For as long as I can remember, I have felt nothing. I feel completely empty inside. This persistent feeling is almost like a pain inside of me that I can only numb by putting myself in situations that give me a rush. I’ve spent most of my life trying to fit in, which I’m very good at, but lately I’ve been having trouble pretending to be like everyone else. I don’t emotionally respond to things the way most people do. I hardly ever feel sad or stressed. All I ever really feel is frustration and anger. I fit in by faking a personality. Almost everyone I know loves being around me; people light up when I walk in the room. None of what they see is real. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m real, though. The rushes that I mentioned are usually illegal. I’ve done everything from committing petty theft to hauling illegal substances in search of this feeling. I’ve slowly gone from doing minor illegal things to endangering myself and others to find a rush. When I was younger, my grandmother caught me killing the neighbor’s cat; I’ve killed many animals for fun throughout my life. My grandmother asked me why I did it, and I honestly didn’t know why. I think inflicting my pain on other living creatures acts as a release for what I feel, or rather don’t feel, inside. I’ve since tried to stop such activities but the desire continues to grow inside of me. Another way I ease my discomfort and anger is by manipulating others, and making life miserable for those around me. I’m always certain that no one knows I’m responsible for their problems. I find it hilarious that when things go bad in the lives of my friends and family because of me, they come running to me for advice and help. Over the past year, I have had more and more difficulty with keeping up the artificial personality that the world sees. There are so many fake versions of myself that sometimes I lose track of how to act around certain people, causing my mask to slip. The main problem I’m having is that I constantly need more and more excitement and pleasure to feel the same satisfaction. I worry that one day I might go too far and end up in prison, or worse. I’ve never sought any professional advice for my behavior, but I’m starting to think I might need help controlling it.
A: A lot of what you are reporting here is quite disturbing and serious. I hope that by writing it down and submitting your question, you are beginning to see that yourself and are taking your first step toward change. I feel that your concern of ending up in jail or prison is a valid one because not only do you admit to illegal behaviors but you report that your need for excitement is escalating. At some point you will most likely get caught, especially because you also admit that the web of deceit is getting harder and harder to keep track of.
I would suggest that you research Conduct Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder. I cannot diagnose without completing a clinical assessment, but some of these criteria seem to fit what you describe: aggression to people or animals, deceitfulness or theft, lack of guilt or empathy, disregard for the safety of self or others and failure to conform to social norms.
Treatment for these types of issues can be difficult and may take some time. You will have to take it seriously and commit to a long-term plan. I would suggest that you find a therapist who specializes in Personality Disorders and possibly someone who has experience with criminal behaviors. I hope that you receive help soon before you hurt anyone or do something that will lead you to prison.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts