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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: He's not a sociopath..what is he?


 1realtime - Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:53 pm

I have a question about a boy I dated. I can't figure out what is "wrong" with him. I would have said he is a sociopath, but he doesn't fit that category. I'll try to give you a sense about him: he doesn't have a good interpersonal intuition, for example, we were having an informal relationship (we were roomates and had started having sex), but I had told him at one point I didn't want to be his girlfriend per se. Still, I was surprised to find out that he thought it was okay to try to sleep with other people. We went to a party together, and he ended up making out with my best friend's little sister in a closet, and who knows what else. I know he would have had sex with her with all of us in the room outside if she'd let him. He is 22, she was 16. A while later, my (ex) best friend, and note that she has "issues" of her own, tried to seduce him, and he ended up making out with her. This after I had confronted him about trying to sleep with the other girl, telling him I wasn't okay with it, to say the least. But either way, he was confused and surprised, he wasn't sure why I was upset, but he was remorseful that he had unknowingly misstepped. But he really didn't think I'd be upset, based on what I'd told him about our relationship being unofficial. But most people would know that no matter what a girl says, she's not going to be happy if you sleep with someone else, or flirt, etc.
So that's one example. Another is how he has no sense for social norms. He couldn't get a job for the longest time because he'd show up to job interviews smelly, unwashed, with stained pants and and unwashed dress-shirt, wearing a ratty leather jacket he'd found, and looking dishevelled, having biked there. I tried to fix him up, but he didn't get it. He also didn't see anything wrong with almost never washing his clothes, and wearing the same unwashed socks all the time. He understood that he had to wear clothes in some situations, but he didn't understand it in a much more complex way than that.
Honestly, it was like he was born yesterday, like he was from outer space or something. He'd do anything I told him to really..I suggested he needed to bathe once, because he smelled like BO and was dirty (and he was job hunting). He comes out of the bathroom after a 5 min shower, still visibly dirty, only now also with soap suds on him. He didn't even "know how" to shower!
And he wasn't stupid, he was very intelligent. He read a lot. He wasn't a verbal idiot, although there was some aspect of social awkwardness, which is why no one would hire him.
He was raised by his mother, mostly, a nurse, with 4 siblings. Periodically, he'd visit or stay with his father, who is an untreated bi-polar, and who verbally/emotionally abused him from babyhood, berating him for not knowing how to do things that he hadn't been around to teach him. He told me that as a child, he was late learning how to talk, and he described being locked in a room at this age, and learning how to yell before he could talk because it was the only way out. I think certain traumas or neglect in his early childhood are responsible for what he lacks now.
He also is hyperactive. He's 22, but he acts like a puppy. He sits on the floor to put his shoes on, he leaps around...He's very weird really, but also very affectionate sometimes, and nice.
I can give you more specific information, but does this give you any idea about what affects him? I'm sorry for so much random information.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:32 pm

Hello 1realtime,

Your friend has features of several types of conditions, but there doesn't appear to be sufficient symptoms for a specific condition. In other words, he has areas of problems, but not to the point of a specific diagnosis. There appears to be a definite social immaturity and poor judgment, which could be related to his chaotic childhood experiences. I'm concerned that a 22 year old man would consider it appropriate to consider sex with a 16 year old girl. Later in life, the age difference wouldn't matter; at that age, it does - very much. His hygienic issues could reflect several different things, such as unconscious rebellion against social norms or his parents, or a lack of care about what others think. His sexual activity with others while rooming with you isn't really a surprise, since you did not outline your expectations, other than that you were not in a romantic relationship. Expecting others to "know" is unrealistic - sorry.

Is your friend now employed? If so, that demonstrates meeting enough social norms to function successfully, even if not optimally. Is he concerned about his functional level? Have you ever shared your concerns with him as you have in this forum? Overall, he seems different, perhaps a bit odd, but within society's norms.

I hope this is helpful to you. If you want to share more specific information, I'll be happy to review it for you. Good luck.

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