Friday, February 1, 2013

Can Psychopaths Feel Loneliness?

A Reader asked me about what it is that drives a Psychopath and if we can feel Lonely. Below here I answer these questions...

"Can [Psychopaths] Feel Loneliness? If it is loneliness, what is Loneliness to you? Is it Emptiness, or Boredom, or Restlessness, ...?"

I Can't speak for other psychopaths, really, because I've never discussed the subject with anybody I knew to be psychopaths. The topic just never came up, and I think the reason for this is very likely that to most psychopaths the concept of Loneliness isn't part of how we think and how we perceive life and situations, so it isn't really 'real' and doesn't figure as part of most psychopaths' past experiences. And in the cases where it does, it doesn't seem important or memorable enough to the individual for them to bring it up or think about it.

For me personally, I don't think I can feel Loneliness. I've never felt lonely, not even when I was in solitary confinement in prison, and that lasted for several years. So I don't think I can answer the question about what loneliness is to me, because it doesn't really exist to me. But being alone for extended lengths of time can lead to boredom, and that leads to restlessness and eventually frustration and even anger. But it's got nothing to do with feeling loneliness, it is not about feeling or not feeling loneliness. It is about not getting the stimulation you need, not having any means or sources of fun, nothing interesting to explore - like f.x. people. To me other people can be very interesting as well as fun.

"[Is it] some other Unbearable Feeling you can't quite distinguish, or some itch you can't scratch, that keeps you on the move, keeps you searching, always?  Is it feeling...forlorn?

My need for stimulation is the only emotion that can at times feel unbearable, which happens in situations where I am physically unable to take necessary action and find a way to satisfy the need, such as during some periods under imprisonment. But my need for stimulation, or being cut off from seeking gratification, has nothing to do with feeling Forlorn. There is no sense of having been abandoned or of being lonely.

When an urge to go and seek out stimulation or excitement comes over me, I don't feel forlorn, and where company is concerned it is far more often me who leave others than it is others who leave me. When I leave somebody or someone, it is usually because I feel my needs are no longer being met, and more often than not it is my need for stimulation that is no longer being fulfilled - though it can also be other kinds of needs, f.x. in the form of knowledge that somebody could and did provide until the supply ran dry. While I was in my teens there would sometimes be monetary needs.

To the majority of psychopaths, myself included, it is all about having a good time, feeling excitement and feeling good. 'Feeling good' often relates to feeling in control and feeling able to 'run' other peoples' lives, but again feeling forlorn doesn't enter the equation.

But where I differ from most people - though of course there are others like me - is in that for me to feel satisfied I need to feel I have learned something or am learning from whatever experience I am having. Stagnation is the ultimate deadly toxic, both in terms of how I experience things and in terms of how I think and understand reality as a whole. I really have a wish to grow and evolve, to become stronger and better at being me, at being who I am and who I am going to become in the future.

I constantly aim to find the best way to function, a way that will generate the highest possible degree of satisfaction and gratification in every sense of the word. And it is this, I believe, which has brought me to eventually study the possibility of turning cooperating with my surroundings into something that can bring me new experiences that are at least as exciting as what I've experienced in the past. Being useful, helpful to others and contributing to society in some form or other, is part of the plan that will hopefully lead to that result. It is not because I have become less selfish than I always was, but I may be smarter.

Still, nothing of what I have described has anything to do with being or feeling forlorn. People will still come and go in and out of my life, and I will still feel fine about it just as I have always done. I do on occasion - though rarely - feel a certain connection with somebody I get to know, but I don't feel forlorn when and if I leave them, or if they leave me.

So at the end of the day I still cannot describe what loneliness is to me, because I have never felt it. Apparently it isn't part of my reality or life experience.


Anonymous said...

Psychopaths are lucky in that you don't feel the yucky feelings we do, like loneliness. Loneliness sucks, and is defined like this:

1.affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome.
2.destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship,support, etc.: a lonely exile.
3.lone; solitary; without company; companion-less.
4.remote from places of human habitation; desolate; unfrequented; bleak: a lonely road.

In feeling the feelings that suck we are also able to feel the exultant feelings that are the opposite like love, bonding and connection.

You must work with what you have, and if you have this desire to contribute and be helpful and to connect, even if it's motivated by self-gratification (and yet not harmful to others), then go ahead. Let us know what happens.It will be an interesting experiment as well as a big leap of faith. Be the one who makes the leap of faith.

Anonymous said...

I am fairly well the same zhawq. The closest thing to lonliness is definately feeling apart,not connected, no matter how apparent is seems that I am indeed a apart of a group ect. I can feel sorry for myself in this regard, at odds with the world. I also wish for a partner, so perhaps I long for this. In my experience this can lead to a feeling of connectedness, though it has a timer. My feelings are fleeting. I think a song called fell in love with a girl by the white stripes sums up my thoughts and sentiment on this matter very sysynctly .

Anonymous said...

My experience is fairly well the same as you zhawq, except there is a feeling of isolation at times, this comes to the fore when my lack of connection is problematic to getting something I want. I had figured this was lonliness, but it was just another normalisation left over from childhood.

This can be an enormous benefit, allows me to do things and be places others could not, they need regular contact with people or they shrivel up and die.

Anonymous said...

My friend, who is a psychopath, feels lonely.
It's that feeling you get even with other people.
You might not even realize what it is because you feel it all the time.
That feeling when you have nothing but yourself.
I don't think we feel it like "normal" people do, but I think we can be lonely.

We're stronger, though, and more used to it, so we can deal with it easily. Doesn't mean it's not there.

My girlfriend is missing, currently, and it doesn't matter who I'm with, I feel lonely. Before I met her, I didn't, I felt fine. Sometimes you have to have something before you can miss it properly.

Anonymous said...

Am I understanding correct, if I summarize what is written as psychopaths don't feel lonely, rather they feel a lack of outside stimulus? So, they must engage in way that creates stimulus (which many of us categorize as strife or conflict that they create with others)?

Anonymous said...

Simply curious: I have an high pain tolerance but I feel its because my brain often misinterprets pain as, say , an itch or tickle or electric feeling (which is often what I feel or I simply react unable to put words to why I feel badly). This makes me wonder if the sense of lonliness isn't, in essence, truly boredom, lack of stimuli etc, even in those without psychopathy BUT it carries an emotional interpretation for those devoid of psychopathy. Perhaps this is genetic wiring, birth coding, we are wired to interpret a particular way...of course, I'm not discounting environmental stressers etc. But perhaps the stimuli, or issue, in an electrical sense, is the same but the interpretation and tags associated are different? Just a thought.

Bill Spears said...

This is the first blog I've ever seen for people like myself. I've told very few people about my nature, a friend and therapist neither conversations going well. After reading the original post I think I agree more with a comment below. I do feel lonely, I feel lonely all the time. I spend time with family, friends, and sexual partners but I feel like I'm miles away. I think it's funny at times that psychopaths are portrayed all throughout the media for century's, but people see nothing when it comes to me. Even though I do take pride in who or what I am I still long to connect with people. The only fear I have in this world is that after my days are done I will have never truly connected with anyone.

Anonymous said...

It is a kind if loneliness. The feeling of being disconnected, feeling like the one, who is always standing on the outside looking in, wondering why you are unable to feel that deep connection that could last a life time, but instead you keep walking through life, in and out of peoples life, searching, wandering, hoping to find that something you long for, that you just can't describe. You hope one day that you will find, until then you you keep searching endlessly. I do believe it is loneliness, I think the feeling is processed differently, to non psychopathic people, an abstract version of the feeling of loneliness. Speaking from a female psychopaths perspective.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of offending...and I've noticed there seems to be a prevalence of offense taken by Cluster B's. Psychopaths stay too long. Yes. They leave, but they have no sense that they leave too late. The "over stay your welcome" thing. I suppose one could say, "they leave when they want." However, I know many (if not most) prefer they leave sooner. They talk a whole lot and as you say, take what they want. If it's useful. That's your own perspective because, as I understand you can only want what feels good to you. What you get. Which is fascinating. Considering, any I know, stay too long and since they don't care about social cues...leave enamored still...but, they've stayed too long. For what that's worth.

Anonymous said...

I am a psychopath and a woman.I don't feel loneliness, but I constantly feel the need to control others matters because they are not capable of taking right decisions. People always make mistakes and then cry or make up stupid sadness things which
is not only boring but it gets me angry. But I sometimes do feel the need to discuss it with another supposedly intelligent being
but iI never seem to find that kind of person. The anger and some form of disappointment I feel in those times could be described as loneliness.

Anonymous said...

I am a psychopath and a woman.I don't feel loneliness, but I constantly feel the need to control others matters because they are not capable of taking right decisions. People always make mistakes and then cry or make up stupid sadness things which
is not only boring but it gets me angry. But I sometimes do feel the need to discuss it with another supposedly intelligent being
but iI never seem to find that kind of person. The anger and some form of disappointment I feel in those times could be described as loneliness.