The vanity of misery is not enticing and is not wanted by those caught in the maelstrom. We live in a connected age in which every dream and desire of an individual is reflected for the world to see on digital media. People with little self-confidence (or, a perverse surplus of narcissism) flood our streams with selfies and with poorly thought out monologues that do little to stimulate our intellects. Weeding out signal from noise becomes ever-increasingly more difficult as the self-imposed prisons of the noise-bearers coalesce into view. I believe that we are becoming more simplistic as a species with all of this ill-conceived content. We need to care not for the simplistic and shallow that fill our televisions, social media streams, and conversations and care more for those directly in our lives: those in front of us.
It seems a bit ironic that a creature of impulse cannot stand the stochastic processes that go through the minds of those around her. I need direction and insight at all times into the behavior of those around me. I need to know when others are stuck in the quagmire and I need to know that they are making progress in getting unstuck. Of course, this is only relevant when it pertains to me. I am a creature of schedules and road maps even though I am apt to buck either when it suits me. As I continue to evolve in this post-antisocial world of mine, I try my hardest to limit my frustrations to situations and not people. However, I am certain that such frustrations are a function of my narcissism, as to flounder is to waste both my time and my ego – things that I value very deeply. If this is true – that narcissism drives my need to have the stars charted and the cartographers’ work completed – then it is something I must work on as with everything else.
While not always true, there seems to be a level of fragility that affects the most narcissistic of minds. These individuals are so egocentric and so vain that the slightest bit of evidence contrary to their worldview is treated as a fatal exception in processing by their minds. They cannot reconcile reality with their distortions and revert to animals mortally threatened by their own shattered delusions. Rejection becomes the bullet to the brain as they can neither see another’s perspective nor their own inflated and unattainable expectations. The grandest and most beautiful structures can be built with wicker, but no one should be surprised when they eventually burst into flames.
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.”
I’ve written countless times about the difficulty that I have regarding interpersonal relationships. I’m unskilled at, or unwilling to engage in the act of, providing for those that are my acquaintances, family, friends, loved ones, et cetera. With every day and every therapeutic session that passes, I grow more adept at these skills, but I still lack. I’ll never have those skills and the alignment of those that are not psychopathic when it comes to maintaining and enhancing my interpersonal relationships, but as I grow older, I can certainly be less bad at these things. It may be my standard operating procedure to leave interpersonal relationships when conflict arises, having little patience for the flaws of others, but this too is slowly changing – or at least I am slower to pull the trigger than I was in the past. I no longer know when to stay or when to leave. The canary in the mine, checking the life signs of the interpersonal relationship, may have long turned to feathers and dust, but I still stay. Or, she may be full of life and vibrant and I leave. I no longer know my role. I no longer know the role of the canary.