Embracing Shadow

I still check in with the clinician that diagnosed me from time to time.  She helped me get through some dark days of my life and knows my life story better than anyone else.  She is a touchstone in my life.  She is an empath and has always been non-judgemental toward me.  And, as such, she helps me stay on the straight and narrow when, left to my own devices, I may stray.  I bring this up because of a remark she made a while back that really struck me.  She noted that I had really “owned” my psychopathy in the time since that initial denial long ago.  She was right; I have come to accept my differences from the larger population and have, in many areas, used that for the greatest self-benefit possible.  However it is more than that, it is a realization that there is no shame in who I am and no doubt of what I am.  If others want someone who is empathic and ethical at all times, they can look elsewhere.  If they want to associate with a master of gamesmanship and live vicariously through my words and actions, they can certainly tag along for the ride.

I’ve come a long way since those initial days of denial.  No longer am I worried about standard errors and the validity of assessments.  The diagnosis gave me a vocabulary for what I already knew deep down inside and I realized that I was falling prey to the same misconceptions that I now preach against.

It is hard at times to separate my thoughts and actions from the diagnosis.  I have nothing to prove to anyone, much less myself, but I still find myself reflecting back on my past and lining up actions and thoughts to the facets of the diagnosis.  The lack of empathy, the sexual promiscuity, the callousness, so on and so forth, all stick out in my mind.  The diagnosis was simply the glove that fit my hand.

I’ve come to accept that I am good at what I do and that my mind is “wired” for such.  I am at peace.  It certainly helped that I have performed this dance before.  Owning my gender identity had similar hangups.  However, the ownership of that hated trait and the ownership of my psychopathy have solidified an otherwise unstable identity.  I did not know where my psyche would wind up after the diagnosis as it forced light upon that which I had kept in the darkness.  Thankfully, introspection led to ownership.

We don’t make the professional musician or athlete justify their gifts.  Why should we do such for the psychopaths?  I have come to realize that it is a gift.  Maybe this is simply because I know no other way of being, but I cannot fathom the life of the empath.  I would rather be focused on solutions rather than the pain of others.  Granted, it also means that I cannot fixate on the joy of others, but I believe that to be an acceptable tradeoff.  I am the shadows and I am necessary. Light cannot be appreciated without me and I cannot be appreciated without the light.

Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Use of this image should not imply endorsement by the image author, Wikimedia user Cornava.

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