A Dash of Sociopathy Anyone?

Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Writing | 4 comments

psychtodayA few weeks ago I bought Psychology Today. The cover blared, “Confessions of a Sociopath.” The cashier glanced at me, then down at the cover, and said, “Be careful, you might learn something.”

Hah! I thought. I wish.

I’m jesting, but not entirely.

The author of the article is high-functioning, successful, and a church volunteer. As I read the article, I couldn’t help but wonder what my life would be like if I leaned toward the sociopathic end of the spectrum. I’m not talking violence here. Most (or maybe only many) sociopaths aren’t violent, or even bad people, per se, but they are manipulators with a lack of affect. Everything they do is for a reason, and that reason is self-serving. They mimic us “empaths” surprisingly well, most of the time. They are our neighbors.

As I was saying, I got to wondering what a little sociopathy would feel like. Because, let’s face it, sociopaths aren’t bogged down by caring about others’ feelings or opinions. They’re often fearless. They aren’t prone to depression (my issue) in large part because they have such a super-inflated sense of their own superiority.

Wow, must be liberating. Where would I be now in my writing career if I’d always known my novels were superior? If I hadn’t despaired about whether I had writing talent? If I hadn’t let others’ opinions (especially those in the power seat like literary agents) erode my confidence?

Soon enough I’ll be needing to talk about KILMOON with some kind of authority–as if I really know what I’m talking about! Yee gads…I just write, folks. Do I know what I’m doing half the time? Not really.

This is where a dash of sociopathy might come in handy. Then I’d fearlessly talk up my fabulous novel without a care in the world, not to mention stare down anyone who dared to disagree with me.

If you’re curious about the sociopathic life, check out www.sociopathworld.com. Great fodder for character (as in fictional) building!

4 Comments

  1. I’ll bet you’re right, it would be easier. Isn’t it kind of like a blind person, though? A person who has never had sight doesn’t know what colors look like. The sociopath doesn’t know what they’re missing, love, hate, good feelings, bad feelings, insecurity, pride, the nuanced hues of humanity. I’d feel sorry for them except that’s very hard to do!

    • I agree–seems like their emotional lives are like facsimiles of the human experience…I imagine it’s lonely.

  2. I’ve always felt like I was on the other end of the spectrum- hyper-sensitive. There’s probably a “pathy” for that too, eh? I’d hate to think I was totally sane. So boring.

    • Oh I know, me too! I think the clinical opposite is neuroticism (check it out on Wikipedia–what do you think?). I know that sociopaths and psychopaths rank very low for neuroticism. Be glad, you’re not so sane. Neither am I!

      After writing this post yesterday, I got to wondering whether there are any sociopathic novelists out there. Strikes me you’d need to understand emotions and have a level of empathy to write characters well…

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