned advice that it is. I find myself backtracking and apologizing once the pressure is off all the time ‘cause it’s almost impossible for me to accept the idea that my disorders are warping my perception while it’s happening. I can only see my mistake after the fact when I look back objectively.
My counselor says that I’ll most likely never be able to undo the perceptual distortions without years of intense therapy. From what I can tell, he’s probably right.
Take the narcissism for example: The main perceptual distortion it creates is the one that tells me I’m a superior lifeform compared to the rest of humanity. I try to stay humble and tell myself I’m just the same as everyone else. Those humbling statements interact with the narcissism in a way that completely counteracts them once they get worked through my fucked up subconscious thought processes. Instead of taking them to heart and actually seeing myself as equal, my subconscious says, “Yeah, everybody’s equal, so people should treat one another with respect and humility. The fact that I realize that and stay humble makes me better than all these arrogant pricks around me.”
I literally can’t break the perceptual distortion created from my narcissistic personality traits, I can only manage the toxic behavior it generates.
This paper already ran long, and I’m not gonna walk you through every single perceptual distortion I have, but the other main cognitive dissonance stems from an outright animosity towards the idea of conformity/groupthink. The moment I think an idea is being perpetuated by groupthink, I view that idea as illogical and false no matter how true it is. The moment I see a person acting in a way that I think is driven primarily by groupthink I lose all respect for them. You can probably guess that I end up losing all respect for a lot of people.
Before I go, I wanna break down this grudge against groupthink real quick, because ultimately I know for a fact that most of our societies problems are being generated by this illogical cancer. I’ve had some trouble nailing down a universally accepted definition of groupthink, but when I use the term I mean the thought processes generated by a subconscious desire for conformity mixing with the confirmation bias all people carry to some extent or another in an effort to generate a unanimous consensus within a group. I’m gonna pull up some wikipedia definitions of conformity and confirmation bias, and then a list of the behaviors generated by groupthink just so we all have the same understanding of the word:
Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms. Norms are implicit, specific rules, shared by a group of individuals, that guide their interactions with others. This tendency to conform occurs in small groups and/or society as a whole, and may result from subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure. Conformity can occur in the presence of others, or when an individual is alone. For example, people tend to follow social norms when eating or watching television, even when alone. (When I say I reject groupthink, this is what I’m actually rejecting)
Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. Confirmation bias is a variation of the more general tendency of apophenia. (Everybody falls victim to this cognitive bias to some extent or another. No matter how aware of it you are, it still shifts your perception in a way that tells you what you already believe is correct by default)
Those two underlying patterns inherent in human behavior mix with each other to create this set of behaviors when applied to a group setting:
Type I: Overestimations of the group — its power and morality
- Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
- Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
Type II: Closed-mindedness
- Rationalizing warnings that might challenge the group's assumptions.
- Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid.
Type III: Pressures toward uniformity
- Self-censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
- Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
- Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of "disloyalty"
- Mindguards— self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.
Conformist groupthink is objectively toxic. There’s certain aspects of it that are healthy and necessary for society to function, but the way people currently use it is the largest contributor to the dysfunction in our society from what I can see. It’s used to shutdown individual thought, repress new ways of thinking, and breaks down our society’s collective rational thinking ability. I’m not saying groupthink needs to be done away with completely, but it can’t continue to function in the way it currently does or our society will either collapse or become inherently dystopian.
I’m gonna coin a new term here for the kind of groupthink we need to create: “Diversified groupthink”. Our concept of groupthink needs to be altered to include an inherent expectation for each individual to critically analyze group ideas and behavior, then challenge the things they disagree with. That sort of thing is currently punished; it needs to be the primary act we reward instead. Exploring alternate lines of thinking and accepting conflicting perspectives needs to be viewed as something that's necessary for groups to arrive at the best possible conclusions. People expect those concepts to be included in someone’s thinking at the individual level, but for some reason I’ve never understood, those important safeguards are excluded at the group level.
Unfortunately, the idea I just proposed is new(~ish) and it’s in conflict with the current fundamental ideology of society. That means it’ll get outright rejected by pretty much everybody I propose it to and people are gonna say, “Nobody’s ever gonna go along with that, so I’m not gonna go along with that.”
Three cheers for conformist groupthink!