It is hard to admit, but I may be a psychopath.
I have never been violent — except against vending machines — but I seldom feel genuine empathy.
Oh, I'm good at pretending. I can look others in the eye and nod empathetically with the best of them — but, as soon I realize that the conversation isn't about me, I tune them out.
I only know when others are expecting a response when I see their lips stop moving.
Then I simply repeat rote phrases I've heard others use, like: "That's terrible. Can I buy you a drink?" or "Do you want to come over tonight and talk about it?"
But the only real emotion I experience is agitation — wondering when I can slip away to watch ESPN.
I feel no genuine empathy even for such heart-wrenching problems as:
"My husband doesn't understand me. He gets mad every time I go out with my girlfriends and forget to pick him up from work."
"My wife is so self-centered. I was just having an innocent lunch with my ex-girlfriend, and she got upset."
"My boss is so demanding. He expects me to come in on time even after holidays."
"Just because I forgot his birthday, he didn't send me a card on mine."
"The newspaper only ran one photo of my baby."
To protect society, I have entered a 12-step program.
"Hello. My name is Wendel and I am a psychopath."
Contact Wendel Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org