A highly-sensitive narcissist, on the autism spectrum.
That’s how close I got without knowing what I know today:
Which is that I m more of a Mata Hari, than a psychiatric patient.
Although one does not exclude the other, obviously.
Running by the three earlier observations:
1. Highly sensitive
I can see right through people and the dynamics underlying social situations. To me (almost) everybody in the room is naked, and I m the one pretending they’re not, because I know that they don’t know I see this.
And I don’t want to see it, either.
I remember a friend once pulling me out of my bubble, asking me what I thought of a couple with children, I had diligently been avoiding looking at.
She was studying them, and it was obviously far less excruciating for her than for me.
And she called me out, asking what my thoughts were.
“They don’t want to be together. The parents are hiding behind their phones, and they’re annoyed with the children because they’re not playing along with the facade.
They’re projecting everything that’s wrong between them, on the behavior of the children, who are painfully acting out their unconscious feelings.
There is a possibility those are not his children.”
My friend was offended that I was “seeing too much into it”.
I was offended she had pulled me out of my bubble for something she was obviously not ready to hear.
It was one of the few times we had an argument and I never made the mistake again of telling her what I knew.
The only professional psychology test I ever got, did show I had narcissistic tendencies, but other than that I have no proof that I am one. I started studying them, because I suspected the men I was dating of having narcissistic tendencies.
And that it was the part about them I liked.
So that was the original reason I came into contact with the disorder. I particularly admire their war tactics: Something I call mirroring.
Narcissists use your own fears against you.
The way they do that is by an abuse now commonly referred to as “gas lighting”. And victims of gas lighting or narcissistic abuse, as it is also called, write entire books on the subject.
I browsed through one, but immediately tossed it aside the moment I saw the deplorable level of counter measures.
How you should say things like:
“As long as you’re shouting at me, I m not talking to you.”
Which I thought was ridiculous.
High-level gas lighting, does not include yelling. It includes YOU yelling!
If you still have to be educated on garden-variety verbal abuse, you won’t even stand a chance when a real narcissist gaslights you.
I have a rule: first one who yells loses.
First one who shows emotions, loses.
Now this is not the way I like to win.
I expect someone to have control over his feelings and be calculated in his responses. So to me, that you have someone facing you, who is verbally abusing you YOU ALREADY WON!
YOU might be the gas lighter of the situation!
I don’t care if an entire book on gas lighting says otherwise, but giving tips on how to deal with someone raising his voice and being verbally aggressive, means you re on a winning streak.
Still identifying as the victim, means you have no idea how this game is played.
It’s thoughts like these, that made me realize that although I think gas lighting is obviously abusive, it’s also a genius way of winning a fight.
In case you wonder how gas lighting works, it’s like this:
What a narcissist does is that he or she makes you aware of something that you deeply desire and want, or something you think you’re entitled to, by not giving it to you.
This could be anything:
Love. Money. Their allegiance. The truth.
Your rage is your frustration that they’re not playing your game.
Yet what it should be, is a moment for you to reflect on how badly it is you want this thing. Because it’s making you vulnerable for manipulation.
The only thing the narcissist has to do, is mirror that attachment back to you.
You can call that abuse, but I call that sheer brilliance.
My appreciation of narcissistic abuse skills, made me realize it was very likely I was one of them myself.
3. on the autism spectrum
My autistic side isn’t not being able to interpret other people’s emotions, since I m obviously very skilled at that.
But it’s in not having the skills to manipulate them. Or perhaps not having an interest in it.
Sometimes, when someone is really intelligent, they depict that in a movie as mathematical formulas popping up over a shot of the real world.
That he or she can see the physics behind what we perceive as reality.
This is the closest way to describe how I see the world too, and what my talents are: I can see the underlying forces that determine the outcome.
But what I can’t do, is influence them.
At some point I can tell exactly what the problem is, but not how to solve it.
And I m left wondering if I (or the other person, if I do it for someone else) wouldn’t have been better off not knowing.
This is my autistic side, I think: I m not able to translate my model to behavior that allows you to change the underlying dynamics that are causing the problems.
So 1, 2 and 3 were as close as I got over the years.
And they were able to explain for a lot of the problems I was experiencing in life, and in particular the feeling of disconnectedness.
Disconnectedness can come from all three of these things:
To me, and I know this is not everybody, but to me almost every social interaction is burdened with so many loose ends. I always end up feeling shaken, and it takes an hour or more to process it afterwards.
To let things fall into place.
The biggest mistake I have made in the past is not seeing this as a given, and thinking there was something that could be said or done to make it right.
An email, or an app.
But there isn’t.
Obviously, if things are really serious you should not leave them up in the air. But the eerie feeling after parting, is the residue of human interaction.
It’s taking on the guilt or responsibility for what you might have caused, good or bad, in the other. And processing what the other has touched in you.
If you try to sort that out by a simple text “Hey! Still thinking about you! That was fun.” it only adds to the confusion because you re expecting the other to reward you by sending you a response. And the work of processing it doesn’t get done.
An app or message can even entirely derail it, afterwards!
I used to experience it only after sex, or in the context of dating. That icky feeling after saying goodbye of something just not being quite right.
A desire to know you re still on the same page.
Instead give it time to pass.
What you can do is start a new project, or focus on your planning for the upcoming week. Take a few hours off and do something fun (alone!).
Anything to bring the focus back to yourself.
So as you can see, I ve always tried to explain myself.
In this post I ve elaborated on labels from psychology, that might apply to me, but I ve used many things.
Astrology, where I let my strong Scorpio ascendant explain my dark sides.
Myers-Briggs, where I was misdiagnosed an extrovert (ENFP), but then rediagnosed an introvert (INFP) and that explained for many things.
I’ve tried on the Enneagram, Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies test, Energy Profiling by Carol Tuttle and so on.
And every one of these brought me something.
Just like using the terminology of psychology explained for a lot of things.
But what I did not see until yesterday, was something that flawlessly delivers an explanation for 99% of the whole bunch:
My brain is like this superpower that processes everything you throw at it, and then it spits out a model, a formula, an explanation.
I really am the Good Will Hunting of social interaction, where I can see things others can’t.
Not because I m paranormal, highly sensitive, autistic, a Scorpio or a 4 or a 7 Enneagram.
But because I m brilliant.
I have no idea if I would qualify for Mensa, and belong to the top 2% based on my IQ. I ve never gotten further than around 125, and that was not even an official test, but me and a friend using library books.
So it’s not that I m going to pretend I “know” I m highly intelligent by any official standard. But if I view things from the perspective, of me being highly intelligent, I m done.
The strongest argument for this, is that my disconnectedness vaporizes the moment I m talking to someone who is traditionally highly intelligent.
And I feel even more at ease, when I am with someone who is equally skilled as I am, in seeing through social situations. So that I can be honest on why I m not attending an event or party and say:
“I m sorry, but there are so many issues going on in your family. I don’t want to be the lightning rod that everybody becomes fixated on.”
And not have to resort to half-truths of me being an introvert and just not liking parties.
So although I have a click with anyone with a high IQ, it’s in particular when they’re really smart socially, that I feel comfortable around them.
They understand my choices to stay away from situations where I have to navigate around everything I see happening without stepping on any toes.
And that it’s excruciating.
I can’t say I never have issues with intelligent people. There can be conflicts of interest. For example, I am a mistress, a sexual preference that makes it ideal for me to be the secret lover. It also makes me the natural enemy of many married women.
I respect that.
But it’s only when they feel threatened by my intellect when it becomes dangerous.
Because in general intelligent women do not try to protect their men. They’re not that jealous. They’re like: “If he wants to go, he’ll go. There s not much I can do about that.”
So even that antagonist position I m in, is not that much of a problem, as long as they are not intimidated by me. As long as they stand their own ground, we’re fine having a conflict of interest.
And the other way around:
When I m technically on the same side of people who do feel threatened by my mental powers, it doesn’t work. Total disconnect.
Passive aggressive gossiping and sulking from their side, and frustration from mine of “Why are they not getting that I m on their side!”
Because me having brains is enough reason to feel threatened, that’s why.
I feel I am like Mata Hari:
Someone whose intellect and ability to understand complicated political structures was beyond belief. And she even hid behind the same sexual mask as I do.
She was an exotic dancer and I am a mistress.
But in the end her ability to profit from her talents was limited, and she was killed because she had become a double spy who knew too much.
Maybe that’s what I can learn from her:
With a mind like this I should only play on one side.
An unexamined life is not worth living
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