Can a relationship survive if one is a sociopath but wants to fix himself?
Anything is possible and I've seen stranger things occur. If the
person is dedicated in other areas in their life, more than likely
they can be helped. If they are fighters and think THEY are always
right, won't listen to reason then don't expect any changes anytime
soon. Look at this person and try to see their good qualities and
if you see that they are good in other areas of their lives and you
love this person, promise yourself 4 - 6 months with that person
and if you don't see changes (aren't even made part of it with the
psychiatrist/psychologist) then it's time to move on.
"Change" is inevitable in this world and it can either make
things better or worse for all of us. The guilt of "change" being
laid upon us if we let it, is always being afraid of "change" and
not looking forward into the future. When we win through change we
have won much, but when we lose through change we not only win, but
learn great lessons to carry on the torch for better changes in the
future, while learning lessons that strengthen our characters.
Good luckHave a good weekendMarcy
The only problem I have with your question is the wording. He WANTS
to fix himself or he IS fixing himself?
The relationship can survive IF he actually takes the steps to
get help and maintain the treatment. This will not be easy on him
but it's well worth it if it saves the relationship.
Mere promises, especially from a sociopath, mean next to
Sociopaths are the way they are because, from birth onward, the
brainof a sociopath stores learning information in a random,
chaotic wayinstead of in the usual designated places in the
cerebral cortex. Partof this involves lack of crucial
neurotransmitters, but as of yet noone knows whether this lack is
caused BY the brain abnormality or is the cause OF it. It's
probably the former.
Since their information -- including emotional information --
isscattered all over both brain hemispheres, it takes too long for
thebrain to retrieve and process information, and the entire
process ofsocialization becomes so ponderous that ultimately it
fails. (See thebook "Without Conscience" by Robert Hare, PhD.)
Since the entire cerebral cortex of a sociopath is almost never
ata normal level of alertness (their waking brain waves resemble
thewaves of a normal person in a light sleep, alpha waves), this
may bethe crucial deficiency that cripples the developing child's
ability todevelop many aspects of the human mind. As the child
grows, some of thebasic mental and emotional skills the rest of the
world takes so forgranted never develop, and crucial among these is
the thing calledconscience. That one never develops at all.
Some people may envy the apparent calm of a sociopath, but
theirexistence is misery. They cannot connect with other human
beings, andas babies they are so uncomfortable being held that they
fight towriggle free of all but the most basic necessary contact.
Theirheartbroken parents often blame themselves or the child, never
knowingthat what is really wrong with the child is in his or her
Under the almost somnolent calm sociopaths project is a
constantsense of restlessness and lack of fulfillment that is
nothing other than thebasic need all people have to receive
stimulation and support fromothers. But a sociopath has no way of
receiving this even if it'soffered. The endless frustration of
this, and a discomfort that theyare utterly incapable of
articulating or even really understanding, is the source of much of
their chronic anger and aggression.
Plus, since they grow up in constant conflict with authority,
theyare most often bitterly angry and sometimes violent adults,
brittle andcombatative under a thin veneer of charm. Offered
friendship, theyappear to respond, but quickly discover that they
can get nothing fromit; they see the obvious pleasure of other
people in such contact witheach other, and they often seek to "even
it up" by stealing what theycan -- material goods, or even human
lives. They are constantly toldhow "bad" they are, and by
adulthood, most of them believe it. Andbehave accordingly.
Sociopaths rarely feel true happiness. If they do, it is usually
inthe condition that some kind of intervention -- such as one of
thesmall number of medications made for other conditions that may
alsohelp somewhat with theirs -- has taken place, and it will be
fleeting.For all their frantic racing around, they are really very
dead inside,and this is tragic beyond description. Imagine spending
your entirelife trying to get your brain to wake up! And failing.
There are stories of people diagnosed as sociopaths who did
improveto some degree, with the most ceaseless and diligent help.
But sincethe vast majority of this huge body of people (there are
more thanthree hundred million sociopaths on Earth) cannot get that
kind ofattention, they turn to abusing those they envy, and often
to crime. Itis certainly vengeance: "If I can't have any of this,
why should you?"This is the real reason sociopaths lash out at
strong and kind people.No matter what they say, they know that
inside, they are always emptyand damaged beyond repair.
Only in neuroscience is there hope for these incomplete people.
Thekey lies in awakening the brain, which is risky because
sociopaths aremuch more prone to seizures than the rest of the
population, and that-- an uncontrolled blast of electrical
discharge spreading through thebrain and causing violent
convulsions -- is likely to be the firstresponse from brain
pathways that, after years or even decades ofsilence, are suddenly
flooded with impulses. But if the devices ofneurosurgeons can be
tweaked to avoid this shock, and all else relatedto this idea is
workable, it's feasible that small electronic devicesplanted in the
brain (these already exist, but are not yet being usedfor mental
illness) could open up a closed connection.
That leaves us with the problem of whether a lifetime of
scatteredinformation can ever be set into order. Probably the best
that could behoped for would be a kind of retraining -- like what
is now done withstroke survivors and head injury patients -- that
would be bothintensive and compensatory.
One of the things that would be necessary would be to try to
socializethe person whose congenital birth defect made such a thing
completelyimpossible before. Whatever intervention is used, be it
drugs orcomputer chips or what have you, it would probably -- I'd
say certainly-- be excruciating for the patient at first. With no
knowledge of howto cope with the emotions the rest of the world has
been dealing withall their lives, the recovering sociopath would be
rendered asvulnerable as a baby. Which makes sense, because some of
the most basicaspects of the human mind would be developing from
the primordialstasis in which they had remained since birth!
A person thus treated would never be fully normal, but the
humanbrain is amazing in the way it adapts and continues to develop
allthrough life. And given the utterly joyless and meaningless
existence asociopath leads, any improvement is better than
The matter of missing neurotransmitters in a sociopath is,
ofcourse, another problem. Would "waking up" the cerebral
cortexeventually stimulate production of these? Or would they have
to besynthesized? Only time will tell.
In any case, the desire to get well on the part of the man in
the question -- assuming it is genuine -- is a rare but gradually
increasing trend: when there are actually concrete solutions, or at
least (at this point) partial solutions, the miserable existences
of sociopaths may be mitigated. It's hard to trust, but dying
terribly young -- or living in isolation while everyone around him
(or her) seems to be having a wonderful life (which of course not
everyone is, but it may well seem that way to the sociopath) --
aren't the only options any more...and although very, very few
sociopaths can see that right now, it's not unheard of, not
impossible, and not going to be the only way out once neurologists
and neurosurgeons figure out how exactly to wake up those sleeping
segments of the brain of the true psychopath (sociopath).
It's not a matter of "if," but "when".