For most of us when we think of the term sociopath, we likely imagine some terrifying man boring through the television screen with an unchanging stare and creepy smile. Maybe we are reminded of a scene from an episode of Law and Order: SVU or Criminal Minds, when the female killer describes each brutal murder without a hint of emotion.
While uncomfortable stares and lack of emotional connection to actions are characteristics of a sociopath, the individuals who match the description go well beyond the serial killers who make the headlines. I recently read a gripping article, written last year, by a successful attorney and Sunday school teacher who also has been diagnosed as a sociopath.
M.E. Thomas writes in the article, as well as her book Confessions of a Sociopath, about how she simply does not feel connected to social norms; she is not “motivated or constrained” by what most of us hold as normal behavior. She feels no guilt and readily admits that she uses emotions and charm to manipulate. However, she also writes that she loves her family and friends.
Thomas notes that she has had dreams about killing people and believes that if she had been raised in a more abusive home, she might have been triggered to act out on those fantasies. The truth is, though, that she is among the thousands of other sociopaths living in our communities who lead seemingly normal lives while posing no threat to those around them. In fact, Thomas shares that one in twenty-five adults could be labeled a sociopath.
I encourage you to give the entire in-depth article a read. It is a captivating narrative written by a woman many of us probably would enjoy having as a friend. Like all mental illness, there are unique individuals behind each diagnosis who are more than the labels they are given.
I was intrigued by the author’s ability to make her readers rethink sociopaths but also uncomfortable with her narcissism and what seemed to be bragging about her detachment (which should be expected from a sociopath).
If you read the article, I would like to know what you thought of the piece!
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