Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas is a never-before-seen journey into the mind of a diagnosed sociopath
- Imprint: Crown Publishers
- On sale: May 14, 2013
- Price: $25.00
- Pages: 320
- ISBN: 9780307956644
Psychological Evaluation Excerpt
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.
Most notable in Ms. Thomas’s clinical presentation . . . were pronounced elevations on scales tapping antisocial and psychopathic traits (particularly egocentrism and sensation-seeking characteristics), interpersonal dominance, verbal aggression, and excessive self-esteem, as well as very low scores on measures tapping negative affective experiences, 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 . . .
By all accounts Ms. Thomas has thus far experienced relatively few . . . negative consequences associated with being highly psychopathic . . . This suggests that one might describe her as a “socialized” or “successful” psychopath.
—John F. Edens, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University
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“Ruining people is delicious. Sociopaths are uniformly hungry for power. Power is all I have ever really cared about in my life: physical power, the power of being desired or admired, destructive power, knowledge, invisible influence. I like people. I like people so much that I want to touch them, mold them, or ruin them however I’d like. Not because I wanted to witness the results, necessarily, but simply because I want to exercise my power. The acquisition, retention, and exploitation of power are what most motivate sociopaths. This much I know . . . I indulge in inserting myself into a person’s psyche and quietly wreaking as much havoc as I can . . . I do have a moral code that I try to adhere to, but ruining people is my practical reality.”
—M. E. Thomas, from CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH
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“Fascinating and compelling as well as chilling, Thomas’s memoir offers a window into the mind of a portion of the population that usually remains shrouded in mystery and fear.”
—Booklist, starred review
“The biting memoir of a ‘successful’ sociopath . . . Much here is chilling, but there are also cracks that make you ache for her . . . A work of advocacy for greater awareness of sociopathy’s reach and conduct.”
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CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M. E. Thomas (on sale May 14) is a never-before-seen journey into the mind of a diagnosed sociopath, revealing what makes a sociopath tick, and what that means for the rest of us. Drawn from Thomas’s own experiences, her popular blog, SociopathWorld.com, and scientific literature, CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH confirms suspicions and debunks myths about sociopathy, revealing just how different sociopaths are from other people. Part confessional, part primer for the curious, this is both a memoir of a high-functioning, non-criminal sociopath and a road map for dealing with the sociopath in your life.
“There is an entire parallel culture of self-aware and often high-functioning sociopaths who live among the general population, mimicking normal behavior to play the part of the average citizen,” Thomas says. But the life of a sociopath is about more than simply imitating others or wearing a mask. “We consciously manipulate people without anyone realizing it or even suspecting it,” reveals Thomas. “It’s easy for us. That so little is known about our particular disorder is a testament to our facility at camouflage. People do not want to believe that something so alien and seemingly evil exists within our own species. We capitalize on this willful blindness by hiding in plain sight.”
While working at a summer internship during law school, a fellow intern told Thomas she might want to Google the term “sociopath” to see if the description felt familiar. “When I read about it, I was amazed,” she says. “I had always known I was different, and now I knew that there was a name for what I was.” Despite that revelation, it wasn’t until Thomas’s life began to deteriorate as a result of her self-destructive tendencies that she entered into a period of introspection about her own behavior. During that time she started her blog, SociopathWorld.com, in the hope of exploring her condition and presenting valuable information to those suffering from sociopathy, or at the hands of sociopaths. Now, only a few years later, Thomas identifies with being a sociopath more than she does her profession, gender, or race.
CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH pulls back the curtain on the parallel world of sociopaths by explaining their identifying characteristics and behaviors, as well as Thomas’s personal experiences with them. Among their defining traits are
•Lack of remorse and emotion
•Hunger for power
•Penchant for deceit
•Manipulative, charming, impulsive
While sociopaths certainly aren’t like everyone else, and can be quite dangerous, Thomas argues that they are not inherently evil. In CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH, she explains that while sociopaths are driven by self-interest and self-preservation rather than guilt or moral responsibility, their cost-benefit analysis often leads them to make the same choice a non-sociopath would. “Lack of guilt does not make sociopaths criminals,” Thomas says. “We have alternative means of keeping ourselves in line.” She describes her “alternative means” as her “prosthetic moral compass.” Further, she makes a convincing case that sociopaths are potentially more productive and useful to society than “empaths” (their term for the rest of us).
Ironically, while Thomas admits to victimizing others, she continues to hide her sociopathy for personal protection. “For the sake of getting by . . . I present a mask of normalcy to the world,” she explains. “It can be lonely. I want to live in the light . . . I want to take off the mask, but not until I change the world to make it a safer place for me.” In the meantime, she hopes that CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH will let people like her know that they aren’t alone, and remind others that she’s as human as they are, not a monster.
About the Author
M. E. THOMAS is a diagnosed sociopath and the founder of SociopathWorld.com. She is an accomplished attorney and law professor who writes regularly for major law journals, donates 10 percent of her income to charity, and teaches Sunday school.