So I think since the last time I posted, I had three dentist appointments and one visit to the gynecologist. So it’s made for an interesting week.

I think it has been more than 10 years since I went to the dentist. I don’t think I have seen a dentist since I became a teacher. I started teaching in 2005. Anyway, you can’t really expect good news from the dentist after that long.

She said I needed “deep cleaning,” which I have had before, because it was a similarly long time before that. I have actually seen a dentist only three times as an adult. I’m scared.

The exam was on Tuesday. I saw the gynec in the morning and the dentist in the afternoon of the same day. Christmas was Monday and the day after, I rode buses around town seeing new medical specialists.

They turned out to be surprisingly kind. Overall, I have seen six different medical types of various kinds over the last few weeks (2 dentists and 2 hygienists, a doctor, and a gynecologist), and they have all been astoundingly nice to me.

It’s something I have been wondering about, because they’ve all been chosen somewhat at random. The doctor and the dentist I chose out of a plan book more or less based on the name and what I thought to be the gender. (Somehow I got it wrong about the doctor.)

The last doctor I had was very good and very kind, but not chosen at random–I asked around for recommendations–and I kept the same doctor for years. Six different people, all very caring and very nice, and all chosen by chance. How did that come to be?

I don’t have an answer to that, but I have been relieved.

The dentist was interesting, because midway through the first session of deep cleaning, I realized I am not so afraid of the pain. I am afraid of the noise. The dental instruments are like having a mini Skil saw in your mouth. It’s terrifying for me to have that go on for an hour or more.

A few times, sitting in the chair, waiting for the dentist to do his work, I just reminded myself that my only job was to try to calm down. Other times, I have to balance some other task in the present, something that needs to get done or a conversation that needs to be managed, but at the dentist, there is nothing I need to do other than try to manage my internal state. That helped somewhat.

It helped, too, that I knew what I was afraid of. It did not make the fear go away, but it gave me an opening with it at least.

Something interesting happened in the midst of this, because I started to have flashbacks of dismemberment sitting there in the chair, and that was more than I could take, so I began to imagine myself as the dentist. Being in his head was much more pleasant than being in my head.

Over the year, something I have realized is that there is something in the present frightening me at these times, and trying to ground myself in the present makes things worse for me. It does not matter that nothing bad is actually going to happen because of what I am frightened of. My mammal brain is simply responding to a stimulus in the way that it has learned to respond, and it’s likely to keep doing that.

So I looked at the dentist and I thought he is looking at my teeth. He is concentrating on what he is seeing there, and he is calmly trying to get it off. I know what calm, concentration feels like and it’s quite a pleasant feeling, so I just borrowed his.

This has something to do with life as a human. We feel things within ourselves as ourselves and we also imagine other people’s experiences and we feel those within ourselves too.

Child abuse interfered with this, because when I entered into my parents’ experiences, it was too terrible. Their inner states were too painful, and their views of me too awful. There is this practice of taking a perspective you are supposed to have, which is what makes other people comprehensible, and I think I stopped doing it or I stopped doing some part of it and a piece of my development as a person did not proceed normally. It was interfered with, and I think this made everyone seem unpredictable and difficult to understand or communicate, and not just my parents who were impulsive enough to feel unpredictable in the best of cases.

Just a thought to chew on for a while.


Brain Games

Yesterday, I showed some episode of the National Geographic show Brain Games to the students. Being more or less entirely out of touch with popular culture these days–in nearly every regard and in every arena–basically, because I am leaving anyway, so I find it hard to feel any investment–I had never seen this program before. It was interest.

It made me think about trauma, and how complex trauma many times feels like a switching problem, like I can’t effectively switch between taking in sensory information and my emotional response to it, and also imagining different courses of action. Things seem to get muddled, wires are crossed. The actions that result don’t always make sense. This happens in small ways many times: I get stressed and the wrong word comes out of my mouth, a word that does not even make sense, I turn left instead of right.

The prefrontal cortex does that kind of coordinating, and it shuts down during traumatic experiences. Essentially, we focus on short-term goals (living through the next five minutes) and forget about longer term goals. But I have many sensory indicators of potentially life-or-death experiences. I have to continue to be able to consider longer term goals while my brain is flooded with the urgent necessity of surviving the next five minutes.

One of the episodes talked about multi-tasking. We are never really focusing on multiple tasks at once. We are switching our attention between tasks when one of them becomes uneventful.

I thought about how many tasks I must be attentive to: maintaining my social presentation so that it is appropriate for the situation when that is not actually what I feel, writing something or explaining something (and here I am thinking about stressful situations at school), resisting an impulse to act as though I am in an emergency situation when I am not–to run away or cry for help. No wonder things end up scrambled.

I had some other thoughts, not entirely related to this. It turned out C wasn’t responding to my calls around the time of her birthday, because she had a cold. She thinks I might get worried if she is sick, so she just doesn’t talk to me. Of course, I end up more worried, because I know something is wrong, but I can’t figure out what it is.

Well, I think it may not be exactly that. I have been thinking about the concept of concern. What is concern exactly? How does concern actually feel? It’s more than an impulsive, helpful act. I think it requires some executive function, some ability to plan in addition to having an emotional response to someone’s distress.

I think it might be what happens when I see C is sick and ask her whether she has a fever or not or if she has vomited and then dole out advice accordingly. I think concern might be what happens when I recognize she is in distress and then formulate a plan around that distress.

When you have chronic misattunement with a parent, I think this might feel like something that is not allowed. I have been thinking about this: I have seen parents in Country X who act playful with their children until the child cries–actually that does not feel good for the child does it?

Attunement requires taking in information about two people’s emotional states, organizing it, and planning an action. You work at regulating both of your emotional states together. When you are a baby, you have few strategies to maintain your own state of regulation. You have your gaze, and that is mostly it. You can direct your attention away from what overwhelms you.

Play and exploration and social interactions help you expand your repertoire as your motor skills develop.

But what if you cannot use your gaze to increase your degree of stimulation, because your parent is depressed or chronically angry? What if your parent doesn’t allow you to look away when you are overstimulated, but keeps grabbing your attention until you cry?

You never learn how to manage your own internal state or even that you can.

I think about this with C a lot. I think she has few strategies to manage her internal state other than her attention. She doesn’t know she can influence the people around her to behave differently when she doesn’t like it. When I overstimulate her, she says she is busy or tired, but she doesn’t know she can change the subject to something less intense. She probably doesn’t know why she just told me she wants to sleep when she then doesn’t sleep for a long time later. She knows she lied to me and that she may be hurting my feelings, but not that something has become too intense for her or that she may have a variety of choices for making things less intense for herself.

I sent C a photo of myself when we were chatting and she immediately said she wanted to rest. Too stimulating.

I think it is sometimes the concern that is too stimulating for her. There is cognitive dissonance involved. At this time, I seem to care but in other situations other people did not care. Cognitive dissonance is unpleasant and we often deal with it by discarding the input that seems to be in error. In this kind of situation, I don’t think you can. You have to form some kind of idea about people that allows you to understand that people seem to care at some times and not others. That’s very difficult to do.

So C wants to sleep instead.

For me, it sometimes brings up my own issues. When she ignores me, I often find myself thinking that I am worthless. Now, when I have felt understood by my therapist, I have had a rush of feeling worthy. So this worthless feeling I think has to do with someone taking the effort to try to understand. I think I most often feel I have been rejected because it is not worth the effort of trying to listen to or understand me.

I think about my babyhood, and I imagine my mother may have been depressed after I was born. There are scores of pictures of my sister’s first year of life, but probably only three of me until I was about two years old. I have in the past simply assumed my mother was too busy to be snapping photos, but I have started to think she was depressed through a lot of my childhood. She may have very well had postpartum depression as well.

In addition, I had this huge red birthmark in the center of my forehead when I was a baby. It went away when I was a toddler, I suppose. As I started to grow some hair, it started to become possible to hide under bangs and it also lightened and disappeared.

Now, my mother may have looked at me and every time she saw me felt she had not been able produce a good baby. She may have felt like a failure as a baby-maker every time she looked my way.

How might that have affected me if my mother despaired of life when she saw me? Or if she despaired of life all the time? I would have felt despair every time I looked at her despairing face. I would have had an overwhelming sense of some endeavour being too difficult or not worth the effort, because that is what depression is: this endeavour is doomed. If it happened enough, and it likely did, I may have felt I myself was not worth the effort.

My brain looks for patterns. Why is C ignoring me? I am not worth the effort is a deeply learned pattern, easy to grab at and use to explain the present. One of our fundamental needs as human beings is a comprehensible reality. I do need to be able to understand how the people around me behave and why things happen the way they do.

To discard that pattern as not fitting the present situation, I still have to look at, but it’s terribly hard, because it’s so painful.



Out of my mind

So I hadn’t mentioned in my last post that I have been particularly react to contact with C lately. She is in her village with her grandparents and has access to a phone again and I can call when I please–no matrons and teachers to confiscate them. I do call every day, which I have done before, and sometimes C chats on Facebook, but I react to this very strongly in ways I find mysterious.

Actually speaking seems to go okay, but it’s the chats or lack of them I mostly react to, maybe because she is not actually there to see me react.

I am trying to handle this in a different way. I think of it as keeping my brain “on.” What I mean is retain a kind of sense of awareness of my feelings–feelings and a sense of awareness of having them and then a curiosity about what they might be about. I don’t know where that will lead, but it seems better than a lot of other things I could do.

Lately, she’s been ignoring me in chat, and this hasn’t really happened before, or when it has, it has been in contexts where I thought maybe she just didn’t like what I said. She doesn’t always answer, but she reads. The reading, i turns out, means a lot to me.

Now, sometimes, she says, I am busy, but not with what, and since she’s active on Facebook, she may just be busy with someone else or something else more important to her than me. And I feel sad.

That’s the practical end of things.

I could add as well, that last night, I called her and she was husking corn and she did actually sound busy. There was a quality in her voice of I am working hard at something, a kind of breathlessness, like she was rushing through a physical task.

So I began to think it’s some weird fluke that she appears to be continually online for long stretches when she’s actually mostly doing farm chores.

More importantly, though, I am just reactive, and I have to deal with that reactivity in some way. I suspect if she did something else, I would have some other difficult response.

I might also add that I think part of my childhood is being unable to interact enough with other people, like my mother or someone else close to me, so that I learned how to understand and express intention and desire in ways that allowed me to communicate and be understand later. Not that I didn’t learn anything, but I think something happened here, so that I learned emotional and social skills in patches. I think normal kinds of rejection that help us move towards something comfortable for both parties are perhaps difficult for me to figure out what to do with.

Tonight, she was ignoring me and I felt very sad. I felt worthless, and my approach to this has been to consider what it feels like to be worthless, and to be someone with opinions and experiences that no one finds of interest, because the thing is that might not be happening now, but I certainly felt that way as a child and it will probably be of use to me to understand what that felt like. It’s quite dreadful, I’ll tell you that, and it was pretty difficult to stay with.

Anyway, I sort of thought more or less on these lines for a while, “What is it like to be someone feeling these things that I am feeling?” One thing I have decided is that when things are so intense, if I have the luxury of not deciding anything or making a determination about what reality is, then it’s better not to, because I am basically not in any state to do that. I didn’t need to do anything, so I mostly felt bad and tried to stay aware of those painful feelings. And then it got to be around 5:15 and I realized it was kind of the usual time to call C, so I called her.

That struck me. I had this thought in my head, “I am this person no one has any interest in and who really ought not to be reaching out to express myself because that’s a doomed endeavour, and then the time rolled around to extend myself and I just did it.” Life carried on. It seemed to need to carry on, and I carried on with it.

She said she was busy, and like before she seemed actually busy–like she was slightly out of breath from rushing. She said she was making breakfast and needed to milk the cow still. Incidentally, all of that sounded quite truthful. One of her chores is to take care of the cow. I have no doubt she might be expected to do most of the cooking. She is 16, and her grandparents are in their 60s. Elderly Country Xers do expect to be be able to put their feet up and wait to die at a certain age–not that her grandparents really have that luxury most of the time–none of their other children live with them.

I told her to have a nice morning and I said I would try to call before I went to bed. In other words, I behaved normally, despite having felt like a lunatic for the last hour.


I have been thinking about this a lot lately.

I think it’s an important part of my past.

Humiliation is the feeling of being deliberately and unfairly treated as a subordinate. I think it’s often done in order to enhance the sense of power and security of the one doing it.

I think child abuse itself can feel humiliating: other children aren’t treated the way you are and usually you know this. I think there are times when this is actually the intent of the abuse–to enhance the parent’s feelings of power and security. The child’s sense of security in the world is an unintended casualty.

Some parents who abuse their children are simply overwhelmed and frustrated. They lose control of themselves, because they lack the repertoire of skills necessary to parent. Other parents are sadistic and intentionally cause harm. Some parents have very destructive means of regulating themselves and the social relationships and humiliation is part of their repertoire: they feel insecure or threatened and respond by degrading someone else, someone who incapable of defending themselves, their own children.

I think a lot of my dad’s abuse was about humiliation. Some of it was sadistic, but other acts of abuse were intended to exact some kind of revenge on society itself in order to enhance his feelings of security and power. I think murdering vulnerable young women was about flouting the norms of society–we protect pretty, fragile girls or at least say we do–in order to make himself feel more powerful and less vulnerable. Revenge, probably, for not protecting him when he himself was vulnerable and fragile. He dismembered their bodies as a form of humiliation: these girls are not even human; their bodies can be treated like the flesh of animals, which we butcher and eat.

I think incest was done to humiliate me as well, and yet I don’t think it was about me. I think I was an object to my dad: I think I stood for something rather than was myself. I don’t think I was myself to him. I think I was women generally, or decent society or even his vulnerable, powerless self whom he blamed for his own childhood mistreatment.

I think rape generally is intended to humiliate: there is a reason men do this to the women of groups they consider to be the enemy. The humiliation a rape survivor feels when remembering the abuse comes from the intentions of the rapist. Human beings have the right to refuse sexual experiences: in taking away your right, it is not because the rapist want the sexual experience so badly, but in order to enhance his own sense of power and security. You remember that later, not because you are degraded as a human being, but because someone intentionally tried to degrade you.

I think as long as we talk about feelings as being stable and eternal, we cannot ever make sense of experiences of abuse. The feeling of being “less than” or without value is not about who you are, but about how someone perceived you in one particular experience.

Humiliation is not always shocking or graphic: the narcissistic parent favours one child over the other in order to humiliate the less favoured child. Only by having someone to compare himself to can the child feel the humiliation. If both children are mistreated, no one feels “less than” anyone else. Sometimes C’s stepfather gives presents to the other children in the family, but not her. What she feels is humiliated, but she has no words for that emotion, nor does she have words for the confusion of being humiliated by someone she ought to feel is on the same side: we humiliate “out groups,” not our own kind. When we humiliate members of our own group, we degrade ourselves, so humiliation presupposes you are not a member of the group humiliating you.

This humiliation can then become something which can’t be talked about or understood or even thought about, but which the person remains alert to as a possible threat. When it comes up, I realize it feels like who I am. It’s possible for me to go through life frantically trying to resist “becoming” this person again: in other words, I might avoid situations where I might be reminded of being humiliated, because I cannot think about humiliation without being consumed by it–because as a child, that is how your social experiences feel. Your self-view in that moment is you, rather than something about the situation.

The thing about this is that any crack in your armour, anything personal or sensitive or unique to you, becomes an opening for an abusive parent to humiliate you.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately: that the stress I react to is nearly any kind of vulnerability: I am most afraid of being treated as someone less than human over having a feeling or a preference of some kind. The more personal and strongly felt, the more intense the threat might seem, with the mistreatment in my childhood perhaps feeling the most sensitive of all.

There is another part to this: remember in my post “Epigenics,” I talked about a stress response making it harder for me to regulate my emotions or organize my responses. So that’s the most frequent trigger for my stress response: some kind of personal vulnerability. Anything at all might be used as ammunition against me, I suppose it must feel.

And a third part to this: I was reading somewhere that good classroom managers have a variety of strategies for managing the same kinds of behaviours, which depend on the motivation and temperament of the student, but poor classroom managers use only a few or even just one strategy to address the same behaviours. I’ve read something similar about people with secure attachments: they have many strategies for regulating themselves. Those with poor attachments have only a few strategies.

I see this as related: my parents probably had few strategies for regulating themselves, which was all they had to knew to teach me, and a lot of these strategies were destructive to relationships. Humiliation was one of them.

It’s not really a surprise that people from abusive backgrounds use abusive self-talk to manage themselves: that’s all they have. But I wonder if it’s easier to expand your repertoire of self-regulating skills than to avoid one in particular. Not that it has to be an either-or, but I wonder if learning new skills ought to be more of a focus when people have traumatic pasts. And I also wonder if people realize we learn new strategies from how people try to regulate our interactions with them. I don’t know, but lots of thoughts.

Mornings are hard

Mornings are hard.

Today, I am considering this in light of my ideas about why my mind is the way that it is: under stress, I begin to lose the ability to organize my thoughts and behavior effectively and so I become dysregulated.

What happens when I am dysregulated is everything in my mind is extreme and intense and it’s quite awful.

Lately, there are times when I feel I am making a lot of progress and other times when it feels like the state of my mind is so terrible I don’t see how I can spend a lifetime struggling with it.

This morning was one of those latter times. I tried staying with this idea. So, if my brain is out of control like this because of stress, then I have some choices about what to do. I can avoid the stress, like I come inside when the yard work is going on because the machine noise cause me stress. I can make the stress go away by solving whatever the problem is. (That would be like asking the neighbours to lay off the weed whacking for a while.) Or counteract the stress by doing things that help me feel safer, calmer, or happier.

In other words, it is not really about the crazy shit going through my head. It’s about addressing the cause of my losing my mind in the first place. Which is much easier.

So, what’s the stress?

Mornings are hard. I thought about this for a while. You wake up and the first thought in your unconscious mind is, I think, where is everybody? And I live alone, so there are many “everybodies” that might wander through my mind as people who are not there, which would naturally make things worse, but I think as human beings being alone is, in itself, stressful. I don’t think we are designed to be alone. If I over-react to stress (and I mean this physically and chemically, not that I express my feelings of distress as being greater than they are), which is my hypothesis, then that alone would do it–just it’s morning and the sudden awareness that I am alone, and an instinctive urge to check for people might expect to be there who are not here for various reasons.

There would be layers of mornings when I woke up and cried for someone to be there and bad things ensued: no one came, and the somebodies who were there got angry at me for checking for people.

But I think the flood of cortisol in my brain is enough to do what is happening in my brain. So what can I do?

Make it seem less like morning to myself, which could look like rushing through the morning routines so that it no longer seems like morning.

Do comforting things.

Wait. It’s not morning all day.




I have been thinking about the kitchen sink lately. The kitchen sink upsets me. I wash dishes and have the impulse to self-harm. Eventually, I realized this impulse is the impulse that accompanies guilt. I feel guilty.

What I try to do other than not panic about the impulse is to relax into the feeling. It turns out guilty feelings are easier to deal with than guilty thoughts or guilty impulses. This in itself is not actually easy, although “relax” makes it sound that way. Anyone with trauma will understand “relax” is not automatic or easy.

“Relax” means “do everything possible to feel safe enough to have feelings” and “work continually at calming my body” and even “be conscious of how it feels when I can’t feel my feelings anymore.”

So I have doing this. I have been doing this for a while. I stand at the sink doing things and try to feel guilty instead of thinking guilty thoughts or having guilty impulses.

When I do this, interesting things sometimes happen. I stop having what I think of as “junk” thoughts and begin to have thoughts I want to pursue. They tend to seem to swim up as if out of a cloudy pond. There is something hazy or mysterious or surprising about them.

So I began to think about Piotr, who is a part I don’t really know much about. Piotr likes purple and writing neatly and I do not really know much else about him.

I began to think Piotr is obedient. Neat and organized and obedient.

I should say as I was thinking about this that I understand the guilt I feel has to do with being a bystander. People were murdered and their bodies desecrated and abused and I was there helping this to happen.

Bystanders usually feel guilty. Guilt motivates us to act or if we don’t know what to do we turn away so that we don’t have to feel guilty.

I also know I was trafficked and people saw and did nothing and because they did not know what to do, they turned away from my suffering. And I am pretty angry about this.

I should also say I don’t believe the conventional wisdom that trauma symptoms happen because of maladaptive beliefs about it. I believe it happened, it is already over, and whatever I thought or felt at the time is ok. But I do need to understand it and to organize it and place it within some kind of context.

Piotr came to mind. While I was thinking about him I could feel how frightened I had been. I could really feel the fear in my body.

It illuminated some things. Feeling that fear, I could understand why I would feel very guilty about helping to mistreat the corpses of young women and respond by trying very hard to be obedient. I don’t know what to say about that, but I understand that at a very deep level.

I also understand how this would end up as a feeling that seemed disconnected–this feeling of obedience, because it is not all I felt. I felt guilty and horrified and even angry, and only with the fear does the urge to be obedient even make sense. The rest of me wanted to scream or run away or vomit. Obedience won, but until the impulse gets connected to emotions, my own mind does not make sense even to me.


So I had my session yesterday and came home and essentially spent the rest of the day in bed watching old episodes of Wire in the Blood, which is a crime show mostly about serial killers. I would not probably have stayed in bed, but I have only hard kitchen chairs….It’s not quite as bleak as it sounds.

I had nothing that absolutely needed to be done that day, but I also feel I don’t know what will be most effective after sessions or even for weekends generally. This seems to happen, unless i make some concerted effort to make it not happen, and then I actually don’t know that not doing it is better.

So that was Saturday. And now it is Sunday.

I suppose I should say it was a decent session and we talked about some difficult stuff, but not with the same level of intensity as the previous week. I might write more about that later.

I did have a couple of interesting thoughts yesterday. One of them is about epigenetics. Epigenetics is the science of switches in your genes that are flipped by environment. So you have an experience which is temporary, but it leaves this lasting impression upon your genes which alters your make-up for a lifetime and it turns out can also be passed down to your children and grandchildren.

Childhood stress causes epigenetic changes. One evidence of this is that the rate of schizophrenia went way up in the children born to European women who experienced famine while they were pregnant. So the stress of famine changed these children’s genes and predisposed them to a mental disorder that lasts a lifetime. It’s not really clear what other epigenetic changes might result from different kinds of stressors: we are just exploring this area of science.

However, rats who experienced neglect as pups were more reactive to stress as adults. Whether that’s epigenetics or learned behaviour, I don’t know.

But what I am thinking is that my brain has a more intense reaction to stress than people who had calmer childhoods, and it’s probably always going to be like that, and what I need to do as an adult is figure out how to deal with that.

It is not immediately obvious that this is what is going on. It doesn’t result automatically in a feeling of greater stress. I don’t have it and “know,” “Oh, I am stressed out.” What happens is that my working memory is affected and little, important things get forgotten, which ends up being really frustrating for me, because I am normally someone I think of as being fairly competent. Then, suddenly, I forget my transit pass or forget to pick up kids from recess and the more distressed I am at this sudden drop in my level of competence, the worse it is likely to get.

The hard part about this is that people around me don’t have any idea why this might be happening. Normally when someone is inattentive a greater conscious commitment to being present fixes the problem. But this is not about my mind wandering. This is about not being able to process as much stimuli, and the more frightened I feel, the worse the more my ability to process is impacted.

That’s one element.

The other is that the normal function of the cerebral cortex is impacted by stress, and it basically stops working as well. A little cortisol and it perks up and works harder. Too much, and I lose the ability to restrain impulses, organize effective responses, decide priorities or compare past and present events to see what lessons from the past might help me in the present.

And what this can feel like is either I shut down my ability to feel emotions as sensations and I have no idea where my thought and impulses are coming from, or I have these intense emotions that seem puzzlingly out of proportion to what is going on.

What I am starting to learn is the intensity is about the degree of stress and my ability to regulate it, and it’s not necessarily about the urgency of the current situation. It can seem that my feelings are inappropriate, but I have just lost control of my ability to calm them and make sense of them. That’s all.

Unfortunately, what I have learned over a lifetime of having internal experiences which the people around me found puzzling or upsetting is that I should not have these experiences at all.

Which makes me even less likely to be able to make sense of them or regulate, because it makes bringing them out into the light of day even more stressful. Not that I need to involve someone else in my process of regulating or sense-making, but as a child I had to have help with it, and I did and I learned it’s not okay to even think about what is going on inside me. What is inside me is repellent.

But the fact is what is going on inside me is quite normal most of the time. It’s just unpleasantly intense and I need to work very hard at toning it down again.

For example, I might feel ashamed and that could mean just that I have bumped into someone not understanding what I am saying (shame is the emotion of loss of connection) or maybe that person feeling too stimulated and needing to back off. And these are normal social exchanges that keep the interaction comfortable for both parties–this kind of negotiation. But if I am slammed with shame, then I don’t think that. I don’t think, well, they can’t relate to that. Maybe I need to look for a different topic they can relate better to. I don’t think, maybe I ought to try to explain that more clearly. I think I am bad, because when you are slammed with feelings, they feel like who you are. It feels like a blanket rather than a social cue, which is what it is.

What I am saying is that I need to be able to work with this, because I think it is not going to go away, and I need to be able to send and receive these kinds of social cues that create emotional equilibrium between people.