The story of Little Red Riding Hood is a great metaphor for a relationship with a sociopath.
In the end, victims of sociopaths often feel destroyed or damaged in some profound way. Some are brutalized financially, others physically, and almost all are hurt, compromised, or undone emotionally and psychologically. The experience is often described as identity eroding or soul destroying. Many victims develop chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. For some, recovery is elusive. For others, it is long and hard.
Too many of us were taught, “There’s good in everyone.”
To those of us who have been taught that there is good in everyone, these views about sociopaths seem unfathomable. Even after my ex-husband exploded my life; unraveled my finances; stressed one child to the point of contemplating suicide, alienated the other child from me; and caused me to develop debilitating, chronic post-traumatic stress, my brother’s wife continues to espouse the opinion that there is good in everyone. A relative who knows the entire sordid story asked me if my ex-husband’s third wife is able to make him happy. The unstated assumption is that I was not a good enough wife and did not try hard enough.
I was like that before.
Before I unwittingly married a sociopath, I assumed there was good in everyone. So when my marriage struggled, I gave my husband the benefit of the doubt, wondering continually how I needed to change so my marriage would work. I was naive and ignorant about sociopaths, about the evil they bring crashing down on the lives of those they target. I paid a huge price for that ignorance. Sociopaths are common.
As I have read books about women who tend to get caught in long-term relationships with sociopaths, I realize I have the traits that make people vulnerable—empathy, a tendency to see the world in shades of grey rather than black and white, a tendency to value and invest in relationships, a “can do” spirit that keeps me trying to solve problems, and so on. I like these qualities about myself. I only wish I had known these qualities can also be huge vulnerabilities, because they set me up not to see the wolf that professed to love me.
My book, Husband, Liar, Sociopath chronicles my marriage and the painful lessons learned. My book, Narcissists, Sociopaths & Wolves includes a summary of some of the warning signs of being in a relationship with a sociopath
Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my books have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.