“I have a question about self-awareness: you can easily spot fellow psychopaths, but for a long time you didn’t know you were a psychopath. Before you became self-aware, did you sense that you were part of a minority,
and that other people whom you know know are psychopaths had something in common with you?”
My immediate reply to this question from a Reader was: Yes… and No! A little more explanation is in order:
I can see in hindsight why I sometimes felt “I’m like you!” about someone else who was also a psychopath, and though I never could confirm it, I just knew. Often I could tell that the other guy knew as well. Especially when I was younger I hoped to find out what it was that made me and those few other individuals different from everybody else, but I had no word for it. Now I have words for it, and they confirm what I felt back then and still feel when I meet another psychopath.
Since psychopaths rarely are attracted to each other and feel no reason to interact unless we have a common goal and can benefit from cooperating, it would mostly happen in that I knew exactly what the other person’s motives were and could foresee his next moves. It’s an unspoken recognition that “I understand this guy”, whereas with normal people I may be able to foretell their behavior and motives, but I will never really, truly understand them.
Even when I meet others like me and I have a sense of recognition, I still feel set apart even from them. There is no sense of ‘belonging’ among psychopaths in the way that I imagine you have in mind. So whereas I did have some kind of vague awareness when I met another psychopath, also from early on in life, my sense of uniqueness has always been the strongest. When I meet other people and recognize they’re psychopaths, it is just that: A recognition.
I can mention one thing that I noticed. When I met a psychopathic individual, and if circumstances spoke for it, we would use it to undertake actions in a quick and effective manner… actions which – when I undertook them with non-psychopaths – always require discussion and debating and lining up and agreeing on all the details in advance so as to not misunderstand the behavior or the intentions of someone else. With another psychopath things often happen almost without any talk at all, except for the most fundamental details that can’t be ‘intuitively’ understood (locations’ names, f.x.).
Today I am fully aware when I spot someone else, and I can tell if they’re aware as well.