Is it really possible? Can we accept a sociopath for what he is and live with him? In some cases, like work and family relations, we may have no choice. The sociopath could be our boss, or the sociopath could be our brother or even our son. We are left with little choice but to accept him until we can find a new job or gather enough resources to move far, far away.
However, accepting a sociopath as your intimate partner or spouse is absolutely out of the question unless you are willing to lose your immediate family…
Within a very short period of time after beginning a relationship with a sociopath, you will discover that your sister isn’t calling you as often as she once did. Your mom comes up with excuses not to visit you, and your dad simply can’t be bothered to pick up the phone when you call. It’s not because they stopped loving you. They simply hate the sociopath and what he has done to you. The more family you have that loves you, the less family you’ll have once the sociopath gets his way.
Family can see through the facade and mask of a sociopath much easier than we can as his intimate partner. Why? Because the sociopath isn’t interested in pleasing your family. He’s interested in pissing them off so they WILL desert you. He wants all of your attention for his narcissistic supply.
For example: The boy in my story spent Thanksgiving with my family one year, and it was a disaster! In addition to bringing his lap dog (the Marquis de Púbol), he brought a very needy attitude. In a house filled with aunts, cousins, siblings, and everyone else’s dogs, the boy expected me to sit next to him and entertain him personally the entire day. Anyone who knows big families knows giving one person your undivided attention at gatherings is impossible. My nieces and nephews were there and loved to play and run around and enjoyed when I joined them. So I did, not thinking I was doing anything wrong. After all, my family is very friendly and very welcoming. It’s not as if he had no one to talk to.
At one point, I ran after my niece through the kitchen where the boy was talking with my mother and step sister. As I passed the boy, he grabbed my waist to stop me. I thought it was normal and gave him a hug and tried to continue passing through only to discover his grip had tightened to the point that his fingers were jabbing into my sides. It hurt and I said it hurt. He let go and looked at me as if I were being cruel and insensitive to even suggest he was hurting me by wanting me close to him.
I walked off in the direction of one of the bedrooms and the boy followed. We entered one of the rooms and closed the door. We were alone. I explained to him that this was my family and that he shouldn’t expect me to ignore my family. He said I didn’t love him enough and that he needed me to be next to him. I explained how impossible and childish that sounded. Immediately, my refusal to give him my undivided attention was met with hateful accusations that I was uncaring, insensitive, and disloyal. I kept shaking my head and told him he could leave if he couldn’t handle how I spent my time with my family. We left the room.
I tried relaxing after this conversation but kept feeling guilty for making the boy feel so unwanted. I had never experienced anyone getting so hurt by me being me with my family. Yes! I felt guilty for making a grown man in the company of MANY great people feel uncomfortable and unloved. A few days later, my mother called and voiced her concerns. She said that the boy is far too needy and possessive and that she did not appreciate how he tried to control me on Thanksgiving. In my naiveté, I assured my mother that it was the boy’s lack of experience with large families that made him so insecure and that he should do better at our next holiday get together. My mom felt otherwise.
The following November, my mom called a week before Thanksgiving and asked us not to bring the Marquis de Púbol (his lap dog) because the dog she just adopted from the shelter was in heat and she knew Púbol was not neutered. She didn’t want a pregnant dog. I couldn’t blame her. Upon giving the news to the boy, he seemed relieved and asked me what our new plans for Thanksgiving would be. I chuckled and said, “I’m taking my son to my mother’s for Thanksgiving. You can put your dog in the really nice doggie daycare in Alexandria and come too.”
Wow! You would have thought I suggested leaving the dog with a bunch of untrained professionals who would feed him people food and make the dog sleep on his own feces or something. The boy went nuts! He couldn’t believe I was still going. He couldn’t believe I would ever suggest a doggie daycare. He couldn’t believe I was choosing my family over him.* Thanks to this explosive reaction, I gladly went to my mother’s without him and even turned off my ringer, so I didn’t get interrupted by his phone calls and incessant texts that were questions like: “Do you love me?” and “Do you miss me?” For pity sake! Really? He had a choice but he chose to be a narcissistic sociopath. No. I don’t love you. And no. I don’t miss you. And either does my family.
*The more I write and think back on my experience, the more I realize how defiant I was with the boy’s demands. I was often given ultimatums like “Choose me or X. You can’t have me if you choose X.” I always chose X. I flat-out refused him many, many times. But refusing him and choosing me (because X was always something about me) didn’t mean I understood why he was making such demands. I often questioned if X was really that important or if X was really hurting the boy. I could never understand why the boy always perceived X as such a powerful enemy that needed eliminated. Trying to understand the “why” is what caused me so much grief and confusion. After much reflection, I realize now that there is no answer to the “why” behind the boy’s actions and refusals to accept X. The boy is just shitty. There is no explanation. He is what he is. And X was just a part of me he couldn’t possess, and it pissed him off. Coming to terms with this has allowed me to finally stop feeling so damn guilty.