My name is Steven Michael Blacksmith. Throughout my life I have lied, cheated, stolen, injured, manipulated, cursed, beat, bullied, and hurt people in many more ways than I can think of right now. That’s not a confession of any sort. Confessions seem to be guided by some tinge of remorse or desire for forgiveness. I don’t desire forgiveness. I don’t feel remorse. I’m quite incapable of looking back at anything I have done and feeling that tug of guilt on my heart which is so elegantly dramatized in our culture. My past and sometimes-present is often saturated with the psychic scars emotion leaves in its wake. These scars never belong to me, however, as I am instead the catalyst. So, no, this is not a confession. This is a celebration; an awakening of a sort. My name is Steven Michael Blacksmith, and I am a psychopath.
The word “psychopath” is quite the loaded term these days. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.”. Urban Dictionary, on the other hand, defines the term as, “A person with severe mental disorders. Usually possesses a cultish mentality and religiously believes that he or she is the president of the world, and that everyone else is a lower lifeform. Usually seen masturbating to fairytale creatures and insulting the "dumb masses" with l337 speech.”. While both of these definitions have merit, they are both essentially wrong. Albeit, I have probably masturbated to fairy tale creatures in the past, I don’t believe that such rash generalizations apply to all psychopaths. Let’s dissect both of these and see where they went wrong.
Webster’s starts off pretty well. Psychopaths are people with psychopathy. Good observation Webster’s. You let the interns write this one, huh? Let’s continue. Their behavior is "...amoral and antisocial..". This is where we’ve started to take a turn. While psychopathic behavior can be amoral, they can also be extremely social. It’s easy to confuse personality disorders, and what Webster’s seems to have done here is confuse psychopathy with antisocial personality disorder. The rest of the generalizations include egocentrism, inability to create emotional attachment, and just not learning from past mistakes, “etc.”. By the way, don’t you only use “etc.” when the rest of the list can be inferred or is common knowledge? You can’t just write “etc” on a list of possible conditions. What if you put that shit on a pill bottle? “Psychopathitrax can cause irritability, insomnia, violent sneezing, runny or way-too-solid diarrhea, Ebola Zaire, etc.” Wouldn’t you want to know what the rest of those side effects might be!? All-of-a-sudden you’re on the bathroom floor with that brain disease which makes you laugh uncontrollably cause some fucker didn’t have time to write a few more words down. Ridiculous… But, yes, while everything Webster’s says can apply to some people with psychopathy, it is completely erroneous to think this applies to all psychopaths. Psychopathy is in no way that narrow.
The Urban Dictionary definition is just as right and wrong as Webster’s. Psychopathy is not always “severe mental disorders”, though it is important to note that many some with psychopathy also have one or more other mental disorders as well. Psychopathy itself is not really a severe mental disorder. I would argue that it is not a disorder at all, but we’ll get into that later. Now, the “cultish mentality” is interesting because it is very true that cult leaders can often be diagnosed with psychopathy. This is usually accompanied with narcissistic personality disorder which makes them desire this adoration from everyone they meet with a fixation on controlling that attention. So, this characterization of psychopaths should really be a “cult leader” mentality. Psychopaths are not followers. Group think isn’t part of their normal routines. And this makes sense. Psychopaths tend to be either wise and strong leaders or give off the perception of wisdom and strength. Both ways can easily garner a following from people who cannot live without being led. Psychopaths are, more often than not, master manipulators – something shared with politicians and cult leaders alike. These strong leadership qualities often stem from this hard headed notion that the psychopath is correct and all others are not just wrong, but lesser. I, myself, am absolutely guilty of thinking this every now and then. This makes me a strong leader off the bat, but I do everything in my power to back it up. When leaders get far by just claiming to be right all the time, but have few skills other than personality, you get a clusterfuck like the Trump Presidency, (another post for later). The l337 speech shit from the Urban Dictionary definition and the masturbating to fairy tale creatures cannot be solely attributed to psychopaths. Elves are hot and we’ve all jerked off to them. l337 speech is angry, video game nerd shit attributed to sad trolls hiding behind a keyboard and wishing they were as fuckin’ rad as us psychopaths.
I suppose my point is that both of these definitions are right and wrong. The fact of the matter is that psychopathy is a relatively new field of behavioral disorder. A few decades ago we were associatingFparticular it with other mental disorders and conflating it with them so much that psychopathy gained a stigma that would terrify and intrigue the entire world. Now that more study and characterization has been given to the disorder itself, we are learning that psychopathy may have some broad, general conditions on which it is based, but there are many, many branches of behavior in which psychopathy can differ. You may have a psychopath with narcissism that mentally tortures ex girlfriends for fun, and you may have another one who is really good at their job, raises foster children, donates their time and money, but has no emotional attachment to anyone or anything. The point is – we’re not all killers and maniacs.
A more accurate definition of psychopathy would be, “a person with extremely dulled or non-existent emotional reflex due to malformation of the brain, particularly an underdeveloped amygdala and reductions in grey matter volume with underperforming connections in the prefrontal cortex, resulting in severely hindered emotional learning and development.” It’s not as sexy as either Webster’s or Urban Dictionary’s definitions, but goddamnit, it’s accurate, if not overly simplistic. And I use this very scientific definition for a reason – everyone wants to be a psychopath these days. It’s in fashion. It’s all the rage in Paris. Models are wearing psychopathy on runways around the world. It’s Versace, or at least, Andrew Cunanan. Psychopathy is gaining traction as an end-all excuse for shitty behavior by fuckboys and online trolls and the occasional mass shooter who really just let their emotions get the better of them. But that’s the thing – a psychopath has physical brain anomalies which prevent them from feeling such a pitiful thing as emotion. They don’t cry in court when their murder trial comes up. They don’t feel guilty after firing an employee and watching them suffer on the streets. It’s business. Murder and money – it’s all business. And a game. And a way of life.
This blog isn’t about psychopathy – it’s about me. I won’t go too far into details on the history of psychopathy research or the neuroscience behind the disorder, or the HARE test. Honestly, all of those things are fascinating, and I may just recommend a few books a the end of this one, but I am not here to get into those topics. This is the story of my journey of self discovery. This is the culmination of taking a deep dive into the inner workings of my brain and my years of questioning just what I really find to be true. Stick with this blog and you’ll find a new way of looking at life. My way of looking at life. You may not be a psychopath, but you may find that my reasoning makes a bit of sense. And if you are a psychopath – know that my experience may be different from yours, but on some level I get it. Now drop that picture of Orlando Bloom in The Lord of the Rings, get your hands out of your pants, and let’s begin.