How can this be? …I think much of the reason for this is a two component factor:
1. We are told from early childhood that if we hit another person, then that person will feel the same discomfort (pain) that we feel when we get hit.
2. We experience over and over that the kinds of behavior and pain infliction that others react to with deep physical or emotional distress, do not have the same effect upon ourselves (psychopaths). And this contradicts what we are told in point 1.
To a child who doesn’t react as strongly, emotionally, and very often also not physically, the only sense to make of the contradicting information – that we all experience the same feelings and reactions to the same kinds of stimuli, while we know from personal experience that we do not feel as strongly as we see others express that they do – is to conclude that the others must be exaggerating, and, basically, lying. But what possible reason can one have to make pain seem more severe than it is – especially from a child’s point of view – if not hope of gaining the right to compensation from being wronged by the one who inflicted the pain? These are reasonings kids learn early on, and I’m sure almost all children have tried putting on a more heartbroken crying than necessary, simply because they’ve noticed it tends to make mom much nicer and sweeter for a while. – To a small child this is not callous deception, but it is manipulation! There’s no other word for it.
Hence my conclusion that it must be natural when we psychopaths tend to conclude when we’re still kids, that others are manipulating the events by pretending to feel worse, or to be in more pain, than we ourselves know we would feel or be in given the same situation, must simply be lies and manipulation. And so the inevitable conclusion from the insistence that we all are and feel the same, says: ‘They feel what I, Zhawq, would feel in the same situation. Ergo, they do not feel as bad as they claim to feel!’ – It was only late that I found my conclusion to be so obvious not true.
So how do we feel, us psychopaths, when we get hurt or wronged by others? Obviously we feel hurt and wronged too. But we generally don’t feel these things to the same extent as others do. And certainly not as lasting!
Our pain lies elsewhere and are linked to different kinds of causes and reactions.
I don’t claim to understand this area completely yet, but I am on my way and have gained at least some understanding. F.x., there is no doubt that I know what pain feels like, and that I have experienced it. I have been subjected to pain that made me loose consciousness, and once I regained consciousness the pain was re-inserted and continued until I lost consciousness again. This went on over a period of several weeks.
And it does seem logical to assume that when an individual looses consciousness as a result of physical pain, then that pain must represent in some way the strongest physical pain that individual can experience, and exactly to the point beyond what he can endure; that logically this would have to be the strongest, most intense physically possible for me to experience in that particular constellation, yes?
I also know that other people, who have had similar experiences with being tortured, react very differently to it – after the experience has ended – from how I have reacted, or am reacting. – In fact, even people who have not experienced this, feels stronger fear about it than I do at the thought of such an experience possibly being actualized (possibly happening to them) in the future.
I can’t quite explain why there is this difference, except for tentatively with what I’ve stated above: That psychopaths’ experiences of distress seem to be connected to a different type of situations.
I can see, though, that it has nothing to do with us – or me – not having experienced intense physical pain, for I obviously have! It just doesn’t deter and scare me the way I find to be so common for others.
It could seem that it is my ‘cognitive’ emotions that doesn’t have the same hyper-reactivity as do they for normal people. That, and the different neuro-psychological focus.
I have to say that to me this does not necessarily mean I’m psychologically pathological (a psychopath). I’m sure there have been people like me at all times and in all cultures. I’m also absolutely convinced we’ve had very good and beneficial uses for out species. For if we hadn’t, we would simply have been mostly non-existent by now. We’d have been isolated and killed and thus not gotten the opportunity to multiply and bring our genes to replicate.
I’ll say also, that with only about 1% of ‘me’, that’s a very small percentage when thinking about the uses my kind is likely to have had. But perhaps that’s the effect of evolution, as our species with still more and more one-dimensional, and formalistic, versions of human character that are seen as good and acceptable, perhaps we have been diminished over the last (guess:) ca. 2000 years.
Yet, I can’t imagine the species’ survival without the qualities I represent.
But back to the topic in question…
We may now see a few aspects of what it is that makes psychopaths feel that lying is okay, that it isn’t that big of a deal, especially when we find it is useful to do it.
But how do we decide it’s a good idea to lie when the gain is clearly secondary seen in proportion with the energy I invest in lying?
There’re two aspects in this:
- I have good reason to keep up my lying, because it is a practical way of keeping my performing abilities well trained and sharp,… like a singer, who sings also when they’re not on stage. They will sing strange tunes that are not songs, and they seem to take a lot of effort. How can that be good? It trains their voice and widens the spectrum of nodes the singer can reach and use to express his interpretation of a small piece of reality – a song, opera, i.e.
- We create our reality from moment to moment, and our personality isn’t as intricately bound to the social scene on which we interact. Because tomorrow we may be part of a whole new play! Doing well in whichever play we take part in at any given moment is far more important to someone like me, than it would be to remain in the same role play and within the same game world throughout my life.
To me, and to most – if not all – psychopaths I have met or known, it is the same: I am, in a sense, always alone in reality. I can see all you other people, I can interact with you and I generally enjoy doing so, but emotionally I am the only one I can really connect with.
And I’m in permanent contact with me!!