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Dear Dr. Saltzman,

You get a lot of sociopathic-related questions I'm sure, but I need help on this one. I am 14 years old. I do not wish to tell you my name for fear of compromising my identity to my parents if you choose to publish this letter.

It is hard to tell you about myself and my personality via the internet; you would have to interview me. I can tell you about things I have noticed about myself over the course of my (short span of) life.

I have come to you for help, not in the sense that I need a proper diagnosis, but I want to be like other people without the lies and without the emptiness. I feel no guilt. I lie with ease. I rarely, if ever, feel anything. The only things I feel are anger and a great sexual attraction to pain, torture, and suffering. I'm assuming that most people would find this quite disturbing, shocking and horrifying, and it is not normal.

I am not a fool. I've done my research. I get good grades at school, though I rarely, if ever, actually try. I only complete my schoolwork to ensure I keep away from the consequences of not competing assignments, which include getting expelled.

I'm sorry I am rambling, but I need you to know so you can understand what I am trying to ask. My question is: How do I avoid hurting other people? How can I try and change?

Despite trying, I cannot feel for others. I have tried, but its like been stuck behind a concrete wall. I've come to understand that there is no real hope for me to completely change. But I would like to avoid hurting others for my own pleasure.

Please, help me in some way. Don't hold back at all. I need your expertise in this matter. I might be 14, but I can take whatever you throw at me. Just keep the jargon low and I'll take everything you say onboard.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond,

[name withheld]

I will try to reply if you will write a bit more about why you desire to avoid hurting people.


Honestly, I want to hurt people more than I don't want to. Its kind of like an addiction, only I haven't actually done it yet. I guess you could call it a craving more than anything else.

Still, there is a small part of me that desires to try and change. I don't have feelings of guilt over what I do or what I hope to do, but I feel like I want to change. Even though I am not like others I don't see myself as evil, and I am not completely proud of who I am.

This change, I know, will be for the betterment of everyone around me. Although I desire to hurt, I exercise my self-control to avoid hurting others as best I can. It is extremely hard for me to explain because, there is no emotion behind it, only rationality. Even that is fleeting also.

I really want to do everyone, including my self, a favour by trying to change who I am. Even if only a little to stop myself from hurting others.

Thank you for your speedy response the last time, hope this shines a bit more light on what I'm trying to say.

OK. But in order to give you a reply which might really be informative I need to know what you mean when you say:

"I really want to do everyone, including my self, a favour"

I can understanding your wanting to do yourself a favour, but why anyone else?

I do understand that this might be hard to put your finger on and/or hard to express in words, but give it a shot.


Thanks for understanding how hard it is to explain. It doesn't help that I am suffering from a sinus headache at the moment, but I'll try and word it as best as possible.

I don't want to harm people subconsciously, but consciously I do. For example, I see an attractive woman walking down the street who catches my fancy. Often I will be subject to fantasies of doing horrible things to her for my own enjoyment. But, a part of me, even though small, exercises some control over whether I would actually do that to her. I fear that this may soon have little control over my actions and I will act on these fantasies.

As for doing everyone else a favour, I just don't want to hurt them because I am not as human as the next person. It is very hard to explain, because I don't feel the emotion that others would but I know that my actions are wrong. This is through observation, self-contemplation and self-control throughout my life. Although young I spend a lot of time actually thinking about my actions, who I am and what I am doing here.

I hope that this clears up a few things. Just to clarify, what I am trying to ask is:

How can I become more human and avoid hurting other people?

Thanks for all the help.

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