Why are some people scared of us?

While in the height of conflict with psychopaths or those with psychopathic features, sometimes, we scare people. I don’t mean Halloween “scary costume” scary.  I don’t mean “things that go bump in the night” scary.  No, I mean “take a look at yourself” scary.  There are those around us who will see us go through what we do, and back away, simply because they realize that what we are experiencing or have experienced is just too strange and horrible to handle.

Maybe they don’t understand.  Maybe they don’t know what to say to us, as this is a special type of trauma.  Often, some of us give others a “pass” for those reasons.  That is perfectly understandable.  However, I believe that there are those who do know and understand, yet still choose to bury their heads.

Why are there those with such feelings of trepidation?  If they become involved, even with only the minor facts of our stories, they may be forced to face the possibility that they could be in our positions at some point in time.  It may be too unpleasant for them to imagine.  No one is immune to these experiences and the thought of our plights becoming theirs may be overwhelming.  Some may feel that is best to pretend as though this could not occur in their worlds.

How will we know?

We should not expect those around us to come out and express their fears.  It is possible that they are not even consciously aware of their feelings, actions or responses.  Nonetheless, if they are, in fact, afraid, it becomes clear before long, even though initially we may misinterpret that fear as something else.

What will they do?

They may pull away, be unwilling or unable to listen, or attempt to make light of our feelings on the matter.  They may suggest that we are not feeling the feelings we say we are or that we need to “get over it” and move on, offering little support.

What should we do?

While moving forward is important, it is a gradual process and will come in time.  If we encounter those who think this way, we should try our hardest not to internalize what they do or say, or in many cases, fail to say.  This is very important because we should not take on any more unnecessary burden.  It’s not healthy or helpful.  We do not need to process their baggage in addition to that with which the sociopath has left us.

It may hurt at first because it is unpleasant and frustrating, but in the end, as with much of the rest of the issues that surround these experiences, their reactions may turn out to be a gift.  As we grow and become whole again, we usually come to see the people who reacted in this manner very differently.  We may no longer like what we see.  We may come to see them as very “go along to get along,” and lose respect, because it is hard to respect those who stands for nothing.  We may come to realize that these relationships were littered with conditions.  The most important one being the demand for silence in our times of need.

As we recover

With recovery should also come some form of a rebirth, where we emerge better than we were before.  As I have said before, we may sometimes need to leave our old methods of quantifying “better” behind.  This may not materialize in the traditional sense.  For example, if stripped financially, we may never be where we would have been under different circumstances.  If faced to choose different career avenues, we may never achieve a level we once dreamed of.  In truth, the scars the psychopaths may be very deep.  However, that is not to say that once we do redefine, that we cannot find happiness and satisfaction.  We can.  Further, when we have little to lose, we may be willing to take some risks that go completely against our grains, but are sometimes necessary to excel.  What this means is highly individual.

In the process, we may benefit greatly from purging ourselves of the negative relationships, that surprisingly are not just attached to the psychopaths or individuals with psychopathic features who are or were in our lives.  We may need to take this action with those we “scare.”  We can only control our actions, so we must act in ways that benefit our health and well being.  With that, we will have energy for those who do matter.

In time, some may end up wishing they had handled things differently.  Many won’t be phased either way.  But maybe if they had, they would have learned a thing or two about their own strengths.  However, they chose their safety nets of silence, demonstrating only their weaknesses.

I recently saw an inspirational quote that stated, “hard times reveal true friends.”  That could not be more right on.  Real friends do not scare easily, they walk with us through this time as best they can.  Those who won’t, may not deserve to walk with us in our good times either.  These experiences give us the opportunity to see the difference in a world where sometimes things get murky.  Good luck out there!

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88 Comments on "Why are some people scared of us?"

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Liferaft – You are right that we need to be cautious about who rushes to our aid when we’ve been devastated by a sociopath – because sometimes it is another sociopath who sniffs easy, wounded prey.

About suddenly caring friends and family – I think some simply want to feed on the drama. There may not be any malicious intent – they’re just fascinated by the train wreck.

Dr. Karin Huffer, in her book “Legal Abuse Syndrome,” offers another explanation of why friends and family have difficulty listening to our stories. She says everyone has “protective filters.” She says, “if an individual begins to share with another and the data threatens the listener’s feelings of safety, they may try to divert the data or simply not hear it at all.”

Most people believe that there is good in everyone. When they come face to face with evidence that this may not be true, they may disregard the evidence rather than change their beliefs.

I’m going to put on my therapisty hat here for a bit…
There is a phenomenon called vicarious traumatization that is very real!!! When people either friends or family see your devastation but have no means to control the situation to help you ( for who can really mend a shattered heart) they may protect their own hearts by distancing themselves from you. This can actually be helpful in the long run if you allow it to be. They can be there for you after you scrape yourself off the floor and stand as a human being again. This I believe is what Karin Huffer speaks of when she talks about “protective filters”.
At the end of the day each one of us traverses the healing journey alone. Friends and family are wonderful landmarks. Only we decide how long to stop and take in the experience and when it may be time to move on.

Thanks Imara – very good points.

On reading this article, it occurred to me that thru all my trying to explain, what I was going thru, how it was affecting me and all the “sordid” details and realizations, No one has every really talked to me about it, they listened, shook their heads, the gradual nod, aha aha, but NO ONE really talked with me, I still don’t think they understand the complete devastation I felt and still feel to an extent, How my world was literally torn apart. I feel like an outsider with everyone except for a few in my life and my online support people….its very frustrating, I post stuff on my FB page but VERY few comment I think they just want it to “go away” like this kind of stuff doesn’t happen, but then they read or see a news article and say, WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN. Duhhhh if anyone had been listening……….I just hope it never happens to anyone I know, I would be there for them though for sure!!

I think part of it is not knowing what to say or how to react if they’ve never had the same experiences…

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