Ask: What's the difference between being a sociopath and being detached?

What’s the difference between a sociopath and the kind of detachment you seem to teach is desirable? (November 19, 2014)

A sociopath is someone who has a disorder that makes them unable to feel empathy for others. They are amoral (without morality) because they cannot understand the consequences of their actions on others. Psychologists report that sociopaths are actually deeply enraged. Anger is a defensive response so they are deeply fearful. Their ego’s (personal thought system’s) view of the world is very real to them.
The detachment that I write about is the natural result of you being aware that only the Truth is true. So you no longer respond to the world with the emotions you did when the ego’s (personal thought system’s) interpretations of the world were real to you. In the awareness that only the Truth is true you feel whole. This is the same as saying that you feel an abundance of Love. So the self in your mind behaves in ways that are more likely to be considered “moral” by the world. You remember what pain was like so the self expresses compassion to others even though you know that pain is not real. You do not make others’ pain your pain but the self responds to their expressions of pain because the pain is real to them.

            There is a misperception that “detachment” means “coldness”. And it is true that some unhealthy people may perceive you as “cold” when you choose to no longer play emotional games with them or you put up healthy boundaries to which they are not accustomed. But when you come from Truth healthy people will find you warm and loving.

>>>>>
Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.

If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the ACIM Mentor Newsletter/Blog.

Comments

Christine said…
Liz - when you see a sociopath, isn't he or she our own projection? Should a question be, why did I project a sociopath in this roll? Or, is it that, OK, there's a sociopath - and then have no 'emotional charge' when you know there's a sociopath? Or, there's a sociopath - I know from studying the Course that being that way is a "call for Love" (and run in the other direction).
ACIM Mentor said…
You don't project the self (body/personality) that you see. You project how you see that self. Your responses are never to the person but to your projections onto that person.
Not all sociopaths are dangerous. They are just people unable to empathize. They can learn morality. They just do not have an the inherent morality that comes from the ability to empathize.
Christine said…
Thanks, Liz. So once again: it's "not the fact that makes us happy, sad, fearful, etc. ...it's the INTERPRETATION of the fact." So when we realize this, do we forgive our self for making the interpretation (ie., a separate way, false, of seeing something)? Then this becomes second nature, like "oh there I go again", kind of thinking? Not making a big deal out of it.
ACIM Mentor said…
You don't need to forgive yourself for making the interpretation. You need to look at the beliefs behind it and undo them. Then forgiveness happens of itself as you realize that nothing is there. Eventually you will know where all of the ego's interpretations come from and release them as soon as they come up.
Gloria Oelman said…
Thanks for that very clear explanation, Liz but it brought up another question for me. It sounds from what you say that knowing only truth is true has a kind of automatic flow on effect but my experience with 'teachers' of all stripes indicates to me that it depends very much on the individual as to how their realisation is expressed and it certainly doesn't guarantee that one is never affected again by their conditioning, or that they are always and ever beyond the 'temptations' of the ego mind.
ACIM Mentor said…
It's a process, Gloria. You begin by knowing that the Truth is true and over time evolve into knowing that *only* the Truth is true. As you move closer to the this awareness you believe less and less in what you hear from the ego.
Gloria Oelman said…
Thanks, Liz. Good to have a reminder that it's a process.
will said…
It is not possible to understand the experience of a person who meets the diagnostic criteria for being a sociopath (or any other mental illness)by someone who isn't a sociopath. Words like detachment are used to point in the general direction but the detachment experienced by a sociopath is not remotely like the experience we are familiar with. It's like seeing a Ferrari is red in color and believing you now know the experience of driving it at 150mph down the autobahn.
Christine said…
Hi, Will - yes - but we all have the inner experience of sin, guilt, and fear (or we wouldn't "be here") so we do know what the ego's content of what being a sociopath is like. The "title" of sociopath is specific and a separate description. Is this on the right track, Liz?
Sage Starfield said…
So is there a middle ground which can be discovered where one can empathize with others without judging or even assuming that we somehow can never understand someone else - "sociopath" or a zillion other divisive labels)?

I'm guessing Mother Theresa was able to be so empathetic and present for others in need BECAUSE of her ability to remain detached in the midst of so much despair and misery where she practiced her unyielding ability to give un-self-ishly...
will said…
What I wrote is a little out of context. An earlier blog a person asked if a sociopath who experiences detachment could be already spiritually advanced. My point is that the detachment that Liz was talking about for people doing the course has nothing in common with the detachment of a sociopath other than they are using the same word.

Sage I don't think the course is about having empathy is it? By coincidence I have been reading a book by Mother Theresa and it seemed to me that what she was saying and doing has nothing to do with what the course is talking about.
will said…
My understanding was that things like empathy or sympathy is just the ego coming in the back door; tricks it uses to get you to believe it is Real.
ACIM Mentor said…
Christine, I'm not sure what you were saying...
ACIM Mentor said…
Sage, you can only truly empathize with another in the recognition that the Truth in another is the same Truth in you. And only the Truth is real in either mind.
Christine said…
I was thinking about Will's stating that "it is not possible to understand the experience of a person who meets the diagnostic criteria for being a sociopath." If we had to experience every single specific disease or disorder - mental or physical just to understand how it feels to be it, that would be impossible! But we do know the content (the ego's content) of fear which is in back of these legions of disorders...
Christine said…
I forgot to add the other part: "It is not possible to understand the experience of a person who meets the diagnostic criteria for being a sociopath by someone who isn't a sociopath."
ACIM Mentor said…
Yes, exactly, Christine. The content is the same though the form manifests in myriad ways.
will said…
Yes Christine I agree the detachment of a sociopath is "the ego's content of fear which is in back of these legions of disorders..." The detachment that you move towards doing the course in not ego content. It is something brought about by the Holy Spirit; there are no ulterior motives in this detachment whereas the detachment with the sociopath and usually with 'normal' people does since it is ego based.
will said…
I guess the reason I keep after this point is detachment is one of the great gifts of the spiritual life. It is a large part of the peace of mind that we experience as well as playing part in the removal of fear by the HS. When we try to do detachment using the personal mind it is a very different experience.
Christine said…
Thanks Liz, Will, and all.
will said…
Thank you Christine! As an aside, spiritual detachment is the only actual cure for co-dependency, a truly horrible affliction that the vast amount of people are not even aware they suffer from and will fight with everything they have to not recognize it or take action to find a way out. Spiritual detachment is the bedrock of relief for all type of neurosis.
Sage Starfield said…
Thank you Will and Liz. I think I was trying to express that Mother Theresa did indeed see the Truth in even the lowliest appearances and isn't seeing Truth by definition the detachment/empathy we are exploring? Do we agree that true Empathy can only occur within the context of the Detachment we're talking about?
will said…
Well said Sage.
ACIM Mentor said…
Yes, Sage.
Sage Starfield said…
Thanks! I like how the Course breaks things down to only two emotions: fear or love. I think it helps me reframe our discussion by seeing that Truth, Empathy and Detachment are all aspects of LOVE.

Popular posts from this blog

The Two Spiritual Goals

Ask: Can you comment on the satisfaction of accomplishment as a trap?

An Example of Misusing the Specificity of ACIM