It could be argued that the sociopath is cynical: contemptuous; mocking; concerned only with his own interests and typically disregarding accepted or appropriate standards in order to achieve them – the opposite of idealistic.
And there is a danger that one who has learned the hard way about sociopaths becomes jaded: dulled, blunted, deadened, inured; tired, weary, wearied; unmoved, blasé, apathetic – the opposite of fresh.
The online version of the Guardian newspaper runs a series in which readers provide their responses to ‘Ethical conundrums’. Given the nature of our interests on this blog, this one caught my eye: Is it worse to be cynical or jaded?
One reader’s response captures the issue I raise above (our key terms inserted):
A jaded person [someone who has fallen for a sociopath] has loved and lost. A cynic [sociopath] has never loved at all.
Another provides some clues as to how come the sociopath and his or her victim get together in the first place:
I don’t like either alone, together though: the jaded person before becoming jaded makes friends with a cynic and then they both have a great time. So long as the cynic enjoys the doses of optimism and doesn’t get annoyed by them. And the optimist doesn’t become disillusioned by hanging out with the cynic. Because that would be boring, pointless and gloomy. Cynics and optimists together can be really proactive and make great company: CAN be…
Or not, right?
One reckons that positivity can turn into negativity, but seldom the other way round:
Pessimists tend to become cynical, as they tend to believe the existence of a hidden motive. Optimists, with experience, tend to become jaded, as the world falls short of their expectations. Jaded people tend to become cynical, but cynical people rarely end up jaded. So, being jaded is kind of the scenic route to cynicism.
One reader sees the merit of cynicism:
Cynicism is essential for surviving this lousy superficial society. Being jaded is the result of being insufficiently cynical.
I was tickled by this one:
Someone who’s jaded hasn’t lost the will to change, they’ve just lost the means….Polish the surface of a jaded person and you’ll find they’ll come up good as new.
As we get a new year underway, what are your thoughts?