Continuing a theme that has been on my mind extensively as of late, I find that the energy I give into my interpersonal relationships is often minimal. There are exceptions, usually when an element of lust or other “new interpersonal relationship” energy is involved, but those exceptions tend to die over time leaving my indifferent shell as the only constant in such relationships. My therapist has noted this and we had an extensive conversation recently regarding this energy differential. She seemed puzzled as to why I, a creature who is happiest when interacting with others, would give so little energy. Wouldn’t my bitching and moaning about a lack of meaningful interactions dissipate if I were simply to invest energy in those interpersonal relationships that I do have or could have? Undoubtedly, the answer to this question is ‘yes,’ but she is missing a point that I hold dear. I believe that I will only give my all in an interpersonal relationship in which I feel both sufficiently stimulated, entertained, and valued. I’ve had plenty of interpersonal relationships in which I can recognize value, but I have never felt stimulated nor entertained for more than a fleeting moment. To reference a tired quote from the series Hannibal, “(they) just aren’t that interesting.”
The only interest I’ve had in others – those times in which I feel particularly invested, stimulated, and fascinated – comes immediately upon the creation of the interpersonal relationship. Maybe I am lustful and want to see whether a romantic relationship will arise. Maybe the person I am interacting with is somehow and substantively different than those that I have met before. The energy always fades, however. Even in my brief marriage to my ex-husband, I found that by the time the marriage rolled around, I had long checked out. The odds of having any meaningful interpersonal relationship certainly seem slim given this alignment, but let us not forget that this makes perfect sense given the psychopathic condition. Psychopaths have an immediate and insatiable need for stimulation and nothing will ever actually satisfy such cravings. Combine that with extreme narcissism that places all energy in an internal state anyway, and it is clear that there is no other trajectory.
Can anything be done, or am I (and people like me) doomed to live inwardly solitary and unfulfilling lives? Ultimately, this is a question of will. I have been told, time and time again, that the energy received from an interpersonal relationship is proportional to the amount of energy put into the relationship. My therapist suggests two things, of which I am still contemplating whether I accept either. First, the psychopath must – whether she wants to or not – put in more energy into her interpersonal relationships. This will draw the other person in the relationship closer (usually), and at the very least, the relationship will have better chances of surviving the psychopath’s need for stimulation and usual indifference. “Fake it until you make it,” my therapist would remark. The second item that must be addressed is that the psychopath must give up on her hardened stance that maybe something could be stimulating for more than mere moments. This may seem nihilistic, but ultimately I cannot disagree. I have yet to be satisfied by anything in my life. Why then, should I expect to be satisfied by another human being? I shouldn’t. Whether I’ll happier in the grand scheme of things remains to be seen, but it seems reasonable that, in my case, a creature craving social contact would do better to accept that she can have her social contact, but she should never expect those interactions to be ultimately meaningful. Why? Because they aren’t that interesting.