When I was younger, I didn’t make much eye contact. When I looked into someone’s eyes, I saw the person- with all their thoughts and feelings and traumas big and small- laid out like a painting. Five seconds was time enough to take in information that would take half an hour to even start to digest.
So I went to therapy and social skills classes. I was told to make more and more eye contact. Like a room where ten people were talking at once, so much information came from the constant eye contact that it all got lost. Eventually I learned to shut off the part of me that took information from eye contact so I could make as much of it as my parents and teachers wanted.
Now I am, when not under stress, “almost normal” at appropriate eye contact. Eye contact doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s lost it’s value; that’s why I can give it away so freely. It used to be a window into a person’s heart. Now it’s just staring at eyeballs, their small circles of color and their larger blank white.