Monday, April 8, 2013
Striking a balance (part 1)
If you are the M.E. who has written a book that I saw on Amazon that will be out in May, kudos and I can't wait:-)
As for my story, I haven't read a story of a sociopath with which the outward narrative is identical, although the inner world is astonishingly familiar. I have always achieved (perhaps because I was around people who achieved and expected me to achieve) and was always considered attractive and successful until a few years ago when I switched off what I have always described as "auto-pilot" and started being conscious of my actions and (ultimately) my intentions. Now, just about everything I do is in an effort to downplay all of the characteristics that got me many things but left me feeling empty. I have achieved extremely rewarding levels of inner peace, but I'm lonely as hell and feel that I must achieve some balance or I will go mad. I have gone from being convinced that I was a borderline a few years ago when I was transitioning into self-awareness, to identifying as a narcissist, then as a psychopath. But I really, truly identify with your description of the sociopath. Everything you have documented on the website resonates, with the exception of some areas that I attribute to gender differences and perhaps a different stage of development.
At any rate, I am so very thankful for your work. But I do have a problem that poses an immediate concern for me. I hardly ever put myself in a situation in which I know I will encounter people to whom I will be attracted. And I am not typically attracted to very many people. But, when I do find myself in that space, all of the instincts that I work to isolate for their appropriate use take over -- especially when the person to whom I am attracted is in a committed relationship. To better articulate the force of my emotions, my journal entry from a recent encounter reads:
It probably is about control. It is surely about competition. I am competitive -- to a fault. But I've become quite masterful at not showing just how competitive I am. And, because it's not apparent and my veneer of choice is one of modesty, awkwardness, reservedness...in essence, vulnerability -- this usually results in my prey letting its guard down, allowing me the opportunity to come in like a thief who has been casing a joint for years. But I don't need years. When given the opportunity, I can do a lot of damage in a matter of days.
I have met my match. I have also been called out. But, inevitably, it all comes back to my feelings of superiority/inferiority. I'm better than this person you're with now. Or, even more to the point, I feel threatened in some way by the person you're with. And I like you. I want to show that you prefer me to your partner because, by doing so, I feel less threatened and inferior. I win.
It helps when I can justify my actions...when I feel I'm dealing with an asshole or an idiot or anything other than me...it helps me justify destroying something precious to define it as trash. To pick it apart...rip it to shreds. All for my own glory...for my vanity.
This is how I compete. I get on the playing field and commence to hiding the ball...stripping the game of its essence for the sake of competitive advantage. Of course, by the time I'm done, I'm the only one playing. So my "victory" is pyrrhic. And sad. I win big and lose even bigger. And the other players? They eventually catch on. And they either remain a team or join forces with others. But they cannot...will not...will NEVER commit to me. Because, no matter what I say, they know I'm committed to one thing and one thing only -- and that's to keep the ball hidden at all costs. Because as long as the ball is hidden and I'm the one doing the hiding, I'm in complete control. The minute that is no longer the case, the jig is up. The game is over. And I will walk away, defeated and deflated, because I never intended to play fair and can't risk a loss.
Experience has led me to the conclusion that I have a complete disregard for relationship boundaries. Although boundaries in general are a serious challenge for me, committed, romantic relationship boundaries are laughable to a fault. Intellectually, I know this is not a good thing...it sounds and feels a bit evil. But it's truly how I feel. I consider sexuality fluid. I don't know if it's from a place of jealousy or downright disrespect that, when I'm attracted to someone, it sends my sociopathy into hyperdrive. I mean, I become obsessed with possessing that person -- by hook or crook. Because I know what I like and I know I can get it...if only there wasn't this arbitrary commitment getting in my way.
This isn't so much an issue when a person is single. Hell, if the person is single and no other boundary (i.e. professional or sexuality) exists, I don't really know how I would react because I never seem to be in that position. But it becomes a heckuva destracting and destructive dilemma when it does rear its ugly head. I'm just wondering if this is common (especially in light of your post on socio sexuality) and if you have any guidance on how to counter this and other distractions due to boredom and/or tedium with the daily grind. Because, no matter how stimulating my affairs can be, I am always looking for the next thing at which to try my hand or dip my toe. I read your post on managing impulse control through distractions and redirection, but my understanding of coping in such a manner would lead to the issue of staying on task that I have to find myself having to constantly battle.
So, I could use a little help. How do I achieve balance between my need to control my sociopathic tendencies and my desire for healthy human interaction? How do I define healthy human interaction (and attraction and romance) for myself instead of simply recognizing what I lack in others and going after that, only to be left alone and unfulfilled? And how do I not allow fear of the mundane and discomfort with and mistrust of the conventional to keep me from performing and living in the present?