Excuse the unusual title. I consider myself, personality wise, part super-soft kitten and part Rottweiler. Ergo I must be a kitweiler.
The personality is something I spend a lot of time mulling over as a construct. Sitting through lectures on psychology and individual differences at uni cemented my interest in this. I am even more fascinated with personality since I was formally diagnosed with a PD of the borderline variety. I am in therapy to help me learn to understand my personality; how those maladaptive traits were borne from extended trauma and how exactly trauma infiltrates my everyday life, thoughts, feelings, responses and reactions.
I’m a product far more of nurture than nature, though my biology, neurological structures, wiring, levels of neurotransmitters and bodily physiology is very much different to the norm due to my experiences. Trauma exposed me to unbearable things at a unbearably young age. I was therefore nurtured to have my personality develop in a kitweiler-ish way.
People I should have been able to trust turned out to be the least trustworthy individuals out there. They were my parents and caregivers, also doctors and religious people, so I had to abandon my gut intuition and continue trusting them regardless.
I don’t like authority. Respect is earned, not offered up automatically. Trust-building is an evolving process that never really stops with me. Can you really blame me though? I’ve had enough shit happen in my life. I won’t allow anymore.
I will drop people like the unwanted edge bits of your lunchtime sandwich. I will block people on social media without guilt if you hurt or otherwise concern or upset my sensitive distrustful nature. You will say something wrong. I will walk away. I rarely walk back over a once-burned bridge. I burned that bridge for a reason.
This terrifies people about me. I understand why. Someone said to me (someone who was a close friend) “I would NOT want to cross you”. I have certain friends who never fully trust me and my ability to remain loyal to them. They stay paranoid that they might inadvertently say the ‘wrong thing’ and I’ll reject them. It’s sad to hear feedback like that, but of course I understand.
What can I say to that?…it’s hard to know what to say. My track record is that I am a loving, loyal, kind, giving person, as empathic as they come (super-soft kitten me) but I’m also ruthless when crossed. That’s where the Rottweiler me comes in.
My inner Rottweiler developed as a very much adaptive and helpful (at the time) part of my personality. My personality became structured around hypervigilance, clever analysis, and an innate defensiveness. I had to predict and second guess who might hurt me and when the next episode of hurting would come. I had to construct rules in my head to keep me safe (“Heuristic” is the psycho-babble term). A heuristic is basically a cognitive shortcut which encapsulates rules, likelihoods, probabilities and trends. Ie. I fear darkness because my heuristic is that it is nighttimes when I usually get hurt. Daylight fades, ergo I will probably get hurt. This negative prediction persists even now as a 35 year of mother of two making every night a PTSD trigger.
Heuristic predictions are things that keep life safe and predictable. If we identify the trend, we can ready ourself for the traumatic onslaught that will inevitably come during certain circumstances. Eg. At night my daddy will come to my bed and sexually abuse me. That’s the rule. But what happens when we are abused in the daytime? Or by another abuser than the usual person? Your heuristic is rendered inadequate…so you have to create ever more complex heuristics about people and situations to accurately predict human behaviour.
The complexity of this for an adult, let alone for a child, frazzles our brains.
‘The whole world is unsafe’
‘Everyone is out to hurt you’
Statements like that form schemas, life scripts, personal ideologies…call it what you will.
Believing those things means you have to behave and react to people in line with your belief systems.
If this is what happened in your life (trauma), which caused you you think this way about humanity, it’s fucking hard to adjust that, even with the best logic or the best contrary evidence.
I was recently approached by a business coach who messaged me after my telly appearance (a stranger offering me free coaching). My inner Rottweiler came out. I still haven’t showed him my kitten side so far because the defensive part of my psyche came into play….the part that kept me safe in my past; the part of me who is savvy, astute and very much once bitten, twice shy.
There was no shyness in my defensiveness at his offer. He is a mangulp Giant red cross in my head explodes like a firework display. Du duhhh. My heuristic screams ‘MEN ARE DANGEROUS LOONS PRONE TO ABUSING AND EXPLOITING WOMEN WHO THEY PERCEIVE AS VULNERABLE. PREDATOR ALERT.’ Etc. He is also in a position of supposed trust (‘to cover up tracks of abusive exploiting ways by appearing to be an admired pillar of the community?’) beeps my smoke alarm. “He works in the field of education- he might therefore be a PAEDOPHILE who got into that business so he could get access to children?!” whispers the concerned voice who trusts no one and is suspicious of everyone.
OR, alternatively he might be a thoroughly nice bloke who is NOT intending to groom me, nor intending on make sexual advances, nor intending to exploit me financially at some point in the future, or to steal my ideas! He might actually be a genuine person who wants to help?
Stranger things have happened.
It’s hard to know who to trust though, so I’m putting him through his paces. Maybe I’m being a tad harsh but he HAS to answer my questions fully and appropriately. Any cageyness or dodgyness and like a dragon in the den, “I’m out”.
I’ve said I don’t do bullshit and speak no filter. I’ve asserted my boundaries and prepped him for what my personality comprises and what my expectations of him are.
No shyness with this blogger kitten! Because of the Rottweiler part.
I used to be ALL kitten. That trusting kitten was exploited too many fucking times. Never again will I let that happen…..So kitweiler me will continue to growl when approached, before she feels safe to purr. Kitweiler me will look at you suspiciously with her glinting summerSHINES eyes, and she will show you her kitten side eventually, as long as you keep in line. Otherwise you’ll soon have a Rottweiler in your midst.
For fun, this is a scribbled self-portrait of myself I did.😛 I don’t have my sharpies on holiday so I stole the kids felt tips pens 😳😲