In my latest reading of People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, two issues that stood out to me were introversion and loneliness.
Peck tells a story about a young woman named Billie. Her Dad was a bank clerk who was really introverted and distant. Her Mom had several affairs and was dead-set on preventing Billie from attaining her independence out of fear of being alone. Billie herself was promiscuous, and she was inhibited from having a committed relationship because she alienated men by being clingy. Billie was also afraid of spiders, and, in therapy, she arrived at the insight that this was because her mother, and even she, were like spiders: they trapped their prey.
The reason that Billie’s father stood out to me was that, although he was introverted and distant, he unexpectedly supported his daughter when she moved out of the house into an apartment of her own. He helped her out and gave her gifts. This disrupted Billie’s relationship with her mother, for Billie and her mother had bonded over running the man down, and now they couldn’t bond over that because Billie liked her father. I appreciated this story because it showed that even an introvert can show love to somebody else.
I could identify with Billie and her mother’s fear of being alone. I lived alone for years. It had its strengths, but it was, well, lonely. I like being around people who love and care about me—-people with whom it’s not an uphill battle to become accepted—-and that’s what I have now.