I Dare You (Clans of the Alphane Moon Review Part One)

May 5, 2015 at 4:46 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

Photo on 5-4-15 at 6.36 PM

On page 42 and I already teared up twice. should not make me so emotional.

Here I am still chronicling my emotional well being through Philip K. Dick novels.  I’m torn between telling myself to shut up and stop being a drama queen and diving into a full on crisis regarding empathy and my constant struggle to have some.  Sympathy is really my problem.  I can put myself in someone else’s shoes just fine, embrace, feel what they feel and all that – so a struggle for empathy isn’t truly my issue.  It’s sympathy I don’t have.  I won’t pity others, I won’t feel sorry for your plights.  I will consistently tell you to suck it up – I might also slap your ass and say “Go Team.”

The question is, should I pity and sympathize?  I was always taught those things were the most condescending things you could feel for another person.  But not feeling them seems to make me crass, blunt to the point of tactless, and generally unpleasant to those in my outer affiliations as well as my inner most circles.

“Tell me if I start to sound bitchy, because I don’t understand why ________ can’t get their shit together,” I told my Em over coffee.  I know how they feel, I understand the issues, the struggle, and still I’ve been there and I survived and I’m not any good with my feelings… I just don’t think anyone anywhere holds the license to struggle more than another, so stop whining and figure it out.  (Take note that I am completely aware that I am currently – and often – whining about this.)

“Ok, you’re being a bitch,” my faithful friend told me.

Fair enough.

Chuck’s wife, Mary, in Clans of the Alphane Moon is a terrible person.  I relate to her more than anyone in any of his novels so far.  So much so that when Chuck starts wanting to murder her, I started to tear up – again – because I see that she deserves his murderous thoughts, but I can’t see how she could possibly want anything different than what she wants.  She’s unfair, unforgiving, horrible for sending her daughter away, terrible in almost every way.  And I understand her.

In all this struggle for a empathetic balance, I am not sad that she might get murdered, I’m sad that she is the character I identify with. Am I a shrew? I don’t think so.  But I could be. It’s probably silly for me to take Philip K. Dick novels so personally.  Shouldn’t they be genre sci-fi candy to binge read? No. For some reason, every one is something I feel deeply about.  I run on two speeds… psychotically passionate for no reason and completely numb.

I dare you to read Philip K. Dick and feel numb.  I dare you.

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The Secret Life of Captain X

September 5, 2014 at 4:38 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

P1000345Title:The Secret Life of Captain X

Author: Mrs X Nomore

Genre: Memoir

Length: 232 pages

If the title isn’t ominous enough, what comes after it tells you all you need to know: “My Life with a Psychopath Pilot.”

I was on the fence about this book.  It sounded so intriguing, but psychopaths (as the author mentions) are often described in ways that don’t address the mundane in them – it’s always some fantastical Hollywood version, involving axes and whatnot, rather than the every day drama a psychopath will stir up.

Part One is well written (well, the whole book is well written) although a tad whiny.  It’s hard to read the first half of the book and not think, “Ok, the guy is a manipulative turd, but a person doesn’t have to dwell on everything that sucks for so long.  People, especially in relationships, have shitty years… but to be victimized for twenty-two years, there has to be more than this one sided ‘I was always lonely’ business.”  She sounds miserable from the start.  But hang in with Mrs X Nomore and her story – she’s letting you know what makes you a target.  She’s identifying the reasons why she was blinded by the love bombing and the falsehoods… she WAS lonely and unhappy, she was seeking love, she did not have many solid relationships with people nearby.  As someone already feeling isolated, she was in the perfect position to be duped.

Despite my annoyances at all the red flags (that though I may not have identified as psychopath behavior would have turned me off real quick, now, not necessarily a year or two ago), the story propelled me rather rapidly into the graphic details of Mrs X’s discoveries during the divorce.  The man really was a sick freak, trolling the internet for prostitutes, girlfriends, and more victims all during their marriage.  I could have done without some of the descriptions and skimmed over a lot of Captain X’s sex site postings that are quoted in the book.

This book is not for the feint of heart.  Well done, Mrs X Nomore, for getting out of there and finding your therapy in writing.  I think it’s obvious that writing the book was healing for you and your purpose of raising awareness about psychopathy is succeeding.

This book makes you realize how easy it is to want to judge and say decisively what you would or wouldn’t do in a similar situation – but no matter how hard I try to put myself in the same situation in my mind’s eye, there’s really no telling.  Although I may have crossed paths with psychopaths and sociopaths over the years, I was never married to one, and a marriage bond makes all the difference.  How do you try to be “one” with someone who has no conscience, no empathy, no remorse?  You don’t.  As soon as you find out, you run for the hills.

Despite her age, Mrs X Nomore has a young writing voice.  She seems pretty hip for someone with arthritis, replaced hips, and a grown daughter.  I giggled when she called her new apartment her new “digs.”  It was hard to reconcile the age she kept telling me she was with her writing and her story.  Mostly because of social constraints, I think.  It’s easier to envision a nineteen year old being duped in such a fashion – much harder to know she married him at thirty-nine and she was getting divorced during her “golden years.”  It’s just another point she has to prove to the public: It doesn’t take a young girl to get suckered by a man like this – just a woman looking for a relationship.

I both love and hate the way this book is structured, mostly because it presents some very specific implications:

Psychopaths exist.

This level of deception happens….

and the deceiver is not who you’d expect.

Psychopathy (/saɪˈkɒpəθi/) (or sociopathy /ˈsoʊsiəˌpæθi/) is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior. It may also be defined as a continuous aspect of personality, representing scores on different personality dimensions found throughout the population in varying combinations. The definition of psychopathy has varied significantly throughout the history of the concept; different definitions continue to be used that are only partly overlapping and sometimes appear contradictory. – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

In the epilogue, Mrs X Nomore concludes:

I didn’t move to Costa Rica to escape psychopaths.  They are everywhere, easily blending into a crowd.  We shouldn’t live in fear, but we must be aware that up to four percent of our population is made up of these social predators, and we should avoid them at all costs.

She also lists a plethora of additional resources for continuing your education on the topic, as well as finding healing if you have been a victim.

 

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