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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Am I a Psychopath?

Question: I am concerned that I might be a psychopath. I'm not a criminal though. At least, I don't steal or commit violent acts. Actually that's not entirely true. I have committed violent acts in the past and I have stolen from corporations but never individuals. I am really more concerned about my apparent lack of emotion. I don't have a normal fear response, and I am unable to make emotional connections with people, including my own family. I have had many people in my life describe me as being soulless, or unfazable. I think I know the difference between right and wrong, and I believe myself to be a moral person, but I will admit that I do not believe that this has anything to do with a concern for other people's feelings. Rather, i think I am just following a set of rules that I have put in place for myself based on my own definitions of integrity and honor. This is where I start to have doubts. From what I have read, true psychopaths have no comprehension or regard for these concepts. Also, I am not a pathological liar. In fact, I am usually honest to a fault. I don't see myself as being manipulative either, but some of my friends tend to disagree with me on that point. I guess what I want to know is: How can I know for sure, and is it something that I should really be concerned about? From what I understand, if I really am a psychopath, there is no treatment for it. Could there be a better explanation for my specific apparent condition?

Answer: Because this is so concerning to you, and you have strong feelings about the kind of person you want to be, I don't think you are a sociopath. Sometimes, when we are little kids, our parents are unable to show us empathy and love and then we don't learn how to relate to other's feelings. I do worry about the past crimes and violence. You may have some character traits of antisocial personality disorder. And, you may have schizoid personality traits as well. Schizoid personality disorder is a pattern of detachment from social relationships including family, appears indifferent, lacks close friends, shows emotional coldness, does not find pleasure in social activities.  So maybe how you grew up and how your parents taught you how to interact and feel has a part in this and maybe you have some schizoid traits. With some therapy, you can learn how to relate more effectively with people. I encourage you to get therapy. And...no more crimes ok!