Do not look for me in places you think you’ll find me.
I was never fit to be placed into a boxed stereotype.
Do not look for me in people you think remind you of me.
Your perception of who I was might not be accurate, exactly.
Do not look for me as if I left you.
As if you did not leave me.
I have visualized love as a flame: which can be as bright as a campfire or as dull as dying embers. To produce fire, there must be some sort of friction — an interaction with another being that causes a spark. It may be small and die out easily; or it could be ignited into a small flame, enough to generate light and heat. I think the same is true with love. We find people to connect with and sometimes, we click. Other times, we realize there is not enough attraction to sustain the connection. At first, we get excited with this new connection with another that the small flame blazes into a fire. Depending on the passion, intimacy, attraction, and a multitude of other factors, the fire can range from as small as a candle light, to something as bright as a campfire. But what is sustainable is the soft ember of a coal — the steady and predictable certainty of its warmth and light. Similarly, I was never a fan of the passionate kind of love that burns as bright as a bonfire. I have an unexplainable dread about it. I find it scary and difficult to manage. But I find the soft embers comforting; like a tender affection for someone you have manged to connect with. With just some effort to fan the embers, it can easily burn brighter into a flame. Like a steady plateau of a comfortable relationship, there is a sense of security that the love is there, and it is easy to sustain the warmth required by it. And should the embers dim and seem to be dying, we should just put in a little more effort to fan the flame, enough to keep it going. Given time, the effort to fan this ember should be enough to revive it into a glowing ember once more.
Let me go back —
to the time when I first met you;
not so young, not too naive;
but beguilingly charmed by the possibility
that one and one will not be two.
I will go back to that month and day,
like gravity pulling me into
the memory of a me and you.
Where once there was a sliver of a chance
that we will have the next dance.
And of course all the places
and most of the empty spaces
that once belonged to you shall have to be visited too!
So they will no longer have to be
associated to the recollection reminiscent of you nor me.
I shall go back to that familiar route that has led me to where I am now —
armed with an optimism
that I shall be done by tomorrow.
So that finally I can move towards
the path I was bound to take before there was you.
“We often search for something we think we want
but sometimes, when we finally get it,
we change our minds
and think it is still not good enough.”
“Deep seated feelings are often scary
and makes us want to hold out
for fear of rejection, which sadly
ends in one because they are never felt by the other.”
“We don’t need to be in a committed relationship
with the people we love;
conversely, we don’t have to love
the people we are in a committed relationship with.”
My fascination with typologies (akin to my preference for listology)was recently resurrected so I revisited my favorite personality disorder: schizoid pd.
In as much as I loathe the school of Freudian thought, Harry Guntrip’s extensive work with schizoids is truly remarkable. He identified nine characteristics of schizoid personality which are introversion, withdrawness, narcissism, self-sufficiency, a sense of superiority, loss of affect, loneliness, depersonalization, and regression. Introversion is a preference to turn into the safety of the inner world, because outer reality is dangerous. Withdrawness may not necessarily be timidity or obvious reluctance to engage with others, but refers to emotional withdrawness. Schizoids may present themselves as engaging and interested as a defense/coping mechanism. Narcissism arises from having love objects to be internal, so the need for attachment towards the outside is trumped because there is enough satisfaction from the inside. Self-sufficiency is developed to avoid depending on the outside world, which provokes anxieties to a schizoid. Sense of superiority borders on being different from other people because there is no need to be with them, thereby creating distance from them. Loss of affect is often presented as a genuine confusion from the inability to identify how one’s affect influences other people. Schizoids also often come across as cynical, callous, and cruel. Loneliness is a result of feeling lost in a crowd. Despite their cold exterior, schizoids often have a longing for love and friendship, but may or may not actually break through. Depersonalization is a dissociative defense, especially when anxiety is overwhelming. It involves a complete tuning out, almost like a switch to turn off emotions to cope with anxiety. Regression involves turning inward and backwards to the ultimate safe place which is a metaphorical womb.
In essence, it appears to be a little inconsistent with the DSM or ICD criteria for a pd, but nevertheless presents a unique type of individual that may easily be misunderstood by others. And although it is possible to form relationships with schizoids, despite their aloofness, it has to be in their own terms so it becomes more appealing than isolation. And the general agreement for the relationship terms being one that demands very little emotional expectation to prevent unwanted anxieties.
Diagnostic criteria for SPD includes:
- Takes pleasure in few, if any, activities
- Does not desire or enjoy close relationships, including family
- Appear aloof and detached
- Avoid social activities that involve significant contact with other people
- Almost always chooses solitary activities
- Little or no interest in sexual experiences with another person
- Lacks close relationships other than with immediate relatives
- Indifferent to praise or criticism
- Shows emotional coldness, detachment or flattened affect
- Exhibits little observable change in mood
So is it so bad to have these traits that it has to warrant a diagnosis? Or is it just an unusual kind of personality typology? I really don’t mind being stereotyped with a PD. After all, everyone has a little of the crazies, to an extent.
Image is from: http://secretschizoid.com/?p=37
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately
(well, I do it all the time anyways)
and it has dawned upon me that
everything we had was illusory —
like a chimaera, dazzling with implausible fantasy.
And a wake up call from our reverie,
has jolted us back to face a sad reality —
that I feel with my head and you think with your heart,
and in so doing, we must forever be apart.