Tuesday, February 16, 2016

And You Call Me a Sociopath

I have a neighbor who I have pretty much quit dealing with, because she's said so many inexcusable things to me in the last year or so.

The last straw was a rude, and abusive e-mail she sent me some time back.  When I called her on it she said, "Oh, I was getting my period.  Not my fault."

Hello? I don't know anyone who's used that one since the 6th grade in gym class.

There's more, but I won't bore you.

I do think about my actions and how they affect people - sometimes even before the actions, and when I do something hurtful/stupid I'll usually own up to it and apologize pretty quickly.

I also agree with the old saw, "If one person tells you today that you're an asshole, that's just their opinion.  If five people tell you today that you're an asshole, you should probably consider that they might be right."

But if somebody tells me I'm a sociopath...  And it's not a joke, and they go on insisting that I'm a sociopath...  Well then, excuse the fuck out of me for being offended. 

(If you don't know the characteristics of a sociopath, here they are.  See why I was offended?)

from: Med Health.com

Sociopath Traits

Various hallmark sociopath traits are listed below. It is important to note that not all traits will be present in all the "sociopaths". 

According to ICD-10 criteria, presence of 3 or more of the following qualifies for the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder (~sociopathy):
  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, and obligations.
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration, a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
  6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalization for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-TR) is another widely used tool for the diagnosis and it defines sociopath traits as:

A) Pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:
  1. Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
  2. Deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
  3. Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead
  4. Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
  5. Reckless disregard for safety of self or others
  6. Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
  7. Lack of remorse as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
Now, while I may be guilty from time to time of #3 on the second list, I don't think that qualifies me as a sociopath.  It's not a pervasive pattern.  

So, as I said, I've pretty much quit dealing with this person.  I think it was a sensible choice, and I stand by it.


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