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More Thoughts About the Role of Anger — 97 Comments

  1. Hi again All,

    I too, dramatized, had the ‘cuddly’ kind of spath. The one that nearly did me in. Interestingly, he was the one who ‘disarmed’ me the most, because he was always in a ‘good mood’, high energy, laughing, playing, and wanting to have fun (at least it seemed that way). He was ‘spiritual’. Women LOVED him. He was handsome.

    But in between all this fun, even VERY early on, were little episodes of control, anger, snide comments, being blindsided by betrayal. One author I remember reading, Spalding Grey (not about spaths, exactly), called these little episodes ‘poison arrows’, and that over time these little bits of poison do kill you. Either in spirit, mind, heart, or in actuality.

    He compared that to hanging out with people who actually send out ‘love arrows’. These cumulate into more intimacy, safety, tenderness, and empowerment. They can also be subtle, but have a love-building effect.

    I found with the cuddly spath, that even the outwardly intimate moments between us: holding hands, sex, hanging out together watching a movie, etc…; these moments never resulted in me feeling empowered. Instead they still left me feeling drained, needing more, empty, alone, lonely. Poisoned. Sick. Longing.

    I figured out that MY response was an indication of what I was getting: NOTHING. Actually LESS than nothing. It wasn’t that my expectations were ‘too high’, or ‘off’ and not realistic. It was that I was being hurt, by the little poison arrows coming my way, that I barely felt when they punctured my skin.

    Cluster B, disordered individuals, do not know how (or cannot) build intimacy. They want to live like parasites, off the ‘riches’ and talents of others’. Then, when they have sucked you dry, they move on to someone else. They do this OVER and OVER and OVER.

    Caretaking another adult is NOT a life affirming relationship. It is us hanging on a cross of iron. Because the person who seemingly wants us to take care of THEM, is destroying our life and happiness.

    • Slim, that’s funny that you call them poison arrows. My exspath called them “spears” and he was always accusing ME of throwing them.

      Nobody could have been less aware of the emotional manipulation than I was. I just didn’t pay attention to emotions. They were off my radar. That made me the perfect victim since he could poison me emotionally and I was completely unaware of the source of the poison.

      Interesting how my spath’s emotional sabotages had similar counterparts in the physical world. He poisoned my food and my emotions. And he liked to physically kill by making people fall from high places. Similarily, he told me, “When I want to destroy someone, I like to make them really happy first, so that they have further to fall.”

    • Slim, Sky et al,
      A few months ago I experienced a dart to the heart prick from a woman (my hairdresser for about a year) who I had considered a friend and trustworthy. It had been years since I’ve felt that prick to the heart which previously had always naively ignored. If dismissed those fiery darts always lead to a dagger in the back. How grateful to know she had ill intent toward me and left that appointment and will never go back. Sensitive souls need to learn to listen to their hearts and by doing so can avoid much pain. How much suffering and heartache can be avoided if we were taught young what to notice and heed? With vigilance do we need to guard, our hearts, minds, souls and bodies. As always with gratitude for enlightening us on this crucial for happiness knowledge. Love & Prayers LV

  2. You have mentioned that elsewhere, Skylar, that you were oblivious to your emotions. I hear that. Probably not safe territory for you, given your family background. Better not to feel at all, than to try and sort out all the cognitive dis. of your family, huh?

    Interestingly, through being in contact with you online, I find you to be a deeply feeling person. I trust your feelings, and your insights.

    Do you think you are more in touch with your feelings now?

  3. Slim,
    without a doubt. I realized too, that my emotions were SCREAMING at me and I had learned to tune them out.

    I think it was shame. In my family, emotions seemed shameful. My parents didn’t show them to us or each other. When I was in emotional pain, they laughed at me. I didn’t know it that it wasn’t shameful to be emotional. Then of course, there was the spath, who used my emotions against me.

    I’m still working on allowing myself to feel emotions. It’s so unpleasant. I prefer puzzles and other left brained activities. But I know that my emotional side is precious and that it has saved me many times. I want to be more open to it, to listen more, without judging it.

    Other people have mentioned that to me, what you said, about me being very sensitive. I am – literally thin skinned, but I’m equally good at closing it off. I think what people are picking up is my ability to communicate, both in sending and receiving information. That seems to be my gift, I guess.

  4. Dramatized2, I understand how you still can have a longing. I’ve felt that longing too for my abusers in intimate and poisonous relationships I’ve had. It wasn’t love but I had no other blueprint to follow because of my childhood. I spent countless hours reading self-help books for 3 decades, often in the midst of the abusive relationships, both trying to figure out how I could fix myself and fix the other. I couldn’t get up and walk out. When I did I would go back soon enough.

    In hindsight it was the drama and reenactments, the pain, the abuse I was addicted and habituated to, and the abuser’s particular traits, behaviors, and actions were mirroring in so many unconscious ways the very same traits, behaviors and actions I experienced as a child. I became aware of this consciously but still I couldn’t leave. I had to “fix it.” If I could “fix us” I could be loved. My parents would love me. I could rewrite the whole script.

    It doesn’t work.

    You have to leave the theater of the absurd. It wasn’t your fault because you didn’t write the script that caused your original pain which brings you pain even now. Take the beautiful child you were and always will be who lives inside you and has become the amazing woman that you are, by the hand and walk out.

  5. My two comments earlier today on another of Skylar’s articles gave me a spam message and did not go through, so I’m just doing a “test” post to see if I can respond. Looks like it works ok now.

    Dramatized2, it’s possible that the intensity of the sexual relationship is masking how he’s draining you without your being aware of it. The need for sex also can mask an earlier more primitive need for safe and non-violating physical touch which you may not have received, or received enough of, as an infant and young child. If you had also been sexually violated early in life, you may be habituated to letting others take from you sexually while what you are really after is safe touch.

    I had a cuddly ex too, who was a psychopath. He knew just how to manipulate me with it too.

    When I think back on the emotionally healthy man I was with, the cuddling and sex felt vastly different. It was not dramatic or intense but there was a fullness and richness to it, as well as a feeling of safety. But because I was habituated to the opposite crap I didn’t stay. It was scary to really be loved.

  6. Skylar, I’ve done a bit more reading about mirror neurons, the brain and psychopathy, and looking for more articles by V.S. Ramachandran and his amazing discoveries about mirror neurons. I thought earlier that it was possible a psychopath’s mirror neurons were abnormal, and they could well be, but apparently psychopaths have quite a few brain abnormalities. I am still trying to find more articles with research on psychopathy and mirror neurons and haven’t come upon anything yet. It’s possible the mirror neurons of psychopaths may unfortunately for the rest of society be what DOES work, and why they may have to rely on them in order to reel in their victims since so many other parts of their brains are abnormal.

    • Ancient Heart,
      I just finished watching all the YouTube vids of the phantoms in the brain with V.S. Ramachandran, thanks for linking to that. I think I’d seen some of it, before, but now I got to watch the whole series. It was really excellent.

      Yes, the spaths seem to have rewired their own brains and it is basically the left prefrontal cortex that is not as active as it should be. But of course there are different degrees of pathology, so it will appear differently in different people. I think that the amygdala is also damaged or doesn’t work in some spaths either.

      I think that we will never find a magic bullet, but that it will turn out to include many factors, including both genetics and environment, including both food and upbringing.

      • I was awed how he discovered the mirror imaging technique to rewire the brains of amputees to relieve their pain. Apparently its success depends on other factors too but he proved something so incredible about how we can trick our own brains or consciousness with a simple mirror. That’s spooky LOL. And it really got me wondering about life and death, too. Is the phantom limb still “there” but not in any sense we can perceive? His video on Ted.com discussing the discovery of the “Ghandi neurons,” the scientific proof that our pain or sensory receptors in our skin are all that really are separating us from not just each other but from the entire universe or cosmos, that floored me! And sent me on the mirror neuron quest for information LOL!

        I don’t recall which areas of the brain were found to be abnormal other than a deformed or shrunken amygdyla, there were several research articles mentioning prefrontal cortex areas of the brains of psychopaths found to be abnormal, and their gray matter apparently is much thinner. All kinds of f’d up LOL. My theory is that the early disaster bond with mother caused the brain abnormalities to form, although I can see how genetics would play their part too.

        I am very much in kindergarten with all of it, and I’m a right hemisphere dominant person (who sucked at math and science growing up), so I mostly intuit and “research” in jigsaw puzzle style, I guess.

        It would be a day to celebrate if science ever does find a magic bullet. I wish they could invent a magic bullet for undoing all of the evil they’ve committed too!

      • Ancient Heart,
        I also research “intuitively”. I guess that’s a way to describe it. For example, V.S. Ramachandran described how the mirror neurons work to make us empathize with a sensation that we see someone else experiencing. He went on to explain that our skin is what prevents us from actually feeling other people’s pain because it sends us feed back. Our skin tells the brain that we are not actually in pain, only watching another’s pain. He said that if we numb the skin or remove it, then there is no feed back and the brain’s mirror neurons would have no feed back to block the pain sensation of the mirror neurons. That same lack of feed back from the missing limb, is basically what causes pain to register.

        It occurred to me that emotional pain could be similar. The lack of feedback from my parents when I expected love, is registered as emotional pain. We feel loved when we are mirrored either by our parents or by a phony spath. If that is taken away, it feels like pain. Lack of feedback equals pain?

        In another one of your links, someone wrote that depression seems to be a lack of activity in the mirror neurons.

        I know that mirrors are used to “trick” the brain into getting visual feedback from a phantom limb. I was wondering if we could use mirrors to “trick” ourselves out of depression.

        It seems to me that I read a long time ago, that having a mirror in the room could ward off depression, but I didn’t pay much attention and I don’t remember the article. I will have to look for it.

        • Ramachandran’s mirror research has opened up a ton of questions for me, Skylar.

          First, let me say that I perceive your website and all of its treasures of insight as a mirror – a positive mirror. I feel like I found a brilliantly lit doorway after being in a fricking hall of mirrors.

          Orientals use mirrors with feng shui and there are different opinions on methods of feng shui. I read that it’s very detrimental to have a mirror placed in your bedroom facing your bed. Big no no, they say! You might be interested in checking out feng shui. I think there is some truth to it. Some of it intuitively makes sense. I bought books about it years ago and perused them but no longer have the books.

          I also know that some cultures use mirrors to ward off evil, or talismans to ward off evil, just as Christians wear a crucifix. It could be the power of collective mirror neurons and mimetics (is that a word?) over thousands of years too. The test would probably be whether an individual personally believes it works and can validate it for him or herself, I would think.

          I know depression is anger turned inward. I understand it gets locked in the body. Rolfing may be one way to safely release the feelings. I came upon a book called Body Voices by Carolyn J. Braddock and have it on the list to dig into, it looks very good. The body doesn’t lie is the basis of her work. V.S. Ramachandran proved that the brain can trick the body, for better or for worse, but the body is the real three dimensional scene of the crime, according to Braddock. That makes a lot of sense to me. Braddock apparently works a lot with PTSD and trauma survivors.

          This makes a lot of sense to me because when working with horses, they are acutely and exquisitely sensitive and subtle with body language as their main mode of communication to one another, along with their often incredible intuition. Their facial and eye expressions are undetectable by most people, such is their subtlety. There is an acupressure area just above their eye on the eyelid that when you softly stroke it often soothes them if they’re nervous or upset.

          I would take a hunch that the best mirror work for depression would be something tactile and physical. Even going barefoot outside every day for half an hour or so they say is extremely grounding because you connect directly with the Earth’s natural healing magnetism.

          I believe in Bach homeopathic flower remedies. I used to have Rescue Remedy on hand when I had my nonprofit (I need to buy another bottle) and it worked.

          Pardon me for sounding “New Agey,” but I think for a lot of psychopath survivors, getting grounded again and staying grounded is hard because, at least for me, I realized that the psychopath was literally trying to continually knock me out of my body. I have heard that some people eat as a way to keep grounded, but they don’t realize that’s one of the reasons why they may be eating more than they feel they “should be.”

        • Ancient Heart,
          Even though I’m a Christian, I have total belief in Feng Shui too.

          Before I found out what my spath was, I was dealing, unknowingly, with his minions. I knew they were evil liars and deceivers. So, after reading that in Feng Shui, if you keep a rooster above your desk, nobody will be able to deceive you, I purchased one and placed it accordingly. Guess what happened then?

          Not only did all the minions become glaringly obvious, but my spath’s evil and all of his secrets were revealed. As well as the truth about my spath brother and spath sister.

          Needless to say, I’m NEVER without my rooster now! And I can see spaths every time they appear.

          • Wow, Skylar. Thank you for telling me about that. It works. I found a few articles on the Internet last night about mirrors and feng shui to get reacquainted, and I’m going to delve back into it.

            When I had my nonprofit, during the winter of 2007 someone dropped off two roosters along the highway, apparently. One was hit, and the other wandered onto the property (this was not the property owned by the psychopath, but in fact another female psychopath – yes there are gobs of them LOL). Anyway, the rooster immediately became the little guardian of a 6 month old starved colt that I recently took in, and he stayed with the colt day and night. As the colt’s condition improved, they were still together frequently but the rooster moved to the barn and then spent quite a bit of time there while another horse was healing from post-op surgery. The more I think about the rooster showing up, the more it seems that it may not have been accidental, given the evil that was hidden from me. But I did not realize it, and of course in hindsight I recall several red flag feelings but did not heed the warnings. Wow, did I just get a light bulb moment.

            I know that mirrors represent the water element, and since our bodies are mostly water and represent the emotional/feminine, it makes sense that mirrors can reflect evil back to the sender The term “mirror neurons” has even deeper meaning to me now.

            So there could well be some “magic bullets” to at least ward off psychopaths.

            I’ve done some reading about Viktor Schauberger who discovered some very deep truths about the wisdom and nature of water. He was of course, like every other genius who found the truth and sought to help rather than profit, and was looted and ruined by psychopaths. I would love to get the books by Callum Coates who wrote about Schauberger’s life and work. Another I like is Masaru Emoto and his discoveries about the consciousness of water.

            I am still floored by Ramachandran’s Ghandhi neurons and the implications of that discovery.

            I’m really careful with any new agey or sympathetic energetic work, so-called magic, and such. I know that is also infested by psychopaths.

            Thanks, Skylar, you just gave me another A HA. A super duper one!

          • dramatized,
            I haven’t been able to find the original article, but from what I can tell, any rooster will work. Though a gold or bronze rooster is best.

            I’ve been in the Pier 1 Import store recently and found lots of roosters. Also, Hobby Lobby had a bunch. I guess everyone knows about this now.

            Placement should be in the northwest corner of the office or living room.

  7. Thank you, that article has some interesting info about FASD.

    You appear to be very lucid, intelligent, and sensitive to me. I don’t know if you experienced learning disabilities in childhood or other symptoms of FASD but if you were not brain-damaged by it in utero, based on what you’ve described and my own interpretation of that based on my own understanding and history with alcoholic parents, their slime tends to rub off and hand you a screwed up blueprint or road map regardless. Alcoholics, like psychopaths, for the most part live in their own selfish and sick virtual reality.

    There is a movie with Matt Damon and Robin Williams called Goodwill Hunting. I haven’t watched it in years, but the story is about a boy who grew up in a nightmare of abuse and found a witness and mentor in Robin Williams, who played a professor at the university the abused young man attended. There was a scene in the movie where Robin Williams repeatedly told the young man, “It’s not your fault.” The young man had been sabotaging every aspect of his life and could not trust or bond. Robin Williams broke through the young man’s wall of shame. I just bawled when I watched that. It really hit a nerve. That is how I felt inside too. Robin Williams gave the young man a positive mirror through which to perceive himself.

    That doesn’t work, of course, with psychopaths. They are totally unsalvageable.

    My problem for years was trying to “fix” my childhood by unconsciously picking rotten apples that were in many ways mirrors of my parents’ pathologies, then trying to understand, anticipate and “fix” the significant other as well as to stay in the abusive and allow myself to be shamed while I delved into self-help books by the dozen. It was like living in a prison without walls.

  8. I tried to locate a link to watch the entire show online but I don’t know that one’s available, or if there is you probably have to pay for a subscription 🙁

    I don’t buy that Dr. Phil can heal a psychopath on TV in one session. Doesn’t jibe with reality, science and research, and the real experiences of victims.

    Everything I’ve seen you describe here about your ex indicates to me he’s a psychopath. It’s your choice to refuse reality at your own peril.

    Alcoholism is also a choice. I did not have FASD, but was genetically predisposed to alcoholism as well as had 3 bouts of alcoholism in my life. After bout #3 I made the choice to stop drinking. I went to a couple of AA meetings and said no thanks, it was pretty much all drama, toxic memories and it felt like a damn cult to me. And I would not label myself an alcoholic. Standing in front of a group of people shaming myself and labeling myself? No thanks. I just chose to stop drinking. I was a bartender for 17 years, 7 of them as an alcoholic and 10 of them a non-alcoholic. I stopped drinking in 1997.

    But I have a very dear friend who is a devout AA participant, has been for years, and it has been amazing for him, so what works for one doesn’t work for another.

    Alcohol is a virtual reality tool. I certainly didn’t need alcohol to add to the crap I already had on my plate. Ending that problem put a lot of other issues into my life into perspective. I had to confront things and feelings and memories that were painful. I also began to find, re-member myself, and the good feelings and experiences that came from that made the hard work worth it.

    You may be misinterpreting the psychopath’s behavior as relaxed, when in truth he is lazy and irresponsible. Not exactly an enviable character trait.

    I think each of us has a dark side and has or does behave in psychopathic ways to some degree which are still far beneath the radars of our individual awareness. Just our everyday “civilized” activities which sacrifice animals and our environment to me is pure psychopathy. Because it is usually a few steps removed from our being direct perpetrators of those sacrificial scapegoats makes us no less culpable for the atrocities committed upon them. Most primitive cultures probably have their psychopathic rituals and routines too, so neither one is innocent.

    • My gut feeling is that you may be feeling lonely and isolated, and I think the idea of reaching out to others to connect in person and share via distributing materials makes perfect sense. I would worry a bit about you potentially making yourself a target is all. My personal opinion is that it may be safer for you to track down a domestic violence support group, check out local churches and their services and programs to find one you might like, to check out different AA groups where you like the people and can connect and share with them in person. As with everything, be discerning who you open yourself up to.

      I’m speaking from the position of a recluse LOL. I hang out with my animals. Another idea is that if you have an affinity for animals, volunteering at a pet shelter sometimes you meet very nice people, and you help animals as well by giving them much needed love, compassion and companionship which almost all of them respond to with their priceless honesty and pure love which I don’t believe any human can match. Even getting a pet if you’re able to can be very therapeutic. I don’t know if you have any pets or not.

      Some thoughts I’m throwing your way to see if anything sounds appealing.

    • Dramatized2, I can relate to the paranoia because I got so duped for so long, oh boy do I relate. Luckily for me I’m comfortable with living and spending a lot of time alone. And when Skylar responded to your comment and said that she runs into psychopaths all the time, and how many are females, how many of them she can detect now, I know her experience is the gospel truth. I love her idea of making up anonymous materials.

  9. Thanks Dramatized2, a very big congrats to you too, that is awesome.

    I sure would have liked to see that Dr. Phil show, I’m glad you told me Dr. Phil didn’t heal him LOL, that would have been the porker of the century, wouldn’t it?

    Those maggots are so clever about setting us up and nailing us in private, aren’t they? When all the pieces fall into place, then even more surfaces, it seems, and it just gets uglier and uglier and uglier and uglier. It’s still not easy for me to comprehend, moreso because of its repulsive evil. Stepping outside of it emotionally as much as possible is the only way for me to examine it which isn’t always easy but does seem to get easier over time for me.

    Skylar’s articles, all of everyone’s comments and feedback, this website, and everyone here are the best thing since sliced bread, nowhere have I felt and experienced such a profound feeling of genuine understanding, healing and validation. I’m not a social networker or Internet person, not after what I went through, so I’m pretty much wowed that all this is occurring on the Internet too.

    I met the last ex psycho when I was drinking too. I spent 4 drinking years with him (he was a drinker too), and then 4 sober years, until I finally got out. I knew he was a veritable POS but it didn’t dawn on me he was a psychopath until I started reading here. After I left him, I hurt for another 2 years like crazy and then I had no more longings. I thank horses for getting me through that. But I didn’t have immunity after that, and so one big reason I spend so much time on Skylar’s site is to learn how to not be vulnerable again. Ever.

  10. Dramatized,
    Yes, I do like that article. It’s about the 3rd time I’ve read it and I always get something new from it. Thanks for bringing it up.

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