Life partners often vow to care for one another “til death do us part” and “in sickness and in health.” But do these concepts apply to psychopathic partners or those high in psychopathic traits? You guessed it. They do not. If we are involved in a relationship with a psychopath and fall ill, we will see their true colors quickly. We can expect a marked difference between the behaviors exhibited in a real love and psychopathic “love.” For if we have nothing to offer, they will not be there for us in our hours of need.
It may not be immediate. We may feel secure in the first “hour” or two. Those feelings, however, will quickly give way to reality. Initially, their words will comfort us. We will likely believe them when they tell us that they will take care of everything, even if our past experiences have taught us othrwise. They tend to sound genuine and their displays of affection look real; at least real enough. This will not last long, however. Their empty words will lead to broken promises. We will come to recognize that they are not the words and actions of “men” (or “women,”) but mice.
Fortunately, my mother did not marry a psychopath
In recent years, my mother’s health has been failing. She is suffering from a degenerative neurological condition, which has now left her trapped in her own body. It is an uncommon condition that remains somewhat of a medical mystery. Onset seems to occur late-fifties to mid-sixties, the age that has the potential to be the best years of one’s life. It’s symptoms and limitations are similar to those of ALS and first symptom to death is typically about seven to ten years.
Fortunately, my mother did not marry a psychopath. My father has been by her side throughout. In the beginning, they laughed together, as she began having trouble writing her name. She just retired from almost thirty years of teaching and we joked that she was truly just “done” working. Seemingly benign at onset, the lighter mood continued when she would occasionally fall, blaming a simple lack of grace. No one realized these were the sneaky symptoms of this horrible condition. In time, however, they became hard to ignore.
At first, things deteriorated slowly. Now, her body has completely betrayed her. She is pain and discomfort from very high muscle tone. This requires medication and frequent massage and exercise. She is able to eat, but very little, as the swallow and gag reflexes continue to deteriorate. It takes several hours a day to feed her and communication is next to impossible, as she has lost most of her ability to speak and operate the speech program on her iPad.
Through it all, my father has been by her side. He cares for her in every way imaginable and has been doing so for years. Earlier, he held her side so that she could walk. Now, he essentially walks for her. At one point, he cut her food into small enough pieces so that she could eat with her “good” hand. Now, he smashes the food and thickens her drinks so he can spoon feed her the liquid to prevent choking. He wakes with her several times a night to tend to her, sleeping near her new hospital bed since she is not able to move to adjust herself.
She is braving this with grace, but he is a hero for all that he does. Very few are able to understand the amount of selflessness one needs in order to get through something like this. The neurologist recently told them that she rarely sees patients cared for with so much love and attention. The other patients do not have my father as their caregivers; a “man.”
Imagine this scenario with a psychopath
These recent events have caused me to consider what would happen if this situation occurred with a psychopathic partner. If the individual chose to stay near us in physical proximity, there would be no care or support involved. In fact, we could expect some form of abuse or neglect, which could lead to serious complications or death. One of the only reasons a psychopathic individual might choose to stay, would be if a significant potential payoff existed. Sad, but true.
Think about your experience with the individual who brought you here. Were you ever sick or did you require care? Did you receive that care? If so, was it for an extended period of time? Probably not. These individuals are notorious for being intolerant of any type of illness in those close to them. Why? They do not want our illnesses to get in their way or stifle their fun. This extends to any additional responsibilities our situations may create. They simply don’t want to be bothered and really do not care about anyone else’s well being.
You may feel confused because the behavior is not consistent with an individual who loves you as may be the claim. While it may be natural for partners in care giving positions, whether short or long term, to tire or need to nurture their emotional health, it is not normal to meet with constant annoyance and anger toward the one who is not well.
Further, we may find that they become oddly jealous of the attention we receive. They cannot be the center of attention if our issue is currently in the forefront. Since this is not a position we want to be in, we may also become sad or depressed. In turn, this drives their assertions about our emotional “states,” which they utilize to gain outside sympathy. Who would have thought that being sick or encountering a complicated pregnancy could be so complex? As if the physical concerns are not enough, we have to still cover ourselves from their disordered actions.
I recall a time when I was told that I would not be able to do my normal activities for several months. I was content thinking that all would be well. After all, I was told that things would be taken care of for as long as I needed them to be. I didn’t realize that I would be looked at in disgust a mere three days later and interrogated as to when I planned to “get up off my a_ _.”
As with everything else that occurred, I was hurt and looked to the individual for answers. Why the cruelty? Was there an understanding of the severity of what was wrong and exactly what was at risk if I did not comply? I felt as though I was being teased and taunted to get up; almost forced since nothing that needed to be done was getting done. I could not comprehend why we were not on the same page. Try to resist looking to them for answers. You will not find them. Conversely, you will be left worse off.
As mentioned, it is entirely possible that they may not even recognize the gravity of a situation. Although, I believe they usually do and just don’t care. However, this is not an excuse. This occurs frequently with children of parents with psychopathic traits. The parent cannot and will not address a need if they are not able or choose not to recognize it. Frequently, they do not. Unfortunately, this is often to the detriment of the child, again, with serious or deadly consequences.
While attached to individuals with such features, we should hope we stay well. Our lives may depend on it. Oddly, they would expect us to be at their beck and call if the tables were turned and treat us miserably if we were not. Somehow, unafraid of what would become of them upon our departures. Yet, if we remain entrapped, they know we would be there. Therein lies the difference between normal love and commitment verses theirs. Therein lies the differences between the actions of the “man” v. the “mouse.”