You always do things the hard way!
A comment I have heard all my life
Yesterday, or a couple of days ago, I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to finish and post this, a reader told me the story of Gerard Shea. It was very interesting, and this is that story;
The lack of an inner voice makes me think of Gerald Shea, who lost much of his hearing gradually after a childhood illness and did not realise until his 40s, initially not even believing his diagnosis. He was under enormous professional stress, being in the habit of replaying in his head the vague intonation contour that was all he heard of people's utterances, until context and guesswork told him the probable meaning. He thought that other people heard as he did but were just more skilled at the deciphering. This is a wonderful example of the persistence of the 'others are like me' illusion, but I wonder how he would have managed had he not had an inner voice with which to consciously replay and replay what he heard. Perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered, and the processing would still have occurred, with his brain using whatever inscrutable methods of thinking are employed by aphantasics and those with no inner voice.
It is indeed a wonderful example of making due with what you have, and assuming that everyone else is like you. You just have to figure it out in order to get by.
This led me to hearing my mother’s complaint, and now my Significant Other’s complaint about how I do everything the hard way, or my method makes literally no sense to those around me.
It never occurred to me, but this is likely the case for precisely the reasoning that Gerald Shea thought everyone heard things like he did. I do things in the only way that it makes sense to me, and the way around that I find makes no sense to neurotypicals.
Where there are differences, I can’t at all understand the thought process of NTs when it comes to things like math problems, or how they put things together, or how they ask questions, unless it is very clearly explained to me in a step by step process. Without that explanation, it is a mystery to me.
However, it appear that even with a detailed explanation from me, many of my processes are completely bizarre for those around me. If I can explain it, they look at me like I am doing ten extra steps that I don’t need to do. Probably true, but it is how I see the world, and I don’t have the same pathways that they do to travel on.
Rarely there have been times that I have been able to develop my own version of those pathways. It takes a lot of work, but every once in awhile I am able to learn what it is a unique way around, and implement it. An example of this would be in a video game I like to play. Yes, for those of you who have read my writing, you are familiar with how often I reference Bioshock. For those of you that aren’t, it’s a game I like, and if you haven’t played it, there might be something wrong with you.
Anyway, in Bioshock, there are machines that you can hack. They will do various things for you. You can get cheaper prices from the vending machines, get security devices to work for you instead of against you, open doors, safes, etc. However, that method of hacking made no sense AT ALL to me. I didn’t get it, no matter what I tried. I had to hand the controller over to someone else to do, and believe me that is a pain, because there is a lot of hacking in this game.
If you are curious, the hacking in Bioshock looks like this;
You flip over the little tiles and reveal the pipe pieces underneath. You then have to channel the green fluid from the start to where the arrow points by selecting the properly shaped pipe parts, and fitting them together in whatever manner you can manage to finish the hack.
The fluid moves independently, so you are on a timer. You will hit various roadblocks, such as in the first image. These come in the form of of broken squares, or in the image above “alarm tiles”. If you channel the fluid to an alarm tile, the security system for all of Rapture goes off, and a bunch of flying security robots come and start shooting you. It’s a whole thing.
Anyway, I couldn’t do this. Like, not even a little bit, and I worked at it. I tried to see what other people saw, do what they did, learn the techniques, and just failed at it. Now, here is the thing, I am stubborn, and I can see improvement when I have it, even if it is slight. If I have the slightest improvement, I will keep at something until I can do it. It’s worse that a dog with a bone, and over time I forced my brain to create those pathways. It took a long time, but I could see that there was a way, so I kept at it.
Now, do I see it how other people do, and can I teach this?
Nope. Not even a little. I am so fast at it now, if I have to slow down to teach it, it messes me up and I will end up failing at it again. I can’t explain my process to them in a way that they can relate to, so I direct them to YouTube videos. There are things that I do that only I can figure out how to make them work in my brain, and there are things that I can’t do, that no matter how long or hard I try, it changes nothing. There is no improvement, and the best course of action is to leave it alone for both my sanity (stubbornness is a real issue with me, and giving up is not something I do easily), and for the sanity of those around me. See statement on stubbornness.
It occurs to me that some things can’t be cross taught. The way a neurotypical learns something might not work for a psychopath to learn. Drawing is an excellent example of this. I cannot draw. This is one of those things that I worked at for a very long time, and got no improvement on at all. No matter the technique, the approach, the thinking on it, the teacher, nothing gave me even the slightest needle move. After a long time it was apparent that pursuing it was a waste of time, and effort, so I left it alone.
I had a conversation with another reader about this in the comments section of the apple post, and that prompted a conversation with the other psychopath that I know. He posited that maybe a neurotypical can’t teach a psychopath to draw, because the pathways that they are operating on are not present, but maybe a psychopath could learn to draw from another psychopath.
To which I replied, “Great! Do you know any that can draw?”
And he said, no. Nor do I, and interestingly, in my time writing on Quora I have found that there are a number of psychopaths that said exactly the same thing. They cannot draw. The method in which to do so is broken. The only ones that claimed that they could draw were also the ones that later on said that they weren’t psychopathic at all. They had been misdiagnosed, or admitted that they weren’t actually psychopathic in the first place, but were rather playing at it. Those that couldn’t draw, the diagnosis never changed.
I think that there is a different way of functioning that sometimes can’t be bridged between psychopaths and neurotypicals. Sometimes I can figure it out in my own brain, hacking in Bioshock, or sense of smell recall. However, it seems that there are a lot of places that this will never be the case, and I am forever going to be asked;
“Why do you do everything the hard way?”
Because apparently, that’s just how I’m built.