When someone says the word sociopath, most people think of cold blooded killers.
Batman’s ‘Joker’, and criminals. You don’t often think of your best friend, your next door neighbour, or your other half.
Sociopath. What with all the movies and press can seem glamorous at a glance, but in its milder form, it’s actually diagnosed as Antisocial personality disorder.
And this is what I was diagnosed with.
I can be your best friend, your lover, the most caring person in your life. But it’s all false.
The fact is, as much as I can be there and listen to your problems, I can only mimic the socially acceptable response of sympathy. I can never feel it myself. One of APD’s main signs is a lack of empathy.
It started out in childhood. I knew from a very young age that I could play my parents off one another. Manipulate and lie to get out of trouble, as most children do.
But as I got older I became better at it, and was able to use it more for my own personal gain.
It would start with little lies here and there, until eventually I was lying all the time, even when there was no reason to – simply because I could.
I have very little emotional connection with other people.
I first knew I was different when a close family member passed away. I didn’t feel any sense of loss, or grief. I felt very alienated in that way. Of course the rest of my family was devastated, but I felt fine to just carry on with life.
My mother always said I’d have a delayed reaction, and grief would hit me one day.
I’ve had 5 years since then to realise that it never even bothered me.
It is very much the same with other members of my family. I have a habit of only being in touch when something is needed and only when it benefits me. Which can be anything from money, to overcoming boredom. When someone goes away, I feel only concern for my own loneliness, rather than to actually miss a person.
I am not a dangerous criminal.
I don’t want to give anybody the wrong impression. I may lack empathy and rarely feel remorse, but I do know the difference between right and wrong, and I’m certainly not going to go out of my way to start a murder spree. Not everyone with APD is a killer or a criminal, plus, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
A lot of people have this view that people with APD all have violent tendencies, and that can be true to an extent, but I am not one of those. I am definitely not a violent person, but at the same time, I also have no need to be. I get the things I want mainly through my skills as a liar and being deceptive. However, theft is a common practice, but I never feel bad for the lies I tell or the actions I take. I’ll only ever be sorry I got caught.
I am incredibly impulsive.
I have racked up huge debts, with no intention of paying them back. Enjoyed plenty of illegal substances and not given a single thought to any consequences.
However it does come with downsides. People with APD are at higher risk of being unemployed or made homeless due to these impulsive behaviours and lack or respect for authority. I have been both of those things, on more than one occasion. But it still doesn’t stop me.
To me, everyday is just another day hiding behind a mask.
The fake personality I’ve created for myself – I can be charming, charismatic, and make friends incredibly easily. I can also get myself out of tricky situations by using these fake personality traits to my advantage. I know what I need to do and be at any given time and I can imitate that to get what I need.
I am currently in a long-term relationship, and I have molded my personality to one that pleases my partner. In doing that we both get what we want. I may not be able to truly ‘love’ a person in the true sense of the word, but I am fiercely loyal to my other-half no matter what, and always will be, for as long as I am benefiting from the relationship one way or another.
I don’t want to be seen as heartless.
And I don’t want to ‘watch the world burn’ as is the stereotype. I don’t have malicious feelings towards others, just little to none.
I want to fit in with everyone around me, as does everyone with an illness, and everyone without for that matter.
This may not be the usual article, but it is an honest one.
APD might not effect a person the same way as depression might or anxiety. But its an illness all the same, and an invisible one at that.