I cannot thank you enough for the emails and questions I receive. It is my absolute honor to respond to each and every one (as well as post some from time to time).
This week’s question is another one I get with some regularity. Hope it helps.
What is it like not to care what anyone else thinks?
You’re going to hate me for this, but the answer is simple: I don’t care that I don’t care. It’s important to stress, however, that I don’t mean this in an oppositional way.
Looking at the words in black and white, I can see how easy it might be to interpret them as negative or even threatening. But nothing could be further from my truth. When I say that I don’t care about what other people think, I simply mean that I have no natural attachment to the concerns of other people. Their opinions don’t factor into my thought process.
As a high-functioning sociopath, I am keenly aware that the ability to divorce oneself from the opinions of others is not “normal.” Most non-sociopaths not only care about what other people think, but base a great deal of their life-choices on these opinions. Theirs is not a choice; it’s inherent. Caring about what others think is instinctive. It’s something that everyone has to deal with.
Everyone, that is, except sociopaths.
A common misconception about sociopaths is that we are incapable of relating to other people vis-à-vis empathy or compassion. But this is not the truth. Sociopaths are very capable, we simply internalize emotions differently. Our experience is something more akin to an emotional learning disability.
When I was younger and reckless, I didn’t care about anything and I let that lack of concern dictate the course of my life. Subsequently I was frowned upon, always in trouble and labeled a “black sheep”.
As I matured and began to educate myself about the sociopathic personality, however, I realized that a lack of concern for the opinions of others didn’t make me wrong. It simply made me different. And just as I am different from others, others are different from me.
These days I am still a black sheep, but I hang out with tons of white sheep and we have lots of fun together. They try not to judge me for the ways in which I am different, and I try and do the same for them.
Not caring what other people think is a wonderful thing, so long as it’s not exploited. Sure, I can use my lack of concern to do just about anything from misdemeanors to felonies. But I can also use it for good.
I can use it to help other people like me. I can use it to educate other sociopaths on the positive aspects of their personalty type. I can use it to encourage other people to view sociopaths as human beings in need of compassion instead of monsters deserving of punishment.
Every day I try to choose the latter. And I hope you do, too.