A couple of weeks ago, I concluded I was probably a sociopath. Just in case more evidence was needed, this photo from my living room provides the confirmation:
According to Wikipedia, a diagnosis of sociopathy can be made if the subject exhibits at least three of six hallmarks. Let’s look at them individually, shall we?
Items 1 and 2:
- Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
- Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
The fact that I harbour this furniture in my living room definitely qualifies me for both items (and probably also for an emergency decorating intervention). Anyone who cares about the feelings of others or the norms of society would never force another human being to witness that fabric pattern. But I kinda like it. It’s… bold. Yeah, that’s the word I was looking for. Bold.
Item 3: Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
I thought I’d be able to weasel out of diagnosis when I read this. I have no problem with relationships. So there.
But then came…
Item 4: Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
Um… well, yeah, I get frustrated sometimes. Who doesn’t? And yeah, I kickbox, but that’s not really violent, is it? I mean, it’s not like I’m whacking little old ladies in the streets, right? Just because I go downstairs and kick the hell out of my 270-lb bag when I’m having a bad day doesn’t mean I’m violent. And really, “low threshold for discharge of aggression” is such a subjective thing. “Low” compared to what? Kickboxing is just a healthy outlet for my frustration.
Item 5: Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
I figured I was home free when I read the first part. I’ve got lots of guilt. I tend to ignore it, but I definitely have it, so that’s gotta count for something. But then there’s the ‘inability to profit from experience/punishment’ part. Being a fiction writer is pretty much indistinguishable from punishment sometimes. And apparently I haven’t learned much from it, ‘cause I keep on writing.
Item 6: Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.
Oh shit, rationalizations. But that thing about the kickboxing wasn’t really a rationalization, was it? That previous sentence wasn’t a rationalization, either. I’m pretty sure about that. And anyway, my mother picked out the furniture. So it’s not really my fault…
Oops, rationalization and blame.
The wiki also helpfully notes, “There may be persistent irritability as an associated feature.”
“Irritability”? Come on, seriously? Do you know anybody who doesn’t get irritated sometimes? That really pisses me off!
I mean… um… never mind.
So I’m five out of six, with bonus points for irritability. That might worry me if I didn’t have a gross and persistent disregard for social norms.
And I just can’t seem to feel guilty about that…