Probably Not A Sociopath

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by kmoss, Feb 25, 2015.

  1. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    I saw this phrase lurking around the forum earlier and I figured, given the high amount of people willing to talk about their brain things on here + the amount of people I see on here who tend towards a semi-detached method of operating with other people...I might as well toss this one up too.

    For me, I thought for a pretty long time that I was a sociopath, or had sociopathic tendencies. And then I realized that I probably just have a pretty detached method of dealing with people in real life, combined with a pretty decent charisma. (which I guess doesn't necessarily mean I'm not.)

    I also live with someone with pretty high empathy/sensitivity to other people's embarrassment, and it is periodically frustrating to me.
  2. Morven

    Morven In darkness be the sound and light

    I sort of have both this, and yet completely outsized portions of empathy for some things. It's frustrating.
  3. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Are you familiar with James Fallon's writing on the topic?

    Also, my own thoughts on the topic: Kaiju
  4. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    I have read your own thoughts on this - and it's what got me interested in the whys and wherefors of my own brain.

    I'm a strong proponent of the idea that kindness and being polite are naturally evolved social contracts, and they make a great deal of sense to me.

    I'm not familiar with James Fallon, though. I'll have to check it out.
  5. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    That was me! And that was me for a reason. I take comfort from the fact that sociopaths are expected to not experience embarrassment, and I do. Also from the fact that I did not relate to all of Seebs' Kaiju post.

    But in the last few years I've started to really value straightforwardness. I'm still really interested in how people are manipulated, though, and I work in marketing, which is sort of inherently about manipulation on a large scale. I also spent about eight or nine months setting up a friend for a text-based smackdown on tumblr, because she is uncomfortably close to being an SJW on a number of issues, but I didn't want to be direct because she and her fiancé are our only friends who actually live in town (sadly, I have not had a chance to sit down with her for tea to explain how she was wrong, and I might not, because she's one of the recruiters for the job my roommate did her second interview for today).

    And part of it is being detached and goal-oriented, but I think part of it is also just liking control and wanting to exert it in a world that is essentially out of my control, and it's sort of tricky to separate that and figure out the different categories of acceptable, acceptable as long as one doesn't explain it, and unacceptable manipulation.

    I do, in general, try to make sure people are better after I'm done with them.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  6. ADigitalMagician

    ADigitalMagician The Ranty Tranny

    What she failed to mention is that she set this friend up by carefully manipulating the rest of her social circle into doing it. I believe I can safely call myself the fulcrum of the entire enterprise.

    This is true.
    • Like x 1
  7. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    I know I still do the thing where if I really don't like a person, I'll do that thing where you basically destroy their credibility over a period of years. But I generally like most people. And even though manipulation is fun, I really like dissecting how it works. (also, @ADigitalMagician 's post was posted while I was typing this. So clearly the tactic works)

    Plus, it gives me an emotional boost when I help people out, like when I tell my roomie how to write an email that will make her professor appreciate her and agree with her as opposed to an email where she comes off as very awkward and extremely nervous (since she is pretty socially anxious and hates writing emails.)

    I've also noticed that while I hate being manipulated, it's only when they do it badly and obviously.

    But in the past few years, I've gotten weirdly into ethical practices in psychology (probably because the entire major basically brainwashes you into the importance of ethics). But they do it well.

    It's definitely about control of environment.
  8. Deresto

    Deresto Foolish Mortal

    i actually identify with nearly all of this, although i do experience what i think is remorse; i noticed when i was little that it was "weird" to not feel sorry for stuff and that made me feel cruddy and "othered" from the group as a whole so i took that feeling and turned it into my remorse reaction. so my remorse skill is from feeling remorse about not feeling remorse (what kind of inception bullshit).

    in fact, i think a lot of my emotions that arent one of the Big Three as i call them (fear, anger, and happy) are all bastardized psuedo-emotions i formed out of the others. i didn't include sad because i see that as more of a stress reaction than a legitimate feeling for me. i think i really see more of my 'reasons for ambitions and goals' than 'reasons for behavior' in your post. sort of a 'wow someone else does that too' thing; different brainweird similar results?

    most of the time when i say sorry to people it's out of obligation of a not so nice childhood and less about me empathizing with the situation. BUT i do feel sorry for not being sorry.

    if any of this is tmi or nonsensical, its because i really should be sleeping hahaha.
  9. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    No, that makes sense.

    I don't really feel "sorry" exactly. I want people to feel better or be happy most of the time, though.

    But in general, I don't experience "remorse" about things I've done that did not attain those goals. Sure, I'll change my behavior to get better results, but I don't have that weird horrible sense of wrongness people seem to get. And I don't mind, because it sounds annoying.
  10. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    The whole guilt thing seems weird to me. I think I get in-the-moment-uncomfortable from other people if they're offended at something I've done, but I can't go back in time and magically fix shit, and they can't either, so unless they want to get started on those time machine blueprints, I don't really care.

    I think most of the uncomfortable for me is the "You're expecting me to feel bad about this for how long? Man, I got shit to do." Combined with "Okay, so you have a problem with how I made this happen. And you won't tell me this really obvious fact out loud because you think it's more fun to give me the silent treatment?"

    To be fair, I moved from Michigan to Wisconsin to ND, so this could be remaining culture shock of "That's not 'north dakota nice', that's called 'i don't want to make waves so i'm going to be a bitch'." (which seems solidly counterproductive.)
  11. Deresto

    Deresto Foolish Mortal

    basically? i just don't like people being purposely obtuse.

    honestly, i've done so much personality adjustment over the course of my life, i wonder what's even me anymore. my mom told me when i was about ten that i was a "weird baby who never cried when she had to get shots" and i decided right then and there i was going to be afraid of needles, because that was obviously a common fear. i felt the pain, shots hurt. but it never occurred to me to cry about it until it stood out that i wasn't crying about it.

    shit's annoying, i probably won't do stuff like that anymore.
  12. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    There is no possibility that I am a sociopath. I'm a very emotional and affectionate person. My brother, however... his girlfriend thinks he might be, and has talked to her therapist about it, and her therapist says it seems possible/plausible. My brother is a gentle person, but he is unemotional and his affect is very stiff, all of that on top of him having empathy issues. He cares about people, but takes an extremely intellectualized approach to understanding them, and doesn't know what to do when that fails him (when his girlfriend has a panic attack, for example). He doesn't feel bad when other people do, even if he wants them to feel better. And he's very charismatic and effortlessly popular.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  13. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    One of the issues is that we might need a terminology distinction between the underlying cognitive traits and the maladaptive handling of them.
    • Like x 5
  14. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    I used to worry about being a sociopath, what with being low-empathy and rather blatantly detached/overly-intellectual view of people. I'm also fairly charismatic and don't really have a problem with lying or bullshitting in general. I feel like I'd be more manipulative except I'm terrible at long-term planning. For amusement I used to give people mildly bad advice, which they generally took, and I'm not sure if the advice was only mildly bad because of some sort of inhibition on my part or because I didn't believe that they'd take it if it were worse.
    No feelings of remorse or guilt, although I do feel regret and embarrassment quite strongly. No sense of "I should help that person", although a vague sense of "there should be less suffering in the world".
    When I say "worry" I was more concerned with not being a good enough actor to convince people that I'm not a sociopath rather than any problems with being a sociopath itself.
    I did like seebs' Kaiju piece, although it gave me the sense of not even fighting other giant monsters; I mitigate damage by simply not going to Tokyo. I like to think that I act mostly morally, but I know that it's mostly being too lazy to hurt people. I've generally stopped giving advice other than in mathematics, and I care enough about potential contributions to mathematics that I don't deliberately try to screw people over on it.
  15. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I think you may be less innately combative than I am.
  16. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    That is quite possible! I also don't find pain very interesting or amusing the way you seem to. I gave people bad advice to see if they would take it rather than to harm them. I find people more interesting as collections of ideas and beliefs than as beings with emotional or physical states, so hurting them doesn't do anything for me, which is why I don't do it deliberately.
  17. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    I much prefer winning. There are friendly games you play with your friends, and then there are the long games you play with other people. But luckily, all these games have rules. (and it is fun to see how people react to the rules)
  18. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I prefer winning, but I learned a while back that I can redefine the game.

    I used to get really frustrated when out mining in MMOs because other players compete for things. Then I started playing a game where if I saw people trying to mine near monsters, I tried to kill monsters for them so they would have a more pleasant experience because that would be fun too. Problem solved.
    • Like x 4
  19. ADigitalMagician

    ADigitalMagician The Ranty Tranny

    I used to play EVE, and this is an actual thing: You have guys who are super efficient miners, but can't protect themselves from mobs/other players, and then you have guys who can fly super efficient combat frigates and they protect the miners, and hopefully everyone splits the profits.

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