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A self-diagnosed sociopath - i need help.


AbeJohnson
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Hi ladies and gentlemen, (apologies if i have posted in the wrong section)

So i should start by talking about myself i guess; I'm 20 years old, i work part time whilst studying at a college in the UK (albeit very unsuccessfully), i am in a relationship with my girlfriend of 1 year and i have struggled with strong bouts of depression since i was 12 years old.

My problems arise through my failure in education. Since i finished my GCSE's at the age of 16, i have been, and currently, failing Higher Education courses because i am lazy. I'm not unintelligent, infact tutors and teachers have told me the opposite. But i am so lazy that i will lie and procrastinate to avoid doing work. This has caused a ripple effect which as slowly been destroying my life.

I think i exhibit behaviors of a sociopath, this has negatively affect my life in such a way i have finally decided to seek help after not wanting to for years. So be gentle.

So why do i think i am a sociopath? Well here's a list of things i regularly do:

  • I am a pathological liar - i lie about anything and everything as long as it benefits me
  • I am very lazy - i will do anything to avoid doing work in my free time. I used to attend my course regularly and do the work then, but as soon as it came to doing it outside of college hours i wouldn't.
  • I will not, up until now, accept help from anyone including loved ones or medical practitioners. I feel its a sign of weakness.
  • I manipulate people and situations without any shame. I plan what i am doing in a cold and logical way.
  • I feel indifferent towards my immediate family
  • I feel indifferent towards learning and my future.
  • I forget about the bad things, which helps, but then it all comes crashing down. I slip into a tormented state, i don't sleep, eat, leave the house and i just sit at my PC.
  • I don't consider anyone a 'true' friend. I have friends but i don't think i could ever confide in them about anything.

I'm facing being kicked off my course, which will be the last straw. So i decided to maybe see if i am really fucked up and need some psychological help or if i am being a over thinking wuss.

Regards,

"Abe"

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Hello, Abe, welcome :)

I think we cannot tell whether you are a sociopath or not and I also think that the 'diagnosis' isn't very important: What's important about it is mainly that thanks to searching for a description of your problems, you've found this definition and realized that many aspects of your life can be attributed to one well known 'condition' which can be professionally treated.

So i decided to maybe see if i am really fucked up and need some psychological help or if i am being a over thinking wuss.

Based on your post, I wouldn't call you any of those. But I would surely suggest to seek a psychological help. Why? Yes; it's important to have a good and strong motivation. If we told you here that "you're f***ed up", would it be for you a reason to see a therapist?? Perhaps, but I don't think that would be a "good and strong" reason. Yet when I read your post, I can see several good and strong ones. Do you? ;)

Some examples:

i have struggled with strong bouts of depression since i was 12 years old
a ripple effect which as slowly been destroying my life
this has negatively affect my life in such a way
I'm facing being kicked off my course, which will be the last straw

This is the most important: How your life is affected by whatever you diagnosis or problem might be.

There are people who can help you. We can support you when you'll be making that important decision and when you'll try to get better, we can offer some insights, questions, info, and experiences, but not "a healing".

(One of my questions would be; have you already deeply tried to identify the real reasons for your procrastination, your depression, ...? Saying "I'm lazy" is an excuse I used to use often, too (I have a long history of procrastination, btw...). But it's just a word, not a valid concept. There are deep reasons behind every procrastination.)

It's a great step forward that you decided to come here, present your problem, and ask for some opinions. I believe you'll do the other important steps soon, too...

Good luck!!

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Thanks for the reply.

I'm lazy is a generalization, i agree. I have no desire to achieve anymore, i don't care about much, i could happily mooch around on my PC, watch TV and sleep for the foreseeable future. The only thing i care deeply about is my girlfriend and that's it really.

I'm not looking for a healing. I'm looking for help, my family have this attitude that "depression and other mental health issues are nothing and that people need to grow up". This mentality makes me scared to ask for help from them, particularly my father, he has instilled the idea that if i cant sort a problem out then it makes me weak asking for help.

In all honesty, i want nothing more than to feel alive again. To look forward to things, events and to have some shred of joy. At the moment it is just indifference about everything. And the reason i know this has become a problem is recently a friend of mine passed away and shortly after my grandfather died. And i felt nothing.

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(I'm sorry for emphasizing "no healing here" - I see that you have realistic expectations...)

That's a common and sad and even dangerous/harmful attitude - that asking for help is a weakness that should be avoided :(! It's absurd to pretend to be strong in everything and self-sufficient. But some people need to make this impression and lie even to themselves - until something too bad happens and they really need help to survive, but then they still have a big problem to accept it. Overcoming such an obstacle is often a part of therapy; it's a well-known problem.

It's great that you didn't "succumb to" this opinion of your family and decided to look for help!! And it's also great that you have a girlfriend you care so much about. I hope she'll be supportive...

nothing more than to feel alive again

Well, that's a lot ;). And I believe that you can succeed.

When you mention "help", do you have a more precise idea? When I mentioned psychotherapy, how did it make you feel and what do you think about this option?

Take care!

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Abe,

Does your father have a bank loan? You could see that as asking for help for a problem he has (lack of ready cash) from someone who has it. Sure, it's a business deal where he has to repay the loan with interest. But going to a therapist is also a business transaction, where you pay the person for their help. So is going to the doctor (your dad goes, doesn't he?), or buying stuff at the grocery store.

My personal guess? Sociopaths don't begin their posts by apologizing; they wouldn't care if they were offending. But that's just an opinion, and whether or not you're a sociopath isn't the issue; it's whether you're going to give yourself permission to be happy and healthy.

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather. Were the two of you close?

Most universities have a counseling center where you could begin the process without parental involvement. Why not try that, and see what happens?

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I live in the UK, so our health care is free. I won't have to pay. I'm currently looking at seeing a medical professional to treatment. I think its the right thing to do.

I was close to him, but i didn't really feel much when he died, that was one of the things that prompted my doubt over whether i really do have something wrong. The other doubts are already listed, i used to think i was normal, but i have soon realised that what i have been feeling is not.

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Well, thank you for an important first step: you differentiated between what you're feeling recently and your quality as a person. There are lots of good people whose illnesses make them behave badly. Luckily, you can change an illness ...

Again we're into opinion, but I don't believe a sociopath would be able to conjure up the feeling of closeness to someone, at all. On the other hand, there are all sorts of other things, including depression, that can alter the intensity of our feelings towards the world.

I'm not convinced that you haven't got any feelings for your grandfather. My guess is they're still in there, and that wherever he is now, he knows.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today, I read something insightful about psychopathy and it reminded me your attempt to self-diagnosis. I came here to post it, but then realized that it's quite out of topic, as you mentioned sociopathy, not psychopathy :o.Well, but maybe the principle itself could be interesting to you - that different problems can be often misinterpreted... and maybe someone else will read it and find it interesting for any reason ;).

At least one think is sure: My conclusion is that you're not a psychopath ;).

R. JAMES R. Blair (2003). Neurobiological basis of psychopathy. BJP 182:5-7.

(I underlined some passages most interesting to me.)

Psychopathy is a disorder, defined by Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL–R) and characterised in part by a diminished capacity for remorse and poor behavioural controls (Hare, 1991). Classifications of psychopathy are not synonymous with diagnoses of conduct disorder or antisocial personality disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) but represent an extension. These psychiatric diagnoses are poorly specified and concentrate on the antisocial behaviour. Because of this imprecision, the diagnostic rate of conduct disorder is 16% of boys in mainstream education (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) and over 80% for antisocial personality disorder in adult forensic institutions (Hart & Hare, 1996). In contrast, psychopathy is defined not only by antisocial behaviour but also by emotional impairment such as the lack of guilt. Only one-third of those who are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder meet criteria for psychopathy (Hart & Hare, 1996). Moreover, a diagnosis of psychopathy, unlike antisocial personality disorder, is informative regarding a patient’s future risk (Hare, 1991).

A striking feature of much of the antisocial behaviour shown by individuals with psychopathy is that it is mostly instrumental in nature, i.e. goal-directed towards achieving money, sexual opportunities or increased status (Cornell et al, 1996). This suggests that the pathology associated with psychopathy interferes with socialisation. It is well known that empathy-inducing, positive parenting practices give rise to less antisocial behaviour than punishment-based, negative parenting practices. This relationship is shown in healthy developing children as well as in children with conduct disorder who do not present with the emotional dysfunction of psychopathy. However, for children with conduct disorder who do present with emotional dysfunction, there is no relationship between parenting behaviours and level of antisocial behaviour (Wootton et al, 1997). In other words, the emotional impairment found in individuals with psychopathy interferes with socialization such that the individual does not learn to avoid antisocial behaviour.

Socialisation involves aversive conditioning and instrumental learning. In order to learn that hitting another is bad, this thought must be associated with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (e.g. the distress of the victim). Similarly, learning to avoid committing moral transgressions involves committing a moral transgression and then being ‘punished’ by the aversive response of the victim’s distress (Blair, 1995). Individuals with psychopathy present with severe difficulties in both aversive conditioning and instrumental learning (Patrick, 1994; Blair, 2001). Moreover, they have particular difficulties processing the fearfulness and sadness of others (Blair, 2001).

(This is an excerpt, but the whole text is available free on-line.)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi abe,

I have lived with a socialpath for the last 5 years. His head games tormented me. He never had remorse. He lacked empathy. He is a cold hearted man. He was the most charming man u will ever meet. But it was an act only to suck ur life energy from u so he can maintain his pitiful exsistantance. I'm not a dr. Or a therapist. I have no medical training. I am a serviver of his behaivior.

I actually see caring in your writing. Socialpaths don't care. U do have sorrow like Malign has stated. My experiance is sorrow doesn't happen with this type of illness. I wish you well with your illness. And hope u do recover. Or at least maintain a proper functioning level to have a normal life without alot of grief.

Your young. I do wish you the best

Take care.

Donna

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  • 2 months later...

Hello again, A.J.,

I wonder if you've heard/read about the book "Confessions of a sociopath". I don't know if it's a good idea for you to read it. I just mention it as it might interest you...

BTW; there is one thing that makes me think (after hearing quite a lot about that book, including an interview with the author) that you're probably rather not a sociopath: You can feel depressed. And it seems to me as if reall socipaths were somehow deprived of true feelings (at least how we know them). But this may be just my wrong interpretation :o. In any case; it would be much better to see a mental health care professional (probably more that one, to get more opinions) and to consult options for your treatment, for improving your life.

How are you these days??

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