25 سبتمبر 2015

Schizoids


Aubyanne Meletio Poulter, Snarky Schizoid, Principled Psychopath, and Creative Criminologist

https://www.quora.com/Whats-it-like-having-schizoid-personality-disorder

This is a personal account; while I am also in the mental health field and have an academic background in psychology, this is a subjective interpretation peppered with facts and figures from published literature and other reliable sources.

First off, it's confusing. The DSM can't decide if you're pathological or just have a different attachment style. With introversion becoming a hotter topic, and more people going, 'hey, that's me!' and sharing with their friends across social networking why they're more self-contained, it's gaining greater attention in the medical community. Unfortunately, some of that is heat coming from the legal system. But before I explain why schizoids are said to be categorically non-violent, I'll go with the more common personal experience.

Sometimes you're Vulcan, other times a sociopath, and always an introvert, a loner. Many of us are never diagnosed; on a lark as a psych student, I volunteered myself for a full battery of tests, coming back with garden-variety anxiety, severe OCD, PTSD, and SPD. Quite the cocktail, but then I'd had a helluva life even before my twenties started.

I stumped people even more as I was what's typically called a 'secret schizoid'. I was diagnosed Aspie as a kid - likely due to the fact we both regularly employ 'Spock logic', like our big words and pet subjects - but it requires deeper diagnostic testing to uncover the lack of difficulty in reading faces and no developmental issues. Schizoids, on the other hand, are incredibly perceptive. I was called a human lie-detector by my mentor in law enforcement. A lot of us are rather Sherlockian in our approach to life - 'high-functioning sociopaths'.

Our relationships and attachments don't tend to be any easier or less complex. While we enjoy some intimacy and relating, our cup runneth over very quickly and we must retreat back into our shells to recharge; our inner life is what replenishes and revives us. We don't have issues with paying attention, but we'll opt for what's going on inside our heads than what's happening out here - most of the time.

Of course it's not all roses and 'elementary'. While we do tend to have superior intelligence or above, (many of us are at genius level), faster metabolisms, and, oddly enough, symmetrical features which are more commonly considered 'attractive', there are many reasons why we don't 'play well with others'.

We're not submissive. In any way. To anyone. What seems narcissistic is usually rooted in a more objective approach. You can't tell us something and expect we'll take your word for it. We're natural investigators, lawyer-judge-jury, and executioner if need be. We're sharks. We'll rip apart what doesn't belong there, won't work, and is likely borne of emotion rather than logic. This causes us to appear callous and offensive. We don't seek to offend and really can't fathom why you think we're callous. (More on that later.) We're trying to help you; don't you want to be doing it correctly? We've studied this. We know what we're talking about. If we didn't, we'd be saying nothing - and seeking to learn it.

We don't get why people need people. Sure, we like having others around; it enriches and broadens our experience. After all, we need things to put into our heads. The experiences of others is a wonderful way to liven things up in there. Attachments become an issue.

90% of the time we want to be alone, and 100% of the time, doing our own thing. This means you won't see us as cubicle monkeys (or very, very unhappy, disgruntled, cubicle monkeys) except maybe as programmers. In the basement. With headphones on. (Oh, quick note; something all other schizoids would hate if you knew. Much as we enjoy losing ourselves in our music, we'll have headphones on with nothing playing. You tend to leave us alone, and, think we can't be listening to your conversation. Now you know we are. Not for the purpose of gossip. We're Cones of Silence, to be sure. This is how we do our research on our peculiar homo sapiens cousins, as you seem so different to us.

Why are we so different? There are a lot of reasons for that. We can technically be considered psychopathic since our flattened affect and shallow emotional expression tends to accompany low affective empathy, though the causal relationship is too circular: being on the schizophrenia spectrum, does the flattened affect cause low affective empathy? Is it a result? Are they 'comorbid'? Unlike the more textbook psychopath, we're not emotional predators; we can just relate (ironically) to having rather shallow emotions and having cognitive over affective empathy.

So, contrary to the mass media, we're really not shooting up your schools and theatres. Some of us might have submerged personalities (like James Holmes) as we've split off into a rich inner world - but so did Charles Dodgson, so, don't be too quick to judge. The 'quiet one' is not always the secretly dangerous one; especially not if they're schizoid.

We will become violent if we're cut off from our essential supply - which is ourselves. Some of us begin exhibiting wildly fluctuating mood and external aggression if we aren't allowed our solitude. But, like a flipped-switch, all is well soon after our batteries are recharged per our sojourn.

#SchizoidPersonalityDisorder "A typical rule is 2-3 days of solitude for every day we're required to be social or have intense interaction"

You may be thinking: but then we never get married or have kids, right? Hey, even sociopaths settle down eventually - on average. If we don't find peaceful, coexisting bliss with another schizoid, then we at least require a partner that will respect our needs and accept our limited emotional range, requirement for frequent solitude, analytical outlook, overly logical processing, and tendency to bluntness and sarcasm.

While the causes of SPD are dodgy at best and no one's come to any consensus, we're all agreed there's some component of emotional dysfunction that triggered in adolescence - often emotional abuse. The schizoid simply learnt to swim rather than sink in an emotionally destructive environment. Typically, there's a biological basis for this, even in healthy environments. Epigenetics is the key to unlocking that mystery, but the research is still in its infancy. For now, we seem to be the product of some form of psychogenic trauma which either impacted our development of affective empathy, or limited our emotional range via repression.

Is there anything that can help? Should we seek it? Another debate.

Some of us get tired of being so isolated from the herd, or experience periods of grass-is-greener interpersonal satisfaction envy; in that case, psychotherapy with the right practitioner can work wonders. It's usually abuse recovery with targetted work regarding past trauma. An astonishing number of us do present with PTSD comorbid, which hardly seems inconsequential - or coincidental. Unravelling the damage is extensive, though.

Recovery is not easy.

There may be periods of great emotional upheaval. Think of the original Trek episode 'The Naked Time' where Spock was actually in touch with his emotions. Remember that? If you don't, watch it; it'll give you great insight into one of the reasons why our brains keep a lid on our emotions. Of course, the longer the lid is in place, the greater the onslaught if we decide to explore them. This is why a clinical setting is strongly recommended.

Last but not least: schizophrenia spectrum? Did you read that right? You did.

Schizoids are on the schizophrenia spectrum - specifically, on the extreme other end of schizophrenia. We share some odd traits, the low affective empathy and flattened affect among them - the 'negative' traits of schizophrenia, as it were, meaning that which is removed. The 'positive' traits - that which is added - such as delusional beliefs, hallucinations, paranoia, mania, and so on - we don't. We can become hypomanic, though - basically a lesser form of mania. Most of us enjoy that, as it's a nice kick in the seat and jolt of energy we don't typically have, often fighting against our own inertia.

An important distinction is that schizoids won't develop schizophrenia. Those that do were typically misdiagnosed schizotypal. We don't have odd beliefs as much as we're willing to explore any topic to its fullest; hardcore sceptics, and scientific about everything. We may indulge our weirdness on a whim - just to mess with you. Occasionally, we enjoy a little shock value.

Most of the time, we're happy on our islands, doing some solitary activity, (it's also no coincidence we're usually gamers, writers, philosophers and academics - pretty ascetic, too) enjoying the peace and quiet. Much more so than other types, as we tend to be on the asexuality spectrum as well, but that's a more complex topic, and I've weighed you down enough - hopefully with plenty to help you expand and deepen your research.

Best of luck; it's a fascinating subject.
 

Arsène Hodali
Thanks for answering so quickly. I asked this question to get personal accounts and you provided in abundance, and also asked as a milestone for the day I found a label for what I've been trying to grasp for a lifetime, and your account's a mirror image. Your answer is refreshing, but I mostly speak for myself.

Aubyanne Meletio Poulter 1 vote by Arsène Hodali
Welcome to the quirky club, Arsene. I'm glad I could help.

Feel free to ask anything; I'm happy to provide, as the more info you can have, the better.

Back when I was diagnosed, there was so little of it outside of the DSM, which was pretty pitying or scathing. Still a huge stigma. These days, thanks to pop culture, and Aspergers being so 'en vogue', schizoids are being treated less like pariahs and more like the odd ducks we simply are. We're all getting a bit more 'neurologically diverse', which is a good trend.

There are fortunately several good resources now. If you'd like, I'll give you the short list.

Arsène Hodali
Bring on the short list. Already picked up a couple books but direct resources from one more knowledgeable are gold-like.

Aubyanne Meletio Poulter 1 vote by Arsène Hodali
Done. Register with a forum covering the schizoid personality, and explore Out of the FOG - Schizoid Personality Disorder. Schizoid Personality Disorder Forum is an amusing place to frequent, too.

As with everything, you'll find a wide population; many who have self-diagnosed and are flying the schizoid colours. I won't say take it with a grain of salt, but I personally am more 'trusting' of those who've also received an SPD diagnosis at some point.

I'm also intensely curious which books you've found already, as there are practically none dedicated to SPD that don't read like stereo instructions. There are lots of 'infotaining' books on certain PDs and 'neurologically diverse' subjects. It's odd that we don't have one yet. Maybe I'll write one after all.

However, I've found 'Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto' to be a favourite of many, and a few covering Asperger's, since we can behave similarly, despite the totally different mechanisms.

'Schizoid Phenomena' is rather seminal, but a very clunky read I'd avoid unless you're a psychologist. Plus, while the psychoanalytic approach is interesting regarding SPD, it's hardly the whole story.

Same with Masterson's work. While other therapists have touted 'Disorders of the Self', it's tough to shell out a Benjamin for a textbook that's not in conjunction with a course that would provide a richer understanding. It might be the keys to everything, (kinda doubtful) but I've not delved there yet. Instead, I find it most intriguing that the book covers avoidant, 'schizoid spectrum' (I hadn't previously known we had our own spectrum now; wow, we're moving up in the world) and BPD - borderline personality. Curious, I thought, as the borderline is definitely 'akin' given the psychoanalytic approach, yet the behaviours are practically opposite those of the schizoid.

So doing a little work in the possible linkages between SPD and BPD might be in order; maybe due to the fact that the recovering schizoid beginning to reconnect to his or her emotions CAN start presenting very pseudo-borderline.

Like it wasn't already complicated enough. ;)

Arsène Hodali
I got 'The Divided Self,' by R.D. Laing, 'Neurosis and Human Growth' by Karen Horney, 'Psychoanalytical Studies of the Personality' by W. Fairbairn, and 'Personality Structure and Human Interaction' by Harry Guntrip. I read through 'Party of One' but personally, it's too consoling / self-help / info-tainment for me.

Looked through FOG and the SPD Forum and I find them similar to Party of One. I understand people wanting community, relatedness, but I don't understand why people who say they're schizoid built a forum for educational purposes and made it communal instead, with that being the main thing I don't do or rather abhor about groups (the constant fact that personal relations and human emotions always distract from the accomplishment of good work). I don't understand why the people on the forum seem to relish in the fact that they're schizoid, I feel relieved that I have a somewhat hard label for what I've experienced throughout my life and that I've found someone I can relate to, but I don't revel or think myself better for this, nor do I want to be apart of something as odd as what seems to be a disorder pissing contest. (This all probably seems too harsh, but I'm writing this after feeling really let down by the forum.) I got more helpful information out of 'The Divided Self' than anything I read on the SPD Forum, I'll stick to the books (I'll put in an order for the ones you mentioned, especially the Masterson's, since I can't seem to get those in anyway online like the others).

And you're right about the AS books; I've read a few books on AS and sociopathy for a while now feeling I could relate to both cases in a diluted, less-extreme, manner - but the schizoid books are too spot-on for me to tear my eyes away from at the moment, I'll definitely do so in the near future though.

Aubyanne Meletio Poulter
Great, now I've got to fork over the dough, huh? Fair enough. Once I whittle through what I've already got.

I like the forums in small doses because it shows such a wide variance. The level of arrogance I find confusing; really do think some are narcissists and others psychopathic. The alexithymics and more 'true schizoids' will post on occasion, or contact me directly. The majority tend to be obnoxious.

That's the oddest thing about SPD, I think. In the occasional seeking of affiliation or community, there are really no great resources. I prefer my schizoid friends. While small in number, we get each other and don't have to apologise for being ourselves. That in and of itself is of tremendous value to me and even incites me to socialising - though rarely.

Thanks for the book list. I'll see if I can't find them in usable chunks before spending the funds. It looks like a modest investment, especially considering the scholarly text. Though, I will go academic and peer-reviewed first, and lighter 'pop science' after; it gives me a sense of what others might reference, too. I appreciate the review of PoO. Haven't read that one yet. It looked like light reading.

Arsène Hodali
Forums are I guess synonymous with community so I was probably hoping for too much. And you don't really need to fork over any dough if you have the time, I haven't forked any over myself, I'm just very good at finding secretly free PDFs and ePubs online I guess.

And... ??? "However, I've found 'Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto' to be a favourite of many, and a few covering Asperger's, since we can behave similarly, despite the totally different mechanisms."

PoO's like 'Quiet' by Susan Cain, I get that introverts need books that speak of/to their experience, but I personally want information, not the consoling hand - the good thing is that people are different though so they'll probably appeal to maybe you or someone else.

Sage MH
Very thoughtful, thorough answer, as well as interesting. I find it all SO relatable, like a horoscope. If you aren't diagnosed, do you believe it's easy to misdiagnose yourself with this? (Yes, I know you can't/shouldn't self-diagnose). Because I've done a little research on this, nothing too extensive, but I'm always amazed as how well it describes how I feel. I go through phases of doing hours of researching different psychological topics. I just feel as though I'm different from many people. I would LOVE to hear more from you on this topic, if you're ever not busy and looking for something to do. Anything you didn't cover in this, like the asexuality thing? Or maybe more in depth in things you did cover? I don't know, you just explain ideas very well and I'd love to hear more.

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