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Daily Beast sympathizes with the sociopath

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Caitlin Dickson, a reporter for the Daily Beast blog (the online presence of Newsweek magazine). She was writing an article about the book Confessions of a Sociopath, by M.E. Thomas. She asked me what I thought of the book. I explained that I refused to buy it so I hadn’t read it, although I did read Thomas’ article in Psychology Today (which was online). Here’s my previous post about the book:

Confessions of a Sociopath: a book I don’t want to buy or read

I talked to Dickson about the millions of sociopaths who live among us, and how destructive they are. I explained Lovefraud’s work in helping people recognize, avoid or escape them. I recommended that she call Dr. Liane Leedom for an authoritative explanation of this complex personality disorder.

Dickson was not interested in my information, and included none of it in the story she wrote. She didn’t bother calling Dr. Leedom. Instead, this cub reporter (graduated from journalism school in 2010) wrote an article that struck me as being sympathetic to sociopaths. Read:

How to spot a sociopath (Hint: It could be you), on thedailybeast.com.

Point by point critique

Here are some points of the article, along with my comments

“Sociopathy is not simply a disorder of serial killers but one that exists on a spectrum, plaguing to varying degrees a large portion of successful, apparently well-adjusted people.”

Yes, sociopathy is not just for serial killers and it does exist on a spectrum. But “a large portion of successful, apparently well-adjusted people” are not sociopaths. Experts estimate that sociopaths make up 1% to 4% of the population—that doesn’t qualify as a “large portion.”

Of this small slice, many sociopaths are obvious criminals and substance abusers, and many more can’t seem to hold their lives together. Still, there probably are millions of sociopaths who do appear well-adjusted to everyone but their spouses. And the people who work most closely with them know that their success is built on bullying, intimidation and playing loose with the rules.

“Psychopathy, more or less, is the clinical term for sociopathy, and the two are often used interchangeably.”

Psychopathy is not a clinical term; it is the term that researchers use. Clinicians call it “antisocial personality disorder.”

“A September 2012 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology ranked U.S. presidents in order of their possession of a psychopathic trait called ‘fearless dominance.'”

“Fearless dominance” is not universally accepted as a trait of psychopathy. However, I can understand how Dickson could have been influenced by the idea, because several scientific papers have been published about the concept. In fact, it was the subject of a heated debate at the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy conference that I attended in June.

One side argued that fearless dominance is part of psychopathy and is linked to success. The other side argued that fearless dominance is not a valid concept and reminded the group that there is nothing good about the psychopathic personality disorder. In my opinion, the researcher speaking against fearless dominance had a much stronger argument and won the debate hands down.

“In 1980, criminal psychologist Robert Hare developed the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R).”

The PCL-R was released in 1991.

“Thomas isn’t an actual killer—and she and other researchers emphasize that most sociopaths aren’t killers either. Instead, Thomas says her favorite preferred sociopathic pastime is ‘ruining people.’”

Dickson never says or implies that there’s anything wrong with “ruining people.” In fact, the article does not even hint at the true destruction that sociopaths cause.

“(John Edens, a psychology professor at Texas A&M) argues that ‘saying someone is a psychopath or not is drawing a bit of an arbitrary line in the sand,’ suggesting that all people likely possess a certain amount of sociopathic traits, some just more pronounced than others.”

This is an incredible oversimplification of two distinct concepts. First of all, Edens is right. Psychopathy syndrome a group of related traits. It is also a continuum individuals can have each of the traits to a different degree. The point at which someone qualifies to be “a psychopath” usually the cut score of 30 out of 40 on the PCL-R is somewhat arbitrary.

Secondly, although non-disordered people may have sociopathic traits, they score exceptionally low perhaps under 5 on the PCL-R. The behavior of people who score 5 or less is nothing like the exploitative behavior of those who score over 30.

“There’s virtually no known treatment for ruthless, manipulative, law-abiding citizens who lack empathy. And, really, should there be? These are traits that are often attributed to success.”

Here’s where Caitlin Dickson shows how clueless she really is. Let me be blunt: Sociopaths are evil. Sociopaths view the world as predators and prey they are the predators, and everyone else is prey. Even those who appear to be successful leave a wake of destruction: ruined lives, abused children, financial wrongdoing and corporate collapse. Sociopaths are not ruthless and manipulative in business only that’s also how they treat their spouses and kids. The human toll for this “success” is unbelievably steep, so it is a crying shame that there is no treatment for this disorder.

“In lieu of therapy, Thomas has discovered some alternatives to treatment. For one, she credits Mormonism, specifically its doctrine that anyone can change and its required social engagements, with keeping her on track.”

Sociopaths are not religious. They join churches to find easy prey. I wonder how many people Thomas targeted at the church? And if Thomas considers herself to be on track while ruining people for fun, what would she be like while “off track”?

“Sociopaths are mostly ‘problematic in terms of the stress they cause other people.’”

Stress? Stress is being late for work. Sociopaths are so abusive that many of their targets —including 21% of romantic partners consider suicide. Some, tragically, go through with it, a phenomenon I’ve heard called “murder by suicide.”

“Said Lauren (friend of M.E. Thomas), ‘Her ultimate goal is to be out as a sociopath, accepted by society and not vilified.’”

M.E. Thomas wants to be accepted and not vilified, even though her favorite pastime is ruining people?

Keep in mind that sociopaths are not delusional they always know exactly what they are doing. So when they engage in exploitative behavior, it is by their own choice. They can refrain from exploiting people. They do it all the time in the beginning of relationships, romantic or otherwise. They’re fun, helpful, caring, attentive until the person is hooked. Then the knives come out.

Sociopaths are vilified for their behavior, which they freely choose. Society should do a better job of not accepting them, and holding them accountable for their actions.

“With regard to whether Thomas could legally be fired for coming clean, employment attorney Jessica Kastin explained that Thomas would probably have a very hard time making the case that she was being discriminated against because of her disorder.”

Sociopaths make lousy employees. They lie, cheat, back stab, steal from the company, swindle customers and create a hostile working environment. Is Dickson really suggesting that employers should not be allowed to get rid of them?

Skipping over the abuse

What really bothered me about this article is how the reporter failed to acknowledge, in fact, minimized, the harm sociopaths inflict on others. Sociopaths abuse people physically, emotionally, psychologically, sexually and/or financially. They are social predators. One researcher estimates that national cost of psychopathy is $460 billion per year. Hello? I’d say that’s a problem.

So why would Dickson write an article that was essentially sympathetic to M.E. Thomas and other sociopaths? I’d guess that Dickson is one of those lucky people who never had a run-in with a sociopath (so far). She may still believe that all people are basically good, and all people just want to be loved. She doesn’t understand that there are people in the world who are intrinsically abusive.

I was like that when I was a young journalist. Then I married a sociopath.

It also seems to me that when Dickson interviewed Thomas, the sociopath presented herself as a woman who was simply misunderstood, and was doing her best to cope with her disorder. Dickson didn’t understand how good sociopaths are at playing the victim, so she bought the story.

“I am naturally manipulative,” Thomas told Dickson. Guess what. Dickson was manipulated.

Uninformed editors

I can understand this young reporter not fully grasping the topic she was dealing with as I said, I’ve been there. I remember some of the magazine articles I wrote when I was her age, and I now grimace at how naive they were. So my question is, where were her editors?

The Daily Beast is a sophisticated publication, edited by Tina Brown former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. It claims to be dedicated to “breaking news and sharp commentary.”

So either the Daily Beast editors don’t understand this personality disorder which is likely, because most people in the media, like the general population, don’t get it. Or, the Daily Beast is so intrigued by “sharp commentary” that they’re willing to say that sociopaths aren’t all that bad.

What’s scary is that the Daily Beast gets 18 million unique online visitors a month. So millions of people may have read this article and come away with the impression that sociopaths are just misunderstood people who play manipulative games not that these people can ruin their lives.

This article is truly a disservice to all Daily Beast readers. But hey, at least it conveyed the point that sociopaths aren’t all serial killers.

 


Comment on this article

67 Comments on "Daily Beast sympathizes with the sociopath"

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Donna,

Thank you for fact checking!!! I really despise articles like this one in the Daily Beast, it is the same old invalidation that we had plenty of when we were with the sociopath. It’s just like a friend of mine saying “None of us are perfect, you won’t find anyone who has no faults”. HELLO? What? I just want someone who isn’t flipping disordered. These people don’t get it!!!!

Donna (and All),

Your dissection is great. Too bad for this writer, she is a obviously not tuned in to any red flags, and is a sitting duck for an entanglement with one of these kinds, despite her ‘research’ into the topic. Too bad. It could have been an eye opener for her…instead she may have gone more deeply to sleep on this subject. I did when I first heard about personality disorders. I was SO hell bent on being a Good Person, I just went into a deeper denial, so I could play my over helpful, save-the-world role.

As for sympathizing. After the 5+ years out I have from any personal entanglement with a disordered person, heck, I have some sympathy (or compassion, whatever you might call it) for these people. I actually feel sorry for them. They are a sick, sorry, rotten bunch.

I am thankful I am not one of them.

And I don’ want a single solitary thing to do with them.

The Daily Beast really missed this one…by a loooooong shot.

And, again, thanks Donna for all your hard work and for this site.

Slim

Slim,

Yes, they are pathetic and that is one of their best weapons…”poor me, feel sorry for me, love me”…then WHAM!

I used to feel sorry for the one who target me once I got away. Problem is, you never really get away from one if you have children with them.

No pity here anymore, they are not just pathetic, they are evil.

Delores,

Don’t misinterpret me. I don’t feel ‘sorry’ for any of them. But from a deeper place, maybe spiritual?, I feel compassion. It does not compel me to engage any of them, to try and see them differently from who they are, or to fix them.

It does not require that I DO anything for any harmful person. It is simply a deep feeling I have.

I have had those feelings in the past, but no longer do. I think it was akin to wanting to forgive and let go of the harsh reality. Reality is that I am a target for life because I had his children. Forty-seven years and counting…

Something is bothring me here about the difference in the “feeling sorry for them” that you mean here which I think I understand as opposed to the “feeling sorry for them” that they illicit in their victims.

I guess it is just the fact that he is targeting my adult children now with his “poor me” tactics and planting distortions about me in their heads. They are believing his lies and denying my truth and reality. So much like the insanity of this article.

Delores,

I sure don’t want to confuse this thread with my own experience. Or to expect anyone else to have to be having the same experience I am.

I have no children with any of these demons. I have no connection whatsoever. I see that you do, and so your experience, and some of your feelings and needs would of course differ from mine. We each walk our healing paths with some unique twists and turns.

I support you in that. Completely. Without question.

You understand what I am saying. I don’t feel sorry for them, and I understand the pity ploy…been through it many times. To me compassion is not feeling sorry for someone. It is not pity. I feel it is a visceral understanding of the pain and suffering that other beings experience. Even evil psychopaths. Even evil psychopaths that cannot consciously experience their own pain and suffering.

To me compassion has nothing to do with forgiveness, forgetting, or condoning. And it does not mean, in every situation, that we ‘help’ the person we feel compassion for.

So, let’s just say this is my experience. It does not place me in jeopardy of being suckered into a relationship with an evil doer.

Slim

Anyone who tries to attribute Teddy Roosevelt’s achievements as President to his imagined “sociopathic” traits has GOT to be missing something!

Exactly WHAT they’re missing could be seen from more than one viewpoint. For instance, if anyone subscribes to the triarchic conceptualization of psychopathy, they will agree that Teddy had ONE of the three traits referred to, namely boldness. But the other two traits—meanness and disinhibition—don’t describe him at all. Far from lacking impulse control, he was renowned for his self-discipline. And while he was fond of referring to the Presidency as a “bully pulpit,” it was decidedly in a good cause. He was emphatically not a “mean” man.

More generally, one cannot just start cherry-picking isolated traits that psychopaths are known to have—qualities widely regarded as “virtues,” such as fearlessness (or “charm” for that matter)—and use that to argue that there are merits in psychopathy after all. The whole point is that traits like these do not come isolated in psychopathy, but are part of a package that necessarily brings with it the “bad” traits as well. “Lack of fear” in the psychopath for instance is not really a matter of having courage, a quality we all admire, but instead is part of a far broader lack of emotional response in general—including of course a notorious lack of empathy, of “caring” for others. Teddy Roosevelt in contrast was a man whose caring for people at large was one hallmark of his Presidency. The Square Deal was never the creation of a sociopath! “Fairness” is not one of their values.

Ah, you hit so many of the wrongheaded points that people use to confuse sociopaths with good people. They haven’t a clue what sociopathy is about. Well put, Redwald.

Hi Donna,

For all the educating and supporting some of us do and seeing survivors who are ripped to shreds on so many levels, this article was more than frustrating for me. What was even more so is that this journalist was not willing to see the ‘other side’ of things in taking the time to hear the victim’s side of the story. It’s a shame she did not bother to call and have yourself or Dr. Leedom fill her in.

Right now, I’m working on an article about the Rolling Stone cover that everyone is up in arms about. I know people might not agree, but the Boston Bomber’s face on the cover, was brilliantly symbolic, and the article itself was good, in which I’m dissecting at the moment….looking at that cover photo, would you have believed that kid was a psychopath? I believe that was the point of the cover photo.
We have to start looking beneath the images to understand that these people hide extremely well. It’s ridiculous to think that they’re going to unmask publicly as a terrorist or as a killer of spirits, they won’t. Unfortunately, it articles like this young journalist’s that we spend many MORE hours trying to debunk this garbage with people who will now accept it as truth.

Sociopaths are a small part of the population, however, I wonder how realistic that is statistically as I believe there are a lot more than that.

I’m really glad to see you call this one out. Maybe she will write another article that is more factually based when she has a run in with her own sociopath. The article itself may well make her a target.

Is it really possible to educate those who have never had this experience? I’m beginning to wonder…

“Is it really possible to educate those who have never had this experience? I’m beginning to wonder”” Great comments, especially this one. These creatures work with “rules”. They know the rules and that is how they often know how to squeek by looking good while destroying lives.

Obama knows the rules and flagrantly bends and breaks them in front of the whole world. How does he do it? He is “one of them” but no one sees it. He is not just passing for black when he isn’t, he is passing for a “good guy” when he is not.

What I am wondering is…How do we that understand keep our sanity with those who will not get it?

Hey, Delores!

I think the key to keeping our sanity is not to worry about convincing every skeptic and devil’s advocate (bahaha!) to understand. People debate global warming and whether or not rape is really rape. Heck, we’ll never be able to convince everyone that sociopaths/psychopaths are real and are much more than your typical asshole or convict.

If we can spread information with tempered passion, we’ve succeeded. Good and open-minded people interested in learning and understanding will hear us. The others will have to experience this nightmare for themselves before any of our efforts will begin to sink in.

🙂

Gosh, this is why I don’t come by and comment very often. I see aspersions cast on good people doing difficult work for our country only to be called “sociopaths” just because one doesn’t believe in their policies.

President Obama is not a sociopath.

For several years after my engagement with a sociopath, I ‘saw’ them everywhere. I was pretty paranoid that everyone around me might possibly be one. It’s part of the emotional damage they do–crippling our judgment for awhile, longer if we let it.

I’m also the daughter of a sociopath. And, believe me, the work to heal is lifelong. However, I don’t label politicians ‘sociopaths’ just because I don’t believe in their policies.

Of course, to me, Dick Cheney, Dubya, John McCain (his VP running mate, Palin) are all sociopaths.

See?

I’m really glad this site is here for discussion and enlightenment. We need more people talking about this problem so that we can ostracize the sociopaths instead of rewarding them with praise for their pseudo-courage and pseudo-brilliance.

“By their works you shall know them.”

Dear Lesson Learned,
I think it’s very hard to educate those who have never had this experience. But I think it can be done, at least to those who have empathy and a conscience. However, I believe it will take those words/phrases that are so stark in contrast to what people are used to reading. Sociopaths hide within appearances. Society has excused so much because they don’t want to judge. But not judging, not using our discernment and intuition is what makes us vulnerable to predators such as sociopaths. I read what people write on this site and certain words/phrases pop out at me, phrases or excuses that don’t make sense, most are oxymorons. An example is in Quinn’s article, “Leaving the sociopath, applying for foodstamps.” She writes using that duality, the ability to be ‘self-reliant and in need of assistance at the same time’. Or the example of the person who wrote about a “well adjusted sociopath” when we know there is no such thing, a duplicious image conscious sociopath yes, but no sociopath is well adjusted or else they would not be a sociopath!

I do encourage you to write articles, to expose. But I also think the general public will tend to pass over articles that they decide don’t apply to themselves. I think to get the info to the general public, the damage that a few sociopaths wreak on multitudes, it will have to be in a medium that they will chose to engage, on the same lines as the series of books by Steig Larsson. I am not a writer, but I want to encourage those who are. I think you, and other writers like you, are the key to changing the open field of potential victims that sociopaths currently exploit.

I look forward to your article. You hit on an excellent point, don’t judge a cover based on it’s look.

All I can do is laugh at this DB journalist: she was duped!

I participated in a HuffPost Live show a few weeks ago titled “Learning to Love the Sociopath” with 3 other participants: 1) M.E. Thomas, 2) the psychiatrist who diagnosed her and 3) James Fallon, another self-described psychopath.

In the private chat after the live show, Fallon and I were talking. Suddenly, M.E. Thomas chimes in, “I don’t want to seem like I am eavesdropping…” I laughed under my breath. I knew she was listening, her participation icon (not her face) was on the screen.

I tuned out everything she had to say. Her voice is smooth, monotone and void of any character. Like my ex sociopath’s voice, I can see how the journalist who interviewed her could be lulled into a state of hypnosis, of sorts, and left feeling sorry for her, pitying her even as she plays out her victim role:

“Poor M.E. Thomas. She can’t find a job or a husband or friends. I’m going to help her. She needs my help.”

During this chat, I mentioned to her that I had also read the excerpt from her book on Psychology Today and stepped away adamant that I would not be buying it or reading it only because I had ridden that rodeo and I wasn’t interested in reliving it. I told her that she is a carbon-copy of my ex. The only difference: she’s a woman. M.E. Thomas just laughed. She could not come up with a rebuttal simply because she KNEW my awareness is no match for her lies and slick talk. I’ve been there. All of us who have been there laugh at their attempts to persuade us into thinking like they think. It’s not going to happen again.

As you mention, the best thing to come of her search for validation and acceptance in writing this book (that could have been written by any survivor of a sociopath, too) is the awareness that the majority of sociopaths are not serial killers or even murderers. They are the fools hiding in plain sight who use the empathy of people like the DB reporter to manipulate others into feeling sorry for them when they get caught “destroying people” on purpose.

Garbage journalism like this makes me even more determined to continue writing and bringing awareness.

Thank you, Donna!

Duped is right…isn’t that what spaths are best at??
R

Excellent point-by-point refutation of the article and (indirectly) the book. The article just goes to show that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

It never ceases to amaze me when individuals who “out” themselves as sociopaths (or as psychopaths, or as having antisocial pd) then go on to write books about sociopathy from the “expert’s” point of view… and their word is taken as The Truth, because, after all, its from “the horse’s mouth.”

To me, that entire concept has that disorienting “mirror-reflecting-a-mirror-reflecting-a-mirror-into-infinity” quality about it. The deceiver is openly admitting to being deceptive, but every word out of their mouth is a lie (salted with some truth, for flavor) so its just one gigantic mind-f**k, really.

(There was an original Star Trek episode that covered this concept; I believe its Spock who says to an android character, “Everything I say to you is a lie. Now, listen very carefully: I am lying.” This unresolvable illogical paradox made the android’s head explode.)

So, thank you for carefully dissecting the article and refuting the false or incorrect statements made there; I hope your rebuttal will also be printed at that blog, if that article has a comments section. Your rebuttal would serve the public’s best interests.

OMG, if this is a book your article needs to be put on Amazon as a book review. Excellent job, Donna.

Well, that’s just great! Charles Manson apparently never actually killed anyone either, but wouldn’t want him married into my family! How can the words psychopath/sociopath and well adjusted be said about the same person…that’s like saying they are intelligent but have a very low IQ! Let’s hope this journalist has her turn with a spath…she’ll surely get egg on her face!
R

I don’t mean to sound like a supreme egotist…but my sociopath did not know who she was dealing with in me. Yes, she ruined my reputation and even got my family thinking ill of me. Of course, that is an understatement with my family because they are very sick and screwed up, naturally allowing sociopathic behavior to happen as they were easily blinded.

Back to my spath…she got me in 4th grade…hook, line, sinker. All the way up to high school…and even after telling her off that last year of school, I turned to her when she was lonely the first summer after college. Bad news.

So it took another two years but I geared up for another verbal attack and really gave it to her…hook, line, sinker. Of course she was calm and rational during my tirade until I told her my psychiatrist called her ‘diabolical’…then she was infuriated.

Eight months later a heavy rock went crashing through my parents’ window (where I lived). It took many years but I am convinced it was one of her (or her sister’s) boyfriends. She always had a cowardly side (getting others to do her dirty work, including me) and there was no other logical explanation for that act of violence.

I still can’t bump into anyone from high school without being overtly/or subvertly accused of being the ‘dirtbag’ in that relationship. This is what galls me…first of all it is none of their business, and secondly who are they to call someone out when their lives are far from perfect?

One guy sympathized with me and took me out to lunch. He acknowledged that the spath was into a ‘beauty trip’ and was very competitive with me. He said, in true earnest, that I was ‘far too beautiful of a woman’ to have anyone misuse me…and that as hard as she tried, in his opinion, I was still far more attractive than her. Not that this is of importance, but it is in the sense that there were at least one or two people from the class…including my best friend, Betty, who knew the truth. Betty lived two houses down from the spath so she would know her fairly well.

But the other classmates (scumbags) are not worth my time, and I usually ‘spin their heads’ if they bring her up in conversation with me.

Same thing at work: a very clever spath starting working at a medical center where I worked. Before long, trouble started…at first the other women saw into her and gave me limited, but at least some, support. Until she used her mental devices and it went downhill for me. They stopped talking to me or even acknowledged my existence. I ended up alone and isolated…and they would all tense up if I approached them. A stronger personality would have entered their room, closed the door, and at least have asked, “Why are you guys down on me? Why aren’t you talking to me? And why aren’t we friends anymore?”

I need work in that regard…but maybe I did not care and I am not that ‘type’ of female. To me, these women are like the girls from sixth and seventh grade. Mindless/spineless.

I managed to get a state job and got out of that environment. The spath left a few months later…and if that didn’t indicate something to these women than nothing would.

My point being…no spath has been able to destroy me and none will. In fact, they had better not mess with me. These two women have nothing on me…they saw my integrity and courage. They know that I live and thrive.

Develop a backbone…acknowledge you were victimized…draw strength in your inner essence…and live like there is no tomorrow.

In the past I have not had trouble with what others think of me, knowing that those that know the real me would stick by me. However it is hard when it is family. Just recently I lost the other half of my family to my oldest daughters lies and deceit. Her thing is to pretend she is sick and dying and once she has their sympathy and has them back in her life she discredits and lies about the one person she knows has her figured out – me! She came sweeping back into my life when her half brother died in March and I am still licking my wounds and accepting that I have lost my family and I must pick up the pieces and live my life. I can only sit back and wait and pray that my family sees the truth.

I had a hard time keeping up with this. I would have liked to have read the complete article and then the comments afterward.

I would like Caitlin to work in my job for a couple of days, I work with people who have been affected by homicide. A large proportion of these cases are an escalation of domestic violence, usually a woman killed by her partner. I am also convinced that a large proportion of these people who abuse are sociopaths/psychopaths, they have no remorse, guilt or sense of responsibility and are always keen for some-one else to take the blame. If we are willing to accept that people without any conscience or empathy are ‘well adjusted’ I fear for humanity. I wonder how she would explain to the children, families, friends and the person no longer here that it is only they not the sociopath who suffers from ‘stress’
The very reason S’paths cause so much damage is because they are so skilled in their craft of conning people ( and themselves usually) about who they really are. Lacking ‘normal’ human emotions and self discipline they systematically destroy those closest to them whilst to those not so close they can appear charming and sensitive. They are good actors, unless you are able to read the signs and never believe they have done anything wrong. Whilst as a society we make excuses and dare not confront their dysfunction they will continue to wreak havoc on so many lives. I witness many children left without either parent and often having endured a lifetime of seeing this abuse every day, finally many of them seeing one of their parents kill the other. It is an insult to all those children and those who’ve lost their lives to believe that S’Paths are misunderstood.
A friend recently said to me that she would never accept being abused by anyone – I once said the same and am only happy that she has never had to test that idea. I believe we are all capable of being conned by some-one whose life work is to control and manipulate others, after all they’ve had years to hone their craft. They are usually exceptionally good at starting relationships because again they have had years of practice in charming and knowing what makes a person tick. One tell tale sign is how long they can maintain them…………..

You know, I think that unless someone experiences a sociopath, it’s just not possible to understand the insidiousness of their behavior and the ripple effect it has on those involved with them.

That said, I don’t believe that M. E. Thomas IS a sociopath. She might be a fame-hungry, money grubbing narcissist (which a lot of sociopaths are), but, after reading the article in Psychology Today and reading comments by those who worked with M. E. Thomas, I’m convinced that she is not a sociopath. She’s just too ‘self aware.’ Reminds me of Sam Vaknin in female form.

Rest assured, though, one day Caitlin Dickson will encounter a real sociopath and, let’s hope, writes about it.

Until then, I think I’m with Dr. Phil and don’t think she is anything but a narcissist with a vapid book to hawk.

When people who ought to be in possession of the facts get something wrong, it’s always useful to know why they got it wrong. Dr. Dale Archer, Dr. Seth Meyers, arguably Dr. Paul Ragan too, not to mention the abominable Jackson Katz: all of these got something important wrong. In each of these cases there’s at least a plausible explanation, often an obvious one, of why they “got it wrong.” I only regret that I haven’t had the time to write commentaries on each of those articles.

With Caitlin Dickson it’s not so much the facts she presented that need explaining, but her attitude toward those facts. While she does highlight the fact that sociopathy is not limited to “serial killers,” but exists on a spectrum, she also takes that idea a little too far by publicizing the view that “all people” may be somewhat sociopathic—thus blurring the distinction between people like Thomas and the rest of us. Why does Dickson seem to sympathize with a woman who freely admits that she takes great pleasure in “ruining” people? Why does she seem so dense about the threat that sociopaths pose? I’m as much in the dark about that as anyone else.

Still, that doesn’t mean I’m devoid of theories. I could think of several reasons why Dickson might have written this article the way she did. They don’t all have to be mutually exclusive either.

1. She might just be an airhead who hasn’t bothered to think through the implications of socioopathy. If she wasn’t interested in the information Dr. Leedom had to offer, maybe she doesn’t care to learn. (However, she doesn’t sound like an airhead.)

2. She might have written the article that way on purpose, intending it to stir up controversy. Reporters do that kind of thing because it sells newspapers (and their online equivalents).

3. She might have interviewed the Thomas woman herself and been taken in by her. Since Dickson herself has never been on the receiving end of Thomas’s malevolence, its full implications might have gone clean over her head.

4. She might just be a “bleeding heart” who “can’t help feeling sorry” for anyone at all, no matter how undeserving or even downright criminal. Mainstream journalism has had too many of those in recent decades; witness for instance the deplorably biased, not to say irresponsible, media reaction to the Zimmerman verdict, even in (gasp!) the UK Daily Mail. Aspects of Dickson’s article could easily be seen as evidence of the same mindset. It could explain her refusal to openly condemn Thomas (being “judgmental” is a cardinal sin rather than a moral duty), her attempt to make “all of society” seem guilty of sociopathy (“not so very different from Thomas”), and her treatment of Thomas as a member of just another “poor disadvantaged group” suffering from “discrimination.” (Whatever next—“pedophile liberation”?)

5. Far from being a “bleeding heart,” her real mindset could be very different. Now I cannot criticize Dickson simply for omitting to express any negative value judgments of Thomas. As far as that goes, it’s perfectly adequate to present the facts (“she fantasizes killing people for trivial reasons, she likes to toy with people’s emotions”) and leave readers to make up their own minds what they think of Thomas. However, I couldn’t help noticing that when Dickson did insert an opinion, it seemed to be a positive one!

“…there’s virtually no known treatment for ruthless, manipulative, law-abiding citizens who lack empathy. And, really, should there be? These are traits that are often attributed to success…”

Judging by this line, Dickson places more importance on “success” than she does on the effects of “ruthless, manipulative” behavior by people who “lack empathy.” She sounds as if she actually admires people like Thomas.

So perhaps Caitlin Dickson has marked sociopathic traits herself! That would certainly explain why she seemed so sympathetic to Thomas as a kindred spirit, and so unmoved by the fact that Thomas’s favorite pastime is “ruining people.” It would also offer an alternative explanation for Dickson’s attempt to minimize the difference between Thomas and ordinary people—including her assertion that “you might be a sociopath too!” This could all be simply projection, which also serves as the malefactor’s excuse that “everybody does it, so I’m no worse than anybody else!”

Being openminded, I have to admit there isn’t enough evidence to prove which of these explanations might be correct—or even another explanation that I haven’t thought of. Others may have suspicions of their own, however.

Dear Redwald,
I agree with your post. It is my observation that those who see nothing wrong with sociopathic behaviors, or think it’s not that big a deal, have that perspective because they are measuring the sociopath by their own choices of behavior. Me thinks Dickson doth protest too much (or in this case, barely at all).

one/joy_step_at_a_time

thanks for this Donna – I sniggered at the phrase, ‘arbitrary line in the sand.’ Uh no, it isn’t freaking arbitrary at all – one one side is evil and on the other side not evil.

I am now 4 years out and the damage done is only really starting to show itself. my trust in others has been shattered. i have been dealing with the medical system for months now, and as one doctor after another contradicts the previous one i am looking sideways at them all – i feel like i am being gaslighted, and i feel paranoid. I haven’t felt this bad since jsj.

i feel like she ‘infected’ me – leaving me with some belief that there is some power in being a lying, horrible, manipulative person. Some of my family are narcs…and they are like this. it took years of illness and being battered psychologically by the spath and an n ex lover to get me to crack- but crack i have. i don’t how to get past this. i am reaching out for help, but i can’t seem to stay ahead of the cracking.

spaths are lying evil people. they ruin, they destroy, they are vile.

…most of us were once that naive. unfortunately, not many of us are now.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

hi redwald – the journalist’s writing seems like that of a young person trying to prove how cool they are. a little danger and all that. just dumbly young.

mind you, that doesn’t explain the lack of intervention by the editors.

This article makes me so sad. You put it so well, she was manipulated. The Sociopaths know exactly what they are doing and they are having fun, in fact live for it. It’s a sick sick deal. Did you happen to write the Editor? It is such a wreck less piece.

One-Joy-

I hear a desperate plea for help and I immediately want you to know that some of us have been there, lived through the pain and the gas-lighting, and have recovered from it. Hang onto all the positives you know of yourself. The rest is the shock and confusion of the betrayal you feel.

As you wrote, there is power in being a lying, manipulative person. That is why they do it. There is a wonderful axiom that may put things in perspective for you: “What you get provides you with a living, what you give provides you with a life.” The person who hurt you took all they could get from you. And they are all the poorer for not comprehending that the true richness of life comes from giving. Unfortunately, only morally developed folks can see life through that prism.

Rather than debate the terminology to use, I prefer to consider predators “psychopaths” simply because they lack affective empathy, have shallow emotions and no conscience. Whether they have sufficiently met the litmus test of a score of 30 on Dr. Hare’s scale is of little consequence to the person on the receiving side of their behavior. They are sufficiently high enough on the scale (spectrum) to be a predator. That’s really all that matters to the victim.

All folks behave in ways that may resemble a psychopath at times. We can all get angry, we can all lose our tempers, we can all lie, we can all do things we shouldn’t. It’s not like a psychopath breathes fire out of its nostrils as a distinguishing behavior. It does things that are within the bounds of human behavior. Every “normal” person is capable of using “adaptive” behavior when a situation calls for it. The difference is that a psychopath sets out to secure power or wield influence by manipulating tools, has no remorse for the bad things it does, no conscience that keeps lying as the exception, not the rule, and is only capable of showing love to fool someone, they really don’t feel love. Feeling love would require affective empathy. They just plain don’t have it.

Many of us part with the psychopath thinking they’ll go on and find true love…… wrong. They will go on and find their next victim. If the victim is wealthier or has something of greater value than what you could offer, they may be on their best behavior for a longer period of time, but that’s all.

The oxytocin (love glue) that morally intact folks produce internally from trusting acts, is the means by which a predator will reel you in. Once you’re reeled in, that love glue makes it hard for you to get away. That’s why they “lovebomb” you.

They will have drive and ambition from their elevated levels of testosterone, making them successful employees for many tasks, just don’t leave your wallet (or your heart) out around them. And if they appear law abiding, it’s simply fear of getting caught.

The reporter got bits and pieces on the profile of her subject, but she didn’t do sufficient research, or have sufficient understanding to put it all together.

As to your recovery, even therapists can be confused when it comes to your reactions to the behavior you were subjected to. My advice is to look for one who works with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has helped people recover who were victims of psychopaths. If they say, come in and let’s explore why you THINK you’ve been victimized, move on and find another. Trust what your heart is telling you and find a therapist who trusts it as well.

Gas lighting means you are beginning to doubt your own sanity. Don’t. You are not nuts, you are terribly hurt. Find a therapist that gets it.

Jm

Hey Jim: You nailed it. These Predators delight in the game, they don’t hide it, well maybe until they ‘get you’. The moment they get you, everything changes.

After my wedding vows were spoken, things began to change. Quickly. Like that day.
It was very confusing.

He began saying things like:
‘give me enough time,I will break your spirit’
“You’re too sensitive”, “I didn’t say that.” “when you give in, it’s like I smell blood and go in for the kill” ..I could go on and on…but we have all heard it.

It’s like we were pretending to be a family but it was all a facade.

Getting the right Therapist is vital to regaining sanity. PTSD is exactly what you leave the relationship with. It’s a horrible existence.

Getting away takes unbelievable courage. And it might not be over when you leave.

To break the connection more quickly,
do not engage with the predator, whenever possible. There is no repairing the relationship.
Remember, they have no real feelings and only want to continue the game. They will not change regardless of any promises.

Be diligent in getting better, it is possible. What you experienced is real and true. 100%. Be kind and loving to yourself, let go of blaming yourself. It does get better.
Promise !!

One joy, so nice to see you here. I hope for you that you will find whatever it is you need to truly heal. It’s hard to trust when you just don’t trust and you’ve never been given a reason to, or your reasons have been shattered by evil. But I hope you can find one human being who is honest and straightforward with you. I’ve had so much betrayal in my life, too. It’s only recently that I’m starting to understand what a real friend is. Please don’t let that spath win.

one/joy,

It’s been a long time since we’ve “seen” each other. My perspective is that there is good and there is evil. We have been attacked (in my opinion) by those who practice evil. It takes stamina to keep fighting. My prayer is that God’s light surrounds you, protecting you from further harm. You are in my prayers. Peace.

My sociopathic “father” died Monday. I went NC with him a couple of years ago, when I was 58 years old and he was 85. He was seemingly healthy at the time…I hadn’t seen him in a few years…we lived 5 miles apart…he had a long time girlfriend, who I’ve known since 1975…(he hooked up with her 5 months after my mother died)…the NC was “unofficial”–I just sort of faded away…he never called, nor did the girlfriend…so time passed…Tuesday morning my sister (lives hundreds of miles away and also an unofficial NC) called a friend of mine and asked him to tell me our dad had died the day before, that the girlfriend had called her.

My dad did not want anyone to tell me (or anyone else) that he was sick, that he was dying, and specifically not to tell me he’d died. (there is no obit or notice of death, despite the fact he was fairly well known and pretty powerful back in the day) Why was I to not know he was dying, dead, buried? My dad has long played the “Gotcha Game” and his favorite “Gotchas” were when he could tell someone the person they were inquiring after was “dead”–this delivered with hard, flat affect while staring you in face, his face expressionless. Depending on your response, and his mood, he’d then go after you…either to manipulate you into admitting you were a hypocrite (“if you didn’t know so-and-so was dead, then you really didn’t care about them so why bother asking? just admit you don’t really give a damn.”) or to not even answer the question and just attack you anyway…(“knowledge is power”–one of his guiding axioms–if he thought you wanted information from him, let the games begin! Lies, attacks, scoffing, etc etc)… He especially liked waiting, biding his time for when I inevitably asked about a great-aunt or other relative…(Real life example, one of many: “how’s Aunt Louise?” “Dead.”)

If you asked why he didn’t tell you, that you’d have gone to the funeral, sent flowers, a card, something? The answer was always… “I didn’t want to upset you.” That answer was, of course, a lie. He hoarded the information to use it for maximum benefit—HIS maximum benefit…this would be accompanied by an attack as described above…so what you’re getting is a “father” who professes to care so much about your feelings he couldn’t bear to take a chance you could be upset, while attacking you at the same time for being a hypocrite…oh, and wanting to send flowers, etc? Per my “father” that was to “pretend you cared, so other people would think you cared, when we know you really didn’t” thus even somehow, by not telling you someone had passed, he was going to spare your delicate feelings and prevent you from a public display of your hypocrisy, somehow making himself out, in all that mess, to be a “great guy.”

The absence of his kids at funerals was always explained away as…”oh, they’re busy, you know how it is, they’ve got their own lives…” when in reality we had no idea about anything…

The game extended to the deaths of both my paternal and maternal grandfathers. He did not tell me or my sisters they had passed away…I found out both times by sheer accident, and boy was “father” pissed…great ammo there, 2 grandfathers, I imagine he was salivating thinking about the “gotchas” he was going to get…

So..he’s dead and he set up the biggest GOTCHA of them all…I was not to be told he was dead…I called the girlfriend after I found out…she said, “you never called him. You didn’t give a damn!” and “he didn’t want to worry you, he knew you’d be upset” and more.

Thing is, “father” was gambling on one thing: that I would feel first shock, then great guilt and remorse, that I would suffer…the reality is my reaction to hearing of his death was, “Well, he can’t hurt anyone else.”

The other reality is I hung in there with my “father” for 58 painful years…for most of those years I did “care”–a lot. I thought if I tried hard enough he’d stop the digs, the sneers, the lies, the more blatant sadism…that he’d see me as a fellow human being…I figured out he didn’t see anyone as worthy, or valuable, and that he had no love for anyone, but I still hoped he’d find me worthy of some respect at least…he never did.

There’s a graveside service tomorrow…I won’t be there, nor will my sisters or anyone else not related to the girlfriend. It’s over…including the will…he told me (in a fit of glee) that he took me out of his will years ago…so…one less sociopath…he caused a huge amount of damage while he was on this planet…some old timers might remember me under my old name here…I posted as California mom…might remember some old posts about my “father”, might remember my ex took a shotgun and blew his brains out almost 3 years ago…blamed me for what he was about to do in a 4 page letter, said my going NC with him was the reason he was going to kill himself. I’m not really over that, and now, another “death as weapon to hurt you”—this time my “father.”

I’ve been crying off and on, not at the loss of my “father” but because this man, my dad, who I knew for 60 years, with his last conscious acts and wishes, wanted to hurt me. As did my ex…I cry sometimes because evil exists, we can’t stop it, and if we try and distance ourselves from it we can, at times, be slammed with it even worse through the deaths of these people…sorry I’m not explaining this well…it’s the malice, the “don’t tell Mandie, I’m sick/dying or that I died…I don’t want to upset her…” A big fat lie, until the very end.

Mandie, I’m so sorry for your loss…
I believe that our parents teach us both how to be and how NOT to be. It sounds like from your father you certainly learnt well how not to be.
Please consider going to the funeral…for yourself….to say goodbye and to acknowledge his role in you having to learn some really difficult and painful life lessons.
Clutch at YOUR truth, hold your head high and do what you need to do so you can move forward in your healing and in your life’s journey.
I will light a candle and think of you tonight!!! Sending you much love and condolences.

Wow Mandie that is too much guilt for one person to carry. At this stage of your life you need to find some peace. Regarding your fathers death- I would be relieved. Relieved that there will be no more mental harassment from him. When my dad died I reluctantly went to the funeral. I sat there for three day and looked at his dead body. Not once was i moved to tears. When it was time to say a final goodbye my siblings and I went to the coffin to say our last good-byes. I remember thinking “what would my dad say to me if I was in the coffin?” He would probably say “He’s not dead, he’s just lazy” lol. My stepmother inherited everything, but she earned it. He was a real SOB. Regarding your ex’s suicide – He was in control of his life and it was his decision to pull the trigger, not yours. Hope you feel better soon.

I felt shivers of recognition when I read your descriptions of your npd father’s behaviors.

My mother had that need to seek revenge, too, and she made sure she had the last “gotcha” by leaving something for me to find and read after her death: her therapy journal. My mother was formally diagnosed with borderline pd, but I personally think she had other, co-morbid mental illnesses as well; I can never know for sure, now, but I believe she had at least some traits of psychopathy.

Mother wrote in her journal that she had never even liked me, not at any point in my life. She had actually shared with me in person 30 years ago, back when I was in my 30’s, that she believed that I had rejected her and hated her as a mother when I was an infant. But in my craving to believe that she loved me, I apparently went into denial and made myself believe that she had “gotten over” that misperception of me when I got older; I needed to believe that we had a good, loving mother-daughter relationship.

Well, I was wrong, again. She fooled me. She’d *never* loved me: “Gotcha!”

My subconscious recognized the fact that I was not loved; I was painfully aware that mother found me disappointing, she was always easily irritated by me, always blamed me and accused me of things I didn’t do, accused me of lying to her, never took my side and blamed me if I was having a problem with another person, subjected me to nearly constant criticism, seemed to take pleasure in making me cry, seemed to latch onto any excuse to punish me, and I’m talking physical punishments such as being hit with dad’s belt, as well as name-calling, shaming and belittling emotional abuse. But my conscious mind couldn’t accept what all those negative words and behaviors directed at me over decades actually meant: my own mother hated and resented me, but she expressed it covertly. When we were around other people, she was like a different person: loving, doting, bragging, Perfect Mom.

So, I can totally empathize with your ambivalent feelings about attending your npd father’s funeral. It took me a while to decide whether I would attend my mother’s memorial service or not, but in the end I decided to go because my Sister wanted me to, and I wanted to be there for my Sister.

I believe I had already done my grieving and mourning three years before mother died, when I decided to go totally No Contact with her. It had gotten to the point where I was so stressed out just hearing my mother’s voice on the phone that I’d react with alarming symptoms (severe headache+dizziness+nausea.) I had to go NC for the sake of my own physical health.

It still kind of amazes me that I tried for so long to have a relationship with my mother and remained so stubbornly blind to how she really felt about me. The human psyche is a labyrinthine and mysterious thing.

Whatever you decide to do, whether you choose to attend the funeral or not, it will be a deeply personal decision for you; only you can know what will give you the best chance at peace and healing.

My best wishes to you. May we all heal.

It’s always hard to lose a parent, no matter how horrible they were. It’s not just the loss of their presence, it’s the loss of any possibility of ever mending that fence or receiving validation for your feelings from them.

Only morally disordered folks are incapable of love. On the basis that you are a morally intact person, you should be assured that you indeed, despite your intent to keep yourself safe from his wrongdoing by separating, actually loved your father. So I am offering this advise to the loving child that you were and always will be in your heart.

You will grieve your father’s death. You won’t miss his physical presence; that association with him died long ago. But the love we have for family is unconditional. Your father was not capable of unconditional love, but you are. And as your last act of unconditional love for your father, it could serve you well to be at his funeral.

You may go there and feel you are wasting your time, but do you have something more important to do on the day your father is buried than be there for the man who was unable to appreciate you while he lived? What more fitting way to put an end to the agony of your journey with him than to be there, despite what you know he would say or do. Forgiving him is your power.

My heartfelt condolences on the passing of your father. It is sad that you were unable to mend your fences in his lifetime. You will know your were the very best child to him that you could possibly have been by attending his funeral, and that fact will give you peace and help you as you grieve.

My best-
Jms

Words of wisdom!!!

Here’s one more concept I think is worth noting about dealing with morally disordered folks. It might help victims see how they get caught up in the bewildering cycle.

It’s the basis of gas-lighting:

We are all capable of “adaptive” behavior. This basically means that the good lord made us capable of defending ourselves. If a predator broke into your house, and came after you, you might grab the knife on the kitchen counter to protect yourself. If you stabbed the intruder, would that mean you’re a psychopath? Of course not; you were adapting to the situation.

When someone attacks you emotionally, you might lash out to defend yourself. Does that make you a psychopath? Of course not. But as a morally intact person, you could feel the twangs of conscience over your response and as the adrenalin that drove your reaction fades, you could feel guilt over what you said or did. A psychopath can and will use your pangs of conscience to defame you and make you doubt yourself.

So the reporter was correct that all people may behave with psychopathic tendencies. What she didn’t get was that a psychopath will intend malicious behavior while a moral person will use those tactics as protection and feel great remorse for having done so.

Interestingly, I was a head hunter for many years. One day, I was reading the Sunday Times and a young man’s face appeared on the front page. I was shocked when I saw him because I had placed him in a job with a financial institution a few days previously.

This occurred back in the day when brokerage firms gave polygraphs to all new employees, and he had sailed through the polygraph test with no problem. One of the first questions on the test was “have you ever committed a crime?”

A few weeks prior to taking the test, he had stoned a little girl to death on Staten Island.

The person who hired him and I were baffled, and we inquired why he had been able to pass the polygraph. We learned that if he had a conscience, he probably would not have, but because he didn’t, nothing registered as out of the ordinary when he had responded, “no.”

Ultimately, the use of polygraphs were banned. They were considered an invasion of privacy. But I already knew they were totally useless. They would never deter you from hiring the person you truly would not want to hire.

Jms.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

bluejay – yes, it’s been a long time. thank you so much.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

jm short – i am working with a psychiatrist who uses neurofeedback to treat PTSD – and i will bring the machine home this weekend and have a couple of sessions. I am still trying to find someone for talk therapy. i have reached out to mental health services here, and am waiting to see if they can connect me with a case worker who can help with a few things.

i need to deal with my physical health issues as they are pressing, and this takes a lot. and will take a lot of money. but i guess i do have to give in to the idea that i need to spend some $ on my mental health – i am so used to trying to find free (aka affordable) services. I am seeing an oncology psychiatrist – but only once a month and he is trying to help me through the medical mire. i do not have cancer, but that is what i was diagnosed with last year, and went through many months with a cancer suspected fatal ‘diagnosis’ until they proved it was something else. i still have a lot of stuff to work through in regards to this experience (mostly the trauma created by the doctors).

anyways – thanks. i think i need to find someone i can pay to see – then maybe i’ll get some quality therapy. i had promised myself that i could go into debt to get well – time to act on that for my mind, too.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Donna,
when is it poison leaving the system and when is it poison being manufactured by action and thought? this is a long standing question – long before jsj. it’s an important question.

i see how i act, how much i seem to be having thoughts that are based in narcissistic injury, and worry that i am like my dad and sib (and uncles for that matter). there is a lot of narcissism in my bloodline.

some part of me believes in the power of evil doing – because it has been oh so effective when used against me. on the spectrum i have always leaned more toward being compassionate. i have made many mistakes, but this is true. but now i worry for my mental health. i have almost always been able to ameliorate vengeful or aggressive thinking that is based in feeling wronged. right now, i just keep on cracking. i am untrusting of myself – never sure when if i will say or do something hurtful. trying to keep it in, and not inflict on others – when really, there are others i want to use power against.

the others are people (many medicos) who i feel not supported by, uncared for by, not listened to. i stopped a doctor three times the other day and said to her, ‘listen.’i cannot play by their rules anymore. it is not their life, not there death, not their illness. but i need them. it’s a horrible bind. i am feeling rage that i never could when i was a kid – i couldn’t play by my parents’ rules and all i could do was numb my pain for years, hurt inside, then leave.

now, i am a post menopausal woman – and there is something to be said for the difference in perspective that affords one. there are things that i want to hold others accountable for. but the rage – well, it’s not ‘working’ for me, but it comes and it comes and it comes…. i am embarrassed, ashamed and in fear of it. it’s just a feeling – but this paradigm is the one i was taught in my family. i need to normalize my feelings. recognize, that given the circumstances they make a lot of sense. give them some space (in therapy) and figure out how to use my mind for good. i don’t really want to hurt people – what i really want is for them to stop hurting me. i am deeply angered and enraged when hurt, now. i think this is why my reactions look to me like narcissistic responses – the depth of my hurt and anger seem unprecedented. but perhaps they are not. perhaps they are just raw and unmitigated by numbing agents.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

hi star – for now, she has. but only because she infected me and i believe the game. once i stop believing the game, she will have lost – again.

i feel so deeply let down by others. hurt at not being care for/ about. and angered by these things.

i realized something a couple of weeks ago, that might be part of the key to letting go: I know i have filled in gaps in relationships in the past (with the spath and others). This is a trait that makes me connable – by myself and others. i fill in the ‘rest of the story’. I also have ongoing monologues in my head about others (pick any one of my neighbours, and insert story line). I have been working to stop the neighbour storylines, and what i see is that fighting with people in my head is a way to be ‘in relationship’ with them, WHEN I AM FREAKING *NOT* ‘in relationship’ with them in reality. Continuing to fight with them in my head won’t miraculously make them care about me and therefore take me into consideration.(god, people are such a letdown.)

when i stop the negative storyline, i can see the circumstances much more clearly. when i can accept that any given neighbour is extremely selfish; i stop caring if they care enough about me to act decently; and just start being really strong about my needing them to stop doing things that put my health in further danger.

One joy,

It could be that your emotional issues and your health issues are related, and you may find that when one starts to clear, the other one does, too. I just say this because I’ve seen miraculous healings of allergies, chronic bronchitis (in myself), ulcers, and even cancer happen for people who started doing intensive meditation practice and start on a path of self-recovery. I have come to have such a profound respect for how connected the mind and body are. I do not want to impose my thinking on you or anybody, because I’ve had people on here who have cancer get very angry with me for even implying they could have some control over healing it. So this is a disclaimer that this is just how I personally think. Take it for what it’s worth.

In my belief system, lack of acceptance of various aspects of ones self can cause physical issues. Repressed anger can cause physical issues. I’ve seen this in myself. Therefore, when you say you are experiencing a lot of rage and you are coming face to face with your own narcissism, I say…….good for you! They are ugly things and no one wants to admit they have a lot of narcissistic rage or wounding. I came face to face with this in myself shortly after I joined the site, and I blogged about it here. It wasn’t pretty to see. I didn’t want to admit that I had these similar traits to my parents. But it was very freeing once I just accepted it. And it started to break up and dissipate, because as you know, mental/emotional states are not really permanent.

Here is the thing about other people – they can be selfish and shallow but we need them anyway. I promise you, one joy, that there are kind, decent, caring people out there. Keep fighting for yourself, one joy. Fight for your life. Go through all the feelings and get them out no matter how you have to do it. One day, you will not have to fight anymore. (((hugs)))

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Hi Donna, I can’t do that sort of physical release – my body could not stand it. I am rather fragile physically; it’s one of the challenges i face. i have always been a very physical person and understand the need for moving ‘feelings’ through my body. but it isn’t possible at this time.

i will take a look at the article and the book though.

thank you.

best,
one joy

one/joy_step_at_a_time

hi star- being on lovefraud in the last couple of days has helped moved some things. very good.

the idea that i may not have to fight someday made me cry. i see only the fight i am in and the fight ahead…and it has been a bleak vision. my fight has looked like me in a small dark closet flailing away at small flying doctor shaped fears. not a very or properly focused fight.

need a new paradigm.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

star – being ‘hard hearted’ is both a psychological state and a physical state, and i am sure there are many more truisms where the physical and psychological meet.

One joy, I thought Donna’s post was beyond excellent and wish I’d posted it myself. Things look bleak through the eyes of depression/anger/rage. Once you get that stuff out of you, things look better. How you “feel” right now is not necessary how you’ll feel later. But it is so very important to release that anger and grief because it IS poison to your system. I always had a hard time with that part of it. As an old meditator, I thought I could just meditate it away. I remember I went to see this healer up in the mountains. I just wanted help for depression and had a very expensive session with him. He had a massage table in the room because he sometimes does energy work. After talking with me for just a few minutes, he told me to pick up this plastic bat he had and beat on the massage table. I thought it was an odd request, but when I did it, all this rage poured out of me for just a few minutes. It continued to come back – there was so much of it – and over the years I had to learn to do this myself, even when it didn’t feel comfortable, when I didn’t have the energy, didn’t want to disturb the neighbors, etc. I have had one or two therapists who were oriented in this fashion and they helped me immensely. I wish I could have afforded them on an ongoing basis. I still struggle with pain and anger from early childhood. I’ve gotten better at recognizing it, though sometimes I still want to intellectualize it rather than feel it. A few years ago, I could not have imagined having the fun and happiness in my life I have now. You cannot be expected to feel better when you just don’t. But trauma needs to be released through the body. So if you are the mental/intellectual type, you may have to work at it. But if you continue to get the feelings out, one day you may surprise yourself. I don’t want to be presumptuous but it wouldn’t surprise me if many of your health issues will clear up then, too.

There may be some beliefs you have as well that you will need to give up in order to get better, and one is that the universe does not support you or that you cannot get what you need.

Have you ever read what Eckhart Tolle says about the pain body? We all have one and for some of us it is bigger than for others. But it is not who we are, and it is all workable.

Donna, thank you for your kind words. You are really an angel to so many people, so coming from you, this means a lot.

One joy, it does help to have a vision, even if it is momentary, of where you want to be. Being on the other side of pain and having lightness and joy is a good vision to have. Even just imagining what it would be like – imagining someone who is you, only the happier version of you – can help pull up your vibration and bring you closer to that place. It can give you the courage to face your demons, because you will have a reason to do it. The reason is what is on the other side. When I was not able to conjure up this vision, it would come to me in my dreams. Literally.

It is only recently that I have begun consciously having a vision of what I want my life to be and what is truly important to me. Stupid repressed childhood pain does not cooperate sometimes, if I’m being completely honest. I still struggle with expressing feelings. I still get triggered and I still go through a lot of pain. And sometimes I get stuck in it. But my vision has become very clear, and this vision sustains me.

There are so many ways to receive help that cost nothing and don’t require any physical expenditure. There are these famous Hindu gurus like Sai Maa who come through town periodically and give blessings to whoever shows up. These blessings can raise your vibration – they are transmissions of pure love and consciousness. One of these blessings saved my life when I was suicidal over the sociopath. I don’t know about where you live, but we have a place that does free aura cleansings – it is a form of energy work, and it is very healing. There are also (in my belief system) beings on other planes you can reach out to for help, if you are open to that sort of thing. I often pray to St. Jude, who is the patron saint of near-hopeless cases. And as you know, I’m a Buddhist, so it’s really thinking outside the box for me to pray. Reaching out like this works because it helps to know that you are not alone in the universe, that there are others with whom you can share your burden. Even coming here can be healing because you see others here who actually care about you *raising hand* and have been through similar things to what you are going through. You are NOT alone in this universe. People DO love you. Just as there are people on this planet who do only evil, there are people whose main mission in life is to help and heal. I hope you keep looking and don’t give up, One joy. You are such a special person.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Hi Donna, I cannot work with a towel either. To work in this way would exacerbate my physical pain and the damage in my hands and arms that I cope with daily.

I did this sort of anger release work years ago. I did not find it particularly effective. But, to move energy through my body has in the past been effective – but not by focusing around anger – just using my body hard. however i can get the adrenaline to move is useful. anger is both just energy and a state of mind. moving the energy can take care of a great deal. we all do this all the time by working out, playing sports, etc.

right now, i need to be exceptionally gentle with my body and how i use it. i am not well and need to work within my limits.

i found a series of videos on youtube by John Lee. There is a a very good three part series on ‘passivity’.

best,
one joy

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Hi Star,
you have made some good suggestions about how to raise ones vibrational energy. i just have to tell you that i am housebound (due to illness) more days than not – so i cannot access much at this time. Going into a lot of detail about what is happening is depressing and exhausting, so i won’t. Suffice to say that on my better days i do what i can to move things forward, on the worst days i carry the suicide card in my back pocket, and on the rest of the days i survive. time and patience, time and patience.

i have come to a place where there is no vision of future that is positive. my limitations are too many. I am a creative person, but the shear number and type have over powered me.

when i try to think of a future i become very emotionally wrought. where i am right now is survival mode. it is best that i stay ‘one day at a time’. I cannot handle the pain that trying to vision a future brings. I am extremely limited in what i can do at this time, and even looking to tomorrow makes it more difficult.

time and patience.

I just wanted to comment that you do not need to leave your house or even your bed to access some of these enlightened beings (or whatever you want to call them). You can contact them on the astral from the comfort of your own bed.

I’m sorry, one joy. Thank you for coming here and sharing your story. I’m always glad to see your posts and always sending you well wishes. I have a great deal of respect for you and how you manage your life, and I wish it could be easier for you. We are all doing the very best we can, and sometimes we don’t have the resources to deal with our pain.

I’ve had some emotional pain coming up lately, and it is actually causing me physical symptoms. I am aching all over and have flu-like symptoms, and yet I know it’s emotional. Very strange. I am going to try and follow my own advice and release it physically today.

As always, I wish the very best for you, and I hope it helps to come here and talk. I probably would have no way of knowing if anything happened to you. But if I ever found out you had committed suicide, I’d be very upset. The thought of it is making me tear up right now.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

star – i have so little control in my life because of illness. keeping that ‘card’ in my pocket is a way to give myself a way out of what is shit, what i can’t control, and that may never get better. I cannot live like this forever. I won’t.

i am sorry, the more i write the worse it sounds. i am not trying to do that, but i don’t know that i can write enough here to get to a place where i can offer any kind of reassurance. i have been so sick for the last 2 months – the last year, the last 5 years….i can’t keep going like this. it’s so painful not being able to make lasting progress. and being alone.

don’t worry. i keep trying.

One joy. You are not totally alone. You have people here who care about you and share your burden, even if only through some written posts. And we are not sociopaths.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Star, “and we are not sociopaths” made me smile. I will check in and let you know how the next while goes. don’t worry. I am sorry, i didn’t mean to scare you.

edit – i have probably met more spaths here than in 3D life. 😉

One joy, I was gonna crack some joke and pretend to be a spath, but people on here have given me crap for teasing you, so I won’t do that, though the urge to goof around with people is ever present. 🙂 Also, I don’t really know how to lovebomb people. I hope you just keep connecting with others – at least the people on here who are not spaths (however big or small that percentage might be) because you sound isolated. And plugging into a support group or any group can bring you out of isolation. It’s a lot easier to deal with pain and stress when you are connecting to others and sharing in each other’s lives. None of us can live in a vacuum. Literally, it’s just too small (sorry, couldn’t help it. lol). Okay, well my boa constrictor climbed up inside my vacuum when she was about 3 feet long….seriously.

For the times you start to feel depression and hopelessness lift, you can continue on your path. And for the times you’re down, you can drop in here and hang out with your online support group for a while. I remember once you were considering getting a pet snake. Any chance of that happening?

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Star, laughter IS the best medicine. i keep thinking of the little prince drawing of the snake digesting an elephant. 😉

i am soooo isolated. i am too unwell to be outside for long (wearing a mask all the time – and i don’t mean something zorro hot, but medical white); I am struggling with the new adhesions forming in my lungs – the buggers hurt and twist my body, and i know if i don’t actively fight them my breathing will worsen further; and my chemical sensitivities have gone through the roof. I have been so f**king sick and more and more isolated. it’s really tough.

i stopped coming hear because of the spaths. sigh. so, i am a bit reluctant to hang out here much.

some friends gave me a fish after surgery. i wanted a fish, but i so didn’t have the enrgy to take care of him. he committed suicide. ya think i am kidding?! i had to drop water on him to scrape him off the floor. he was very cute. i don’t have the energy to take care of myself properly, so a new life form is out of the question. have to say though, a little cat came into my life recently – he belongs to a neighbour. he is lovely. we actually had a cuddle for 2 whole minutes. didn’t seem to bother me much, but i am so overboard in reaction to everything i can’t really tell.

Hi one joy- I think you are very brave and strong for sharing your story in this way. I understand ‘survival mode’ as you describe it, and I know how overwhelming thoughts can become. I have a very difficult time envisioning my future, and usually end up envisioning a worse case scenario. I’ve learned to just think of something I’d like, even if it’s something small, and stop before the storyline is picked up by my fearful imagination. And I agree with everyone’s comments that anger is a normal reaction and releasing it is paramount. it sounds like you have a lot of anger at yourself and you were never allowed to ‘give yourself a break’. So it builds. Emily dickinson described regret at ‘memory awake’- and that always stuck with me, we need our memories, but that’s where we tend to hold remorse, regret, etc and it’s difficult to detach one from the other. I hope that you can find a way to trust yourself and your strength to release some of the anger. i tend to carry around a lot of emotions that don’t belong to me, and it gets heavy, but I think we are all learning and your comments suggest a strong desire to heal, and I believe you will.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Quinn, i like your suggestion of envisioning something i’d like and then stopping before the story line runs. i totally relate to envisioning the worse case scenario – that’s why i don’t want to envision the future, all i see is more pain, and i am shocked by how hard that hits me. i can’t talk or think my way out of it, so i have to avoid it.

giving myself a break – i am trying. i need others to, also. i have 2 employers, and one of them is really picking at me right now. i need him to stop. he has severe adhd and i know that when he is stressed how it rolls downhill. the kind of sick i am affects my ability to be onsite and my cognitive ability. the more he pushes the more stressed i get – the harder it is to give myself a break (aka PTSD kicking in) I think i have him settled, then he powers up again. he did it again this afternoon. he has to stop it. i will talk to him again on wednesday.

the cognitive affect is part of the lack of self trust, and accepting some bullying. i don’t have the energy to work, deal with my health issues, be sick,deal with normal work stress AND deal with being picked at. some days i lose words, other days i have no idea what the date is, i have to look at the calendar/email several times a day, i sometimes get dates wrong, confuse homophones, etc. it’s really stressful. some days are good, others are not so good, others are really bad. i deal with people and write all the time for work – and both jobs are very demanding and complex. i need to protect my health, and tell people only as much as necessary and hide my problems for fear of losing work. i have reached out to mental health services and am waiting to see if i can get into the queue for a job retention case worker (PTSD/anxiety). work is very hard to get here. i hold on tight, and try to be as professional as possible (and not personally revealing). i was diagnosed with Cancer last October – after a lot of testing and cutting i was diagnosed with Histoplasmosis in my lung and chest, instead. Said pissy boss was very supportive then……if i was having treatment i would be less able than i am now, so I guess he isn’t as supportive as he would like to believe he is. this picking at me is BS. it really has to stop. i am so very tired.

thank you for saying that my comments show a strong desire to heal. my memories are way too alive with pain. my regrets are deep. the last year sits on me like a mill stone. mill stone on top of mill stone, grinding away at me. blech.

i have my first consult with an ND tomorrow. i have to go get my history together for him.

hi one joy- I won’t keep you, but I wanted to say I understand the forgetfulness and losing words, too, that happens to me under stress and usually when someone is pushing me to answer- as you described. Some people are external processors meaning they talk through their thoughts and need the answer as a means of closure. Those of us that are internal processors need time to mull over the information or question before answering or run the risk of panic attack and loss of word retrieval. I only learned that when I started a healthy relationship with someone who is an external processor and I still couldn’t ‘function’ when I felt I was put on the spot. You have to find a way to give yourself time when you feel cornered by your boss, maybe saying “I’d like to think about that for a minute, I’ll get right back to you” then you can breathe and actually think which you cannot do while having anxiety. I think you are tremendously strong- you are navigating through more than I can imagine doing, and you are still trying to find ways to heal, you have not given up by any means. Good luck tomorrow and know that you are not alone-
Quinn

You asked for humor…..careful what you ask for ;). Watch this entire video. And the next time someone at work starts talking crap, just say “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh7UgAprdpM

Caution: This song may take over your thoughts for a while. 😉

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