What I find really amusing about this information age is that everyone considers themselves experts about everything by the mere fact that they can google something and come up with an answer. The most interesting of this phenomena being the ability for laymen to diagnose the alleged “mental disorders” of the people they meet over the Internet or who they barely know in real life. In one of my writers groups someone just asked the question “Do you or have you ever known a sociopath (one who lacks a conscience).”
Seriously? Wouldn’t we all label ANY ex-friend or ex-lover a sociopath if they stomped on our heart? After all, they hurt us and they hurt us bad. But are they really sociopaths? True sociopaths are serial killers or people who use others for their own gain with absolutely no regard for those people. Not the guy who dumped you for a nicer piece. Not to mention – you don’t know how that person was really feeling when they did the inconsiderate or hurtful thing they did to you. You will never know if it was a well thought out, reasoned decision or if it tore them up inside to make the decision. Not everyone is so openly or dramatically emo. And unless you REALLY know someone well, I think calling them a sociopath is hubris at best. Especially if you’re not a trained psychiatrist who has spent hours and hours in session with someone discussing their life, their reactions, and their feelings.
I’ve had an ex-online friend (we did kinda know eachother in real life, but not well) accuse me of being a sociopath and narcissistic after I made the heart breaking decision to kick her out of my life because she was an alcoholic (self-admitted) who refused to get help and she was being verbally abusive toward me. I care about my well-being too much to allow someone else to abuse me that way. And while I suppose that some might say writers are all narcissistic to some degree (some people do believe this because we constantly have to self-promote in order for our careers to survive), I’ve actually been to a few shrinks in my day for depression and family matters and of the three I’ve met and had lengthy discussions with (one was a family friend), I’ve been given a clean bill of mental health. I’ve been called “normal” and “well-balanced”. I wonder how many others out there who are being labeled sociopaths by information-age-know-it-alls are just normal, well balanced people who are just in-the-shit with their ex-friends and/or lovers. Probably most of them.
Side note: My birthday present to myself this year is my declaration that this is the year I get fit so I can enter 40 (next year) fit and fabulous!