A reader asked me what my thoughts were regarding the holiday season and the presumed burden that interacting with family carries. I hesitated in writing this post because I believe that all can experience drama with their own families and that I was not sure that I could put an enlightening spin on my own perspective. I do not believe the psychopath is unique when it comes to a love or hatred of the holidays, but I do believe that such days can be used to highlight a characteristic that is thought to be shared by most psychopaths: the inability to love.
Last Christmas, I went to my grandparents’ house for the holiday. My family is small these days. I have my maternal grandparents, my mother and father, and my mother’s sister. A great-aunt and great-uncle also showed up. It did not matter to me, however, that many of these individuals have been instrumental in my success thus far in life. The wisdom and care by my grandparents, for instance, undoubtedly saved me from a more serious and delinquent childhood. The many forgiven debts by my aunt have allowed me to keep my head above water – and so on. However, instead of celebrating with family, I fell asleep on the couch. When I awoke, I found that they had left money next to me in lieu of a formal Christmas present. That was fine with me. However, I should note that not only did I sleep through the holiday meal, I managed to avoid speaking more than a few words to anyone that entire day. That was also fine with me.
This Thanksgiving, a mere couple of weeks ago, was very similar. I went to my grandparents’ house, took some sleeping pills, and slept through the holiday meal just as I did the Christmas before. This time, my family confronted me upon waking. Rather than deal with their accosting, I snuck out the back door, walked around to the front of the house, got in my truck, and left. The holiday cheer was clearly oozing out of me. I suppose that this would be considered anathema for anyone else, but my family has grown to realize that I am perpetually aloof. They simply do not know the apathy that I possess.
We all know the (misstated) saying: blood is thicker than water. To me, this simply is not true. I view my family no differently than those that I view on the street. It matters not to me that I came from my mother’s womb. It does not concern me that my grandparents will not be alive much longer. My aunt, who battled cancer and nearly died a few years ago, is merely an acquaintance that I can tolerate. Toleration is not love, however. And, I believe that is ultimately what makes the holidays so bitter for me. I am surrounded by people in this world that are simply tools for me to use. Most people do not love their tools – they possibly keep them polished, sharp, and locked away – but they have no attachment to them beyond the value that they possess. I will not say that such a realization upsets me – for it does not – but it is curious in a world where attachment and love are celebrated, be it familial or romantic attachment.
No, these holidays are merely an excuse to not be at work and to possibly receive gifts. I hold no love for those doing the cooking or gifting, and I suppose that I would be just as content sitting in a restaurant that does not observe the holiday that society demands. Give me a meal, but do not bother giving me your love; I will not reciprocate it.