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Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent…

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight

by M.E. Thomas

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I don't really know what I expected. Actually, I guess I do, I thought I'd be entertained, but for all of the author's professing how likable and intriguing she is, my goodness is she a braggart and a bore.

This is a dull book. ( )
  reluctantm | Dec 4, 2014 |
I listened to this book on audio, which I really can't recommend: audio is more intimate than the page, and that intimacy was very unwelcome here. To be blunt: listening to this book was deeply creepy.

It's worth noting that while Ms. Thomas makes a great deal out of having been diagnosed as a sociopath, she was not given a diagnosis of AntiSocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), which is the DSM diagnosis most commonly thought of as 'sociopathic'. She defends this as demonstration of the problems with psychiatric diagnoses, which depend heavily on criminal behaviour. She limits her criminal behaviour to things she is likely to get away with, thus avoiding many of the criteria.

As many other reviewers have commented, she is an unreliable narrator. For example, she describes one instance where a city worker reprimanded her for walking around a plastic barrier, and she became so angry that she followed the worker for several minutes, fantasizing about killing him. Eventually, she lost sight of him in the crowd. (As another reviewer noted, Thomas later doubted that she would have been able to kill the man, however, this had nothing to do with scruples: he was much larger and probably much stronger than her.) Nevertheless, she maintains that this was a singular incident: she has never assaulted anyone. Except for her brother. And some of her lovers: but that was consensual! At least after the fact. Really!

Thomas states up front that she is a megalomaniac, and much of the book reflects this, including her boast that she had saved enough money to retire on by the age of 30. Assuming that the claim is true, I'm curious: does a sociopath, with her innate lack of regard for risk, carry umbrella liability insurance? Because it is certain that many people might be interested in suing her. (She discounts this possibility, of course.)

She says she relates to the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, who also had no heart, but had spent a great deal of time in reflection. For all of her reflection, however, she still doesn't have a great deal of insight. She thinks her childhood (mental, physical, emotional abuse and neglect) was ideally suited to her genetics: it made her into a 'good' sociopath. She realizes that after several successful years in her job, she's starting to get bored and might soon quit - but she also wants to have children (speaking of jobs that might not be so much fun after a few years!). She thinks she would be a good mother. That might be the creepiest part of all. ( )
  Heduanna | Nov 28, 2014 |
If you want a real waste of time read this book. I caught a short snippet of an interview of this women on the Dr Phil show he thought she was mentally ill but not a sociopath. I then had to catalog the book for my library. The book reads like it was written by a teenage boy bragging about his life. On that level it held my interest in same way a car wreck does.or an impossibly bad TV movie does. The author's note at the beginning of the gives the reader fair warning "...this story is told through the lens of how I see the world, including my megalomania, single minded focus, and lack of understanding about the inner workings of others." It should have been classed as fiction, Thomas tries to legitimize the book by adding quotes from some scientific studies but the citations are so poorly documented it is impossible to verify them. Thomas says she wrote this book in order to be an advocate or sociopaths. if this book is her best effort then sociopaths are in deep trouble.
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  Cataloger623 | Nov 8, 2014 |
As an empath, I have mixed feelings about this book. (Ha!) The first third is crazy good, (okay, I'll stop now) as the author tells us about her life, her family and the peculiar landscape that is her mind. I was fascinated with how she uses her intellect to create emotional props with which to engage other, more emotional people. She has an artificial emotional intelligence.

I would argue that so do most of us, in that emotions and their regulation are culturally bound and therefore, in large part, learned. But the hill the author has to climb to approach normality is steep indeed, and she achieves it through hard work, cunning and, interestingly, a desire to connect emotionally. She has remarkable insight into her own interpersonal processes (because she examines them constantly), so it makes for compelling reading.

But only for a while. The material about her family is wonderful, and I wished for more of it. I found myself skipping over some of the second half. As other reviewers have noted, it gets repetitive. It's a shame, really, because there is an honest story here, being told from an ostensibly unreliable narrator. What could be better?

I recommend this book to anyone interested in psychology and the interplay of social convention, emotional expression and intellect.
( )
  SonjaYoerg | Oct 1, 2014 |
M.E. doesn't have to convince me that she is a very different type of person than most. For me, difference is fascinating but even for those who are comfortable belonging to 'normality' the divergent paths of human nature are extremely revealing. If you are a non conforming individual of any breed, but particularly if you place a high value on logic, many of the tenets M.E.'s morality and life philosophy will resonate with you. If you aren't, they might explain why certain people around you panic when you break down and start crying.

The style is engaging and readable, I can certainly believe sociopaths are charming! and although M.E. is not, and admits to this herself, a fully mature individual; she is self reflective and intelligent in a completely new way so that her observations are extremely valuable and different than those of neurotypicals.

"What makes you a sociopath is not that you choose to do certain things, but that you are presented with an entirely different set of choices than a neurotypical person." ( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
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A diagnosed non-criminal sociopath explains how her charisma and penchant for convincing lies enables her to influence and seduce others, offering insight into her system of ethics while offering advice on how to manage a relationship with a sociopath.… (more)

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