Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm A Psychopath - This Is How I Lie. (Part 1)

Everybody seem to agree about this: Psychopaths lie... a lot! Sometimes we lie pathologically, which means something like 'we don't have any objectively logical reason to lie, but we do so anyway, and for reasons that are very personal and seemingly almost unfounded.

The term 'Unfounded' doesn't hold any real Meaning to psychopaths. That is, we know pretty much what it means to others, but to us that meaning is false, because in our view, and according to how our minds work, everything can be, be made, or otherwise become - reason enough for lying... or for being verbally or physically abusive, deceitful or hurtful, etc..

We do not have the social normatives to regulate our views of what is more or less reasonable according to how it affects others. We only have one normer: Does it affect ourselves in a way we want it to. If yes, that is all the reason we need or find necessary.

It isn't even necessarily cynicism, as cynicism suggests some original experience, or line of experiences, which led to somebody changing their original perspective. Cynicism is a viewpoint that has an inner perspective component in it's opposite. To be truly cynical, there must be at least some emotional understanding of the implications of the opposite of cynicism.
Now I'm not claiming psychopaths cannot be cynical, or that we can't have had experiences that leads us to decide for cynicism and against sentimentalism. Obviously this is very common for most psychopaths, myself included. And the reason is, of course, that whereas we don't have the ability to feel empathy and remorse, or love (if I understand the concept correctly), we can and do feel a good many other things - and most likely many aspects of emotions and feelings are available to us, which aren't available to others. But that's another discussion.

Since we cannot empathize on the emotional level, we can also not truly feel and see sensibility in taking consequences of our actions towards other people into honest consideration. For us, there are only each of us, individually, and I always have my reasons for lying which make their own internal kind of sense between The Psychopath, Zhawq, and Zhawq, The Psychopath. My lies do truly not necessarily have their Motivation in some prospective monetary gain, or in avoiding negative consequences from speaking truthfully.

It will probably seem very strange, and at first unlikely, that I might choose to lie if doing so can harm someone else, even though I apparently gain nothing else but the possible satisfaction of seeing the results of something I was causing (and indeed, control and power are the most strongly motivating factors to a majority of psychopathic individuals).

But what I'm about to describe is a model for reasoning that is fundamentally different from how the socially, empathically integrated individual reasons. I've explained why we don't use societal normatives for our reasonings, and that it follows as a result that our reasoning follows different logical qualities and objectives. These are based on what can satisfy MY need at the moment, and in that particular situation at that time.

Yet, there are reasons that are not directly linked to power or control - or at least not as an obvious, focused objective that would cause me to lie under corresponding circumstances and from situation to situation, in relation thereto.

First I will mention that it is true that many psychopaths tend to lie as an almost constant, partial, or complete, presence in their interactive social behavior, including in situations when there's really no need to - at least as it will seem from a logical bystander's point of view.
This has something to do with the second sentence I wrote: Our normatives for when a reason for lying is well founded are very different from those of ordinary people.

I described how, to us, there are only one main vector the reasonable momentum of which we measure a reason's weight: Does it help us, or directly lead us, to our objective, which some call the psychopath's immediate 'Gratification'. If yes, then the requirements for 'A Good Reason' are fulfilled, and we can proceed, no matter how minor the gain is in a larger perspective, or how vast the negative impact upon those who get affected by our lies' consequences.

We already know this is connected to our inability to feel empathy (which is different from unwillingness).

But I have just stated that I am fully capable of understanding intellectually exactly what a small, and for myself insignificant, lie under certain circumstances can lead to devastating consequences for others. And yet I do not attempt to not act on such an urge to lie, and I tell you this while adding, that I am STILL not evil or particularly callous as a person.

I will tell you more about how and why - in my understanding - that is, in this article's Part 2.



Anonymous said...

Excellent article. One of your best.

For me, the truth, the whole truth, is often a secret, a guarded one. When you live a life where your views and thoughts are so alien and unacceptable to those around you, what choice do you have but to constantly lie?

For me, most of my deception is not outright fabrication, flights of fancy, and grandiose BS. It's usually omission or embellishment, depending on what scenario works best.

The idea of being completely honest with someone... What's the point? What do I have to gain from this? Why should I do such a thing? It's very awkward. I can't imagine having a relationship with anyone where I was mostly honest... It's just so impractical.

My needs come before everything else. And being honest, completely, is virtually never a part of that equation.

Zhawq said...


thank you for the nice words.

I understand what you're saying, and I can relate a lot.

"What's the point?"

That was one of my first experiences as a kid. Why tell them the truth, they either do not understand, or they don't believe me anyway!

It wasn't until I got older that I began to realize that my relationship with truth is fundamentally different than it is to most people.

This doesn't mean I cannot be honest. I certainly can, and I've spend a lot of effort on being so on this blog. But it means something else to me than it does to most people, and I'm beginning to see this in more detail as I continue on my journey with my writings.

"I can't imagine having a relationship with anyone where I was mostly honest... It's just so impractical."

Yes, I guess mostly it is impractical. But it can be very useful also, as well as very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I guess mostly it is impractical. But it can be very useful also, as well as very interesting.

Do you think Bill and Hill are honest with each other now, after all the drama?

Anonymous said...

I guess I can imagine a relationship that was mostly honest, but not one that was mostly honest AND mostly open...

Some things really shouldn't be said for any number of reasons.

I've found in life that omission is a necessity in too many cases to count. The question is, is life like that because of me?

Zhawq said...

Communication is a two-way activity. Therefore it cannot be because of you alone that life is the way it is.

Also, in my experience omission is almost universally being used in interaction between people.

Really, how could it be any other way, in a mass society where people are so dependent upon not making waves, it's best if others can't sense their presence, because it might upset someone.
Not even the neurotypical mainstream population are all the same, they have differences in temperament, likes and dislikes, etc. (the differences may be small and seem formal to me, but to them they're a real factor that is hard to deal with).
To most people a lot of their conduct is geared towards 'getting along'. And that is not an easy task when you're surrounded by stranger where ever you turn, and you can always hear, smell, or see somebody you don't know at all.

So yeah, they communicate by omission, far more than they communicate by embellishment. Less is always the better choice to people who's character allows them to relentlessly cut themselves short, to forever be as small as possible (the government or the system will provide, so we need not be brave, and so on).

That's the environment you face, Notable. So I can see why you'd choose to omit a lot of the time. I myself certainly do the same thing probably as much as I lie outright or use embellishment.

Is asserting yourself through intimidation the same as lying? Much of the time you have to 'fake' a little, for basically you can't really know if you're always stronger than the other person. For me there's an element of lying in everything I do.

Anonymous said...

"can't really know if you're always stronger than the other"

i wish that this was not an issue with me. it screws me up too many times. i cannot control this with certain people.

zhawq, will you please speak about "taking the high road" one day?

Anonymous said...

zhawq, do you think crafty lawyers need to adopt a psychopathic state of mind? do you think their methods will bleed into their personal lives?

Anonymous said...

To Zhawq -
lying gets detected. The point is it is impractical. I met a psychopath - not knowing that his is one - who attempted to work with me as lawyer, Buddhist, used to live in a monastery in India, he functioned like this quite officially, working for prominent organizations. He stole someone's money and pissed someone off so badly, that they hired a detective : the guy has served most of 25 years in prison for cruelly murdering a woman (stole a few watches from her and cut her throat - the pictures are quite shocking). He stole money from me, intellectual property as well, lots of attention with his bullshit, harmed my professional reputation, stole confidential information etc. He will be in jail again (he is on probation). I admit, he is a good faker and intelligent - without a question - but then how an intelligent person can act like this? A good lawyer is on the case, media as well. Where is his intelligence in all this? what are the reasons for this idiocy? why do you think you psychopaths can harm people and they not turn against you?
I am quite upset and will follow through because I care about the quality of my life, about my integrity, and my reputation. He tries to intimidate me (this is unpleasant to me but I am not scared). If you want power and control you rather avoid jail. All this -the words and the deeds - doesn't make sense to me.

Anonymous said...

When you do something that has positive effect on someone (and not negative, as, say, you intended) are you angry at yourself? after all, that is the opposite of your intention and it means you lost control.

Why seeing someone angry or suffer makes you feel satisfied?

Anonymous said...

When you do something that has positive effect on someone (and not negative, as, say, you intended) are you angry at yourself? after all, that is the opposite of your intention and it means you lost control.

Why seeing someone angry or suffer makes you feel satisfied?

Anonymous said...

Lying is creepy b/c it trust and companionship are- nice. They mean harmony and that is base for good work, and all sorts of nice results. This - truthtelling is mostly practical.
if you don't lie so much you probably have a community and do not feel alone.

s said...

i don't understand the psychopath's ability to say one thing at one moment in all apparent sincerity (a word which i imagine doesn't make much sense to psychopaths), and very soon afterwards change the story to something completely different. thing is i tend to see that the psychopaths will actually believe whatever they're saying at any given point, so they're not really lying! lulz, i dunno, perhaps it's more accurate to say thay everything a psychopath might say is a lie, even internally to them, because it's the emotional state of the liar which really defines whehter it is a lie or not. i would imagine that there is a great emptiness to such a life, to know that you never really "mean" what you say/think/feel.

question for zhawq; if someone could give you a magic pill that would make you "normal", would you take it? i think that many of your criticisms of the neuro-normal are quite valid, the tendency to be acting generally from some form of low level fear motivation, the general acceptance of lying by omission that makes up a great deal of communication (that's confusing to the empathically inclined, too, it took me a long time as a child to understand why adults said one thing and obviously meant another), and so on.

Zhawq said...

It seems my posts here "left"?... I remember writing and posting them... Hm, well. I'll try again and hope you guys stop by to check.

Anon 7:13,

Thank you for a good suggestion. I have noted it. :)

Anon 8:11,

You question is too vague. A psychopathic state of mind means many things, just as an empathic state of mind means more than one way of being empathic.

I will say this: I think lawyers often have adopted a psychopathic approach to some degree. It's in the nature of sophism, in the nature of saying what gives the best result rather than what is an observed truth. Furthermore, lawyers learn during their education that 'truth' is often a subjective thing, and they can be good at persuading themselves along with the jury, the client, the judge, i.e. ;)

I know for a fact that lawyers' methods at their job/business will bleed into their personal lives. But this goes for every profession and all people. Of course it differs in between individuals how affected they are in private and how the impact comes to expression. But it cannot be avoided completely, work takes up at least half of people's waking hours (generally speaking) and has such an important position in their lives as a whole that of course everything that happens there will have some influence upon everything else as well.

Zhawq said...

Anon 12:21,

"Do you think Bill and Hill are honest with each other now, after all the drama?"

I don't think they were honest before the drama. ;D

Anon 9:54,

(I remember replying to your post. I apologize that it has gone missing).

If lying was impractical per se nobody would lie, except for pathological liars who can't help it. Furthermore, everybody lies.

Think about it and ask yourself: "Have I been caught in all the lies I ever said? If I had been caught, how would my social position look now? How much more trouble would I have had to deal with?"

And then ask yourself: "What would be different if I hadn't lied? Which little things would I not have gained had I not been quick with a subtle lie? How many times would I have been accused for things I didn't do based on the things I did do, because I'd been honest and told everybody about them?"

The key here is to understand the mindset you had at the time when you lied. It's easy to say now, afterwards, when you know what you could have done to make things work without lying, that you'd have done better without lying. The fact is that at the time you did not know what you know now, and you wouldn't have known how to deal with the consequences of telling the truth.

Even more to the point, your surroundings wouldn't have known how to deal with such an honest person either.

Psychopaths can be honest. I can be honest, and I often find that people resent me greatly when I choose to be so. Why? Because they don't want to hear negative truths about themselves, about their illusions, about the people and things they're attached to.

Your mom and dad taught you to lie, Anon! Do you remember hearing them say: "It's to protect you!"?
Protect you from what? From feeling bad!
Why do they feel the need to protect you from the truth just because you may feel bad when you hear it? Because it makes them bad!

That's one of the downsides to empathy!

But we don't reject empathy because it has downsides, do we? We recognizes it's uses and deny it's downsides. Another lie! One that most people agree to maintain, which is why they resent me when I come along and give them what they ask for: The truth. Because sure, they wanted the truth, but not that truth!

Zhawq said...

Anon 9:54 (cont.)

Your former friend seems to have had the same kind of experience that many psychopaths have: He was successful for a long period lasting years, and he became accustomed to the positive aspects of having success and being respected.

From your description it seems to me very likely that he has been living under such a strict reign (of his own devise) that he had to either snap or start slipping in small ways. But 'ways' are habitual, so that he snapped is not hard to imagine.

He had been functioning on a default mode for a long, long time, and that is something a psychopathic individual cannot afford to do. Ever!! Our underlying nature doesn't go away just because we've been good at skiing slalom style around it for a long time.

... I was about to continue, Anon, but I realize as I sit here working with this comment again, that there is more that I would like to say, and I would like for more people to have easy access to it. So I'm going to publish a regular article based on your comment.

If there are things you would want me specifically to keep out of it, I'd ask you to please send me a short (or long, ^^) mail telling me which parts, words, i.e., you want me to avoid.

I can certainly understand if that is the case, knowing that it was a case that had much covering from the media. I'm not world famous, but nor does one have to be in order to get a taste of how the media can be a very annoying time thief with it's relentless bickering.

I'll check in here too, in the coming week or so, in case you'll leave a comment about it here.
In any case, I promise to handle it all with consideration.

... But to finish with a word more to you. You ask: "Where is the intelligence in this?"

To begin with he was intelligent enough to gain a position and a living that suited him and worked well for years.
Then it all fell apart, and this is where neurotypical people ask: "But that's bad, how can anybody see this as intelligent?"

To a psychopath this is not anymore bad than it would have been for him to not gain the position he had to begin with. The point for him is that his life, when he snapped, was no longer fun or nice or pleasant. If it had been, I assure you, he'd have seen to it it stayed that way.

He had grown "bored" - to use that horrible word that clinicians love to use about our need for stimulation.

Zhawq said...

Anon 9:54,

one more note:
"He will be in jail again (he is on probation)."

I'd be grateful if you would update me on how this turns out.
You're probably right that he'll go to jail again. Once someone has been convicted once it's hard to not do something that can bring you back to jail.

Ah yes, I remember replying to this as well, but forgot to above. Here goes:

"why do you think you psychopaths can harm people and they not turn against you?"

We can think so because this is how it is. Sadly, I'm not kidding you.

I think this makes for a subject for an article as well. I have had a number of questions like yours, and it's a good question, and it deserves an explanation.

Thank you for contributing, and please forgive me for not seeing my reply was gone before now!... '^L^,

Zhawq said...

Anon 11:58,

I'm very rarely angry with myself.
I think it happens to everybody that we once in while intended our behavior to have a different effect from the one it turned out to have.
But there's nothing useful in being angry with yourself.

Think it over and find out if there was something you could have done differently to make sure things went as you wanted them to, and make a note of doing better in the future.
That's my advice, and that's how I do it myself.

I'm not claiming to never being annoyed with myself, of course. I'm only human. And it does happen, especially if I repeat a mistake and it turns out to have consequences.

But I don't remain angry for long. Also, I usually turn my anger at something else. I can't start beating myself up after all, but I can beat something or someone else up. And there are usually plenty of subjects that have it coming anyway.

Call it economizing? ;D

Seeing someone angry or suffering doesn't satisfy me just in itself. If it's a stranger, f.x., who is angry or suffering and they have nothing to do with me, I don't feel satisfied, nor the opposite.

I have on occasion 'used' the suffering of strangers to appease myself when I'm frustrated, but it is only a temporary 'medication' so to speak. The normal thing for me is to be satisfied or dissatisfied by seeing someone angry, suffering, happy, content, as it relates to my own situation and what plans I had with that person.

These days I mostly always feel great when people are happy. That's why I work hard on making people happy, also here on my website.

But everybody have someone or something we don't like (unless we've conditioned ourselves specifically in accordance with a religious ideology, i.e.). And it does happen that I vent a bit, as you can see from a few of my articles. :)

Zhawq said...

Anon 12:01,

Psychopaths do not feel alone, ever. So the things you mention don't mean so much to psychopaths.

I appreciate you taking the time to tell us how you see it, and I know you're not alone in seeing it that way!... '^L^,


Sincerity is probably a word that describes how I feel a lot of the time. I don't know if it means more or less to us than to non-psychopaths, but I know it is different to us.

You put forth some good thoughts about how it is with the nature of lying and how the state of mind is with the person who lies. Actually, this is probably why we can say that non-psychopaths lie, but psychopaths do not lie even when we do lie... emotionally, that is. Of course, fact is always fact.

Many people have asked me about Emptiness. But I can honestly say that in regard to lying or not lying there's absolutely not sense of emptiness. The only emptiness I know of is when stimulation is absent. But when we talk about how psychopaths behave much of the time, this is probably at the very heart of the issue.

I really hope I can help bring across both the importance, and the true nature, of what our need for stimulation (or 'excitement', as clinicians prefer to call it) is really about. That it isn't bad or worse than being content with a monotonous and stable life, plus there are ways to deal with it and fulfill this need of ours, but in order to do it the non-psychopath majority will have to acknowledge that our need is genuine and just as worthy and human as any other need.

Ah, I remember replying to the question about the magic pill. Damn, it's gone too, all my comments after a certain point are gone.

Well, here goes...

Q. Would I take a magic pill that could turn me 'normal'?

A. Absolutely NOT!

No, I would never take a pill that could make me different from how I am now. I think I'm close to perfect. I know it sounds horrible, and it's not to be understood as if I think I'm perfect in a world of imperfection, or a god, or something like that.
I mean I like my personality, my way of thinking, I think I do the best I can always, I am convinced I'm a good person, and I can even live with the way I look (knowing others think I'm handsome, even if I could find things to improve).

What I would like to change is not in me, but in my surroundings. And (for the time being) in my economy.

Compared with most people I've spoken with, I think I have plenty to be happy about. Or at least not overly discontent with.
No, I'd never be any different from what I am as a person and mentally.

(Maybe add 17 to my IQ and make it 180, but that's just... you know, if I could have it all. lol).

Your last line makes me wonder, s... You say it took you a long time to understand why adults said one thing and meant another.

Why do you think they do it?
Do you think it's logical and a good idea and they should keep doing it?
Do you think of it as subtle lying, and if not, what do you call it?

Thank you all for contributing! It's been nice to have a little time to reply to you, and I hope I'll have time more often to do it in the future!... '^L^,

Anonymous said...

Hey Zhawq,

I have read some of your blogs on various subjects and I find your views on things interesting. I don't think you are a psychopath though. I feel like you are identifying yourself with a type of people with a personality trait, and that doesn't seem very psychopathic, or narcissistic. I believe you if you were a psychopath, you wouldn't be able to express these things without having some other intention behind it, and as far as I can tell I think your intention is to talk about you and your personality. I can see Narcissism in that but don't see psychopathic traits. I find it hard to believe a psychopath would want to show and justify there mental state to others. But that said I have enjoyed your blog and I will continue to read it with great interest.