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Hello doctor, My name is Phillip. I am 20 years old, African American living in Oregon.

Iv allways thought i as diffrent from others . As if i was one in a millione, and i must admit i like the thought. I want your opinion doctor is there something diffrent about my mind then the rest of sociaity or is it all in my head.

Let me start by giving you a bit of background history of my own tendencies.

As a child a was constantly getting into trouble with Authority figures. Many adults at the time of my childhood would tell you i was a fine boy, but with a temper. I wouldnt hold my tounge when being disiplend by my teachers or parents. I recall many a time actually when my father would try to "Spank " me ( Whip with a leather belt ) and i would just look at him with out a cry or a tear untill he was finsished . I believe it was then i noticed something was diffrent about me . I , unlike my brothers and sisters would turn inward when these things where happining, I was totally indiffrent.

I have considerd myself a Anti socail personality for quite sometime now. However i dont know if my behavior is that of one you would call a Sociopath. I Prefer to spend mytime alone in my room instead of going out with friends. I call them freinds because this is the word the english language deems as the proper term for people you hang around with on occastion. The time i spend with these people, the things i do for them are solely for my own gain. Like for instance a child hood friend of mine has fallen into some trouble with his mother, so i have invited him to stay with me a bit. I did this not beacuse i care about his situation but beacuse i know he has marijuana and a really big bong. Simple as that.

When i talk to people , i might be looking at you . I might even follow the conversation and seem as if im intrested . Im Not , I just have no intrest in other people ... i dont care about them ....

I have been known to be unkind to animals sometimes chokeing a kitten just to see its eyes bulg a bit..On one occasion a cat was stupid enought to enter my house unwelcomed , i treated the cat as if a bugler and attacked it. The cat escaped into the cold of the night soaking wett, I had tryed to drown it. A more recent incident would be when me and my mother where driving , a cat crossed the road and i practicly floord it to hit the cat. This of course brought up a wonderfull conversation with my mother about how i shouldnt be doing that. She gave a a discusted look when i readily justified my actions.... she told me something about how i wasnt normal . I found humor in that.

Iv been tought right from wrong, but that wont stop me from stealing from right under your noose. Im not a fool or stupid thought, i wont take what can be traced back to me and many of the lies i tell are to cover up my theivery. I have a habit of stealing from people who anger me .

I have little relationship with my father or mother and this dosnt bother me . I find them more usefull then anything i would equate our relastionship with that of a Parasite and a host. I get everything from them , they get nothing in return.

And i dont know if this has anything to do with anything but your the doctor, ill leave it to you : In my mind where anything is possible i think about things like murdering people in the woods... just to see what its like to be a murderer.. you know see what the big fuss is about I have also thought about a millitary carreer for the prospect of killing someone legally.

Iv got loads to say, sorry if its jumbled or isnt clear.

Hello, Phillip--

Normally I do not publish letters unless they pose a question to which I can reply with some hope of helping the questioner, but I am going to put yours on my website because I believe that many of my visitors will be interested to learn more about psychopathy, and your self-description provides a good glimpse into such a mind. But just to answer your question: yes, you are different from most people, and the difference is in how your mind works. In my reply to a question called I Am a Sociopath. Can I Ever Learn to Love?, I explained that psychopathy--the terms "psychopath" and "sociopath" are more or less interchangable--is not at all rare. In fact, probably one in every twenty-five people has psychopathic tendencies--or perhaps even more than one in twenty-five--although not all of these contemplate or commit murder as Phillip seems to want to do. Many psychopaths, who are perhaps better educated than Phillip seems to be, or who have had more opportunities in life, use their remorseless attitudes not to murder, but rather to manipulate, cheat, and bully their way to success in professions, businesses, and political careers.

For example, although I imagine that some of my visitors will disagree, as I now watch the American presidential campaigns in progress (today is January 26, 2008), I suspect that Bill Clinton is at least somewhat psychopathic--perhaps more than just somewhat. Recall his straight-faced, finger-wagging claims that, "I never had sex with that women, Ms. Lewinsky, not a single time," and his recent ruthless attacks on Mr. Obama, including all kinds of nasty racial innuendo, although both Clintons always claim to be "on the side of black people." A psychopath does not have to sound violent and demented like Phillip. He or she might also be charming, attractive, and even charismatic. My suspicion of psychopathy in Clinton finds some evidence in his obvious intense drive to get what he wants, and his apparent lack of remorse, guilt, or shame for the rather nasty methods, such as racial innuendo, to which he will stoop to get it. Obviously, because they feel no guilt, many psychopaths are top-notch liars who can convince almost anyone of almost anything. Again, Clinton.

During my year of work at a maximum security penitentiary, I had the opportunity to interview a number of severely psychopathic individuals, including many who had killed without remorse just as Phillip seems to want to do. Johnny Cash touched upon this kind of mentality in his classic song "Folsom Prison Blues," when he sang, "I killed a man in Reno just to watch him die." As a psychologist, I understand that nothing I might write here could convince Phillip not to murder. A more normal person might be afraid to kill in such a cold-blooded and senseless way, fearing that later he or she might be troubled continually by nightmares, but probably Phillip does not fear that kind of relentless mental torture which has been, for some non-psychopathic killers, a worse punishment by far than incarceration itself. A more normal person might fear unremitting guilt and shame after committing such a crime, but I doubt that Phillip has that worry; probably he has never known guilt of any kind, and has no idea what shame feels like. A religious or superstitious person might feel that such a crime would result in an eternity of suffering in the afterlife. Perhaps Phillip does have that fear. I do recall that some of the murderers I met, although not fearing the judgment of men, did worry about greatly how God would treat them later. In any case, I do hope that something will deter this man from taking an innocent life just for his own amusement, although I have no idea what that something would be.

For Phillip: feel free to write again whenever you like. I will read your letters even if I do not always reply.

For the non-psychopaths who are reading this: this is real. This is part of our world, and we should not forget it.

Be well.

p.s. Click on the links for a letter from a self-diagnosed sociopath who wonders if he can ever learn to love, and for insight into the tragic point of view of a the parent of a psychopathic child.

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