not fighting my- demons-we joined- forces
|Purred: Sun Jun 20, '10 7:26pm PST |
|tambi-jan, if you will suffer through this post it is actually relevant to predator and prey and their EYES.
no, i don't think you are any more neurotypical than i, but i also don't think you are any less, it's just that i think i perhaps had some advantages you lacked in getting better at reading people...though some might have been dubious advantages, advantageous from this perspective they still were.
my early environment was dangerous, because my primary caregivers were dangerous people. operant conditioning effectively taught me to pay attention to the emotions of at least those two dangerous people. i became very good very young at reading anger, boredom, sadness, embarassment, and a variety of other emotions that led to the states of rage, sadism, etc. that were so dangerous. it took some time to understand those states were not born between their faces and my own by some malign magic, furies springing from their eyes...mostly i got that from them yelling at me to look them in the eye and them being so mad because i wouldn't/couldn't.
paying close attention-in order to survive- to a narcissistic mother and a father who's next door to a sociopath (you should have met our neighbors ) either shorts you out or sensitizes you. it sensitized me to the point that sometimes i don't even think i have skin. i interpret other people's emotions pretty well...oddly, this does not help at all. and i'm going to go way out on a limb here and say it's because most people are just liars.
picture this. there was a guy in our church when i was a kid who was a complete jerk...he'd especially been a complete jerk to me, he'd yelled at me saying i had no manners blah blah blah when i was younger because i put my hands over my face when he tried to kiss me and my mom said i was shy and i said no, he smells BAD...he was drunk as a coot, btw. my mother actually didn't care, but he scared me even then. so years later, i'm in my early teens, he was working with the youth, me steady trying to ignore him. he goes in the hospital for...SURPRISE!...treatment for alcoholism. so everyone in our youth group starts making little cards and crap for him...except for me.
was just sitting there, and was just going to sit there, but people started ragging on me. wasn't i going to make a card for larry? he was sick, and he needed to know how much we loved him...
well, i don't love him. he's a jerk.
but he's sick.
ok. he's a sick jerk.
alcoholism is a sickness.
ok. and? alcoholism is a sickness. fact. larry is a jerk. ALSO a fact. any other facts anyone would like to share?
(yes, i was that much of a smartarse at fourteen or so, at least when i was that mad, and in church...actually, it very much amused and gratified me around that age to annoy people in church. that was as close as i can get to direct quotes after twenty five some odd years...and some of them have been decidedly odd years, particularly much of the nineties.)
and the beat went on. i assure you, none of these people liked larry much better than i did. because larry was, and continued to be even after he dried out, a jerk. because that's what the man was. a jerk. he told me somebody told him when he started working with the youth they'd had a special meeting about me, and someone had told him that if i wanted to jump off the high dive into an empty swimming pool he should just let me, because it wasn't worth his breath to try and stop me.
i said he really shouldn't use that person as a reference if he were thinking of volunteering at a suicide prevention hotline. what i wanted to tell him was that he was a liar, that there was no way every adult that worked with the youth group had gotten together to talk about me behind my back, let alone said something that mean. but i wasn't sure it was a lie. and THAT was larry.
(did they probably get together and talk about me? sure. i was suicidal, and weird. but where he went too far was in saying they met just to talk about me. in that same group? kids with police records. kids as crazy as i was. kids that came high because it was somewhere to be that was safer than where they could be, like ricky and misty f., a pair of foster kids who i wonder from time to time about...beautiful kids, but such con artists. twins, a boy and a girl. sure, i was...outside of the law, at times, though i had and have no record, and at least one adult who worked there knew it. and had made one noticed suicide attempt. was not innocent of violence or indeed of many things, by that age...but the thing is, i looked like i was, unless you looked really, reallllly, reallllly close. i think most of them knew i was a depressive who might smoke pot and were wary of my mouth and might have suspected i was the one who was throwing skittles from the empty baptismal pool into the choir loft during wednesday night services. but that wasn't enough reason to have a meeting of everyone just for me. i hated larry.)
and here's the thing. they all did too. because AFTER i ripped up several pieces of construction paper and kicked some cans of magic markers over on my way out of the room and told whoever i could tell was following me don't touch me or i will hurt you and our youth director said it's just me and i said well, especially you and i went and hid in the library for awhile...after all that, i buttonholed a few people and asked them how they could say they 'loved' that jackalope. and to a one, the basic response?
oh, i hate his guts.
then why you'd say you loved him?
said so on your card.
that's the card. cause we were supposed to. you know.
(BLANK STARE, TELLING THEM, NO, I DON'T, THIS WOULD BE WHY I RAN OUT, DESTROYING THINGS IN MY WAKE...)
the money meme: it's just what you do, it's what we were all doing.
apparently, "what you do" & "what is done" = "what we are all doing."
lacking a social herd instinct,i simply look stupid when i try to imitate. monkey see, monkey do just makes a monkey out of me.
yes, val. i UNDERSTAND people. or think i do, because i guess it's always POSSIBLE that the fact that they found out larry was in the hospital made them suddenly love him and they were just lying to me...hmm..thinking i was right the first time. anyway, i do a fair enough job of knowing what they're feeling, i think, usually...which isn't really the same thing, is it? especially when sometimes to often know what everyone is feeling but don't have the faintest clue as to WHY and i'm the odd one out, again, which i'm used to, but does tend to argue rather against the hypothesis that i UNDERSTAND people.
like you with japanese. understanding the language and being part and parcel of a society is not the same thing. it's like i have an interpreter in my head who is a member of my society (um, and what 'society' would that be, exactly?), but not of the one i'm interacting with. or perhaps it's the other way around, i'm not sure. what is sure is that there is a set of human instincts that cannot be learned, and thus i am in some sense alien. or so it feels. and i'm totally okay with that.
on a note that is almost certainly tangentially related, i almost literally cannot lie. it is still beyond my scope to say i like someone when i do not...and i most certainly will not say i love you to someone i in fact hate. you know the closest i came to saying something kind to someone i truly detested was when my life was being threatened by that person...and even so i qualified the statement. they asked for a compliment of their abilities (being careful here), and i said that the performance had not been as unpleasant as it possibly could have been. at least...well no. it could definitely have been more...uh. it wasn't as bad as...um. (pretty direct quote, i wasn't trying to be a smartarse, i was trying to stay alive and yet have words come out of my mouth. again: I'M NOT NORMAL. NORMAL PEOPLE, WHEN THERE IS A KNIFE AND A VITAL ORGAN INVOLVED, WILL SAY WHATEVER THEY NEED TO SAY. i couldn't. and it wasn't pride. it wasn't integrity. it was brain function!!!)
so dangerous people helped me focus, val. and my brother, my relationship with him...having him as a mirror helped me in a way i can't minimize. and then there's the disadvantage you have of having suddenly changed cultures in early adulthood. i don't know if you're more impaired than i, i suspect we just had different influences.
and i love you too.
and if you noticed, tambi (did you stay with us?), this did tie in with the animals of prey and eyes meme. as a small child and prey animal, i monitored the moods and movements of the predators, and avoided eye contact because i believed (any credence to it? anyone have any thoughts?) that the rage and the sadism were born between our faces when we made eye contact.
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