Science Book a Day Interviews M E Thomas

me-thomasSpecial thanks to M E Thomas for answering 5 questions about her recently featured book – Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight

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#1 – What was the impetus for Confessions of a Sociopath?

I started writing the blog in 2008 after being booted from my high status job and dumped from several romantic and friendly relationships all at the same time. My life was in shambles, but it wasn’t the first time that something like this had happened to me. In fact, it seemed to happen every few years to varying degrees. With my newfound free time, I started exploring why. I remembered a casual remark a co-worker once made that I “might want to consider the possibility” that I might be a sociopath. As I researched the disorder, I recognized myself. But although up to 1 in 25 people are sociopaths, there was nothing helpful published for sociopaths or to help people understand sociopaths. I decided to change that.

#2 – How long have you been writing What was the process of writing the book compared to the blog?

I’ve been writing the blog for almost 6 years now, although I think I’m ready to take a break. When there was no other place to turn to for guidance, writing the blog was really useful in helping me identify patterns in my own behavior and learning ways that would and would not work in terms of behavioral modification. Now I’ve found other, more helpful resources. I’ve been seeing a therapist who actually speaks to me in a language that I can understand and has helped me into another stage of self-realization. Some friendships and relationships died after the book, but I’ve made and renewed others that are based on more honesty, which has allowed me to pretend less and be myself more. Although I still have behavioral and cognitive quirks of an antisocial nature that flare up somewhat regularly, I no longer feel like they dominate and control my life. I always thought this might happen, that I might outgrow who I was when writing the blog or the book, and the potential awkwardness that might follow in terms of being pigeonholed. But I think I’m fine with it. I largely see the book and the blog as leaving bread crumbs for people who come behind me to find and follow if they want. If they read the book and recognize themselves, maybe they’re at a particular area of self-development. But we’re not static beings. And even psychologists have recognized that sociopaths actually do seem to change — that they “mellow” as they get older.

#3 – How do people respond to you demystifying sociopathic behaviour? Do they start to see people in their own lives that fit the definition?

I probably get 1-3 emails a day from people who have recognized themselves in my descriptions or recognized people they love and are writing me to thank me for giving their struggles a name or a voice. I also get a lot of feedback from people calling us monsters or saying that we should all be rounded up and killed. So I would say the responses are a mixed bag.

#4 – How have you managed to promote the book while maintaining your anonymity?

It was never my intention to remain perfectly anonymous in writing the book. I knew that I revealed enough personally identifying points in the book that certainly everyone who knew me personally would recognize me (and it would only narrow it down to within 20 people for people who didn’t know me) . But I also didn’t want the book to consume my entire life. So I tried to strike a balance of being very forthcoming about who I am while asking people to still respect my actual identity, my privacy, and that of my family.

#5 – Do you have any future projects/books coming up that you can tell us about?

I’ve thought about writing a book about cultivating and using power in everyday situations. I don’t know. Writing a book is really hard and it would be difficult to come up with a topic as important as I found the last one to be.

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