xenologer: (human monsters)
CN: ableism! abuse!

I'm neuroatypical in, oh, a fair number of ways. Couple of common ways, couple of oddball ways, whatever. Some of these ways can be a drag, and some work in my favor. I'm also someone who has spent a fair span of my life being abused by other neuroatypical people whose neuroatypicality was, uh... we'll say it wasn't incidental to the fact that abuse was happening.

So I want to make it clear that I'm straddling the line a lot of people want to draw between Innocent Disabled Victims and the Cruel Abusive Personality Disordered Monsters who prowl the planet creating drama and more Innocent Disabled Victims. I want to make it clear that that line is not actually a border between two countries, or even two categories. It's a line between people we've decided we're not allowed to draw boundaries with and people we are.

That's fucked up on both counts. But let's back it up a moment. In conversations about the scariest of mental illnesses, the biggies like personality disorders or anything that comes with delusions, what I find entertaining is the inevitable participation of Normal Good People With Empathy who are pointing to people they perceive to have less empathy, declaring them a subhuman menace, and defending their ejection from participation in human society on the grounds that they are a net detriment to the social context they’re embedded in. The so-called high empathy good people say this. You can tell they have plenty of empathy and are therefore safe because they want all the weirdos and the freaks and the crazies down in a cage next to Multiple Miggs.

Every time this topic gets discussed, those good people ride in to save us all from the people with no empathy. They’re reliable that way.

And my goodness, to hear them friggin howl every time a mentally ill person says, "You don't have to give us anything you can't or don't want to, but you also don't have to talk about us like we're not people." You'd think every single one of them checked their Facebook only to learn from their Notifications that they'd woken up in a bathtub full of ice with a kidney missing. You got us, you just barely-recovered desperately-overcompensating ex-codependents! Today we tell you to draw boundaries with the mentally ill WITHOUT dehumanizing us, and then tomorrow we’ll be hanging you on our cars to use as blood bags on the Fury Road!!

You figured out our evil plan.

[cackling intensifies]

In seriousness, though, they're so attached to this strategy, and it's only tonight I really found enough distance to actually give thought to why they're so determined to defend not their right to draw boundaries, but their right to do it this particular way.

When they do this, what are they doing really? What function does this behavior serve? To me, it looks like the pendulum backswing of people who have, like I have, lived that codependency life and are D-O-N-E DONE with it forever. And good for them. Seriously, y'all, codependency: not even once. The way to avoid falling into codependency, in my experience, is learning that just because some people are pitiful doesn't mean they're entitled to me specifically falling on every single one of their grenades.

What I see in these desperate people is an extra step, an unnecessary step, a step that will come back to bite them in the ass sooner or later.

This extra step is a patch to make it easier for them to say no, but all it actually does is narrow the circumstances in which they allow themselves to say no by permitting a boundary to be set only in circumstances where they can justify pre-emptively shitting all over the hypothetical transgressor. This is a good way to get themselves psychically revved-up to do the hard work of policing the boundaries of their own lives, but it comes at a cost both to the people around them and to themselves.

The cost to the people around them is straightforward. They get to deal with someone who, secure in their own impeccable coping, cannot set a boundary without kindling all their pent-up indignation and frustration and anxiety around the feet of the person they're approaching and then lighting them up, because you see they are so healthy and drama-free and just cannot be around any more negativity or manipulation and that is why they require instantaneous compliance with a sudden feelingsbomb that anyone else less ferociously defensive might have simply stated as a two-sentence request, complete with please and thank you.

The cost to themselves is that they have made boundary setting exhausting for themselves, and they've made it very difficult and high-stakes in situations where they don't actually want to heap vitriol all over a loved one whose goodwill they may actually wish to maintain. The cost to themselves is that they have turned advocating for themselves into a fundamentally unsustainable activity, one that can only be done in bursts of crisis. They have robbed themselves of relating as a cooperative activity.

Because, you see, they're done with "crazy," and thought they could leapfrog the part where they attempt to come to some kind of understanding of what it is and how it happens.

I have a lot of personal internalized ableism myself, particularly around borderline personality disorder. In my experience BPD has been like lycanthropy. It’s nobody’s fault if they get bitten, but anybody who’s been bit then has a responsibility as a human being who is equal to other human beings not to pass on the curse by forcing others to warp around their disordered coping.

I know there are many people with BPD who weren’t abused whose accounts are also valid and important, but in my family that isn’t how it worked intergenerationally. People just kept getting bit and biting other people and passing it on and passing it on and everybody was both a survivor doing their best and the brutalizer of the next generation. Nobody was to blame for being bitten as children; they were only children. But they grew up and they bit their own children and that was a behavioral choice.

You’d never know I’d been bitten to interact with me. I took Measures. I overcompensated to make myself safer to be around, and as a result have other diagnoses impacting me, but at least I’m not biting anybody. The curse stops with me. But that doesn’t mean I’m the first one in the chain of victims who counts, either. I’m just the first who decided she’d rather be a safe robot than a mad dog, since I never saw humanity in the array of my potential futures. I was a child; I did the best I could, like all children. Which of us is human? All of us? None? For how long? Is there a cutoff age? Who decides when that was?

(I mention BPD more here than antisocial personality disorder because of family experience. Other people who've lived closer to ASPD could give you finer detail than I could.)

The point of my personal divergence here is that there's no intuitive way I can see to separate abusers with personality disorders and their victims with abuse-rooted personality disorders. Maybe some lives look more clear cut. Maybe some people live there, and maybe they can map that territory in a way I'll find comprehensible, but right now I have a clearer mental picture of the skin of Mercury. For me, there is no line. For me, there is no way for anybody to say, "It's okay to draw boundaries with the bad ones, but not the good ones! For them we must give all! The bad ones get nothing!" Because who is that, even? Who is so bad they deserve literally nothing? Who is good enough to deserve anybody's everything?

We don't have to dehumanize anybody or put anybody up on a Perfect Patient Who Seeks Help pedestal to decide whom we get to draw boundaries with. That's lingering codependency brainbad talking; I'm telling you it is. It's telling you that someday the right person'll come along and you'll be ready to turn your soul to mush for them and it'll be awesome and you'll be such a good person finally! And if you can work up the courage to say no, to save yourself, to refuse to let yourself be spaghettified into the black hole of someone else's tragedy, that it must be because they're a Wicked Bad Inhuman Monster and you should Tell Them So, so you'd better beg your codependency brain for an excuse, for an indulgence you don't need!

Consider this.

You’re a person too. Nobody’s sanity needs to come at the cost of your own. That’s not increasing the world’s net sanity; that’s just shifting it around. It isn’t sustainable. You are a person too and you deserve your own compassion.

You can say, “I can’t do it; I can’t be the one,” without saying, “no one should do it because those freaks aren’t human.”

You don’t owe anybody your blood, your kidney, your spinal fluid, or your sanity. You can say no to people and have them still be people. Some particularly desperate recovering codependents don’t seem able to draw boundaries with equals, only with people they’ve depersonalized. That’s what gives me the creeps. But please don’t apply my discomfort to the bare reality of your legitimate right to decide what to give and when. You are a person too, and and slash and burn harvesting doesn’t work any more responsibly in the human heart than it does in a forest. I trust your pace and your right to regenerate and I hope you do too.

And maybe once more people trust their right to say no, they'll stop having to arm themselves up with fear-aggression to saw everybody else down to something less than people before they feel righteous enough by comparison to speak the words.
xenologer: (do not even)
TW: mention of all kinds of bigotry

I was going to write this as a FB comment in reply to a thread, but that would likely have resulted in me losing it forever to the flood of other content. And good gracious, what a waste that'd be. So far I have two parts to this. One is establishing the distinction between "offense" and "harm" that I'll be using. The second is intended to establish that verbal bigotry is itself harmful, rather than merely offensive. Then I'll explain why this even matters to me. There are various subcontentions here, but those are the main points.

Read more... )
xenologer: (Ravenna)
Check them out on Tumblr here.

For a long time I assumed I was a Gryffindor because I went and did things rather than sort of... just passively accepting the decision framework I saw around me. It's a really good thing that fan communities put more thought into this kind of thing than we see in the canon pieces Rowlings showed.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality convinced me that, okay, fine. Slytherin. I'd hate everybody else in that house, but it's where I would go (especially if I were sorted at age 11).

But SortingHatChats... this is a level of wonderful detail that appeals to me as part of the generation that grew up with Quizilla shit like "which color is your soul" and "what is the shape of your anime hair fringe" or whatever the hell ways to categorize ourselves we found through bullshit internet quizzes. So I'm gonna go for a little while about the SHC considerations. It's a level of nuance I am finding helpful.

Read more... )
xenologer: (cocky Kamina)
"You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you." -- Eric Hoffer

This is a major page in the "destroy your abuser" manual, at least for me.

I remember this when someone tries to isolate their target from me because I am a source of external "influence" (aka support and validation and connection to reality). Losing their victims, their targets, their sources of energy, is the worst thing they can imagine and therefore it's how they punish everyone who steps out of line. I remember this when someone compares me to people who have hurt me, because it's always someone who has matured into their own abuser. I remember this when someone trains their targets to infiltrate the lives of those who've escaped to deal crueler and more intimate damage, because they live in perpetual paranoia that they'll be betrayed first.

This is why none of my parents can control me the way they have learned to control each other. I grew up learning them like their fears were cautionary marks on maps of a minefield, and I can detonate them any time I want from any distance. The real reason I don't punish them is that there's always the slight chance that they'll learn as much about my fears as I have learned from them. It's not a big chance, but it's there. I'd rather they go on trying to control me using their own weaknesses rather than my own, even if it means they live easier lives than they deserve. I'm just too important, certainly moreso than they are. They're not worth sacrificing myself for, so I won't sacrifice myself over them either. Their normal baseline level of self-created misery will do.
xenologer: (cocky Kamina)
It makes me wrinkle my nose when people try to correct my self-image because they think I have some kind of negative messaging tape playing that's making me think wrong things. If I say that my first impulse is not to offer comfort, that is not an opportunity to correct me and tell me I really truly am a good person honest. If I say that I have disdain and contempt for things that I consider unethical to act upon, that is not an opportunity to tell me that I'm loving. There is seldom any actual practical reason to tell me I am being too hard on myself.

Trust. I love myself. I love myself more than I love everybody else in the entire world. You, if you are reading this? I probably like you. I may even love you. But loooooooooool no I come first. Always. I love myself. I am on my own side and I will not betray myself. I will, however, view myself accurately. Anybody who can't handle me doing that is just demonstrating that they aren't ready to participate in or even spectate on my process.

I mean, if you want the truth... some people's brains tend toward anxiety. Some have a hair trigger on guilt. Some have a vast reservoir of fuel for rage to burn and all it takes is a spark a block away. Mine has a reflexive contempt and disgust for weakness. This is a known thing, and when I state it about myself I am not drawing from self-loathing. I am doing the wise and mature thing and staying aware of bugs in my system, of anything that raises the error rate of my thinking.

If I say this, I am taking the risk of allowing someone to get closer to an accurate understanding of what I'm really like. I want people to understand that I have to work harder than many people to achieve something like the same warmth and care that comes so naturally to so many, and when you tell me that you don't believe me when I say that... it makes me not trust you, because there is this gigantic thing that is a big part of why I think I am lovable and worthy that you can't even bring yourself to approach with your eyes open. If you tell me that I am saying things about myself that aren't true, you are telling me way shittier things than I ever tell myself.

1. You're telling me that you are a better evaluator of who I am and what I'm like than I am. And fuck you for that gaslighting horse assery.

2. You're telling me that the version of me you respect is founded on a fundamental misunderstanding--perhaps even willful denial--of what sort of person I am.

3. You're telling me that if you were to find out that I wasn't just talking myself down, that maybe I actually know myself a little, you would stop thinking I am good and have worth.

When I am explaining who I am and I get hit with those three implicit assertions, it does one extra thing. It prompts me to have to distance myself from people I am reflexively prone to consider to be less than I am. Do not encourage me to behave this way. I have to work hard enough thinking of certain kinds of people as being comparable to myself; don't make it harder by drawing a mental map of me that looks like them and arguing with me that yours is better than mine. I do not need your fucking help to see myself as acceptable. I have to work hard enough not indulging in the kind of self-aggrandizement that would actually hinder my moral development, so maybe when I speak honestly about a known bug you should let me do that.

I have a lot of good qualities. My self esteem is one of them. So is my self-awareness. Let me bring both of those to our way of relating and I will. But if you don't let me, I won't show up at all. Because fuck that and fuck you.

xenologer: (bye bye)
I am bothered by people who insist that because their gaslighting attempts are unsuccessful, a higher-level brainwashing force must have gotten to me first. Is the notion of DECISIONS so foreign to some people? I am not an empty vessel to be filled with pre-conditioned allegiances according to the first programmer to get hold of me. I am an independent creature. Maybe if these sad failures grew a little initiative they'd realize they always were, too.
xenologer: (one)
Part of me is really touched to see it on the outside, portrayed by someone outside, and part of me is just sort of... sad that yeah this feels like the reality of it. Most of the time the system takes care of itself but every now and again on a very rare day something needs maintenance that's hard for me to reach with my own hands. And at that moment the illusion is broken.


robot by lanxingxxxx on DeviantArt

Image description: A boy and girl kneel on the bathroom floor. The skin of her back is open to expose mechanical workings, and the tools for repair are on the floor around them.
xenologer: (one)
Moving around a lot as a kid did damage, def. What it also did was prepare me to lose friends, either by my choice or just circumstances. When friends forget me, tbh I forget them. Many will still accept my help if I offer, but that only happens if I see them post abt needing it. I don't check in w/ "am I useful yet?" So used to thinking of myself as the cold one that I considered whether it was a sign of pathology that I offer to help ppl who forgot me.

When no, that's good human behavior. I am being good. But I'm the 1st one I question w/ this crap bc I'm the one I can adjust. Fact is "someone who ignores you will stop when and if you can be useful to them" is indeed a successful strategy. And I'm ok w/ it, mostly. Most ppl prob don't think that way, but wtf do empaths know abt how to think anyway? Seems their defining trait is protective denial.

I don't allow myself to keep/discard ppl based on usefulness, but I still remain aware of the criterion. I know when other ppl act on it. The difficulty w friends w big feelings (or any tbh) is they don't watch themselves while they act. They just do now, think later. Reflex. I mean can u imagine an empath admitting it? "I don't feel motivated to spend time w u but sometimes I need stuff from u. We'll hang then."

This is how I know I actually am delicate w them. If I weren't, they'd know they're on my list of ppl who just wanna get things from me. Probably we couldn't be friends anyway. We're too different. Anyone I have to protect from the truth of our relating is no friend. It's absolutely possible for someone to be too delicate to be a good friend to anyone. I keep these ppl at arm's length bc I'm NOT cruel. I fantasize abt doing a big list purge but I won't rly. They're just on a list. IRL they've purged themselves already. *dusts hands*

If I really wanted empaths to come running, I'd run in circles dragging a broken wing. That's the shit they like, 2nd only to my usefulness.
xenologer: (cocky Kamina)
If you had to be someone else for 24 hours, who would you choose and why? What would you do?

I would like to briefly be Charles or David Koch. I would use my single day to cash out all my assets and give them to Doctors Without Borders. I figure that'll take a few hours. The rest of it could be spent laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing.

That's really all I've got for this one. I like being me. I would only be someone else if I had some specific goal that could only be accomplished that way. Elsewise, me = best.
xenologer: (one)
Narrowing down my effective social circle for a while. The number of instances of people treating me like I am invulnerable because I won't collapse if they treat me like a mere human? It has reached a certain threshold. Beyond this threshold, I start removing these well-meaning fumbling moral infants so that their mistakes don't continue coming out of my hide.

Don't break commitments to me without doing me the basic courtesy of letting me know when those commitments are becoming burdensome to you BEFOREHAND. Don't use the fact that I keep my commitments against me. Don't use the fact that I have standards for my behavior to sacrifice me for the personal growth of your pieces of shit for friends and family. I am not your meatshield and I am not their scratching post.

I'm hesitant to assert my humanity because I don't identify particularly well with it, but please at least try to recall that I am a fellow sapient organism and have enough respect for yourself to apply the same standards of care and consideration to me that you apply to the delicate flailing baby glass flowers you call friends and family. It's been years since I treated myself as obligated to endure shitty treatment just because I can, so you can catch up to that or you can get the fuck out forever and lock yourself in a tiny box until you have learned how to be a member of a socially-oriented species.
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
Blunted affect is a motherfucker.

I am working to break out of this ossified shit that has kept me rigidly controlled so that I don't flip out and become a terrible person. There is a low ceiling on anything that implies or requires intimacy and I need to loosen up. That is a risk. I need to be willing to take the risk of loosening too far, of getting carried away by impulse.

Unfortunately, if I keep my emotions in a cooler to be sorted through and pulled out always according to my own mental rules, they are far away when I want them. They might be further away than I can reach.

So how is this for an experiment. People ignore my feelings and that I have them and that I have any needs, because I keep myself under careful control so I don't become a terrible person. What would happen if I just straight-up told people when they are being shit? What would happen if I just said what was on my mind? What if I spoke the language they speak? Can they take what they dish out? Is it really how they want things to go? What if I just fuckin' gave it to them?

People don't believe they've hurt me until I bleed in a bowl and pour it on them.

Fine.

Maybe then I will spend less energy protecting everyone else from my feelings and a little more energy actually getting to feel any of the good ones. Maybe other people can protect themselves from me for a fucking change. Those whose emotional equilibrium is only sustainable as long as nobody else hits them too hard with an awareness of hurting someone? They can just fucking crumble. I am done.

Summer

Sep. 29th, 2014 06:53 pm
xenologer: (happy!)
It's a good day. Hot wind gusting through open car windows, Living Dead Girl blaring on the speakers, and me savaging a giant honeycrisp apple at the stop light, chewing down to the juice and sucking the core until the tendons in my neck stand out.

Summer isn't quite dead yet.

It's a good day.
xenologer: (bye bye)
I am queen of guilt deflection. I explained in a very value-neutral "conflicting access needs" way why I unfriended someone, and when they said, "that hurts" in reply I said "Okay. That's a risk I took knowingly."

I basically came up through the gaslighting and guilt Weapon X Program, so no. Nobody is going to get me with those things.

xenologer: (Ravenna)
I grew up being referred to as "a firecracker" and "a pistol" and still getting slammed down every time that cute sparky spirit was being directed at them (the horror!)

Over time it just felt more and more like I was being praised for being a spirited horse. The only reason a lot of men want a strong woman is so that they can feel even more manly for being able to break a higher-level beast than the next guy did.

Makes me wish I could poop on them just by lifting my tail. Horses know the way.

Sadly, pooping in public is frowned upon, so I will have to settle for shredding every man who thinks he can use me as his personal attack dog. No, boys, you don't get to treat this bitch however you want and still have her fight for you, and being on the other end of my leash isn't as fun as you're thinking. What it really means is that the only person who isn't safe from me is you.

Boys.

They just don't think sometimes, do they?
xenologer: (angel/11)
Sometimes I want to tell Mitch that Brian and I are poly. The only problem is that I know that he would tell my mother, and my mother would pretend to be fine with it… until she had too much to drink. Then all of a sudden she would have all kinds of things to say about the way that I live my life and she would invent whatever she needed to so that it would fit her idea of what kind of person I am. I think the most insulting part of all would be her assuming that I’m as much of a failure as a human being as she has always been. I don’t want to hear theories about how weak and stupid I am. I don’t want to hear her compliments that she only gives when she wants to follow it up with a slap to the face.

So unfortunately as a result Mitch does not get to know. I cannot trust his wife.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
I have feelings, and sometimes those are not actually sensible things to be sharing. I share my feelings when they provide someone useful data as to how to treat me well, either by affirming what's good or clarifying what is not an effective way to coexist with me. As a result I don't really vent at people unless I have some other independent reason to be doing so. If I am venting to you about something you have done, it's because I have concluded that a more detailed map of my emotional terrain would be useful for you.

Most of the time that isn't necessary. A simple explanation ought to be enough! People should just believe me when I articulate the "when you do X it makes me feel Y because I tell myself Z, so I need you to not X," sort of thing. They shouldn't need to see the wounds and have the blood flung in their face.

The known bug of this particular system is that if I can think of a reason not to divulge, I am prone to using it as an excuse, as a way to bolster my resolve to avoid sharing simply because I do not like sharing. The harm of this is limited because an actual tactical reason to share can override that. The harm is still there, though, even if it is mostly just the further ossification of my insides rather than any kind of outward damage to my social network or the people in it.

Still, I do have a journal. I do have a space which is ostensibly designed for me to talk about my internal life, and the only people who read it are the people who have decided for their own reasons that they want to keep an up to date map of my terrain.

So here's what's eating at me.

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xenologer: (bye bye)
Logicgate and I have decided that my personal polysphere is basically Paradigm City.

Here. You'll want to play this in another tab.

Nobody in our poly/kinky/gamer/burlesque monkeysphere appears to have any memory of their past. If they are smart enough to figure out how to operate cell phones and each other's genitals, they can have something of civilization. People can survive without knowing what did or didn't happen in the past. And each day they try their hardest to do just that.

Logicgate was concerned that because she has memories, she will be murdered. But I reminded her that she has the option of achieving mecha apotheosis instead, which is the option she is choosing.

Me? I perform a much-needed job in this city of amnesia. We even made a list of all my (pro bono) clients, and it was surprisingly long. Embarrassingly long. Such a long list, growing name by name without me noticing. Looks like even I live day to day playing out this role, the role of Paradigm City negotiator, without any memory of how I got here. But memories, like nightmares, sometimes come when you least expect them, these memories that tell me I am this person we call blueXenologer.



No matter what, no one on this planet can possibly know everything... no one. Just because it comes naturally does not mean it's my destiny. When others turn away from the lessons of their own pasts, do I always need to be the one to remind them? When they turn their eyes away from their own memories, leaving them in the dark that causes humans such instinctive fear, can I conquer that fear for them?

No. No one can conquer another's fears. Even when it comes as naturally as opening an umbrella in the rain, even if my memories tell me that it is what I have always done, people are not ruled by their memories. We have choices. Some people like to stand in the rain without an umbrella. That's what it means to live free.
xenologer: (one)
First off, here's some basic background on psychopathy and how it gets discussed, for those here who don't spend a lot of time and effort on this kind of thing (which it's cool if you don't because we all have to do different stuff so we can come together and pool our data and have that be useful).

In addition, while the terms "psychopath" and "sociopath" are often used interchangeably, not all medical professionals agree that they are equivalent. I'm going to use them interchangeably here because they occupy the same space in what I have to say, but in other contexts the differences can matter quite a bit.

There's also a blog and accompanying message board run by people who are willing to be identified as psychopaths and sociopaths or as having anti-social personality disorder.

To empaths--a term that gets used a lot by diagnosed psychopaths to refer to people whose emotions and cognition are more typical--a psychopath is a frightening monster, because after all... without guilt, who can be good? Without fear, who can be good? Without empathy, who can be good? This is a well-known sort of concept of a psychopath, and I'm not saying I cannot understand why it's so common. Criminal psychopaths have been studied far more extensively than non-criminal psychopaths (to the point that it's actually very difficult for anybody without a criminal record to get a diagnosis), probably because when people commit awful crimes there's a stronger urge than there was before to figure out what makes that person tick.

I think what I'd like to do is give another perspective. I'm not saying it's more correct or that all people should come at things from this perspective, but it seems to me that a lot of empaths are very very bad at considering what they look like to psychopaths, (which I suspect to be because empaths are "normal" and normal people don't have to care what Others think of them because Others aren't really whole valid people, which is a hilariously hypocritical attitude for empaths to have toward psychopaths, but I digress).

So I am gonna speak from a personal perspective here for a moment, so this bit'll just be about my background, my understanding, my perspective, and how I have changed as a person over time. I tend to use both first and third person pronouns when I talk about both sociopaths and empaths (for reasons I am about to explain), but since I am presumably talking to more empaths, that makes empaths more likely to be the "they," as my whole purpose is... sort of to Other the bejesus out of you so that you can walk with me through what that looks like.

Meeeeeeee

Read more... )

Okay so we get it Xeno you're a big giant freak. Why tell us?

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Sociopaths vs. ...versus whom, really? Who else is there? What's the actual opposite of a sociopath?

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It'd be nice if things were a little different, and even if I am not sure what I'd change, low-empathy individuals wouldn't be the only ones making adjustments.

Read more... )
xenologer: (one)
Following belenen's excellent entry about core values, I thought I would set down some that I've come to thanks to a combination of self-examination and conversations with other people who appear to be neuroatypical in a way that I am/have been (more on this in another entry perhaps). For Reasons I sort of think of myself as operating based on rules like with AI design, and so rather than sorting by core values and secondary values, I'll sort by supergoals and subgoals and try to explain the interactions between them.

My morality and ethics and personal qualms and preferences feel intuitive to me, but that is because I know what I mean by certain terms and how important they are relative to other things. The structure is actually fairly rigid. There is an extent to which these aren't reflected in my behavior, but that discrepancy is created by failure to implement them, not a failure in the goals and subgoals themselves.

So here are some personality parameters. This is the Me Manual to the best of my current ability to articulate it; an AI which had my memories and this goal system should be a fair approximation of me as a person. Goals aren't ranked within their categories, though it's possible with some thought I could test out how my internal system prioritizes them and come to something a little more precise.

SUPERGOALS are goals that, when endangered, act as dealbreakers for anything they touch.
  • Improve. This effectively just requires aggressive, frequent, and proactive debugging. I actually do read self-help books in an effort to detect and address flaws and just generally rationalize the whole system. It's better to find and at least be aware of any bugs before they come into play, so in the spirit of "ounce of prevention" it's best to continually seek areas for improvement. Current areas include: patience, concentration, and level of contempt for others who fail to meet my standards.
  • Meet own standards. Basically, don't be a hypocrite. If someone has done a thing which caused me pain or broke some rule, this adds an extra imperative to check myself for that thing to ensure I get opportunities to shore up any shortcomings there. This rule takes certain things (examples: lying, gaslighting, sexual coercion, suspending goals when having an emotional experience, coughing with my mouth uncovered, etc.) off the metaphorical table of my options not because of the harm they would do to others but because of the harm they have done to me. The precise applications of this rule depend on both my own personal history, and my ability to extrapolate from my experience to find analogous experiences in the lives of others (example: despite me not really understanding the myriad complexities of gender and sex, misgendering is off the table because of my ban on gaslighting).
  • Do things on purpose. Just because a decision is quick or intuitive does not mean that it does not need to be intentional. Nothing else can be achieved if decisions aren't required to be considered before being made, if cost-benefit analysis is ever not required. Doing things reflexively is generally inferior to doing them deliberately, unless the reflex was itself deliberately instilled (which can happen).

SUBGOALS
  • Expand awareness of other kinds of life experience. One of the best ways to find new diagnostic tools for myself is to get to know other minds as best I can. There are many kinds of lived experience that I can most efficiently learn to map by listening to people in question as they self-report. More data on minds is good, though giving up an opportunity to get more data can be justifiable if acquiring it would conflict with a supergoal.
  • Indulge. Something which only brings me joy need not justify its value any other way, provided the pursuit or acquisition of it doesn't interfere with a supergoal.
  • Match my contribution to the world with what I think it should have more or less of. This is only a subgoal because there are cases when my contribution to the world needs to be set at a lower priority than the supergoals; after all, I am not guaranteed to improve myself by improving the world, but if I set improving myself as a priority I am guaranteed to improve both myself and the world.

NON-NEGOTIABLE FACTS are things which are to be treated as true regardless of empirical support. For some people this may be a claim such as, "Jesus Christ died for my sins," or may be a value statement such as, "There's no excuse for violence."
  • That which can be destroyed by the truth should be. This is potentially a self-breaking rule; its job is to condemn to eventual destruction any alleged facts which do not stand up to factual examination (including this rule if necessary). It's in this category to prevent anything else from being there.
xenologer: (one)
Follow-up to the entry about my alleged feelings:

I Skyped with him and reminded him of, like, my basic humanity, and he is sorry that he spoke about me in a way that made it seem like he had forgotten about or didn't appreciate our friendship and my, like, emotional presence in it or his life or whatever.

I think he did need a reminder to jolt him out of the Suffering Solipsism and I have given it to him. I'm still a little wary, because not everybody would even behave this way at their worst, but I managed to eliminate the 3-4% probability that he'd just say, "Um well yeah of course I think that. If you had real feelings you wouldn't be able to control yourself so well."

Probability eliminated.

He said that he was coming to some wrong conclusions about things, a lot of things. He also acknowledged that it put our friend in a weird position to phrase all these things like they're stuff she's obviously going to agree with and be on board with.

I reiterated to him that I'm not yelling, I'm not deliberately hurting him just because I'm hurting, I'm not doing any of that stuff. I reminded him that this is normal, that he can have this all the time, with everybody. Basically it was just my obligatory reminder to him that I am not a magical being who is uniquely capable of discussing hurt feelings in a non-abusive way.

We did laughing and joking and stuff, too, when possible. I always try to do that when I am talking to someone about (relatively) heavy shit. Nothing gets done if I just batter the other person with everything that is terrible about them; exchanging smiles and jokes throughout the process are my way of making it clear that they have reason to not just... give up and flop down in defeated despair.

He asked if we were cool and I told him that I'll probably be a little wary for however long he's up in the canopy of the crazy jungle (which is like being in the crazy tree except moreso) just in case there is further fuckery, and he said, "No. No, I will try to limit it to listening to good advice, acknowledging it is good advice, and then not doing it. That is as crazy as I will get."

I laughed. "So, business as usual?"

"...Yeah."

"Okay. Take care dude. Talk to you later."

So despite strong physical symptoms of anxiety before having this conversation, it has been had and it went more or less the way I thought it would, which happened to be the best case scenario in which only a vanishingly small portion of his distress was automatic guilt to be thrown onto the self-pity pyre, with the bulk of it being a recognition of what was actually not cool here. That's important to me. Apologies aren't all that useful to me if they're reflexive, given automatically as a pacifying measure. Comprehension is important; it's helpful to double-check that what I'm saying is actually being recognized.

Thanks, all, for being with me as I process.

April 2016

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