How to Become a Sociopath in 11 Easy Steps

Submitted into Contest #222 in response to: Write about a mentor whose methods are controversial.... view prompt

10 comments

Creative Nonfiction Fiction Funny

The advertisement shining on the telephone pole sang to me. The bright, crisp pink paper had sharp, fresh edges, as if it had been placed there just for me. Other tattered, sad advertisements flittered around it, their slips with phone numbers waving impotently in the breeze. They didn’t seem fated, meant for her. The words Josephine didn’t realize she was seeking until they called out to her near her bus stop.

Josephine called the number because she was tired. She had moved to Los Angeles with hopes of being a filmmaker. Everyone said you had to start at an agency or management company on a desk to learn the ropes and understand how the industry worked. To make networking opportunities for yourself. But the pay was shit. She was making $650 a week pre-tax and paying $800 a month to live in a shared house with two other roommates and she was about to turn 30.

She had been sexually assaulted by the CEO of the company after she had only been working there for three months. This was pre-#MeToo, so she didn’t feel like she had any recourse. It was her first job out of college, so she didn’t know what the world was like, what her options were. Plus, all she had was a film degree. It’s not like she could move to Omaha and start teaching without going back to school—which she was loathe to do while still paying off five figures of debt.

The flyer said, “How much more could you accomplish if you didn’t feel anything? FREE COURSE. Limited time. Call today.”

Josephine was tired.

She was willing to try anything.

The tangible benefits that come with being a sociopath in our modern society hardly need to be explained. It’s estimated by psychologists that 4% of the general population—that is, people living in the community, not mental institutions or prisons—meet the criteria for psychopathy. However, according to an even more recent study, psychopaths make up over 20% of executive or CEO roles. Thus, the key to accumulating wealth and power is simple: Divest yourself from your emotions and your empathy.

Louella Stanton-McDonald thought of herself as a guru, and it was hard to argue that she didn’t have life figured out. She was a bottle service girl, a stripper, an escort. She also worked in sales. She knew how to read people, work with them, and manipulate them.

The ability to completely exorcise empathy from your mindset is especially beneficial to women, as not only do we have pay gaps to make up for in almost every industry (except domestic care, modeling, and porn), but we also have innate emotional empathy that acts as a major hindrance in the modern business environment. This is why today I am offering a limited time only open enrollment into the training course that my usual CEO clients pay up to six figures to access. All I ask is that you complete the homework assignments exactly as prescribed without deviation. This method has been honed with years of personal experience, and tampering with it will produce either ineffective or dangerous results.

Lou enjoyed the freedom her lifestyle provided, and her goal was to amass as much money as she possibly could while she could. She was positive that she would make a good trophy wife but was intolerant of any risk to her freedom. She always said she would never want a boss. She preferred working as an independent contractor.

Do not attempt to move on to the next step until you have successfully consistently incorporated the previous one into your daily habits. Our definition of mastery is being able to perform an act without having to think consciously about doing it.

Lou had Josephine meet her at the club. Joe was instantly fascinated by the sight of her flitting around with a blank face, tucking fat stacks of hundreds into her bikini. She was used to the attention, and she didn’t crave it. Didn’t let it go to her head.

Joe would do anything that Lou told her to. She wanted that power for herself. And Lou delivered, just like her flyer promised: Josephine spent months on her homework assignment. I share it with you now because I never saw Josephine again. I hope she found the life that she wanted, and as I still work as an assistant, I think about her whenever I feel tired.

***

Step 1: Center Yourself – Meditate daily. As you do so, practice blocking out the world and focusing solely on your own emotions and desires. The sensations that you feel are the only sensations that exist in your universe.

Step 2: Abstinence – Stay away from addictive substances that could risk elevating your cravings above your own interests. This includes alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, sugar, and even oxytocin. Do allow yourself to drink socially, as most people are suspicious of those who do not, and completing this course will be ultimately pointless if you are losing trust at the same time. Remain in control of your own brain at all times.

Step 3: Practice – Start small, alternating little acts of violence with little acts of generosity. It is essential that you start this game with people that you do not know and will never see again. Make sure they have no emotional ties to you. Tip a waiter $100. Steal someone’s pet and bring it to the animal shelter. Get creative but remember that the purpose of this assignment is to practice feeling no joy and no guilt. Once you have suitably numbed yourself to the emotional significance of your actions against a stranger, you may move on to the next step.

Step 4: Create an Acolytle – Once you can enact random events on to strangers without feeling, it’s time to build a rapport. Pick a recurring victim and give them whiplash. Be generous in one moment and cruel in the next. Watch how they become attached to you and seek your approval but ensure that you do not learn to crave that love. If you find yourself reacting emotionally to this relationship, return to step one and begin the process over.

Step 5: Sever – Once you have created a devoted follower, cut them off with no warning, reason, or explanation. Move on without ever thinking about them again.

Step 6: Promiscuity – Practice having sex with many different people. Practice disassociating during the act to ensure that your body doesn’t rule over your feelings.

Step 7: Take a Life – Start with fishing. Then hunting. Practice not having empathy for the innocent lives that you take. I recommend not graduating to household pets, unless you are interested in becoming a serial killer, which is 1) risky, 2) has little financial upside, and 3) runs the risk of becoming an addiction stronger than any drug (which would be a violation of Step 2).

Step 8: Glow Up – Pursue improving your external appearance to the fullest extent of your physical and financial capabilities. Then acquire more money and repeat the process. Attractive people get away with more, are offered more, and attract less suspicion, allowing you to complete the final two exercises with minimal consequence.

Step 9: Create a Zero Sum Game and Win It – Pick a goal that you know will harm the interests of someone else. Do not celebrate when you achieve it. Simply move on to the next thing.

Step 10: Remain Independent – Do not allow anyone to demand loyalty from you. If friends or family expect something from you, assert your independence by stabbing them in the back. There’s no need to cut them off—a network is useful—but ensure that you always know what everyone’s purpose is to you.  

Step 11: Conditioning – Seek out physical and emotional pain every day. This can take the form of rejection, embarrassment, or injury. Do not allow yourself to feel it. Do the same with pleasure. Exposure therapy to all the feelings life has to offer is essential. You cannot be surprised by what you are intimately familiar with. 

November 03, 2023 15:25

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10 comments

AnneMarie Miles
05:54 Nov 06, 2023

I loved it as soon as I read the title. And then this: "The tangible benefits that come with being a sociopath in our modern society hardly need to be explained." That's capitalism for ya. Being void of emotion and empathy...youve just described every successful corporate CEO. And beyond economical politics, each step felt like a phase of adolescence, which yeah...were all a bit sociopathic at that age 😅 this was an interesting read, Audrey! Curious how you came up with it!

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Audrey Knox
17:21 Nov 06, 2023

Sometimes I wish I didn't feel feelings lmao that's how

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AnneMarie Miles
17:27 Nov 06, 2023

Aw! I think we can all relate to that Audrey! I'm glad writing can be an outlet for you when you do feel those things!

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Audrey Knox
22:47 Nov 08, 2023

thank you yes writing is my favorite/healthiest/safest receptical for my rage.

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Tom Skye
02:35 Nov 06, 2023

This seemed very honest so bravo for telling this story. Fascinating structure. It was a very interesting read. Thanks for sharing

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Danie Holland
16:50 Nov 08, 2023

Audrey, I loved this. But then, I am mentally unwell. If you want to surpass steps 1-11 quickly, I suggest boat loads of childhood trauma. You wake up one day and realize you can't feel anything at all. Very helpful survival tactic. Sociopathy, or (Antisocial personality disorder) is very fascinating. This mentor is only controversial to those who don't realize what a liability feeling can be. Great story this week!

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Audrey Knox
22:48 Nov 08, 2023

Thank you, that means a lot. I am sorry that you had to go through the trauma, but I'm glad you found a mental weapon to protect you against the world. It does seem like the body and mind's survival tactic, and I don't fault anyone who sometimes wishes they could skip that step and go straight to the results because then we can avoid having to feel the trauma along the way.

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Milah Christine
13:43 Nov 05, 2023

Audrey, who hurt you?

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Audrey Knox
17:21 Nov 06, 2023

hahahah it wouldn't fit in the word count!

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Josh Robinson
23:26 Nov 08, 2023

This was really fun to read. As someone who was once “tricked” by a narcissist, this story rang true. Reminds of that book, “Snakes in Suits.” But I also read a book about the benefits of being. Sociopaths. Like, you kind of want your trauma surgeon or transplant surgeon to be a sociopath, you do not want them to me emotional, lol

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