Love, Symbiosis, and Identity

I’m in a period of my life in which I have many more questions than answers.  Eternally skeptic, I am probably a bit too obsessive in my search for “truth” when it comes to what resides between my ears.  The topics of interpersonal relationships, “love”, and my role in these endeavors have been focal points as of late.  At one point I truly did believe that the psychopath could not have any investment or “buy in” to any sort of interpersonal relationship.  This seemed to be confirmed by my own willingness to pot my plants and leave them in the window until they died, essentially neglecting human interpersonal relationships.  As of late, I’ve begun to question the unilateral nature of this assertion.  I’m starting to think that the answer to whether psychopaths can invest themselves in interpersonal relationships is “kind of, sort of, depending on the circumstances, maybe.”

I am not sure that I believe that interpersonal nor romantic relationships can be anything but symbiotic.  Paralleling my thoughts on altruism and compassion, I believe that the focus of any beneficial action for another must be rooted in benefits for the self.  My therapist would disagree of course, being less jaded and misanthropic than myself, and would state that there is a certain pleasure derived from placing the focus on another for most neurotypicals.  That is, that the action is symbiotic but that the positive feelings from the one acting are secondary to the intent of genuine care for another human being.  This ultimately confuses me.

Before we return to why my therapist’s assertion confuses me, we must go through a very personal aside.  The longtime reader knows of my struggles in both performing emotive actions and recognizing emotions.  It is no small feat for me to express interest in another person precisely because I cannot fully understand those emotions, however weak, that drive such interest.  Of course, there is some emotion driving the interaction but it is so limited that it can often either be dismissed entirely (equivalent to zero emotion) or mischaracterized (too little emotion to measure).  This confuses me as well.  It is hard to remain objective and take data when measurement error is all but guaranteed.

So let’s return to my therapist’s assertion.  “The action of benefiting another person is symbiotic but those positive feelings experienced by the one perform the action are secondary to the intent of genuine care for another human being.”  I can report that I’ve identified at least one interpersonal relationship in which I do take a modicum of happiness in helping out another individual.  Their company makes me happy as well.  Granted, these aren’t emotions of great magnitude, but I have identified their existence.  So the question is: why?  I don’t believe that I am selfless in my interactions with them as my own happiness is a metric that is constantly being watched.  I wonder if I gauge my own actions in way that is “constructive,” that is whether I am gently nudging in a way that allows for a sense of pride in seeing progress made even if it is not my own progress.  For example, the pride that comes from helping another person with financial interests could really just be a reflection of my desire to “construct” rather than “destruct.”  Happiness could also be a misnomer for ‘entertained.’   It’s all rather confusing, and as I prefaced this post with, I may be obsessing way too much over the semantics of it all.

I obsess because of the underlying fear that the mechanisms we’ve identified are insufficient at modeling my person, and thus do not contribute to identity.  Practically, if we avoid questions of energy transfers – who receives more or less relative to another – then the conversation becomes quite simple: psychopaths are able to engage in interpersonal relationships and relationships of love just like many other demographics.  I do think the question of how these relationships differ is important, however.  The key to sustaining any sort of relationship – interpersonal, romantic, business, etc. – is to set expectations and boundaries in a proper fashion.  I want to be successful with my future interpersonal and romantic relationships and I want to understand how they differ from those around me.  Ultimately, this is the needed insight both to honor myself and to grow as a person, and I do not believe that such analysis is only suited for those on the antisocial spectrum.

The Limitations of Stoicism


  1. says

    “My therapist would disagree of course, being less jaded and misanthropic than myself, and would state that there is a certain pleasure derived from placing the focus on another for most neurotypicals. That is, that the action is symbiotic but that the positive feelings from the one acting are secondary to the intent of genuine care for another human being.” And it all begins with conditionings, settings and stories most people tell themselves. But I don’t think there is much of a difference, really. The difference lies in the perception. It’s just self-inflicted fallacy. Nothing more, nothing less. I wouldn’t say it’s true – it’s just how most people WANT or NEED to perceive it. Humans may use psychology for help but it’s not like they live and perceive according to psychology (if they would, there would be less misconceptions or straightforward demonisations, right?). They live according to strict tenets (religion, for example) and easy, wonderful fantasies (filled with fallacies) where desires ( =focus on yourself ACCORDING to your own psychological wires) and genuine care are somehow opposites, while in reality, it’s bullshit. Because it all comes down to one simple question. What do you want? What can’t you stand? What kind of feeling you desire or expect? From what are you able to derive your pleasure? What kinds of pleasures are you (mentally and biologically) able to engage in? And (assumuning you’re somewhat evolved being and not straighforward and static citizen X) what kind of Ultimate do your psyche PREFER when you face some various aspects (at least at this very moment when you make your decision/action)? Because there may be a serious confusion, true. Let’s say: you may want to literally destroy someone (immedietely!) and derive a great pleasure but at the same time you may also want to keep him in your life completely unspoiled so you can get some benefits later on. The same the other way around: you may desire better life (because you want to derive different pleasures/achieve some new things) so you count on relationship symbiosis (or even parasitism) but at the same time… you may also love someone and genuinely care for someone (which means you derive a lovely pleasure from his presence and/or his happiness, even when he’s not around and with another – because you empathically feel that way and/or keep additional pleasure/psychological comfort from believing in some superior moral feels and principles of “genuine” care for another human being). LOL. Which is funny. Because this last aspect and “genuine care is superior and pure!” motivation ( = idealisation, fallacy, belief, personal comfort, or promise of good afterlife) is exactly WHY various abusers in relationships have it so easy. Because the other side will always stick to “selfless care is pure and above everything!” rules, for whatever reason, instead of… idk, just face this simple truth and – naturally – still keep their usual psychological profile (so it’s not like they are gonna turn into sociopaths all of a sudden). Because the case is… it’s actually still possible for a neurotypical to choose the very same selflessness and genuine personal secrifice for another (because they simply want and prefer to experience this feeling over materialistic/exploitive gains, and that’s because they still derive a pleasure from it – even when they are aware how it truly works… and that nothing is superior). But at the same time (because they’re more aware of psychological ways we’re all entrapped in), they can always back up if that’s what they want (because obviously, aware mind tends to have some more common sense and – no matter the amount of personal pleasure, assuming this person still derives such a pleasure – this person can also see that the other side won’t really change, if we speak abusive relationship, for example) and, ultimately, that’s not how he WISH to spent the rest of his life so he ends his pleasurous (yet abusive and harmful, for example) stuff, seeking love and pleasure elsewhere. There could still be confusion/pain/loss, but ultimately, he made a choice and this choice wasn’t made simply because… idk, he panicked or broke under the harmful weight. It was just his common sense and facing the truth, nothing more, nothing less. In the same way, for a psychopathic individual, many other things (than straighforward exploitive gain) may be possible as well. It all comes down to awareness and then… it just depends on your kind of pleasures, conditioning (or the opposite: less-to-none conditioning), personal feels and WHAT YOU ULTIMATELY DESIRE. Human mechanics are the same, it’s just that neurotypical and psychopatic wires got some different “factory pleasure/motivation settings”. But it’s not like one is superior to the other. When your therapist says “that the positive feelings from the one acting are secondary to the intent of genuine care for another human being” she is simply “fallacing” here (and so unnecessary, IMO… eh, the stupidity of human denial!). Because Superior is what an individual WANTS to be Superior so he makes it Superior (in a more calculated manner or more impulsive manner) and THAT’S ALL THERE IS (at least in this certain NOW). And whatever is your ultimate choice – you derive some kind of pleasure/comfort/effect/prevention (even from “fallacing” and denial). And to put it all even more simpler – lol – let’s reverse the sentence. “The positive sadistic feelings from the one acting upon his murder were secondary to the intent of genuine violence for another human being”. And nothing needs to be said here, right? Come up with such a statement among some neurotypicals and you’ll see them calling you delusional or hypocritical (because you’re excusing a murderer and blaming his main motivators on some kind of “higher” psychological power, pure evil, or some kind of violence addiction) and they would be totally right… because there are no excuses and we act because we WANT (we derive some feels and effects from it). But when the very same process happens in regards to them, just in some more “normal” settings… they approve this specialness of “genuine care” as something superior and higher (not to mention it’s a good reason enough to excuse everything that there is, even when one’s “genuine care” actions and feels create more confusion and problems than solutions). But NO. It’s not superior. Genunine care is just genuine care (assuming you know what it really means and you don’t try to elevate it because, again, it makes you feel better or safer or whatever else). It’s just a motivator, like everyone else, and one that can be mixed with some other, more materialistic and less empathetic motivators. But they are still motivators. Even if they’re about goodness of other people… they still begin with YOU, not them. And it’s so obvious, really. It’s just common sense. So… That’s my approach (you can make her read it if you want, hah). Because at the end, it’s all pretty simple. LOL. Nothing is ultimate but it’s not like – within this certain moment – there are completely no ultimates. It’s how this world works and I think denying these obvious rules leads us nowhere, only backwards. Various idealisations are completely unnecessary. Speaking of which… I don’t really wonder anymore why I do things. Like now, with this text. I wasted my time today (loss, sacrifice) but obviously brought me pleasure of some kind and that’s because the subject is interesting and I “genuinely care” for some stuff. And hey, let’s imagine someone who “genuinely care” about non-genuinely-carrying and he is completely aware of his psychological weirdness but that’s what he wants. He would be just sitting in one place, completely content, most certainly deriving a great amount of pleasure from it, and everything would end with a lovely suicide. Hey, it’s actually the very same shit many people experience when they pray for someone or die on the cross for someone. Just different reasoning and ingredients. Well, you can’t really prove God doesn’t exist or that he doesn’t help us but whose methods and reasons are constructed upon some more-likely-uncertain stuff and blind fallacy and fallacy alone, I wonder…

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