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Lowkey

Sociopathy (ASPD) support forums?

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Question reposted from new members section-

Hi there,

I'm not entirely certain if this is the right forum to join, but there seems to be a rather large lack of support forums for people diagnosed as having ASPD (Sociopathy/Psychopathy) online. Plenty for people victimised by sociopaths, not much going the other way.

Although it isn't something that has bothered me up until recently, I was diagnosed with ASPD a number of years ago (drug fuelled run in with the law, small period of institutionalisation) and I am looking for some sort of treatment program and support to reduce the severity of my disorder. Like many so-called "high functioning sociopaths", I tend to be extremely successful in a given endeavour for a while, and at some point simply give up/tune out through lack of interest. My relationships, employment, projects ,hobbies etc tend to go the same way. After some recent soul searching, I realised that I am tired of this, I would really like to find out how I can generate the motivation and behaviors to have a normalish life. Coupled with a recent interest in spirituality, I'm going through a fair ol' identity crisis really!

I am looking for ways to reduce my behavioral and emotional abnormalities, treatments and perhaps support from others with the same condition who have improved or even cured themselves. Is there anything in the way of online communities or similar that would be appropriate? I'm not willing to undergo conventional treatment with a psychotherapist offline for a number of reasons (ok, yes, it would be one more thing to lie about/hide, and I'm trying to avoid that), so an online support forum or group would be the best.

There's a surprisingly small amount of material out there. I guess it's a catch 22, few with my condition would be willing to seek treatment or support, given that you have to feel that you are in the wrong in the first place to seek such things, and feeling bad, caring about "fitting in" etc are not things people like myself are known for.

Ok, thanks for reading. I look forward to any responses or thoughts!

Regards,

Lowkey

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Welcome to the community, Lowkey.

My current diagnosis is PDNOS. I started a thread “PD and Proud” awhile ago and would welcome you to contribute to that thread or ask questions if you like.

I have found a general lack of support for the challenges that folks with PD’s face among the “normal” community also. It seems somewhat odd to me, too. But since they don’t know what it’s like to have PD’s maybe we are the ones, in some sense, to change that.

In any event, welcome. I look for to reading more from you.

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First off the premise it is you who has the problem is a flawed one. MAny people are in communities that don't really click with how they are as a person. Say you have low confidence - is a trigger to that. Also say you are educated in areas locals are not interested in? This is a key game changer. So suppose you have confidence issues plus the different interest thing going on. It will repeat loop itself and before you know where you are YOU will be identified as having a problem. And you do because you feel it and also because as an ongoing feature this will reduce your emotional and skill based networking to others.

This side of the coin is quite large and one often ignored - granted!

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My view of "problems" is significantly more pragmatic.

First, I would say a person has a problem if they feel that something is wrong. That could include feeling emotional pain from a style of interaction, feeling frustrated or misunderstood, angry; some kind of unpleasantness that the subject wants to change. Other people's opinions may contribute to those feelings, but the deciding factor has to be the sufferer's own feelings. This includes situations like "I thought everything was fine, but everyone got mad at me; I don't like it when everyone's mad at me, or I can't live the way I want to when they are mad at me." Even though it seems to be based on other people's reactions, still it's the subject who decides they don't like the outcome.

Second, it's not that the subject is "always the problem", but that the only people we can change are ourselves. The other people may be "wrong", but nothing you can do can make them want to fix themselves, until and unless they decide they have a problem. That may mean that the thing you have to change is your associates, the people around you, but still the change is up to you.

Note that little about my view concerns any form of "right" and "wrong". Again, I don't see that we can enforce any kind of general opinion of what those words mean. All we can do is arrange ourselves and our lives according to our own opinions of what they mean; other people are outside of our control. That can be a burden (if something has to change, it's up to us), but it can also be a relief (we're no longer responsible for changing the other people.)

I could go ahead and create a forum specifically for antisocial PD, but it might end up being fairly lightly attended. It's a trait of the diagnosis that few seek treatment for it. You're certainly welcome to talk about it here, lowkey, if you find it helps you. I'm just not sure you're going to find a group of antisocial people anywhere, though, much as I wish you could find some company. Is it okay if it's just us?

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Sorry for the necro post, but I created an account just to respond to this. The administrator's response was deeply moving to me, as was the original poster's question. I don't know if I truly have ASPD, but it's something I have considered a great deal. I have tried to find others with similar experiences, but much like the OP, I have only found forums for VICTIMS of those with ASPD. I have discovered over time that I am driven exclusively by a need to be "perceived" in a certain way. If an interaction will not improve my image, it lacks importance entirely. This isn't something I realized until after many years of introspection. Though, external factors did inspire the search. I NEED to be loved, and (more unusually) admired. I will respect you only insomuch as you provide me with the empowerment that I apparently crave. Needless to say, I feel incredibly lonely, as these behaviors have gradually alienated people. The problem is that I can't change my motives. Even if I become a master of disguise, and successfully re-integrate myself into a social community, I will still be the same shallow person I always was. Only now, I'll be "better" at extracting my resource (attention, flattery, adoration, whatever), because I'll know better than to expose myself. This outcome does not appeal to me. It would be equivalently lonely, but maybe a bit less unbearable. This upsets me. Perhaps a true sociopath would not be upset by this. I don't know. I personally think they probably would. That's another thing I've been interested in. Do sociopaths know they're sociopaths? And do they wish they were normal? Anyway, that's getting off topic.

I can't express enough how much I love the administrator's post. So incredibly honest and absent of propoganda. So genuinely welcoming of any person who is in pain. And so courageos in acknowledging the right/wrong bit. Thank you.

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Hi Spotless, just wanted to say that I appreciate your honest discussion here.

Do you benefit at all from talks of the human psyche and its structure? Living from ego or persona only can create stress in the personality.

Another way to look at it that might be more practical, is, did something happen to you that was deeply humiliating? It is a very human response to trauma to never want to experience being vulnerable or humiliated again, and wanting to control interactions so that they only reflect strong and unflawed qualities back to us.

Dealing with trauma and vulnerability can require reaching for some help. All of that would be so tough for someone suffering from ASPD.

Wishing you well today.

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Thanks for the response. Yes, I have certainly had some unbearably humiliating experiences - to the point that I almost feel as if I've edited them out of my identity entirely. Like a weird detachment from one's own past. But this explanation for my callousness has begun to lose its power. From the small bits of research I've done, humiliation is a core component of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which (also from my research) appears to be nearly synonymous with ASPD. I of course may be mistaken, since I'm not a professional, and have only casually explored these topics. But in light of this perspective, it's getting harder to believe that my character is any more dignified than that of your run-of-the-mill sociopath, especially given the fact that my "unbearably humiliating" experiences haven't been remotely terrible in a more objective sense. I haven't been raped or beat up. I haven't been abused in any noteworthy capacity at all. I've really had a picturesque life by all appearances.

I guess I just don't feel like my experiences have been extraordinary enough to justify who I am, unless I was simply wired to be an ass to begin with. Vindication and vengeance are certainly strong emotions in me. But many people who have had it MUCH worse don't fixate on those "anti social" emotions the way I do. And they're able to enjoy interpersonal relationships solely for the sake of intimacy.

Naturally, I feel that Pscyhology's understanding of sociopathy is quite lacking, as someone who appears to have all the signs and symptoms, but who is also forced to believe that his life is meaningful.

Thanks again for the response, and hopefully I haven't been too over-indulgent with this me-time.

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According to my understanding, I would actually say not necessarily. Supposedly, the vast majority of sociopaths are not unusually inclined to violence or criminal behavior of any kind. As I understand it, sociopathy refers specifically to an inability to connect emotionally with others, and (maybe by extension) an inability to empathize with others. This doesn't mean they "get off" on hurting people. The ones who do are extremely rare, supposedly.

These "functioning" sociopaths are the ones I'm interested in. The ones who are just sort of out there in limbo. This information is no secret (that there are millions of law abiding sociopaths), and yet, even these innocuous sociopaths seem to be viewed and described as sub-human. Like tolerable insects. What is it like for them? Are they aware that something isn't right in the way they relate to others? Do they feel alone, and at a loss to explain why? I suspect many of them ARE aware that they are different.

Obviously, these questions have a very personal importance to me. It's more than an academic interest. Is suicide the only dignified action that one such person could take? Is there nothing of value in these people? These people afflicted with something that I prefer to call a strange form of autism? (I'm not considering suicide, for the record). I don't know. It's an extremely mind boggling, exhausting topic, and I'm coming dangerously close to rambling.

I want to share an article that was incredibly powerful to me for any who are similarly interested. It's called The Hidden Suffering of The Psychopath and was featured on psychiatric times. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/psychotic-affective-disorders/hidden-suffering-psychopath-0

Lastly, again, I'm just the layman, here. Many people far more intelligent than me have spent a lot of time with all of this. So I probably don't have any earth shattering insights, here. And maybe I'm not a sociopath at all, so maybe I'm imparting qualities on these people in a completely ignorant way. I don't know. Things get very confusing, very quickly when you start analyzing yourself. Just some thoughts. Life is hard and stuff.

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Hey thanks for that Spotless, interesting stuff. I worked in behavioral health for a lot of years and came to the conclusion that most psychiatric diagnosis is nothing more than medicalization of ordinary life. From your article:

"Like healthy people, many psychopaths love their parents, spouse, children and pets in their own way, but have difficulty loving and trusting the rest of the world"

That describes nearly every human being I have ever met!

What we need to break free from is bogus classification. The DSM is written by psychiatrists in a room taking a vote on what diagnoses exist. It's nonsense designed for them to get business and justify their salaries.

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ha, yeah, that's the catch 22, it seems. It's unfortunately so easy to identify (at least in part) with nearly every aspect of nearly every personality disorder - which is poison for a psychological hypochondriac. It's also really easy to get lost in a philosophical labyrinth.

I used to think all human interactions ran off of a certain amount of self gratification. People enjoy the company of those from whom they gain some kind of psychological reward. It's just that most people don't examine their own social behavior closely enough to catch the selfishness that we all have in common. But, over time, I have slowly begun to think maybe this is just the natural conclusion of a sociopath. I conceptualize the thoughts and behavior of others on the basis of my own. My own thoughts and behavior are my only reference point from which to understand that of others.

But maybe the reason I've failed (if I HAVE, in fact failed) to adequately account for the behavior of others is because we are two different creatures. The premise that I am the same as everyone else was perhaps flawed from day one. But how was I supposed to know? OR...maybe my dispassionate perspective on human behavior is completely legitimate, in which case, it might just be a nuance of my introspection that I have come identify it, while others remain comfortably unaware. ****ing philosophical labyrinth. Ugh...

I actually listened to a lecture recently that was all about exactly what you said. It was all about how psychiatric illnesses fluctuate with the cultural context. One example it mentioned was that not too long ago, homosexuality was classified as a psychological disorder, and this was eventually removed and replaced with homoPHOBIA. Interesting how someone could be clinically ill and miraculously recover when the vote shifts. Really interesting stuff and it completely drove your point home.

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Hi Spotless, you are genuinely searching through your thoughts here, so I hope you won't see me as arguing with you when I ask is it possible maybe you've shut off your feeling and are now left with only thought? Maybe that is putting it too strongly, but it can really happen for people to try to have thinking take the place of feeling in our lives. After all, feeling can sometimes be about pain.

It can be very difficult to be ourselves. I don't know why we're this way, but looking around me, most people struggle.

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Yeah, though I haven't thought about it in exactly those terms. I think I reject my own emotions, or at least I insist on imposing logic on them before I feel comfortable expressing them. It's like I have to mathematically prove the legitimacy of an emotion before I feel justified in experiencing it...because I'm perfect and all, and my emotions only yield 100% objective truth (not really).

Honestly, I think I just have an underdeveloped tolerance for hardship. I was spoiled growing up. And I am a product of this new age self esteem movement. Where everything you do is precious and unique. I feel deprived when I'm not receiving feedback that suggests that I'm an ultra valuable, indespensable person. I grew up hearing so many self esteem building things; and my identity developed around an over emphasized sense of self importance. It's like a messiah complex or something. At this point, I feel inadaquate if I'm not top dog; and I feel indignant if I am not treated as such. Intellectually, I know that this attitude is completely ridiculous. I don't walk around ensuring that others feel important, and if everyone required the constant praise and gratification that I seem to, it would just be...well...it just wouldn't work...it would be absurd...completely at odds with everything that makes a society functional. But I don't know how to desire something more reasonable. How do you change what you hunger for? This is why I feel helpless. I'm insanely self centered. When I see blurbs on sociopathy/narcissism/what-have-you I retreat into a sort of defensive, philosophical numbness...like...ok...yeah, we suck...but we didn't choose to be this way...and I guarantee you, we deal with internal conflicts that you can't even imagine...so...**** you and stuff.

I think this is one reason that spirituality is repulsive to people like us. Spirituality is great at arbitrarily assigning value and meaning to people who appear to lack value otherwise. People with all manner of illness are "God's creatures"...but not sociopaths. Down's syndrome is not a choice. Physical abnormalities are not a choice. But an inherent fixation on one's own gratification, and an inherent lack of attention to the well being of others IS a choice. It's so at odds with the rhetoric of society that I feel absurd even typing it. But the essence is this: spirituality teaches us to accept things that are otherwise difficult to accept. It says "yes, you may be blind, but your blindness is supremely valuable and necessary BY VIRTUE OF ITS EXISTENCE." This is incredibly powerful. It allows us to achieve a deeper intimacy with, and appreciation for the things that ARE. But it is as bound by the laws of evolutionary progress as anything else, despite its insistence on being so high and mighty. Everything is perfect and necessary by virtue of its existence EXCEPT for antisocial behavior. Chronic anti social behavior reflects a depravity as low as the spirituality that persecutes it is high. We're all animals. This is the only truth that dignifies me. I've had a bit to drink. So...sorry if this feels like a rant. I just feel that I am beyond salvation, and I can absolutely guarantee you, I NEVER consciously chose to be incompatible with a society that I so desperately want to be a part of. never.

EDIT: none of this is aimed at anyone here.

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Spotless, you are expressing your predicament very well. I am sorry you are in so much pain.

Do you believe the thinking mind has limitations?

For me, thinking has its place, and feeling has its place. Getting coordinated between opposites is a lot of what being human can be about.

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Hello TheSpotlessPane. I've been reading along and I wanted to welcome you to our community. :)

I have some of the opposite struggle; my feelings are often at the forefront and I could balance a bit better with my thinking parts. Being human can be very challenging.

Maybe it would help to find a safe space to allow your feelings to surface? Are you able to connect with your emotions perhaps by listening to music or creating art or some other activity?

Take care.

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Most definitely. Maybe my confusion is evidence of those limitations. Thank you for your consistent, and consistently positive feedback. You're probably already aware of this, but it has an incredible impact.

Actually I never know how I will be taken when I say something. Maybe you can give yourself some credit for allowing some interaction to have a positive impact? That means there is something in you that can respond. It's important to notice things like that, especially when our self talk says that we can't do it.

One of the discoveries I've had coming here is that even though this is the internet and very limited, people can still practice relating to others and to themselves by offering their support. You get to hear another supporting you. You get to hear yourself when you offer support to another person. Later on, it might become possible to say supportive things to yourself even, but that can take a very long time.

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Actually I never know how I will be taken when I say something. Maybe you can give yourself some credit for allowing some interaction to have a positive impact? That means there is something in you that can respond. It's important to notice things like that, especially when our self talk says that we can't do it.

One of the discoveries I've had coming here is that even though this is the internet and very limited, people can still practice relating to others and to themselves by offering their support. You get to hear another supporting you. You get to hear yourself when you offer support to another person. Later on, it might become possible to say supportive things to yourself even, but that can take a very long time.

well said.

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Thank you for the warm welcome, Irma. Yes, I do love just about any creative project. I produce music (though haven't done much of it lately), and I absolutely love it. My art often ends up feeling a bit contrived, though (go figure); but in those moments where the intellect isn't corrupting the creative process, it can be truly liberating.

And to Finding, thanks for that wisdom. Reminds me that who we think we are right now doesn't have to bind us to a future of self rejection. Maybe acting out of character is an essential part of discovering a new identity. If I force myself to do and say nice things (fake and manipulative as it may seem in the moment), maybe one day, I'll come to be believe I'm a nice person. Especially when those nice things are reflected back. Wish it wasn't so much easier said than done, but at least it's a lead to go on.

EDIT: oh, also wanted to express my agreement on the internet forum bit. I feel stupid when I try to adopt new attitudes around people who already know me, because it makes me feel like I'm in denial, or trying to evade responsbility for who I've been, or even like I'm just being downright fake. The internet is a great place to escape the tyranny of your own reputation. It's one of the very few places where that inner, self hating voice isn't QUITE so persuasive. Thanks again, everyone.

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Kudos for having a creative outlet at times, Spotless! That side of experience can bring such fresh air to a person.

Looking back, travel helped me a great deal to break out of narrow habits with myself and others as I interacted with strangers. I remember a kind of instinct waking up and helping out instead of overthinking things.

My therapist recommends being kind to the body as a good start to finding a place for genuine feelings to register. That can be very tough for people, but worth it. Attending to or observing your breathing is a classic method for getting authentic with yourself.

Wishing you well!

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Question reposted from new members section-

Hi there,

I'm not entirely certain if this is the right forum to join, but there seems to be a rather large lack of support forums for people diagnosed as having ASPD (Sociopathy/Psychopathy) online. Plenty for people victimised by sociopaths, not much going the other way.

Although it isn't something that has bothered me up until recently, I was diagnosed with ASPD a number of years ago (drug fuelled run in with the law, small period of institutionalisation) and I am looking for some sort of treatment program and support to reduce the severity of my disorder. Like many so-called "high functioning sociopaths", I tend to be extremely successful in a given endeavour for a while, and at some point simply give up/tune out through lack of interest. My relationships, employment, projects ,hobbies etc tend to go the same way. After some recent soul searching, I realised that I am tired of this, I would really like to find out how I can generate the motivation and behaviors to have a normalish life. Coupled with a recent interest in spirituality, I'm going through a fair ol' identity crisis really!

I am looking for ways to reduce my behavioral and emotional abnormalities, treatments and perhaps support from others with the same condition who have improved or even cured themselves. Is there anything in the way of online communities or similar that would be appropriate? I'm not willing to undergo conventional treatment with a psychotherapist offline for a number of reasons (ok, yes, it would be one more thing to lie about/hide, and I'm trying to avoid that), so an online support forum or group would be the best.

There's a surprisingly small amount of material out there. I guess it's a catch 22, few with my condition would be willing to seek treatment or support, given that you have to feel that you are in the wrong in the first place to seek such things, and feeling bad, caring about "fitting in" etc are not things people like myself are known for.

Ok, thanks for reading. I look forward to any responses or thoughts!

Regards,

Lowkey

I am in the same position as you. I have been diagnosed with aspd also and am looking for a good online support site for those with it. i am finding a ton for family members but only one so far for those with it and on that site it seems none of them want to get better and are happy with the way they are. I guess you are right about there being so very few of us that truly want help and want to change.

I see a psychiatrist and counselor and am on Clonazapam, clonadine, trazadone, lexapro, and latuda currently to help with my symptoms. I am married and have 3 kids and because of my disorder my marriage is very strained. As in so bad we arent speaking or being in the same room as each other :(. This really upsets me cause i do love my husband and want things to be better for us. We are in marriage counseling but right now he just doesnt think i want the help or realize how i am when i do. its very hard to try and change and get better when the one person you want support from most dont believe you or trust you because of the past. I do want to be a better person and change and get all the help i need. I wish there was more support groups for people like you and me that genuinely want help.

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