P is for Pathological.
Pathological has a negative stigma attached to it. People hear pathological and their first thoughts are of pathological liars or pathological murderers and they think pathological means people like to do it a lot. They think those people are able to control their actions but have something ‘wrong’ with them or that they are ‘bad’. Yes, lying and murder are wrong, but the word pathological isn’t.
Pathological basically means inherent/pervasive/all-encompassing. Pathological means the way it works, the typical features of it. Using the word pathological, while it is commonly used for diseases, can explain features of a person’s personality and/or behaviour. If someone is a pathological liar then their brain works in such a way that they are unable to not lie. Just as a disease is unable to be something other than a disease. Yet humans are far more complex than a simple disease and so are able to find ways around their pathology if given a chance.
Simply put, humans are pathologically human, we are pathologically intelligent (when compared to most species), we are pathologically designed to mate and survive, the same way a lion is pathologically designed to hunt food.
So if pathological describes that main part of what we are, then the term pathological used to describe those with a set of traits such as those diagnosed with PDA then that means that those traits are inherently who they are, and are (to some degree) unable to be changed.
After all, you wouldn’t try to stop a fish from swimming or a bird from flying. Sure if a fish kept swimming (Nemo-like) into the filter then we would try to adapt the filter to prevent it from getting stuck. Sure if a bird kept flying into a building and getting distressed then we would remember to close the doors so it can’t get in. Sure, when PDA people struggle to contain their negative emotions we will try to adapt their environment so it doesn’t triggers those negative emotions again. Humans are intelligent enough and have a greater level of awareness and understanding of ourselves than most species, so naturally we are able to lead other humans to a better way of living. We can show them how to manage their own environment and handle their emotions in healthier ways. We cannot remove the pathological part from ourselves anymore than I could remove the skin tissue from my body. I wouldn’t be me (or alive) without it, similarly I wouldn’t be me without my pathological demand avoidance. Of course there are parts of PDA I don’t like, just as there are parts of my biological make-up that I don’t like. There are also parts of both that I do like and parts that I love.
I like the word pathological, it fits, it makes sense, it does what it says on the tin. I don’t want people thinking I can switch my demand avoidance on or off at a whim, like I’m in control, that wouldn’t be accurate at all. Pathological shows that it is so ingrained in me that I cannot fully control it, any more than I can control my skin getting goose bumps in the cold. If people don’t like the term pathological because they think the negative stereotypes associated with it make it look bad then tough. I’m happy to educate them. It’s who I am and I’ll describe myself how I like. As long as I’m not hurting anyone then it shouldn’t matter to others how I describe myself, especially if they have no knowledge/understanding of what PDA is.
P is for Pathological.