More on plastic mind or lack thereof.
One of the drawbacks of having non-standard wiring/background is that people don’t tend to get you. You can explain stuff till you’re blue in the face, but if the person you’re talking to doesn’t understand how deep your disconnect runs, they will continue to project their feelings, motivations, strengths and weaknesses on you. They may routinely frustrate you by trying to explain to you that what you’re saying about yourself is incorrect (you’re just being modest/negative/self-effacing etc). You may constantly shock them by ‘acting out of character’. Even repeating such shocks doesn’t seem to help; if they’re fixed enough in their opinion of you, they’re more likely to convince themselves that ‘you’ve changed’ or that you ‘pretended to be someone you’re not’ than to accept that you were straight with them from the get-go, and they just weren’t listening. This can be rather depressing when you’re trying to connect to them and all you’re doing is banging your head on an invisible barrier.
Sometimes, though, it’s downright hilarious. I find it particularly hilarious when some third-rate twerp tries to run a game on me based on their assumptions about me, and those assumptions are widely off the mark. I can have hours of fun with that.
There are a few quotes in “Campfire Tales From Hell (another good book; sorry, Devin) about cons and what they’re built on:
There is a con for everyone, and (…) those who think they are immune will fall the hardest.
(…) not every con is for everybody, but there *is* a con for you, my friend.
The con man is playing off of what *you* want and when it comes to getting what they want, humans are capable of ignoring a lot of weird shit; things that would set off the weird-shit-O-meter of other folks are ignored. This is because it’s not what *they* want, but rather what *you* want. Those that want the same thing are blinded by the same thing; those that don’t want that thing aren’t blinded by it.
Having non-standard motivations is a hoot when someone is trying to get you to buy into a con by using the wrong bait. Not only it fails because you don’t bite, but, if you’re that way inclined, you’re given the opportunity to mess about with the person in question. There’s a hook there on the ground with a line attached to some twerp who’s trying to have you on. You can lead them to all sorts of places by pretending you’ve bit. If you have the time to spare, it can be great fun. If you don’t have the time to spare, you can always write that person’s name down on your naughty list, in case you feel like playing with them later.
The same applies when people are trying to punish you by using the wrong stick. It can be highly entertaining to watch someone struggle to browbeat you by withholding something you never wanted, or threatening something you’re not in the least bothered by. It’s rather grand to watch them exert their power in entirely the wrong direction, exhausting themselves in the process and achieving nothing.
The flipside of it is that if you’re not honest with yourself, you can con yourself rather easily. It’s easy and sometimes convenient to convince yourself that you’re X kind of person interested in Y things and with Z ethics. The fact that none of those factors are revealed in reality – that in your interactions with the world you aren’t anything like the person you self-describe yourself to be – can fail to have any kind of impact on your self-assessment (assessment, not judgement: but that’s for another blog). You’ll constantly make excuses for yourself. You’re unusually tired/stressed/provoked. You never do this but… You totally would be/do this but you can’t right now because reasons. And so on and so forth.
I’ve just been told a pretty neat trick that I’d include in my new year resolutions if I ever made any. It’s simple as anything. First you list what you believe your interests and goals are; what you want to achieve with your life. Secondly you spend a few days or weeks writing down how you spend your time. Then you compare the two lists, and look at whether they match. For instance, if one of your stated goals is fitness but you’ve spent 4 hrs a day watching TV and 0 exercising, something is out of kilter. You then have the choice to adjust your behaviour, or adjust your opinion of yourself. Either of those is likely to require some effort, but I reckon it beats floundering around living a lie and wondering why ‘what you really want’ is constantly eluding you.