I am a sociopath.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker


For quite some time now, I’ve had this overwhelming sense of emptiness as if something about myself was somehow off kilter. Everyday I go through the same self-scrutinizing process. Waking up, “what the hell’s wrong with me?” Showering, “why am I such an awful person?” Brushing my teeth, “Damn, my conscience is seriously a hot mess right now.” You get the idea. This vicious circle is pretty much part of my everyday routine. The scariest thing by far was my recent revelation of my sociopathic behavior. Yeah, I’ve tried to justify why I do the things I do, but it’s a waste of time. Deep down, I don’t believe my petty justifications anyhow. It’s pretty futile and silly to lie to your conscience, but I digress. My reasoning behind my belief that I am a sociopath? For starters, I am a compulsive liar. I’ve asked myself time and time again “Why do I feel the need to lie to others?” I lie because I want to impress people. I want to feel accepted by people, I want them to see ‘cool’ construction of myself, or how intelligent, or how witty I am, or how clever I am with my command of language. I feel that if people knew who I really was or somehow saw past the facade of my constant lies (scary!), they would feel turned off by me or they would see me as boring. I always feel the need to make things up (situations, knowing someone of power, etc.) in order to relate to people. I find myself profiling people to see what they’re interested so I too can say that I’m into the things they’re into (even if I’m not, which is the case 65%.) During my years as a teenager, I was involved in sports and was really quite good (I may very well be a sociopath, but this is actually true.) I hated playing sports after a while because it became to emotionally and physically exhausting (my parents were pretty demanding to say the least.) I started cutting myself when my parents wouldn’t let me quit because 1.) it was a way to draw attention to myself and my severe unhappiness in sports. I thought if I could get them to believe that I was off my rocker, they would somehow have sympathy for me and let me do my own thing 2.) Somehow self-harm was like a cathartic experience for me. It hurt like hell, but I felt I needed that pain, like I needed to teach myself a lesson because I was an ugly, disingenuous person inside and out. I’ve done research on other websites dedicated to problems like sociopathy. I exhibit a good amount of what constitutes a sociopath. I lie constantly. I have grandiose thoughts (I sometimes truly believe that I’m going to be the person to write the next great American novel…wishful thinking, I know). I feel as if I have to feign emotion in order to make myself think that I am an empathetic person. I’ll cry at animal shelter PSA’s or tell people how cute their babies are when really they look like naked mole rats. I have the act down to a science. I can express sadness, joy (the most exhausting to fake), anger (the easiest), etc. My concern though lies with the treatment of sociopathic behavior. How do you begin to ‘cure’ an acute and cunning liar? Then I’ve read that the best way to treat a sociopath is to steer clear of them altogether. Shoot, we are treated like lepers (with probable cause, mind you.) I want to change. It’s exhausting lying to people all of the time. I see that I’ve built a sense of trust in others, and then I realize it’s not me they trust, but an elaborate web of deception they believe to be true. I fool my friends, my family members, my colleagues, and I makes me sick to my stomach knowing that what they think I am is really non-existent, as if I am some invisible entity some empty shell of a human being, walking around like a ghost. I don’t know how to feel anymore. I know I love my family, and my pets (I would “choke my cat” or “kick a puppy” like some of the letters from sociopaths I’ve read proclaim.) If I lost or disappointed my family, I don’t know what I’d do. That sentiment, in regards to disappointment, extends to the outside world as well. I don’t like to disappoint others. I want to be cunning, and clever, and funny, and intelligent all of the time. I never want to be seen in a vulnerable or pathetic light. If anyone thought I was a complete idiot, I could just die! At this point I’m just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I want the lies to stop. I don’t want to feel like I constantly need to be accepted or loved by everyone. I sleep with men, even if I don’t like them that much and even if they don’t like me that much, just to feel wanted. Just to feel another human body on a quasi-intimate level. Recently, a guy I had been sleeping with, of whom I had irrational thoughts of starting a family with, of caring for, of being his intellectual equal, had moved on to another woman (one of my closest friends, nonetheless.) What made it worse is that the girl he now likes was my model of what ‘good’ truly is. She is the most genuine, honest, intelligent, radiantly noble, and fiercely loyal person I know, and the fact that I can never be like that (without lying, at least) eats away at my insides. I spent a year trying to get this guy to like me, to make him think I was cool, to make him believe that I was the woman that was going to change him, to take care of him. At first I felt sick to my stomach when I found out about them, then I realized I couldn’t cry because I felt silly crying because we weren’t exactly dating or anything and it seems quite silly for crying over a booty call. In fact, our only sense of a relationship was built on sex and brief, albeit, interesting conversations with one another. I have no idea why I am so attached to him. Maybe because he was the guy that took my virginity. He’s incredibly intelligent, creative, and witty, and I wanted to be those things too but to a greater extent. I wanted him to be in awe of how much we ‘had in common’, to know that I was going to give him a run for his money intellectually. It’s not just mere attachment, either. I’d call it an obsession. A goal that I constantly strived to achieve, one lie after another. Feeling dejected after the whole situation, I finally started crying like a damn child and felt compelled to go and get the razor from the medicine cabinet. I did. I sliced my wrist up pretty good. Then I felt completely stupid after the fact, like some over-dramatic fat high school chick who didn’t get the part in the school play. I had seen how hurt and concerned my mom was in the past about my cutting problem. It literally traumatized her. I feel really selfish and completely immature for cutting myself again. I had seen the look my mother’s eyes when she witnessed the first onslaught of my cutting ‘performances’. Terror. Sheer terror. And disgust. And the fact that I can so readily, so freely go back to cutting without any thought or concern for her well-being, even after I had promised her I wouldn’t, makes me feel like a damn brat. A selfish, completely histrionic, spoiled little brat and it makes me sick to the pit of my stomach. My parents do EVERYTHING for me. EVERYTHING. And the fact I can’t even reciprocate their efforts to give me a better life because I’m too concerned about myself and how I am perceived by others is truly pathetic, in every sense of the word. And that was the impetus for my revelation. I’m sick in the damn head and sick in the damn heart. I want to believe that I can change, but I don’t exactly know how I can go about doing that. I’m just so muddled up in the construction of my own stuff that I don’t even know where to begin. Any advice for a girl who’s off her dang rocker?

A: Yes. As a matter of fact I do. I don’t think you’re a sociopath. You are too angry with yourself for that. I do think you are in significant distress and that you need some serious help. You know that too. So now here comes the hard part: Having written that detailed, insightful letter about yourself, are you ready to seek out and accept the help you need?

The methods you came up with to cope with your low self-esteem and your fears while a teenager are clearly not working for you anymore. Actually, they never did. It’s time to try something that is proven to be helpful. You need to get a thorough evaluation by a qualified psychologist and talk over a treatment plan that is based on his or her findings. Take your letter with you. It will provide an efficient overview of your issues.

Remember that therapy is for you. Lies may impress the therapist but where will that get you? Judging the therapist or trying to seduce won’t get you anywhere either. Please be selfish enough to skip the drama and get the most out of therapy you can. Accepting the attention and support that good therapy provides can help you have a more satisfying life. Go for it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Dec 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). I am a sociopath.. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/12/23/i-am-a-sociopath/