519: By Default

A relative of mine once said:

‘Everyone is selfish, even saints, because even if you are serving others, but ultimately you do it because it feels good, then that is selfish.’

I am pretty sure he is an Aspie.

People with Aspergers, particularly females with ASD, sometimes fear they are self-centered, selfish and/or narcissistic. The fear of self-centeredness is indeed one of my mental fixations—meaning I sometimes obsess about the fact that just being a human makes me a little narcissistic.

When entertaining thoughts of selfishness, I go into this weird cock-eyed, inertia state of over-analysis. Nothing new. You can find me on the couch in my Sheldon-like spot, staring into oblivion, biting my lip, and sighing deeply as I turn around conjecture-corners of reason, fearing once again, I am hopelessly self-centered. Tears come, then, as I further punish myself thinking this is just another exhaustive performance of ego, feeling bad about feeling good. And that maybe I am a genius narcissist in my ability to feel bad about maybe being self-centered.

Once the narcissism trigger slaps me, this whole looping-grasping tango starts, a looping process I have previously bleated out in abundance through metaphoric-saturated analysis, a state of mind in which I once again gather all the ‘truths’ from my memory banks in a futile attempt to decipher what is indeed fact and what is not fact, knowing all the while there are no endpoints. Thusly, the modifier ‘futile.’

This analysis of aforementioned subject matter involves bungee jumping through deductions, including thoughts of: a) life is an illusion, b) DSM-V is largely controlled by pharmaceutical purse-strings c) most ‘conditions’ overlap one another d) family dynamics, diet/nutrition, depletion of our natural nutrients in soil, pollution, chemical-poisoning, infection, mutated swelly-breasted chickens, etc. affect our minds e) genetics f) quantum physics, multiple universes, string theory g) the fact that electrons and living bacteria in yogurt respond to an observer’s thoughts and emotions h) and if the statement near letter A listed above is true then the rest points listed are a moot point

Then I start to over-analyze me, knowing far too much about the literature in the mental health genre-bowl in general, and knowing far too much about me (see previous 600 pages), and having housed psychology and counseling as my special interest pocket for most of my life. (My mother worked for the family therapist Virginia Satir; and I was pretty much swooning at the thought of emulating her since the age of nine.)

I think I have been paranoid about the possibility of losing my mind since I first sat hunched over in a bush (literally) at the age of eight, contemplating the vastness of the universe and what was outside the universe. My son with Aspergers is similar, but ripened earlier than me; he asked me point-blank while twirling his toes in his car seat (age three), “Mommy, who birthed God? And who birthed that person? And how do you know?” So there’s that.

My point is that I have concluded over and over that there are (infinite) murky areas in the realm of mental health; so if anything had the capacity to drive me batty, based on the subject’s lack of pinpoint-ability in regard to conclusive evidence, it would be this psychological mumbo-jumbo matter.

Of course, I realize, some people, regardless, require medication for their safety and the safety of others, and/or to function in life. And yes, I have empathy for those people, some being my friends. But I wonder where the lines are, as everything seems to bleed into the next, and so many people have their different theories, answers, and remedies. It’s very much a disaster for anyone with a mind like mine to even consider all the loopholes and unanswered questions in regards to mental health. I guess I am glad I have a neurological condition, and not a ‘mental health’ condition (yet), because, as we all know: neurological conditions are so cut and dry! Hahahaha!

(I am wondering what cut and dry means, and for some reason picturing a pioneer woman hanging raw meat on a line of string. Beef Jerky! Gasp. We are so much a conditioning of our environment.)

Anyhow, if you are an Aspie Chick or an Aspie Rooster rest assured you are likely not narcissistic. I don’t know for sure, but I’d say if you are constantly worried about it then there’s a good chance you aren’t. Chances are you harvest far too much genuine love for people not based on your own self-gain, and that you over-think that you are too self-centered. Also, there’s a possibility, too, if you are like me, that you get down on yourself, not because you aren’t elevated in status, or not performing well, or not gaining attention of peers (narcissist’s idea of failure), but because you are or might be! Goddess forbid if someone pays attention to me in a positive way! It’s like we have this humble-stinger stuck in our butts! Oh crap, I feel a little good about myself, someone noticed me, someone complimented me so……..something must be wrong with me. Self-inflicted gluttony commenced—whip, whip, whip.

I mean seriously, I don’t know how many times I have cried about how afraid I am that I might be too self-centered. I mean I know I am self-focused, because I hyper-focus on everything, e.g., other people, special interests, fixations, pending danger, the fly on the wall, the speed in which I type, the grumble in my tummy, the octave of the fridge hum, etc. And I just happen to be another focal point, and also a case subject (guinea pig) for my own HUGE special interest: Aspergers. So following the logical dots, then yes, I am my own special interest, but by default. Seriously, I’d much rather jump into your mind and write about you. Any takers?

Trust me, I go into these weekly fits of self-loathing and wanting to stop writing in which I wish to cash in my creative hankering for the life of a meditating (naked) Zen hermit who does nothing but focus on light.

On the same topic, interestingly enough, my fifteen-year-old Aspie son, no longer in his car seat, said to me a few days ago: I think I might be slightly narcissist because I realize I care more about the enjoyment I might feasibly gain from a new gaming system than the other things we are talking about that other people would think matter. But that doesn’t bother me.

I gave him a reassuring, logical response.

I wasn’t doing him any favors.

He’d already concluded, within seconds:

“Narcissism is part of the human condition and without people who were hyper-focused on their own self-interests nothing would get done in this world. I find it best just to accept the illusion of life and enjoy it as much as I can without purposely causing harm. I see it. And I accept it…The world doesn’t really have any antagonists.”

Okay, so I definitely think he’s smarter than me.

23 thoughts on “519: By Default

  1. Your son is awesome :). I would love to shed those doubts about selfishness, narcissism, and arrogance is a big one for me too.

  2. oh my god how do you get in my head? I have done those exact merry go round thoughts…except instead of the double breasted chicken its beef innards and contaminated food lurking in my healthy choices. LOL…everything else is almost exact…and I cried just last night about being a potential narcissist …this has been on my mind A LOT actually so this came at the perfect time for me…I agree with your sons statement that its an illusion and I just try to enjoy with the least harm..but sometimes I feel like I am in the matrix with that mantra. It is seriously reassuring that he gets that too!! I seem to have to come back to that same conclusion anytime life throws me into a sensory spin over and over in weird cycles that are possibly weekly too…In fact, I think I have mini cycles of this every night. Sigh:) It is so nice not to be alone in that tho! Yay…I am not in the matrix alone.

  3. I too feel we are living in an illusion. An illusion which has usurped truth. Yesterday I was having lunch (alone) in a cafe watching over a pond of koi carp and goldfish. It suddenly hit me that when they are fed, some ofthe smaller or older fish may not get any of the food. This idea upset me and I found myself identifying with those fish!

    I seem to spend a lot of my time rescuing trapped flies and the thought of spiders being uprooted and experiencing fear really upsets me.

  4. ‘I wish to cash in my creative hankering for the life of a meditating (naked) Zen hermit who does nothing but focus on light’ ?? surely you would then be obsessing about the fact that the life of a meditating Zen hermit is not the real life..and that meditation is helpful only if it can actually serve you in the middle of the chaos??!! etc etc etc…oh dear, did I just reveal the workings of my mind….;)

    1. true…. so very very true… I was likely a nun in my past life and this life wanted to be out there in the ‘real shit’ excuse my language… still learning how to swear with comfort. lol. The best to you, and I enjoy your comments.

      1. I lived in Poland for a few years when I was young and one of the things that were so freeing was to express myself through the medium of another language and the fact that I could FINALLY swear without guilt!!! ;))) I read today: give a human a mask and they will tell you the truth… love to you x

  5. Struck a nerve with me: there was talk of narcissism from psychologists when I reached the point in my teens that I actively resisted being taken to school because of bullying (that I couldn’t express to my parents). I took about 7 years to open up about those experiences because the emotional strain was too much for me to talk about it. I almost started to believe it myself: autism was rarely heard of back then as a diagnosis and I didn’t know of it myself.

    1. Perhaps that is true in the sense that everyone has traits that could be translated as such, but in every other way its not true. It minimizes both the struggle and beauty of these nuerodiverse traits. Its not true that everyone is a little Autistic. You either have the different brain wiring on a MRI and different areas light up or you don’t. Even if there is “high” or “low” functioning it is still a similar brain wiring…which translates into purely autistic. No matter what. In some situations a presumably high functioning Autistic could be very low and in some situations a presumably low functioning autistic could be high in their certain fields…so it renders it simply autistic. To be a true Narcissist you must not think of other people in the same empathetic sense as most others. To be OCD truly one must have both ritual and anxiety and compulsion and obsession…unless it’s OCD anxiety which is different and yes, a lot of people can have OCD anxiety without actual OCD. As for Bipolar – we do all have opposing sides and paradoxes of deeply down or up at some stages in our life, but we can’t be a little bipolar…you either are or are not. Again, the brain wiring is different. You can be a paradox or have similar attributes at time but it is very different from BEING that way. Anyone who has these ways of being may have a tough time hearing statements like yours because it hurts…also because it is well meaning but it minimizes the struggle and beauty of their differences. It’s kind of like saying” Everyone has a little black skin colour in them.” Um no…we don’t do that with physical differences yet we do it with mental differences that take so much to adjust to the normal way of doing things? I know you didn’t mean anything by it, in fact a friend said this very thing to me last night, and I didn’t have words to respond because she was trying to show me we were similar and could relate. It was sweet…but also condescending and trivializing my journey. So it was hard to respond:) So I am explaining now to save that in the future. I know that your comment was just relating and being validating…but this is another way of looking at it:)

      1. Kmarie, well said and thankyou for it!! when Im in my power and the outer circumstances are favourable I am a high functioning autist -possibly even admired for my gifts. On a bad day with unfavourable circumstances and me not being in my power I find myself reduced to simply autism….and rocking for comfort.

  6. Kmarie that was just wonderful and life affirming for me. Thank you. For me my Aspergers label is one I welcome. It makes sense of my complicated past and is helping me to look at the present and future but without such intense self blame.

    I completely understand about shared traits but it is different to have such a collection of them all in one person!

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