Crown PublishingA law professor and attorney has written a new book about what it’s like to be a diagnosed sociopath who’s never killed anybody and excels at her job.
“Confessions of A Sociopath” by M.E. Thomas, a pseudonym, reveals its author is a Mormon Sunday school teacher who’s well liked by her law school students. She also has a cold stare and fantasizes about killing people.
Sociopaths, otherwise known as psychopaths, generally lack empathy and have a lot of charm.
Thomas’s book includes the diagnosis that confirmed her suspicions that she falls into this category. We’ve excerpted that section with permission from its publisher, Crown:
Psychological Evaluation Excerpt
Ms. Thomas is a 30-year-old Caucasian female seeking an assessment of her personality, particularly in regards to the presence or absence of psychopathic traits. Across multiple self-report inventories tapping both normal-range and pathological personality characteristics, Ms. Thomas scored beyond the 99th percentile of the community normative data. Her presentation in many regards could be considered that of a prototypical psychopathic personality.
Additionally, the results of the PCL:SV assessment largely converge with this description, particularly in regards to the affective and interpersonal features displayed by Ms. Thomas, such as a pronounced lack of empathy, a ruthless and calculating attitude towards social and interpersonal relationships, and a relative immunity to experiencing negative emotions.
Most notable in Ms. Thomas’s clinical presentation … were pronounced elevations on scales tapping antisocial and psychopathic traits (particularly egocentricism and sensation-seeking characteristics), interpersonal dominance, verbal aggression, and excessive self-esteem, as well as very low scores on measures tapping negative affective experiences (e.g., phobias, traumatic stressors, depressive symptoms), interpersonal nurturance and stressful life events.
Here again, her overall profile reflected a constellation of personality characteristics and interpersonal style highly consistent with current conceptualizations of psychopathy.
Although cognisant that she is “different” from most people she knows in terms of her personality structure, Ms. Thomas does not view herself as “disordered” in the sense of suffering from a form of mental illness per se. Quite the contrary, she seems content with her lifestyle and its current trajectory and rather blasé about many issues and concerns that might cause others some degree of uncertainty or distress. Of course, such attitudes are emblematic of individuals who are highly psychopathic. By all accounts Ms. Thomas has thus far experienced relatively few objective (or subjective) negative consequences associated with being highly psychopathic— and in many regards appears to have excelled across various life domains (e.g., academic, occupational). This suggests that one might describe her as a “socialized” or “successful” psychopath, or at least a relatively non-maladaptive variant of this personality pattern.
—JOHN F. EDENS, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychology, Texas A& M University
Excerpted from Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas. Copyright © 2013 by M.E. Thomas. Excerpted by permission of Crown Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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