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TARGETED TEENS AND 20s: I have found a new pride and fearlessness

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following email from a young woman whom we’ll call “Adriana.” The name in the story below has been changed.

This is a story about two girls who were on the same sports team in high school. Both showed lots of potential and both won lots of achievement awards ”¦ Both went on to do athletics in college. One was a sociopath ”¦ the other was shy and introverted.

I was the introvert. Other people saw my success, but I just enjoyed athletics and was not seriously competitive… I was excellent because I enjoyed it. As strange as that sounds. I moved a lot as a kid… This last high school was the one I went to the longest: three years. Little did I know, but this was to be the worst three years of my life. People always said when I was young that I was very sweet but seemed sad ”¦ I look back on it now and see I was a perfect target. I was funny, charming, but reserved. I modeled in New York in the summers. Lots of people at the school liked me, but I was too shy to be social ”¦ and I also knew always ”¦ for some inexplicable reason to stay away from Katie and her friends.

It was strange because I saw this person every day for hours at practice, but I knew I should never even hope to be her friend. Of course there was always a hierarchy of girls at every school I went to, but Katie and her friends in particular were very scary. The more I got to know Katie, the more I was aware that she was somehow better than I was. I was somehow less than her. It was strange. But I ignored it. The day at practice when she learned I modeled in New York during the summers she got up and left practice and did not return even the next day. No one else thought anything of this ”¦ And I didn’t want to either, but it bothered me ”¦ I ignored it. After all I didn’t want to think she was somehow jealous of a person like me ”¦ I thought it was wrong to assume such things about people ”¦ When she came back she started making little comments about me. For example that I was “weird” or that I “had to wear a lot of makeup.”

She requested to play the position I played on the team and didn’t do as well as I did, but said it was easy. The little things she did really wore me down, but I ignored it. In truth, I was a loner and a bit strange. I saw some truth in everything she said. And that would be my downfall. I wanted to believe the things she said, because I am a person who likes to listen.

There were other stresses in my life when I was young ”¦ One day I just snapped. There were some girls talking about how Katie was the best on the team and how she was such a nice person. I told them, “No, she’s horrible like really *(&^^ horrible.” And it got back to her. She used this to pretend she was the victim to my jealousy and how I always wanted to be like her. People at school, namely the boys she flirted with, bullied me at her request. She even got her friends to say things to me she wanted them to, which is disturbing.

I had always been wary of her, but other people really do like her. She was the president of my class for example.

This is a description on how she treats most people:

Katie knows what she has to offer. And she knows how to market herself to the masses. She is obsessively religious. In fact, people joke about how religious she is. She is always talking about Jesus and the Bible. She prays where people can see her pray and as often as she possibly can. She acts sickly sweet to most people. She talks about being positive all the time. She smiles all the time. She works hard and is talented but does the minimum requirements to reach goals. She uses the fact that she “works hard” and “is talented” to gain respect from people ”¦ She uses everything she knows she has.

This is how she treats her targets:

1. At first she waits till you are alone to say the meanest things to you in the nicest ways. If you say to another person that you dislike her, you’ve got to be careful because she has “followers” (often people who support her because she is “religious”).

2. She waits until you do something she can use to destroy you. It could be anything. A bad joke for example.

3. After she has found something to make you look bad she will use tactics 1 and 2 to break you down, and attack you with a small group of friends.

4. When she has hurt you enough to make you try to either apologize for perceived “wrongdoing” or confront her about how she is treating you, she’ll turn what you say around and make it sound like you hate her and have a problem with her. At this point she tells specific people who honestly are not very intelligent or brave that you’re being mean to her ”¦ She has groups who she manipulates because they are loyal to her, etc. ”¦ The harassment is bad, but she makes you see the ugliness in normal people ”¦ And that is worse.

5. This can turn into isolation and repeated harassment of the target ”¦ A few of the people who she got to harass me actually apologized to me a year after we all graduated from high school ”¦ But I’ve found when you’re dealing with a sociopath you can’t expect things from people because they are being deceived.

6. She is a self-preservationist. Everything she does to hurt someone is done in a way that will keep her removed from the “situation;” she won’t ever acknowledge that she even has a problem with you. The problem is completely yours. And the people who are harassing you. She (apparently) has nothing to do with it ”¦ When in reality ”¦ She is completely responsible for all of the pain the target experiences. In fact if you are in a group with her and her friends and they are being cruel to you, she will not say anything, in fact, she may even leave to make you think, she doesn’t really want this to be happening. But she does, she is completely responsible. She knows exactly what she is doing.

A person may think that I do not quality to write on this topic because I was young ”¦ or this treatment is not stressful to a person ”¦ but being harassed by two to three groups of people because of the encouragement by one person ”¦ no matter what age ”¦ is horrible.

This is how I’ve healed myself:

To be honest I still relapse into disgust over this person’s beyond hypocritical nature. And it is really depressing how witnessing the reality of this person’s complete lack of ethics has hurt me so deeply. I was not romantically involved a sociopath, so I felt nothing towards her other than a deep wish we could have been teammates ”¦ or even friends. So I think my story can help people who have tried to share their love with sociopaths, because I wished this person could have been my teammate, my friend ”¦ for a very long time ”¦

I see what could have been. But it is all a lie. Because the charm this person exudes to other people, never to me, is superficial. There is nothing the people she “loves” can really get from her, unless they are benefitting her in some way. Which could be called a kind of attachment. But honestly, only certain people are interested in that kind of relationship.

I have blocked this person from all means of communicating with me and forgiven myself for attempts to “reconcile” with them. I have accepted that anytime I try to fix “the situation” with Katie, it will only end with pain and disappointment on my end. I have accepted that people all over the world will think of her as a kind, attractive, charming, sweet Christian. When in reality she is only attractive ”¦ manipulative, lying, and completely self-serving.

It’s beyond hard, I find, even to this day, to accept how hypocritical she is to get what she wants. Because she is a complete hypocrite. I think that the reason why she talks to profusely about being a Christian is to hide her real intentions. She acts so charming to hide her insatiable desire to obtain material wealth. Which she will surely find.

I am not her only target; she doesn’t have many but a handful of people are aware of her nature. These people tend to think she is very intelligent for being able to manipulate people like she does. I got tired of hearing this, so I tried for a while to act as she does. It is not intelligence. It is just strange behavior.

She is made very differently than others. She is a person who is intelligent, but she is not brilliant, or even remarkably intelligent. I was able to anticipate whatever she was doing before she did it; I just didn’t act on my intuition. Fiercely believing all people are good and some are just temporarily mislead, I was only vulnerable to her because of my accepting personality type.

So I have learned to screen absolutely anyone who tries to insult me. (because if you do not allow people to hurt you they can’t). It’s an art to diffuse people with personality types opposite of your own. But it’s just a skill. One that I think all victims of sociopaths are aware they need.

I’m proud that I need the skill to deal with sociopathic types ”¦ Because manipulation is not natural to me ”¦ I seek truth and love always ”¦ I seek for every place around me to be filled with happiness and true synergy ”¦ Which is something she can never deliver!

I have found a new pride and fearlessness in loving myself for who I am, because I have met someone who, without reservation, chases after monetary gain and fame. I have realized, albeit painfully, I have the natural desire to construct, to support, to understand and promote people ”¦ while she only has the desire to get what she wants. And because in my heart I want to love and care for the people around me ”¦ I have found a sense of peace that is rare, that people like Katie will never know or understand. Because they do not seek to share their existence with the world. They try to build a palace out of lies and manipulation. People will always admire them. But I know how they really are. And there is something rare and almost divine about that.

I saw Katie the other day at a prestigious art show. She was wearing a lace mini dress off the runway and four-inch heels, talking to a bunch of business men ”¦ holding a glass of wine coyly in her hand. I was wearing a nice black dress and the Ann Taylor stilettos I’ve had for five years ”¦ I was with an artist ”¦ I walked past her and she did not see me ”¦ then I turned around, stood, waved, and smiled at her ”¦ She looked stunned, like I was a ghost ”¦ I just turned and walked away.


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99 Comments on "TARGETED TEENS AND 20s: I have found a new pride and fearlessness"

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Adriana,

The article you wrote was superb!!!! You described in only a few paragraphs what Dr. Bob Hare’s book, “Snakes in Suits” takes an entire book to describe! I guess your article could be “Snakes in Sports Uniforms”!

I’m not sure how old you are now, but you learned a valuable lesson at high school level!

THANK YOU for this great article! Each of us needs to learn those skills to protect ourselves from those people who PRETEND TO BE SO KIND, SO RELIGIOUS, SO GIVING–when in fact they are the SNAKE IN THE GARDEN and want nothing more than to take away the joy of others.

THANKS AGAIN for this lovely and enlightening article! God bless.

Adriana,

Of all the unsavory personality types, this girl you describe is unquestionably at the top of my list. At any rate, I know this one well: she’s likely an “Unhealthy Three” on the Enneagram; which, incidentally, is the one which slips almost imperceptibly from toxic Narcissism into Sociopathy.

During my decade as a teacher, we faculty members used to refer to these charming young creatures as the “mean girls.” And from what I’ve seen over the past several years, I’d say they are definitely on the increase.

Also, as my good friend Holden Caulfield would probably say regarding this woman’s supposed “Christianity”: “I bet old Jesus would puke his guts up if he saw this phony speaking in his name!”

Adriana:

Thank you for this article! You articulated your experience so well and I could relate to it so very much. It sounds a lot like what happened to me only mine was in a business setting. I almost could have written your post. Oxy is right…how valuable that you learned this lesson early in life in high school. It took me until I was almost 50 years old to learn this lesson, but timing is everything so it was obviously my time to learn.

Thank you again.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

I listened to a radio show with Chris Hedges this morning. he was a 20 war journalist, is an activist and an author of three books since coming back from Kosovo, traumatized and dealing heavily with PTSD.

His latest book: The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress. this is the description of the book on amazon:

“Drawing on two decades of experience as a war correspondent and based on his numerous columns for Truthdig, Chris Hedges presents The World As It Is, a panorama of the American empire at home and abroad, from the coarsening effect of America’s War on Terror to the front lines in the Middle East and South Asia and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Underlying his reportage is a constant struggle with the nature of war and its impact on human civilization. “War is always about betrayal,” Hedges notes. “It is about betrayal of the young by the old, of cynics by idealists, and of soldiers and Marines by politicians. Society’s institutions, including our religious institutions, which mold us into compliant citizens, are unmasked.”(Posters emphasis.)

I think he may have a lot to teach us about the ‘why’ of PTSD; the effect of terror (relationships with spaths) on our sense of the world and our place in it; and pyschopathy at a world government level, including a deconstruction of the nature, affect and effect of war on society. (He has also written ‘What Every Person Should Know About War’ and ‘War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning’.)

I don’t know if he uses the word spath or not. he does say that we live in a time of ‘radical evil’ and talk about ‘courtiers’…but i think it’s our job to draw the lines between the points.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

there are a number of interviews and Chris Hedges speeches on yoututbe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0SYCJ7RzNk&feature=related

mean girls is right on, Constantine

so what happened to the mean girls after high school? anyone on here a former mean girl who grew a conscience?

one/joy_step_at_a_time

katy – i had one in public school. right piace of crap she was. when we went off to highschool she and i were in different academic streams for the 2 years i was in that school, so i rarely saw her. she came from a highly dysfunctional family (realized that when i saw her when i had been away for a year and came back).

in grades 4 to 8 she had been the horror for all the girls.

in my early 20’s i found out that my best friend from public school was living in the same area i was, so i tracked her down. turns out the bully was living with her, and she answered the phone. i left a message that was something like this:’ i am home until 7, then i have a dance class, and will be back after 9′.and the message she relayed was:’one joy is dancing in a bar. she will be home after the bars close.

so, in this case, she just continued her evil @%%%#$ ways.

one/joy
guess your bff from high school didn’t see the evil in the mean girls ways. or didn’t call her on it? are you still in contact? i find that people who hang with mean girls are wanna be mean girls. not saying your bff is, sometimes mean girls hide who they are and only the priviledged ones (like me) get to sample their true nature….

one/joy_step_at_a_time

katy – i haven’t talked to either of them in almost 30 years.

when i met with former bf i saw her as a 20 something would. I saw that she lacked a will of her own, that her marriage (at 17) had ended badly and roughly, that she her wordl view hadn’t grown since she left the countryside, and that she was not someone i wanted to hang out with. both she and the bully had moved across the country, as had I. I don’t remember if they had done it together or not.

when we were in school the bf was ‘mine’ for many years, then the bully showed up. she stirred the pot amongst the extended group of us. i remember that she particularly went after me (but who knows if that is accurate). I am sure that she had been sexually abused as a child; her father was def a drunk and crass and crude; and her mom…well, not sure, but not good.

they were very impoverished living out in the boonies and no resources for those kids to get any kind of help. That said I don’t know the truth of her – spath? mean abused kid and sapth? not sure. when we were all crossing into puberty she became the queen. she was highly sexualized and the poor kid had huge boobs. i am sure she was having sexual relations of some sort with most of the 18 – 20 year olds around when she 13.

when i saw her when she and i were 17 she was living in a small town with her dad and brother – her mother had left them. she and her brother got into a knife fight in the street.

as i write this i feel compassion for her – she has no hold on me, she can’t hurt me in any way. but she might well have been a spath.

when i was in grade 5 i slugged her. she hit me back. I slugged her again. and ran. not stupid, me. 🙂

Good to see you back, Katy!…….

One/Joy,

Yes, I know Chris Hedges and I like him. In fact, I wrote an entire post awhile back recommending his book “Empire of Illusion,” which I think is the best (and most devastating) critique ever written regarding our decadent American culture. It is not easy reading, to be sure, but I think Hedges is better than anyone else when it comes to portraying the rot behind our collective “mask of sanity.” Of course, I find many of his political views rather odious (and towards the end it does become a bit of a rant), but he’s otherwise such an intelligent and thoughtful person, that I’m willing to overlook that aspect of the book. (For the record, I’m not an ideological person myself, and I find it easy to be friends with anyone along the political spectrum, provided they are moral and well-intentioned.)

But yes, “Empire of Illusion” is HIGHLY relevant to the question of sociopathy, and undoubtedly one of the best books of its kind.

Has anyone ever had one of those days where you just feel like you hate everyone? I am having one of those today.

This article really struck me and hit home for me-and I really appreciate the person who wrote it. I had a lot of those “mean girls” bully the shit out of me when I was in high school. I actually performed way below my abilities in high school because I was so depressed over all of the social stress of it all. Some of it had to do with guys too. When I was in school I was very physically fit and had a body that older men in their 40s were constantly looking at-size 8, hourglass figure and Dcup chest. I was sexually harrassed by the guys so bad in school and felt unbelievable sexual pressures that I didn’t want. I begged my narcissistic parents to transfer me to Catholic school so I could not be socially stressed, wear a uniform and perform better in school-but they refused because they didn’t want to “spend extra money when we were in a top notch blue ribbon school system”-despite the fact that I was dying there.

I spent all the time focusing on music to keep my depression at bay. I had a big voice-some would consider now to be a sound like a combo of Celine Dion and Kelly Clarkson. That was my focus. A radio DJ heard me sing once and said that if a producer heard me that they would probably offer me a recording contract on the spot. She said she expected to hear great things from me some day. Once I started singing in things in school. Some of these bullies were even worse-and always trying to compete against me, but I wasn’t at all competitive-I just loved to sing. It was the only way that I could express all those emotions that my N parents wouldn’t let me voice.

HIgh school was such a hurtful experience for me and I have not attempted to go to a reunion yet-not even the 20 year last year. Why would I ever want to see any of those people again. I have so many regrets that happened due to what I went through in those days.

I just really feel like I hate everyone right now. I am SO frustrated with the job hunt. I am trying to get back into school to complete my Bachelor of Science in Nursing just to have a better chance of getting employment. I am applying and checking out financial aid options and wishing that I could aid that would cover my living expenses as well, since I’m terrifed of constantly worrying about how to pay my rent on a monthly basis. Thank GOD it’s paid for October. My landlord is so great that his wife who works with hospitals on projects is looking for things for me. He doesn’t want to lose me as a tenant-he IS the best landlord in NOLA I think. I love my apartment and neighborhood and neighbors so much but I HATE MY NEIGHBOR next door-YES, the one I thought I was falling in love with. I don’t just dislike her-I HATE HER. There are so many reasons why, that it’s too much to go into.

I wish I could get out of this negative attitude. I am sitting on my couch with my kitty listening to the football game on the computer. I love my cat so much-he saved my life and really helps me combat the loneliness and isolation. He woke me up this morning at 5:30 hugging my neck and licking my face. He is so sweet- a real mommas boy, but a daredevil. He likes to jump and climb up really high.

BTW, it is good to see you Katy-have thought of you often and wondered where you were. 🙂

Dear “Adrianna”…

Very nice essay. You have illustrated how frustrating it can be to see people respond and get sucked into a fake persona. You also hit on one of my most frustrating and upsetting things that happened with the Bad MAn…. when the Sociopath convinces others that they are being victimized by you in some way. I am surprised that I am not bald after going through that. I wanted to pull my hair out!

In the end, good people will triumph, I believe. It might take longer but we will.

It is also hard to see people following along mindlessly with a sociopath. They know not what they do.

That is one of the most interesting things about the sociopath problem. Their behavior is so inhuman that it takes being a victim of one to really understand what one is. So, truly, it is very difficult to fight against one when they have a pack of people following along because they want to bask in the shadow of their pretend greatness.

Make people like us want to vomit.

We are all much smarter as a result of this. We have seen something that obviously, a lot of other people are missing. But once you see it, you will be able to detect these flaws in people from a mile away.

To be honest, I feel a little safer now in the world because of my experiences with the Bad Man. But it has been more than 6 years for me since I left. And at first, I was stuck in a stage of feeling VERY UNSAFE in the world. Now that I think about it, that has passed.

Thank you again for your story. I am sure it will be of great benefit to many here at LF.

ALOHA :O)

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Hi Constantine, I would like to read his books. Not sure that I am ready to yet.

Do you know Jeremy Rifkin, the economist and political adviser? I heard him speak recently. He had some interesting things to say about human evolution; the state of climate change; and the ‘pillars’ we will have to put in place to create global energy sustainability.

One of the things he talked about was the twining in evolution of the human brain, ideologies and communication. In this premise one of our 1st instinctual developments was empathy…and over time we developed a capacity to think philosophically, then ideologically, psychologically, etc. (sorry, not sure if I haven’t forgotten one.) Each capacity is carried forward as we evolve. To wit, the ability of that people in the late 20th had to think ‘psychologically’ is something that most of our grandparents would not have had. but i wonder if empathetic people haven’t lost some of our connection to our empathy as we live with our ever expanding capacity to see the world and each other through multiplying lenses.

Adrianna,
thank you for your insights and your list of red flags. We can always use reminders about how they operate.

Liz,
I wonder what percent of people on LF have never gone to a highschool reunion. Count me in as one, I’ll bet there are many more.

I don’t think I was bullied in HS, if I was, I probably wouldn’t have noticed, I always had my nose in a book. But as I went out into the world of work, I got a job after school at an answering service. I was the only teenager, the rest of the women were in their 20’s and 30’s and they bullied me!!

I asked my mom (spath mom) why that would be. She said it was because we all made very little money but I got to use all my money on myself, so I bought a car and nice clothes, while these other women had to use their money on living expenses. She said it made them envious.

I never doubted her – until now.

I can see that she took my question and made it about how lucky I was to have HER supporting me and that life without HER support would make me envious of others. LOL!

The fact is, some of these women came in wearing expensive jewelry and nice clothes. They might have been married. But they were envious of me. Not for any good reason, but for the same reason any spaths are envious: they just are.

Hi One Joy,

Yes, it is necessary to “gird your loins” a bit before reading Hedges. However, it’s really no worse than what we see here on a daily basis, and it’s also sort of comforting to know that we are not entirely alone in thinking that the world has gone completely mad.

Hedges is a good speaker, and there are some interesting videos of him on Youtube; but personally I find his writings more compelling.

I’m not familiar with Rifkin, but I’ll make sure to check him out. It’s hard to say what contributes most to the coarsening of our “empathy function,” but I’m inclined to think it has more to do with the KINDS of influences we are now exposed to (such as Hedges describes), rather than the QUANTITY of influences. But that said, I do think the “post-structuralist” breakdown we are witnessing in today’s society (as we were talking about before) has something to do with it as well. In other words, everything is becoming increasingly “unreal” in this hyper-modern, utterly media dominated society. (Or perhaps I should say everything is now “more real than real,” in the sense that the omnipresence of “The Image” is gradually taking all the actual “blood and earth” reality out of our daily lives.) And as this kind of thing becomes more prominent, I think people turn by way of reaction to the crasser forms of sensationalism, as a desperate way of feeling like they are still “alive.” But unfortunately, this doesn’t work very well, and it has the by-product of deadening the higher sensibilities (i.e., everything that makes our being here worthwhile and noble), and therefore of making people less kind and empathetic.

In a way, cruelty itself is simply the lowest kind of sensation-seeking. But whether or not Hedge’s “Empire of Illusion” is actually CREATING sociopaths, that for me is the million dollar question. I’m not sure, but my guess is that it is certainly creating a lot of sociopathic behavior. And it’s very likely pushing a lot of the genetic “close calls” over into the “full-blown” category.

Anyhow, I hope your depression is lifting a bit, One Joy, and that you are able to get out and move around some more. A wise person once said that you should never philosophize on an empty stomach. And in much the same way, the world always looks much worse than it is when one is feeling sick and in a state of nervous disorder. So hopefully that episode has passed or will soon pass for you.

Sky-I think that you’re right about spaths and narcs being envious. I am just feeling really hateful about all of them today-especially my neighbor.

Constantine,

I don’t know if you have read it, but a book that I think totally explains some of the things we are talking about in our SOCIETY is “We Who are About to Die, Salute You” I can’t remember who wrote it (CRS) but it is about the economic, cultural and moral fall of the Roman Empire. How the population had to have more and more sensationalism in the games, and “bread and circuses” and the games which started out as athletic events became more and more bloody and the population required more and more excitement and became more and more jaded.

If you look at “TV Wrestling” and the blood and gore of the video games, music, movies, “reality shows” (that are NOT about real reality) our kids are coming up expecting from infant hood this kind of sensationalism in their every day life. They have never learned to “play” and entertain themselves with blocks and self made toys, or to play “pretend” in the dirt. Instead the parents in many cases set the child down in front of the TV VCR, DVD or electronic games as a baby sitter.

Anyone I think who says that CONTINUAL VIEWING OF VIOLENCE on television doesn’t INFLUENCE the kids who view it is nuts….why do they put ADVERTISEMENTS on television other wise? What we SEE and “experience” visually and hear DOES influence us. The more we are exposed to violence, even on film and in music, the more it becomes “normal”—–

The less influence the community has on expecting good behavior, manners, etc. the less the kids will “conform” to manners.

Societies like the ones in Japan where “face” is important don’t have a lot of the problems western society does.

On the other hand, ones where ABSOLUTE obedience to parents wishes, where children who “rebel” at all are “Honor killed” (even in the US and the UK. There is a couple on trial right now in the US for honor killing their 17 year old daughter who didn’t want to go back to the old country for an arranged marriage, but wanted to go to college and become a lawyer. She was murdered by her parents in 1999 but now they are being tried because one of her sisters gave evidence—-and is in witness protection BTW. Those countries put TOO MUCH pressure to conform, but I think our country (in general) puts too little pressure for behavior that is acceptable.

I had a lesson this weekend in ENVY.

My mother and my sister are “N”s and they’re envious. They both put everybody else down to build themselves up. The negativity spews everywhere.

My stepmother is of a different breed. She is the daughter of an alcoholic. I tried and tried to figure out how she’s different than my mother and I came to this conclusion. She is CRYING for attention, all the time. But lacking envy.

What a shocking difference.

Oxy-that book that you recommended sounds really interesting.

Oxy,

I’ll definitely check out that book – it sounds like my kind of thing! But, yes, we have much in common with the declining days of the Roman Empire, though if anything, I think we might even be descending to a lower level than they did. Of course, there is a kind of epic grandeur to Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall” that one can appreciate from the distance of fifteen hundred years or so. But when one is actually LIVING the thing, then I’m afraid it loses some of its poetic mystique!

Oh, and don’t get me started on professional wrestling! I’ve been a wrestler myself for thirty two years (youth, high school, college, etc.), and a coach for fifteen, but not THAT kind of wrestling! Hedges actually devotes the better part of a chapter to ridiculing the whole “professional wrestling industry,” and he’s right on the mark. It’s a shame, though, that it gives REAL wrestling a bad name.

At any rate, here’s a link where he actually talks about this and many of the other things we’re always kicking around here:

http://youtu.be/dHle_turjes

Adding a comment to the conversation about exposure… what we are exposed to either directly or indirectly can affect us.

There is a lot of talk about Secondary PTSD. People begin to feel the effects of PTSD after hearing about too many traumatic situations.

I would imagine an arguement could be made for this by seeing to much violent material.

Constantine,

The book about “WWAATDSY” is about how the entire economy of the Roman empire centered around the entertainment “industry” of the games. Even in times of famine the games got grander and grander and more and more costly.

The common people were actually a “welfare economy” being supported by the State and given the “games” to keep them entertained and docile. The infrastructure of the games was also awesome and amazing that they had that kind of technology without electric and hydraulic power much less without the internal combustion engine. They accomplished things that would be difficult today. The naval battles in the circus for example!

Of course life for the slaves and captives and the animals was pretty grim, but the gladiators were “rock stars” and as long as they lived they “lived well” with plenty of drink and women.

Yea, I know what you mean about “professional” wrestling, and boxing, football etc. even gymnastics pays a horrible price on the bodies of the young men and women who participate. I worked for an orthopaedic doc once and the way those young bodies and MINDS were punished and pushed in the name of “sport” appauled me.

Wrestling is a great sport. I read a story recently about a one-legged high school wrestler that was GREAT! Have you read about that young man? I’m sure you must have if that is your sport.

There are so many sports that kids can do that don’t require head injuries or bone-ruining activities and I can’t believe how many parents not only allow but encourage their kids to participate in sports that RUIN their bodies and minds. The latest information that is coming out about the BRAIN INJURIES caused by repeated concussions in contact sports is horrible. Foot ball and boxing being two of the worst.

The drugging for “professional” sports is always horrible as well. The “professional” wrestlers may be “fake” but they still take a terrible pounding physically and if they do not drug they do not succeed….but so many waste their lives “trying” to get to a high level of “professional” riches and status, that it is such a waste of humanity it breaks my heart.

Oh, well, even people as exceptionally smart and educated as you and I are can’t solve the world’s problems in ONE afternoon. May take us a COUPLE of days! (tongue-in-cheek here buddy) ! LOL

Aloha,

Glad to see you back posting my friend! Miss your wonderful comments! When do you graduate? We’ll throw you a big LF PAR-TAY!!!!!!

I agree with you about the PTSD from exposure to too much “bad news”—I think the effects of 9/11 had that effect on a lot of the people in the US and I know that some of the countries where there is continual warfare/rioting etc. must take a toll on the people who are not directly effected, but HEAR about others near by who are hurt or killed.

I just finished reading a book written by a young Iranian woman who grew up in continual FEAR living in Iran, and I think she must have had PTSD, though she didn’t call it that, from the continual worry of doing something that would call down the authorities on her family’s head. She talked about hearing about this or that person executed or whipped for some infringement of the “rules.” Especially as a WOMAN living in a society that does not value women much above cattle.

Again, good to see you back at LF. (((hugs))))

Oxy, Aloha,

I agree with you both, only I do think there is an important distinction to be made between “violence” and “senseless violence,” when it comes to movies and the media. I’ve always liked the movie “Braveheart,” for example, even though it is one of the more violent films out there. However, the violence in Braveheart has, in my opinion, an artistic and a “moral” purpose, (indeed the story itself has a very uplifting message about honor, morality and so forth), so in that case I don’t think it does any particular harm to be exposed to such a film. (Provided, of course, that you aren’t showing it to kids who are simply too young and immature, etc.) On the other hand, movies like that dopey “Saw” series are what I would classify as “senseless,” and even quasi-pornographic violence. And it’s this kind of violent behavior that I think has a negative effect on the teenagers (and , God forbid, adults!) who watch it. Likewise the video games where you can steal cars and “smack your hos” when they get out of line!

But all of this is fundamentally different from “violence with a moral message” (not necessarily an oxymoron, in my view). In that vein, many of Shakespeare’s plays are chock full of violence. Though, again, where that is the case, it usually accompanies some sort of “ethical lesson” (Macbeth, for example.)

Nevertheless, I think the most insidious kind of “violence” today, is the whole mindless “celebrity worship” and the dumbed down entertainment industry that’s taken over our society. It might not be a matter of physical violence, but what’s even worse, it represents a kind of “violence against the soul.”

Oxy,

Yes, I do know the guy with one leg. He actually won the NCAA tournament last year, which is the toughest wrestling competition in the country. (It’s virtually impossible to win this with TWO legs!) Indeed, that really has to be one of the greatest sports achievements of all time. (And, incidentally, he’s one of the nicest guys around.)

But yes, Oxy, it might take us as long as a week to solve all of the world’s problems! So I’m going to go and take a nap now before work, and then I’ll get back to figuring it all out!

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Hi Constantine,
Depression is lifting. I have been taking care to re-balance my gut flora after the course of antibiotics and that is making me feel much better mentally. My physical injuries/ issues continue unabated, but my mood is stabilizing. Thanks for asking.

Hi Oxy,

I will graduate in May, 2012 if I can stop procrastinating.

I have a paper to begin writing. It’s a year long project and I am having trouble getting started. :O(

Aloha

adriana, i was also the target of a female sociopath in highschool, much like yourself. She sounds VERY much like “Katie” and your post really hit home for me. I am glad that you have found the strength to heal from this. Thank you for sharing your story. I honestly have never heard an account so similar to my first encounter with a sociopath- which is why I’m even more so appreciative that you shared your story here. Many blessings.

Constantine,

I also love the movie “Braveheart” but having worked in films a long time ago, and being some what of a self-styled “critic,” I think that movie could have had a LOT of the “blood and gore” edited out and STILL NOT LOST the “message.” Many times things can be “represented” with just a “hint” of violence without all the sword swinging and blood spurting and so on. I have a strong stomach for blood and gore, but I had to turn my head away from the screen many times in that movie because of the violence and gore. I think it would have been a much better movie if it had had some editing done on the gore.

Ditto on the movie the Passion which Mel Gibson did. The scene of the whipping was way LONGER than it needed to be, in my estimation, and much more gory than it needed to be to convey the idea of how horrible it was.

Violence in film is sort of like the difference between tasteful and artistic nude pictures and Hustler Magazine, if you will.

Oxy,

Good point, though I think what you say is more true of The Passion of the Christ (which was admittedly over the top) than of Braveheart. You could probably have edited Braveheart a bit, but when you have something that good, I say don’t mess with it!

A better example might have been “Saving Private Ryan,” which I liked, though not as much as Braveheart. In that film, the first half hour (where they showed the storming of the beaches at Normandy), was probably the most violent movie scene ever. But I think that’s an example of where the ethical theme (i.e., moral and physical courage in the face of death) was made that much clearer by the “unedited” display of blood and carnage. In other words, you could have made it less “gory,” perhaps, but I fear that would have diluted the message to some extent.

Still, I think you’re right overall that less is probably more in most of these cases.

But thanks again to Adriana for writing an article that led us from the subject of “mean girls” to the gladiators and the Fall of Rome, to William Wallace, Lizzy’s cat, One Joy’s digestion – and then back again to Hollywood and Larry Flint!

good morning/night Constantine,

I didn’t see passion of christ because I figured it was over the top (I”m catholic), but I saw Saving Private Ryan and Braveheart.

IMO, Saving Private Ryan was the best. none of the violence was gratuitious because it was war as we (moderns) can relate to. And therefore it was empathy that we (moderns) can relate to. Soldiers were willing to die for private Ryan so that his mom wouldn’t lose another son. That is empathy.

Braveheart was about dying for a cause (as far as I remember it). Lots of people have causes that we can’t relate to. As humans (vs. spaths) we can relate to a mother who as lost all her sons – save one – to war.

Sad to think of a mother who has lost her son to psychopathy. There is nobody to save them or her. My spaths mom died in 2009 wondering what went wrong and why he hated her so much.

Good morning to you, Sky,

Yes, I think you’ve hit on the essential point, which is the extent to which violence has an artistic or moral point, and the extent to which it is present simply for the sake of “sensory titillation.” (The same thing is true, I suppose, for “sex without love,” which is easily debased in a similar manner. – Not that I’m a prude, mind you!)

I didn’t know you were a Catholic. Did you go to Catholic school? I didn’t go to my high school reunion either, by the way. Though, for that matter, being the child of a single “working mom,” I probably ended up cutting more school than I went to! So it might have been immodest of me to have shown up for an event such as a reunion – even supposing I had the slightest desire to do so! (But I bet most of the “mean girls,” narcissists and sociopaths are attracted to these things: what a great chance to show off!)

one/joy_step_at_a_time

had the creepiest dream about n sire.

i never dream about him.

he was dapperly dressed, and probably in his 40’s (possibly 50’s – but he looked changed like he was going on to live a new life). he came to my apt (but not the one i actually live in now) with a bag of spring rolls.

i tried to avoid him (i was very anxious), but he came in through the unlocked back door, put the spring roll bag in my hand (he was holding a much larger bag, too.) and he said ‘goodbye’. (money as food and the erstwhile fake love) sigh, the unlocked door went directly into my bedroom.

he said there were no pictures of him in the apt – indication of my worth. he asked about one in particular (which is actually a pic of my grandparents – his pedo dad and his mom). i lied and said that the glass had gotten broken in the move. he started looking behind the dresser – i couldn’t remember where i had put it and i was nervous that he would find it. but he found a rather small rather fancy empty frame.

then we were out at the land. and the folks who bought the farm house had redone it so that it was a monster house. we were sitting on a raised cement patio around the house and talking. a small dog was there and a little child showed up. we were all sitting very close, the toddler and the puppy crawling over his reclinging form and between me and him. (I am sitting up with one leg tucked under me)i was telling him that i wanted to build out there and that mom had given me that land, etc. he started in with, well’ there will be some problems….(about building out there) and the little child (girl toddler (hi sky 😉 ) said, ‘you don’t really love her’, and he said something to the effect of ‘no, not really’.

then i woke. i am sick so with a flu thing – that might be part of what pushed this puss out of me.

Hmmm, interesting discussion about what makes this world so spathic at large…

I’m coming to believe more and more that a part of that is popular culture and scenarists who know zilch about personality disorders, and if they do, they portray it in a heroic light.

From one victim to all the others… how much can you still stomach TV shows and movies? And even if you can stomach them, how often do you catch yourself thinking, “whoever wrote this knows abolutely nothing of humanity.”

In the past few weeks I watched The Usual Suspects, Lost (season 1) and Dangerous Liasons. They’re all some of my favourite movies and shows.

The first portrays a psychopath exactly for what he is: a liar and actor, with a pity play gimmick (he fakes a gimp). How easily he can come up with lies and fake emotions of distress and play the weak fool is shown by the end of the movie. Any spath is like Keiser Soze. But Keiser Soze gets admiration for his spathic abilities. Worse, and this I now find the weak point in the movie… A myth is told that Keiser Soze murdered his wife and children to spare them from the trauma of the rape they endured by other criminals… that he actually felt human emotions for his wife and children. And this is the one thing in the movie that enables a viewer to find an empathic connection to the mass murderer.

I find Lost still a great series, with great acting. But whenever I watch Sawyer or Kate now I can’t help but think… you’re very fictional characters. By all other accounts of the life led in the past you’d be considered spaths: conning, lying, manipulating and running from any type of responsibility. And yet you show pained and remorseful looks in private moments, like no spath ever does. Of course they are fictional characters who we are supposed to symapthize with. They are staged as the exception of the actual evil people, troubled by their violent childhood and abuse. But that’s the problem. the majority of movies and tv shows show the exceptional, and hereby makes it the expected norm. It is this that creates this collective mass illusion within society that bad people are not really bad, but have human feelings, remorse and guilt, and that at some point in their lives they will see the light and will live the remainder of their days as a good person. Worse, most of the time, they’re changed around because of loving someone.

Dangerous Liaisons is about two spaths who love nothing more than wreck the lives of others, to destroy their reputation, to destroy their victims mentally and emotionally, to play games with each other. It’s a great story portraying spaths for what they are, except for the male character. Like any spath he pursues the most virtuous of women. She withstands his lovebombing for a long time, aided by the warnings from a friend. When he finds out who warned her, he takes his revenge by raping the daughter of the woman who warned his prey. Eventually his prey relents to his pursuits. Once he has her, he breaks cruelly with her, leaving her heartbroken. He wants to collect his prize with the female spath, because he had won his bet with her that he could seduce the virtuous woman, but she does not want to give in. War ensues between the two spaths, and he tries to mess up her plans with other victims of hers. She counters this by revealing his rape of the young girl to her wannabe lover, who challenges him to a duel. So far so good: both true spath in everything. But now comes the twist: as he is exhausted in the duel, he realizes that he acutally loved the virtuous woman after all and deeply regrets breaking her heart. He finds he cannot live without her (she’s dangerously ill) and throws himself onto the rapier of his opponent. He makes his peace with the other guy as he lies dying, requests him to tell the virtuous woman that he truly loved her, and gives him letters of the other spath that exposes her. It’s not the scenarist’s fault, but the 18th century author. But yet again, another famous story of a spath true and true, but he eventually sees the error in his ways. UGH! Puke! At least the female spath never gets this unrealistic character redemption.

And just 2 nights ago they showed a movie with Ashton Kutchner as a spath… cleanly explaining how he parasites on the lives of older, rich women, uses his flings and the other non-rich women who are in love with him purely for sex. He meets his match in another spath. But what do you expect happens next? Yup, they both fall in love with eahc other. She ends up choosing to marry a rich man anyway. And he, finally reformed from his wicked ways, starts his first job as a delivery man.

The popular culture, may it be romance novels or movies or tv shows, where a spath remains an unredeemed and unremorseful spath are far and few. No wonder that society as a whole doesn’t have a clue.

As for the mean girls… I wasn’t bullied as much, but rather ignored. Although a few times I’ve endured taunts by these girls and their followers. Some of them have actually grown out of their nast behaviour, but then I only meet them by chance, and I don’t have any interest in making those chance meetings more permanent. Others I’m sure haven’t at all. I don’t go to reunions, and none of them are in my personal life. I don’t see the point. All those reunions serve for purpose is to prove to each other what a succesful life they lead, and I have no wish whatsoever to jump into that kind of rat race. What made my life succesful in my own eyes and what I want out of life is different from what the majority of them want. So there’s no comparison to start out with.

Good on you Adriana! I hope the best for you.

Hi Constantine,
yes, I went to catholic schools. It’s where they teach you to be a dupe for spaths.

OneJoy,
hmm… difficult dream to decipher. All in all it seemed to be a confirmation of what you already know: he puts himself first because that’s who he cares for the most.

He kept the bigger bag for himself, he asked about pictures of himself, then he told you what you had deduced as a child – that he is not really capable of loving.

The unlocked door to your bedroom seem to say that you feel your inner sanctuary is not very well defended and that you need better boundaries against this man. He does not have your interests at heart.

Darwinsmom,
when I see movies in which the spath ends up having a “heart of gold”, I think it was written by spaths. They want us to continue being duped, having hope and trying to rescue them. What better way to keep us believing than with television PROGRAMMING? (even the word “programming” is a tell)

Hi Skylar,
I wanted to watch the tv show “A Gifted Man” because he the same actor as the guy who played the husband in Angels in America. I thought it sounded nice!

After about twenty minutes or so, I said to my husband “I have to shut this off, there’s waaay to much drama” I could actually feel myself getting anxious! He delt with more drama in 20 min. than most people do in a half a lifetime. It was awful. Running from disaster to disaster…not for me 🙂

Skylar,

That may be of course one of the reasons… but the problem lies in the writing of a “good story”. Lead character set up is along these lines: flawed character -> character goes through series of events that are the consequence of the flaws -> character grows up. Starting a story with a perfect lead with no flaws makes for a bland story. There’s no story arch for them. The problem of course is that over the past 2 centuries leads have become more and more flawed starting out, into the spath realm, and then are subjected to the growth arch with redemption. And then there’s the factor of readers and viewers who don’t want to watch and read a story where the lead learns nothing. And the anti-hero has become most popular. I experience this myself when I write. I’m nowhere near my end, but I had a villainous narcistic woman in it, and originally I had the idea of at least realizing what fatal mistakes she made, how she aided the ruin of her country. Now I’ll let her die thinking she was the sole one who had tried to divert a war, if only everybody had listened to her and had done as she wanted them to.

It seems I have to content myself with popular culture of the romantic period: at least the spaths are kept as they are. – unredeemable spaths who get away with everything anyway, while the lead learns to see them for what they are and overcomes them, or ends up ruined.

Ana,
But that’s what tv is about: drama rama!

I looked up the show. It sounds interesting. It appears to be about a jerk with redeemable qualities – just as darwinsmom was saying, its a good setup for drama.

When we are talking about real life and not drama, the question is: what are you likely to get when you meet a jerk with redeemable qualities? Can these jerks change and be redeemed? Is it worth watching? In my limited experience, the answer is no. They may not be spaths, maybe only N’s, yet there is little or no incentive for a person to give up their PD if they don’t have a better survival mechanism to replace it.

The bigger question is: why are WE attracted to these “broken” characters? Why do they make great television “programming”?

Is it because we know that we will get drama by entering their circle? And drama makes US feel special?

skylar:

Very good questions. I wish I had answers.

I think with me it was just exciting. I don’t know why, but it was. Perhaps my life was so pathetically boring that any type of drama or excitement sucked me in…I don’t know.

Good observations, Darwinsmom, about the “spath with the heart of gold” syndrome that the media and Hollywood are constantly portraying. I actually had the exact same feeling about Sawyer and Kate from Lost: the traits as presented would have been incompatible in real people. Well, at least for the “touchy feely” Sawyer that began to surface by the third season or so! (Kate was a bit more believable, I thought.)

Anyhow, I’m glad you brought that up, because it really does powerfully reinforce something that we KNOW to be a falsehood. (i.e., there is NOT good in everyone!) And these things really aren’t so benign when you observe the effect they have on people. Indeed, what is worse than watching a sociopath victim trying to find the “innocent little boy or girl” behind all the abuse and cruelty?

By the way, I thought the first season of Lost was exceptional. But by season four of five I found that it really degenerated into an unending cycle of melodrama and completely unrealistic plot lines. For network TV, however, I guess you have to give them credit for attempting something original!

Hi Louise,

As we’ve been discussing, I think that the more our “higher” needs (emotional, spiritual, aesthetic, etc.) are being met, the less we hanker after the lower forms of “drama” and sensationalism. (And the less appeal we find in dysfunctional people.) But the problem is that it’s just such a damn chore to do that these days, where everything seems to conspire to pull us in the opposite direction!

Darwin’s mom,

There is a thread here about sociopaths in the movies you might like. There is one I love called “There will be blood” and it shows a psychopath as without remorse and how he becomes rich using his son….as a cover to make him appear an honest, caring man. It is one of the BEST movies I have seen about a psychopath, actually there are a couple of Ps in there that prey on each other. The ending is absolutely AWESOME.

I agree with you that the portrayal of psychopaths as “redeemable by love” is totally FICTION but plays into the desire by people to believe “there is good in everyone” which is a MYTH!!!!

Constantine,

Have you watched “The Good Wife”? It is about a woman lawyer who was married to a politican (DA) who went to prison and was in a scandal with a hooker—he got out of prison and got reelected, and she had to go to work in a large corporate group of “land sharks” in order to support her family—now she has left him but his political buddies are trying to get him elected to governor and get her to stay with him.

You wonder each week who is the psychopath? What they will do etc. and they are ALL Crooks. She is not a crook, but she has ethical problems each week. It is sort of a “Snakes iin Suits” drama with lots of shady carp going on. Give it a couple of weeks to learn the characters and see how you like it. It is one of the few broadcast shows that I think portrays more “real life” type drama rather than just blood and guts and chase scenes.

Oxy,
agreed, “there will be blood” was an excellent portrayal of a spath.

Also, the movie, “Doubt” really hit the spot in its portrayal of the confusion that the spaths leave us in.

“Brothers Bloom” has to be my all time favorite even though it also portrayed the spath with a “heart of gold”. I liked it because of how the “mark” was portrayed as vulnerable yet able to overcome the spaths in her life simply by changing the way she perceived things.

Sky, I haven’t seen Doubt or Brothers Bloom I’ll see if son D has it or will watch for it. There’s a place I can buy used DVDs for $2 and he has a large selection so I’ll keep my eyes open. With my book-a-holism I have to watch for books and DVDs at cut rate prices in order to not have to rob banks to keep up with my ADDICTION! LOL

Today I’m cleaning house and doing laundry and taking a LF break while the clothes dry and I get my “second wind” with the cleaning. Had company for a few days and the house goes to heck when I don’t do a bit each day so having to play catch up. But had a great time! Weather is wonderful so would rather be outside too. Going to a genealogy club meeting tonight but had to do laundry to ave some clean clothes to wear that aren’t “working clothes.” Ah, I wish I’d been born rich instead of so good looking, then I would hire my house cleaned and my laundry done! LOL

Hehe, Haven’t seen it for a while, but “There will be blood” is one of the movies in my collection. MIght watch it this week. Good idea. The one time I saw it, the ending disturbed me. Perhaps now, been cured of “criminals with a heart of gold”, I might totally dig the ending.

I finally got an interview that is happening on Thursday. I guess one of the resumes that I sent out actually worked.

I found out something so sick and disturbing today that it actually made me nauseated. My friend has been terribly upset and wouldn’t say why. She finally sent me a message today. Besides her best friend dying in hospice, her 2 year old baby cousin is in the Pediatric ICU in a local hospital on life support and braindead because it is believed that the mother’s boyfriend beat her within an inch of her life. I cannot stomach the evil and hatred in someone’s heart that would allow them to beat a child. It’s been upsetting me and I also feel for the nurses having to care for this baby in the ICU. It takes someone special to deal with the kids and I just CAN’T. I’m too soft hearted.

I’m also having a hard time with the gray rock issue today. Sometimes I just really want to make snide comments to the spaths-especially when they irritate me so much. I know I shouldn’t feed them but I hate it when they make the same comment over and over trying to be cute, but you know they’re serious behind it and are trying to send you a subliminal message. I am biting my tongue not to say stuff-even though I know it will make things worse if I do.

Constantine:

I agree. I know I had some needs that were not being met and I succumbed. Like I said, it was a pretty boring life and I felt “alive” again with him.

I have seen “Doubt” a couple times. Very good movie.

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