Being involved intimately with a narcissistic sociopath is a bit like living out the story of Snow White. Except there is no rescue by Prince Charming.
We begin the relationship naive and trusting like Snow White. The sociopath presents himself as a dichotomy: he appears shiny and delicious like the apple, but, at the same time, he behaves as if he were broken and in need of our help just like the evil queen disguised as the desperate old woman.
Our vanities are tempted by the apple, the gloriousness of a romantic and adventurous existence. And our sympathy is tested by the old woman, our desire to bring light to the sociopath’s dark and troubled mind.
The apple is dangled above us, so close we can taste it! How can we resist? How could anyone resist? But once we’ve taken a bite of the apple, we realize it’s not really a shiny and delicious apple at all. It’s poison. Everything around us begins to rot and whither; we begin to rot and whither.
Before we even cross the threshold into the world of the sociopath, our inner battle between good and evil begins. The sociopath repeatedly whispers that we deserve the luxuries of life even in the midst of other’s suffering. And that it’s okay to pamper ourselves and be selfish.
“You’ve worked hard, Baby, for a chance at pleasure. You shouldn’t have to work so damn hard to get a few morsels. Let me help you.”
And the sociopath is right! And he seems like he’s on our side, because we HAVE worked hard to become what we have become, DAMMIT! We have sacrificed so much of our time and our talents for so many years without reaping much benefit. We have always worked hard and helped others without expecting anything in return. The sociopath convinces us that we have been duping ourselves and that a lot can be received without giving anything. The sociopath gives us examples of how he has acquired so much in life without needing to lift a finger. The sociopath convinces us that we, like him, shouldn’t be involved with people or events that offer us nothing in return.
“What good is THAT relationship? What’s in it for you?”
Well, much to our surprise, we start thinking that it does seem like a more practical approach to life. And since one of our biggest complaints has always been feeling like we’re being walked all over all of the time, we relinquish our own ethics and begin to believe that it’s okay to expect a lot from nothing. After all, look how it’s worked for him?
With this shift in our thinking, we become the mouse to the sociopath’s cat. The game has REALLY picked up! The honeymoon stage is finally over, making it much easier for the sociopath to take off his mask and begin his cruel mind games in earnest.
The rages begin. He screams at us and tells us we are bad, no good, and unworthy of respect. The more the sociopath rages and attacks our character calling us hateful, heartless, and cruel, the more we believe that he could be right. After all, we had selfish thoughts about life and how to acquire a better life. We abandoned people because we chose to think like the sociopath. We ignored friends in need because we chose to think like the sociopath. God! How horrible and uncaring we have been. The sociopath is right. We don’t deserve to be happy while others are suffering. How could we have thought that way in the first place?
We dive deeper into the darkness of despair and self-loathing. We soon become convinced that we are EXACTLY like the sociopath, no better and maybe even a bit worse. Our reflections begin to merge, and we don’t like it.
So what do we end up doing in hopes of trading in our distorted self-image for our lost reflection? We decide to try to fix the sociopath. We can’t allow the relationship to wither and die. The sociopath has convinced us that we are soul mates, remember? We were brought together for a reason, remember? That he can’t live without us or he’ll die, remember? We can’t go on living happy, joyful, and free with blood on our hands, can we? We hold on to hope that the sociopath will “come around.” We can’t give up on someone who is clearly hurting inside. People change every day, right? Surely, the sociopath can change, too.
But the sociopath NEVER changes; he just gets worse. He continues to throw our mistakes and bad choices in our faces and discovers new ways to turn the secrets of our past into ugly histories. Horrible tales are spun. Threats are made. We become even more trapped. Our happiness wanes, cultivating our depression. We become a complete shell of our former selves. Now what do we do? Do we wait for our Prince Charming to rescue us? Not likely. That’s where our tale differs considerably from Snow White’s.
This is reality. At this point in the relationship with the sociopath, we are COMPLETELY and UTTERLY alone. We are on our own. We have a choice to make. Do we leave and begin our healing journey to a better and glorious life? Or do we stay and continue withering away, dying from the inside out?
You probably already know the choice I made. What choice did you make? What choice WILL you make?