In the realm of mental health, few terms carry as much weight and intrigue as “sociopath.” It conjures images of cunning villains in movies and crime dramas, as well as real-life serial killers, weaving intricate webs of deceit and manipulation. And while yes, that is a big part of it, it’s imperative to peel back the layers and uncover a more comprehensive understanding of this intricate psychological profile.
After seeing so many serial killers be described as clinical sociopaths, it’s hard not to shiver at the mention of Antisocial Personality Disorder. I, myself, am guilty of a few shivers. It wasn’t until I saw Dyshae, an ASPD-diagnosed boy, speak about the darkest parts of his condition in such a rational way, that I realized the power of self-awareness.
In a matter-of-fact tone, the boy delves into the recesses of his mind in a youtube video called An Interview with a Sociopath, discussing the shadowed contours of his disorder without flinching. He calmly recounts moments when empathy eluded him, how he meticulously calculated his actions to manipulate outcomes, and the detached yet careful manner in which he navigated through his successful relationships. Yet, amidst this clinical exposition of his darker tendencies, a glimmer of light emerges – his self-awareness. He speaks of the pivotal moment when he confronted the dissonance between his actions and his desire for genuine connection. This self-confrontation spurred a relentless quest to understand his condition, analyze his triggers, and cultivate a conscious control over his impulses. His awareness became a compass guiding him away from destructive paths.
Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder stand at the crossroads of humanity and automation, their thoughts marching forward with a meticulous cadence, untouched by the erratic emotions that stir the souls of others. In their enigmatic realm, they are like observers, dispassionately navigating a world awash in feeling, a realm where empathy remains a cryptic language deciphered only by others.
All of this just portrays a different way of thinking, therefore these individuals are just in need of guidance as to how to navigate through a society that is so heavily reliant on feelings, all the while not being scientifically tethered to these ‘emotions’ that reign supreme in human life, the very maestros of existence. It sounds like it’d be a complicated life for anybody.
The truth is that the dark and chilling outcome of this disorder that is shown in true crime shows is the result of a lack of the aforementioned guidance; a worst-case scenario. We can’t ignore that the need for therapy is crucial, perhaps even life-or-death.
However, it’s a common misconception that all individuals with ASPD are destined to become malevolent forces, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. While it is true that remorse and guilt might elude many who grapple with this disorder, the narrative is far from monochromatic. Rational thought and keen common sense are taught by therapists so that they can frequently step in to fill the void, allowing individuals with ASPD to navigate the world with calculated precision.
Therapy –when a more nuanced perspective unveils the intricacies of their psyche, where rationality and impulsivity engage in a delicate dance. This dance can find its choreographer in the form of self-awareness. With a mirror turned towards their own minds, they may glimpse the mechanics of their impulses, and by understanding the cogs and gears, learn to recalibrate their responses.
I am not denying the could-be dangerous symptoms of a sociopath, the fact of the matter is that some are driven by manipulation and lack of emotion. But I am acknowledging these symptoms in a way that rids them of all their power. Individuals with ASPD have to wield the power of introspection as a beacon of transformation, the same goes for the public.
When dealing with a person with ASPD, self-awareness and rationality are the keys to success. At the end of the day, to ask a sociopath to feel as an ordinary human does is akin to demanding a machine to weep – the gears may turn, but the essence remains elusive. Why call evil that which works as it was designed?
As cliché as it sounds, ASPD doesn’t instill evil symptoms, it just creates a different human being. Their feelings just look different from ours, resembling the similar shape of logic. Within the labyrinthine corridors of a sociopath’s mind, emotions appear like distant echoes, barely resonating against the steel walls of rationality. There’s nothing conventionally normal about this, but there’s nothing wrong with it either.