Authority issues – Am I just evil, part II

A thing I recently realized about myself is that I actually have issues with authorities. Now, that sounds far more bad ass than it actually is, because those issues don´t imply that I punch cops in the face. They aren´t even merely about anger. Let me give you a few examples.

When I was 12 or something I was ice skating with a couple of friends. I was tired and set down on some type of balustrade which separated the ice from the spectators´area. Immediately some guard or warden barked at me to get off there. I obeyed, but I was homicidally angry. I didn´t even understand why I was that pissed off, my own rage took me by surprise. I can only assume that it had a lot to do with feeling humiliated. Anyway, the whole story ended with me starting a row with my friends – possibly because they refused to be equally angry at the warden. I ran off, went home alone and absolutely hated myself.

On yet another occasion many years later, my girlfriend and I were stopped by the police for a routine identity check. I had nothing to fear, but I felt the irrational urge to be seen as particularly cooperative and agreeable. For some reason I wanted the cops to “approve of me” in some way. Like I wanted them to tell me I was a good girl or something, and not the drug-dealing pocket-thieving thug they had expected. I don´t know. It is something I might actually hate myself for even more. At any rate, it seems to be closely connected to the issues I described in my last two posts.

So…what the hell. What is it with me and authorities?

On the one hand, I get absurdly angry when I have any clashes with authorities, and on the other hand, I absolutely want them to approve of me and favorably compare me to other people my age. One thing that happens on both occasions is that my adrenaline reaches sky levels, even when I have nothing to fear. And I do have trouble coming down off it again. After such an encounter, I am typically shaky, paranoid, often angry and sometimes even on the verge of tears. During such encounters, I frequently dissociate to some degree. During that identity check, for example, I let my girlfriend do all the talking and looked somewhere into the void, internally distancing myself from my surroundings. It is a completely automatic reaction which makes me angry afterwards because it makes me feel like a coward. I hate how easy I am to intimidate.

It seems that I am overreacting quite a bit. Fairly normal clashes with authority most young people go through at some point shake me up real bad. Thing is, I overreact into all possible directions. I overreact in terms of anger, fear, shame and submissiveness. More examples?

Eighth grade. I have been noisy in class, the teacher admonishes me and tells me to read out aloud the text we are just dealing with. I feel angry and humiliated and start to read in a silly voice, as if I was a fourth grader. The worst thing is that I know precisely that I´m making a fool of myself and that this will do nothing to help my already pretty bad reputation with my classmates. Still I can´t help it.

Or when I was a little child of four or five, when I had other kids over at my place I would never let them go. When their parents came to pick them up, I would yell at them and forcibly hold my playmates back/down, so they couldn´t go to their parents. I even showed those behaviors when I was older, though just rarely. I think at some point I just learned to adapt insofar as I became apathetic and stopped caring about anything. Funny, really, this might be the secret behind my “dysthymia”, but I didn´t even think of that. I just put into words a sentiment that suddenly was there, in my head. This passive-aggressive, resigned and yet somehow defiant “yeah well, I never grew up properly, I just stopped caring so now everybody thinks I´m super unselfish and mature…fuck off…”

The worst part of these destructive behaviors was that I knew, always knew, even as a kid, that I was creeping my friends out and that I was very likely to lose them. So maybe this planted into my head the idea that I´d either have to be a self-reliant loner who didn´t need anybody, or play by the rules the adults made. Needless to say I chose the “lone warrior” path. But I do believe I actually despised my friends for obeying their parents and other adults. I felt that if we all rebelled against our parents, we´d succeed. I am now part of a volunteer project in a kindergarten and I actually see that this little anarchistic punk of a child was right. If kids simply don´t obey, there isn´t all too much an almighty adult can do. (Always provided, of course, the almighty adult doesn´t turn to abusive behaviors in order to get the kid under control.) Either way, I never understood the natural respect most other kids seemed to have for their parents. I had zero respect for mine. And this lead to other kids not having any respect for me. I remember one of those goody-goody girls (the one who befriended me out of pity) say to me in a shocked tone: “But you need to have some more respect for your mother!”, after witnessing a row between me and my mum. It literally made me want to slap my friend.

Some time in ninth grade, however, I thought I was going to get into trouble for accidentally ditching class. Yes, it really was an accident. If I´d had done it on purpose I would have no problem admitting to it, but no, it was a stupid accident. And I was absolutely shitting myself about the possibility of getting into trouble for it. And what does trouble even mean? Fuck all in this context. My parents weren´t the issue, I even told my mother about it because it bugged me so much. She was clearly unhappy with me, even more than I think I deserved because fuck´s sake it was a misunderstanding (I had thought we were allowed to leave), but there were no consequences or anything. I don´t know what I was so scared of, but the idea of being in trouble was for some reason extremely scary and grave.

Another story: Three years ago I was on a field trip with some university class. We stayed at a youth hostel and when they read the house rules to us, like “no food and drinks of your own”, “door will be locked at so and so” I got a mixture of a temper tantrum and a panic attack. Again, nobody seemed to share my anger. Everybody seemed to just shrug it off. I don´t know if they were thinking “well, it´s their house, fair enough they get to make the rules” or if they were thinking “screw them, they don´t need to know I got that bottle of vodka in my bag”. It is funny that apparently I don´t really disregard or disrespect given rules. If I didn´t care about them, then I wouldn´t publicly make a fool of myself because they upset me so much. I wouldn´t be upset in the first place, I would just break them and hope not to get caught. But this isn´t what I do. I freak out and behave like a three-year-old, out of panic, rage and humiliation.

It is funny, I always accepted the fact that I cannot just break rules as a proof that I´m not a psychopath. Now some months ago I was talking with a uni teacher of mine (only authority figure I respect, a great deal even) about Antisocial Personality Disorder and how people with this disorder don´t respect rules and don´t respond to punishment and reward, and he said: “It´s not so much that they don´t respond, they just overreact. They are hypersensitive rather than lacking affect.” Need I say I nearly fell off my chair?

I don´t want to start ascribing that psychopath label to myself. It´s bad enough that I already battle the narcissism stigma. Then again, of course I want the AsPD label. It´s far cooler than narcissism, right? Totally bad ass. And this attitude makes me worry (yes, for real) that it might actually apply. I mean, holy fuck…shouldn´t it horrify me?! Instead, I´m just toying with it. Can I take nothing seriously? Maybe you can be both hypersensitive and emotionally shallow/lacking affect? But maybe I also don´t take this seriously because deep down I believe that the  psychopathy concept itself  is shallow –  intellectually shallow.  It just seems way too simple and convenient.


One Response to “Authority issues – Am I just evil, part II”

  1. […] Authority issues – Am I just evil, part II ( […]

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