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ASPD And Me (empathy)

Mental Health and Trauma Blog | Noisy


It's the top dog of personality disorders, but by far the most feared and stigmatised of them all. Let's talk about why. As the saying goes, there's no smoke without fire. "ASPD AND ME" will be a series as it's far too complex to explain in just a few blog posts. I also want to give readers the opportunity to ask any questions they may have. I'm fully aware that I'll get a lot of negative feedback from people reading this and that's fine. I don't have a fuck to give, but still, it's fine. What comes to mind when you think of antisocial personality disorder? I suspect for most they would imagine a volatile and untrustworthy person. A dangerous individual who is unpredictable and violent. I guarantee there won't be many who would think of someone who was kind, genuine and empathetic. I don't blame the majority for thinking like they do, but this isn't a black and white subject. ASPD is a personality disorder, one of which is on a spectrum. To simplify this we will go from left to right. To the left you have sociopaths, moulded, and created by their environment. Childhood trauma and exposure to traumatic experiences throughout developmental stages can create a sociopath. Notice I said can, it isn't a fixed rule. To the right you have psychopaths. They're a little different, although they can be exposed to the same traumatic experiences as a child and as they develop, there is also believed to be a genetic factor linked to psychopathy. They also display different behaviours to what sociopaths do. To oversimplify it, sociopaths are made, psychopaths are born (I want to reiterate that this is an extreme simplification of an extraordinarily complex personality disorder). So where do I fit on the scale? I'm on the left, leaning closer to the middle. I am a sociopath with a little sprinkle of psychopathy. From an early age I was exposed to violence and extremely traumatic experiences no child should ever witness, this didn't stop up until the age of eighteen. I'd love to say that when I turned eighteen it got better, but it really didn't. Although, by that point I was an adult, and I had some control over the choices I made. I used the word some because my mindset was very much influenced by the toxic environment I grew up in as a child. Let's get into this series by starting with empathy. Something which I lack most of the time. Is that my fault? Fuck no! But it doesn't stop people calling me a monster because of it. I can feel empathy, but that's only towards people I have a bond with. It doesn't guarantee I will always feel empathy towards them though, it's just more likely I'll be able to. I also have BPD (borderline personality disorder) which is another complicated personality disorder that I'll cover in a series of its own. I call my BPD "my humanity" it helps me feel things. I don't feel emotions to the normal extent other people do, even those with BPD. But it does open a door to allow me to feel something. I like to think that my ASPD and BPD work together and complement each other, for the most part at least. Let's create a hypothetical scenario to help you better understand how my empathy works. A person has just broken up with their partner who they've been with for five years and for whatever reason the relationship has ended. This person is distraught and is crying in front of me. Although I could comfort them and I could acknowledge their feelings and to a degree use basic logic to understand their emotions, I wouldn't feel anything. Nothing at all. Not a single spark of emotion. This isn't by choice, it's just something I'm not capable of doing. I could convince them I did, and if it were a scenario where they were on a ledge then I absolutely would. But that would just be manipulation, I'd be manipulating someone into believing I was empathic towards them and felt what they did to talk them down. If we use that same scenario with someone I had a bond with then for the most part I'd be capable of being empathetic towards them. Although I wouldn't be able to feel the emotions they did to the same intensity, I would be capable of feeling something. Again, this isn't a choice, it's just the way my brain is wired.


I want to point out this is my personal experience of ASPD, it's different for everyone who has it. We may fit the same criteria, but our experiences certainly differ. Can I feel empathy? Yes, to a degree. Did I choose to be this way? No, absolutely not. I'm the result of my environment. I was created. This is the fight of your life. - Noisy

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sarahtherunner
Sep 12, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Can relate to this. I don’t have a personality disorder or history of early trauma, but I’m autistic. I generally experience cognitive empathy, rather than emotional unless I’m close to a person. I explain it like, “I understand your pain but I don’t feel your pain”. It’s really annoying that as a society and as mental health professionals (as I am) we value emotional empathy more than cognitive empathy. Feeling empathy differently or not at all is valid. For me, it means I can listen to my service users and rationally think about what they must be going through, but I rarely take this home with me. I can’t get into the headspace of someone who has a personality disorder,…

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andy
Apr 29, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

An interesting read, thank you for being very honest. Personally, I'm an aspie although I do sometings think I have degrees of psycothopy in my make-up. I suspect either in-depth analysis or being put in a position where I have to do harm to someone in self defense will help me understand. But I don't have the will for the former and don't want to be in a situation where I have to test the latter. My real fear is that I'd easily go over the top and feel nothing afterwards.

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thenoisyglamour
Apr 29, 2023
Replying to

I can honestly say I'm scared of what I keep supressed deep down in me. I know the damage it can do, that's why I try and walk away from conflict (most of the time). I know from past experiences that when I start, I don't stop. Thank you for reading!

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