Hitting the Path

When you’re a writer, there are ideas and there’s inspiration, which might not pan out, or can remain a bit aimless. And then there’s finding your platform with sudden, clear epiphany and finally understanding the story you must write. Plots and premises fall in line. Character development takes form. Research becomes fun and satisfying. And the work happens, because you both want and need it to.

The road ahead of me with my novel-in-progress is long, but for the first time in years I have direction. And, possibly, for the first time ever, a story which suits and fits me (and my writing) perfectly.

I wish this for all writers.

Antisocial: More Than “Not Sociable”

I’ve spent several years studying psychology and its realities, especially the personality disorders which can be existent in men — sometimes women, but statistics fall on the side of males in overwhelming numbers — who are abusive by nature.

Most of my first efforts went into understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Here is Lundy Bancroft’s explanation of NPD, as found in Why Does He Do That?, which is a read I highly recommend. (You can learn more about his book and expertise on my If You’re Abused page, found on this website.)

Those who suffer from NPD have a highly distorted self-image. They are unable to accept that they might have faults and therefore are unable to imagine how other people perceive them. This condition is highly compatible with abusiveness, though it is present in only a small percentage of abusive men. Clues to the presence of this disorder include: (a) Your partner’s self-centeredness is severe, and it carries over into situations that don’t involve you [here Bancroft is speaking to victims and survivors of abuse]; (b) he seems to relate everything back to himself; and (c) he is outraged whenever anyone criticizes him and is incapable of considering that he could ever be anything other than kind and generous. This disorder is highly resistant to therapy and is not treatable with medication.

It fascinates and renders me indignant all at once. You?

What I didn’t learn until recently, while reading Bancroft’s book, is that some traits and behaviors I’ve long been attributing to NPD (along with what’s above) actually fall under the Antisocial Personality Disorder label.

If you’re like me, you hear the term “anti-social” and think of people who don’t like other people, maybe they’re not interested in being around others socially, or struggle in social situations.

The disorder goes much deeper, though. Here’s Bancroft’s explanation of APD:

APD is present in only a small percentage of abusers but can be important. Those who suffer from this condition lack a conscience and thus are repeatedly involved in behaviors that are harmful to others. Some signs of this condition include: (a) He started getting into illegal behavior when he was still a teenager; (b) his dishonest or aggressive behavior involves situations unrelated to his partner, rather than being restricted to her; (c) he periodically gets into trouble at workplaces or in other contexts for stealing, threatening, or refusing to follow instructions and is likely to have a considerable criminal record by about age thirty, though the offenses may be largely minor ones; (d) he is severely and chronically irresponsible in a way that disrupts the lives of others or creates danger; and (e) he tends to cheat on women a lot, turn them against each other, and maintain shallow relationships with them. [This] psychopath’s physical violence is not necessarily severe, contrary to the popular image, but he may be very dangerous nonetheless. APD is very difficult to change through therapy, and there is no effective medication for treating it. It is highly compatible with abusiveness toward women.

Ahh. The floodgates of understanding opened when I read that passage last weekend. So much becomes clears. One of these two personality disorders on its own is bad enough, but the rare man who exhibits them both is malignant and damaging. (He also deserves to be hung by his toes and flogged.)

Why is this important to me? Because it goes layers into explaining my personal history, which I’ve already got a good handle on, but for which I will always seek knowledge.

Understanding how people work is a hobby of mine, and I love psychology. My studies also inform my work at a local women’s shelter.

Too, while I don’t want to go into great detail and disrupt my early creative process, my current novel-in-progress largely involves manifestation of these personality disorders. My continued research isn’t just personal, it’s professional.

My hope is that through my writing — whether here on my blog and through social media or in my large projects — and the volunteer work I do in the name of advocacy will bring awareness and education. Nothing can change if we don’t know what’s wrong, or begin to hold abusers accountable, as well as shift what our society sweeps under the proverbial rug and accepts at its norms.

Cat and Mouse: A Torrid Affair

Freddo was handsome, make no mistake. Filled with equal parts fluffy stuffing and machismo, he’d been irresistible to Kit Kat from the very beginning. Sure, she knew a love affair between cat and mouse was risky, flat unacceptable in many circles, but she’d lived her whole life on her own terms. This would be no different. She would love Freddo or be damned.

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Kit Kat and *GASP* Freddo

Their moments were hidden and heated, for they could be no other way. Her persons would disapprove. They just wouldn’t understand, she believed with all her being. Until that crisp fall day, anyway, when something unanticipated happened and Kit Kat learned the truth.

Having been caught mid-frisk with Freddo, both guilt and self-righteousness were too strong in Kit Kat. “Look away!” she hissed.

Janna, head person, seemingly unable to process what she’d just stumbled upon, could only whisper. “What the…?”

“There’s nothing to see here.” Kit Kat tried to shield Freddo. None of this was his fault, after all. It was on her, every bit, and protect him she must.

“Kit Kat?” Janna said. Tears filled her eyes. “Freddo?”

“It’s not what you think!” Kit Kat turned to Freddo. “Don’t say a thing, love.” They would run away if they had to. She’d lived on the streets before, and for years. She could do it again. As long as she had Freddo…

Janna knelt close. “Kit Kat, how could you?”

“I will not apologize.”

“Apologize for what?” Janna wiped the wetness from her left cheek. “How could you keep this from me? This is wonderful.”

“What?” Kit Kat didn’t understand. “What is wonderful, Janna? I need to hear you say it.”

By this time they were both crying.

“Love, Kit Kat.”

“Go on,” Kit Kat whispered, barely audible.

“Love is wonderful. And I won’t keep the two of you apart. I could never. But…” Janna glanced over her shoulder. “I have to go,” she stated with sudden firmness.

“I knew it.” Kit Kat’s heart sank. “You can’t even look me in the eye anymore.”

“Don’t be silly,” Janna said. “It’s just I have to get back to work. My lunch break is over.” She slung her purse over her shoulder.

“We’re good here then?” Kit Kat dared ask.

Janna smiled. “Of course we’re good here.”

“Excellent.” Kit Kat turned to Freddo, her thoughts amorous once again, as she called wistfully after Janna. “See you later, person.”

 

Just a fun flash fiction piece written last fall, prompted by this photo I’d snapped of our cat. And yes, her mouse. His name really is Freddo.