Son proudly told us he is a sociopath

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
I don't know whether his introductory psychology class has gone to his head or if he really thinks this is true of himself. Candy and I went to see Ferb at his dorm over the week-end. He was very chatty which he typically is not. First he asked me to buy him toilet paper.:rolleyes: Then he told me he is a sociopath. I suggested he go see his counselor and talk to him about it. I honestly don't know what to do with this "information."

Do I stop sending him the occasional "I love you " text? Perhaps it doesn't even matter to him.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Could he just be trying to shock you? I think your suggestion to talk to his counselor was a good one. I would try not to show any reaction. I would also keep sending the occasional texts.



Active Member
Could he just be trying to shock you? I think your suggestion to talk to his counselor was a good one. I would try not to show any reaction. I would also keep sending the occasional texts.


I agree. I have a friend whose troubled teen also self-identified as a "sociopath," she thinks, based on some diagnostic hints.

He has come a long way away the sociopath label, and also from self destructive behavior, but has recently said he thinks he might be "gender fluid"

Maybe some kids need to wear a hat for a while, and we should just "look off into the mid-distance" while they do; not turn a blind eye to it but also not wring our hands.


Active Member
He could have been. He has done that often enough in the past that it occurred to me too. He did assure me that he didn't want to :slap:kill anyone. :slap:



My son went for STD tests recently (which is responsible) but later ominously said "at least I don't have a serious condition".

I either said, "that's good" or "well, that's good." What else are you supposed to say, when they share on a need to know basis, even when you care?"

Are they revealing some deep, dark fear or secret? Or, are they trying to shock you back into the "I'll do anything" phase?

Whichever it is, it's not important enough for them to do anything but hint around at.

To me, that speaks for itself.


Well-Known Member
I took an intro to psychiatric class my freshman year. I was fairly convinced that I had every disorder known to man. It maybe the case with Ferb.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
You are a smart woman. Do YOU think he is a sociopath?

I'd probably take a step back from all of it to be honest.

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
RN, no, I don't think so. I think he is going through a phase of believing that he is not connected to anyone as a means of protecting his heart. I think deep down he is a person who loves deeply.

When he was very small, he and I had a strong bond. When I had Candy, I had to leave him at home with his father for a few days. I don't know what happened then, and he was too young to remember. When I arrived home with a baby sister, he hated me. It was horrible.

Then he had to deal with the lack of connection to his father and the mental illness which increased in severity.

We didn't have grandparents to step in and make a difference for him. We did have a few adult male friends who helped. The one major one for Ferb, ending up having to move to Texas.

I went through a similar withdrawl of connections when I was Ferb's age. I had similar pain growing up and reached a point where I just thought life was better, less hurtful, not making deep connections. It took me 10 years to realize that I really felt worse living like that.

I am tossing around the idea of writing him a long email.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I think writing him an email is a good idea -- but sit on it a day or two after you write it, then re-read it. Then decide if you want to send it. I find the act of pounding my feelings out on a keyboard helps a great deal, but I don't always need to send exactly what I started with. If anything.


Well-Known Member
Professionals don't diagnose sociopaths prior to age 18 because kids and teens pretty much all fit the diagnosis. Ferb's barely over 18 and somewhat immature on top of it. I think he's reading a psychology book and picking and choosing to find something wrong with himself.

You know your son. I don't think he's a sociopath and I do think he loves you and needs you to remind him you love him.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Only a trained, tried and true psychologist can diagnose someone. I am not surprise that he is self diagnosing. I think many young people who start psychology classes do this. I wouldn't be surprised if he's "diagnosed" half of those in his class.
I also agree with the others about the "shock" value.
I know with my son when he would make certain statements I had to be very careful with my response because it could easily turn into a debate.
I suppose if it were me, I would say something like "wow, that's really interesting" and leave it there.


Roll With It
Almost every single psychology professor warned the class about what Ferb is doing. Most of my professors called it "medication student syndrome" as medication students do this to a huge extent. "This" is self diagnosing with very dire disorders and then telling people, especially parents, when you want to shock or manipulate them.

I would mostly ignore it. There will be more of these if he takes more classes.

In fact, some of this "sociopath" diagnosis may be due to his relationship with this teacher. He may feel guilt over the relationship, or not feel guilt and think he should feel guilt, and think having this diagnosis is a way to punish himself. Or it may not be. I just know it was the kind of thing my brother did at Ferb's age when he felt guilty over something. Ferb reminds me of my brother at that age in many ways. By doing something like this to deal with the guilt, he wouldn't have to apologize.

Sociopaths don't apologize or feel guilt, so Ferb doesn't have to admit that he does. It is a way to handle what he has done now that he is away from the relationship and around peers who he may have told about the relationship. Maybe he didn't get the reaction he expected from his peers, especially if he wanted them to think this was a wonderful thing. Maybe the peers were even upset by the way he treated you and your things, which would have gotten him thinking.

Stuff like this was always under the surface with my brother. He almost never let it come to the surface, but it was there. I can see Ferb not getting the reaction from his peers that he expected, feeling guilty, then not wanting to admit it even to himself. So he shoved that guilt way down, and found the definition of a sociopath in his textbook and decided he would say he was one.

The more reaction you give him, the more of this nonsense he will dump on you. Telling him to talk to his therapist was a great idea. Other than that, be very nonchalant about any of this that he brings to you. Rather as if he told you he has a nose on his face. Treat these things as if they are that earth shattering. Eventually he will either get over them or end up talking to you to see why you are not giving him the reaction he wants. Then you can actually talk to him. Maybe.

I am sorry that you have to deal with this too. At least it shows he is reading at least one of his textbooks. :p