This post has absolutely nothing to do with ASPD or psychopathy. I get compliments all the time for my use of the English language. Some like my metaphor, some adore all of the alliteration or assonance, others feel that I just have a way of conveying my thoughts in manner that is both succinct and interesting. I can’t disagree with any of this. When it comes to expressing my own thoughts and opinions, I am usually very articulate. However, when I am confronted with the same from a mind that is not my own, I find that I struggle mightily. I can speak to others, but when I am faced with interpreting the “music” that flows from another’s mouth, I find myself mute and unable to communicate. I find myself deaf and unable to listen. I don’t know how to interpret and I don’t know how to continue the dance. I suppose these problems lie at the heart of my narcissism and Borderline traits, but I cannot say for certain.
The possibility of Borderline behaviors influencing my ability or inability to communicate and to understand cannot be dismissed. The Borderline often thinks in terms of extremes, which is an act of distortion. I used to make illogical leaps with my own train of thought based on the bits and pieces of information that another would give me. I would get burned again and again as my interpretations proved toxic and sometimes fatal to the interpersonal relationship at hand. Lately, per the advice of my therapist, I take things only at face value and do not assume any context beyond the words chosen by another. This also leads to problems as it is part of the human condition to deal with entendre and subtextual meanings. No matter which route I take, I am not fully hearing what the other is trying to tell me. I am distorting no matter what I do.
I suppose narcissism could also play a role, though most likely in a secondary fashion. I am very egocentric and I assume during those times that I am not catastrophizing what is in front of me, that the words spoken must reflect the best possible outcome. Why? Because I am deserving of the best possible outcome. So if I’m not distorting in the negative direction, I am overcompensating in the positive direction as that would be more suited for a self-proclaimed superhuman.
It’s very frustrating not just for me, but for those that I interact with. I can’t trust myself to pick up on the correct subtexts of the words presented to me by others, even if I find that I am precise with my own command of the subtextual. However, if I take everything at face value, I am committing the same faux pas over and over again and with the same magnitude, just simply with a different direction. If I can’t understand the message being given to me, I can’t properly communicate my own thoughts back. It is a challenge that will continue for the rest of my life, I suppose.