Identifying Sociopaths in Our Midst

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No more hiding behind the safety of this blog. I took a leap and FINALLY published my first story to CommDigiNews with “sociopath” in the title.

Changing and transforming society’s perception can happen. It can. But it takes a collective effort. Please read, share, Tweet and Pinterest the following story!

Identifying and Protecting Ourselves from the Sociopaths in our Midst

By Paula Carrasquillo for Communities Digital News, LLC

couples yoga

This is not a man-hating blog

couples yogaThis is not a man-hating blog.

I try to avoid this type of defensive post at all costs. After all, this is my blog and I can write about what I want to write about, right?

Unfortunately, there seems to be something in the air (or the stars or maybe even in the water) lately that keeps directing my attention back to the fact that some who stumble upon this blog think I’m a man-hater.

On the contrary. I love men. I am fascinated by the differences between men and women. I think men and women have the potential to truly complement each other in beautiful ways. Physiologically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

I love men.

In particular, I love my husband. Without him and his support, this blog probably wouldn’t be as active as it has been over the past 18 months. He gives me the courage and the confidence to speak out against what happened to me. He believes I am a good person. He boosts me when I am having my doubts. He knows that I do this less for me and more for everyone else who has been in similar situations, similar toxic relationships.

So no. I am no man-hater.

But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a hater. I am an abuse-hater.

  • I hate acts that are perpetrated without a conscience, without care, without remorse and without an ounce of genuine empathy.

  • I hate negative judgement of others that come from a place of righteousness and intolerance.

  • I hate control of other’s emotions, thoughts, actions and characters.

  • I hate blaming and shaming for the sole purpose of blaming and shaming.

I hate control. Period. Everything listed above is an act of control which equals abuse. I don’t care if it’s man, woman or child who inflicts abuse. I hate abuse.

  • Trying to convince another who they should be friends with and how they should interact with those friends is abuse.

  • Demanding that your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend make decisions only after you have given the okay is abuse.

  • Belittling your intimate partner about his/her past is abuse.

  • Discounting and purposely dismissing a person’s opinions or ability to think for themselves is abuse.

  • Sitting there reading my words and wishing you could jump through the screen and tell me I’m full of shit is abuse.

(It’s perfectly okay to be abusive if that’s how you wish to live your life. But don’t expect the rest of us to sit back and take it or to be silent about it. None of us are willing victims. None of us are willing to sacrifice our spirits and our wish to live beautifully and free just so you can perpetuate your abuse upon us.)

Every post I write can be rewritten from a male perspective. Every he can be a she. Every him can be a her. Every his can be a hers.

What makes my story and experience relatable to many isn’t my sex/gender or my abuser’s sex/gender. What readers should focus on is the behavior and characteristics of abuse described.

Granted, few men come to this blog and post comments. But that goes back to how men and women are so beautifully different in how we are in this world. Women are natural nurturers and want to be present for each other. That means commenting and sharing openly.

Men are not that open or as willing to present their inner conflict with others. And I respect and admire that.

I do get the occasional e-mail or phone call from men. It honestly over joys me when I do. The men who have contacted me are just as confused and in just as much need of understanding as the women with whom I have connected.

I want everyone, regardless of their gender or sexual preference to feel safe reaching out, lurking about and commenting on this blog.

I am not a man-hater. I don’t see only men as sociopaths. I simply write what I know and have experienced. I am a woman. My abuser was a man. That’s where discussion of gender should end.

Namaste!
~Paula

{Image source http://www.pinterest.com/pin/396950154626707490/}

Rachel_Miller

We Don’t All Make the Highlight Reel. ~ Rachel Miller

The following was written and shared with permission by Rachel Miller.
You can connect with Rachel on her “Awareness Wednesdays” Facebook page.


Rachel_Miller

This picture was taken at my company’s annual convention, two weeks after I had been thrown into a wall. Would you have guessed that I lived in an abusive home?

I was a victim of domestic violence.

I must tell you, even now, a few years after leaving my abusive marriage the word “victim” still doesn’t sit well on my tongue. I had to learn to own the word, in order to move forward and get the therapy I needed to recover from my experience, but I don’t wear it comfortably. I have a hard time balancing the person I know I am inside with the stereotypical image of a victim that pops into my head when I hear the word. Some of that is due, in part, to my own desire to deny my past, but the other is that I have trouble relating to many of the stories I hear and pictures I see promoting domestic violence awareness.

You see my story is different, yet not different at all.

I was hit twice during my 15 year marriage; I was thrown into a wall once and held captive in my own home by my 6’5” 300 lb. husband at least three times, but only the wall incident left me bruised. Only the last time he locked me in the house did I call someone (his mother) for help. I didn’t think I fit the description of a battered woman; I wasn’t hiding bruises or avoiding friends or co-workers. While I might limit his exposure to my friends and family, I still saw them. I was able to work, though he cost me a promotion by threatening to cause a scene at my job if I went in that day. Granted, I seldom, if ever, went out without him. Yes, I spent most of my time walking on eggshells waiting for the next blow up and got extremely anxious when I did things I knew would upset him, but he never threatened to kill me. Though he owned many guns, he never pulled one on me or my kids. While he controlled many aspects of our life, I thought because I had control of others that I wasn’t like those women who end up in hospitals, in women’s shelters or dead.

My case wasn’t extreme; mine had many periods of what people refer to as honeymoon phases; mine was almost always invisible to outsiders. I didn’t feel I could call the police when he backed me into a corner during a fight or stood over me screaming and yelling. I thought because I fought back that law enforcement wouldn’t believe me. I didn’t feel battered or abused. I couldn’t relate to the women that I saw on billboards or in commercials with black eyes or long sleeves covering up bruises. While some of this, I understand now, is typical of abused women, I also feel that the very campaigns that are meant to help women like me, in fact, alienate us.

Domestic violence to me used to mean things like: beaten children, broken bones, bruises, black eyes, angry alcoholics and constant fear. It didn’t mean a man who controls you or your life through manipulation. It didn’t mean a man who intimidated with size or threats. It didn’t mean a man using words to, slowly over a long period of time, break down their partner’s will to be their own person and ability to see what was happening. It didn’t mean long stretches of good times (or what I thought were good times) with periodic explosions of rage, temper, intimidation and violence.

I was the very person campaigns, like the many that are going on this month, are trying to reach, yet I was the very person who couldn’t relate to the information they were providing.  All the stories seemed so extraordinary. I could justify that I wasn’t one of those woman because I didn’t have bruises, he didn’t threaten to kill me, he never raped me, didn’t call me names nor did he attack my self –image. In fact I was the “trophy wife” who he enjoyed flaunting and we both knew that at the end of the day I was simply more intelligent.

I was fine.  I could handle it.

I wasn’t like those other women; my situation was different. No one saw his potential; no one understood how amazing he could be. He needed me.

Yes, I now understand how wrong that line of thinking was, but I didn’t then. I couldn’t find stories like mine when I read about abusive relationships. All I could seem to find were extremes so I convinced myself that my relationship, while having its issues, was not abusive.

It’s time to reconsider this constant highlighting of the extreme cases, showing the sensational photos, always going for the shock value and bring some attention to the woman who are slowly, silently dying on the inside, whose wounds are deep and bleeding but because you can’t see them, because they aren’t black and blue and their abuser isn’t holding a gun to their head or trying to run them down with their car, feel like their situation doesn’t qualify as domestic violence.

  • It’s time to tell the story of the woman who was afraid to spend a day with her cousin because her husband would explode when he got home.  You see, she hadn’t spent her day off cleaning an already clean house, which is his mind was unacceptable.
  • We need to tell the story of the woman who has to get every friend on Facebook, every follower on Twitter and every potential activity approved by her husband or pay the consequences of his anger.
  • We need to tell the story of the girl whose mother controls who she speaks to, manipulates her into taking out credit cards to support the family, yet refuses to pay the bills and uses guilt, denial and intimidation to keep her from telling ‘family secrets.’
  • Let’s talk about the little girl who sees her father intimidate her mother, hit, knock down and kick her brother but never her and lives in constant fear of one day crossing his invisible line so that his violence is turned on her.
  • It’s time to hear about the boy whose mother slapped him because getting in her face was too reminiscent of his abusive father’s intimidation.
  • We need to hear about the man whose wife tells him nothing he does is good enough, attempts to destroy his relationships with his friends and family and insists everything that ever goes wrong is his fault.
  • We need to tell the story of the woman who felt she was powerless to leave her relationship because of the lack of money and mountains of debt her abuser had gotten the family into.

All of these stories are part of the domestic violence cycle, and when all we do to bring awareness to the extremes, we risk invalidating those who suffer daily but will never make the highlight reel at the next rally or have their image as part of the latest PSA.

[October] is domestic violence awareness month. I was a victim and there are millions like me. We are your friends, your co-workers, your family member, your next door neighbor and you may have no idea what we suffer through every day. Many of us are extremely skilled at hiding the reality of our situations. To this day there are people who are stunned when they hear my story. They had absolutely no idea and cannot believe that someone like me lived like this.

“But you’re so strong and confident, how could you possibly have put up with that kind of treatment?”

“You’re such a leader, such a go getter; I can’t believe you let him hold you back in the workplace.”

“You’re an intelligent, talented, beautiful woman; things like this don’t happen to women like you.”

I have heard all of these things and more. So the next time you think you know what the victim of domestic violence looks like think again; it may just be the person sitting next to you.

It’s time to tell all the stories, include the entire spectrum of domestic violence in our crusade to make it stop. We need to validate all of those who have suffered in order to shine the light on all who abuse.

Rachel Miller
Awareness Wednesdays

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The Sociopath’s Graceless Heart: See It for What It Is.

graceless heart

People without a conscience (you know, sociopaths) are able to “get over” loss and failure easily.

Why? How is that possible?

The one characteristic of sociopaths which we can never, ever forget and must keep at the forefront of our minds is the reality that the sociopath is not like the rest of us. The sociopath is not capable of becoming emotionally attached and rooted to anything, any place and definitely not any person.

The sociopath’s heart is without grace.

Any connections you perceive the sociopath to have (because that’s what we do; we try to understand the sociopath as we understand ourselves) are purely surface, superficial and material. People and animals are objects that the sociopath uses and controls to his advantage and to validate his delusions of superiority and uniqueness.

He loses a job? The sociopath might be pissed for a day or two but will soon be manipulating and conning his way either into another workplace/position or someone “close” to him out of money and resources.

They make these “losses” look like “no big thing” because they really are “no big thing” to the sociopath. That job was just a tool he used to look good and to buy stuff that made him look good. He can always find another employer to suck.

He loses a fiancée/girlfriend/wife? Pfft! The sociopath will seem distraught for about a week as he cries and complains to his adoring audience about how terrible and heartless his ex was for leaving him. Then, almost like magic, the sociopath’s tears will dry up and he and his audience (a.k.a. pity-party participants) will move on to a new project the sociopath conned and manipulated them into doing in order to help the sociopath get his mind off of his loss.

Again, the sociopath appears and acts incredibly strong and together in the face of a crushing and life-changing event. But who can take on a house renovation, a book project, a new girlfriend/boyfriend or anything requiring making an emotional connection to anyone or any idea within just a few weeks of losing another emotional connection? A sociopath–that’s who.

But we don’t see their strength for what it is—a deficit in the sociopath’s character.

Instead, we see the sociopath’s ability to “bounce back” as strength, as a power and a skill. We are in awe of this person’s “ability” to lift himself up so quickly after being knocked down. We are in awe of this person’s “ability” to change and move forward with seeming grace and confidence in little more than a few days or weeks!

But look closely. Nothing has changed. The only thing that has changed is the group of suckers surrounding the sociopath. These new and/or well-groomed long-term suckers freely give to the sociopath their time, care and resources so the sociopath, their devastated and wronged friend, doesn’t suffer unnecessarily due to the selfishness and carelessness of the heartless person/employer/ex-friend who hurt him and caused his suffering.

Some like to call the pity-party participants enablers. I refuse to call the pity-party participants “enablers.” They aren’t. An enabler is someone who sees someone doing something unhealthy and destructive and doesn’t address those bad habits with the person committing those bad habits, allowing that person to keep destroying themselves.

People who have aligned themselves with a sociopath have no idea that any bad habits exist. I mean, how do you detect that someone is a lying piece of trash without a conscience? How?

It’s nearly impossible.

When we first meet someone, why would we suspect that person is deceiving us and has ulterior motives? Why would we suspect a person would lie so adamantly about a person or situation we do not know about first-hand? Why would we think a person is setting the stage for future chaos and confusion?

We wouldn’t, because healthy and normal good people do not live to pit people against others just so we always comes out smelling like roses. We just don’t.

Unless you are deeply intimate with a sociopath and share a living space or workplace with the person, you may never understand the ugliness involved in triangulation, lies and deceptions. In many cases, the sociopath is so passive aggressive and so good at stonewalling and giving you, the pity-party participant, the silent treatment (once you do start asking the “right” questions) that the sociopath never, ever outright lies with his verbal or written language.

There is a reason the sociopath goes silent. A very fucking (excuse me) good reason: the sociopath refuses to be linked to a direct quote that reveals all truth. Instead, the sociopath withholds that truth in hopes that you’ll either A.) Stop asking your silly and infuriating questions or B.) Abandon/fire him like the last person/employer so he can start his pity-party game all over again with another unsuspecting group of folks.

But, if you look closely, the truth is always revealed in what is not said or written. The absence of answers is indicative of the presence of lies.

The truth is in the sociopath’s avoidance of answering questions and facing his opponents head-on. The sociopath leaves the dirty work up to others (pity-part participants) to pass along and smear and demean those with the strength, courage and self-respect to finally walk away or fire his ass.

So the next time you meet someone with an unbelievable back story about being wrongfully accused of doing unspeakable things, listen to your gut. If he claims to be “all good” with it because that other person or employer is just crazy or insane or bipolar or borderline, question how he could “get over” a person he once wanted to grow old with. Ask him how he can just “let go” of his dream job without mourning it.

Normal and healthy people NEED time to grieve and process tragedy, if indeed they describe it as tragic. A few weeks? Come on! You know BS when you smell BS, so why are you allowing his BS to smell like that 4th bouquet of flowers he had delivered to your office?

Give your gut some credit. It’s not JUST your gut. It’s a very discerning and intelligent inner voice you’ve been carrying around with you your entire life.

You should heed that voice when it repeatedly tells you, “This person is a liar. This person is a deceiver. This person will throw anyone and everyone under the bus, including you. Who cares if he claims you’re the best thing to ever happen to him. You already know you’re a fantastic and amazing person. You don’t need some loser, some person who obviously loses people and jobs and family, telling you how great you are. The common denominator in this loser’s life is himself. Wake up!”

Walk away gracefully from the graceless beasts.

Namaste!

~ Paula

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/407505466253116061/)

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The Exorcism of the Sociopath: Victim to Survivor

release me, paula renee carrasquillo, paula reeves-carrasquilloAfter this past week, I am more focused and determined to finally compile this blog into my second book, a follow up to Escaping the Boy. I’ve even come up with a working title:

The Exorcism of the Sociopath

One of the many realizations I came to over the past 18 months through my blog and my interactions with readers is that even after escaping the pathological relationship with the boy, I continued to be silently and insidiously possessed by something not of myself. I ruminated on the “why”s and “how”s of what happened. I self-soothed with alcohol for a while. I got stuck in a place I didn’t like.

In order to get unstuck and to rid myself of whatever it was that had possessed me, I needed to acknowledge that I wasn’t myself, accept that I was a victim of not being myself and then work toward releasing myself from the invisible stronghold that had overcome me.

Confused? So was I. All I knew was that I was hurting myself and those in my life who loved me. I wanted to stop.

My biggest hurdle to being able to end the insanity was believing I had been a victim in the first place. Who me?! No way was I ever going to admit to being taken advantage of. In doing this, in this resistance, I hurt myself. I was delusional. I tried repressing feelings and emotions that only a victim could possibly feel and emit.

I was NOT going to admit to being a victim. NEVER!

Silly me. I had very strong negative connotations connected to “being a victim.” I thought it was a death sentence. I thought that people would look at me differently and treat me differently and not feel like they could trust me. I worried that people would think I was telling my story in order to make excuses for my behavior. I never wanted to be perceived that way. I could fix myself and no one would ever have to know what happened to me.

I soon realized that I had to embrace, at least temporarily, my role as a victim. By doing that, I was able to discover how I was REALLY affected, emotionally and spiritually. I discovered invaluable support from people who didn’t feel sorry for me but who had faith in my ability to overcome. Once I was willing to take the added strength of others, I was able to let go of that victim role and embrace being a survivor, someone in total and complete control of my destiny regardless of where I had been and who had tried to destroy me.

My hope is that my second book will help guide others out of victim mode and into full survival mode. I want to see everyone who has ever entered a pit similar to the one I entered emerge a better and stronger person.

Accountability equals empowerment.

I am by no stretch of the imaginiation finished with my healing and recovery. But I know I am much stronger than I have ever been, and I foresee myself continuing to grow and learn throughout the next phases and stages of my life.

I want you to succeed. I want you to feel good about admitting that you were, at one time a victim. Most importantly, I want you to be a survivor. I want you to be someone you love and trust. Because once you become someone you love and trust, others will be more willing and able to love and trust you also.

Namaste!
~ Paula
(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/444871269411994202/)

The End of the Relationship with a Sociopath: Where is the Sense in It?

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From the beginning, a relationship with a sociopath make no sense and is unlike any relationship we have ever encountered. And then the end comes, and we’re blown away by how it plays out.

When normal, healthy relationships end, we naturally grieve. We say goodbye to someone with whom we shared ourselves and whom shared themselves with us. It’s sad. It’s painful. But it’s life. People come and go. And just because the person we are saying good-bye to will no longer be a part of our everyday life, we have the beautiful memories of that person and all of the adventures and growth we experienced.

But when a relationship with a sociopath ends, it’s on par with losing someone through death. Why is the grief so intense? Probably because there was never a normal closure when a so-called relationship with a sociopath ends.

When we end romantic relationships with healthy partners, there is usually the final, mutual conversation where one side says, “I love you but it’s just not working” and the other side says “I love you, too, and I agree it’s not working.” You go your separate ways; there is no drama; there is no second-guessing. You move forward and deal every day with the gradual subsiding of the pain and grief of losing a person you once shared a life. And you always remember that person and how he/she shaped you and helped prepare you for the next relationship.

When the toxic relationship with a sociopath ends, we never experience the mutual conversation or the drama-free exit and separation. Instead, what we get from a sociopath is emptiness and lies. If you leave the sociopath, he’ll say, “Thank God I don’t have to endure you any more. I should have realized long ago that I was wasting my energy on you.” If he is the one to leave, he’ll say, “It’s just not working out. I don’t love you and never really loved you the way you wanted me to love you. We would have made each other miserable. Have a great life.”

Both reactions are shocking to a normal, health non-pathological person. How could someone devalue the years you spent together with such dismissive statements and lack of emotion and care?

Well, a sociopath, that’s who!

Once the sociopath no longer needs you or realizes he can’t use you for further supply, you become dead to the sociopath. His memory is wiped clean of you, because he was never able to connect with you on a spiritual level in the first place. You were just a material thing, an acquisition and a conquest; it’s easy to toss away things. In no uncertain terms, you become trash and garbage in the eyes of the sociopath.

You do not exist. You are worthless and so was the relationship. Poof! You’re nothing.

So harsh! You are unable to compute how the sociopath was able to come to such a conclusion about you and your worth. Once you recognize this reality, when you hear it in his tone and learn of it through the smear campaign, you may become desperate to make him see how wrong he is. You may try to delay the end. You may call him and beg and barter with him. You may get down on your hands and knees and say you’re sorry and would do anything to prove to him that you are worthy of his eternal friendship and love.

But, more than likely, by the time you make such a spectacle of yourself, the sociopath has already found a new source of supply. By doing this, you just end up looking like a crazy and desperate fool. The sociopath does not care what you have to say. He does not acknowledge any of the truth you might be speaking. However, the sociopath loves that you keep begging him and pleading with him to be nicer to you. These are the moments that feed the sociopath, and he shares these pleadings with his current victim/girlfriend/fiancee to prove to them how insane you are, “Jesus! This woman is so sick. She just can’t let go and accept I don’t want anything to do with her.”

The boy in my story described several women from his past in this way. (I’m definitely added to that list now. Hehe!) But was it really letting go of him that they were unable to do? Was his teenage lover really desperate to marry him after all these years because she was delusional and couldn’t accept the end of the relationship? Was the ex-girlfriend from Ohio, now married with children, pining for the boy because she still loved him? Did I call him after my stepfather died because I needed him to comfort me?

No. None of us really needed him in our lives. What we needed from him was a glimmer of humanity that we never received when the relationship ended. All we got was drama, hate and lies. We were desperate to be treated as humans.

But expecting to be treated as a human when the relationship with a sociopath ends is hoping in vane. It will never happen. Why? Because the sociopath isn’t human like you and me. He has no conscience. So why on earth would the sociopath treat you like you were human if he doesn’t even know what it feels like to be human with a conscience?

He wouldn’t, because he can’t. The sociopath is not capable of treating you like anything other than a disposable piece of flesh.

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/209206345162866290/)

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Not Everyone Behind Bars is a Sociopath. Not Even Close!

prisonI shared the following volunteer story with Leah Oviedo on her new blog, Up To You Project, dedicated to encouraging community involvement on a local and global scale.

As I wrote it, I thought about what I have learned in recent months about sociopaths and other pathological liars and delusional individuals who get away with the most base crimes across the nation, but rarely, if ever, are prosecuted.

I’m talking about the child molesters, child abusers, rapists, spouse abusers and con artists who I believe are behind the creation and “nurturing” of the majority of petty thieves, drug dealers and addicts that end up in our system.

Here’s a not-so-startling statistic:

“A reported 85 to 90 percent of women who are either currently incarcerated or under the control of the justice system in the United States have a history of domestic and sexual abuse. Risk factors contributing to women’s criminal behavior include substance abuse, mental illness, and spousal abuse.” (Center for American Progress – The Top 5 Facts About Women in Our Justice System)

Most of the people I encountered during my volunteer experience described below simply needed someone to give them hope that there was still good in this world. They needed a little push, a little motivation and incentive to change.

Those who were clearly criminal and evil by nature, I gladly watched return to their cells. There is no changing a sociopathic mind.

My Volunteer Story and What I Learned

In 2004 when I was a graduate student attending Regis University in Denver, CO, I joined AmeriCorps, the domestic-based equivalent of the Peace Corps. The organization I chose was Community Educational Outreach (CEO), a non-profit that outreaches to the at-risk and in-need community members providing free GED, ABE, Life Skills and other valuable classes and training. I took on the volunteer assignment with only one expectation: to help someone pass the GED. I had no idea that I would be gifted with much, much more.

The CEO outreach partner where I chose to begin volunteering was located in a community corrections facility which housed male and female offenders out on probation/parole transitioning back into the community. The program was created due to over-crowding and a need to get these folks out of the “encaged” mindset and into one of independent thinking and doing. Although the facility was run by security guards and other correctional professionals, when the offenders walked into the CEO classrooms, they became students. They were no longer referred to as inmates.

Most of the young people (those under 30) were clearly high-strung and not very trusting of me. Most couldn’t understand why I would wish to help them for nothing. Even after explaining to them that I just wanted to help them, they couldn’t “get it.” I then started answering them with, “Well, if you continue to fail, all of society continues to fail. I want to be a part of a successful community and helping you is a step toward belonging to a healthier community.”

This approach seemed to work. I guess in their thinking, there had to be something in it for me because, more than likely, they were acted upon their entire lives by people who wanted something from them, otherwise they had no value.

There was something in it for me but that “something” was difficult to describe to my students:

  • I helped men who had never had a proper job in their lives fill out applications and compose their first resumes.
  • I got to see a woman who had lost most of her teeth to meth addiction, smile proudly for the first time in many years after we found her a dentist who was willing to give her new teeth pro bono.
  • I saw the simple joy in the eyes of many after passing the GED on their first or second attempt.
  • I got to see that there is hope and that rehabilitation and cognitive therapy and learning programs can help some of the forgotten and thrown away in our society.
  • I also became very aware that many can’t be helped. Many need the correction system because they can never change their mindset.

But I was thankful that I could be a part of a program and project that helped those who desperately wanted to be helped. Regardless of a person’s past or upbringing, they are human and deserve our empathy and trust, at least until they prove, one way or another, that they don’t deserve it.

Why not share your volunteer story with Leah?

Note: Although I began this experience as a volunteer, within weeks of helping I was offered a part-time job but continued working unpaid on Sundays.

Namaste!
~ Paula

 (image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/351912440683909/)

phoenix, PTSD, recovery, psychopath, sociopath, awareness, dating a sociopath, divorcing a narcissist, Paula Carrasquillo, Paula Renee Carrasquillo, Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo

The Rise and Fall and Rise Again: The Evolution of You Inside and Outside the Toxic Relationship with a Sociopath

phoenixSo you want to know what I mean when I say I was in a toxic relationship with a sociopath and why it took me so long to leave and why I speak of the need to heal from it?

Okay. Here goes:

Imagine meeting the most charming, independent and interesting fellow who seems to love everything about you. He showers you with love, affection and attention. He likes everything that you like. You share the exact same dreams and hopes for the future. He seems like your perfect match and “too good to be true.”

Within a few short months of meeting (but well after you have become emotionally invested in him), this “great guy” begins to devalue you, seemingly out of the blue.

He tells you that you should dress better, stop drinking so much, be a better parent, look into finding work that suits your skills, consider dropping some of your friends who have no purpose and to stop being so selfish.

These are all things that you recognize could be holding you back and are even some you have seriously considered changing about yourself before, but why does he have to be so cruel and harsh in his assessments and judgments?

You let him know his words hurt. But instead of backing off with the criticisms, he pumps up the volume and frequency of them. He seems to get pleasure in knowing he’s hurting you.

Every attempt at change you make and everything you do or say comes with belittling reactions from him. It hurts. His words hurt. And being hurt sucks away all of your motivation to make any of the changes he proposes you make. And because of the emotional investment you made and the “taste” of the good man you thought he was, you keep holding out hope that his poor opinion of you and his bad behavior is fleeting, and he’ll soon see the error in his heartless ways.

But it continues. Each time you protest to his hateful remarks and threaten to leave, he  immediately apologizes and promises never to do it again. The good guy persona appears briefly, always and inevitably replaced by the ugly head of his monster side.

This causes you great confusion and despair.

“What happened to that loving and caring guy I first met? He MUST be in there somewhere. I can’t just walk away even though he’s hurting me. Imagine how much I would hurt him if I left? He just doesn’t understand that he’s really hurting me. Poor thing. I can’t just leave him. He’s so lost.”

But then his despicable nature becomes harder and harder for him to hide. His “good guy” mask is chipping away and disintegrating completely right before your eyes.

And because all of your hope has washed away with his mask, you start letting him know more and more how you feel about what he says and does that hurts you and others.

What’s his reaction? To point a blaming finger back at you. YOU are why he does what he does, and it’s YOUR fault that you can’t handle the truth.

He’s partially right. You are to blame for why he behaves and hurts you. But not for the reasons he proposes.

He claims you’re weak and mentally ill. Wow! You’re floored. After all, you simply tried to explain to him that what he did wasn’t nice or what he’s thinking about another person might not be 100% accurate. You never once said he was sick or mentally ill for behaving and saying those things. Why would he claim you were sick and mentally ill unless you were sick and mentally ill?

So you ponder that idea: “Am I sick and mentally ill? No one would suggest such a thing unless I were, right?”

But because you aren’t sick and mentally ill, you become sick and mentally ill trying to uncover issues to prove you are sick and mentally ill. At the same time, you’re trying to make sense of the actions and behaviors of a man who you have yet to realize lacks empathy and remorse.

You go crazy wondering what you did to cause someone to react to you in such ugly and hateful ways.

And this is where your ability to empathize, be compassionate, and exercise your conscience works against you. You are dealing with a sociopath who lacks all of those things but is able to manipulate and control you because you have them!!!

Do you see the irony and silliness in this toxic situation?

You do see it! You finally do! And you realize it can’t and won’t stop unless you exit the ride. But you might not have the right words to explain what you feel. That’s okay. There is no time to explain. More than likely you’re going on what your gut has been trying to tell you all along, that something is f*cking, stinkin’ rotten in Denmark.

You finally listen and are able to start seeing and accepting him for what he is. You begin to see the reality that he can’t change and that you are absolutely unwilling to give up your freedom and your will in order to please him. You have yourself to make happy. He’s a grown man. Let him deal with himself, alone. You’ve had it!

So you no longer make excuses for him, to yourself or to others. He’s never given you that courtesy, so why give it to him.

You leave him. Who would want this in their lives:

He’s a racist, sexist, misogynistic douche bag to the nth degree. You realize that all of those nasty, derogatory comments he’s made in the past about you and everyone else were because he really believes them to be true. They weren’t comments made by someone who cares if he hurts someone or not.

“Wow! Even the squirrels in Maryland are black.”

“Your boyfriend lost his leg? How can you date someone who is only half a man?”

“Why would you order coffee before I’ve even finished my meal, you selfish whore?”

“I put those Amish framers to work! Good thing they don’t know the real value of their efforts.”

“I told her at the entrance to the theater that she looked like a cream puff in that dress. It’s not my problem she dislikes me. The truth is the truth.”

“So my mom nearly dropped my niece and my brother screamed at my mom calling her a clumsy fat pig! Hehe! Can you believe it? You should have seen my Mother’s face! I don’t know what she was thinking carrying my niece that way.”

“You knew I was like this when you first met me.”

And there’s the rub.

Yes. I knew he was a little on the egotistical side. I thought he was like that because he was young (35) and his mother hadn’t taught him any better. (Sorry moms. It’s always easier to blame you.)

The part I didn’t know, however, is the part about him being without a conscience and lacking the ability to empathize.

It’s our conscience and our empathy that has allowed us, non-sociopaths, to grow and change and become better and more understanding people as we live our lives. We make the false assumption that everyone we meet has both empathy and a conscience. That’s where we fail ourselves and cause ourselves undue suffering when we cross paths with a sociopath.

Mr. and Ms. Sociopath are incapable of growing and changing and evolving into respectable and caring human beings, people we would all be proud to call our partners or friends in life.

Does that make me sad for sociopaths? No. I am detached from feeling anything for them.

What it makes me is incredibly thankful and proud of myself for having the strength and courage to face my own demons in order to wipe away the false demons a sociopath created and tried planting inside of me.

I certainly have my faults. But none that can’t be recognized and fixed with a little hard work and lots of empathy and help from my conscience.

Today, I dictate my own thoughts. No longer does another try to control how I see myself. That’s freedom. And we all deserve it and can reach it.

~Namaste!

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/280208408035377747/)

lessons of past, PTSD, recovery, psychopath, sociopath, awareness, dating a sociopath, divorcing a narcissist, Paula Carrasquillo, Paula Renee Carrasquillo, Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo

We’re to Blame for the Misuse of the Terms “Sociopath” and “Psychopath”

lessons of pastYesterday’s HuffPost Live broadcast, originally titled Learning to Love the Sociopath but later retitled Sociopaths: They’re not all Evil, awakened something in me.

And I’m a bit pissed it took so long.

Admittedly, for the past year or more, I have been living in a very sociopath-centric place. Everything I write, read and share has been in hopes of bringing awareness and education to myself and everyone else who has or thinks they have been in a toxic relationship with a sociopath/psychopath. To understand “what struck us” has been a priority. The other priority has been to heal and recover from the side effects of eating the shit sandwich we were served.

As a direct result of being consumed with trying to figure this out and going out of my way to connect with others who are desperate to find peace, too, I have taken for granted that not everyone understands or even knows how to define “sociopath” or “psychopath” or “pathology,” for that matter. Not even the so-called experts.

Yesterday’s show revealed to me that society misuses, not overuses, the terms, and we’re partially to blame.

When the show’s host asked the docs on the show to define “sociopath” and “psychopath” to clarify any misunderstandings the audience may have, they failed to deliver and instead, danced around the issue.

Why?

I’d rather not speculate (or at least reveal my speculations) here, on my blog, because real people were involved yesterday on the show. I don’t want to insult anyone.

Oh, hell. Screw that! I was insulted! Here is my speculation:

No one on that panel (besides me) has ever been on the receiving end of another’s pathology. The true receiving end. Sitting behind a desk listening to a “maybe” sociopath/client discuss their behavior does not make one an expert in pathology. Counseling a psychopath/sociopath (like M.E. Thomas believes she is and James Fallon purports he is) gives a person only HALF of the reality associated with pathology.

The other half missing in their analysis and expert opinions is us, the victims and survivors of these fools.

How can these people, the experts, intelligently talk or share an understanding of something they have never fully experienced themselves!? At best, they are speculating and playing an intellectual game, something pathology education and awareness has no time for.

I wanted to jump in and interrupt them several times. Instead, I sat back and smiled, because I am familiar with people giving me the hairy-eyeball stare when I reveal that I dated a sociopath. So chiming in and interrupting these “scholars” probably would have resulted in a nation of hairy-eyeball stares and nasty comments. Who needs that shit?

Instead, I sat back patiently thinking to myself, “THIS is why society calls every politician, lawyer or national leader a sociopath: not even the so-called experts are willing to admit that there is a human anomaly that exists in this world that even they can’t explain. Instead of trying to explain it using brain scans and with testimony from the lying and manipulative disordered, why not try to explain it from the point-of-view of the people most negatively affected by sociopathic behaviortheir victims?

I also wanted to say that the only people walking around over-using and misusing the words “sociopath” and “psychopath” are people who have NEVER been impacted directly by true sociopaths or psychopaths. REAL victims struggle to define their tormenters/abusers with such terminology. I don’t know about the rest of you, but it took me a couple years before I was willing to say that the boy in my story was sick. It took another year+ to be willing to admit to myself that he was, in fact, a goddamn sociopath!

Until I was willing to admit to and accept that, I was walking around thinking I was the cause of all the problems because the sick bastard told me I was. (Remember how they do that?)

So if we want to blame anyone for the misuse and overuse of the language of pathology, let’s blame ourselves. I had an opportunity to at least get the conversation moving in that direction yesterday, but I failed. If they had just given me more time or if I had just been more willing to behave like an asshole and interrupt the verbal chaos.

Lesson learned! Maybe next time. 🙂

~Namaste!

Link to the show: Learning to Love the Sociopath?

(On a related note: I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all three of the other participants. It was a great experience, and I’m glad I accepted the invitation from the show’s producers)

mother and child

An Open Apology to The Mother of the Narcissistic Sociopath

mother and childOn the heals of leaving the boy in my story and trying to make sense of what happened, I spoke of and wrote about how much I believed his mother was just as sick and equally responsible. Now I understand she really had no choice but to enable her “unreachable” son.

The boy’s mother learned how to “take” her son’s abuse, which more than likely began at a very, very young age. One story the boy seemed especially proud to tell was of a time when he was 5 or 6, and his mother sought help from a psychiatrist. His mother was baffled by the boy’s behavior and needed to know what she could do about it and if there was hope for it to change.

The boy described that visit to the psychiatrist with enthusiasm and glee. He told the story in expressive soliloquy-style, bubbling with great animation accompanied by a chuckle here and a smirk there.

(I can’t deny that I was mesmerized by his presentation. It was flippin’ Oscar-worthy! He came to life when he told it—much like he did any time he reminisced about his past diabolical behavior).

During that visit to the doctor, the boy destroyed the psychiatrist’s office. He claims the doctor sat there stoically talking to his mother as the boy transformed the once neat and orderly room into a sea of tossed books, papers and chairs. Nothing was left untouched or unmoved.  The boy described the aftermath as an absolute mess and disaster.

And he received zero punishment or consequences.

For the boy, this remains one of his proudest pieces of personal history. To him, he had accomplished something noteworthy that day.

That day IS noteworthy. I agree. It was the day he and everyone else in his life set the stage for the boy’s life journey. It’s the day he realized he could do any f*cking thing he wanted to do and get away with it.

According to the boy, the psychiatrist told his mother that he was just a boy and his behavior was normal. He’d grow out of it.

Normal, huh? Grow out of it, huh? I highly doubt that’s what the doctor said. I think that’s what his mother wanted to believe, because the truth was too much to bare—her son had a serious behavioral issue and a lot of time, counseling and resources were needed to fix it.

After that incident, his mother pretty much gave up fighting him. Instead, she allowed his behavior. Why?

I suspect for the same reason any of us would: Who wants to believe there is anything seriously wrong with their child? Who wants to accept some negative, mental-health label? How much guilt is connected in doing that? How much social stigma is attached to that?

How, then, was she able to allow the behavior?

Again, I can only speculate, but based on how detached she was from him as an adult, I suspect she began detaching herself from him when he was just 5 or 6.

She worked a lot. Traveled solo a lot. Helped her husband with his business a lot. Bottom line, she kept busy with menial tasks, so she didn’t have time to mother her son beyond providing him with shelter, food and other basics.

And so the boy’s shitty behavior was free to grow, prosper and escalate. He had no reason to change or better himself (not that it would have happened even if she had decided to mother and nurture him more).

To this day, his mother remains detached and enabling. She still keeps busy, busy busy doing absolutely, f*cking nothing.

But she is always there to bail him out. From financial pinches to relationship disasters. She’s the one who took in his ex-fiancée when he kicked her out as he tried moving me in. She was his buffer. His saving grace. His mother defuses his shittiness and allows him to go about his life “business as usual.”

The guy is a loser but looks like a success because his mother, whom he lacks total respect for, chose a long time ago not to challenge him or his behavior. If she had, she probably would have ended up on the other side of one of his rages, the rages reserved for his girlfriends, fiancées and any future, unfortunate wives he might fool.

I can’t say that I blame his mother for saving herself from being on the receiving end of his rages. It’s not a pleasant place to be. I’m sorry I ever blamed her.

So peace to his mother. May she one day find the courage to finally stand up to him and maybe run away, too.

Namaste!

(image source)

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