I have written our story 100 different times in 100 different ways but it never ended with both of us just shrugging our shoulders and walking away. The defeat feels unsettling. I long for those days of you and I walking for hours under the stars talking about nothing. I now realize that the best way to preserve the innocence and love of those times is to stop destroying it with the reality of what we have become.
How does it feel to be loved by a psychopath…from the moment that he steps into my arms the intoxication begins. I am immediately transported to a time and place of my youth, a time when, I and everything, were perfect and innocent. I don’t just forebear the anger and hostility that I have held against him instead those feelings evaporate out of existence. I am at once perfect in his eyes, and he in mine. I am hopeful for our future together. It is a euphoria that no drug can duplicate, right up until the time that he hurts me so bad that death seems like the only solace…and he will hurt me…again…and again.
April 4, 2015
10 years ago my favorite felon discharged parole, went on a week long run, stole a car and drove cross country claiming that there was no dope to be found in Arkansas and that he would get sober and come back to me. As the years went by I would hear from him from time to time, usually when he was in trouble or needed something. One time when I was an emotional wreck from my own addiction and grieving the demise of my second marriage I wired him $1000 to come home. He called me the next day to tell me that he blew most of the money at a casino and the rest on dope and a hooker. I was devastated. Through the years, he would pledge his undying love and devotion to me and promise his return, “soon” he would say, “I will come home soon.” He would always punctuate his it with “I promise.” Well soon happened in January when he showed up on my doorstep. He hasn’t changed, but I have. I have a career, kids, sobriety and a life, most of all I have something to lose, something that I am not willing to risk.
So I told him to leave me alone, not to come back, not to show up in 6 or 12 months and hope that I forgot about all the pain he has caused me. Shocker, came by my house again. When no one answered the door he left a note, in his distinctive handwriting, handwriting that is almost identical to mine, saying “Just so you know, there was a delay, I entered rehab Jan 21 and got kicked out 2 days ago. So now I’ll leave you be. Sorry I’m a loser ” Logically I know what he is trying to do. He knows how to make me feel guilty and is banking on the chance that I will respond and tell him “No you are not a loser. I believe in you. How can I help?” He has owned my soul for 25 years, but for the first time in my life I am not responding, I am going to put me first.
But here’s the thing that I just can’t shake, I miss him, I miss him something terrible. I have to fight with myself not to contact him. The voice inside my head says, “What the Fuck?! This man has cheated on you, stole from you, ignored you, abandoned you, used you” and emotional me replies “but he has never laid hands on me! I am special goddammit!”, rational mind responds “ahhh, but he has hurt you in every other way possible.” So I wonder to myself, “what is this all about?” Resolving this mysterious war in my head is two-fold, the first has to do with letting go of the fantasy and the second has to do with me desire to preserve the narrative of my life.
The fantasy… I have loved this man since I was 15 years old. When he started to get deep into drugs we were juniors in high school. He started shooting up almost immediately and if it’s one thing I know it’s that people fall the fuck apart once they start shooting up. I spent years thinking that he would stop eventually and become the boy that I fell in love with. It never happened but I never quit hoping. There were years that he was missing from my life but I always knew he was out there. I always hoped that he was thinking of me too and I fantasized about how he would eventually get sober and come back to me and we would live happily ever after. Through every one of my bad marriages I would lie awake at night and feed this fantasy. I would imagine that he was out there somewhere missing me too. Sometimes I would reach out to him and ask “Do you still love me?”. He would reassure me “More than you will ever know.” It’s hard to readjust to the harsh reality of life when you have spend most of it believing a fantasy. The fact is that I love him, or at least the version of him that dwells only in my head. I have told myself that he comes back again and again because of our bond as soul-mates, but really he continues to come back because I let him.
The narrative of my life…in order for me to give up my fantasy I need to accept certain truths. Truth…my favorite felon is a psychopath. He is charming and witty when he wants to be. He can simultaneously be the most popular guy in the room while making you believe that you are the most important person in the room. Truth…he has no conscience, he will take whatever he wants, harm whoever he needs to and blame his victims. Truth…at his core he is self interested. In order for me to accept these truths I fear that I must reject some of my most special memories. The flowers, sentimental letters, the times when he really seemed to be acting in my best interest. My most favorite memory of him, while bitter sweet was a day when we were 19. He was strung out. I was sitting on the bed. He looked at me and said “you gotta go.” Assuming that he wanted me to leave because he had a drug dealer coming by, I said “sure, should I come back later? Or maybe tomorrow?” “No” he replied “I mean for good. You need to leave me.” Astonishment doesn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling as I began to cry. “Look” he said “you are pretty and smart and could be anything, anything other than a drug addict’s girlfriend. If you stay with me you will just end up becoming a loser drug addict like me.” He held me while I cried and when I finished, I left. I would see him once more before and then it would be 4 years before I would see him again. He looked genuinely sad. I have always believed that he did this because it was what was best for me. The harsh reality is that I made him feel guilty about his drugs. He never let me into this lifestyle but he drug every other woman in his life through his addiction. I felt like I was special because he saved me from that life but I don’t think that it was because I was special, I think he just wanted to use without guilt.
As I sit here, I miss him, I grieve the loss of what could have been, I grieve the loss of the beliefs I had about him and I grieve the loss of the beliefs I had about myself. Sadly, I love a person, a soul-mate that never really existed.
12 years ago my soul mate discharged parole, went on a week long dope run, stole a car and left our hometown in hopes that sobriety would find him in the state of Arkansas. It didn’t. He promised to return. 14 years passed, 5 of them he spent in prison, 2 of them in solitary confinement. Attempts were made to come home but they always ended with him back in prison and me terribly dissapointed. I have given up on him so many times. I even married once in defiance. Last year I gave up for good. I texted him saying that I accepted that I would never see him again. He reassured me that he would come home someday and not to give up hope. I didn’t believe him and I gave up hope, at least I thought I did. 6 days ago he texted me that he was home and checking himself into rehab. All the feelings came rushing back, I’m not as trusting and hopeful as I was in my youth but I have to admit that as soon as I saw him I wanted to crawl into lap and be held forever. As he left we embraced and he whispered “tell me that you still love me”. “I still love you” I replied. I’m quite certain that I always loved and needed him more than he needed me but at that moment he was at my mercy. I know that he will fuck this up somehow, I know that he will hurt me, but hope loves eternal and I hope that he will find sobriety and that in sobriety he will find a way to love me.
I have become increasingly aware of victim blaming in our society. Victim blaming isn’t a new concept nor is the debate new. I think that it boils down fear. Horrible events are going on among us. Terrible things are happening to people. Rapes, murders, and violence of all sorts litter that news daily. No one wants to believe that bad, scary things can happen to us or our loved ones. The easiest way the quell those fears is to blame the victim. If we tell ourselves that the victim engaged in conduct that made them deserve what happened to them then all we have to do is not repeat that conduct ourselves and we are instantly immune to the harm the person suffered. It makes sense. It’s simple. And it’s completely untrue. Innocent people get harmed, children die, women are raped, homes burn down, bad things often happen to undeserved individuals everyday. In fact, I would argue that very few victims have done anything to deserve anything.
When it comes to homelessness I feel that we engage in the same victim blaming. People who suffer homelessness are indeed victims. Most of us sit in our homes, enjoying central heating and air, cable TV, internet, running water, bathrooms. We see these things as necessities. We may pause with concern when we pass a homeless person on the street begging for change, we may worry that we too could face the same fate, but we are quick to calm this fear by saying “that person must have done something wrong in their life” or “they want to live that life instead of working hard like I do.” We rebuke the homeless person as lazy or drug addicted. We have contempt for that person and the choices that they have made to bring them to this point in their life, though we know nothing of what has brought them to this point. In essence, we blame the victim of homelessness so that we can assure ourselves that we will never be in their position.
I have conquered a psychopath!! Epic karmic justice is mine!!
As an attorney I run into many psychopaths, both as colleagues and clients. In fact, I feel that there are more psychopaths per capita in my profession than any other, save politicians. When I chose my profession I was completely unaware of what a psychopath was or that I was such an irresistible treat to these low-empathy individuals. Had I known I probably would have become a philosophy professor instead.
I didn’t know how to recognize these individuals until I met Mr. V. Mr. V is also an attorney and a self-admitted psychopath. Mr. V gave me insight into what psychopaths found attractive about me, what they wanted from me, and eventually how they were going to exploit me. I learned much from Mr. V, but the best lesson I learned was that no matter what, any psychopath, given enough time, will find a way to hurt whomever they are around. And the hurt will cut so deep and so close to ones heart that it will send them reeling into the depths despair. So deep in fact, that sometimes they’re not quite sure if they will ever climb their way out.
High functioning psychopaths are social chameleons. Dr. Hare refers to this as glib and superficial charm. They instinctively know how to tell you what you want to hear, how to build a facade of trust and then how to turn that trust against you in order to spin you out into a raving lunatic struggling to incorporate the reality you have always known with the reality the psychopath is projecting for you. They enjoy watching you in turmoil as they play the puppet master of cognitive dissidence.
Mr. V did exactly that to me, he found my weakness, which was my hope to escape the poverty that I live in by reinstating my license to practice law. He led me down a path of promises to help me restore my career. Many times he offered me financial help then failed to follow through. He said it in his owns words “I love it when a woman gets so upset that she is crying and begging me to come back while I walk out the door, disgusted with what she has become. Then a few days later I ask her to fuck me again and she always does it, no matter how badly I treated her.” (maniacal laugh follows)
The final straw was when Mr. V promised to pay for the probation that was required for me to get my license to practice law, and thus my career, back. My license has been on hold ever since my marriage and subsequent divorce form EX2 created within me a dynamic of drug addiction and despair that ended with 4 arrests for driving under the influence of drugs in a veiled attempt to commit suicide. I couldn’t afford the $350 per month that was required for the probation, but Mr. V said that if I started the process he would pay it for me. I still trusted him at that point and I turned myself into the bar in order to begin the expensive probation that was going to be required of me. I called him the day I found out that disciplinary proceedings had begun against me, his response was flatly “no, I’m not going to help you. I guess you will be disbarred permanently now.”
Wow…just wow! It hit me with a resounding thud. I had relied on his word that he would help me get my license back and he reneged. I figured my career was over but I was unwilling to accept it. I did some hustling and found someone that hates him almost as much as me, the man who used to share an office with Mr. V, or rather the man who Mr. V used to mooch free office space and toilet paper off of. Mr. V had a 20′ x 40′ foot sign on the outside of this office, advertising his services. This sign was up until today… today my sign went over his sign.
God it felt good. Not only did I manage not to follow the trajectory of failure as Mr. V had intended, but in a grand display of epic karmic justice my sign now hangs over his sign for him and all to see. I not only overcame his harm I supplanted his success.
So last week I went to my normal AA meeting on Sunday. Even if I miss meetings during the week I always, always make this meeting . He knows this. In fact his best friend gives me a ride. He is the most recent psychopath that I have removed from my life. He never goes to this meeting. I knew he would show up eventually. AA or not, I am his drug. He gets something from me that he can’t get anywhere else. Ever since I told him to get fucked I knew he would show up at this meeting at some point.
He walked in with a smirk that I desperately wanted to knock off of his face. He took a seat. After the meeting a group of us usually go out to breakfast. Of course, he went to breakfast also. Of the 12 fucking seats he could have sat in he chose the one right next to me. Pleasantries were exchanged and then I ignored him the rest of the meal. I handled it correctly, even though it feels like the weaker position. I know that he wants engagement, he seeks an emotional exchange that indicates that I need him back. He wants to “turn me inside out” as he so honestly puts it. His desires aren’t foreign to me, in fact, it’s just the opposite, it’s comfortable, normal and habitual. But it’s a habit I intend to break.
While I handled the situation correctly, I can’t help but fantasize about how I really wanted that meeting to go. So here is a snapshot of the fantasy using my “inside my head voice”…
She sat in her AA meeting when he walked in. She went there every Sunday and he never went to that meeting, no, not ever. It had been month since she had finally taken up for herself and told him to fuck off. She still held resentment for his repeated attacks on her sanity, his obvious mission to destroy her. I guess he couldn’t stand the distance, he had never lasted this long without her, without his perfect prey.
As her righteous anger rose so did she. Up and out of her seat and with a silent authority she stood, extended her arm and pointed right at him. As his eyes locked into recognition with her demand of attention she motioned her command that he follow her to the door.
Two steps out the door and out of the presence of any witnesses he opened his mouth to speak…
A left hook directly to his chin.
Whatever he had to say, whatever dispute he offered was shut down in a bloody second. All he could do was stand there, speechless…for the first time.
“I can’t keep you from coming here, but I can make it just as uncomfortable for you as it is for me.”
Today I feel a bit fractured and about 16 years old. Part of my mental illness includes periods of dissociation. It used to scare me at first but now I know it’s just a part of me. The feelings I have are what I call a mixed episode, which means that I am having both manic and depressive symptoms at the same time. Kinda fucked up huh? I’ve learned to adjust. I can work when I’m like this because the mania keeps my depression from forcing my body onto the couch while I watch re-run after re-run of House. I have all 8 seasons completely memorized!!
The best part of mixed episodes I can write the best dialog for the story I am currently writing. It’s like I get all the benefit of the creative depression with the actual energy to write it down. I hate when I am laying on the couch, depressed as hell and I can just see my characters interacting and talking and having the greatest experience, and I want to write it down, I really do, but the effort to get a pen and paper seem so overwhelming so I just lay there and forget.
So I’m learning to appreciate my mood disorder and use each mood for a useful purpose. However, feeling fragmented is hard. Right now the age thing is making dating this new guy particularly difficult. I sit with him on the couch feeling like a kid with an old man but I know logically that he is age appropriate. I like him but he’s going want sex eventually and unless I can get out of the dimension I’m not going to be able to. I feel like I should warn him about what he is getting into with me but that seems dramatic. I’m not like this all the time and I function fairly well. Maybe I just want to fall apart to see if he is the type of guy who will rescue me. Huh? I may have hit the nail square on the head. I have this deep, unhealthy need to be rescued, and I think maybe I am testing the waters to see if he is the one who will save me. I’ll have to spend some time exploring that because I think the key to me getting out of this fractured state of mind lies in resolving the reoccurring theme of my life of wanting to be saved.
I walked into a fellow attorney’s office one morning to drop off a file from a client I had just referred to him. He looked a little perplexed and plopped the front page of the local newspaper on his desk.
“Did you see the paper this morning? Your client is dead. Suicide by cop.”
I felt like I was sucked into a vacuum. Emotions were spinning around me but my soul felt empty. I didn’t know the proper response then and I still don’t now.
36 hours before that moment I had spent 3 hours helping this woman fill out paperwork to obtain a domestic violence restraining order. 12 hours later the restraining order was granted. She never picked it up from the court though. I often wonder if she even knew that it had been granted. Instead, that evening she loaded up her dogs into her SUV, loaded a .357 magnum, called her husband and said that she was bringing him the dogs. There must have been something strange about that conversation because by the time she made the 20 minute drive to his house there was a police barricade set up. She slammed her SUV into one of the parked police vehicles. When she got out of the car she was swinging the .357 around and speaking incoherently. I’m not usually a real supporter of how police handle these type of situations but it sounded like they really did all they could to try to talk her down but after a few minutes she leveled the gun at one of cops and they discharged 22 rounds hitting her 9 times, fatally wounding her. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Other than the 3 hours I spent with her completing paperwork, I didn’t know this woman. I knew she was smart, she was educated, she had a master’s degree and was an RN at the local hospital. She seemed like a bit of a train wreck at the time but nothing out of the ordinary considering the circumstances under which we were meeting. Nothing indicated to me that she was suicidal.
This happened almost 3 years ago and I still don’t know how to feel about it, but I think of her. I still feel stuck in that vacuum with emotions flying around but emptiness in my soul. I don’t feel guilty, it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t see anything to indicate she was suicidal or else I would have gotten her mental health treatment. I don’t feel loss since I didn’t know her for more than 3 hours. In addition to not knowing what to feel, it seems selfish for me to feel anything at all, it feels self-indulgent to have any emotion around the situation. I never felt the right to say, “I’m upset, I’m feeling grief.” To say those things makes me feel like I want to make her death about me and have a pity party for myself.
Yet I still think of her and wonder what I could have done differently. I think I need to allow myself to grieve. I’m learning through working my 4th step in AA that we all have unpleasant feelings and that its ok to experience them, that it’s not selfish to have them but that we do need to give up our sense of control about the emotions and go to our higher power (mine in Buddha) and ask that we be freed from the pain that we are carrying. We need to see our part in continuing the cycle of our pain, admit our part and let our higher power do the rest.
…which is reason #267 that I left EX2.
EX2 was an extremely narcissistic and psychopathic man. He needed to establish his dominance and to do that he needed the other male figure in my life, my father, to be out of my life.
It was all quite primal and base once you extract the righteous, emotional outrage and look at it rationally . Being a psychopath, EX2 had a very alpha male personality. Alpha males tend to be loners, sharing is not a quality they behold so they quickly establish their territory, isolated their chattel, and protect what is theirs from any threat, real or imagined. High anxiety, paranoia, adherence to the rules of “in group/out group” and gestures of dominance highlight their personality.
I was nothing more than a possession to EX2. I was chattel. He needed to consume me; to be the center of my universe; to own me. And own me he did. And during the time that he owned me he exploited every resource I had available and left me as an empty shell. Until I met EX2, my father was the only strong male figure that I had a bond with. This bond was a threat to EX2’s dominance because my father had the ability to influence me. A difference of opinion was a threat to EX2, sometimes he even elevated it to an intent to humiliate him. Ex2 allowed me into his group but he desperately needed me to sever ties with my group because he saw them as outsiders and they were not allowed.
I loved my father, I was dedicated to my father, I was attached to my father. EX2 picked up on my devotion to my father very early in our relationship. I ran interference between my narcissistic mother and my dear father. If he needed something I was there, if he had a problem I was there, if he was sick, I was there. Honestly, my father can be a bit needy, my whole family can be awful needy in general. It can be draining at times and EX2 capitalized on my periods of exhaustion to drive me away from my father.
It started out slow, like most abuse does. He began to commiserate with me about the overwhelming needs of my family. I admit, it felt good to have someone understand. His commiseration began to escalate into moral outrage, always on my behalf, and again, it felt good. I always harbored a certain resentment toward my family for needing so much. Most of the time I enjoyed being needed my family and I really loved my father.
The commiseration turned ugly. It became this evil game where Ex2 would complain about my father being too needy. He would demand that I understand how mad my father had made him. He would remind me of all the times that I had been mad at my dad. Somehow he got me to commiserate with him. Next he began to shame me any time I helped my father. He became hostile any time I spoke of my father. Then he launched a campaign against my father. Finally, he convinced me that my life would be easier without expending my energy on my father.
“You shouldn’t be spending your energy on your crazy father, you need to save your energy for me” he exclaimed.
Yep, that’s right, he plainly said that and I didn’t even object. I was broken by that time. People wonder why I would stay with such a man but as the saying goes, “if you boil a frog slow enough…” Well he boiled me just slow enough that by the end of our marriage I was barely speaking to my father and hadn’t seen him for years.
I hated my father for many reasons, yet for the years that followed my separation from EX2 I laid on my couch drugged and incoherent, and my father raised my son. My son graduates high school this year and he is an amazing kid and it because my father raised him well. My father has never asked for an apology or a show of gratitude in return. Somehow I think he just knows that I had fallen under that control of a man whose sole goal was to isolate me, posses me, and destroy me.
I don’t hate my father anymore, in fact I often worry about the reality of him dying and all the time I missed with him but I am grateful that I have been allowed to reconcile with my father and love him again.