Author Topic: my P Addiction and sociopathy?  (Read 1692 times)

metal22

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my P Addiction and sociopathy?
« on: November 22, 2016, 09:09:26 PM »
So I've been recently contemplating this.  I'm not exactly sure why it's been consuming so much brain space recently but I thought I'd share my thoughts.  My SO has compared my PA to a bit of sociopathy.  At first I didn't know how to take it,  my perception of a sociopath is kinda scary.  But I did have to admit she had a point.  I had taken my PA to a pretty serious level;  using FB to cruise for people I know and fantasizing about them,  to even using a pair of panties I had found that I knew weren't my SO's.  I carried the lie for our entire marriage,  getting worse over time.  Looking at it now I felt like I carried a complete lack of empathy for anyone but myself.  Although I could justify it by "not hurting anyone" it was despicable what I did.  As I look back now I can't really understand it.  My SO has been very supportive to me and my recovery but she's struggled a lot with how I could do all that and live with myself.
So I've been pondering sociopathy.  Am I one?  I mean I feel extreme remorse for what I have done and put everyone through.  But seriously,  how could I have done that for 13 years?!?  Maybe there's more to me than I thought.
So here's a kindof definition that I looked up:
   Sociopaths are usually defined as people displaying anti social behavior which is mainly characterized by lack of empathy towards others that is coupled with display of abnormal moral conduct and inability to conform with the norms of the society. People suffering from antisocial personality disorder are often referred to as sociopaths. Some of the other characteristics that sociopaths may display are stealing, lying, lack of remorse for others and towards living beings, irresponsible behavior, impulsive behavior, drug or alcohol abuse, problems with the law, violating rights of others, aggressive behavior and much more.
Though no person is born with this disorder, the sociopathic personality disorder does involve a history of persistent anti social behavior during childhood before the age of 15 and if left untreated, this disorder continues into adulthood too. Sociopaths could also have been influenced by various environmental factors around the age of 15 that is also one of the main reasons for this disorder in individuals. Some of the environmental factors can include deprivation, sexual abuse, abandonment, emotional abuse, association with people who are antisocial, physical abuse and others. Though there are no distinct biological causes that have been identified as the main cause for this disorder, research suggest that for people suffering from sociopathic personality disorder, the part of the brain that is mainly responsible for an individual’s learning from his or her own mistakes and responding to fearful and sad facial expressions tends to be smaller than in a normal individual.
Please note I'm not trying to offend anyone here.  I'm just sharing my thoughts on this topic and how I personally feel.  One of the things that really stood out for me was the during childhood before the age of 15,  which I feel applies to many (including me).  I had zero understanding of porn,  yet unrestrictedly allowed access to it at a young age.  Although I don't exhibit particularly anti-social behaviors normally,  I feel like I have when involved with P.  It was like it somehow warped my perception and made allowed for a skewed moral code when applying to "my drug".  Although most people who met me liked me,  and felt like I'm an upstanding guy,  I carried my dirty little secret.  I never felt compulsed to say "rob a bank" or actually seriously hurt someone,  I do have to say I have lacked integrity with a lot of my life.  Lying to my SO was easy,  lying to an employer was easy.  So maybe I have some anti-social characteristics?
Here's a link to a counter point.  http://www.signature-reads.com/2013/05/little-did-we-know-5-myths-about-sociopathy-debunked/
In it the author talks about her experience as a diagnosed sociopath.  In the end she says:
Recently I have been thinking that the real problem is not in getting “normal” people to believe that we’re better than they think, but in getting them to see that the “normal” ones are actually worse than they believe themselves to be. It is convenient to define normal as whatever you happen to be. No need to confront the possibility that maybe you aren’t as empathetic as you seem. Maybe your conscience doesn’t have quite the sway that you thought it did. Maybe you are both capable and incapable of much more than you had hoped. Maybe you have a lot more in common with sociopaths than you’d like to think. Maybe it is just one big long spectrum with only a few people at the extremes and the rest huddled closer to the middle.





cuppatea

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Re: my P Addiction and sociopathy?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2016, 03:56:47 AM »
Hello,
This site I found last week and it has some really interesting information which I feel fits my husband, and in fact we just had a convo about this thread and the information I found on this site the other day. I do not believe my husband is a sociopath but I do believe that he constructed a false reality, a world of justification to himself, that was so strong he actually truly believed it to be reality and to be truth and that came crashing down at d-day he's had a real hard job coming to terms with that reality he had constructed not in fact lining up with the real world. Unlike the alcoholics this article talks about he only had to justify to himself and so therefore no one challenged this false world he created that made his behaviour ok (this is all the way I see it currently anyway). I can tell you that my ex is a narcissist, which I believe crosses over with sociopathy and that guy is an evil abusive twisted bastard that would never and has never showed one ounce of remorse for a single shitty thing he has done. I personally from reading your post don't think you are that sort of person and I don't think my husband is either. He has no doubt brain damaged himself with years of addiction though. You, like him, are trying to put things right, a sociopath seriously wouldn't give a shit about doing that and a narcissist would have moved on to a new victim by now.

An interesting part from this page http://www.bma-wellness.com/papers/Getting_Away_Addiction.html

Addiction is its own consequence because addiction distorts and stereotypes the psyche of the addict by enslaving the self to a false and unhealthy center -addiction- from which all radii subsequently emanate and around which the circumference of the addicted self is henceforth constructed and maintained. Freedom, flexibility, spontaneity and independence of thought are judgment are lost -actually sacrificed- to the interests and demands of the Idol of the addiction that has become the addict's jealous god. The addict's mind is in a sense no longer his mind but has become an agent and tool, however unwitting, of the addiction whose absolute and fundamentally irrational mandate the addict now exists solely in order to fulfill - even, if necessary, at the cost of his own life. But long before his physical life is surrendered to 'the Cause' of the addiction, the addict has sacrificed his soul and his individuality to satisfy the requirements of the addiction.

Less abstractly: the addicted self is centered upon and organized around its addiction in the manner of the moth revolving around a candle flame. For just as the moth may be said to have been captured by the candle flame, the addict has been captured by his addiction, which for him becomes the aiming point and goalpost of his thoughts. The word 'addiction' derives from the Latin addictere, 'to be bound to another,' as in the relationship of a slave to his master. For the addict, his addiction becomes his telos or purpose of being, in the process replacing all other possible goals - including in many cases that of survival itself.

And because the psyche of the addict is enslaved to his master, addiction, freedom and flexibility are spontaneity are thereby sacrificed to the dire and incorrigible telos of addiction. The addict becomes like one who subsists under a ruthless totalitarian regime which cares nothing for the individual but everything for 'the Cause' which it promotes by every means at its disposal. And 'the Cause' in addiction is the gratification and fulfillment of the addictive process, not the health or human potential of the individual addict.

Considered from this point of view, no one who is addicted can be said to 'get away with addiction.' Those who seem to be doing so are in the worst predicament of all. For like sufferers from an occult yet terrible disease, they go about their business thinking nothing is wrong, that indeed they are in the pink of health. But inwardly and invisibly the disease of addiction is nevertheless furiously and destructively at work, disorienting the self, shifting priorities, influencing choices, and shaping a lifestyle and worldview that is unconsciously and ingeniously adapted to the continued operation of the addictive process.


And from this page, this resonates a lot for me in relation to my husband http://www.bma-wellness.com/papers/Addiction_Defenses.html

Addiction Constructs Worlds and Selves

But the strategies by which addiction preserves and advances itself are still more complex. Psychological defense mechanisms such as those described above play a significant role  in the maintenance of most addictions. In a sense, however, they are merely superficial and secondary aids to the addictive process, which originates and operates at a still deeper level of the mind.

Addiction constructs a self and a world that are congruent with its preservation and progress; and it renders difficult if not impossible the experience of a self and a world that are incongruent with its aims. The addictive process eventually transforms the worldview of the addicted individual and even realigns his sense of himself -his identity- so that they facilitate and do not obstruct the continued expression of the addiction.

The addictive consciousness is progressively organized around and constructed by the aim of the ambition for its own gratification. This is in most cases a gradual and insidious process which is unrecognized by the addicted individual -the "host" for the "parasite" of addiction. The end stage of this transformation is represented by the addict as puppet to the addiction's puppetmaster. The addict then exists for one purpose only: to carry out the desires and demands of the addiction. Everything human and individual has been suppressed, over-ridden, or shoved to the sidelines by the inexorable and irresistible "push" of the addictive process.

Just as a powerful river finds or creates channels around anything obstructing its flow, so does the addictive process defeat the rational and ethical resistances of the person within which it is active. And in the process of constructing such alternative paths for its discharge, the addiction shapes the reality of the  addict's world and his very notion of himself.

The worldview that is created by the addictive process is one that is compatible with and friendly to the interests of the addiction. Worldviews that are inconsistent with the continuation of the addiction are suppressed or eliminated. The process is usually a slow and subtle one progressing invisibly over many years "behind the back" of the unsuspecting addict.

What kind of a world view is compatible with addiction? Almost any philosophy that does not include and will not permit happiness, healthy and balanced behavior, sustaining relationships, rigorous honesty with and about oneself, and some kind of spiritual connection(even though it may not be called that). Addiction thrives best in an atmosphere of unhappiness, resentment, alienation and estrangement, secrecy, mistrust and in most cases, ultimate despair of meaning. And it cannot continue for long in the opposite atmosphere, i.e. one of happiness, emotional well-being, healthy relationships and genuine honesty. Serious addiction, therefore, necessarily points in the direction of an unhappy and dissatisfied world view, and away from the opposite, happier and healthier perspective. A happy addict is a contradiction in terms.


And the main part that spoke to me was this one - http://www.bma-wellness.com/papers/Addiction_Lies_Rel.html

Addiction protects and augments itself by means of a bodyguard of lies, distortions and evasions that taken together amount to a full scale assault upon consensual reality. Because addiction involves irrational and unhealthy thinking and behavior, its presence results in cognitive dissonance both within the addict himself and in the intersubjective realm of ongoing personal relationships.

In order for the addiction to continue it requires an increasingly idiosyncratic private reality subject to the needs of the addictive process and indifferent or even actively hostile to the healthy needs of the addict and those around him. This encroachment of the fundamentally autistic, even insane private reality of the addict upon the reality of his family and close associates inevitably causes friction and churn as natural corrective feedback mechanisms come into usually futile play in an effort to restore the addict's increasingly deviant reality towards normal. Questions, discussions, presentations of facts, confrontations, pleas, threats, ultimatums and arguments are characteristic of this process, which in more fortunate and less severe cases of addiction may sometimes actually succeed in its aim of arresting the addiction. But in the more serious or advanced cases all such human counter-attacks upon the addiction, even, indeed especially when they come from those closest and dearest to the addict, fall upon deaf ears and a hardened heart. The addict's obsession-driven, monomaniacal private reality prevents him from being able to hear and assimilate anything that would if acknowledged pose a threat to the continuance of his addiction.

At this stage of addiction the addict is in fact functionally insane. It is usually quite impossible, even sometimes harmful to attempt to talk him out of his delusions regarding his addiction. This situation is similar to that encountered in other psychotic illnesses, schizophrenia for example, in which the individual is convinced of the truth of things that are manifestly untrue to everyone else. Someone who is deluded in the belief that he is the target of a worldwide conspiracy by some organization will always be able to answer any rational objection to his theory in a fashion that preserves the integrity of his belief system. Even when he is presented with hard and fast data that unequivocally disproves some of his allegations, he will easily find a way to sidestep the contradiction and persist in his false beliefs. (He can for example easily claim that the contradictory data is itself part of the conspiracy and is expressly fabricated for the purpose of making him look crazy! Anyone who has ever tried -uselessly- to reason with delusional patients knows the remarkable creativity and ingenuity that can be displayed in maintaining the viability, at least to the patient, of the most bizarre and obviously erroneous beliefs.)

The addict's delusions that he is harming neither himself nor others by his addictive behaviors;  that he is in control of his addiction rather than vice versa;  that his addiction is necessary or even useful and good for him; that the circumstances of his life justify his addiction;  that people who indicate concern about him are enemies and not friends, and all other such beliefs which are patently and transparently false to everyone but himself, are seldom correctable by reason or objective data and thus indicate the presence of genuinely psychotic thinking which, if it is more subtle than the often grotesque delusions of the schizophrenic, is by virtue of its very subtlety often far more insidious and dangerous to the addict and those with whom he comes into contact. For in the case of the delusional schizophrenic most people are quickly aware that they are dealing with someone not in their right mind - but in the case of the equally or at times even more insane addict, thinking that is in fact delusional may be and commonly is misattributed to potentially remediable voluntary choices and moral decisions, resulting in still more confusion and muddying of the already turbulent waters around the addict and his addiction.

In many cases the addict responds to negative feedback from others about his addiction by following the maxim of "Attack the attacker." Those who confront or complain about the addict's irrational and unhealthy behaviors are criticized, analyzed and dismissed by the addict as untrustworthy or biased observers and false messengers. Their own vulnerabilities may be ruthlessly exposed and exploited by the addict in his desperate defense of his addiction. In many cases, depending upon their own psychological makeup and the nature of their relationship to the addict, they themselves may begin to manifest significant psychological symptoms. Emotional and social withdrawal, secrecy, fear and shame can cause the mental health of those closely involved with addicts to deteriorate. Almost always there is fear, anger, confusion and depression resulting from repeated damaging exposures to the addict's unhealthy and irrational behaviors and their corresponding and supporting private reality.   

« Last Edit: November 24, 2016, 04:02:29 AM by cuppatea »

FapFreeZone

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Re: my P Addiction and sociopathy?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2016, 06:25:27 AM »
So here's a kindof definition that I looked up:
   Sociopaths are usually defined as people displaying anti social behavior which is mainly characterized by lack of empathy towards others that is coupled with display of abnormal moral conduct and inability to conform with the norms of the society. People suffering from antisocial personality disorder are often referred to as sociopaths. Some of the other characteristics that sociopaths may display are stealing, lying, lack of remorse for others and towards living beings, irresponsible behavior, impulsive behavior, drug or alcohol abuse, problems with the law, violating rights of others, aggressive behavior and much more.
Though no person is born with this disorder, the sociopathic personality disorder does involve a history of persistent anti social behavior during childhood before the age of 15 and if left untreated, this disorder continues into adulthood too. Sociopaths could also have been influenced by various environmental factors around the age of 15 that is also one of the main reasons for this disorder in individuals. Some of the environmental factors can include deprivation, sexual abuse, abandonment, emotional abuse, association with people who are antisocial, physical abuse and others. Though there are no distinct biological causes that have been identified as the main cause for this disorder, research suggest that for people suffering from sociopathic personality disorder, the part of the brain that is mainly responsible for an individual’s learning from his or her own mistakes and responding to fearful and sad facial expressions tends to be smaller than in a normal individual.

Here's my take:

When sociopaths do these sorts of things, they do it knowing it's thought of as wrong by others and they don't care. You didn't think you were doing anything wrong. When someone is actually a sociopath, they display this behaviour generally and not just in regard to porn. You don't.

"lying", for instance, is something everyone does sometimes. I don't know what the difference is between how a sociopath lies and how normal people lie, but I bet if you asked some of the PA's who have spouses if they went and told their spouse about their porn use or kept it a secret as long as they could, you'd find that most of them did the same thing you did and kept it secret.

I'm sure what you did hurt your partner, but I think that what you did was more ignorant than sociopathic.
- FFZ

BuddhaAwake

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Re: my P Addiction and sociopathy?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2016, 11:49:47 AM »
Great post, cuppatea!

 I just copied it and posted it in my journal, with your name removed. Your post gave me further insight and words for concepts I have been trying to grasp.

Thank you!

metal22

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Re: my P Addiction and sociopathy?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2016, 02:44:14 PM »
@cuppatea, thank you for all the insight.  Great post and I really appreciate your thoughts.
@Fapfreezone,  I do understand your point,  but if I dig deep I have to admit even in the midst of my PMOing I knew it was wrong.  I had a mountain of justifications,  but I still knew I was doing bad stuff.  I guess I was ignorant of the entire magnitude of it,  but I did compromise my conscience especially with the lying.  And yes I feel most people do lie,  and when they do they know it's bad.

I'm sorry I don't mean to start up a bunch of controversy.  I know by using any sort of additional labels it can be a hot button of sorts.  Part of this exploration is into my own psyche,  and how to heal it. 
I have to admit when looking back I never physically hurt anyone...yet.  But my moral code was so skewed honestly I think unchecked I could have gone down that road.  So no,  I don't think I am a sociopath,  but I do admit I had a lot of the characteristics.
Since I've been healing I don't have much left of those characteristics anymore.  I feel peoples pain,  and am sensitive.  It reminds me of when I was a child.  If I stand someone up,  or otherwise break my integrity I feel bad,  not just guilt but I also contemplate what the other person is maybe feeling.  At first I made myself do it,  but it's coming more natural for me now.  My PA had made me more and more callous.  During my PMO days,  I could lie,  cheat and steal without remorse.  If I upset my wife,  really I just wanted her to get over it,  and would do whatever I needed.  If my kids hurt themselves I would be annoyed to have to deal with it.    I was completely self-absorbed and had gone down the path so long and so deep I couldn't even see it anymore.  Now when I read the partners forum and hear the SO's pain,  I sometimes tear up.  When I read other PA's journals,  it warms my heart to be there for them,  to walk this recovery together like brothers in arms of sorts.
I guess I just wanted the label to be a wake up call for us PAs.  Like maybe lets treat this seriously.  I know everyone is doing that but the more introspection we do as PAs I think the more likely we are to recover,  and the better people we can be on the other side.

BuddhaAwake

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Re: my P Addiction and sociopathy?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2016, 03:49:34 PM »
metal- you prompted a discussion that was very helpful to me. Thanks!

Hablablos

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Re: my P Addiction and sociopathy?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2016, 04:29:01 PM »
During my fight with PA I came across books about Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman and by Jane Wharan. Boths of these books helped me better understand emotions at all. I don't think you are a socipath, but you are discovering things about emotions. Those emotions are powerful tools and now you need to learn how to deal with them in a healthy way, not with another quick fix.

One line from the first book resonated with me deeply: "Addicted person see in an alcohol or a drug an instant solution how to deal with problems and emotions, which were bothering him for so long." Emotional intelligence is also known as "intelligence of succes" and I personally believe that difference between abstinance and recovery also lies in understanding one's emotions and learning how to handle them.
"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new"

Learn from mistakes of others, life is too short to do them all by yourself

Porn addiction is the best thing that has happened to me