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So, What’s Wrong with Me?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I’d like a professional opinion before I decide if I should do something about it, please. I’ve never been to a therapist, because I find it impossible to trust anyone who’s control I am under.

I suspect that I might be sociopath, but I’ve read that sociopathy is caused by childhood abuse/neglect, and I was never abused/neglected in any way at all. I have extremely selective empathy, and no regard for others. I don’t see why I should care about anything that doesn’t concern me. However, I lack impulsivity and am unwilling to do anything even a little bit out of my comfort zone. I like watching videos of violence and death, I used to browse r/watchpeopledie on Reddit before it was taken down. I get a weird feeling from watching people die, it’s not anything sexual at all, just an exhilarating satisfaction in my soul, you could say.

I wouldn’t kill anyone, that I know for sure. Not because I find it morally repulsive, but because I’m much too afraid of the lawful consequences. I only care about myself and am extremely egoistical, but I don’t have the best opinion of myself. I’ve also felt the same satisfying exhilaration when thinking about committing suicide in a painless way.

I don’t think I’m really able to form emotional connections. I have friends, but I would have no problem cutting them off forever. I have never felt shame, I feel anger instead of shame, but I like to think that I’m good at hiding my emotions. I believe in moral nihilism and genuinely see no point in helping others. Humans are disgusting to me, I think about all the emotions that they feel and the things that they do and I feel just pure disgust and hatred. My childhood fantasies were all about me being some sort of Lovecraftian monster destroying the planet and killing humans.

As a child, was also constantly unwilling to take the blame for anything and have never had a problem with lying. I’ve also never felt guilt, and I’ve done a lot of emotional harm to others that would probably cause most people guilt. I don’t know, I’d like a professional opinion before deciding what to do. Just a quick “maybe” assumption diagnosis before I head off to a real-world actual therapist or something.

It might also be notable to mention that I’ve never been in any legal trouble.

So, What’s Wrong with Me?

Answered by on -

A.

You have the wrong ideas about therapy. Therapists don’t “control” people. Therapy is optional. The only people forced to go to therapy are those who have been court-ordered. The “control” in that situation is through the court, not the therapist.

People attend counseling for a variety of reasons, some of which include analyzing their thinking processes, decision making, stopping a particular behavior, and gaining clarity about their life in general, and others. Wanting clarification about a particular diagnosis is another good reason to consult a mental health professional.

You asked about sociopathy. The term is often confused with psychopathy. Among those who study psychopathy, they doubt whether sociopathy exists. Among clinicians in America, an individual who demonstrates traits of psychopathy would be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy share overlapping traits but there are meaningful differences between the two.

Though you did provide many details in your letter, it’s impossible to make a diagnosis over the internet. For instance, when you say that you have “extremely selective empathy” what exactly do you mean? What does “extremely selective” mean to you? It may mean one thing to you and something different to me. How you define it, and in what context, are important elements in determining a diagnosis.

There are alternative explanations for your behavior. For instance, you said that you watch death videos. That is not uncommon. Take for instance the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, in which the killer live streamed the event. In the first 24 hours, Facebook publicly stated that they moved 1.5 million videos of the attack globally. That over 1.5 million people wanted to watch a video of a man shooting innocent people in a church speaks volumes. Even the people who were advising others not to watch it, watched it themselves. They were apparently curious.

The New York Times recently profiled another website that shows videos of death. This type of website exists because people are interested in its content. Some people describe even enjoying these videos. However, that enjoyment seems to decrease over time. The more they were watching, the more their anxiety increased.

Generally speaking, it’s advisable not to watch these sorts of videos in excess but my main point is that it’s not uncommon for people to watch them. It doesn’t make them psychopaths. Certainly, some who watch them are psychopaths because statistically one out of every 100 people is a psychopath but most people are not. Sometimes, people watch these videos because they are simply curious about the reality of human nature.

You stated that you wouldn’t kill anyone because you’re too afraid of the lawful consequences. Psychopaths would kill if they wanted to, regardless of any consequences. In a manner of speaking, they follow their own set of laws.

You mentioned that you don’t think you can form emotional connections but how do you define emotional connections? The way you define it may be very different than how I define it.

You have friends but “would have no problem cutting them off forever.” That’s fairly common.

The people we call friends may not in actuality be that close. The most psychologically healthy people typically only have a few friends mainly because it takes a great deal of time and effort to develop meaningful friendships.

Think of all the people who claim to be “friends” with their co-workers or peers at school and once they leave that job or graduate from college, they often never speak to those so-called friends again.

Ideally, you should consult a therapist who was specifically trained in using The Psychopathy Checklist. The Psychopathy Checklist is the diagnostic measure that is considered the gold standard in determining whether or not an individual has psychopathy. A mental health professional trained to utilize this checklist would also conduct a semi-structured interview, review all available records and gather other clinical information before determining a diagnosis.

If you’re worried about your psychological health, you should consult a professional. We are not born knowing how to live. In fact, we’re not born knowing anything. We all had to learn to read, tie our shoes, and do all other things. Seeking out knowledge about how to live a meaningful life is anything but silly. Why not consult a therapist who has received specialized training in these areas? Sounds like a wise idea to me. Good luck with your efforts.

Dr. Kristina Randle

So, What’s Wrong with Me?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2019). So, What’s Wrong with Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/06/09/so-whats-wrong-with-me/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jun 2019 (Originally: 9 Jun 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jun 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.