I'm a Sociopath, Like Millions of Others

Patric Gagne writes that it's time to rethink our views on the disorder
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2024 2:45 PM CDT
Updated Mar 17, 2024 4:40 PM CDT
I'm a Sociopath, Like Millions of Others
A screenshot of Patric Gagne.   (YouTube)

Therapist Patric Gagne has been in the media spotlight because of her upcoming book on sociopathy, the twist being that Gagne herself is a diagnosed sociopath. In a new op-ed in the Wall Street Journal adapted from the book, Gagne writes about being a prolific thief as a young girl. She was not, however, a kleptomaniac. "I suffered from a different type of urge, a compulsion brought about by the discomfort of apathy, the nearly indescribable absence of common social emotions like shame and empathy." The reason she stole, in other words, was to feel something—and to relieve the "unrelenting pressure" in her brain. It wasn't until years later, after her diagnosis, that she understood what was going on and could control her behavior.

A big part of the message she wants to convey is that sociopathy is on a spectrum and that the one-size-fits-all view that sociopaths are "evil" or "crazy" is outdated:

  • "It is a tragic misconception that all sociopaths are doomed to hopeless, loveless lives. The truth is that I share a personality type with millions of others, many of whom have good jobs, close-knit families and real friends. We represent a truth that's hard to believe: There's nothing inherently immoral about having limited access to emotion. I offer my story because I know I'm not alone."
(Read the full op-ed.)

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