Thursday, August 19, 2010

Conversation with a reader: loyalty (part 2)

M.E.: So in your case, giving him a hard time about not meeting your needs increased the cost side of the cost/benefit equation.

Reader: If you mean that I eventually cost him more than I benefited him, yes.

M.E.: And you seemed to be set enough on things being that way that to him it seemed like it was going to be a constant deficit. That's the thing with sociopaths, they're fine with running into the red for a little while, particularly depending on the amount of equity already in the relationship, but if they sense something is going to run into the red indefinitely, they would rather just break things off then lose their entire investment. It's like choosing to amputate an infected limb before it spreads to vital organs. I was like that with one of my friends. Her dad had terminal cancer. She is super emotional, sort of self destructive, as a rule, and the smartest person I know personally.

Reader: But she asked you for too much?

M.E.: In a way yes, in other ways no. She never really asked; I just became. I'm flexible enough that I could become whatever it was that she needed, or what I thought she needed. It's hard to know when to stop, you know? You think that you can be whatever they need you to be, and that if the person is important enough to you, you should do so. But it is not cost free to you.

Reader: It's the same for empaths.

M.E.: Exactly! You can't indefinitely wear a mask that is so foreign to the way you typically are, a mask of extreme compassion or selflessness. So the costs of the relationship go up, and the benefits go down because she is depressed all the time and you're not getting what you used to get, very interesting conversations, a check on your own bad behavior, superior advice in all things including fashion. You run many months into the red and there still seems to be no improvement. It will tear you up inside. It's too much, too much force to try to put on your psyche.

Reader: And is there a way to talk about what used to be good about the relationship so that you two can go back to that?

M.E.: Yeah, there are always ways to go back, sunk costs, right? They’re ignored.

Reader: So will you get back in touch with your friend eventually?

M.E.: Ah, we're friends now. She picks all of my best clothing items. We didn't speak for a while, though. I was the one who asked for that, not speaking, that is. I think that hurt her a lot. She has a fear of being abandoned.

Reader: Of course it hurt her.

M.E.: Which is why I postponed it for so long, but it was literally making me crazy. I mean, I don't really have any boundaries. It's really hard to be put in a situation in which boundaries are necessary.

Reader: You probably did the right thing, by taking space.

M.E.: Yeah, maybe. It was really hard. I think it bothered me more that I had failed than that I had failed her, you know? I have such a healthy self-image, then something like this comes along. That's when you start feeling like you really are defective, like something is seriously wrong with you. You start believing that no matter how hard you try to do better in the future, this will keep happening over and over in your life like some sort of sick déjà vu. That's when life really starts to seem meaningless.

39 comments:

  1. this is so fucking interesting

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  2. Where I don'T see it at all,there is no actual conversation, just a part of it and about a subject particularly ininteressting

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  3. I liked this:

    they're fine with running into the red for a little while, particularly depending on the amount of equity already in the relationship, but if they sense something is going to run into the red indefinitely, they would rather just break things off then lose their entire investment.

    and this:

    You can't indefinitely wear a mask that is so foreign to the way you typically are, a mask of extreme compassion or selflessness.

    Yet more things I had to learn the hard way! M.E., where have you been all my life? ;-) Do you know how much time I could have spared myself had I had this blog to read when I was 16?

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  5. PostmodernSociopathAugust 19, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    What Birdick said.

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  6. I find it extremely strange that all your friend's responses are one-liners. That, and the fact that they comfort you and allow you to further your elaborations.

    Regardless of the authenticity of this conversation, I agree only partially.

    "You can't indefinitely wear a mask that is so foreign to the way you typically are, a mask of extreme compassion or selflessness. So the costs of the relationship go up, and the benefits go down because she is depressed all the time and you're not getting what you used to get, very interesting conversations, a check on your own bad behavior, superior advice in all things including fashion. You run many months into the red and there still seems to be no improvement. It will tear you up inside. It's too much, too much force to try to put on your psyche."

    This part is the one I partially agree with. Only when someone hits a perpetual depression wherein they become completely and utterly useless is when I step back and say, "I'm going to stop this." The only complaints I have with this statement is that I don't think M.E. is referring to this sort of situation; rather, just a more superficial version.

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  7. Aerianne your relationship with your boyfriend is not "downsized"; it's over. You want to put things more realistic in your relationship start with that. You don't downsize in a relationship with a sociopath. They out grow you and get bored or you become part of them.
    Your self esteem is what downsized. The self esteem you thought you had at least. Now your just insecure. Just because you downsized your self esteem didn't mean you had to downsize your self respect. Oh well. All is fair in love isn't it?
    You dont have the ability to be emotionally detatched. You have the ability to waste your life being someones fuck toy, or becoming indifferent and moving on. What you're doing makes no sense at all. Your like the hand that falls in love with the owner's penis.
    It's clear as day what happened. He came down on you like a hammer and crushed you. He left you in pieces. You went from the queen of hell to being damned in it, begging for scraps of attention he decides to bestow upon you. You are totally powerless, and you did it to yourself. That to me is a fate worse than death. Pathetic.

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  9. The relationship was dead already. He distanced himself from you, because you were a drama queen. He left his stuff at your house on purpose, you knob. Now you want a downgraded relationship? Let me ask you arieanne, do you feel empowered by this move? Do you feel like your in control? You say he says 'downsized', but you feel the relationship 'downgraded', why?

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  10. Aerianne,

    You're in a lose-lose. Your relationship didn't begin with honesty from both sides. You didn't know what you were playing with when you began. He's screwed you over and you can't win. Listen to the guys here. They know. Unless you've got or had some kind of level playing field, this will only get worse.

    I've always known what I was dealing with, and I played a tough game back. I've had balls as big as his in this relationship, and avoided abuse of all kinds, until the axe came down swiftly from his side in our first real disagreement. But trust me, if there had been any of the classic stuff along the way - if I'd been a 'project' - I'd have been the first to make tracks.

    Look after yourself and your heart. Give him no more power.

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  11. "they're fine with running into the red for a little while, particularly depending on the amount of equity already in the relationship, but if they sense something is going to run into the red indefinitely, they would rather just break things off then lose their entire investment."

    Not so sure this is a specific sociopath "thing." Sounds like you're describing the way of people who, sociopaths or not, aren't self-loathing doormat masochists and/or possessed of a martyr complex. I don't think the world is divided cut-and-dry between sociopaths and people willing to take any amount of crap for "loyalty's" sake.

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  13. Aerianne,

    What UK said is right on. You can think of it with different words, downsize, downgrade, less than whatever but don't be in denial about what's really going on. Be clear on that with yourself and accept whatever happens. You could just say cheerio to him and go about your business...hard to do but maybe necessary. I didn't do that but I wish I knew then what I know now and I would have behaved differently.

    You sound ok with it all but are you? Why seek help or input here then? Open marriage? Cool! I wish!!

    Grace

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  16. Sociopaths don't like too much drama. What may be drama to us is way too emotional for them to see and experience...at least when it comes to relationship stuff. They don't have a need to fix things with drama like you and I might. No one is wrong it's just one of the ways we are different then them. If you plan on being around a sociopath you may need to modify your behavior a bit. If you feel like their worth it.

    Grace

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  19. I wish my ex had caught on to that, Aerianne. Would've been much simpler.

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  21. It was only ever a problem with women. I have to lie to women, really. "Hi, you're pretty and I have no conception of empathy" is not a pickup line. Men don't seem to care as much. I was dead truthful about it from day one with a guy and we had a great time. I think the stigma is a bigger deal among women.

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  23. Grace said it all. Listen to that on your on the right path.

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  24. Hi Aerianne,

    I hope you didn't take offense to my comment. I was referring to the fact that you didn't know what you'd signed on to, in the beginning. I was fortunate that he laid out such weird parameters and rules that not only was i intrigued, but I was curious. I started doing the math,early on in the relationship, and after several months, he admitted that he is antisocial. Sure, i wanted to believe that means he spends dinners at home and doesn't like rowdy parties... but...

    Basically, I was given the information I was already aware of. But I had already learned to navigate the waters. It didn't change anything for me. I was somewhat relieved to know the truth.

    These things can work when the normal has a clear understanding of the emotional differences and doesn't take offense to minor slights. And if the socio is high functioning and wanting to do and be his best, he can be the best companion.

    i made my comments to you because of your 'down-graded' comments. You are dealing with new information, while the relationship takes backward steps. It seems that your best and most logical course of action is to be low-key.

    You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders. I just hope that this guy is worth it... that you can see long term with him. If not, why prolong the agony of the break-up?

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  26. PS: " I have to lie to women, really. "Hi, you're pretty and I have no conception of empathy" is not a pickup line. Men don't seem to care as much. I was dead truthful about it from day one with a guy and we had a great time. I think the stigma is a bigger deal among women."

    Just tell them, "I'm quite good in bed, but I have no clue on how to get into your head."

    Jokes aside, lying is essentially a core part of life when you're a psychopath. Or a person with secrets, for that matter.

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  27. Why are sociopaths so good in bed? At least the one I was with was good. How the hell do you guys pull that off and leave the rest to the wind. Why is there so much intense emotion there...or was that my imagination just like everything else was?

    Grace

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  28. Because sex isn't nearly as complicated as people make it out to be. Most normals are just blinded by emotion. It's really a simple science. Find the right buttons, and press them with the right rhythm. Awareness of body language comes into it, too, I suppose.

    As for motivation to be good at it... I dunno. I suppose it's just domination. If you can rock a chick's world, she'll keep coming back for it. It's like being a drug dealer.

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  29. His E.M. a guy or a gal

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  30. don't know...I assume a man.

    Grace

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  31. Correct. That said, in my experience men are just as vulnerable to that domination. I just used "chick" for convenience.

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  32. I hate when people cry. It makes me irritated at the awkardness of it all. I yelled at a few of the people I dated for crying. Why not do it in private? Its like taking a shit in front of someone.

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  33. Do you cryyourself sometimes. IF you do, tsktsktsktsk

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  34. "Sociopaths don't like too much drama. What may be drama to us is way too emotional for them to see and experience...at least when it comes to relationship stuff"

    I completely dissagree with this statement. I enjoy having friendships with people who have (diagnosed or undiagnosed) bipolar disorder. I don't have a huge array of emotions myself, so I enjoy watching and interacting with people who have far too many. Perhaps you meant we do not have long term, meaningful relationships with overly emotional people. The argument could be made that I just enjoy toying with their emotions. That accusation is partially valid, but it is mostly that do not have to contribute much of anything to a relaionship with such a person. They have enough emotional and verbal issues for five people, so all I have to do is nod and look sympathetic.

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  35. Interesting point NorthernStar.

    I've always had relationships with Bipolars/Depressives/BPD's because they are so reactive and unpredictable. This may seem crude to say, but "normal" people tend to bore me.

    Having a relationship with them for the long-term, however, is a different story, particularly if the stimulation value is outweighed by the drama and emotional demands that that precipitate from their mental illnesses/disorders.

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  36. Okay, the thing that confuses me is that if this guy is a sociopath, he really doesn't seem that different from normal people. I mean, I understand never being reactive to emotional ploys or whatevs, but most 'empaths' eventually end up pretty dead to any problems other than their own. I also think most people are inherently selfish, so it would be a farce to say 'empaths' put others above themselves. Even when a person is using emotional ploys to play at someone, it is usually just that, a ploy, with a manipulative motive. So my question is, how is there really much difference? I am personally a very emotionally volatile person, but I am also selfish. For example I dated this guy I ADORED but I still wouldnt quit smoking for him or quit smoking pot or not go to family events when he wanted me to. Yeah, I was more flexible for him than he was for me, but wasn't that just a result of me wanting something be it security/sex/entertainment from him more than an intrinsic love or devotion? I really dont get where the big difference is between a sociopath and a normal person or an emotionally manipulative person vs. an emotionally fake manipulative person. Is the only real difference a lack of morality (which is flexible to the person's values based off of imagery of the self) or what?

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