I’m no psychologist. I haven’t a Psychology GCSE to my name. So I won’t give what I am talking about here a diagnosis. Because who am I, with my Art A-Level and ‘Dummy’s Guide to the Mind’ to pluck a name from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual and assign it to this blog? But I do have a sneaky suspicion it begins with an ‘N’.
So let’s look at one of its traits. Apparent vanity. When exactly is it authentic? If you could peer into someone’s soul, would you find it lurking in the deepest darkest depths of their personality? Or is it as shallow as the symptoms that leech from it?
Hard-line, never wrong and never to be challenged.
Calm, confident and critical of others.
Self-obsessed but never self-reflective.
Unforgiving. And utterly infuriating.
But really? Deep down?
Should Carly Simon have actually sang ‘You’re so paranoid, I bet you think this song is about you.’ Doesn’t really have the same ring to it. And, to be fair, we should probably leave the less comfortable, more edgy sound of ‘paranoia’ to the darker world of grunge (‘Just because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they’re not after you..’ We all loved that one when we were paranoid teens – and I do remember thinking ‘In Bloom’ was about me, that Kurt Cobain knew I, personally, was a fraud. That’s not vanity.)
I can’t help but wonder. Are those people we love to hate actually desperately trying to be loved? (Euewww…..how Carrie Bradshaw is that line? Sorry).
Self preservation is a funny thing. I remember someone saying I appeared quite aloof when I went out in my younger, single days. It wasn’t arrogance, it was fear. You know, I really fancy that bloke at the bar, but I can’t risk him coming to talk to me as I won’t have anything interesting to say. So I’ll turn on my cheap stiletto heels and leave (unfortunately, a cheesy quote is where mine and Carrie’s similarities start and end. I’ve never stepped foot in a Manolo Blahnik).
Turning your back to a stranger for fear of rejection is one thing, but turning your back on somebody close is quite another. I’ve seen it, and, believe me, the conviction involved is so strong and unmalleable that it was surely made in Scotland with girders.
Is it really because they don’t want you in their life, because they don’t care and can’t be bothered with you? Or is it because they do care and they are worried you are getting to know them too well? And if you get to know them in all their good, bad and ugly guises you might spot a vulnerability. You might disagree with an opinion. You might reject them. It’s like playing hard to get…but the other way round. ‘Hard to get’ games are usually staged in the early days of a relationship. Whereas this happens once its seemingly strong. And then, if it succeeds, it becomes far more devastating than simply losing out on a first date (but let me make this clear, I am not talking about my love life here – the other half couldn’t shake me off if he tried! Hence why he has a man cave…and luckily, he is neither too paranoid nor too vain to think that I am writing this blog about him).
So what do you do? Well, I have learnt that directly reinforcing your love or affection simply doesn’t work. It creates a higher stake and only builds up more walls. And, as I was told in therapy many years ago, if you say it straight, if you say that you really do ‘get them’ and if you try to break through that iron gate (girders metaphor again – sorry) then you run the risk of either a) making that gate wayyyy stronger or b) making it so weak that it doesn’t know what it is or how to build itself back up. Which, so my therapist told me many years ago, is a very dangerous situation for said gate to be in.
In my experience, patience, calmly stating you want to speak to them, removing all trace of sick-makingly loveable stuff and maybe even talking about the news and weather is a great place to start (disclaimer – that’s my personal experience – not advice to others. Remember, I only have an Art A Level).
I don’t know if it will work this time. And I am taking a huge risk by blogging about it. But while brick walls may work for some, I have to preserve my heart and mind too – and talking and talking and talking is the only way I know how. If only I could talk to them.