By Ox Drover
My best friend has been visiting me and, as usual, when we get together we re-share “old stories” of “remember the time when so-and-so did such-and-such and how we laughed?”
One of those stories was a funny one about a small quarrel I had with my late husband. After relating the story, I had one of those “ah ha!” moments that applies to a lot of things in life.
My husband had a partial plate that was almost impossible for the dentist to get seated so that it did not “flop” and my husband used some of that pink goop that you put under a dental plate to keep it glued down. Every evening when he would get ready for bed, he would go into our bathroom, take the plate out, scrape the goop off, clean it, re-goop it, and then replace it into his mouth.
The pink goop, while wet, was the consistency of chewing gum, but when it dried on the sink, it became the consistency of concrete and I had to practically chisel it out to clean the sink. I offhandedly asked him if he would be sure he cleaned it out well before he went to bed and he assured me he would do so. I saw absolutely no improvement when I went to clean the sink the next time and I became irritated.
I asked him again to please make sure he got it ALL when he cleaned the sink and he assured me he would. Again, when I noticed that there was still no improvement, and now quite irritated, I started to nag him about how inconsiderate he was to make me have to chisel this stuff out of the sink, when it would be so simple for him to wipe it out when it was still moist.
He patiently listened to my tirade then said, “Honey, I am trying, but because it is pink, and I am color blind I can’t see it!”
Well, you can only imagine how small and awful I felt. About one inch high! Of course I knew he was partly color blind, so I should have known he couldn’t see it! His “reality” was not the same as “my reality” because we looked at the same sink and saw different things.
Blind to emotion
After thinking about this story in more detail and more depth, I think that the psychopath is maybe not “color” blind, but they are “blind to emotions” that we can see. Because we can see those things so clearly, we try to explain to them what we think is obvious, and “right before your eyes.” However, just as my husband could look at the sink and only see the “clean white” sink, and I could see the pink globs turning to concrete “right before my eyes,” our misunderstanding was because of the “different reality” that each of us saw.
A psychopath, who is unable to comprehend the “emotions” that go with words like “love” and “caring,” might think. “We are having sex, sex feels good, therefore, I love her. But because sex feels good with others as well, I don’t know why she gets so upset when I have sex with someone else. ”
We would think, though, because our “vision” is different, “we are having sex and the sex is good because we love and care about each other. Because we love each other, we will treat each other well. Treating each other well means we will not purposely do things that hurt the other one.”
My irritation with my husband was because I could see the pink blobs plainly, and I assumed that he could see them as well, and thought he was refusing to wipe them out. In fact, he was making an effort to wipe out the sink, but because he could not perceive them, he had no idea when they were gone, and his only “reality” was that the sink looked clean to him.
Family and friends
I also think this same “reality is what you see” can be applied to our friends and family members who “don’t see” what we see in the psychopath. There is a common thread among victims that “my friends don’t understand what I have been through” and “my friends don’t believe me that he is evil.”
Our friends and family members who “don’t get it” don’t see the same “reality” that we see. They are unable to draw the same conclusions that we draw, and therefore it is difficult for them to believe the same things about the psychopath that we believe. We can see things about the psychopath that they can’t see, just as I could see the pink globs and my husband couldn’t. Our realities were not the same. We didn’t see the same thing, even though we looked at the same thing.
Sometimes though we can see clearly the toxicity of the psychopath, our friends may not. They are sometimes “color blind” to the ability of a psychopath to be the way they can be. They are unable to see, to perceive, what we so clearly see as truth. These people cannot validate our vision, and they didn’t even have a way to know that their vision is defective, like my husband did. He knew he was color blind and couldn’t see certain colors, and because he believed I was honest and had good color vision, he took my word for the fact that the pink goop was there. Unfortunately, most of our friends and family are not aware that their vision is “blind” in this sort of situation. Just as the person who is color blind doesn’t know what color looks like, the person who has never personally experienced the true vision of a psychopath, has difficulty seeing this vision, even when it is before their very face.
We aren’t crazy (though sometimes others think we are!) our vision is REAL and our vision is VALID, and so is theirs, as far as they are concerned. I know it frustrated me for people about whom I cared and thought cared about me, could not “see” what I so clearly saw where my egg donor or my psychopathic son were concerned. I now realize these people cannot see what I see, cannot accept what I have finally so painfully accepted. Realizing that these people are blind in this sphere makes it easier for me to accept that they can’t “see” and can’t “get it.” Just as I had to accept that my husband was doing the best he could to clean the pink goop off the sink, but his vision prohibited him seeing it, I have to accept that those people who have a “blind spot” where psychopaths are concerned are doing the best they can with the somewhat “limited” vision that they are capable of. I also realize that my own vision was somewhat “limited” before the “scales fell from my eyes” and I could truly see the psychopaths.
My vision is my reality. The vision of others is their reality. Maybe those things will never be the same, but it doesn’t mean my reality is not valid. It also doesn’t mean that they are purposely doubting me, it just means that their vision is not the same as mine.
Just like the mythical “vampire” doesn’t show up in a mirror, psychopaths, don’t always appear in their true form in the vision of those who behold them. Just like the soiled sink with its pink globs appeared perfectly clean to my husband, with his limited color vision, psychopaths appear “perfectly normal” to those who do not have the sphere of vision capable of “seeing” them for what they truly are.