Yesterday’s post took off on a tangent from which I never returned. I started out talking about my intuition about people, which I want to continue now. I mentioned how there are two YouTubers on different sites that I have watched and the first time I saw them streaming together, I instantly knew they were banging. Or if they weren’t banging at the time, they were very attracted to each other. When they came out with a tweet that they had been together for a year (at a later date), so many of their fans expressed surprise. Whereas to me, it was so obvious. Take a look at the video below and tell me if you can guess who they are.
Another time, I was talking to my brother about why I don’t like movies. He said of course I didn’t like them because I could see what was happening a mile off and they weren’t authentic enough. I was surprised he had said that not because it wasn’t true because it was pretty perceptive of him to pick up on it. He has made comments since then about my ability to intuit things about people that most people can’t.
Related, there was someone on one of the advice blogs I frequent that said empaths aren’t real. Um, what? Yes, we are. The way she stated it so confidently shook me to my care. If she had said she didn’t think it was real, that would have been one thing. But to state it as if it were a fact when it’s just her opinion? It’s the same when a woman flatly told me that women don’t imagine how strangers would be in bed after I had just told her I did that.
Then, of course there was the classic of what happened when I told my mother I was bi. Why I told her, I don’t know. Unwarranted optimism that since she had just supported my cousin as coming out as gay and she was a psychologist, I thought she’d do the same for me. Nope. She was horrified, to say the least, and she trotted out the classic, “But what next? Animals?” Which, why is it always animals????
When someone denies who you are, it’s hard not to let that shake you. When it comes to the perception thing, I have such a heightened sense of others, it can be intrusive. You know how we all have masks when we’re out and about in the world? It’s a necessary thing and one that I support. Unfortunately, I’m someone who can pierce that veil without even trying. I learned at an early age that I can unerringly know the cruelest way to hurt someone without even really thinking about it.
If I talk to you (general you) for ten minutes, I can find it. 90% of people will hand me the information I need to cut you to pieces. And when I get angry, of course I want to go for the jugular. I try really hard not to do it, but I can’t say that I have never hit a low blow.
I’ve said it before, but it’s really not a comfortable feeling to know more about someone than they know themselves. It’s also hard to listen to their rationalizations about themselves without correcting them. We all see ourselves in a certain way that might or might not be accurate. Is it my job to dissuade people of these notions? Normally, I say no. Unless it’s someone close to me. Then I’ll try to find a gentle way to say it, but say it I will. But if it’s just an acquaintance, is it really my place? I’d say probably not, but it makes for a lonely existence.
I have to keep things superficial then because it’s the polite thing to do. For example. for my besties 40th birthday, she had a big party. I went and talked to a woman, I’ll call her ‘Jane’ I had met a few times before. A warm, caring woman, I enjoyed Jane’s company. Or, I did until that party. She got drunk and proceeded to pour out her woes with her child and drug use for hours. Now, this was partly my fault for not putting my foot down or gracefully extracting myself, and I take full responsibility for that. But as we were talking, it was clear that the issue wasn’t that her kid was smoking dope too much. It was that she felt guilty because she and her partner are fairly heavy dope smokers themselves and did it in front of him. She mentioned it a bit, but she wanted to focus more about how unfair his teachers were treating him.
If she were a close friend, I would have pointed out that she was consumed by guilt, but we were not friends so that wasn’t my place. That’s an extreme answer, but I have experiences like this all the time. People talk to me about a problem and what they’re complaining about isn’t the real problem.
I knew that I was an outlier when it came to reading other people, but I didn’t realize how much of an outlier I was until my brother made it clear that it wasn’t me just being a bit more perceptive. He called it a talent and a gift, which is flattering (he thinks I should become a therapist). Many years ago, he was having difficulties with one of his colleagues. He complained at length to me about it and I told him some hard truths about his colleague (whom I had met) and about himself (how he, my brother, had contributed to the problems. And how he, my brother, had been a bit of a bully to his colleague in some ways). What I told him about his colleague really changed how he viewed him (let’s call him Tony). It didn’t magically make the working relationship problem-free, but my brother was able to better deal with Tony’s oddities once I had explained them to him.
And, of course, the fact that I casually dropped to my brother that he was on the spectrum because I thought it was so obvious and it changed his life. He has talked about it with so many people since I said it to him. It was so obvious to me that I thought I was just mentioning something he already knew. I still feel guilty about not saying something to him decades ago, by the way. But again, is it my job to tell people about themselves?
Honestly, I’m trying to think about what I want to do with this talent. I’m not sure because it’s so innate. I have a hard time even seeing it as a gift or talent, but I’ve been assured it is by other people.