Note to Self (Two Paragraphs from Peter Kramer)

This excerpt is from Should You Leave?, a wonderful, difficult, not entirely optimistic book by Peter D. Kramer that did not, understandably, achieve the popularity of Listening to Prozac. Never mind. If he wrote it just so I could read these two paragraphs, and then reread them to myself again and again over the years, that would be enough. 

"After all, social acuity has its excesses. I sometimes think I see patients who suffer from hypersemia. A woman may know just what is going on with a man. When he says he adores her, she sees to what extent this sentiment is due to his compulsive need to place women on pedestals and attribute to them traits like docility and sweetness. She considers the man insecure and mistaken. His hidden potential for rage is apparent to her, as are his narcissism, his difficulty with commitment, and his excessive need for control. She is easily hurt by small gestures of neglect, gestures of which the man is unaware unless she points them out, something she avoids doing, knowing she would only be thought petty. She senses he is never fully present, not even during lovemaking.

This woman's world is full of such men, and full of the signals of ambivalence and unreliability that they emit. To her, many men are blind to their own needs; others are frankly hypocrites. She holds these beliefs resentfully and with a constant awareness of her difference from men. The myriad of cues overwhelms her; she can scarcely distinguish the more solid man from the less. Facing a man who is only slightly deluded, she cannot smile at his shortcomings and hope for growth. The flaws stand forth too vividly. For the hypersemic, to enter a relationship requires a conscious effort to ignore what she perceives with great accuracy. Any liason takes a leap of faith, and either she does not leap at all, or she leaps at the wrong moment, toward a man who is not subtly but grossly unreliable."