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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Athena Walker.

We certainly can know we are psychopathic. It’s not difficult for a high-functioning psychopath to be able to see how we are different. In fact, we have known since we were children that we are different: Getting the diagnosis is just something that gives us the reasoning for how we think.

There is a lot of nonsense out there that we are incapable of knowing about ourselves, and yet there is no logic to the argument. We know that we are different, we know that we construct masks in order to blend in with those around us, and we know that if people see how we really think, they ostracize us — making it difficult to get what we want out of them. However, as calculated as we are in our masks or planning or manipulation, how well we can read other people with cognitive empathy and understand how they do things and what they feel, we are somehow barred from this activity ourselves.

Not to mention that some of us have been diagnosed. We may not think much of the diagnosis in terms of it mattering, however with a modicum of reading good research on it, it is pretty easy to see similarities in the descriptions in the text to our own lives. I doubt a low-functioning psychopath could do this, as the ones that all the studies are conducted on because they are a captive cohort in either prisons or hospitals would qualify as. If we are measuring psychopathy on the imprisoned population we might as well measure neurotypicals the exact same way. It would be illogical to do so, just as it is illogical to use the incarcerated psychopaths as the control group for those of us that are high functioning.

Feeling no emotions? That’s not psychopathy. That’s Alexithymia.

Psychopaths do have emotions, they are blunted, or turned down as it were, but they are not absent.

Either way, this is not something to guess about. Psychopathy, or more specifically ASPD (antisocial personality disorder) with primarily factor one traits, is not something that a nonprofessional should be surmising. It is a complex diagnostic process that takes a great deal of time with specially trained clinicians.

Psychopaths account for about .75-1 percent of the population. 

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