Psychopathy vs control of emotion

I recently learnt that I have the val-val variety of the COMT gene. This piece of information means I respond to stress pretty well – the weight I attribute to it is tiny, but it is also characteristic of the ENTP personality type, so I will roll with it.


Looking at other women freaks me out sometimes – they are so emotional. Everything seems to matter. I feel like I have the full range of emotion, but being around these super intense women sometimes makes me feel like either a man – or a psychopath. I just can’t relate – and it makes me feel isolated. Furthermore, I never thought of myself as being super-empathetic (though I still cannot watch A Christmas Carol even without crying.) So I don’t know what to make of it and am starting to wonder if I am a tad psychopathic.

Controlling emotion, being aware of emotion and using it rather than allowing it to use you is fundamental to getting anything done. I struggle sometimes to understand the difference between controlling emotion, suppressing emotion and being a psychopath. In the words of Robert Frost, the only way out is always through, but sometimes it seems that the drama just passes me by.

So let’s say someone hurls an insult your way.

A number of things can happen:

A. You feel that the only thing you can do is react. [Stupidly reactive]

B. You are in tune with your emotions, you will feel the anger as a response within you. Having this awareness will allow you to then decide: ok, there has been an insult, now I feel angry, but what am I actually going to do? [Zen master]

C. You know that this person’s opinion isn’t everything, so you don’t care, so you don’t get angry. You respond is an entirely calculated way. [? Psychopath]

D. You feel the anger, feel offended, but you are the bigger person, so you delay the response – and think of a way to respond while feeling vulnerable and under attack. [Suppressing emotions]

B and C seem like good options. The problem with C is that most people would regard it as psychopathy. But what if you control your emotions from a cognitive perspective? If you develop a belief that a person’s opinion isn’t important – that’s not psychopathic. And the fact that it diminishes your emotional response to the point of not existing – is also understandable. As a baby you could be afraid of the loud noise that the hoover makes, but when you get a little older – you understand that there’s nothing to be afraid of, and so the fear that had previously made you cry – goes away. Similarly, not every person is entitled to an opinion on every subject. **A conscious decision to not care with good reason is different to being someone who is unable to care, i.e. a psychopath.**

7 thoughts on “Psychopathy vs control of emotion”

  1. I’ve often felt a bit like a sociopath at times myself.

    I’m a retired health care person, spending 30 years in the health care industry (hospital administrative roles).

    When I discovered the Myers/Briggs personality types indicator test, I was transfixed by it and absolutely had to gain a decent understanding of its meanings and, more importantly, it’s use as a management tool. Once I understood how to use the test to aid me in managing personnel, I literally fell in love with it.

    But, I discovered a very interesting paradox with it. At work, I was, probably through necessity, more ESFP, but at home, I always fell into a more accurate ISFP category.

    I think, we often unwittingly hone our personalities to fit our surroundings. I am most definitely very introverted. I can’t speak publicly without a serious does of anxiety; I tend to very quiet, not because of disinterest, but due to fear of making an absolute fool of myself. Yet; I’m always satisfied at social gatherings.

    The really odd thing is while the Introvert portion of the test always scores the highest. Yet; I detest and even fear being alone, so much so, I was alone for three weeks when I took a new position in Durango, CO before my daughter finished up her school year. I literally fell apart and had to retrieve my family just in order to function even close to a half-witted human being.

    My introverted behavior does a 180 however, when I’m given a keyboard and an idea with which to write about. I’ll either wear the keys off the keyboard, or make my fingertips bleed, I love to write so much.

    At any rate, the tool is invaluable in managing people. I routinely had all my employees take the short version and loved explaining the value of their personality types, especially when I was the new guy at the table. They loved it too, so much so, I often found them taking it on their own and, without fail, I would be called out by one of them on an off day, saying; “your behavior isn’t very “F” at all today” :-).


    1. That’s brilliant. You know, there is a great management book called “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School”. The chap who wrote it explained that the best managers adapt to the style (or personality) of their people – which is what I think you are saying.


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