Relationships have been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been torn between seeking a more traditional relationship where there are expectations of love, emotional bonding, and care and those relationships that I’d be more likely to succeed with. I’ve listed what is needed for the former. However, I have begun to think of the latter as something a bit beyond my analogy of potted plants, although not by much. The relationship that I am most likely to succeed in involves mutual indifference yet a commitment by the other to “buy in” in order to work.
I realize that I am far from the prototypical psychopath; for that I am grateful. I have my freedom and my status in society by remaining undetected and by slinking through the shadows. I am not prototypical in large part because I choose restraint – a topic that I have written about innumerable times at this point. However, the act of restraint does not quiet the antisocial mind. It grows hungrier and thirstier, wishing that it could validate its own existence by the pints of blood that its body could collect. And, it grows more aware of its presence in a world that claims to be prosocial. The psyche realizes that it is utterly alone by necessity and turns to self-loathing. Why would anyone choose to be blessed with a gift that can never be used? Why have a mouth if one cannot feed?
I do not wish to imply that this psychic dilemma is one shared by many other psychopaths – but it is one that is common with other forms of mental illness. The Borderline often wishes she was less tumultuous with her relationships – knowing that it is unlikely that such will ever come to fruition. The Bipolar wish that they could reach stability so that their jobs were not on the line with each downturn or surge. Those who are not neurotypical – used here to mean ‘functionally healthy in mind’ rather than non-psychopathic – clamour for the ability to blend in with the crowd and to be known for their individuality rather than their illnesses. The realization that this is not the case – and never will be – leads to self-loathing.
In this previous post, I mentioned some confusing emotions that I was having regarding moving away from a respected acquaintance as part of much needed new start for my life. I wondered if I was seeing a glimpse of humanity that my mother expressed with her own tears upon my announcement that I am, at age twenty-nine, going to be moving out of her and many others’ lives. I wondered if I was attached to this acquaintance much in the same way, expressing sadness that they – the person – would no longer be in my life. After discussing with my therapist, I can now see much more clearly. No, I will not miss the person; I will be missing what they represent in terms of the games that I play on a daily basis. It is as if I will be losing a prized tool, knowing that I can do a similar job with another, but also knowing that no other tool will reach the level of craftsmanship that this one did.
My interactions with others are purely purpose driven. Or at least that I what I have observed with every human interaction to this point. I treat others as potted plants, wishing that they can thrive with the minimum of effort on my part and tending to them only when it pleases me. I never felt attachment to another and I’ve written that the price to pay of psychopathy is the complete inability to form interpersonal bonds with the same intensity that neurotypicals can. As I prepare to move thousands of miles to a new playground, I wonder if it is truly impossible to form those bonds or whether the psychopath may merely find it less automatic.
It may seem strange to the neurotypical, but I fear making such a bond. I fear it because I do not want the pain of seeing a trusted and cherished friend die or vanish. I have never felt such a feeling and it both terrifies me and disgusts me to think of myself rendered feeble by such useless emotions. This terror is reality as the gravity of moving and leaving one such acquaintance behind invokes these emotions that I could never fathom.
Shortly before I was married, during my final year of university studies, my betrothed and I lived with several other people in a house adjacent to the university we studied at. The university town was a small one in the middle of the great plains of the Midwest and there was nothing but cornfield or forest in the area around the town. One day, my ex nearly hit a dog while driving on one of the innumerable country roads in the area. Feeling extreme empathy for this lost animal – he had determined that the dog was collared and, thus, presumably lost – he pulled over, put the dog in the car, and brought it back to our house in order to contact the owner. I was less than pleased.
When he arrived home with the animal, I unleashed a verbally abusive torrent at him. How dare he bring home an animal without the consent of others living in the house? Was he unable to think? Why risk the ire and damage the respect we had from those we lived with over the inconsequential dog that he picked up?