Sociopaths?

Submitted by whitedeer on
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This may be slightly off topic but I've been wondering about it for a while and wondered if anyone else had input.

I see how I am affected in short term and longer-term ways by orgasm and higher-heat sex. I literally get sick. It's not a fun thing to re-experience over and over to learn the lesson!

One thing I have been seriously wondering about, is how a person can tell the difference between post orgasm symptoms in a partner and intentional manipulation if the partner has a personality disorder like sociopathy?

It seems there would be a difference in how these relationships function/degrade compared to the relationship between two "normal" people. Would orgasm affect a sociopath? Would karezza affect them? Personally I don't really think it could, (?) because a fundamental part of their existence is the inability to bond. Someone who cannot bond, but intentionally manipulates and hides this fact, might look similar to a partner affected by porn addiction/orgasm cycle. But there would be a fundamental, real difference. Would there be a way to spot which is which? Despite intentional deception?

The lack of the need to bond (plus manipulation) by a sociopath and the breakdown in bonds/power struggle/cheating etc due to the orgasm cycle seemed similar in a lot of ways to me. Wondered if anyone had thoughts on it.

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A Hunch

I have a hunch that if someone suffers from say a narcissistic or borderline personality disorder or some kind of sociopathy, then the point is pretty moot. Such a person will not agree to karezza type sex. It's too intimate. So there's really no way to find out.

My Suspicions

Hi WhiteDeer,

Alice Miller has talked about three possible outcomes in adulthood as a result of child abuse. One of them is sociopathology.

Marnia suggests in this thread (http://www.reuniting.info/node/1734) that it is possible to use non-sexual bonding style activities to heal the effects of rather severe manifestations of child abuse. One of the case examples is of a child with autism. Autistic kids can be, in my experience, remarkably indifferent to the feelings of other people.

So I would suspect that if a sociopath had truly had enough of his or her way of expressing unhealed past trauma and was willing to give the non-sexual aspects of the Exchanges a go, there might be a possibility of recovery. That said, safety for the partner would be crucial. It would take a partner who wasn't terribly concerned about the connection failing but willing to give this person a chance at recovery. There are less intimate approaches to healing that might be helpful too.

Just my thoughts.

Sincerely,

"Arnold"

Hi, Arnold! Thanks for the

Hi, Arnold! Thanks for the reply!

I would respectfully disagree that sociopathy/psychopathology is largely a result of childhood environment, or can be treated. As far as I can tell as a layperson, the general agreement seems to be that sociopathic individuals can come from happy non-abusive families. Theories about brain damage and genetic causes are plentiful. I have also heard autism discussed as similar to sociopathy in terms of lack of empathy, however, autistic individuals do not seem to have the innate need and ability to manipulate others that sociopaths do. Autistic people are "honest" in their inability to bond with others. Sociopaths seem to become expert at mimicking normal bonding behaviours while not actually feeling them.

Also, sociopaths are generally not considered treatable as far as I understand. They consider themselves just fine the way they are, and use therapy as a way to hone their manipulative skills.

The reason I brought up the subject on this website is because a sociopath imitates the bonding mechanisms of empathetic people for exploitation. This objectification/exploitation becomes apparent over time, and is obviously unacceptable. Meanwhile 'normal' relationships degrade in all sorts of ways due to understandable post orgasm cycle issues. I was wondering in a general sense how an empathetic person could tell the difference between a sociopath’s inability to bond and a normal person’s ‘symptoms’ as a reaction to porn addiction etc. I think I read one recovering porn addict state that when he was using, he felt that he became like a "mini psychopath." I find that interesting. I think he described a lack of emotions and objectification of people around him. Sociopaths by nature are always emotionally superficial and objectify people. Some have proposed a theory that their oxytocin receptors are not functioning correctly, others that there is something wrong with the amygdala.

The only answer I can come up with for myself is that a person with an addiction or lost in post orgasm cycle would still WANT to be connected with others. There would still be a fundamental ability to feel remorse, shame and guilt that a sociopath absolutely lacks. Most people at their most basic level want to bond with others. A sociopath never does and would never feel any need to "reach" for another person. I don't mean to go off on total tangents here, but I think the topic of sociopathy has a lot to do with bonding, and since karezza is all about bonding, I felt it all fits together.

Again. Thank you for your reply! There is a ton of more or less reputable research about sociopaths out there, and this is already really long so I’ll try to keep it short!
These articles seemed relevant to the discussion:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201304/understandin...

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wicked-deeds/201408/psychopathic-cr...

http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15850/1/Characteristics-of-a-Sociopa...

Thanks

This is really interesting.

And...I still wonder what 3 weeks of daily bonding behaviors would do, assuming you could get honest answers about their effect from a sociopath. Unlikely, I know.

The reason I say this is because men's objectification of women (and even women's objectification of men) is often reported as changing radically once the supernormal stimulation of porn is out of the picture. This article gives a sense of what I'm talking about, but I've seen more extreme self-reports: Guys Who Gave Up Porn: On Sex and Romance

A few more thoughts

Hi Whitedeer,

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm no expert on sociopaths. I would like to know what that term actually means. I read a book a while back (A First Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi) which claimed that WWII Nazi SS officers tried and convicted of war crimes at the Nuremburg trials were tested by psychologists of the day and found to be healthy (i.e. not sociopaths). They killed millions of people as if it were a good thing to do! If there is no way that sociopaths (once we know what they are) are treatable, then there is only one solution: identify them, and isolate them from the targets of their pathology so the damage they do is minimal and/or stopped altogether.

I tend to lean (perhaps naively) towards the attitude that all people have an innate potential for both destructiveness and creativity. Those of us who have been strongly socialized tend to not be aware of our repressed violence. Others, who aren't so able to control themselves, frequently end up in jail. They repress their innate goodness.

I've heard suggestions that Hitler might have not been so destructive if he'd been allowed to become the artist/architect that he originally wanted to be. Alice Miller wrote a fair bit about him. I've also heard a story about a serial murderer (Angulimala) who Buddha transformed into a disciple. This last story fits with one of your articles' suggestion that sociopaths respond well to positive reward. Perhaps the reason that sociopaths are deemed "untreatable" is because the culture which makes this assertion is itself ill.

In response to your question: "I was wondering in a general sense how an empathetic person could tell the difference between a sociopath’s inability to bond and a normal person’s ‘symptoms’ as a reaction to porn addiction etc.", I would suggest that that person's own intuition in addition to whatever history (and/or formal diagnosis) he or she can obtain about their potential partner would be their best bet. Intimacy is always risky and there are no guarantees that it will work out the way we originally intend and/or hope.

I once spent quite a while getting to know the only woman I knew who shared my interest in a healing approach to intimacy. After having been given multiple excuses for putting off our exploration of the Exchanges, I finally asked if we were going to try them or not. She then agreed to explore them with me. We lasted about 3 nights at which point she accused me of "Codependency" and bailed. Is that sociopathology? It certainly was hurtful. She failed to take responsibility for her fears and/or interests. Fortunately, I was strong enough to weather the storm and carried on with my own healing process in other ways. I also got a precious glimpse of the power of the Exchanges. It convinced me more deeply of their effectiveness (perhaps this is why she bailed, she feared the depth of intimacy they help create). It was a risk I took and in the end I think I was a winner. If I'd been overly attached to the dream of "Happily ever after", I would probably have been more deeply hurt and would have lost my awareness of the gift that had been given to me.

Does this help?

Sincerely,

"Arnold"

Hey there again! I am

Hey there again! I am studying for finals right now so forgive this hurried reply. I found this short article that I think helps explain what I am trying to say. It also described their approach to their sex lives (relevant to why they are incapable of karezza/trust/any type of relationship depth or bonding):

"In 1941, Hervey Cleckley identified the major traits of the sociopathic individual. According to Cleckley, a sociopath’s sex life will be “impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated.” Plenty of people have anonymous sex outside of committed relationships, but a sociopathic person will be incapable of having sex that involves emotional attachment."
...
"A sociopath is only concerned with him or herself. Cleckley argues that they are completely incapable of love. They simply don’t understand and don’t care about the emotions of others. A sociopath may be able to pretend to feel certain emotions and deep affection, but will never actually do so."
-
http://www.bustle.com/articles/90671-11-signs-you-could-be-a-sociopath-b...

The key there for me is that they are capable of PRETENDING to feel emotions, but never actually do. That's why I bring this up here. I just think it's important to be aware that there is a certain segment of the human population, however tiny, that is literally physically incapable of interest in bonding and if they pretend they are it is only for purposes of exploitation and personal gain. In reference to karezza being an ancient mammalian bonding mechanism, it has been theorized that sociopathy is an ancient genetic throwback from before humans "evolved" into bonded groups, or that it is a side-by-side evolution of an almost intra-species predator. Regardless of why they are the way they are - their bonding systems literally do not fire.

Lots of people are "regular jerks" and flawed - even extremely horrible people - but they have emotion. They are capable of grief even if it only for themselves. Like the article says, plenty of non-sociopaths cheat. The difference I guess is that sociopaths absolutely do not have guilt about it, of any kind. It's not as if they have a relationship with you with any level of honesty or an open heart. They do not know what it feels like to love a person or connect with them. The only feeling they know is boredom and the only "connection" they have to others is power. They don't go around saying to partners: "Hey I'm a sociopath I'd really like to exploit you for social capital today/ use you for some other ancillary benefit that has nothing to do with your humanity while convincing you I love you and you can trust me deeply. I don't have any remorse about destroying your life."

On one last note, my scanner is broken but if it wasn't, I'd share a picture from this book: http://www.amazon.com/Murderous-Minds-Psychopathic-Neurological-Manifest...

Dean Haycock, Phd, shows an compilation of brain scans in this book that shows sociopathic inmate's brains, non sociopathic inmate's brains, and non-incarcerated brains. They were all shown emotional content. The non sociopathic inmates and non incarcerated people all lit up in response to the emotional content. So even the inmates, who were not sociopathic responded the same way the people from the outside did.The sociopaths' scans were dead, grey, absolutely no reaction, no lights went off, absolutely nothing. They are physically different on a neurological level to the average person. Witnessing emotional content has no effect on their brains at all.
They do not feel intense happiness, pain, sorrow, grief at the death of a loved one, nothing. Absolutely nothing. I am not trying to paint them as evil, they are just absolutely incapable of feeling for others.

In any case, it is totally fine to agree to disagree on any of these issues. I just personally feel the topic is important. Thanks for listening to my long rant! :)

All the best!

Again, thank you

It's so difficult not to project normalcy on people...however abnormal they may be.

Your education is very timely. I have a brilliant (in every other area of her life) friend who seems to be involved with one of these people. I keep watching her assume that the sociopath is "like her" (or sincerely trying to be like her) and this single incorrect assumption (projection) is leading to one self-destructive decision after another.  The strange thing is that the sociopath openly tells her, "I wouldn't feel anything if you died. Caring about another person is a sign of neediness. Not caring is strength," etc. And still my friend can't seem to help projecting her own caring feelings onto this person. I'll pass along the information you so generously shared.

Good luck on those finals!

Thank you! Finals went well :

Thank you! Finals went well :) I've rambled here, forgive all the disconnected ideas!

I've found support on the forum I've linked below very helpful for detaching from the sociopath I feel I have been in a relationship with. Your friend may find it helpful - the breakup and aftermath, and addiction in these relationships seems to be unique. It is extremely hard to break free.

https://www.psychopathfree.com/forum.php

There are also numerous books that really do help on this subject. One thing about your friend - it is extremely hard to leave this type of relationship. Even if you do leave, the sociopath will usually come back in some way in a way a normal person would not, preventing you from moving on and increasing the addiction to them. They were never in the relationship in a real way so they don't really ever understand what "over" or "together" means.They understand you as disposable and useful, that is all. You have to quit it yourself, go totally "no contact." And it is really, really hard. There is a lot of cognitive dissonance and also probably trauma bonds to deal with.

In being active on the above forum, I've noticed people talking about "quitting" their sociopaths, much like members here speak of quitting orgasm or porn.

I find this entire subject very interesting because it runs a very close parallel to what you discuss with karezza. The sociopath uses our bonding mechanisms, our production of oxytocin, dopamine.. to totally addict us to them in a destructive way. Even when they abuse and degrade their victims, people go back to them because the intensity of the relationship is so strong. It is more like quitting a drug than a typical breakup. They also often "triangulate" targets against each other, getting a power kick over watching two people fight over them.

Reading about this subject reminds me of the way this site talks about quitting the high dopamine stimulus of porn, orgasm, etc. Sociopaths seem to create a similar addiction by being super intense, super charming, mirroring the person they target and other manipulative tactics. A normal relationship is not as intense as a relationship with a cluster B personality disordered individual, just like normal sex is not as intense as the way porn acts on the brain. These normal pathways are totally overloaded and "fooled" into addiction to an empty object in both cases - a screen or a person that cannot feel and abuses you covertly or overtly.

The sociopath "love bombs" as a tactic of intentional manipulation, not because they feel love. The target becomes highly bonded to the sociopath, but the sociopath cannot feel bonds so they never "attach" mutually. Intermittent reinforcement helps cement the target's dependence on the sociopath/psychopath.

I guess all I'm trying to say is - if your friend goes back and forth a lot, that is totally normal, because the sociopath is probably showing her "multiple realities" -sometimes the loving face and sometimes the cold face, then manipulating her to believe everything is her fault. All sorts of lies and entanglements that boggle the mind of a 'normal' person. You end up questioning your senses because they contradict everything you sense - and feeling completely unreal, incapable. They take away your sense of self and make you feel extremely dependent on them - which leads you down a path of increasing degradation and abuse, and they still never care. People who work in mental health with multiple degrees get fooled completely by these people.

It gets very difficult to know which 'face' is the real person you're dealing with, until you understand that they have no real core personality.

Also - the fact that your friend is brilliant is another reason a sociopath would target her. They don't have empathy so they collect people like shiny trinkets. Her brilliance probably made her all the more alluring for a sociopath, because they get a bigger power high out of bringing a highly functioning, successful person to their knees. It is not done because they want to love. They want to win, and they want power. Destroying a brilliant woman would bring them glee as opposed to remorse.

Anyway sorry for the rant! Best wishes to your friend, I hope she gets out of that relationship successfully. :)

Thanks again

I've passed the info along. I'm sorry for what you've been through. Sounds like you've learned some really valuable information along the way, however. And already it is being used to help others.

Yes, it makes sense that there are overlaps in the neurochemistry. All addictions hijack the brain mechanisms that evolved to drive mating and (in pair bonders like us) bonding. And this person clearly, wittingly or unwittingly, preyed on my friend by proposing marriage almost immediately, which totally blissed her out, and then beginning the pattern of nasty demeaning screaming fights - and of course withdrawing the proposal citing her unworthiness - shortly afterward. My friend is hooked on the dream of that first heady experience and willing to do anything to try to recreate it...just as you discuss. I hope she can heal too, just as you have/are.

Wishing you a healthy future mate!

Interesting!

Hi Whitedeer,

Thanks for posting this.

I've definitely never shared a close connection with someone like this and my social programming isn't structured so much so as to be vulnerable to someone like that. I find lies completely baffling. I've met guys in prison half-way houses where I worked who lied very compulsively and it always struck me as being remarkably odd. Not someone to whom I could easily get close.

On the other hand, if a woman promised me the first three weeks of the Exchanges I might get hooked. I imagine that's an unlikely pick-up line for a sociopath. (The promise of sex is poor bait for me. A warm heart in a physically attractive woman can exert a powerful pull however, but without the healing context, it now regularly fails to hook me).

I suppose the way out of paranoia is to examine what the drivers to partnering are within oneself. Is it an overwhelming need for a Sexual/Romantic Relationship or is Love really the core of the matter? I recently read a good recipe for extracting oneself from the strong confusion we tend to have in my observation around Love, Sex, and Relationship. Love was described as a combination of Gratitude, Friendliness, and Compassion.The good thing about Love is that its root is within the self. Noticing that I'm sacrificing my own well being in order to "save" another or be in a "Relationship" or to get great sex, might be a good clue that something isn't right regardless of whether the other could be classified a sociopath or not.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Sincerely,

"Arnold"