06Apr2014. I am 168 pages into “the sociopath next door” by Dr. Martha Stout. On page 127, she writes:
As a counterpoint to sociopathy, the condition of narcissism is particularly interesting and instructive. Narcissism is, in a metaphorical sense, one half of what sociopathy is. Even clinical narcissists are able to feel most emotions as strongly as anyone else does, from guilt and sadness to desperate love and passion. The half that is missing is the crucial ability to understand what other people are feeling. Narcissism is a failure not of conscience but of empathy, which is the capacity to perceive emotions in others and so react to them appropriately. The poor narcissist cannot see past his own nose, emotionally speaking, and as with the Pillsbury Doughboy, any input from the outside will spring back as if nothing has happened. Unlike sociopaths, narcissists are often in psychological pain, and may sometimes seek psychotherapy. When a narcissist looks for help, one of the underlying issues is usually that, unbeknownst to him, he is alienating his relationships on account of his lack of empathy with others, and is feeling confused, abandoned, and lonely. He misses the people he loves, and is ill-equipped to get them back. Sociopaths, in contrast, do not care about other people, and so do not miss them when they are alienated or gone, except as one might regret the absence of a useful appliance that one had somehow lost.”
I do know that David lives most every minute of his life in psychological pain, even his sleep is infested with nightmares, and he does frequently feel alienated, abandoned, and confused. Yet, he also has a cold streak that is demonic and unforgiving. But that is another story…
Today I want to tell a funny story about my cats and David. My two kitties always slept in the bed with me, and if truth be told, had the total run of the house except that I would not allow them to walk on the kitchen counters. I considered that unclean. Of course my brilliant kitties were very naughty and got up on the counters as soon as I left the house. I knew this from the pawprints! Sometimes I would pretend to leave just to see how quickly they did naughty things. I discovered that they would be bad the second after my key turned in the lock! I do admire their willfulness. Onto the cat story: one day David was making a disgusted face because my Hamuda was stretched out before me on the diningroom table. Originally I had tried to forbid the tabletop to her; I threw her down, she got back up, I threw her down, she got back up. After ten tries, I gave her the win. Besides, she doesn’t beg for food like a dog. She just likes to be in the epicenter. Anyhow, David was scowling disapprovingly at the cat sprawled beautifully on the table and I could tell he was deciding whether or not he should say something about it to me. I pre-emptively defended my sweet cat and then he told me the funniest thing. You see, Hamuda wouldn’t let him pet her. I took her from the dumpster in the street and she does not like men. David told me that when he comes home from his walks, both cats are curled up in his bed! They both look up at him, having been caught red-handed, freeze, and then run. I never suspected that they were in his room, let alone his bed! I was so embarrassed, and yet, I laughed at the naughtiness of my cats. They know they can lay in my bed whenever they want but are not allowed in his. I guess that’s why his bed was more attractive. I was always trying to sneak in there myself, so I knew exactly how they felt.
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