‘I am a psychopath: this is where everyone is wrong about this disorder’

yeshey psychopath and for the last two months I have played bass in the orchestra of a new musical setting. As I understand it, some of the performance stemmed from diversity, equity, and inclusion workshops held with the cast and crew before rehearsals began.

I was not part of the workshops inclusion, but I experienced its effect. Like most of my musical experiences, on the first day of rehearsals I walked into a mostly male room. When the men introduced themselves, they included the pronouns they preferred to identify with, which I assumed they learned from the workshop training.

But I didn’t mention my pronouns and I noticed that two other women didn’t either. I’m not sure why they didn’t specify their pronouns, but I do know why I didn’t. I just don’t have them. I have no normal concept of myself either as a woman or as another gender because I have antisocial personality disorder.

I’m a psychopath, or as some call it, sociopath. In a psychological evaluation, I was described as a “successful” psychopath, but chose to use the term sociopath because of the social stigma around psychopathy. Recently, I learned that the British often use the term psychopath, so I changed.

Psychopathy is generally understood to be a subtype of disorder antisocial personality. In my case, I also have a very weak sense of identity, so weak that I find it hard to conceptualize myself as female, white, bisexual, or any other adjective that might be true of me.

I have also struggled to relate with my own emotions in a traditional way, and much more with the emotions of other people.


I’ve learned since I was a little girl that people were often repulsed by my chronic need to know things, which they labeled “gossip.” Also, because of the way I could read their minds and use their hidden fears and insecurities to manipulate them. And because he showed no empathy for those he used without guilt.

So, I learned to mask these traits and look like everyone else. The first time I heard the word sociopath applied to myself was during a rare moment when I let the mask I slipped with a co-worker.

She had an unusually open mind, so I was exceptionally honest with her about the way my brain worked. Her lack of prejudice about sociopathy or psychopathy is, unfortunately, an experience that happens infrequently.

My musical colleagues know me as bass guitaristNot as a lawyer, not as the founder of a nonprofit pro bono legal services firm. And certainly not like the author of Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight.

But actually, there is a connection. It wasn’t until after I lost my career as a law professor because of the publication of the book that I took up the bass again. After so many terrible, judgmental, and insensitive encounters with my administrators and legal colleagues, coupled with the fact that all they knew about the sociopath and psychopath were stereotypical representations of HollywoodI only wanted to be judged on my merits and not because of my mental health disorder.


I published Confessions of a Sociopath under a pseudonym which I still use. And I tried, at least at first, to remain anonymous.

Unfortunately, when people close to me made the ConnectionI suffered from people assuming things about me based on a group to which I belong.

For example, as a result of the details I shared about myself on the book and during his promotion, the law school where I taught in California forbade me to be within a mile of any of their buildings.

This prohibition was so broad at first glance that I could no longer live in my own apartment. Instead of wasting time fighting what I firmly believe was his ignorance and their discriminatory treatment, I just moved.

Similarly, a colleague with whom I co-authored an article told me never to mention his name again or he would sue me. The document we had been collaborating on were my ideas, my research design, and my applications to funding sources.

Years later I discovered that my research design had been stolen and the article had been written without me and without giving me credit. So I lost my career as a law professor because I’m a psychopath, but they still keep their jobs despite their behaviour unethical.

Unlike many other segments of the movement of the neurodiversity Having benefited from a greater understanding and recognition that they are considered just another type of “human”, the psychopath continues to be widely misunderstood and persecuted. It is a stigma that is reinforced by the inaccurate and dehumanizing representations of Hollywood.

The television series ‘Killing Eve’, starring Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh. After a series of events, the lives of a security agent and an assassin become inextricably linked. (Image: BBC)


For example, I just saw the end of the television series of the BBC Killing Eve. The show has at least three psychopathic characters, as described by its creators, and all three are women: one is an assassin for a shady organization and the other two work with the British intelligence agency MI6.

The showrunners and writers for the first three seasons had clearly read my book or done their own research. I was delighted to finally be able to see accurate fictional portraits of female psychopaths as the complex and flawed, but also brave, open-minded and often brilliant people that they are.

And this show has fans! There were people who really loved and accepted these psychopathic characters feminine not “despite their flaws,” but because these characters were portrayed as human for the first time.

There were parts of the series that seemed to be taken straight out of my book, like a scene where they tell a psychopath in the hospital who looks a little sick and they ask her if she wants to sit down.

She replies that she’s fine and immediately passes out. In real life, that happened to me because it is very easy for me to disconnect even from my bodily sensations.

However, what seemed most faithful to the real life of the psychopath was when one of the characters felt so dissatisfied with the persistent feelings of boredom and emptiness that plague psychopaths that he embarked on a journey of self-discovery and then tried to recover from the negative impact of his mental disorder.

The truth is that most (maybe all?) psychopaths want what all humans do: a life filled with meaningful human connection and a purpose.


And the show did a great job of showing how features of psychopathy often interfere with those goals. For example, by preventing emotional vulnerability Constant in relationships.

I loved it until season four. Particularly the end of the Serie. Despite a lot of growth in character as the assassin Villanelle, (lots of spoilers to come!) she gets killed in the last two minutes as she hugs Eve, who has finally learned to accept and love Villanelle. That I interpreted more as Eve’s acceptance and love of her own psychopathic traits.

The third character Female psychopath, Carolyn, is reduced to a stereotypical Machiavellian villainess who orders Villanelle’s murder. Showrunner Laura Neal explains that confusing moment: “We really wanted to make sure that she was unrecognizable and unpredictable until the very end.”

Me perspective is this: just because someone personally has a hard time knowing and predicting that person doesn’t make them unrecognizable and unpredictable. You can know and predict a psychopath and a sociopath, the only thing that happens is that they by definition do not think like normal people do.

Ted Bundy he really was a psychopath. But that doesn’t mean that all psychopaths and sociopaths are killers, or that all killers are psychopaths or sociopaths.

Nor am I saying that all psychopaths or sociopaths are like me: relatively successful. Either relatively aware of their actions, or unusually interested in relating emotionally with other people, or a truth seeker like me, or a problem solver like me.


Psychopaths, like everyone else, come in all shapes and sizes and it infantilizes us all that Hollywood suggest that all heartless villains are psychopaths, or that all psychopaths are heartless villains.

The stigma against psychopaths exists even in the mental health community. A lots of professionals of mental health still believe that psychopathy has no treatment and, consequently, they do not treat it.

I have not personally experienced this, but so many psychopaths I know have struggled to find availability of a treatment that I joined a nonprofit organization, Psychopathy Is, which maintains the first database of doctors (only a couple dozen in the entire United States) willing to help treat the psychopath.

At the beginning of the final season of killing eve, Villanelle’s character comes out strapping a psychiatrist to a chair to get the help she felt she needed to treat her psychopathic traits. To me, that’s where Killing Eve season 4 got right about the real life of a psychopath. N


ME Thomas (pseudonym) is the author of Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight. A former law professor, she has written extensively on music copyright issues. She is currently an attorney in California and the founder of a non-profit organization. She is also, recently, professional music. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Newsweek confirmed the identity of the writer and agreed to the use of a pseudonym. Published in Mexico in cooperation with Newsweek. Published in Mexico in cooperation with Newsweek.

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