Yesterday I wrote an article about one of the characteristics Psychopaths share, namely that we aren't naturally adept at recognizing a fearful expression in another person's face.
I further spoke about my personal experience in this respect, how I've dealt with it and what I think about it.
"Come again, speak up!!"
Does this man have Bad Hearing and I didn't speak loud enough?
"You've got to be kidding!?"
Or did he hear me, but is in Disbelief?
However, when this emotional recognition deficit is mentioned, another one is very often mentioned along with it:
Psychopaths have significant difficulty with recognizing Expressions of Repulsion or Disgust, and other related types of emotions, in other people's faces.
I didn't write about this yesterday, I left it completely out of the article, and I had a good reason for doing so: Repulsion to me is not only something I can't recognize in people's expressions, to my knowledge I have never experienced it. And what's more, it has never held much significance to me.
Disgust, in my understanding, is somewhat equal to Contempt though with a trace of something else which I can't quite pin point. The something else may be Repulsion, which will explain why I can't put my finger on it.
So when I left it out of yesterday's article it wasn't because I didn't feel like talking about it, it was because I don't know what to say about it!
Today I found an article about Emotional Intelligence in which was stated that:
Role of Emotional Intelligence in Social Life
Emotional intelligence is the ability of a person to use emotions as a guiding
tool for interpersonal effectiveness in his or her social environment (Figure 1).
While interacting with members of the social environment, emotionally intelligent
people produce win-win relationships and outcomes for themselves
and others. Such people develop a magnetic field of emotional attraction around
themselves and often are the owners of an ever-increasing network of social relationships
and emotional support structures. People with low emotional intelligence,
on the contrary, enter into counterproductive emotional transactions and
build around them, often unknowingly, a field of emotional repulsion that
causes their social circles to become contracted and distanced from them.
To me this seems peculiar, because I should then be a social outcast and derelict, but I have proven again and again that I can be quite the opposite, namely very popular and sought out for company, for fun, friendship, and advice. It's all a matter of what my intention and focus is at the time.
On the other hand I will not deny that I have experienced the opposite kind of situation on several occasions as well, and it is here my issue with recognizing and understanding the nature of the Emotion called Repulsion, whether in the form of witnessing someone else who has this emotion, or what this emotion really means, what is consists of or how it feels.
Another article starts:
Disgust is a fascinating emotion. Its elicitors are a puzzle: it makes sense that we are disgusted by things that can contaminate our food, but why does this food-related emotion extend itself so deeply into our social world, so that people feel disgusted by certain ethnic groups (or by racism), by homosexuality (or by homophobia), and by a variety of social and moral violations that don’t involve anything physically contaminating?
Oh, really? I have absolutely no sense of disgust towards "thing that can contaminate my food". Why would I invest negative emotions towards f.x. bacteria simply because they might contaminate my food?
How about feeling disgust against tomatoes then? If we eat too many, we can die from that alone! Is a lot of tomatoes disgusting?
The same goes for the line about racism. I've never understood what can move people to take such ridiculous positions against something which is just a more extreme version of different hair color. Is a strong tan disgusting just because it basically is the result of having subjected the skin on one's body to a mild burn from the sun rays? Absurd, I say!
I only remember having seen people who expressed repulsion on a very limited number of occasions which were all related to testing situations. Furthermore, I didn't even see the repulsion in the expressions of these people's faces. Yet, I was told that Repulsion was what they expressed, and I remember these incidents well because it puzzled me that even when it was pointed out to me, I still couldn't see it.
So what does Repulsion look like? And how does it affect me when someone feels repulsion about something associated with me or towards me directly?
I am aware that I have been in such situations numerous times, and yet I've never experienced any of them. - What I see in a repulsed face, is usually what I would recognize as either Contempt or Annoyance, or both, and maybe with a trace of Anger thrown in.
On some test photos(1*) I have found that the person can look funny, like if he's just been confronted with something that smells overwhelmingly bad - most often an adult during an attempt to shame me or simply blame me, after catching me or finding out about something I'd done... it would especially happen when I'd done something outrageously silly and destructive... what people sometimes call 'obscene', combinations of destruction, Sex and Violence elements seem to the fundamental "recipe" that will create responses with these kinds of expressions.
As a small kid I would sometimes imagine that someone with this kind of expression had just been secretly slipping a particularly stinky fart ... a thought that made me laugh, but which made them even more annoyed or angry with me. In my childishness I would think this a reaction to them knowing that I'd be telling the other kids about their embarrassing mistake, whether or not they'd actually made one.
But from what I understand, feeling Repulsion or Disgust has no connection with smell whatsoever, or with any other of our physical senses, it's a purely emotional phenomenon. So why it looks the way it does is something of a mystery - especially when we learn that it also has nothing to do with contempt.
I think that when I haven't taught myself how to recognize this emotional expression in others stems from my not having realized there was anything missing in the first place, and further, when I did learn about this kind of emotion, it just never seemed relevant, since for obvious reasons I've never felt it was something I encountered often, if ever.
There have been some times when somebody has told me that this or that person had just shown repulsion towards me, but when I've thought their behavior over I've always come to the conclusion that it either it must've been a mistake on part of those who told me - since I obviously saw no such signs of repulsion - or I've shrugged it off since it wasn't that important anyway.
I know normal people find it very important, and they become very hurt when someone looks at them with this kind of expression. - I've even thought I sometimes use this expression myself when I dominate/manipulate people. But when I do so, I think of my expression as one of Contempt, which apparently is not the same thing at all.
If I am to conclude anything from this, I guess it will have to be that there's a certain comfort in knowing my confusion is shared by psychopaths in general!...
(1*) - In a real assessment situation there're always a couple of pictures that show more exaggerated versions of each type or combination of emotional expressions. And I've noticed that the samples we see in so called Facial Expressions Tests on the Internet usually have a larger representation of these types of exaggerated photos. I gather the reason for this is that these tests are basically meant to be fun, a pass time, and those who provide them don't want people to fail the "test", as this would likely lead to fewer people wanting to visit and spend time with them.