Whoops... Turns Out I'm A Sociopath. (Muh Bad)
There’s a lot that the general public gets wrong when they talk about mental health, and a lot of it comes from TV and movies. When TV talks about “sociopaths” they talk about people who feel no emotion and are usually loner serial killer types. I dunno where the fuck they got that from, but it's nowhere close to reality.
We feel every emotion just the same as everyone else; there's no physiological differences in our brains that are both universal in everyone diagnosed with ASPD and proven causal. Our altered moral code (or lack of one) leads to the part of our brain that processes empathy and guilt atrophying, so we don’t feel those as strongly as we should if a situation arises that triggers them. The real reason we don’t feel those emotions is how we think though, not a physical issue.
We’re all around you, all the time. You definitely know someone who’s a sociopath/psychopath. It could very easily be you, and you’d have no fuckin' clue. I lived life for years knowing I had been diagnosed with ASPD, and had no clue that it was the clinical term for sociopathy. If you've got the disorder, chances are you and those close to you would deny that you're a psychopath/sociopath due the false stereotype anyway. I know my family did when I found out what ASPD was.
Because it's so common for people to have it so wrong, I gotta give a psychology lesson to clear up the misconceptions:
Clinically speaking, Sociopathy/Psychopathy are both diagnosed as "Antisocial Personality Disorder(ASPD)”. The term Antisocial doesn't mean what most people think it means. When people with pop culture understandings claim they’re “antisocial” they mean one of two things:
1 - Introverted/Asocial
2- Socially awkward/Suffering from social anxiety
Neither of those traits are what the “Antisocial” in ASPD is referring to. My diagnosis is called that because I'm against(anti-) social constructs like morality, etiquette, gender norms, and things of that nature. I'm literally against all of them. If it's a social construct, I reject it on principle for being an imaginary thing born from groupthink. This in turn leads to me disregarding people's rights, boundaries, and emotions. That can end up creating friction.
Clinically speaking, sociopathy and psychopathy are both diagnosed as "Antisocial Personality Disorder". As of now, there is no difference between the two terms in the DSM-V, but there's a lot of debate on that. Some people say the distinction is that psychopaths believe the disorder to be something they were born with, while sociopaths feel it arose from environmental factors in childhood. I've got an essay where I say it's a mix of genetics and a childhood head trauma creating a predisposition that then combined with environmental issues and lessons I learned in childhood, so I self-identify as a sociopath. Some experts assert that psychopathy is extremely similar to ASPD, but ultimately distinguishable from it.
Antisocial doesn't mean what you think it means. What you call being antisocial is actually referred to as "Social Anxiety" in the mental health community. Many people with ASPD, including myself, are extremely sociable and rely on our people skills to manipulate people to get what we want. Some people with ASPD can also be non-social/unsociable the way people use the word "Antisocial" but those understandings are not synonymous with "Antisocial"
Antisocial means I'm against (anti) social constructs like morality, etiquette, gender norms, and things of that nature. I'm literally against all of them without exceptions. If it's a social construct, I reject it on principle for being an imaginary thing born from groupthink. This in turn leads to me disregarding people's rights, boundaries, and emotions. That of course creates a lot of friction.
I first got diagnosed with ASPD after spending a month on a mental health unit as a result of my bipolar disorder. At that time, the disorder was never officially explained to me by a doctor. I found out because the diagnosis was included in my discharge paperwork. I looked at it and thought to myself. "What do they mean? I'm a goddamn social butterfly! They had to have noticed that... Oh wait, I bet they're talking about how I reject social constructs. That actually kinda makes sense!" I didn't even need a doctor to explain what the disorder was. I just inherently knew from the name of the disorder and what I knew about myself at the time what the "problem" they were referring to was.
(I didn't see it as a disorder for years after the initial diagnosis. I didn't first discuss it with a licensed counselor until last fall)
In addition to the pathological disregard for the rights of others, I also disregard the concept of the law and struggle holding long term work because I don't feel the pretense of "contributing to society" is valid. I've lived most of my life as a career criminal because I don't see the need to be ashamed by that lifestyle the way you would, and genuinely enjoyed the game of outsmarting the law.
(Society is the final product of all those rejected social constructs, after all)
Antisocial behavior is theft, manipulation, and the general disregard people's for rights, boundaries and emotions I mentioned before. A lot of people display antisocial behaviors but don’t actually have the personality disorder, and other personality disorders can lead to antisocial behavior. From what I can tell the disorder is a spectrum of sorts but I’ve never heard it referred to as a spectrum disorder by psychologists so don’t quote me on that.
(Update: I've confirmed that it's a spectrum disorder with my LPC)
One thing I need to make clear is that I wasn’t actively aware of much of what I was doing. Perceptual distortions based on false attribution, overconfident misuses of self-affirmation, and confirmation bias fueled the disorder. People often ask me, “How could you not see it?” and the answer is rooted in how I subconsciously regarded myself and others.
In my mind, I was the last person on Earth who was any good. I saw what society deemed moral as the ultimate evil. I was the most intelligent person in my class and even most adults couldn’t compare to me. I could tell by the stories people would tell me about how bad their day was that they hadn’t been through much suffering in life, because they'd bitch and moan about things I saw as trivial and petty.
This meant I was either wiser, more intelligent, or morally superior when compared to any given person. The three things added up to my subconscious painting me as infallible in my eyes. My brain would always find a way to see myself as superior to anyone I met and I never stopped to think about the possibility that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t really shit.
That made me view people’s actions as falling into one of three categories:
1) Too nice, which signaled naivete and required me to abuse the person’s kindness to break the "dangerous behavior."
(Think about that for a second. My logic was I had to pick out and target the kind, forgiving people the hardest with my “tough love” <re:various forms of abuse> in order to protect them from all the sociopaths out there who would pick them out as targets for their abuse. Yes, I can see how dumb that is now)
2) Outright stupid and defying basic logic, which meant their minds were inferior. People who did this stuff were incapable of rational thought, which made them automatically wrong if they disagreed with me for any reason.
3) Done with with depraved malicious intent to harm me. This held especially true when people tried to protect themselves from me, because the fervor they'd do it with and their refusal to bend showed how devoted they were to their targeted attacks.
(Again, by "targeted attacks" I mean self-defense)
Much of what caused the behavior was rooted in my subconscious and how it would paint the world I saw. Mostly this was in respect to interactions with other people, particularly those I loved and who loved me. I'd see them standing up for themselves and defending their boundaries as a personal attack against me, and lash at them for an attack against me when they stood up for themselves to try and protect themselves from me. I didn't realize what I was doing though, it was all pathological and happening without my conscious awareness.
I was so fuckin' wise, intelligent, and morally righteous I couldn't see why anyone would ever doubt me. I saw through everyone’s bullshit. I was a supremely compassionate master of logic who was trying to redeem the soulless monsters called "humans". I didn’t see all you disgusting “human” creatures as beyond redemption, for some of you there was hope.
(If only I could you to listen to me. Perhaps if I twisted your arms a bit you'd come around? Seems logical to me...)
Some of people I didn't see as immoral or stupid, but I'd see them as naive. That meant I had to abuse you to harden you. It was for your own good; I’m sorry it’s the world we live in.
Others I saw as smart and streetwise, but corrupt. That meant I could disregard your feelings because you would do the same to me. I was morally superior to this type anyway, but I tolerated their presence because their snakelike ways kept my defenses sound. These were actually the type I best got along with.
Other still, I saw as moral and streetwise, but not intelligent. Not being intelligent meant someone wasn't worthy of personhood. These types probably got the most callous, unremorseful forms of abuse because I didn't see them as people.
This overly positive views of myself and overly negative views of the world skewed the my perspective and made me feel I had a divine responsibility to “teach" the inferior primates around me and show them a better way of life.
(Which meant abuse them into accepting a life spent in servitude to me, of course)
While it's true a lot of the toxic behavior was happening without me being aware of it, that's mostly in regard to manipulation and emotional abuse. It's hard to steal someone's shit without knowing you've done it and there's a lot of shit I was consciously aware of in regard to all the my antisocial behavior. I just thought everyone did the stuff secretly and people's minds were functioning more or less like my own.
Really, I was more of a con man/thief type, violence was just a last resort for when I got caught or had no other choice. That’s the norm from what I know. I may not respect the law but jail still sucks, and beating someone leaves evidence. The Ted Bundy serial killer stereotype really only applies to a specific subclass of the disorder that's especially sadistic and paranoid.
I fuckin' HATE working. The sense of pride and responsibility people get because they contributed to society doesn’t exist for me because I don’t believe in contributing to society. I feel like I’m getting robbed every second I’m on the clock busting my ass doing something I hate while someone else collects the revenue from it. I get my paycheck and all I can think about is how the money I got is just a fraction of how much I actually made my bosses. It’s like if whoever owned the Patriots got Tom Brady’s Super Bowl rings and Brady got a ring pop instead.
I fuckin' LOVE stealing. It's a rush; it's a game. Don’t swivel your head looking for people watching but learn to spot them anyway. Know what you’re after and where it is. Get in and get out fast. Don’t waste time. Grab the thing fast and get it out of sight in plain view of someone. Just keep moving, if security comes don’t stop. The adrenaline gets me going. The mind games keeps it fresh. I’ve been sitting at tables with people, having coffee, picked up their wallet from the table in front of us, opened it, took the cash, and then set it back down with them staring right at me, talking the entire time. I didn’t even mean to do it. I was just trying to see how far I could get before they stopped me, and it turned out I could get pretty f&*!ing far. Its fun and I make money. Working makes some money, but not as much, and its no fun.
I actually did a lot of math trying to figure this all out, and I’ve boiled it down to two simple equations:
(Theft + Manipulation) > Work
Work = Bullshit waste of time
(It’s all basic algebra. Yeah, I know, you probably disagree. You can’t disagree with algebra though, bud)
Using that math as the basis for my life meant I had to find alternate means of survival. This meant mooching and stealing mostly. Friends, parents, total strangers, pretty much anyone I thought I could get it from. Rarely did I resort to physical violence, but I would if I could without much resistance and thought I'd get away with it. Despite that, I had the physical presence to employ physical intimidation and did so often.
I'm aware normies see that as pathetic, but I saw people all as prey for thinking that way. There's this idea that things called honor and morality exist; it's just silly. There’s only honor if absolutely everyone believes in it and follows it. If only 90% of people believe in it and follow it, that 90% becomes targets for the 10% who don’t and just pretend to. Your morality is just something we use to feed on you for survival.
Now money is nice, but I consider food, drugs, and shelter better than money; all four qualify as “income” to me. If I stole $200 worth of drugs, that's a $200 paycheck. I had two main methods of generating “income” and keeping food in my stomach, drugs in my bloodstream, and rain off my head.
The first source is an ancient art developed by the old masters known as “shoplifting”. This gets way more complicated than just walking into a store and stealing though. I’d build up networks of people and use them to devise complicated systems to help me boost things then turn the goods into what I needed to survive. I had to, or I couldn’t do it long term without getting caught.
Friend just got back from walmart? Ask ‘em for their receipt. Now go into the store, take the items on the receipt the customer service department and return them. Congratulations! You just made $70 in under 30 minutes selling Walmart their own merchandise.
This is just a piece of the basic Walmart scam. Like I said before, I had a complex system that involved rotating the stores I’d hit so I never got recognized by security and using accomplices to get more merchandise off the shelves into our possession and make the returns less likely to come back on us. I also didn’t necessarily rely on having a receipt or stores having a return policy.
(Years after I got out of the game, I ended up good friends with a customer service manager at Walmart. She basically she said she knows people do all this but they can almost never prove it, so they can’t do anything except hand us our “hard earned” cash if security didn't catch us on our way out of the store with the merchandise. Fuggin’ love it)
Walmart is just an example though. The Walmart schemes are well known entry level stuff for a booster. There’s other scams that revolved around stealing from pretty much any kind of store and offloading any merchandise in some manner. I’d steal brand name clothes and shoes and sell 'em off at half price to second hand stores and people I knew from the street. Video games got sold off to places like Gamestop. High price cuts of meat like steaks were sold off to hungry people in the hood or kept to feed myself for free and keep cash in my pocket. I steal construction materials like copper and aluminum then sell it off to scrap yards. If I got my hands on power tools I'd dump 'em off on pawn shops and contractors I knew. You name it, I’ve made my living ripping it off people.
At points I’ve been a part of networks that had 10-15 of us involved in the criminal end in some way. There wasn’t any real leadership in any of these and we weren’t all thieves. I don’t wanna give out too much info, but we were like independent contractors with different skills coordinating our efforts to make more than we would on our own. I made a lot of dough using what I’d make off stealing and putting it into buying drugs wholesale, then selling them off. I’d always end up doing most of the drugs I bought and had to get back to boosting to keep money coming in eventually, but I liked it that way. Like I said, boosting is a game to me and I have fun doing it. The dealing was just to make sure I didn’t burn through cash too fast. Other people liked to hustle and only used theft and robbery if they needed startup funds or didn’t resort to it at all… to each their own.
(Just to ease my paranoia a bit, I wanna make clear that the statute of limitations on the criminal network stuff is up. I don’t wanna bring down RICO charges for being in a drug empire. I haven’t been in on anything of that scale for like 9 or 10 years now. I know an NSA supercomputer is probably getting overloaded by all the red flags it's tossing down on this story)
My other method of generating “income” also acted as my social life. I would work into a social circles stealing anything of value that I could get my hands on without getting caught, all while getting in the good graces of the dudes selling drugs. I’d start building credit by doing favors for 'em and getting in with their crew. Meanwhile, I was analyzing their setups. How often did they re-up and when? How big was their operation? Where did they keep their stashes? Whats the biggest front they’ll make? Do they have guns? How well connected were they outside the circle we met in? How can I get into their house without them knowing?
There was a lot I needed to know, but eventually if I kept at it long enough I’d figure out a way to rob em blind and then set it on the backburner. Once I had the play, I’d start taking out a bunch of big fronts from everyone who was gonna turn into a burnt bridge, then go for the come-up and disappear into the wind.
If things went on too long without me finding a play to make, I’d just take out the fronts and turn into a ghost. I was always on a timer once I entered into a social circle though, because the disorder also turns me into an unbearable asshole that eventually gets pushed out of any group for repeated, habitual line-overstepping and things of that nature. Total disregard for peoples rights, emotions, and boundaries remember?
(Yeah, there’s a lot of people out there who'll whip my ass on sight)
I’d always try to keep a social circle where I wasn’t completely hated that I treated slightly better and I fucked over slightly less, but nobody was safe. Some of the disrespect that makes people not like me is subconscious and unintentional so every social circle I’d get into came with a timer. I was gonna end up forced out of anywhere and be back on my own eventually. I planned around that eventuality. When that happened, I'd live off my parents until I could build a new social network. I used the fact that my parents loved me and would forgive me to emotionally extort them or just go into their shit and take cash without asking.
Here’s an example of the sort of things I would do:
One time I ended up friends with this dude who’s dad sold a decent amount of pot. Once I learned they were a good mark, I got in real close with the guy. I made it seem like I was part of the clique, fully intending to rip his dad off first chance I got. Eventually that chance arose and I used the fact that I had been thrown out of where I was staying(Thanks for the help, Mom!) to play on his family’s sympathies and get them to agree to letting me crash on their couch for a while.
Anytime they left the house I would be tearing the place up looking for his dad's stash… Eventually another dude who’d known the family for a while, we’ll call him Jason, showed me where it was and how to pick the lock on the safe. Over the course of a week, I stole about $700 cash and an ounce or two of schwag(low quality pot). This was early on in my adulthood and I hadn’t quite worked out the kinks in my game yet, so after a week when his Dad went to him about the missing money/weed, he used the fact that I had a sudden influx of those things to put two and two together and I got the boot. I eventually learned to not share things I stole from people with the people I stole them from to avoid getting caught like this. I'm stupid for not seeing it coming in the first place
There were a few other repercussions from this other than ending up homeless. They kept a $200 guitar my dad had given me. He also showed up at my mom’s place, talked a bunch of shit and started a fight that was me vs him and his buddy “Jason”. We scrapped for about 20 seconds then my mom’s neighbor broke us up. I hopped in my car and drove back to my hometown 300 miles away and started the whole routine over. Business as usual.
So that handles “income”, but the disorder colors all my interactions including personal relationships. The way I handled women was also fucked up and morally repugnant. Again, much of the pattern of abuse I detail here was built in my subconscious, that saw anything other than absolute obedience to my wishes with total disregard for themselves as an unprovoked personal assault, and would lash out in "self-defense". I did consciously feel I needed to "train" my girlfriends via rewarding them for being more loving caring people.(re:giving me what I want) Much of the "punishment" end of things was that subconscious reaction.
(Distorted, self-constructed moral compass, remember?)
When dealing with women, I would manipulate circumstances, social pressures, and the unspoken connotations of my words and actions that I could pretend I wasn’t aware of to make them feel forced into doing what I wanted them to, all while telling themselves:
- They were better off just going along with me than risking the repercussions of telling me no.
and / or
- They couldn’t say "No" because they were indebted to me in an emotional/social context.
A lot of this was made made possible by the fact that men are fucking terrible to women in a lot of different ways constantly. Reacting to rejection negatively and retaliating, sometimes violently, is just one of the many common ones. Women live life outside of familiar, safe places with a healthy well justified fear of us dudes.
I’m 6'0, 185lb. drunk and high all the time party dude with self-control issues.The “male danger” factor was implied without me having to go out of my way at all.
That physical presence did a lot of work and I abused it a couple different ways:
I’d make them feel threatened by other males and played bodyguard, creating “debt”, or I'd intimidate them into obedience depending on the situation. It all depended on the girl and how I felt she’d react to each method.
Drinks and drugs were great for creating “debt”. Most girls are hip to it so they won’t take free drinks, spots in rotation a blunt. lines of coke and thing like that from dudes they don’t know, but girls that like drugs a little too much and ones with low self-esteem made soft targets.
Another tool for coercion was social pressure, and that fact social pressure can be used this way is why I reject social constructs so completely. The threat of rumors being spread was a powerful tool here. So was faking an emotional investment. For some reason if she lets it seem like we’re talking, and I get invested, she owes me sex or else she’s leading me on? I don’t know really how that works in a normies mind, like I said the standards people use for morality and etiquette don’t make a lot of sense to me. My trademark "debt" was created using little hints that I’m protecting them from people in a social rejection sense and digs at how stuff they’d done had hurt me in some made up way. Attacks on their self-esteem we’re solid gold if done right.
I did it all in a way that they never actually told no me no or resisted. If they did, I stopped immediately, gave them room, and went back to manipulating until I felt I could try again successfully. Rinse and repeat till it worked or they cut me off. A lot it relied on playing with their heads, so legal action woulda been shut down by “Hey I’m not a mindreader, I didn’t know they thought that!” and how are they gonna prove otherwise? I knew what I was doing though, and that’s an example of the deliberate disregard for other people’s emotions.
Those daterapey one-night-stand behaviors I described earlier were only used when necessary and my abuse in long-term relationships rarely involved intimidation or violence. Long-term relationships happened 'cause girls were into me without me having to abuse those methods. In these, I still used a system a emotional abuse, but it wasn't all things that superficially seemed abusive.
These relationships took two forms:
- Hyper-toxic love-hate relationships where we both recognized we were abusing each other, but mutually went along with it.
- Relationships where I fed off a person who truly loved me.
(Really all interpersonal relations fit these descriptions in a way)
The few girls that got attached to me got it the worst. I used a system of attacks on their self-esteem combined with “love” that I used like a dog treat to teach them the rules of our relationship and keep them obedient. Any money they had, no matter how they got it, was my money. They had to give me whatever I asked for without questions or arguing. No male contacts whatsoever, including family. The only female friends they were allowed to have were the ones I was fucking. They could only talk to them on the phone if speaker was on and I was there to hear the conversation. No lock screens. I had to be able to check all call logs and texts when I wanted no questions asked. Facebook passwords were set by me and changed when I wanted. Any dude who likes too many pics or jumps in her inbox gets blocked.
Once I got hooked on painkillers, I’d get my girlfriends addicted on purpose or prey on girls who already were, then used them as a form of payment. There were a couple times I’ve sent a girl into dudemans so him and his boys could go to town for an hour, then she’d come out still dopesick wanting a fix and I’d tell her it was gone. If she complained I’d say shit like “You know how to get more, junkie slut” like it was something they wanted or asked for, or like I’d allow them to go back in to get some for themselves I’d gotten I wanted. “I’m high now, and I’ve got needs that have to be taken care of”. Really, only one girl ever got in this deep because the abuse drove the rest away, thankfully. That poor girl is scarred for life I promise.
In the love/hate relationships, I was attracted to the parts of them I perceived as evil. We saw the relationship as a competition; the abuse was part of the game. The women who these sorts of things would occur with were also high on the antisocial behavior/thinking spectrum. I personally signed on for these because I'd come to see that "evil" part of us as sexy. I thought all relationships, even those with my parents and brothers, functioned on this mutually abusive love/hate dynamic.
I've come to realize there were other relationships where I was playing that game with someone who wasn't aware of it. These my women actually loved me without the "slash hate" after the "love". I may have been the only one playing that game in all my relationships, honestly. There's at least one I'm certain the actual dynamic matched distorted interpretation of things.
What I'd do in both types of relationships was play the wounded bird. I’d say things like, "I've had a hard life, with traumatic experiences and work to fight <addiction/PTSD/depression/ some combo of the three>. I know I've made mistakes, but I just wanna be better. Deep down, I'm so lonely and just want someone to love me!" (half-truth) I knowingly faked an image of a soft, betafag cucklord to the world to some extent in all my dealings. I did this in order to make people less likely to suspect that I was intentionally screwing them. When I'd do fucked up things to them, I'd give a false apology and blame the demons I was trying to overcome.
(Most of my writing can be perceived as a false mission for reform like my old narrative had me telling people, and the fact that I may be deceiving even myself scares me)
Then, once things had progressed to a point where they were willing to verify to others that we were sort of an "unofficial thing" I'd pump fantasies into their head using the power of suggestion. I'd make them believe I was in the process of falling for them, and stay stuff I knew they wanted to hear. Once that pushed things to "official item" territory, I'd make unfair demands of them. If they said no, I'd accuse them of being monsters for making me love them then not loving me back. I'd say shit like, "If you really loved me like you say you do (the way I loved them) you'd give me whatever I want even if it hurts you. Selfish bitch!"
I used that same line against my mother and father a lot, even though I really do love them. I actually thought all relationships functioned on that first love/hate dynamic. I often loved the victims of my abuse quite a bit; I just didn't care that my unfair demands harmed them. Here's the mantra that represents the thinking I used to operate on:
“I want what I want and that makes it mine. I want it now and I absolutely refuse to wait. I’m only asking for appearances. I’m taking what I want if someone says 'No' via theft, manipulation, or force if I absolutely can’t get it otherwise. I'm just looking out for #1 like everybody else. Any these pricks would do the same to me"
(A roided-out version of AA's "King Baby")
Whether they loved me or not, whenever they stood up for themselves the perceptual distortions in my mind would falsely characterize that act as an intentional attack on my well-being even when they were acting in self defense. On a subconscious level, the disorder is maintained via perceptual distortions which create consequences that get used to support the perceptual distortions using false attribution fallacies and confirmation bias.
(I feel like I said that already. Whatever. "Hail to Redundancy!" is my motto. Deal with it, bitches.)
I'd insult their quality of character whenever they confessed anything they felt guilty about and worked to enhance their feelings of self-doubt. Very little of the "punishment" end of my system of control came from physical intimidation or acts of violence. All of it was a result of a perceptual distortion telling me they *actually were* the monster I accused them of being, despite that being untrue.
The biggest thing that forced me to see the error of my ways was my father’s suicide. I had a huge part in his death by abusing my position as his caretaker to emotionally extort him for money to maintain a painkiller addiction. I actually loved my father in my own way more than anyone on Earth.
The most fucked up part of all of it was that I thought that everyone had hidden a dark side like I did, and I was the last rightetous soul on Earth. I felt like I was just protecting myself by getting them before they got me. Arguments with my parents were games and feelings were chess pieces. I rationalized that if someone, especially drug dealers, left an opening for me to get one over on em they were careless, and I was helping them survive by giving a life lesson.
When I found his body, I was dazed by the shotgun blast of remorse and shame I was hit with mentally. It felt like dream. The reality didn’t hit until two days later when my mom flew down to Florida to help with funeral arrangements. We had just gotten to the house after driving home from the airport, and were on the back porch smoking cigs. I told her it felt like it was a dream and he would be home in minute and she said something like “Ya I felt the same way when my dad died, he won’t be back but only cause he’s moved on to a better place” that made my subconscious accept reality… A wave of soul-bending heartbreak washed over me, the world turned black, and I started crying harder than anyone I’ve ever seen. It felt like a hole had been punched through my chest. I felt like a limb had been lopped off. that feeling hasn’t changed in any way or paused even momentarily at all since.
I was forced to look at all the shit I’d been turning a blind eye to. All the broken lives and betrayed victims who truly liked and trusted the character I played couldn’t be ignored. I felt the weight of guilt and remorse so heavy it takes physical strength to carry get dropped on my soul. Nothings about that weight has changed at all or gotten any lighter since; I’ve just gotten more used to carrying it.
Reform is hard, and I have trouble maintaining long term friendships.There’s a only few people along the way that I guess would qualify as friends that I’ve known for more than year. Counting in my head, there’s 5, and our interactions are exclusively online these days, even though we originally met irl. I have other Facebook friends that I joke with, mostly ex-coworkers. I had a series of social circles that I worked through. There’s really only one person who knew me before Pops died that I truly have that an emotional attachment to as a friend though.
I do have actual friends now that I’ve met since I started making changes, and I hope to god I keep them, but I tell them all the time I struggle constantly to keep from reverting back to old patterns of behavior. Even with them, I accidentally overstep bounds and trigger people constantly. It gets tough, and I wonder if the timer social circles used to carry still applies.
Another problem I have is generating honest income. Convincing myself to keep a job without exploiting the holes I always find in people’s systems takes work. I still see the flags that I used to mark targets and have to fight the urge to take what I want, cause people make it easy and I got really good at what I did.
I can’t change that I have a distorted conscience, and a lot of times I'm fuckin' shit up without realizing it. I still know what what others consider right and wrong in most given situations and can use willpower to force myself into it. I’ve learned that interpersonal connections and mental/emotional health are worth more than the things I used to steal. Like… I don’t try to improve my behavior because its right or wrong. I still don’t believe in that morality bullshit. I just pretend I do and force myself to live the imaginary code of ethics because there’s tangible benefits to it.
(Underlined = a link to another something our other. In these two cases, my essay on reform)