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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
asakiyume
Aug. 30th, 2012 02:28 am (UTC)
Seems to start one place and end another, at first focusing on the characteristics of a psychopath and how these can make for a certain kind of successful person . . . and then switching tracks to talk about the over medicalizing of the human mind in current North American/European society.

I definitely agree with the latter message. As for the former, I'm reminded of the thing you said in an earlier post, about how almost any aberrant behavior falls within the realm of normal--or at least, is excused in some way-- in some society or other.

We need a huge number of tools (loosely defined to include mindsets and cognitive tricks) to survive in the natural world and in human society, and sometimes the equipment we have isn't suited to a particular situation, and sometimes a trait that's been useful becomes detrimental, or vice versa. How much selfishness is a good thing, or a tolerated thing, depends on the society. Some societies are more communal than others.

Ack, my brain won't focus enough to let me think up a coherent conclusion to what I'm trying to say here....
barry_king
Aug. 30th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
I think I need to sleep on this one, too. I just know that I can understand manipulative people to some degree, and I can see how a child can latch onto that at an early age, and I can see how that can develop into a pattern of behaviour.

But I think I have a core of a thought here: The seeds of psychopathic behaviour are very much with every one of us. It's just the creative way of combining them that makes the difference.
asakiyume
Aug. 30th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC)
The seeds of psychopathic behaviour are very much with every one of us.

Absolutely. I was thinking about it in myself. I often do a mental shorthand and think of myself as a changeling, not because I don't love my parents, but because of certain inhuman traits I have. **

OTOH, I wouldn't make a very good fairy folk, either, so, meh.


**Oh, if you're wondering at the seeming non sequitur, I'm equating fairy folk with psychopaths because of their lack of empathy.
barry_king
Aug. 30th, 2012 03:23 pm (UTC)
Not non-sequitur at all. The idea of the changeling as alien has been with me all my life. I had a troubled time with my parents, not for their fault or mine, but because the generation gap was so vast (they were wartime generation, and I was decidedly XGen), and because I spent so little time with them after I was 13. And of course, because I'm not warm and outgoing by nature, but have to work towards those attributes.

When I finally reached the age that they were able to relate to me as an adult person, my mother was already suffering from dementia, and my father was in a state of denial about that and, frankly, about his entire career. We couldn't really have heart-to-hearts or talk much about the future, because they were becoming all about the past. And because of people like the crazy fellow I told you about (who harassed them for a time) and my parents' complete lack of understanding of genre fiction... well, I'm afraid I was more a changeling than not to them.

So I don't embrace changeling-ism, if you can call it that. But I wear it like a scarlet letter.
asakiyume
Aug. 30th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
Wow, the bit about the timing of your coming of age and your mom's illness--and on top of that, your dad's ambivalent feelings--is very painful. Tuning emotions down to 1 or .5 seems like a rational self-preservation move, under the circumstances. Not that we choose our reactions consciously--or not always/usually (and not when teens).
barry_king
Aug. 30th, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
True enough. But the most difficult part (at this point, because anything between me and them is over) is dealing with relatives who remember them very differently. I feel a bit like a monster when I talk to my aunt and uncle (godparents, too) who remember my parents as they were, not what they became. My godparents are VERY family people, so it's their memory that survives in their 120+ progeny.

They never make us feel bad about our feelings about our parents. But I know they also have no way of understanding. Which makes the emotional distance between us so very broad and so vey empty.

Which is a real shame, because they're some of my favourite people ever. I wish we could be closer, but not being able to be close and honest at the same time... doesn't work. I feel like a charity case in their house. Tolerated for Christ's sake.

I'm sure they don't mean it that way at all. But meaning and being are different beasts.
asakiyume
Aug. 31st, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
meaning and being are different beasts. --One of the most painful truths that ever lumbered through the jungles of life. Intending something doesn't make it so. I spend a lot of time imagining all the good things I'd like to do .... but that's life in my head, and has absolutely no impact on the real world (or, okay, very marginal impact). Euuughhh...
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