The Actor that Cannot Play the Part

This is a continuation of the previous post.  I decided not to attempt to console the family member whose mother passed away.  The reasons for this may surprise you, however.  While it is true that I am irked with the man because of past sins he committed, I felt that it would be wiser to avoid the possibility of leaking my indifference.  I can feign incompetence if asked why I did not call – “Oh, I just forgot!” – but I cannot feign feelings of true compassion and sympathy that are rooted in empathy.  In a way, I am being kind by shielding him from my true apathy.  As should be obvious, I have chosen to embrace apathy and have not worn my mask for some time now.  As such, I do not even know how to put it back on.  The actor has become aloof and uncaring and no longer knows how to play the part.

Out of boredom (and as a result of a confrontation from a family member goading me to call the son of the deceased), I tried explaining this to another.  While the pretense was framed under resentment of what he had done to me in the past, I used a vocabulary that the trained ear would recognize belonged to the realms of the odd and different.  I tried explaining that I simply could not pretend to show affection and sympathy toward that man.  I tried to convince another that my stilted words would only add more pain than would any silence.  Of course, these words were met with incredulous feelings.

Ultimately, I do not care.  Whether or not it was particularly wise to let another into my headspace, even if the “reasons” given were false, is irrelevant.  All I know is that I have lost the ability to play the role of the neurotypical.  I am at my best when I am terse, because the more I stumble in my dance, the greater the possibility of another putting two and two together.  Ultimately this is all a question whose answer must be given by the individual.  Which is more important: blending in or honoring the identity, however weak, that we have?  The choice is not necessarily mutually exclusive and it takes an intimate knowledge of one’s own surroundings and standing to answer this question.  I have chosen to try to have my cake and eat it too.  Only one family member knows of my antisocial diagnosis and the confirmation of my psychopathy.  However, she is too naive to assume anything but the best from me.  With the others in my family, I leave them guessing.  They should know that something is off, but they probably have no chance of naming what exactly is off.  I want to honor myself and I want to blend in.  Isn’t that what anyone wants?

It's all Okay so Long as Someone Else's Head Rolls
Even the Blind Still Have Touch

Comments

  1. Aurienne says

    Your reasons are perfectly congruent. My family are, for the most part, all corpses or estranged. No extant familial affairs remain and no family structure of the sort where annoyances like this (nor potential benefits of aid or in some sense of permanence) exist.

    I must say that I think I am relieved on the whole.

    • Jessica Kelly says

      I just had an amusing phone call with family. I am many hundreds of miles removed from them at this point, and lack a filter to begin with, so I think I may have said some unwise words. The gist is that my mother was concerned that I have an empathy problem and I didn’t exactly dismiss her concern. She began wailing and hung up on me. Several observations: a) she is more concerned with how my refusal to contact the suffering family member affects her than the sufferer and b) she is an example of a neurotypical deeply afraid of even the slightest hint of antisocial neurodivergence – of which a failure to have affective empathy is the least destructive of my antisocial traits. It’s merely more data, I suppose.

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