My turn: Agitation comes easily

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 wendel.sloan@yahoo.com

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