I remember trying to digest my diagnosis with my best friend at the time, years ago. He was a trusted confidant and I knew that I would be able to talk to him about virtually anything. We had met one evening after a social function and he had been captivated by my charisma and confidence. Over the years we grew closer and soon were traveling the country, visiting various places, and were doing all those ‘best friend’ activities that two are supposed to do when they are close. It did not matter that he was a cisgender male and I myself was transgender. It did not matter that he was close to God and I was the traditional iconoclast. We were close and we trusted each other with our dearest secrets and dreams, hopes and fears. I remember that night when I was talking with him at a local pub, explaining how everything was finally starting to make sense. I was trying to explain the reasons why sometimes we could be at each other’s throats and why I could not feel the joy he felt at times. He could not focus; he had his own life-altering concerns in front of him due to several events that had happened I tried, unsuccessfully to steer the conversation back to my needs, but he was too engrossed in his own worries. Finally, I looked him the eye and told him we were done as friends; I could not stand to listen to his warbling when my matters were of more concern to me. We have not spoken since.
A psychopath’s interactions with others are merely a calculus. As soon as the energy we put in is too high relative to the energy we receive, we vanish into the night, never to be seen again. I would suspect that the bar we mark as ‘too high’ is much lower than for other people. We don’t consider past contributions from the person we are dumping. We don’t consider the future contributions either. We just grow frustrated at the drain or dearth of benefit, in the moment, that the other is bringing us. Sometimes we will realize that we made a mistake in cutting that person out. Sometimes we realize that there was no other option. Sometimes we realize that there is no rehabilitation from that state for that person. In the end, the result is the same. The optimal solution for the problem at hand (the acquaintance draining us of our energy or simply not contributing enough to warrant our energy) for the present moment is to cut and run. It is not personal, but it is selfish.
Sometimes we do crawl back. Sometimes we do realize that it was not in our best interests that we left. Do not misinterpret me, it isn’t that we come back groveling as we most likely do not feel remorse toward what we caused the other person to experience; we simply realize that our wants and needs can be partially sated by that which we abandoned. I can be a flake. I can love you one moment, ditch you the next when I feel that you are inadequate, and then return weeks later as if nothing happened. I do not care that I am toying with your emotions; I only care that I am getting a benefit.
Now you may be thinking that we must make terrible friends. I don’t think that this is inherently true. We simply know our expectations and desires better than most, although we may not convey them for strategic reasons. For those that I truly respect, I will be a true friend and will be there through thick and thin. The tricky part is being elevated to respected status. I am friends with many; I respect few. Respect is hard for me to associate characteristics with. Certainly you must do things for my benefit and must be intelligent and savvy. However, many of my acquaintances meet this bar and I do not respect them. It is something deeper. For me, respect is something that I know when I feel it. For a person that feels few things, such a feeling is pronounced and unshakeable. I know it when I see it even if I have no words to describe it. To be respected is to be invulnerable to culling; to be respected is to be off-limits to my psychopathic mindgames. I will explore this further in a later post.
I wonder at times how that friend I described in the first paragraph is doing. I mostly want to be able to see through the eyes of a victim, to feel and know what he has gone through as a result. He went with me when I had a procedure related to my transgender transition done. He was there as I recovered. He stayed with me during a bout of severe illness that threatened my life. He was my rock during a time in which I could not tend to myself. But, ultimately, that meant nothing. Ultimately, he was a fly that was annoying me and I smashed it without blinking. We know our expectations and desires better than most. When those are not met, even for the relative moment, we move on and leave you in the mud. It is nothing personal. We simply want to maximize our lives at all moments even at the emotional expense of another. Sometimes we must simply cull the diseased to let the forest flourish.