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Seeing Through Psychopathic Smoke and Mirrors. — 85 Comments

  1. STJ,
    even though I know, what I know, it does feel good to be validated by people who are professionals in that field. So I do appreciate it very much! ((hugs))

    There was one paragraph that I thought should be taken with a grain of salt. It was the quote from a psychopath who was responding to a yes or no question: “I’ve been so angry at times that I’ve hurt someone in a physical fight.”

    “When I’ve had to defend myself, I become more calm and relaxed in a fight. My strategy is to antagonize them. I don’t have anger, I get them angry. I take emotions away from myself to handle things cooler. It’s not me being angry. I smile and laugh during the whole damn fight.” The psychopath paused, and with a chopping gesture added, “Take out the knees and go to work.”

    The first thing the psychopath does is requalify the question. He says, “When I’ve had to defend myself.” So he is justifying his actions, he’s saying the opponent deserved to be attacked. Then he goes on to say that he becomes very calm instead of angry. This is true, I’ve witnessed it. And yes, they do laugh. Between acting angry, they’ll suddenly grin and burst out laughin in duper’s delight. It’s bizarre.

    In other words, he never answered the question. He turned the whole thing around 180 degrees. First, he says he wasn’t angry, though the question is about his behavior when he’s angry, he turns it into a question about how he feels during a fight. If he really wasn’t angry why bring it up?

    Then he qualified it as “defending himself” which indicates that he felt attacked, yet he says he antagonizes his opponent, so now he is the attacker.

    It just goes to show how difficult it is to figure them out because they lie so much and they turn everything upside down, especially if there is an emotional trigger. Then it automatically gets flipped.

  2. BTW,
    I went ahead and added it in the LINKS Section under Links to Information on Psychopathy.
    On the left under Girard Theory Links. That way anyone can refer to it when they need to.

  3. Skylar

    I know that you don’t need validated as I believe that you research thoroughly before posting and also you link it to your experiences.

    When I first escaped I felt like I was inside a shell. I had psychological numbing and PTSD. I wanted verification and validation of what I experienced. I felt no one would believe me.

    The good thing is: I could never have digested material like this. I could barely recognise my own name. My brain was so damaged. I had just finished University in my forties and I was feeling fairly bright and confident in my abilities. This was gone.

    But it is coming back–therefore I am slowly healing.

    ‘Taking him out by the knees, is interesting. My ex was never physically violent. In fact he was a bit of a coward in this area. Picked on smaller and weaker.

    He used to says things like this–but it was a metaphor for his mental destruction of someone. So taking him out by the knees meant something to him alone.

    For example–when I was pleading for him to stop he said to me ‘your hitting my head with sticks’. Emotional correlation and empathy was non existant.

    Also I remember reading Daniel Golemans EQ book and he said that some batterers become preternatuarly calm before ladeling into their partners. Their heartbeat slows and they feel good about it.

    He was probably describing psychopaths.

    I’m glad you felt the information was useful.


  4. Thinking about the ‘taking out at the knees and going to work’ thing. My ex always spouted these double meanings and I used to get in a twirl trying to translate to normal English. It was like he had his own internal language for things that only he understood.

    Could this mean ‘sweeping the rug from under his feet’, and chopping his reality up? A mental fight?


  5. I too have a disconnect with Fear. It turns to anxiety for me. Then I think I am being weak and stupid for being anxious. My therapist helped me acknowledge that my anxiety was often a subverted (don’t know if this is ‘right’ word) fear, and this helped me. Course then I had to go through MONTHS of being so afraid, afer ppath encounter, I barely left my apt., or spoke with anyone.

    It was like all the repressed fear I ever had came rushing out.

    STJ, Yes! This is wonderful article. I am archiving it. I also want to comment about ppaths use of language. It is amazing how they use words as weapons, and not as a means to communicate. I never got that anyone would do this, previous to understanding the morally disturbed.


  6. Slim,
    my ex-spath called it “throwing spears”. When projecting, he said that he couldn’t talk to me because I was always “throwing spears”. Honestly, I don’t know if I was because I never let him win a verbal argument. But I can say that I didn’t start them, so I was picking up the spears he threw and jabbing them right back. That was a waste of breath, though.

  7. Great analogy: throwing spears. Yeah, poking them with their own weapons doesn’t work either. It still baffles me that NOTHING works. They just keep being stuck. They never get anywhere.

    I got sooooo bored with the last guy. At first it seemed all excitement and fun. Then I realized it was just plain ol’ mania. Too boring. I don’t want it 100 degrees all the time. I like a change in temperature and scenery.

    Even bored, drained, financially whipped, and overflowing with shame and embarrassment, the ‘withdrawl’ was wicked. And not worth a minute of it.

  8. Slim

    For a long time afterwards, I cursed my loving, tolerant heart and my mind for trying to make sense of his abuse.

    But after I threw him out, it is this same heart and mind that takes care of my children and animals.

    We are all thriving despite his absence and to be honest we are doing better without him.

    Funny enough–I came from a broken home and my worst fear was to be a single parent. That’s why I tried so hard with him. I didn’t want my children to experience this and he knew it. One of my weaknessess he exploited.

    My conclusion–a loving heart and mind are only effective with those who deserve and appreciate it. The disordered can never understand this as we can never fully understand them.


  9. It’s hard to imagine someone would get high from conflict, so we don’t imagine it. Not even when it’s happening right in front of our eyes. During one argument, he was making no sense (but of course, that was the whole point), and I called him an idiot. He gave me a look filled with resolve and he said, “Keep calling me that. It helps me hate you more.”

    And that was the whole point of every drama. He was filled with hate and he needed to justify it. So, pick a fight, get me to respond and feel justified that I deserved to be hated.

    Selective memory? Or is it just that time is turned around 180 degrees and they can’t see how they began the conflict? Or is it, as in Girard’s theory, that the victim and the prosecutor have switched places?

  10. Oh my gosh, I’ve been sick for a week and haven’t gotten on the web, but what a great article to start my week off with!!

    I knew I was missing some good talk here, but this just verifies so many things I experienced with the ex spath and others.

    Through reading about psychopath’s I have come to realize my place in it all. I was using the spath as a distraction from my own issues. I was facing so many personal problems that I wanted an escape. I had so many responsibilities that I was exhausted and needed to be saved. The spath presented an irresistible opportunity to take over my life while I swept my issues under the rug. The welcome drama he brought repressed my own responsibilities so that I became responisible for him instead of myself.

    I fooloishly thought being responsible for a broken person would be easier than facing my own responsibilities. Was I wrong!! The good that came from that is that I’m that much more capable now, and more importantly aware of my issues, to face them and change for the better.

    In doing this I have lost a few friends, but they were toxic and I am better off without them in my life always dragging me down. Without enduring and surviving a sociopath and subsequently coming to this forum, I would never have discovered what was plaguing me all my life so that I could start cleaning up.

    Like Slim, I had a crappy childhood but not because of family. I was a foreign kid starting school in Texas and was regularly scapegoated. All my life I attracted people who took advantage of me, betrayed and used me, stabbed me in the back and belittled me and I just let it happen. I kept trying to help them, change them, get them to treat me like a human being. To no avail, though. It took a sociopath and the life-changing transformation I encountered to finally set me free from the chain of abuse.

    STJ, I was also numb and felt so drained and destroyed that it was as if I were brain dead. It took a lot of praying and reading to start breaking through the wall around me. I still have a wall but it’s to keep bad people out and not to keep me in. I’m starting to heal, too.

    As for the spath and fighting, I found what was posted very interesting. Ex spath I endured got in no less then 4 fist-fights in the three plus years I knew him. That was so strange to me. I did not know anybody else in my adult years who got in fist fights. He attracted trouble with his know-it-all attitude and despite being very big and muscular (working out and steroids) he never “won” a fight. He was a true coward. I always thoughts I won all the arguments with IT but it turns out I just came out more scathed. As for ex spath, nothing affected him either good or bad. Like STJ said, NOTHING worked on IT.

    The drama did get boring for me as well. That’s when grey rock unknowingly occurred and I thankfully woke up from the nightmare. Now dealing with the left over memories and evil footprint left behind from this ‘over developed half-person’ (I LOVE THAT!), has been the hardest thing I have faced my entire life. Not just because of the damage done by ex spath, but because I’m now finally facing my own personal issues.

    Sky, great article as usual. I get more out of your blog and the comments then anywhere else. I can’t wait to catch up on your new articles.

    God bless! 🙂

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