CPL Staff Pick of the Month: Sociopath

When Patric Gagne was in elementary school, she stabbed a classmate with a pencil. As a young adult, she broke into neighbors’ empty houses. Friends would either edge away from her, recognizing that something about her was off, or they would join her “bad girl” activities to satisfy their own desire to misbehave while rarely getting to know who she really was. Eventually she was diagnosed as a sociopath – told she would never experience normal relationships, being incapable of emotions, with no place in ordinary society. But what if those assumptions, so widespread and unchallenged, were themselves causing the anxiety that triggered her behavior?

Sociopath: A Memoir is a detailed and clear-eyed story of a misunderstood condition. Gagne was spurred to tell her tale – and earn a Ph.D. in psychology – after being frustrated by the lack of study or adequate treatment of sociopathy. With no one else to help her, she had to help herself. From a standpoint of radical acceptance of her own condition, while focusing on the problems caused by certain behaviors, she identified a never-before examined connection between sociopathy and anxiety. Sociopath offers a fascinating window onto a difficult life, gives inspiration to others in misunderstood situations, and challenges widely held myths. – Michelle (Sunset)