Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Masks and madness (part 2)


As I once told another reader:
I can get very very immersed in my masks, to the point of losing control. Sociopaths are very flexible, yes, but even we have limits. I like to think of it as a rubberband, stretch and flexibility, but if you stretch it too far, it snaps. I actually had a recent experience with this. A close friend's father was dying of a very long and painful illness. I had a lot of respect and admiration for this particular friend and this friend had been very understanding of me and my condition -- an "uber-empath" and one of the few people i have trusted with my identity. I wanted to repay the favor. One of my biggest consolations from being a sociopath is that I can handle certain things that no one else can, which I think can be very useful to people in need. For instance, this friend is eccentric, has a unique life vision, is brilliantly smart, but firmly idealistic in what were often untenable ways. Still, I respected this way of living a human life to the point that I wanted to enable it if I could. Always in the friendship I was understanding, completely tolerant, always agreeable, respectful, and charming in a way tailor-fit to my friend's needs. After the father got sick, I delved even more into my friend's reality, and became even more "tailor-fit," probably what you would consider mask-wearing. A huge portion of my existence was wrapped up in this, too big.

After a while I sensed weakness in my mental capacity. I felt like I was losing touch with reality, that I was going crazy, and it freaked me out. I had pushed the limits too far. I had had such confidence in my abilities to retain control, to keep perspective, to remain consistent, to continue using my special sociopath skills to be that perfect friend and support. I "snapped." I had little to no control. I had emotional hallucinations, to the point where I wasn't sure what was real anymore. I had lost track of who I was. My behavior was inconsistent, even erratic. I became fixated on random things, random people, imbuing them with meanings that they did not have. I had lost all objectivity. Finally after months of us both trying to piece things back together (to my friend's loyal credit), I just gave up and severed ties. I knew I was past the point of no return, there was no going back to the way things were.

So that's what I think of when you ask me how carried away do I allow myself to get in my masks. Always with any close relationship you will get pretty carried away, depending on the person and what that person means to you, what role they have in your life, their importance. Those are going to be the most elaborate "masks." I don't know if I have a good internal quality control check on how elaborate I will allow myself to get with them, though. I seem to have a pretty bad track record with restricting myself that way, actually. Some of my close friends and family absolutely love me (I have many more people who think that I am their favorite friend than vice versa). Others I ultimately fail, sometimes in very destructive ways.
But back to your original question. If someone asks me to be more "supportive," from my perspective that could possibly include everything.


  1. Do you drop the masks when you've devalued and discarded? If not, what kind of mask do you use?

  2. But isn't there anyone in your life that when your with them you don't feel the need to meet their needs? Even someone who you only knew for a short period of time? Have you not ever just had a moment when you just stopped and felt like you couldn't be bothered to make the effort no matter how natural it comes to you? I mean I'm just honestly interested to know.

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