Yesterday’s HuffPost Live broadcast, originally titled Learning to Love the Sociopath but later retitled Sociopaths: They’re not all Evil, awakened something in me.
And I’m a bit pissed it took so long.
Admittedly, for the past year or more, I have been living in a very sociopath-centric place. Everything I write, read and share has been in hopes of bringing awareness and education to myself and everyone else who has or thinks they have been in a toxic relationship with a sociopath/psychopath. To understand “what struck us” has been a priority. The other priority has been to heal and recover from the side effects of eating the shit sandwich we were served.
As a direct result of being consumed with trying to figure this out and going out of my way to connect with others who are desperate to find peace, too, I have taken for granted that not everyone understands or even knows how to define “sociopath” or “psychopath” or “pathology,” for that matter. Not even the so-called experts.
Yesterday’s show revealed to me that society misuses, not overuses, the terms, and we’re partially to blame.
When the show’s host asked the docs on the show to define “sociopath” and “psychopath” to clarify any misunderstandings the audience may have, they failed to deliver and instead, danced around the issue.
I’d rather not speculate (or at least reveal my speculations) here, on my blog, because real people were involved yesterday on the show. I don’t want to insult anyone.
Oh, hell. Screw that! I was insulted! Here is my speculation:
No one on that panel (besides me) has ever been on the receiving end of another’s pathology. The true receiving end. Sitting behind a desk listening to a “maybe” sociopath/client discuss their behavior does not make one an expert in pathology. Counseling a psychopath/sociopath (like M.E. Thomas believes she is and James Fallon purports he is) gives a person only HALF of the reality associated with pathology.
The other half missing in their analysis and expert opinions is us, the victims and survivors of these fools.
How can these people, the experts, intelligently talk or share an understanding of something they have never fully experienced themselves!? At best, they are speculating and playing an intellectual game, something pathology education and awareness has no time for.
I wanted to jump in and interrupt them several times. Instead, I sat back and smiled, because I am familiar with people giving me the hairy-eyeball stare when I reveal that I dated a sociopath. So chiming in and interrupting these “scholars” probably would have resulted in a nation of hairy-eyeball stares and nasty comments. Who needs that shit?
Instead, I sat back patiently thinking to myself, “THIS is why society calls every politician, lawyer or national leader a sociopath: not even the so-called experts are willing to admit that there is a human anomaly that exists in this world that even they can’t explain. Instead of trying to explain it using brain scans and with testimony from the lying and manipulative disordered, why not try to explain it from the point-of-view of the people most negatively affected by sociopathic behavior—their victims?“
I also wanted to say that the only people walking around over-using and misusing the words “sociopath” and “psychopath” are people who have NEVER been impacted directly by true sociopaths or psychopaths. REAL victims struggle to define their tormenters/abusers with such terminology. I don’t know about the rest of you, but it took me a couple years before I was willing to say that the boy in my story was sick. It took another year+ to be willing to admit to myself that he was, in fact, a goddamn sociopath!
Until I was willing to admit to and accept that, I was walking around thinking I was the cause of all the problems because the sick bastard told me I was. (Remember how they do that?)
So if we want to blame anyone for the misuse and overuse of the language of pathology, let’s blame ourselves. I had an opportunity to at least get the conversation moving in that direction yesterday, but I failed. If they had just given me more time or if I had just been more willing to behave like an asshole and interrupt the verbal chaos.
Lesson learned! Maybe next time. 🙂
Link to the show: Learning to Love the Sociopath?
(On a related note: I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all three of the other participants. It was a great experience, and I’m glad I accepted the invitation from the show’s producers)