Friday, August 2, 2013

A lawyer who admits to practicing the fine art of ruining people


M. E. Thomas admits to practicing “the fine art of ruining people," seducing with charisma, and cunningly covering her hollowness with superficial charm.

“The law school environment made everyone a little more sociopathic, since we were encouraged to view our successes in a zero-sum game measured by precise numbers,” she says.

She describes herself as a "Nietzschean machine."

M.E. Thomas Is a Sociopath
And so am I.
By Patrick Bateman
June 7, 2013

Editor’s note: A Slate columnist awoke this morning to discover an envelope slipped under his apartment door. Inside, printed on bone-colored stationery in Cillian Rail font, was this essay.

... I pick up the magazine to read the cover story and see it’s the first serial excerpt from a memoir called Confessions of a Sociopath, pseudonymously written by M.E. Thomas, a female law professor who blogs about her pathological narcissism and remorselessness at

And she violates social norms like it’s her job. Emotionally she takes no prisoners: The high school teacher she falsely accuses of harassment, the friends whose boyfriends she sleeps with just because she can, the colleagues she mind-f____—they’re all just roadkill. It takes all kinds of anti-social behavior to give society an edge, and she and I differ in many important ways. She doesn’t use knives because she is too reckless with them—“I’ve cut myself many times. I can never force myself to be more careful, so now I just don’t use them”—where I use a Black & Decker Handy Knife, a slicer/peeler with several attachments and a rechargeable handle. She likes to get inside people’s heads with her ruthless charm, but I prefer a power drill. Between 1 and 4 percent of the population is just like us, if you’re willing to trust a self-aggrandizer like her.

Thomas escapes her abusive Mormon family and coasts through college and into a big law firm through manipulation and coercion. After she is fired for her lazy work, she undertakes a ruthless period of rational introspection. Once she embraces her true nature, she sees the dark light of harnessing her power, moving to a cushy gig as a law professor who screws with her students’ heads and prepares them to master the real world, just as she had in her day: “The law school environment made everyone a little more sociopathic, since we were encouraged to view our successes in a zero-sum game measured by precise numbers.”

I laugh out loud every time Thomas illustrates a point with an example drawn from legal practice. She writes about psyching out jurors as a trial lawyer and working the loopholes and core concepts, such as “efficient breach,” that sanitize unethical behavior.

But I wish she would go further in describing the baked-in sociopathy of the legal code as it pertains to business and the awesome unfeeling logic of capitalism. I sweat with excitement whenever she touches on it. Thomas talks about Al Dunlap, the turnaround specialist, and his appearance in a book called The Psychopath Test, in order to explain guys like me who know that manipulation is leadership and megalomania is a survival skill. “It’s probably no surprise that many sociopaths end up as successful corporate types,” she writes. “Sociopathic traits can be a real boon in the corporate workplace: unemotional, ruthless, charming, confident.”

And because she grows up Mormon (“a handy tool in explaining my eccentricities”) and builds her amoral resumé shoplifting at BYU, and because she uses an Etch a Sketch metaphor to explain her absence of core beliefs, she makes me think of Mitt Romney. Corporations are antisocial people, my “friend.”...

Patrick Bateman is a fictional character, the antihero and narrator of the novel "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis.

M.E. Thomas On Her Sociopath Diagnosis: 'Seems To Explain A Lot' (VIDEO)
Huffington Post
By Alexandra Schuster

The term "sociopath" has been loosely thrown around to describe some of the biggest felons and criminals of our time. But that's not always so accurate -- sometimes they're just ordinary people who may not even be aware of their behavioral differences. M.E. Thomas, author of "Confessions of a Sociopath" and a diagnosed sociopath herself, joined HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont HIll to discuss her life experiences.

After a period of "self-destruction" -- losing her job and enduring several failed relationships -- Thomas sought therapy. But it wasn't during those therapy sessions that she realized her diagnosis. Rather, a coworker brought it to her attention, likening Thomas' behavior to another sociopath her coworker knew.

"So I looked up the term and I thought at the time this makes a lot of sense, but I didn't think much of it until years later," says Thomas. "So I started to blog and started researching more and thought this really does seem to explain a lot."

Dr. John Edens, Professor of Psychology at Texas A&M University, describes sociopaths as "people who are emotionally disconnected from others -- they don't have the same sort of desire for relationships or capacity to connect emotionally with people."

Thomas illustrates Edens' point, as she draws on her path to self-realization. Explaining that it wasn't until she got to law school that she came to terms with her diagnosis, Thomas says it was "natural" for her to think like a lawyer -- "very logically, rationally."

However, it wasn't as easy for her peers, she says: "Everybody else has to sort of adapt to [thinking like a lawyer]. They almost get brainwashed to do it. And they would do it for every single case except when it became something very controversial, like abortion or the death penalty. And they would abandon this "think like a lawyer" mentality and they would start relying on other things that seemed more important to them. They were reacting emotionally to it in a way that didn't make sense to me, but everybody did it. And that's when I think I really realized that I am different from these people."

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