Working hard and being passionate are the keys to wiping out sociopathic influence

This is a bit of a rant. I don’t rant much. (Or maybe I do.) Let’s blame it on the cardinal cross…

People wonder why I get so angry when it comes to the sociopath, the boy in my story. They wonder why I can’t just stop wishing he’d die and why I continue praying he has no children. I must have had my heart completely crushed to be able to get so fueled by the thought of the sociopath still breathing?

No. My heart was not broken by the sociopath. Coming to the realization that there are people out there with zero empathy, zero ability to be remorseful and absolutely zero remnants of a working conscience broke my spirit. A broken spirit stings and bleeds more profusely than any broken heart I’ve ever experienced. Nothing compares to coming face-to-face with the crushing reality that everything you love is everything another absolutely hates and tries to destroy.

I’m angry because the sociopath from my past is just a representation of the millions of heartless, cruel, selfish animals walking among us feigning care and concern. Fake, counterfeit people who suck the life out of people like me and many of the wonderful men and women I have met through my writing.

I am not fake. I am not counterfeit. I truly care, and I am truly concerned. Sociopaths insult my very existence. Sociopaths make what I’m made of seem easily acquired and copied when what I am made of can never be 100% duplicated.

The sociopath might get the expressions right, he might be able to repeat my words or steal my story and pretend it’s his own. Yes. Anyone can make cosmetic changes to their facade. It’s not very hard.

But what the sociopath can NEVER duplicate is what’s going on inside my soul.

The sociopath will never see the things I see. The sociopath will never feel the joy or the pain I feel. The sociopath will never be able to express love for another the way I do. The sociopath will never know unconditional love the way I know unconditional love.

No sociopath will.

Healing from my broken spirit and from my collective realizations takes an everyday effort. I remind myself every day to remain hopeful that good will triumph…despite the shitty news I read and watch every day.

Yes. I am absolutely angry. I am angry because too many of us just sit back too fearful to speak out against what can only be described as unfair treatment of others.

We see people getting berated by a boss or co-worker. Most of us say nothing. Why take the chance of being the one who gets thrown under the bus next?

We see a customer ahead of us in line being nasty to the cashier. We say nothing. That customer might turn around and hit us. Goodness gracious, we can’t get involved in something so distasteful, can we?

We watch a mother or a father scream at their children at the bus stop. It’s none of our business to get involved, is it? Again, we might end up in a fist fight, and we don’t want to invite THAT kind of behavior into our lives.

But it’s okay to sit back and judge all of those people who do stand up, get knocked down and then stand up again ready to fight…again and again and again. It’s okay to call those people crazy?

It’s okay to judge those people who speak the words everyone else is too cowardice to speak and somehow think being cowardice is really being intelligent and moral?


Morality is standing up, speaking out and fighting against the shit you see that is wrong. Immoral behavior is when you know the emperor is naked but you go along with the crowd, pretending to admire the bare-ass emperor’s clothes, anyway.

Really? People are proud to be this type of intelligent coward? Intelligent cowards?

I am a highly empathic person. I love being alive and have always loved seeing others happy. I have always gone out of my way to be fair or to let someone else win who seems to need that “victory” more than I ever did.

But I’m learning that it’s my turn to let myself win for a change. It’s my turn to stop being afraid of the punches that will inevitably land square on my chin. It’s my turn to just say, “Screw you, intelligent cowards. That guy is buck naked!!”

Yes. I am planning a party and not everyone is invited. That party is my life. And those uninvited are those who remain keen on being intelligent cowards.

Who else is ready to plan their next party and not invite everyone you once felt obligated to invite just to seem like a good person?

I don’t care if people call me crazy or call me angry or tell me I’m out of control, because I know I care now more than ever before, my anger is finally well-directed and I’m in more control of my thoughts today than I have ever been.

Many will think it unwise to be my friend. That’s okay. I understand. It’s never been wise to be friends with folks who most consider are crazy, because people might think you’re crazy for being friends with a crazy person. I get it.

I guess it makes no difference to me. I’ve got lots of friends others have judged as crazy (besides myself), and it hasn’t affected my ability to keep growing and learning and working and making a living.

And I’ve done it without kissing ass, bullying people, degrading people or getting people to feel sorry for me. That’s what sociopaths do. They cry and lie and cheat their way through life.

Don’t let them fool you. You don’t have to do any of those things to be successful. You don’t have to lie and cheat. That’s a myth sociopaths like to spin. They spin this myth, because they are too lazy to earn their success. And that is the key: you have to work hard and be confident that you are just as smart, just as capable and just as worthy as the next person. If more good people stop trying to follow the lead of the sociopath in their lives and instead do the hard work, more and more sociopaths will be pushed aside. They’ll be pushed out of corporations, out of governments, out of churches and out of communities.

Survival of the fittest. It’s true. The concept is true. But too many of us have fed into the quick fixes all these scamming sociopaths like to throw up to divert us from the real work required for fulfilling lives.

There are no short cuts in life. Don’t let that moron sociopath make you think there is. That moron sociopath is just too lazy to do the hard work and if you don’t do the hard work, the sociopath has an excuse for being a liar and a cheater.

Don’t be a liar and a cheater. If more of us started living authentic and mindfully and not always looking for instant gratification, the sociopath’s way of being would never cross our minds. Ever.

And when a sociopath does cross our paths, it will be that much easier to spot them and say, “Hit the road, scumbag!”


The internal film of my life


My life frequently passes chronologically through my internal lens like a film, a movie trailer. It seems to start and end the same each time it plays. But the middle always surprises me by what my subconscious chooses to remember and draw to the surface at a specific time of day or during a particular season.

Today, my film is playing out like this:

>> I see myself chasing after lightning bugs as a child with my sister.

>> I see my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Newlon, who encouraged me to speak in front of people despite the embarrassing way my “R”s came out sounding like “W”s.

>> I see the town librarian who never smiled and always seemed annoyed that my sister and I would come in on really hot summer days and sit for hours and read Highlights magazines just to cool off.

>> I see myself at sleepovers with my friends Missy and Lissa and their annoying little brothers.

>> I see myself sitting through my high school graduation next to Doug who finally spoke his first words to me after being in the same classes for 4 years.

>> I see myself as a freshman in the dorms and running barefoot in the puddles behind Cumberland Hall with Kristy who loved thunderstorms.

>> I see myself visiting DC for the first time alone to be with my friend Susan and meeting her Korean ballerina roommate who had no shame in telling me that her secret Korean spice was MSG.

>> I see all the interesting patrons I met waiting tables in college.

>> I see my friends and parties and celebrations and vacations and the ocean and the mountains.

>> I see my wedding day and the day I learned I was pregnant.

>> I see myself meeting my son for the first time.

>> I see last night and how my son is growing into a boy who makes me proud.

>> I see the sociopath and how accepting one man’s self-pity nearly destroyed my vision of all the beauty my life has provided.

>> I see the power I had once given that ugly grain of sand.

>> I see how that ugly grain of sand will forever spread his self-pity, and I accept that there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it.

So I go back to thinking about planning my next party with the people I love and who love me.

I think about being here, now and being completely confident in my next decision to grow and learn and to open my life to more opportunities to meet even more wonderful people I will one day be seeing in future versions of my life’s internal film.


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Leaving the sociopath before the discard


Choosing to leave the sociopath before the sociopath is ready to discard you may cause increased cognitive dissonance if you don’t know what to expect.

In the beginning, the sociopath exhausts you of all your novelty in the early love-bombing and idolization phase.

The sociopath is so interested in your interests and becomes so immersed in your life and daily routine that you become intoxicated by all of the attention.

You interpret this as a good thing. You interpret this as an AMAZING thing. The sociopath must love you so much to want to become your twin, huh?

The sociopath even seems to bond quickly and easily with your inner circle of friends and certain family members.

You’re in awe of how alike you are! Where has the sociopath been all of your life?

And that’s exactly the question you should be asking. Where HAS the sociopath been? Where are the sociopath’s friends and family? If the sociopath is so amazing, there MUST be others who think the same, right?

Oh, wait! You bought into the sociopath’s professions that YOU are the first person to enter his life who makes the sociopath whole and complete. Sorry. You’re so special. I forgot. You have superpowers and are the only effing person out of millions and millions that “gets” this pitiful creature and can give him the love and understanding that he needs. Everyone else from his past, including his mother and siblings, just couldn’t grasp the genius of the sociopath. But you can. Sorry. I forgot.

Do you see how absolutely absurd this is? Everyone else left this person, and you seem to think it’s because the sociopath is somehow superior and that’s why everyone misunderstands him but that you are somehow superior in your ability to care and listen to him and that’s why the sociopath chose you?

Um. Not exactly.

You won’t be feeling very special and powerful once the sociopath sucks you dry of your creativity and energy. You REALLY won’t be feeling very special once you finally decide to ask the sociopath for love and support and understanding and instead get the sociopath screaming at you, “You’re such an ungrateful bitch. I give so much to you and all you want is more?”

And you feel guilty and continue to give freely, because that’s what love is about. You stop asking for anything in return, because only ungrateful whores do such a thing and you refuse to be accused of THAT again. Some people just show their love in different ways, right? The sociopath is so much more evolved in the way he loves you, and you should be just as evolved in how you love the sociopath. Right?

Again, the absurdity! This is how you get stuck in cognitive dissonance. You know love is patient and kind and compassionate and reciprocal. You know it is, so why do you believe the BS spewing from the sociopath’s mouth? Oh, because he’s done things for you and bought things for you and said nice things to you and complimented you on your character? Wonderful. The sociopath must really love you.

Did you forget that people who love you don’t keep track of their good deeds? People who love one another listen to each other’s pain; they don’t deny their pain or shame them and make the other feel miserable and ungrateful for expressing their pain.

The sociopath said and did some nice things, but now the sociopath holds those nice things over your head as his free pass to treat you in any shitty way the sociopath pleases. Is that love? Do people who really love you not listen to you and immediately point a shaming finger back at you if you open up about what you perceive as unfair treatment?

No. A caring person does not deflect. Someone who loves you will say, “Wow, I had no idea when I did that you felt that way. I’m sorry. Let’s talk about this more. I don’t want to make you feel like that again.”

How many times do YOU say that to the sociopath and how often does the sociopath say this to you?

And don’t count the times the sociopath sat seemingly attentive, bouncing on his seat, arms folded in front of him just waiting for you to shut up so the sociopath can say, “Are you finished? Do you feel better now?”

How condescending, rude and disrespectful! You’ll eventually tire of this lack of respect and lack of caring and compassionate reciprocity.

Once you show any signs of being tired or unwilling to give, give, give, the sociopath interprets your behavior as uncaring and unloving.

The sociopath fails to see this lack of reciprocity. The sociopath thinks just being in your life is the sociopath’s gift to you, and the fact that he keeps forgiving your ungratefulness and hasn’t left or discarded you should be indicative of how much he cares, right?


The sociopath doesn’t “forgive” you. The fact the sociopath remembers every slight you’ve commuted against him should be your cue. And the only reason the sociopath hasn’t left you…yet…is because there is no one waiting in the wings ready to pity the sociopath and provide the sociopath with immediate supply.

There is no doubt that if you decide to leave the sociopath now, without a source of supply waiting in the wings for him, the sociopath will act and seem devastated. The sociopath will cry and whine to others that he loved you more than you loved him and you unfairly abandoned the sociopath. And in all of his crying and flailing about, he’ll gain pity. The sociopath may even convince one of your friends that you are the cause of the breakup.

Now you have someone else that you thought cared about you brainwashed into thinking you’re ungrateful and uncaring. It’s enough to make you lose your mind defending yourself.

And it seems to make zero difference to anyone that you are not the person who repeatedly loses girlfriends, fiancees, spouses and best friends over the course of your lifetime. It doesn’t seem to matter to these unsuspecting folks, who are getting dragged into the sociopath’s triangulation, that it’s the sociopath who behaves from a place of hate, fear and jealousy…not you.

The more you reach out to your inner circle, the more you realize that these unsuspecting individuals have been fed so many lies. The sociopath even said to them, “And she’ll say X, Y and Z in her defense. Just wait. You’ll see. That will be your proof that she never cared about me, used me the entire relationship and is the cause of all my pain!”

And you DO respond exactly as the sociopath predicted you’d respond.

How could the sociopath be so foretelling in how you’d respond to the criticism if the criticism were not true?

Easy. Who wouldn’t be defensive when shameful secrets you once shared in confidence with the sociopath are now being used against you to make you look like the abusive and hateful person?

Somehow this very simple observation gets lost on people. Maybe it’s because people like knowing the struggles and misfortunes of others so they feel better about their own lives. It’s true. And the sociopath counts on it. The sociopath counts on people judging you negatively based on secrets that the sociopath carelessly shares.

It’s not even worth wasting your breath trying to defend yourself, because “yes” you did those things and said that thing. Defending the facts misconstrued out of context as lies and judgement is exhausting and can drive a person mad. Don’t even attempt to defend yourself against people hell-bent on choosing the dark gossip over the innocent truth. Dark gossip always wins.

So what do you do about it?

The first thing you do is accept that you trusted the wrong person with your secrets.

The second thing that you do is refrain from participating in the destructive gossip of others. When someone comes to you with someone else’s secrets, stop the gossip in its tracks. Simply say, “That’s unfortunate. I really have no opinion.”

And how could you have an opinion? What that person did can only be explained by that person and that person isn’t even in the room.

And if the gossip monger refuses to shut up, ask the gossip monger, “What is your purpose in telling me this?”

Hmm? An honest gossip monger will say, “Because I want you to dislike that person and like me instead.”

Hehe! But we know there are no “honest” gossip mongers among us that understand their motivation like this.

Instead, the gossip monger will say to you, “Don’t you think so-and-so is a terrible person for behaving in such a way?!?!”

Ahhh…the deflection. The deflection of judgment. If you agree and say the person is terrible, then the gossip monger sociopath can hold that over YOUR head if you ever decide to defend so-and-so in the future:

“You said on such-and-such a date that you thought she was horrible and now you’re her friend? I’m telling her.”

Again, jealousy, hate and control are what drives these people.

When the person you’re now defending confronts you about once calling her crazy, simply say, “Yes, I said that. I was wrong. I am ashamed. I didn’t have all the facts, and the sociopath seemed so convincing.”

Forgive this person. They were a pawn just like you.

Remember, you’re going to lose friends when you leave the sociopath. But know that it’s because lies and drama excite people. People gravitate toward drama, because they are so lost and bored with their own lives. Sociopaths count on other people’s boredom to gain supporters. Accept it, even if it means standing in a corner alone for a while. All that alone time will provide you with the much-needed opportunity to self-assess, self-reflect and self-improve.

Reject the urge to lash out at the lies and personal secrets being spread. Remain non-engaged.

And when and if those people who once “followed” the sociopath come running to you to apologize, accept their apology without forcing them to explain why they supported the sociopath in the first place. You already know why, because you once supported the loser, too.


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When we choose love over fear


All I know how to do today is share what I am passionate about with zero expectations. It’s how I operate in every corner of my life, from raising my son and being a friend to working my day job and training to become a yoga teacher.

I’m not lucky, fortunate or privileged. Where I find myself today has less to do with the people in my life who love me but more to do with my ability to believe in their love and that I am worthy of that love.

I don’t know where tomorrow will take me. I just do things today because I love doing them. I love life, and I love to share what I have learned. That’s it.

I have no desire or wish to be anyone’s guru or to be revered. And I can’t control how people judge me. That’s probably the most valuable lesson I have learned on this journey: I can only control how I view myself and my abilities. That view can either stifle me or empower me.

I simply have something inside of me that drives and propels me to get it out of me. My one hope is that someone, anyone, will find what I share valuable and useful and will inspire that person to share what is inside of them, too.

Sure, I’m a bit of an idealist. I want to see everyone succeed. I want to see people happy despite their pasts or their current struggles. And I honestly believe it is absolutely possible…a bunch of happy people co-existing and growing and sharing.

What’s so wrong with that?

Paula Carrasquillo is an active yogi, author, and advocate who has lived in numerous watersheds throughout the United States, including Colorado, Maine, Maryland and New Mexico. She currently lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Paula is passionate about her family, friends and the motivational and brave people she meets daily through her online writing and social media exchanges. To Paula, every person, place, thing, idea and feeling she encounters is significant and meaningful, even those which she most wants to forget. Follow Paula on Twitter and check out her other blog.

New page! FAQs – Healing and Recovery from Pathological Abuse and Trauma

After two years of receiving the same/similar questions from readers, I finally decided to get smart and create an FAQ page.

FAQs – Understanding and Recovering from Pathological Abuse and Trauma | Paula’s Pontifications

The FAQ list will continue to grow. I already have questions sitting in front of me waiting to be answered! And I will make every attempt to answer them as intelligently and as thoughtfully as I am able. If I can’t answer them, I’ll direct us to someone who can.

Follow this link to the FAQ page:


What to look forward to if you decide to break “No Contact” with the sociopath


No Contact isn’t easy to maintain.

In the early months of recovery, not only are you detoxing from the addiction of being totally dependent upon the sociopath for emotional validation and support, you are also going through the natural rumination and bargaining phase of grief.

And the grief is multi-layered! You are not only grieving the loss of a relationship, but you’re also grieving the loss of a fantasy you thought was real.

You want answers. You demand answers, dammit! So you erroneously think the sociopath will give them to you. You contemplate breaking No Contact.

Reaching out to the sociopath will inevitably harm you. The sociopath will do 1 of 4 things:

1. Ignore you, causing you to question yourself more. (Stonewaller)

2. Respond to you with hate and vile, causing you to question yourself more. (Persecutor)

3. Respond to you with feigned concern, telling you that you’re sick and need professional help, causing you to question yourself even more. (Savior Complex)

4. Respond to you with a weak apology and love bombing to suck you back in, causing you to question yourself more. (Pity Ploy)

All of these responses give the sociopath power and control over you. The sociopath feeds off of your desperation.

Do you want to continue this merry-go-round? Or do you finally want to break free from the craziness?

You know what you need to do…


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Meeting another woman “struck” by a sociopath

I always find it difficult to explain how deeply I feel about a friend. I always fear I’ll leave out an important detail or my friend will think I’m just blowing smoke. I realize those fears are my own projections. In the recent past, I’ve been a bit weary of praises I’ve received. I’ve always questioned if they were authentic or if the person throwing them my way wanted something from me.

Fortunately, the spiritual journey on which I have actively been participating for a couple of years now, has allowed me to discern the authentic and unauthentic, both in myself and others. After all, we’re all guilty of superfluous thoughts and exaggerations…mostly out of fear!

So this is a post about love and friendship. Fear doesn’t enter the equation.

A few weeks ago, I visited California. Before my trip, I reached out to a few bloggers I knew through this journey who lived in California. I didn’t come right out and say, “Hey, I’m going to be in California. Let’s try to meet up.” Instead, I simply asked how they were doing. With friends, that simple question leads to conversations about general life challenges and joys.

When I reached out to Lynna (her blog is My Sociopath: Struck by a Sociopath), I sensed she was overloaded with lots of work and school responsibilities. I decided not to mention I was going to be in California. I didn’t want her to feel pressured into carving out time to meet up with me. There would always be other opportunities. This trip wasn’t it, I thought.

Fast forward to day #2 of my trip:

I woke up very early Saturday morning. I left my husband sleeping and went out to Hollywood Blvd. for coffee and to search for “Hollywood Stars” to photograph and share on Facebook for some friends and myself. I would find the star, take the picture and then post the image to Facebook and tag my friend. It was like a treasure hunt!!

At about 7:45 a.m. as I was about to snap a picture of Bruce Lee’s star (for myself, actually), a notification ran across my screen from Lynna. She was up and texting me.

I abandoned my treasure hunt and responded excitedly to her message. She and I are friends on Facebook. She saw the stars I was posting.

“You’re in California!” she texted.

I could sense her excitement. It made me excited.

“Yes, I am!” I responded.

She wanted to get together. She suggested a place to meet. I said maybe I could grab a Zip car from the hotel.

At approximately 8:00 a.m., I signed off of my phone and went on a mission to find transportation. I was incredibly excited to meet Lynna…FINALLY!

By 8:30 a.m., I re-messaged Lynna to tell her that I had found a car and that my husband would be coming, too.

By 9:00 a.m., I was on my way to Laguna Beach to meet one of the first bloggers I started following nearly two years before. I was anxious, nervous and elated.

As I drove and got lost once, I couldn’t help but think about how magical and other-worldly I was feeling. I felt like I was being transported to a different place and time. It truly felt surreal to be driving down a California highway headed to the coast to meet someone who I felt a deep and real connection, despite the fact we had never met in person.

By 10:30 a.m., I was hugging Lynna. Wow. (She is exactly as I imagined she’d be, except I thought she was a blonde when, in fact, she’s a red head).

We talked blogging, yoga, school, sociopaths, narcissists (of course!), and we talked food and friendship. I felt at home and welcomed. It was the shortest three hours I’ve experienced in a long time.

Then I met Ivonne the next day…

I am grateful for this blog for many, many reasons, the least of which are the friendships I’ve made and continue to make.


Losing our identity and fading away under the sociopath’s diabolical spell


Everything about the toxic relationship was guided and directed by the sociopath’s perpetual gaslighting, shaming and blaming. According to him, he was always MY victim, and I never loved him and never appreciated him…ever.

Unfortunately, I played into the mind games and subtle abuse that slowly and insidiously chipped away at my confidence and my core beliefs. By the end of the relationship, I was a bundle of nerves and chaos. I didn’t know if I was good or evil. I questioned everything and every idea I had about who I was and how I ended up where I ended up. If you believe that life gives us what we ask for, I guess I was nothing but a pathetic masochist. But truly, who asks for this and perpetuates it willingly?

I’ll give an example of his subtle mental and emotional abuse techniques. The scenario that follows illustrates how quickly, ruthlessly and seamlessly the sociopath moves between the roles of savior, persecutor and victim.

(The following may be triggering for many who experienced similar crazy-making.)

I am certified and trained to teach English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) and to tutor individuals studying to take their GED. After searching, researching and finally deciding on volunteering for a local non-profit in need of tutors, I called the sociopath to discuss my decision and determine which evenings worked best. Immediately, he lashed out at me.

Sociopath: “How could you make such a decision without consulting me first?”

Me: [confused] “I am consulting you. I haven’t confirmed anything with the organization.”

Sociopath: “You’re lying! You did all of that research without asking me first.”

Me: [more confused] “I’m not sure what you mean. I mentioned to you my desire to tutor and you thought it was very generous of me to volunteer.”

Sociopath: [avoiding my factual statement] “You are putting us at risk by working with THOSE people. You’re putting your child at risk. These people are drug dealers and users. What kind of mother puts her child at risk on purpose? You’re being careless and stupid.”

Me: [confused because I hadn’t even mentioned to him the profile of the students I would be assisting] “That’s not true. You don’t know that.”

Sociopath: [elevated and angry voice] “YOU TOLD ME THESE PEOPLE YOU HELP ARE AT-RISK.”

Me: [realizing he had misunderstood what I meant by at-risk, I attempted to clarify] “I’m sorry. At-risk doesn’t mean they’ve done something bad, specifically. It means…”

Sociopath: [interrupting with elevated and angry and breathless voice] “Don’t tell me I’m stupid! Don’t lie to me now. You are such a liar! You are so selfish! How could you do this to me? I love you so much and you choose to waste your evening helping THOSE people!?”

Me: [confused and wishing I could explain to him that my choice to help these people isn’t to take away time from US] “That’s just silly. Helping and volunteering makes me happy. I want to see these people succeed. I can show you the statistics that support…”

Sociopath: [interrupting me again with more anger and vile in his language] “You fucking ungrateful bitch! You’re going to choose THOSE people over me? Because if you choose THOSE people, I’m gone.”

This conversation occurred 2 years into the 3-year relationship. Luckily, this conversation happened over the phone; I still had my own place and was not living with the sociopath. I was able to stand my ground…at first.

I told him that if he was forcing me to make such a ridiculous choice, I’d gladly choose helping THOSE people over being subjected to his childish and unfair attacks.

(I was still very much under the impression that he simply needed to learn more about the volunteer work I was doing and that he’d eventually come to terms with it and welcome my decision.)

Instead, the sociopath just began to cry wildly on the other side of the phone…wailing into the receiver.

“I can’t believe you’d do this to me! I love you so much!!! So Muuuuch! Sooooo muuuuuuch!”

All I could hear for several minutes was him crying and sobbing through the phone. It was so loud and so prolonged, I was unable to console him or attempt to interject. I felt incredible responsible and guilty.

It was MY FAULT he was in so much pain. I wanted his pain to stop. I gave up tutoring.


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