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Lazy Brain and the Narcissistic Sociopath

8 Apr

This morning I was catching up on my blog reading, and I came across a post from the end of March by Paula’s Pontifications.  It is titled Lazy Brain and the Narcissistic Sociopath.  I vaguely remember seeing it when she published it, but I wasn’t up for more reading on narcissistic sociopaths at the time.  It can be very emotionally draining to re-live my time with him, as I inevitably do whenever I examine this topic.  I get flashbacks and realize how much I was manipulated.  It makes me feel like a victim, which I absolutely hate.  Sometimes it also makes me pity him and the place where he will be trapped forever – his dysfunctional mind.  When I feel sorry for him, I immediately start reprimanding myself: feeling sorry for him is part of the reason I got trapped in that vicious cycle.  I worry that I’m living too much in the past.  Then I remind myself that processing past hurts is part of healing from them.

These feelings and insights can be overwhelming when I’m not prepared for them.  However, it is also validating to read the experiences and research of others into the disorder that lived in my house, shared my bed, and gave me its last name.  Of course it wasn’t the disorder I was married to, but a man who had it.  Still, there doesn’t seem to be much of a practical difference.  The stories of others who have dealt with someone like him are all surprisingly similar.  Things they share happened to me.  They could be talking about him.  In fact, they are, even if they never met him.  Because he is a narcissistic sociopath.  This article reinforced that.  The term “lazy brain” is so perfect, as is the following description, that I had to re-post them both here.

lazy_brain

“Somewhere along the path of development, a narcissistic sociopath‘s brain ceases to grow. Instead of the circuitry inside his brain getting excited about learning something new and solving a problem in a new and different way, the circuitry opts out.

“Abort! Abort! This one is too tough to solve. Just keep doing what we always do: cry, pout, blame and run away. It works so well.”

And the sociopath’s brain keeps doing this — sending the same message. As a result, the sociopath continues to cry, pout, blame and run away regardless of age. This childish behavior is one of the reasons why so many victims initially blame his inability to communicate effectively and come to collaborative resolutions on, what they deduce and assume to be, the sociopath’s lack of life experiences. Victims assume the sociopath is so rigid in his thinking because he has never been in a situation where he has had to consider another person or a group of people. And because we are empathetic, we set aside our frustrations, and instead, we feel pity for these people who seem to have been living in a protective bubble their entire lives.

(Strike one against us and our so-called advanced cognitive thinking skills!)

After all, the rest of us (who are not pathological) experience the growing pains of our teenage years with complete immersion and energy and gusto. Our brains work overtime. We cry and battle ourselves and other teenagers and our parents. But we learn valuable lessons about respect and empathy and how to treat others as we wish to be treated. As teenagers, we experience a level of cognitive development that is so high and constant that it sometimes makes us feel like we’re losing our minds. And in a way we are. We are losing the primitive thinking patterns that guided us as infants, toddlers and children. Our brain’s cognitive development during our teenage years is life-changing. It’s a rite of passage. Once reached we are thrust head-first into adulthood and feeling empowered with the necessary brain power and thinking skills to help us take on all of the responsibilities associated with being productive, loving and kind.

The sociopath does not attain a rite of passage like the rest of us. He cheats his way into adulthood, because the sociopath spends his teenage years regressing mentally and emotionally. All problems are solved by rebelling but never facing the consequences of those rebellions. Someone is always there bailing him out and telling him it was someone else’s fault and not to worry. This “bailout” sends the message to the sociopath’s brain that says, “You don’t have to change, man. Look how easy it is to keep being an infant and toddler and manipulating everyone around you so you can have your own way in the end? Why learn how to think beyond your primitive brain? Why bother? Why be accountable? Relax. Sit back. Enjoy the ride.”

And that message keeps getting sent, which results in the sociopath’s increased feelings of entitlement and lazy, lazy thinking.

Entitlement and lazy thinking leads to lazy work ethic (or no work ethic). Many sociopaths who do not have degrees or who barely graduated high school will tell you that their life experiences make up for their lack of education. They will even go as far as putting down those with degrees and declaring them as being sheep easily manipulated and trained.

When and if you hear this, think “splitting.” This is a great example of their black and white thinking. All good and all bad. I’ve met some lazy thinkers with degrees, but also some of the most intelligent people I have met in this world do not have a college education. They are also not sociopaths. To me, if you’re going to claim your life experiences make up for any formal education you could have pursued, show me. Talk to me. Tell me what you’re passionate about and why. Sociopath’s can’t show you beyond the passion and lust they have for material possessions, and that’s just sad to me.

With his perpetual lazy thinking and entitlement, the sociopath continues living in his protective bubble of ignorance and inability to discover any real passion other than a passion for conning and abusing people and situations.

And if you start questioning the sociopath’s con, his brain will send that same and comforting message to him:

“Abort! Abort! This one is too tough to manipulate. Just keep doing what you’ve always done: cry, pout, blame and run away.”

When and if your relationship with a sociopath ends, remember that they can’t help themselves and they will never change. It’s impossible to reprogram something with defective parts no matter how much cognitive-behavioral therapy you thrust upon the sociopath. You might THINK the glitch has been fixed, but the machine has a memory, and the glitch is too comfortable and too familiar to be considered a true glitch to the machine. The machine misses the glitch and will inevitably seek out that place of comfort, like a baby seeking a nipple.

The abuse and con games never end.

Unless the sociopath has committed a prosecutable offense against you or a loved one, let the sociopath go in peace so you can find your peace. It’s better this way.”

Parts of this were so accurate that I have to repeat them AGAIN, with additional commentary.

“…because we are empathetic, we set aside our frustrations, and instead, we feel pity for these people…”  I have always felt that empathy was one of my strengths.  I constantly try to put myself in someone else’s shoes.  Maybe it is because I read so much as a child and got practice reading other people’s thoughts, feelings their emotions, getting pulled into their stories and adventures and fears and triumphs.  Maybe it is because my mother was so kind and thoughtful and always asked me to consider the feelings of others (and made me genuinely apologize with reasons and understanding of what it is I had done wrong).  No matter the reason for my empathy, I often did feel pity for his situation, his excuses, his issues, and the fact that his parents didn’t do those things for him (at least according to him).  I was constantly setting aside my own feelings, my own concerns, and my own frustrations because I was taught that love is selfless and accepting and forgiving.  So I put myself aside, I tried to accept his shortfalls, and I forgave him again and again when he lied because he was “trying to change.”

“He cheats his way into adulthood, because the sociopath spends his teenage years regressing mentally and emotionally. All problems are solved by rebelling but never facing the consequences of those rebellions. Someone is always there bailing him out and telling him it was someone else’s fault and not to worry.”  This is so accurate that it was scary the first time I read it.  He spent his teenage years selling pot, skipping school, back-talking teachers, doing drugs, drinking, partying, and being reckless, but he never had consequences.  In fact, his parents were right there fighting the school when they suspended him for selling drugs.  They defended him and made it the school’s fault.  They played right into his victim mentality by believing and reinforcing that the teachers and principal were out to get him.  I saw the below cartoon the other day.  The “today” side is exactly how they were when it came to his truancy and drug use and distribution.

unknauthor_problem-cartoon

“And if you start questioning the sociopath’s con, his brain will send that same comforting message to him:  ‘Abort! Abort! This one is too tough to manipulate. Just keep doing what you’ve always done: cry, pout, blame and run away.'”  When I finally got wise to his game and stopped accepting the constant lies and manipulation, he went right back to his comfort zone.  He cried and pouted, first to me, then to anyone who would listen.  He blamed me, called me a “nut job,” denied even cheating on me or causing any of the problems in our marriage, then ran away.  He does these dive bombs still where he swoops in to cry and blame me, then runs away again.  I just hope that the “run away” instinct extends to signing the divorce papers next week…

“When and if your relationship with a sociopath ends, remember that they can’t help themselves and they will never change. It’s impossible to reprogram something with defective parts no matter how much cognitive-behavioral therapy you thrust upon the sociopath. You might THINK the glitch has been fixed, but the machine has a memory, and the glitch is too comfortable and too familiar to be considered a true glitch to the machine. The machine misses the glitch and will inevitably seek out that place of comfort, like a baby seeking a nipple.  The abuse and con games never end. How wise.  How true.  I know that he won’t change.  Again, the empathetic side of me is sad about this.  I feel sad that he discontinued all therapy and SA meetings and that he will never get over the glitch in his machine.  The part of me that loved him, despite how screwed up he is, wishes things could be different for him, even though he will never be part of my life again.  The truth is that I never could have saved him.  He was only doing those things to appease me and as part of his continual manipulation of my emotions and empathy.  They weren’t “working.”  All I have to do is look back at all of the lies that unraveled again and again, despite his “work” and “progress.”  Nothing ever really changed.  It was just hidden a little deeper, covered with a new lie – meetings or therapy or “disclosure.”

“Unless the sociopath has committed a prosecutable offense against you or a loved one, let the sociopath go in peace so you can find your peace. It’s better this way.”  While not a “prosecutable offense,” I do have the legal matter of the divorce to attend to.  Our 6 month separation mark is coming up – April 13th (this Saturday) is it.  The date I can officially start the divorce process.  Of course the 13th isn’t a business day, so that means the 15th…  My lawyer is standing by with the paperwork, ready to serve him.  Then there is a process that can be as long as 2-3 months or as short as 20 days depending on how cooperative he is.  I can hope that he wants to get this done and over with quickly, but realistically I am going to assume that he will make things difficult just to be petty.  Either way, I have already let him go in my heart.  There’s just that little matter of severing the legal ties and getting him to stop texting me and stalking me online.  But I suppose that’s just something I’ll have to deal with and ignore since I’m done with letting him disturb my peace.  I’m not longer part of his narcissist universe.

NARCISSIST

My New Take on Boundary Agreements

17 Mar

I will probably get some push back on my opinion tonight, but I would like to tell you what my current thoughts are on boundary agreements.

If you were an original blog reader, you know that I had a boundary agreement with my soon to be ex husband. I understand the point and purpose of one, in theory and in practice. Hell, our boundary agreement even helped me to stand firm in separating from him when I discovered another big lie.

However, at this point I would never, ever accept a relationship with someone I couldn’t trust enough to use his or her own good judgment (or to have good judgement in the first place). Period. I’ve reached a point where I don’t want to be with someone who has to have a piece of paper full of self-explanatory things that they should give the person they’re in a relationship with in order to be a decent partner. Someone who needs that to guide what is right and wrong is not a person I ever want to be attached to.

In fact, if I ever feel the need for a boundary agreement in the future I will RUN in the other direction. On that same note, I would tell anyone considering the need for such a document in their own relationship to get the hell out. NOW!!! Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Just save yourself the future pain and heartache that is sure to come.

I realize that is probably offensive to some. I apologize. It’s just how I see things now. It’s also why I don’t post as much anymore. I think my input is a little too harsh. At the very least it comes from a much different place than those of you still hoping to reconcile with someone so untrustworthy that they need something in writing that details (very specifically) what is unacceptable to do to someone you supposedly love.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe communication is important. I think when any relationship starts to progress toward something serious there should be an open discussion about values and expectations and the importance of honesty, fidelity, respect, and all of the other critical aspects of a relationship that need to be present in order for it to succeed. However, if you do not trust your partner’s words, actions or morals enough to believe they can and will follow through on the supposed “shared values” you have unless they are written on a checklist somewhere with the accuracy and precision of a legal document, then they are not SHARED values at all. In my humble opinion, that itself dooms the relationship.

Compatibility extends to more than just the bedroom. Relationships that go the distance have one key thing in common – the people in them share things in common. Not necessarily the same religion or the same background or the same politics. No. Although those things don’t hurt, it is really shared VALUES that make the difference. If we both value respect highly and equally then we can choose to respect religious or political differences, for instance. Likewise, if only one of us places a value on respect (or values something else, like religion, more highly) then those differences will likely cause strife.

So what do I think boundary agreements are good for? A long laugh. Okay, that’s not the serious answer, and it’s also not fair. I think boundary agreements can help the injured partner feel heard and feel safer. You notice I said “feel.” That’s because they don’t actually guarantee a damn thing. Except maybe that when you see the person who claimed to love you cross a clearly drawn and agreed to line you can finally see what everyone else already could – what they’re doing to you is wrong.

The truth of the matter is that a spouse who crossed one of those lines knew what they were doing. They knew what was right and what wasn’t. They knew what they did wasn’t acceptable. Maybe they have justifications or rationalizations that made it easier for them to swallow, or maybe they’re narcissistic and delusional. Either way, writing it down on a piece of paper won’t change anything. They will choose to do better, get help, and fix things or they will continue making excuses to themselves and you and others. A boundary agreement won’t change that.

For those of you who have a boundary agreement and believe in them, best of luck. I really hope it works out. It is just another of the many tools available to people going through this difficult journey. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I understand. I just no longer agree. Personally, I would rather make an agreement with myself that I deserve more.

IMG_20130315_134419

This is me this weekend, enjoying my agreement with myself that I’m worth it. And sporting my new pink cat eye glasses. 🙂

Being with a Narcissistic Sociopath – Part 2

15 Mar

HST_sal

So, here’s the continuation of my first post on this topic.  I’ve been working on these for a while.  It has been eye-opening to see the traits and characteristics detailed and described like this.  It’s even crazier to see how many of these he had.  I knew he was a narcissist, but seeing how much that overlaps with sociopathy and relating it to the last 5 years of my life I am shocked by how much I put up with.  Now that the time with him is really almost officially over and done with, I think this is a good time to examine these things, then leave them in the past where they belong.  I will never again let someone like this be part of my life.

Again, this list came from Paula’s Pontifications.

Once it’s clear you’re dealing with a narcissist, go through the following list to see if the narcissist is also a sociopath. (You’ll discover many overlapping traits from each list.) The list below of 20 sociopathic traits is taken directly from the book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Dr. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D:

1. Glib and superficial charm. The tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Sociopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A sociopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.  My Mom always said that he was a “charmer.”  He definitely never worried if he didn’t know the facts behind something.  He still had an opinion.  A strong one.  Whether it was actually based on anything or not.  He always talked over me, and in social settings he made sure he was the center of attention.  His voice was often booming and inappropriately loud, even in intimate, otherwise quiet settings.  It was embarrassing, but I thought it was just because I was an introvert.  All of those other red flags I just assumed went along with an extroverted personality.  

2. Grandiose self-worth. A grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart.  Sociopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.  He had no concept of where he actually stood in relation to others.  He was very, very cocky.  He would also brag about the smallest thing like it was some crowning achievement.  It’s one thing to be proud of yourself.  It’s another to take something mundane or normal and gloat about it to everyone. 

He was also adamant about being so much better than everyone else he worked with, no matter what the job.  He complained about being “stuck” with incompetent people or having to take up other people’s slack.  In retrospect, it’s funny how in EVERY single job he was the best…  Yet it was never reflected in his pay or position. He always had excuses, though. He just wasn’t an ass-kisser or he was too valuable in the field to get promoted. When he was fired it was someone else’s fault and they were out to get him. Yeah…

3. Need for stimulation or proneness to boredom. An excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Sociopaths often have low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.  The first part of this one doesn’t ring too true.  He could be a bump on a log sometimes – sitting and doing nothing for days.  He wasn’t into thrills like sky-diving (which I want to do).  However, he did have a very short attention span.  And low self-discipline doesn’t even begin to describe it!  He would start things all the time and not finish them.   That is why I have half-finished counter top, a living room with only one wall retouched, and various unfinished projects that he promised to take care of and didn’t.

4. Pathological lying. Can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.  Hahaha… Pathological lying for sure!  He was certainly manipulative, dishonest, deceitful and deceptive.   Read basically any of my past posts, and you will see that.  That man would lie about anything and everything just for the hell of it.

5. Conning and manipulative. The use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.  I don’t think my ex had real concern for the things that he did to people.  He felt entitled to the things that he took from people, even if they were taken through deceptive means.  He didn’t have any problem with lying to me in order to keep me around longer, stay in my house, and con kisses and sex out of me that I wouldn’t have given him if I knew the truth.  He could pretend to understand what I was going through, but he never actually did get it.  He would cry, but it was out of self-pity, not because of what he did to me.  It was always, always about him.  He could pretend to be concerned about my feelings, but when given the opportunity to behave the same way again he would.

6. Lack of remorse or guilt. A lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.  Oh look!  My last comment transitioned perfectly into this one.  His apologies were never really about being sorry.  They were about doing what he needed to in order to keep what he wanted.   He never incorporated what he was sorry FOR – it was just about the words.  He couldn’t grasp the way he made me feel and find real remorse for that.  As far as other people outside of our relationship?  I never, ever saw him empathize.  He would bitch about people and judge them for the VERY SAME things that he did.  I used to point that out to him – how can you judge someone else harshly for being in a position that you have been in (unemployed, homeless, living off of other people, etc., etc.)?  He just couldn’t put himself in another person’s shoes even if he had BEEN in those shoes before.

7. Shallow affect. Emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.  I like the term “emotional poverty.”  He was certainly “openly gregarious,” but with a very, very shallow pool of real emotions to draw from.  From afar and at parties and such, he would come across as a very likable, charming person.  But it was all on the surface.  It didn’t run deeper.  He didn’t let anyone in, ever.  Maybe there was nothing deeper.

8. Callousness and lack of empathy. A lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.  He could fake warmth for a certain amount of time.  He was certainly inconsiderate and tactless.  If you actually sat down and talked to him about a specific person or situation, you would soon see how little empathy he had.  Everyone on welfare or unemployment was a drug dealer (except when he needed unemployment – oh, wait, and he WAS a drug dealer at one point!).  When his sibling(s) got into a jam, he wanted nothing to do with helping.  He was very judgmental about my sister and everyone he had ever met that he felt the slightest bit superior to, which was basically everyone.

9. Parasitic lifestyle. An intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.  Hahaha…  That is spot on.  He is 48, almost 49 and has never, ever lived on his own.  He lived with his parents off and on well into his late 20s and even some in his 30s (I believe).  He lived the college, drunken party life into his late 30s even though he never went to college.  He always had multiple roommates.  He sold pot and did every single drug imaginable (that didn’t have to be injected because he’s afraid of needles).  His friends paid most of the bills.  He might have pitched in here and there.  Maybe.  He moved from couch to couch in his friends’ houses after his last breakup until he wore out his welcome with every single person.

He even lived with his sister for years in his 40s.  She always covered him when he was short, which was every month. This is the same sister he couldn’t be bothered to help out when she lost her job of 20 years.  Oh, and he had no sympathy for her, either. From his perspective she should have had money saved up for something like that. Nevermind that he didn’t have a penny saved himself.  Then he found the gravy train with me. He had me fooled for a bit.  Once that was over it was back to couch surfing. Now he’s living with another friend and supposedly paying rent… I feel sorry for that guy. 

And don’t even get me started on his lack of motivation!  What motivation? Selfish also doesn’t begin to describe how completely self-centered he could be.

10. Poor behavioral controls. Expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.  He had little to no control over his anger.  He would blow up at the drop of a hat.  He threw things.  He had temper tantrums like a child.  He would strike out and become incredibly petty. I found myself unconsciously trying to smooth things over and attempt to control his wild mood swings before they happened.

11. Promiscuous sexual behavior. A variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests. We all know this one applies. I think 50+ sex partners off of the internet counts as “indiscriminate,” especially since his only criteria was that they were female and willing to fuck him. Multiple affairs? Check. Having more than one sexual relationship going at a time? Check.  Brief, superficial relationships? Check.  Bragging?  Triple check.

12. Early behavior problems. A variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home. The only one of these I don’t know for sure is the glue-sniffing. Knowing him that probably happened, though.  He even set an entire grove of woods on fire as a kid.  

13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals. An inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.  Realistic and long-term were two terms he didn’t even know.  He doesn’t have anything saved.  Nothing.  Maybe the $5 they make you put in the savings account to keep it open.  That’s it.  He just raided his “retirement” account (which only had a pathetically small amount of money in it anyway).  His long-term plans (become a famous chef, open a restaurant, become a millionaire) would only have been possible if we lived in a magical world where a genie could grant wishes.  He had huge pipe dreams and absolutely no feasible plan for making them happen.  Before he knew me he was extremely nomadic – moving every year basically.  

14. Impulsivity. The occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.  Yep.  At first I called that spontaneity.  It seemed fun.  He seemed to be a good balance for my overly planned, serious nature.  Then I started seeing it pop up in ways that weren’t just a spur of the moment vacation.  I started to noticed that he failed to think ANYTHING through.  Even if he tried, he failed.  He might say that he was or was not going to do XYZ, no matter what.  Then the second he was actually faced with the choice he did the opposite of what he said he was going to do.  He would spend money he didn’t have.  He had unprotected sex with people he didn’t even know.  When he drank he often got hammered.  There was no moderation, no control, and no thought of what the negative consequences of his foolish actions might be.

15. Irresponsibility. Repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.  When I met my husband he had terrible credit.  He blamed his ex.  Now I know that was a huge red flag, and I should have run in the other direction as fast as I could.  At the time it seemed reasonable.  They were renting a house together.  She moved out and (he said) left him with all of the bills, some of which got out of control.  I had just gone through a breakup.  I, too, was left with the house and all of the bills.  It was a struggle.  Of course I never let anything get past due, and I never, ever would have.  But I could see how someone making less than I was could have a hard time.  It had been over a year since that breakup, but he still had bills that had gone into collections.  I helped him pull his credit report for free so he could get the number of the agencies and work out some sort of payment.  

Fast-forward 5 years later to the present day – Some of these bills are STILL in collections.  He had more than adequate opportunities to pay them off.  Hell, I would have helped him out with them.  Besides the fact that I was paying most of the bills already, if he had called and set up something I would have helped make the payment to get them off of his credit.  Call me a push-over and an enabler.  It’s true.  I was.  Not anymore.

Besides those examples from the past, within our relationship he would often overdraft his bank account, go over the limit on his credit card, and hide bills from me that were in his name and past due.  I didn’t let him fuck up MY credit or my bill payment.  He knew enough to know that there is absolutely no way that would fly under my radar.  But anything that didn’t have my name attached to it wasn’t paid more often than it was.  He was fired from his construction job for sloppy, lazy work.  He has all sorts of excuses, but the bottom line is that plus his bad attitude got him fired.

16. A failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.  Mr. Mess had never once accepted responsibility for a single thing he did wrong. Ever.  There was always an excuse.  It was his ex’s fault, his boss’s fault, his co-worker’s fault, my fault, our dog’s fault, the doctor’s fault, the cell phone company’s fault… You name it.  If you asked him, the entire world was in a conspiracy against him and he’d never done a single thing wrong.  Antagonistic manipulation is the perfect term.  I’d never heard it before, but it fits perfectly.  That’s why gaslighting was so easy for him – it was second nature to place the blame anywhere and everywhere besides himself, and if it made me feel crazy in the process all the better because it made lying to me easier.  And his denial of responsibility was always used as a tool to manipulate – he made me feel sorry for him about the way his last relationship ended, and I know he is doing that today with the story he tells about us.  Everything is designed with a spin that puts him in the role of innocent victim.

17. Many short-term marital relationships. A lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.  I was the only idiot stupid enough to marry him.  That didn’t last long, though.  Before me, his longest relationship was 3 years (maybe).  Other than that, it was 6 months here, 6 months there, and a whole fucking lot of one-night internet hookups.  I am shocked that he was able to keep the friends he had for 20+ years.  The main reason I see for that being possible is that most of them were just as immature and messed up as him – gatherings always had to include drugs and drinking, there are only 2 friends who are married (even though they are all his age), and they still play video games non-stop.  That plus his manipulation, party vibe, and victim mentality kept people distracted and feeling sorry for him and ready to get drunk and high.  Then once that has occurred basically anyone is tolerable.

18. Juvenile delinquency. Behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.  He was the drug dealer at his school.  He was almost expelled on more than one occasion, but his parents always fought tooth and nail with the school and threatened to sue them.  He laughed about the times they tried to catch him red-handed and couldn’t get the concrete proof they needed to put him in juvie.  He got drunk and crashed his Dad’s car at 13.  He used to get in fights a lot.  More than once he bragged (yes, bragged!) about the fact that he thinks he only passed high school because they wanted to get him the hell out of there.  

19. Revocation of condition release. A revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.  After high school he joined the Coast Guard on a whim because his cousin was doing it, too.  He only lasted a few years there before he was dishonorably discharged for drug use and insubordination.  Lovely.  Before that he was caught a few times (I believe), and thrown in the brig.  He didn’t stop, and in fact got worse until they didn’t want his ass around anymore.  He had his driver’s license suspended and revoked more than once.  Usually it was for failure to pay a fine.  Often the fine was related to something else he was supposed to do (like have insurance on a vehicle or report one sold and turn in the tags), but failed to.

20. Criminal versatility. A diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes. (Hare 2011).  I’m not sure how criminally diverse he was.  The things I mostly know about involve using and selling drugs.  He did drive drunk a lot.  He got caught once for that.  He did tend to brag about getting away with things.  He would laugh and act proud, like not only was he brilliant to get away with things, but the cops were incredibly stupid and didn’t have a chance against his mastermind.  Snort.

narcissist

In addition to the above two lists of traits, the biggest trait (or magic trick as I like to call it) that makes narcissistic sociopaths so dangerous and effective is their ability to go unnoticed by the rest of us. They can do this, because they are good at pretending (lying) and wearing many masks (again, lying). Simply put, they lie to themselves and everyone else. They lie so much that some of them are convinced of their own lies, which is where evil is born.  This part obviously has to be true.  Although now, looking back on all of the above traits and stories, I feel naive and stupid to have fallen for it, that is how these people go through life.  They lie.  They are good in small doses.  They have explanations for everything.  I honestly believe that he had convinced himself that his version of things was the truth.  Even faced with proof to the contrary, he would adamantly stick to his improbable story with so much conviction that it made the other person question reality.

I am no psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor. However, I have lived alongside a narcissistic sociopath and feel the need to share, even if in a tale-like fiction setting, how I understand the psychopathology that insidiously penetrated my body, mind, and spirit until I was nearly convinced that I was the evil one. How? Projection, transference, and control, that’s how.  To this day I know his version of our marriage is that I was controlling, jealous, and a “nut job.”  For too long I let him play on my insecurities and almost convince me that I was the problem in this relationship.  This blog – you people out there who read my story, gave me support, and grounded me to reality – and my individual therapy are the two things that kept me sane.  Well, those and my family.  And books.  Thank goodness I had those support networks.  If not, I can only imagine the hell that I would be living in for the rest of my life.

I hope you enjoy this story and pass it along to your family, friends, others you love, and anyone you suspect is or has been a victim.

Paula Carrasquillo ~ July 2012
Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath

Being with a Narcissistic Sociopath – Part 1

12 Mar

A few weeks ago I found a link to a blog written by a very strong woman.  Her goal is to create awareness of personality disorders and how these disorders destroy marriages/intimate partner relationships and are at the center of abuse/domestic violence cases.  She has a lot of great information.  One particular post, Identifying a Narcissistic Sociopath, really struck home.  I have read it many times.

I see so many characteristics of a narcissistic sociopath in Mr. Mess.  So much so that I wanted to re-post the list here with my comments and maybe a few examples from my life.  My comments are in blue.  The rest is the text of the original blog post:

Do you know what it feels like to be locked up, placed in a dungeon of a partner’s creation? If so, you’re not alone. If not, pray you never do.

Abuse comes in many forms and affects many people in the victim’s life.  Emotional, physical, and sexual abuses are equally degrading and harmful. One is not better than the other or worse than the other. They are ALL abuse.

This story is specifically about emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissistic sociopath.

According to Dr. Martha Stout’s book The Sociopath Next Door, sociopaths make up 4% of western society (Stout, 2010). That’s about 1 in 25 people walking around among us without a conscience, without the ability to measure, or care to measure, the morality of their decisions and actions. Would you know how to identify a sociopath if you saw one, met one, started an intimate relationship or entered into a business contract with one? More than likely, your answer is No, because unlike what we read on the television news or see in Hollywood movies, sociopaths aren’t just serial killers and murderers. Rather, they are members of our communities who we would never suspect of evil or wrong doing and who seamlessly blend into society with the rest of us. How? Through lies, manipulations, and more lies.  Lies, manipulation, and more lies”… Sounds familiar.

In romance, narcissistic sociopaths often appear too good to be true. They are charming, agreeable, and engaging. The narcissistic sociopath loves (or seems to love) everything about you. He hooks you. Then he breaks you. His emotional abuse is VERY subtle. The victim may not know she is being victimized until it is nearly too late.

Identifying narcissistic sociopaths

Although not all narcissists are sociopaths, all sociopaths are narcissists (Stout 2010). Therefore, if you can identify a narcissist, you’re one step closer to being able to recognize a sociopath. Below is a definition of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and a list of narcissistic traits taken directly from the website of Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love. (If you know someone who fits at least 5 or more of these traits, a psychiatrist could easily diagnose him/her as having NPD.)

The DSM-IV-TR defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as “an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts,” such as family life and work.  I don’t know about the sociopath part, but already the narcissist side is looking incredibly fitting…

1. Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements);  This manifested itself very, very early with Mr. Mess.  He told me when we first met that he was a construction foreman.  In fact, he was a temp worker on the line at a company that formed concrete beams.  He wasn’t even an employee of the company itself (and was never actually hired on there, despite his insistence that he was the best person who worked there).  He had no supervisory duties at all.  There are so many other examples that we could be here all day on just this one point.  He always had an opinion on something, and his opinion was always right, even if it was based on absolutely nothing (no facts, no reasoning, just because he said so).  He got enraged if I ever questioned his claims or lack of proof.

2. Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;  Oh, he always had this.  He is studying to become a chef right now, and always talked about opening his own restaurant, becoming a famous chef, and all of these other things that are pie in the sky type fantasies because he had no concrete plans to make them happen (yet was convinced they somehow were going to come true).  He would watch cooking competitions and act like he could win them with his little to no experience.  He would go on about how he was the best person in his class, yet he consistently did poorly on his practical exams.  Again, too many examples to go through.

3. Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions); Hmmm… maybe not so much on this one.  He was never elitist about the institutions he was part of (his cooking school is a community college, not that he acted that way when he was glorifying his cooking abilities).  He DID always look down at others in his classes and meetings.  He thought he was soooo much better than them, and would constantly complain about the people in his groups.

4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply);  Oh, absolutely.  That man wanted a standing ovation every time he did the slightest thing right.  He was always wanting people to tell him how wonderful he was, and would lie to get the attention and admiration he wanted.  He needed positive affirmation for every.single.thing. or he would become pouty and childish.

5. Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment;  Entitled.  That describes him to a T.  He feels like he should get what he wants because it’s what he wants.  He felt like he “deserved” things just because.  Even with the tax refund, he feels like he should get part of it because he deserves it, because he “needs” it.  He fully admits that I took a loss on the car and that he is the reason all of the extra options were added that made it upside down.  He acknowledges that his “half” of the tax refund doesn’t even cover my loss and that he agreed to give me the $2K.  But somehow he STILL thinks that he is entitled.  He has always had completely “unreasonable expectations,” and his parents for sure set him up to believe that he should get some sort of “priority treatment.”  Hell, they got him out of drug charges and school suspensions, and he still laughs at how smart he was to get away with it (with their help).

6. Is “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;  Without the ability to manipulate and live off of other people, I don’t think he could even exist.  Before me, he was unemployed for several months and literally moving from couch to couch, bumming off of his friends.  He used me to buy him a car (more than one actually – the last 3 vehicles he had were either mine, paid for by me, or financed by me). 

7. Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;  He certainly was never able to accept or empathize with my feelings, needs, preferences and priorities.  He could lie and pretend for a while, but his true nature always came out.  He literally had no concern for my health, and his actions made that increasingly obvious.  I have never once seen him put himself last for anyone or put anyone else’s feelings or needs before his own desires.  I think he is probably incapable of that.

8. Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;  Reading the first half of this, I wasn’t sure…  Then I got to the second sentence and it started to make sense.  He definitely did feel like people were “out to get” him.  I think it’s part of the entitlement and the inability to take responsibility for his own actions.  Either way, things were always someone else’s fault.  If something went wrong it was because someone else didn’t want him to succeed.  Just like this marriage being over is because I didn’t give him enough of a chance.

9. Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, “above the law”, and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy (http://samvak.tripod.com).  Oh, yeah.  His parents played a huge part in that.  They got him and his brother and sister out of all sorts of legal trouble, and he felt entitled.  He couldn’t stand being contradicted, especially when he was wrong. In fact, that was when he could get the most indignant and petty.

So yep, I was definitely with a narcissist.  I knew that much already.  It was nice to see this list here in black and white.

I Should Have Read This Article Sooner

3 Feb

Mr. Mess was guilty of numbers 1, 3, 4 (obviously), 5, 7, 8, and 9.  Eeek!

http://yahoo.match.com/y/article.aspx?articleid=13124&TrackingID=526103&BannerID=1381809

10 reasons to dump a guy… immediately!

By Dana Robinson

We all know that it’s best to avoid passing judgment on others, but in the world of dating, a keen sense of judgment can be one of your best assets. In fact, learning when to pull the plug on a prospect that’s going nowhere can save you tons of anguish, frustration — and perhaps most importantly, time! So, if you spot a potential mate showcasing any of the following behaviors, be prepared to drop him like a bad habit — and then keep the dating line moving along.

Reason #1: He calls women the “B word”
Nothing incites women to anger like the use of the word that shall not be named here (see any MTV or Bravo reality show for reference). It can really pack a wallop no matter whose mouth it comes out of, but that word can be especially hurtful when it comes from the lips of the man you’re dating. “Even in the best of relationships, in the heat of anger, disrespectful things may be said, but this is entirely different from a pattern of disrespect, especially one that is established during the courtship of a relationship,” says Beverly Hyman, Ph.D. and Lawrence Birnbach, Ph.D., co-authors of How to Know If It’s Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage. “So challenge any sign of disrespect early in a relationship, and, if it persists, get out.”

Reason #2: He’s attached to his mother’s apron strings
There’s nothing wrong with a man who loves his mother, but if you see signs that his loyalty to mom surpasses all else (e.g. everything from his career path to his apartment was hand-picked by mom), then it’s time to make a hasty retreat. Relationships are filled with complications and decisions, and the last thing you’ll need is a husband who can’t think for himself or always sides with his mother instead of with you.

Reason #3: He’s only interested in himself
At dinner parties, we’ve all sat next to the guy who loves to dominate the conversation by talking about himself. Not only does this behavior quickly become really boring, but perpetual narcissism may be indicative that he’s a person who just isn’t interested in your thoughts or feelings. You have opinions, concerns, and dreams that are just as important as his are, and any potential mate needs to acknowledge and respect that.

Reason #4: He has unresolved addiction issues
A lot of women get into relationships with men living with some kind of addiction and spend the rest of their lives dealing with a host of problems associated with that lifestyle, which eventually overshadow their own lives and goals. Addiction issues — like drugs, gambling and alcohol — often require a lifetime of management and counseling. So, if you suspect your man has a problem, it’s best to keep on moving.

Reason #5: He’s not honest and/or trustworthy
We all bend the truth from time to time, but there’s a big difference between saying something like, “Of course I enjoy your cooking!” and “No, I’ve never been convicted of a felony.” Big lies set the foundation for a lack of trust, and when you can’t trust your man you’re most likely headed for a life of unnecessary anxiety, frustration and big-time drama.

Reason #6: His relentlessly negative outlook
You shouldn’t have to listen, day after day, about the horrors of your boyfriend’s job, the incompetence of every driver on the road, or how nothing ever goes his way. Dealing with constant negativity is not only draining, but it can eventually cause you to take to the dark side emotionally as well. “If you see signs of negativity while dating, they will only get worse as the relationship progresses,” says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. “If he won’t admit his negativity or consider changing it, let go — the relationship will go nowhere.”

Reason #7: He’s got Peter Pan Syndrome
Being in an adult relationship requires both partners to have a mature attitude toward life. It’s perfectly OK to be a kid at heart, but that boyish charm needs to be backed up with a good sense of fiscal and emotional responsibility that only a real man can possess.

Reason #8: He lacks ambition
A man without enough ambition to achieve a goal — any type of goal — typically isn’t a man who’ll make a good life partner for an ambitious woman. “Women that truly understand the definition of ambition have a hard time tolerating a man that has shown…that he has no ambition,” says Michelle R. Hannah, life coach and author of The Breaking Point: A Full-Circle Journey. You want a man whose credo is, “Yes we can!” as opposed to, “Why bother?”

Reason #9: He’s a cheater
Even if he swears he’ll never do it again, will you ever be able to trust him in the future? Can you believe him when he says that he has to work late/travel out of town on business/stay out a little later with the guys? Life is short… too short, in fact, to be constantly concerned with your partner’s fidelity. Cut your losses by cutting him loose.

Reason #10: He isn’t good boyfriend material
The reason why we all have to be interviewed for our dream job in person by a potential employer is because having a stellar resume doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll be a good fit. Sometimes a man might have the ultimate qualifications, showcasing his great management skills, financial responsibility, creativity, ambition, and every other quality found on your must-have list. But after a few dates, it may become apparent that he won’t mesh well into the company culture (i.e., your friends and family) or he’s just missing that “it” factor that can bump him up to a full-time partner position. Employers don’t waste time with candidates who lack what they truly need, and neither should you.

Accepting and Preparing for Divorce

23 Nov

I have come to the conclusion that my marriage is really not going to work.  Mr. Mess is so immature, irresponsible, damaged, and emotionally stunted that I can’t wait for him to get himself together.  That may never happen.  Even if it did, I think my ability to trust him has been damaged so much that it is completely beyond repair.  I need to move forward to something and someone that is healthy, together, and right for me.

In order to do that I have to do something that I never, ever thought I would do – get a divorce.  I have to wrap my head around the fact that I have given my all and it still wasn’t enough.  I have to accept that this marriage failed.  I never wanted that to happen.  I don’t like failing in anything, especially something that I find as important as marriage.  I have to accept the fact that I made the wrong decision when I tied myself to this man “for life.”  He wasn’t the one for me.  Maybe there isn’t a “one.”

I don’t like to admit those things.  I didn’t want to accept them.  This marriage has just reached its inevitable conclusion.  There’s nothing left.  He has nothing for me.  Even if he wanted to (which he has made clear that he doesn’t), any effort on his part to actually be my husband would be far too little, far too late.  No STD testing?  It’s his problem if he has a serious illness or contracts one in the future, for that matter.  No psychiatric examination?  He’s the one who has to deal with his bipolar, narcissistic personality, ADHD self, not me.  Hallelujah!

Now that I have closure and peace about the fact that there is really nothing more I can do and there is nothing he has to offer me, I have set my eyes on the process of divorcing in Virginia.  I’ve found a few things that are good to know and that put my mind at ease a bit.  Like I thought, we still have to be separated for 6 months.  That means I won’t be free until April at the earliest.  That’s okay, though…  I can make it.

Some other stuff that I’ve discovered:

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a “no fault” divorce known as voluntary separation. It usually means that you and your spouse have separated after mutually and voluntarily agreeing that you no longer wish to live together as husband and wife and that there is no hope for a reconciliation.  Your spouse cannot threaten or blackmail you into leaving; you separate because you both want to.  To get a divorce on this ground you have to be separated without interruption (not even one night) without cohabitation (not a single incident of sexual intercourse) for one year (six months if no children) and there is no hope of reconciliation. Remember though, if this is not a mutual and voluntary situation you will have to use another ground to get a divorce.

The portions in red above were from the site I copied this from; however I would like to point out that none of those items are of any concern to me whatsoever.  He will not be here one more night, there is absolutely no chance of any sexual intercourse, and there certainly is no more hope of reconciliation.  Having the closure in my heart to be able to say those things with certainty is great.

Another thing that my step-Dad mentioned to me is the possibility that he could seek alimony from me since he basically has no career and no prospects and no savings whatsoever.  I’m not a millionaire by any stretch of the imagination, but I am financially secure with a good job.  To ease my mind a bit I found this:

What are the Requirements for Spousal Support?

The rules regarding spousal support are often classified based on the length of marriage.

Short marriages

  • The court assumes that you have kept the same ability to support yourself that you had before marriage.
  • Each spouse is expected to be substantially independent and self-supporting within a short period of time.

According to what I can find, a short marriage is anything lasting 5 years or less.  Our marriage only lasted 2 years.  Our entire relationship was just shy of 5.  No matter which way you look at it, the courts should expect him to take care of himself.  The fact that I’m 20 years younger than him should also help my chances of not having to support his lazy ass.

If I sound bitter it’s because he came by today to pick up his beloved darts (which were worth breaking into my house for, you know) and said that he may try to seek alimony.  Really?!  I shouldn’t be shocked by his behavior, but nevertheless his level of shamelessness is astounding.

He also said that he wants me to buy him a new bed because the one he told me he didn’t want anymore that I could do anything I wanted with was taken to the dump by my Dad.  I didn’t know he was going to do that – I thought he would store it – but he dumped it while I was gone in Atlanta.  According to my Dad it was after he talked to Mr. Mess, who didn’t seem to express an interest in coming to get it.  I offered the one I have to replace it (which is the same size and a better quality bed), but he said he didn’t want it.  Okay…

The main thing that I’m concerned with at the moment is the car that he’s driving, which is in my name.  Mr. Mess will spout some garbage that it’s because I’m controlling and have to have everything in my name (which is what he said today).  Whatever.  He seems to have selective memory since he couldn’t get a loan in his name.  Not only is his credit rating terrible, but he also has past-due collections outstanding and a lop-sided income to debt ratio because of his student loans.

He has tried to get a loan in his name for the car like 3 times already, and keeps getting denied.  I told him today that he really needs to get that taken care of as soon as possible – either sell the car to pay it off or find a way to assume the loan, maybe with a family member as the co-signer.  His extremely helpful reply (sarcasm) was that he is “working on it.”  Forgive me if I’m not overflowing with confidence.

Oh well.  Things will work out one way or another, and I will be better for having him out of my life.  I will miss some of his family, like his sister who got in touch with me yesterday.  There is no rule saying we can’t still be friends, which is what I plan.  I also plan to be happy.  He can’t stand in my way.  As much as he is trying his damnest to bring me down, it’s not going to happen.  I’m holding onto the knowledge that I gained in Atlanta where I met amazing people with a lot going for them who liked me for me.  I have a lot to offer the world, and it has a lot to offer me back.

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