I dated a sociopath for 3 months. Let’s call him, Chad. Most places would consider that to be a fling, but in Los Angeles, it’s referred to as a serious relationship. Now I’m not calling Chad a sociopath because I’m jaded. Trust me, I’ve dated lots of men, and I don’t label them all sociopaths. For example, one boyfriend I was with for most of my 20s, pushed me so hard during an argument that my body slammed into the wall. I fell while cutting my back on the sharp edge of an air freshener and began to bleed. I had a scar on my back for years. Same guy, different night, told me, “I want you to die…young.” He specifically added the word young knowing it would touch my deepest wound…the wound of my mother dying young when I was a baby. Annnnd…it did. Though at the time, my childhood pain was so buried. I had never dealt with any of it. But, he knew. He knew how sad her absence made me feel. He knew my acute fear of becoming just like her. I’ll never forget that moment. I instantaneously cried and was in shock with how much it affected me. I couldn’t stop shedding tears for days, and the confusion of why it scarred me so much made it even more painful. Now, was that guy an absolute dick? Yes. Was he physically and verbally abusive? Yes. But, was he a sociopath? I really don’t think so. There are a garden variety of jerks out there, but they’re not all sociopaths. With Chad though, there were no blows or cuts from air fresheners, just a web of lies…and honestly I think that’s worse. Okay, they’re both bad, but I still think Chad is worse.
Now why am I bringing this up?
Abusers get away with their shitty behavior because people are afraid to talk about it. We get so embarrassed and ashamed for allowing ourselves to be with such douches. Why did we let this kind of darkness into our life? There must be something wrong with me. Only a broken person would attract a guy like this. I’m weak. I’m dumb. It’s my fault. And Chad’s type of abuse makes it even harder to talk about because there weren’t any physical scars to prove anything. It was just one big mind fuck after mind fuck after mind fuck… also known as gaslighting.
Even now, I’m hesitant to write about this. I guess…well, I’m afraid. But afraid of what?
True sociopaths are scary. They’re manipulative, revengeful, and emotionally stunted and incapable of change. They’ll do anything and say anything to get you. Then, they’ll do and say anything to ruin you. Um…Dirty John, anyone?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a sociopath, psychopath, narcissist, pathological liar, or just a failed comedian. But at any rate, why did I date one? I thought I knew better. I mean, I grew up with a sociopathic father. He put so much energy in deceiving others. He burnt several bridges and didn’t have any real friends because of how self-involved he was. He made women feel sorry for him which hooked them in. Then he lied constantly to make himself look good to everyone. He was quite the charming guy. But I never saw any marks or bruises or blood. I never saw him hit or push anyone, only afflicting utter emotional turmoil onto people.
These traits are also reminiscent of Chad. So what the fuck, Dixie?
There were red flags, but I ignored them and listened to him instead. No one really liked him but me. I wasn’t even interested in him at first. He made me feel so special and beautiful though. On top of that, he idealized me and basically wanted to be me. It was a bottomless source of adoration and praise. So yeeeeeahhh…. fuck those red flags!
But after one broken agreement after the next, I decided to end things. This is also another trait of sociopaths. They constantly change their plans on a whim and not follow through with things. Often because they were lying in the first place.
After the break up and discovering more lies, I became furious for neglecting my own intuition. I was so angry with myself. On top of that, I was humiliated for being “had” and tricked. It was also confusing because I didn’t know what I could call this. Was it abuse? Or was it just some shit fling with some fucked up dude? Also, how can I ever trust my gut again? It’s hard to trust after you’ve been gaslit. He left me with such a creepy cold feeling that was more traumatizing than being physically pushed.
A lot of people won’t understand this. They’ll think that I’m being dramatic. But I know I’m not the only person who has experienced this type of emotional abuse. It’s way too common. We just don’t talk about it.
After writing this prune and ending the year on this note, I’ve realized I don’t think I was targeted because I was dumb or broken. I was targeted because I am sweet, caring, romantic, generous, and who wouldn’t want my life? I don’t need a bottomless source of compliments anymore. I can just look within and see all the things that I’ve already done to feel good about myself. Sure, I am vulnerable to manipulative men, but now I’ve caught on that I don’t have to be. I really can trust my gut. In fact, it was my gut that told me to get out right away. I just decided to ignore it until then. Ooops. But it was there the whole time nudging me and guiding me what to do. Now my intuition is stronger than ever. I am determined to always listen to it.
Boy oh boy… did I need to soak up that lesson to end 2018.