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. This 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-a-vie empathy or compassion. But this is not the truth. Sociopaths are very capable, we simply internalize emotions differently. Our experience 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 on 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 and choose the latter. And I hope you do too.