My friend has antisocial personality disorder
I have a friend who’s a sociopath. To be precise, she has been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. She’s blond, blue-eyed and beautiful. She’s a good person, and she has a personality disorder. As you may know sociopaths are incapable of feeling empathy for others. I asked my friend about her desire to connect with other people, and whether it frightens them that she has a personality disorder. She said:
“The hardest part is not that I’m scary. It is that people’s reactions to the diagnosis are scary. It is scarier and more dangerous for me to tell people than it ever has been for anyone to be around me.”
She was diagnosed later in life when she was 26. She was asked about having meaningful connections with other people. The psychologist who was evaluating her wanted to know if she was able to connect with others. By her responses to the questions she was asked, there were signs that she didn’t have an investment in having these relationships. She was indifferent to bonding with others, which was a marker for sociopathy.
Empathy and understanding feelings
My friend doesn’t have empathy, and she doesn’t understand what it is. She has a vague recollection of what it could be, but from her understanding, it feels as if people aren’t truthful about their feelings.
“Empathy is one of those things I have to Google often to remind myself what it is. In my understanding, it is understanding what another person experiences or feels no matter what it is. I think that is total nonsense. I am not going to lie and say I understand what it is like for a queer, nonbinary person of color. I don’t have that lived experience.”
I understand what she means about not wanting to fake a feeling that she hasn’t genuinely experienced. As someone with antisocial personality disorder, she doesn’t intrinsically know how to express empathy. Instead of faking it, she tries to learn about other people and how they tick. It’s essential to be curious and not assume that you know what another person feels. In fact, she believes that in many ways, people aren’t as genuinely empathetic as they appear.
“So, in my understanding of empathy, everyone else is merely lying. Am I capable of loving people? Yes. Am I capable of understanding everyone’s experience when I haven’t lived it or have no comparison? No. I also am capable of learning and listening and not lying about understanding their situation if I don’t.“
One thing that you hear about sociopaths is that they lie a lot. I have been wondering about this, and I asked my friend to clarify her thoughts on lying. Do sociopaths lie as much as we think they do? In the case of my friend who has antisocial personality disorder, she thinks that sociopaths get a bad reputation for lying. In reality, someone with antisocial personality disorder is less likely to lie because they aren’t as concerned with what others think about them.
“I think people believe sociopaths lie so they are more well liked. This I don’t understand. It’s the total opposite of a sociopath. Why should I lie so people like me? Why should I do anything so people like me?”
Being a sociopath means that you aren’t terribly concerned with how others see you. There isn’t an incentive to build your life up in a certain way or make it seem better than it is. Do sociopaths lie? Sure, they do. And they may not feel guilty about it either. They just won’t do it for the purpose of making themselves look a particular way. They don’t care about how others see them.
“Trying to make meaningful (romantic) relationships always felt like an emotional straitjacket.”
These are my friend’s words about trying to find love. Being a sociopath can difficult. If you are unsure about whether or not you are a sociopath, you can take a sociopath test, but it’s best to see a mental health professional. If find out you have a personality disorder, it’s essential to get help. There may be misunderstandings, and people may not get you. But those who are patient will learn to understand where you are coming from and try to accept you for who you are, as I have accepted my friend.