Trying to describe the challenges of living with psychopathy to neurotypicals is hard to impossible. I often relate things like my inability to intuit morality as moral blindness akin to color-blindness. I can get conduct right most of the time if I think it through from first principles, but that’s ethics and something else entirely. My emotional range goes from empty boredom, to what I call “hungry”, to very rarely rage and there’s nothing else. People can’t imagine that anymore than I can imagine feeling my own guilt. No frame of reference.
I was identified very early on due to conduct and hit real hard with kindness. My school opted to put me through what I called “face school” over expulsion. They taught me stuff no one bothered to… mostly how to human: how to read faces (which is still is an entirely intellectual process with a lot of guess work), why and how to change my voice in social situations, and the young woman who was running the program (by virtue of being the only person I would listen to) taught me about her love of prosocial behavior. She was the only one who had paid me attention in a way that felt good, so I was going to damn well hear everything she wanted to tell me. And that was to learn to categorize choices along an axis I could actually comprehend.
I pass most of the time. My mask is well educated. People inevitably get the sense something is off with me. The times I don’t pass, when I explain the thinking behind why I act as I do, the response is usually something like “Oh I thought you were just being a jerk. I guess you were trying really hard to not be. Sorry!” Partial credit works for me. As I got older, I started to occasionally catch emotions from highly empathetic people: their fear, their happy, their sad. Works with very few people, so I suspect its some form of magic, or possibly even a hopeful delusion. But it feels so good, even the “bad” ones, I hope to not lose it.
Long story short, people say it’s not possible to get better. That’s defeatist bunk. Better is a relative measure. Tomorrow can be better than yesterday. People can forgive what they can understand. We’re all broken and no one asked to be. You’re fighting for the people who in my mind need you the most. Please don’t stop.
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