Thursday, March 21, 2013
Getting better (part 2)
I've seen you say that no sociopaths have reported being helped by your advice and that surprises me, but since you don't think that's what I am, I'm not sure how valuable my feedback will be. None the less, I've appreciated being able to read your experiences and pull what I can from them.
For example, your observations on emotional hallucinations was kind of revelatory. So, in the past few months I feel like I've had a major shift in perspective, in part thanks to you. I was raised with a very rigid view of myself that was preventing me from examining my own actions and it's such a relief to be able to put that aside. A lot of things are falling into place as a consequence. So, thank you.
I'm sorry to hear your friend isn't coming around. I thought while reading the post that he should get a life coach, maybe for social skills, but it sounds like that's what you're trying to do for him. Maybe you can't teach people who aren't ready to learn, but people who are willing and just haven't had information presented in a way that they can understand might be better bets? I don't know. My projects are generally people who are failing spectacularly and they're easy to motivate once I get them pointed in the right direction. All I have to do is remind them how much pain they're in. (I know, I shouldn't say that, but it's true.) Your projects sound more subtle than I can manage.
I don't think you can teach someone to be a sociopath, if that's what you meant. It would be about as effective as wishing someone had self-respect, which I would hand out if I could. I'm more concerned with fitting in better and being more likable. What you said today about hitting the wall rang very true. But I don't have an issue compromising, not if it will make the difference between winning and losing. It's not a matter of trust for me, just willingness to take a calculated risk, if that makes sense.
I doubt I'll take up another instrument and I've been steadily killing every plant I bring home. I've been cooking more but I don't think it has the same effect. I'm planning to go to church regularly because I think it will help me be more likable. Other than that I don't really have a plan.
May I ask what your friend told you to do? I'd love to hear your adaptations too, if you ever have time to write about it. I'm sorry, I'm asking very personal questions. You know I totally admire that you were able to identify / accept what you are and then figure out what to do.
For me, I've realized I was seeing people around me as either possessions or enemies. I should stop doing that, of course, but I don't know if that's the primary thing I should be paying attention to. I'm trying to be responsive but I'm concerned about myopia, you know. Maybe finding out the steps you took could help me trace a similar path, if we're talking about the same things.
Good question. She's staying with me now for the weekend and I just asked her what she made me do:
"Stop hurting people. That's a good start, if you had to start somewhere."
"But I still hurt people."
"Yeah, but you're more selective now. You don't just do it for everyday pleasure on people you love. Like you're not addicted anymore. You're just channeling better."
"If you can tap into the ways that empaths love and understand what love means to them, you can be contented with your offers. Even if they're not satisfying to you, you can recognize them as something that has value. Tell her that there is no cure. You just have to learn other people's languages so you know what they're talking about, you can understand and appreciate that there are valid perspectives other than yours. Everyone wants to be heard, you know? That's why you have this blog."
She helped me to be able to accept arbitrary frameworks, like religious codes, and just try them out and see if I liked my life better with them rather than just immediately dismissing them as something that could never work for me (like my friend who is struggling with is life right now does). So oddly, she made me have a more open-mind about things. I remember she made me see that even small behaviors had longterm consequences. She made me always be polite to strangers, which thing I had done only off and on before. And I liked it better, things seemed to go smoother. And to not play games with those closest to me, to not say or do whatever I felt like doing. I think she largely just helped me to broaden my perspective, you know? Another friend was telling me today that her stepson said that he can't imagine ever being truly happy unless he had a T-Rex to ride. I thought, I can see how this is a legitimate opinion for him to have, but really it's because he has incomplete information about himself and life, so he is likely to be wrong. And I guess that's how I used to be too -- it wasn't like I was wrong in my opinions or they were irrational, but they were just very ill-informed in a juvenile sort of way -- like all I could see was myself and everything else in terms of how it directly affected me. I didn't understand that people were so different from me and in particular and interesting ways. I didn't realize how much they hated certain things I did. I didn't realize how much richer my life could be if I sometimes looked beyond myself. And when I finally tried it, it was obvious and revelatory at the same time. Maybe like the first time I realized that I could float, after having understandably believed that I would just sink.
I wonder if this helps (again).