If the sociopath were your son or daughter, would you be proud?
One of the internal conversations I had with myself prior to escaping the boy was about being proud…of the sociopath.
At the time, I didn’t know the term sociopath (outside of mainstream media and serial killers) nor did I know how a person could be classified as one.
All I knew were that his behaviors and treatments of myself and others did not add up to a person I was proud of being associated.
I would ask myself:
“Paula, if he were your son, would you be proud of him?”
I quickly answered “No!” to this.
But because I hate to be hasty, I jotted down a list of why I might be proud of him if I were his mother:
1. He has a house.
2. He has a car.
3. He has a business.
Then I asked myself if he cares for those things:
1. His house isn’t falling down. He’s adding to it to make it bigger.
2. His car is spotless and always clean.
3. His business seems to run itself. (Or is it the illegal laborers he’s got working for him that do that?)
I immediately thought, “How nice. He’s got things. He refers to this as having the American Dream, yet aren’t “things” only half of the Dream?
So, I continued my internal dialog and list:
4. He’s got friends. Well, he’s got a single friend who happens to have a wife and two amazing young boys. But that counts for something, right? Not exactly. His friend was cheating on his wife and needed to confide in someone he could trust not to tell, someone with experience cheating and succeeding. I’ll call this friend his fellow snake-in-the-grass companion.
5. He’s not close to his brother. Paula, that’s being too kind. He thinks his brother is a fat pig raising his niece to be a fat pig, too. He makes fun of his Brother’s girlfriend and thinks she’s pathetic for wasting her time with him. I kind of thought she was wasting her time, too, but for different reasons. But we can’t pick our family, right? So, who am I to judge this relationship, I thought to myself.
6. He never hugs or kisses or tells his mother he loves her. Granted, he built a detached garage with a mother-in-law suite for her and his father. But wait! They pay him rent.
7. I couldn’t remember a single kind act he performed for anyone. Not a single one. All I could see was him being smug with strangers. He was rude to waiters and waitresses. Cocky with people in passing. He honestly did not care if people saw him as a snob. He liked being considered a snob. Why? I guess he thinks being snobbish is equivalent to being someone who deserves respect. Twisted!!
Mid-way through this list, I quickly saw that he wasn’t looking like much of a catch.
But, again, I hate to judge anyone this way. It seems so unfair and unnatural to create such a list and then base my decision to stay or go from it.
Really? It’s the best thing I did for myself!
I was putting pieces of his character together. I would eventually use this list and compare it to the many lists of narcissistic and sociopathic traits and behaviors I would stumble upon online and in books and journals in the months following my exit from the relationship.
Yes, I was focused more on him than on me at the time. I get that. But don’t we have to consider our environment and its impact on us, physically and emotionally, in order to change our environment in hopes of getting better and finding ourselves again?
I wanted and needed to be absolutely sure that I made the right decision to discard this man and that returning would never cross my mind.
I learned through AA that one of the best paths to recovery from alcohol was to discard anyone in your life who hindered you from maintaining your sobriety.
“Who is unsupportive of me and who could potentially talk me into picking up a drink again in the future? Not necessarily bad people. Just people who don’t respect my choice to not drink.”
I looked at my mental health and well-being this way, too, and the boy hindered me from changing and growing in every area of my life.
I was not proud of the sociopath. I was not proud of myself for being associated with the sociopath.
Similarly to how I was not proud of my alcoholism or of myself under the influence of alcohol, I was not proud of my addiction to the sociopath or how I behaved under his influence.
Even after leaving, it took time and many, many struggles to rid my life, my mind and my thoughts of the sociopath’s influence. Very similar to what drug addicts experience going through detox. But mine was a mental detox, not a physical detox.
His cruel words and accusations echoed in my memory:
“Was I a whore? Was I really heartless and unworthy? Was I a piece of garbage?”
It was easier to quit drinking than it was to quit the behavior associated with the sociopath. Probably because I was under the false assumption that the sociopath and his accusations deserved to be treated with respect and consideration as if they were coming from a non-pathological human with no ill intentions.
And that was my biggest blind spot. I thought his intentions were good and meant to help me not harm me.
But there are no good intentions born from a sociopath. Their intentions are selfish-based intentions meant to destroy everyone else’s confidence so the sociopath has evidence that the rest of us are garbage just like him.
Don’t feed the monster’s pride by thinking his behavior is in the least bit respectable or tasteful. His behavior is despicable and tasteless and will insidiously take you over if you ignore your gut.
Namaste! Have a great weekend! ~Paula