This post was tough to write probably because the toughest part of the aftermath of my experience with the sociopath has been coming to terms with what he did to my son and the associated guilt I carry for being partially to blame. Reminders of the bullet we dodged can’t help but creep into my every-day life as I watch my son grow and thrive. Because the sociopath didn’t stop at trying to emotionally tear me down. He cowardly went after my son as well, while lying and claiming unconditional love for him.
As a child, I didn’t dream about getting married or having children. I rarely imagined my future self with anyone for that matter. My visions of my future were rather boring:
I was always old and surrounded by cats. (I don’t even like cats that much!) My younger sister often accompanied me in these visions; she was old, too. She was surrounded by dogs. (Makes a lot of sense if you knew her!)
Neither of us had children in these visions. Nor did we have husbands. We took care of each other (kind of like we’ve always done since we were little), and we always seemed to be hanging out on our front porch with the animals and several flower pots covering the stoop and front walkway. (I’m not exactly a green thumb; I’ll give my sister the credit for keeping the flowers healthy and alive.)
One thing I loved the most about these visions was our happiness. We were happy to have each other like we had always had each other growing up. As old ladies, we smiled a lot and drank iced tea.
We seemed so damn content in these visions. I’m starting to understand why that may be.
Today, we both have a child of our own. Just one each: I have a wonderfully imaginative and sensitive little boy, and my younger sister gave birth to a beautiful daughter earlier this year.
Before giving birth, I was so afraid to fail as a mother. I was so afraid of endangering my child or doing something to cause him harm. But something inside of me changed in the first moments of my son’s birth 8 years ago.
To me, having a child was a stressful idea. So many responsibilities! So many unknown variables and “what if”s that I seriously never wanted to have children.
But then “the pill” failed and I was pregnant!
I worried for 38 weeks that my son would be born deformed or with a disability – all due to something I had caused or had eaten or had been exposed to while pregnant.
(No one put these fears into my head. I was pretty good at scaring myself back then without anyone’s help.)
At 37 weeks pregnant, I was suffering from severe pre-eclampsia (pregnancy induced high blood pressure) and nothing was working to bring my BP into a normal range. I agreed to an emergency C-section.
I vaguely recall being wheeled into the OR to receive the spinal injection that would numb me from the neck down.
I vaguely recall lying on my back with my arms stretched out and fastened so as not to move them.
I vaguely remember the draped green fabric staring back at me so I couldn’t see what was happening to my body.
I vaguely remember the pressure.
I vaguely remember, once the pressure stopped, my husband behind and above me with the light shining down upon him as he smiled in spite of his tears.
The one moment I remember in all of its details was the moment my son’s nose touched mine and a deep and calming energy, that I can only describe as love, shooting through my body, relaxing me instantly.
I wouldn’t get a chance to hold my son for another 24 hours, the time it took for all of the drugs to flush out of my system and for my overwhelming fear of dropping him to wash away.
The first time holding him was feeding time, and his little 6 pound 9 ounce body nuzzled up to me and latched on in an instant, leaving the two of us to grow our love bond over and over again for the next 12 months of breast feeding and bonding bliss.
Which brings me to why I had no choice but to walk away from the sociopath (not really knowing he was a sociopath) in order to protect the truest love I had ever felt outside of the love of my parents and siblings–the love between myself and my son.
The saddest and most despicable behaviors by the sociopath, the boy in my story, was his attempt to convince me that my son wasn’t as lovable as I believed my son to be and the sociopath’s attempt to destroy my son’s growing self-esteem.
(It’s important to know that my son is NOT the sociopath’s son, and my son was between the ages of 3 and 5 when I was in the toxic relationship.)
I think all parents would agree that children can be manipulative and can use loving ploys at times to get what they want.
I also think parents would agree that we as parents intuitively know the difference between our child’s con and our child’s real desire to bond and connect.
The sociopath would roll his eyes at my son anytime my son would come running to me for a hug or a kiss. The sociopath would whisper to me how pathetic my son’s obvious manipulations were.
I would argue that my son was genuine in his love and that I could recognize when my son was trying to get something out of me by obvious attempts to “schmooze” me.
The sociopath, of course, didn’t appreciate that. For starters, the sociopath wanted me convinced that my idea of unconditional love between me and my son was just an illusion. The sociopath hoped I would feel defeated by my son’s inability to love me. After all, if I didn’t think my son loved me, I’d rely more and more upon receiving the sociopath’s love, which would render me more and more dependent upon the sociopath’s acceptance and approval of me as a person. Which would give him, in the end, ultimate control.
But each attempt by the sociopath to sever the bond between mother and child failed. I wasn’t going to believe, not for a second, any of the sociopath’s lame and bogus attempts to brainwash me against my own child’s affections. So the next best thing for the sociopath to do was to try tearing down my son’s confidence.
The sociopath liked calling my son a “baby” and a “midget”. My son despised being teased and would verbally declare to the sociopath just how much he despised the taunts:
“Stop it, Wooben! Stop it! I am not a baby!”
This encouraged the sociopath. He would laugh and poke more fun at my son and use even more annoying baby talk when speaking to my son.
(This baby talk approach is effective and demeaning, especially for children who partially define themselves and their maturity by how adults treat them. If an adult treats a child with respect and maturity, a child will naturally feel respected and mature. If an adult treats a child as “less than” the adult, the child will feel less than and will lack the confidence necessary to become mature and self-reliant. A powerful cause-and-effect reality in which adults always have the upper hand. Rather frightening if you think about this too much.)
My son was in a lose-lose battle with the sociopath. The more my son cried at being called a baby, the more the sociopath could prove to my son that he was a baby.
“Poor, poor Armando. Cry, cry Armando. See! You ARE a baby!!”
(Have I ever mentioned my desire to gouge out the sociopath’s eyeballs in the final weeks of the relationship before I escaped? Oh, forgive me. I can’t help but remember that urge as I revisit this scumbag’s treatment of my child.)
The point I am making is that this is child abuse. Plain and simple.
Child abuse is not limited to physical violence. Child abuse often begins as simple taunts and teases like I describe above. The abuse becomes obvious when these taunts and teasings escalate and the adult in the situation ignores the negative impact upon the child or finds the negative impact fulfilling in a sick and twisted way.
I pointed out the twistedness behind the sociopath’s behavior only to have the sociopath project some other ugliness onto me in hopes I would get too distraught with being too unhappy with myself to care or worry about how unhappy I was with how the sociopath treated me and my son.
Well, the sociopath underestimated my love for my child and my ability to suspend my depression long enough to act. I think he underestimated my love and desire to protect my son, because the sociopath never experienced such a true-love bond with his own mother. He had no idea the lengths I would go to in order to protect and preserve that love because the sociopath had never seen or felt it in his own life.
Should I have felt sorry for the sociopath and tried to get him to understand the love bond I shared with my son?
Well, I did feel sorry for the sociopath, and I tried many times in vain to express and model the love bond. But the sociopath was too jealous and insecure and afraid to open up to seeing something, anything, new and inspiring outside of his sad reality and life circumstances.
My child didn’t deserve being subjected to this sick man’s behavior any longer than he needed to be subjected to it. I wasn’t going to sit around praying and hoping the sociopath would change, either. My love for my son was much stronger and more motivational than any sad story told by or empty promises offered by the sociopath.
In the end, the sociopath’s crying tantrums and empty apologies were met by two words from my mouth, “Fuck you!”
(I know! It’s not appropriate, lady-like or classy. I didn’t exactly know what I was dealing with, remember, or what was happening to me? I didn’t exactly know the sociopath was a sociopath in these emotional moments. All I knew was that the guy was not good for me and was clearly hurting my child. What I describe here is just part of the abuse. I was angry. I deserved to be angry.)
Sacrificing my son’s love was never an option. My son deserved a chance to develop healthy self-esteem, self-respect and self-love. I could see that the sociopath lacked all of those qualities. Therefore I could not, in good conscience and with love, continue subjecting my son to such a poor model of human behavior.
If I didn’t leave for myself, I had to escape for my son. So that’s where my strength was born. Out of the love bond I had for my son.
My son saved me long before I was able to save myself. Miraculously, our love bond grew and continues to grow even stronger as a result. Who knew such a thing was possible!?!?!!!!
© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.