When we are young and in school, the first spectrum we learn about is about colors. How there are so many different variations on blue, purple, red, green, etc. So many in fact, more colors exist in the world than we have probably even encountered. Spectrums are funny like that. Like how Ted Bundy and I can both have been given the same diagnosis of Anti-social personality disorder (ASPD) and only one of us is a killer.
You can make the argument that because I have a history of suicide attempts, I have attempted murder. Fine, that’s an okay argument someone has made. ASPD puts me on the spectrum of being a sociopath. I was given the diagnosis after taking a 6-hour psych evaluation. Complete with ink blot tests, in which I only saw bats and moths. I did not know at the time that it was called Anti-social personality disorder, and thought “okay, yeah I guess I can be a little anti-social, are we giving introverts a new name now?” Then, I discovered what the diagnosis really meant. One of my friends (yes, I have friends, you can do that with ASPD) told me if I was worried about the diagnosis, I probably didn’t actually have it, or at least not a severe case.
There isn’t a lot of information out there on ASPD. What is out there is scary. It says that sociopaths are criminals, lack empathy, have no regard for authority, and get bored easily. Besides a short-lived stealing hobby, I am not into criminal activity. It was put to a stop the second I got caught. I never hurt animals. Like any person who grew up in the county, I appreciate a good bonfire, but that is my limit on arson. I respect rules, though I do know I am the type of person who works better if I am able to have guidelines rather than hard rules. I’m not sure I get bored easily but rather I don’t need things to be consistent. I also have spent most of my life being a theatre kid and many of my jobs have been working in restaurants so some of that is I have always been around constantly changing environments.
As for empathy, I fully love my friends and family. I care about people and when they are hurting. What I do not do is I don’t try and pretend to understand something if I have never experienced it myself. If I have no basis of understanding I don’t think it helps anyone to pretend I know what it feels like. I also have been in the world long enough to notice that empathy dries out for everyone the second they are inconvenienced by someone’s situation. I have been called cold, stand-offish, or intimidating. I also know that there are going to be people who enter my life that I will not be a good fit for. Sometimes, people need to be loved differently which is ok. I speak openly and honestly. People like that until I am being open and honest about things they don’t want to hear. I also stop being open and honest when there is such a break down of understanding it will do more harm than good.
It is said of sociopaths that they only do things to manipulate or so they look good. Someone would probably try and say I moved across the country to take care of my grandmother to make myself look good. For those of you who have never cared for a person with dementia, it is hard to shine in your best light when the matriarch of your family is locking you out of the house and eating cat food straight from the can. I, in fact, have no chill for the people who volunteer their time because it is going to ‘look good on a resume’.
Maybe I do not connect with every single person I meet. That is everyone though. I don’t think it is a bad thing that I am a little pickier about who I trust to be in my life. The people that I love I love whole-heartedly. Maybe this is an off-color joke, I would kill and help hide bodies for those people. I also love every single animal I have ever met and a lot of bugs. I say “a lot” because mosquitoes exist and I do not love mosquitoes. I think it is a lie to pretend that everyone doesn’t have some fraction of controlling, lying behaviors in them that they use to get ahead. Everyone is looking out for their own best interests in some aspects. Here’s the big twist, that’s actually ok to look out for yourself. I think the best we can do is try not to hurt too many people because we are all going to hurt people as we go along our paths, maybe not intentionally, we are going to hurt some people and be hurt back.