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Deliberate choices versus mistakes — 47 Comments

  1. Joyce,
    This is a great topic. People are so reluctant to judge bad behavior for themselves, that they wait until some “expert” comes to a conclusion for them. That “expert” ends up being the legal system and the conclusion is reached when the offender’s behavior is so bad that it lands them in prison.

    I was reading on another blog/advice column, where the reader asks the columnist what to do about a friend/neighbor who is constantly making offensive jokes about rape. Yes, jokes about rape.

    The columnist goes through the most detailed assessment of the situation I could have ever imagined. She weighs the pros and cons, and everything in between. Her logic is complete and impressive. She leaves nothing out. I’ve been told I have a logical mind, but this woman could argue circles around me, she really thinks things through.

    But in some cases, especially when dealing with offenders, logic is not enough. We need to be able to know when we’ve been offended by how it makes us FEEL. We need to be able to trust that instinct so we know when our boundary has been violated.

    Unfortunately, many of us were raised to NOT be able to judge, because our parents abused our emotions.

    It’s like asking, “Did that person just insult me?” Really, if you’ve been insulted, you should know because you feel insulted.

    When I was a teen, I hitchhiked everywhere. One day a man gave me a ride and asked me, “How much?” I knew I had just been insulted and I angrily bitched him out for it. He apologized. Years later, I saw his mugshot on a true crime show. The man was Gary Ridgeway, the Green River murderer. I’m glad my gut told me that I’d been insulted. Since he only killed prostitutes, I think this confirmed for him that I was not his regular prey.

    Since then I’ve learned that the very first boundary violation is probably the most important one to notice. Abusers test their victim’s boundaries before they move in for the kill.

  2. Sky, your observations are RIGHT ON!!!! “Judging” someone in our culture is supposed to be “wrong”—and our society operates under several social myths, such as “there is good in everyone” and “it takes two to fight” and “everyone deserves a second chance” and so on.

    Well, for a FACT there are some people who do NOT deserve a “second chance” because they do not accept responsibility for what they have done, and repeat it over and over. Statistics show that the MAJORITY of drug addicts and alcoholics do NOT reform, even with the BEST of therapy, and that the recidivism rate over the LONG HAUL is 80%…concerning felonies. Those are NOT good odds, so we must watch ourselves and figure out what WE want FOR ourselves. Do we want to associate with people who have committed serious crimes–rape, robbery, assault, drug dealing, or murder?

    If we are OK with this kind of behavior then maybe so, but unless those things are things we think are OK then I think the answer is no, not at all.

    Many times people get sucked into the “saving” the offender out of love, like I did with my son Patrick, but until we come to the conclusion (if or finally) that they are not going to change and become responsible, then we have to quit deluding ourselves that we can “save” them from themselves. It hurts to come to that decision, but when we see them deliberately and repeatedly doing things that society and they know are wrong then we should for our own sakes and the sakes of our children and our society, cut these people loose.

    • I don’t know for a fact whether D.’s family members helped him during his time running from the law, but I strongly suspect that certain members helped D. Maybe, some of them were sucked into helping him. Not one of D.’s family members reacted with emotion when they found out that he was “missing,” which was STRANGE. At the time, I didn’t notice that their behavior was odd – someone pointed it out to my oldest son and myself. The woman told us that when she came to our house to comfort us, we were reacting the way she expected us to respond, crying, being visibly upset. She had a chance to interact with some of the spath’s relatives, walking away, thinking that something was off, but, she didn’t know what. Later, she said that it hit her, that not one of the spath’s family members (eg. brothers and sisters) displayed any EMOTION, didn’t appear to be upset over D. going “missing,” possibly, committing suicide, no crying, tears, etc.

      • Blue, Though we can never 100% know what others are thinking, judging by their actions that was because they were NOT WORRIED…they knew where he was in my opinion, Your friend is quite SHARP in her observations.

        • Joyce,

          I question if there are more spaths in the family – they are emotionally shallow (?). When we attended the spath’s dad’s funeral, I never saw any of the kids cry, display emotion over the man’s death. Of course, the man was old, having died when he was in his late 80’s. Maybe, that’s why no-one cried during the funeral service. I know that none of the family members had an actual relationship with the man. At the time of burial, the spath’s mother was the only one who cried.

          • Bluejay, I’ve tried to read down through the discussion, but I wanted to respond to your initial question as to whether or not there are more spaths in his family. My belief is that there can be a history of spathy – maybe, not as PRONOUNCED as the spaths that we’ve encountered, but a dsyfunction, nevertheless.

            In both of my marriages, both men were from violent or disordered families. Some of these family members appeared more “normal” than others, but there was a distinct pattern of behaviors, especially in the second exspath’s dynamics.

            NONE of the second exspath’s family members ever showed any emotion other than envy, contempt, and disdain of others, EVEN at funerals.

            When both of my parents passed, the exspath never shed a single tear. Not one for MY grief, the grief of other family members, OR for the passing of a human being. THIS should have been a farking clue for me!

            And, I’ve known other spaths that could cry on cue – just as a trained actor can summon up tears, so did these other spaths. But, their tears lacked sincerity which, in retrospect, was pretty obvious.

            Follow the genetics, Bluejay. Follow the family history and behaviors, and you’ll really be able to connect the dots.

        • Joyce,

          There were some experiences that I had while D. was on the run that led me to strongly suspect that his family members were aiding and abetting their brother, D.

      • Blue Jay,
        I’m curious, what types of reactions did the spath’s family members have?

        When I was a kid, 15, I ran away from home. Was gone 2 weeks. Nobody cared. My lil spath sis IMMEDIATELY moved into my room. She didn’t wait ONE day.

        The police brought me back but if they hadn’t nobody else would have even looked for me.

        This is in stark contrast to now, that I’m 47 and my parents are asking if we can live together. makes me want to cry.

        • Sky, your parents are getting on in years and your brother in the basement, the troll, isn’t going to take care of THEM and you know your sister isn’t going to take care of them, and YOU are the one CHOSEN as the family scape goat to make everyone happy, so YOU need to live with them or they with you so that YOU can take can take care of them. That is so funny, if it wasn’t so sick, sky….my own mother when I was taking care of her and my step dad for 24/7 with him dying with cancer and her having complications from surgery, would say to me how wonderful I was in taking care of them, but “who’s going to take care of you when you get old?” Well, I knew Patrick wasn’t and my Daughter in law was having an affair with the man sent to kill me, but that didn’t matter, she hated me from the day she met me as I had “her number” as a gold digger from the first “Hi”—only she didn’t figure that the gold was NOT in my son’s hands but in my mother’s hands…so she was pretty well disappointed in her “meal ticket” not being flush with gold.,..my son was just a hard working stiff . At the time it seemed like a “compliment” but back handed, sort of like telling someone “You’re not too ugly for a fat girl” LOL

          Only months and months later did I realize that she was INSULTING me and trying to tell me that while I might be being nice to my parents that my kids didn’t like me a bit…well, you know what, that’s not true…and the odd thing is that now SHE has no one except paid help to take care of her, though she lives in a fantasy world that Patrick is going to get out of prison and come live with her and help take care of her in her old age. Nah, that’s not going to happen. And frankly, I’m no longer obligated to take care of her either, and she’s lied to my other sons and they won’t have anything to do with her, and before her betrayals either one of them would have GLADLY wiped her butt for a decade before they would have seen her go to a nursing home if she couldn’t live alone. But not now. She has discarded everyone who was THERE for her and has latched on to the one person who NEVER CARED FOR HER (or anyone else for that matter)

          Not a fortunate choice me thinks.

        • skylar,

          At the time of my father-in-law’s funeral, I was crying (but mainly because I was filled with tremendous anxiety due to things that I was experiencing at home courtesy of the spath). D. has a brother, B. who got up and talked at the funeral – he resembles D. in that he’s congenial, giving a good impression. There simply was no crying among the children. Also, my father-in-law’s two children from his failed first marriage did not attend the man’s funeral. As I think about it, they all usually do NOT react to anything, keeping a straight face. Nothing seems to faze them, get them boiling angry. Not the case with me.

        • skylar,

          I don’t understand your family’s mindset – why they didn’t report you missing. If it were me, I would have been sick with worry over my child being away from home. I imagine you were puzzled by their response too.

        • BlueJay,
          Everything about my parents puzzles me. From the moment I came out of the womb, nothing has made sense! So when they didn’t go looking for me, I was only puzzled for an instant, and the next instant I decided not to think about it. I’ve got a HUGE WTF? bucket.

          My question to you was about your spath’s family’s reaction to his going missing. You said they were unemotional, but what exactly WAS their reaction? Did they look for him? put up posters? call the police? What did they say to you and your kids?

          I wonder if they weren’t already in on it.

          When people give eulogies at funerals, I can’t figure out how they do it without breaking down into tears. I managed one time to read a bible passage at a funeral, but every single funeral since then, I’ve been a wailing disaster. I’m totally useless in that situation.

          • D.’s family was very matter-of-fact, all about getting things done. They took all of the spath’s business equipment, crap from his storage unit (s), and hauled it to my property, leaving it at my house. They had me (when I was not in a good state of mind) to tend to this chit, wanting me to pay for expenses that came up, even though their brother and I were separated. They took care of things relating to their brother. One brother, B., had me go see a business attorney, finding out what to do about the business that now didn’t have an owner running it. The sisters would sit at my kitchen table and not really say anything – they were always straight-faced, when talking about their brother having gone missing. My kids and I were basket cases. One brother, B., went down to the police station and talked to the detective, having no idea what the other siblings did (in the days ahead). Up until the time that D. was found (in another state), we all simply waited for D. to be located. At least, that’s how my kids and I operated. The waiting was awful. Personally, I was ticked that my kids and I were put in this position, not needing it one bit.

          • Blue Jay,
            that is so interesting — their reactions. Similar to how my spath sister immediately moved all my things out of my room and moved herself in. It’s like they are just looking for an opportunity to move the chess pieces around and gain power or to participate in the drama.

            And her husband, after his brother committed suicide (at their encouragement), arranged the most beautiful funeral for him. It was so dramatic.

            It amazes me that I lived in the midst of all these creatures for so long and couldn’t put it together.

          • BlueJay,
            also, their moving his stuff to your house was about making you take responsibility for his business assets, even though you were separated.

            Here’s another interesting thing: I read once that when a spath loses his main supply, he tends to uproot and move far away. When I discarded him, my spath said, “I can go to where NOBODY could ever find me!”

            whatever. I wish.

            But your spath actually tried to act out that fantasy.

            They both (your spath and mine) remind me of when I ran away. I just wanted to escape for as long as I could remember, since infancy. I wanted to disappear and become someone else. I planned my escape for several years. I think spaths are like children.

            Ironically, I’m still not able to escape and I’m an old woman now. I can’t see my future.

        • Joyce,
          the parallels between our stories is not lost on me. I think of you often when I have parental contact.

          The purpose of a scapegoat is to unify a population or group. We tend to think of this sacrificial scapegoat as being bound and gagged and stabbed to death so that everyone can feel relief. Yet there is another way that it starts and I’m seeing it differently now.

          I was always the GLUE in our family. Even before they decided to attack me, I was taking on the responsibility for keeping the family together. These people didn’t even buy each other xmas presents until I set the example. Even then, it was too much trouble to pick out a gift, they would send money or gift cards or else they would call ME and ask what so-and-so would like. They don’t care about each other.

          It was at my insistence that my parents took the spath brother back into the house. (dumb me). I’m the one who encouraged him to let bygones-be-bygones, after spath sis tried to have him sent to prison. It goes on and on. For some reason, I chose myself to be responsible for their emotions.

          That gave them a taste of blood in the water. It made them want to feed on me.

          This is why we shouldn’t take more responsibility than is ours, because it triggers some people to want to hurt us. It’s part of human nature for many.

          • Bluejay, the act of assuming the responsibilities of others’ actions and choice, AND acting as “Peacemaker” seriously resonates with me – it’s what I’ve done my entire life.

            Second chances. Bygones being bygones. Benefit of the doubt…..all of these things have (in my personal experiences) been WASTED upon shells of human beings.

            The hardest thing that I processed was the fact that some people “don’t care.” I was told this twice within a very short time frame by 2 very different professionals. The first was my counseling therapist, and the second was my divorce attorney. They each used those exact words, “He doesn’t care.” And, I just couldn’t wrap my head around this for a long, long time.

            Skylar, I truly feel for your angst about your family members and their behaviors. Sometimes, people reproduce for reasons OTHER than simply wanting a child to love and nurture. Sometimes, we’ll never truly “know” what their motives were. But, what is clear is that OxD is spot-on: the ‘rents are getting on in age and they are setting out baited lures. Ugh….(((HUGS))) because these nasty games are toxic and very painful.

  3. Good topic and in such a timely manner. I have been known to give people chances, quick to judge at times and slow to react at others.

    I agree with Skylar about the boundary violations and how spaths test the boundaries before moving in for the kill. But in the case of my spath, he eased his way in, knowing I would likely be on high alert. the first few boundary tests were so subtle a lot of people could have easily missed them and many people I know- did.

    Joyce I agree 1000% on trusting your gut. I have found as of late and from long before, your gut never steers you wrong and when you put your foot down, take charge, make the rules, etc. things almost always go exactly as you need them to. Things shape up, go as planned, follow the path you laid out and you get what you needed.

    There is another thing to consider in all of this. The “Accidentally on purpose” actions of the spath. They are ‘trying to help’ but in the middle of it all, things break, stuff falls apart and now they can’t do what they were doing because they no longer have the tools to do it. Poor, poor me and throw the victim card. Really it was their carelessness that breaks things, but it looks as if they were working and being productive. “I was helping you…whine, snivel, whine”, (only as long as it took to figure out the easiest way out of doing anything).

  4. Joyce, thank you SO much for this article. Whether or not a person is a sociopath isn’t for “us” to determine, I agree. I’ve talked to SO many people who describe a family member, friend, coworker, or someone else in terms of high sociopathic traits, and they ask MY opinion. Are they toxic? Do you feel drained after they leave? Do you feel confused or off-balance while you’re with them? Do you feel devalued or dismissed? Do you feel manipulated? “Yes,” to any of these questions should give pause for thought. Just because a person hasn’t been charged, tried, and convicted of a crime does NOT mean that they aren’t “offenders” or thoroughly toxic to others.

    I’m all for people making actual “mistakes.” Without making mistakes, I cannot learn. But, when people do things that will hurt or damage others, knowingly, that’s “intent” in my book. Someone who will manipulate another to get whatever it is that they want is doing it DELIBERATELY. All of the “I’m sorry,” isn’t going to amount to anything if they do the same thing, again, and again.

    The “accidentally, on purpose” thing gets my panties all in a bunch because I’ve known people that would be viewed as “good” do things deliberately. I clearly remember watching the studio director pick up and let go of someone’s pottery before loading it into the kiln and saying to another employee, “Oops!” They both laughed their heads off over this, and the employee said, “It was so ugly, anyway.” Neither of these people realize that I witnessed this, to this day, and I STILL “trusted” the director once the mentioned employee moved on to bigger and greener pastures.

    One person mentioned “intent” as being the key to whether or not a person had issues. I feel that it’s whether or not their actions were “deliberate” that speaks about their level of toxicity. To me, the equations goes like this: deliberation + intent = toxic. And, for me, toxic is OUT, no matter whom it might be.

  5. There are various levels of “murder” or killing someone and various levels of consequences depending on the INTENT of the crime.

    Of course “In Danger+ intent to kill=self defense, no consequence” or Justifiable homicide

    hit someone in a fight, NOT intending to kill them, maybe “man slaughter”. May go to jail. Like that kid that punched the ref in a ball game and the guy died.

    Attack someone in anger and intentionally kill them, but NO premeditation, 2nd degree murder probably go to jail.

    So INTENT is very important, I think, and it seems that the LAW THINKS it is important to some degree as well. I don’t always agree with the consequences, for example I think DRUNK or drugged DRIVING **first offense*** should be 10 years in prison, and after that get TOUGH…second offense hang their bodies by the roadside for the crows to pick like they used to in Merry old England. My grandfather and 2 close friends were killed by drunk drivers so I am sort of RABID on this subject I admit.

    I don’t have a problem with someone rotting their liver with all the booze they want to consume but I don’t think they should get behind the wheel and if they do, it is a DELIBERATE though unwise choice made while they are drunk which is not a good time to make decisions. While there IS a genetic aspect to alcoholism or drug addiction, in my opinion it is still a CHOICE to drink/drug AND drive. Just as if someone took a gun and got out on the freeway and started shooting but didn’t hit anyone, they should be arrested and prosecuted heavily…getting out on the freeway in a car when you are drunk or drugged, even if you don’t hit anyone, should still be a VERY serious crime with appropriate jail time.

  6. Joyce,

    The spath makes deliberate choices to screw people, banks, businesses, etc., over. He will not reform because he is corrupt – he doesn’t care how his crimes impact others. He’s a low-life.

    • Blue, your x husband’s seeming JOY in hurting you and your kids as much as possible while trying to paint himself as a “victim” LOL goes to the very heart of toxic people who are without conscience (like you said knowingly and deliberately doing immoral and illegal things over and over and over).

      I’m sorry too for the impact that his bad acts have had on you and your children….he has NO SHAME but you and your children feel it…I hope that over time both you and ALL your children can disconnect from him. God bless and protect you, Bluejay.

  7. skylar,

    I was upset because the spath threatened to commit suicide, not wanting that to be on my head. In his letters, he basically blamed me for his actions. In the end, it was all b.s. – he was not going to harm himself. My emotions were toyed with. You don’t do this to other people. The spath is twisted, not having a clue how his actions impact others. His family members don’t talk about emotions – you never hear any of them say, “I feel…” I am good at talking, expressing myself (at least I think I am), but, none of them really talk, express how they FEEL about anything. They are more action-oriented, not, talk-oriented, expressing emotions. That’s my impression of them (and it’s not all bad, being action-oriented, I mean, but you do need balanced, also able to express your feelings).

  8. skylar,

    I was upset because the spath threatened to commit suicide, not wanting that to be on my head. In his letters, he basically blamed me for his actions. In the end, it was all b.s. – he was not going to harm himself. My emotions were toyed with. You don’t do this to other people. The spath is twisted, not having a clue how his actions impact others. His family members don’t talk about emotions – you never hear any of them say, “I feel…” I am good at talking, expressing myself (at least I think I am), but, none of them really talk, express how they FEEL about anything. They are more action-oriented, not, talk-oriented, expressing emotions. That’s my impression of them (and it’s not all bad, being action-oriented, I mean, but you do need balanced, also able to express your feelings).

    • Bluejay, I become very angry when people threaten suicide and blame others for even considering that option. The first abusive exspath used to do that, ALL of the time. In fact, he would threaten murder/suicide that he was going to shoot our children, then me, then himself. And, I had no reason to doubt this because he was violent and unpredictable.

      • Threatening suicide is in my opinion one of THE worst “mean” things anyone can do to another, ESPECIALLY to children, which in this case Blue’s X did to his young children.

        The “I’m gonna kill myself and it’s YOUR FAULT because you won’t do what I want you to” is about as low as it goes. Many people with personality disorders use this “suicide threats” and gestures as ways to try to get their loved ones to give them their way….many times the loved ones are so scared that they will carry it out that they give in….so the next time the person is frustrated they use it again….sometimes they even DO it, which is the ultimate “fark you” to those who love them, and sometimes suicide is despair and hopelessness not to hurt the family. It is a terrible burden on those left behind though because they feel many times “I might could have stopped it”

      • My exspath talked about suicide all the time. But not his own. He would mention others who had committed suicide. He had a police scanner so he could go film video for the local news, and he said he couldn’t believe how many suicides were reported each day.

        One day he told me, “Committing suicide is the worst thing a person can do to another person.” He said it like he was angry at me. I’m still not sure what that was supposed to mean. Did he think that he was planting a seed of an idea for me?

        • Sky, to answer your question, I think he WAS trying to plant a seed with you so that when he made you angry enough, sad enough, hopeless enough in getting him to stop torturing you, that you would want to do the WORST thing you could do to him…and of course, that would be to KILL YOURSELF. LOL

          Yea, Patrick’s buddy’s mission was to kill me and make it look like suicide. But when I realized who he was and went into hiding, they went to plan B…I can laugh about it now but Patrick DIAGNOSED my “problems” as a brain tumor, that was why I was being such a witch to Hamilton and making up all those “bad stories” about him raping three young children. LOL It was my “brain tumor” and I had Bell’s palsy once which makes one side of your face droop for a few days or weeks, but goes away. At the time you have it it sort of looks like a person with a stroke, and he “diagnosed” that as a stroke. Which it wasn’t. So he had all kinds of reasons I should kill myself. LOL Funny I didn’t know they had medical schools in prisons these days…sure glad to know they are working on filling the shortage of physicians in this country by educating these guys like Patrick to make medical diagnoses of brain tumors and such. LOL

      • Truthspeak,

        I didn’t know that D. was even thinking about suicide because I was practically No Contact with him, so, when my oldest son found a ton of suicide letters (to various people) in our mailbox, I lost it. Today, I think that D. is one of the sickest, most screwed up people that I know. Memories of those days are bad ones.

  9. skylar,

    I basically have no contact with the spath’s family. The brother, B., did some confusing things at the time that his brother was “missing.” Once, I arrived home from work, and B. told me that he had something to show me. I let him lead me into my backyard where he took my hand, then put his arm around my shoulder – of course, I did not respond, being uncomfortable, totally confused by his actions. B. showed me a camper that family members had parked in my backyard, on my grass. He wanted to get money out of me, for having it towed to my property. Due to all the craziness, I want nothing to do with this family.

      • skylar,

        I wish you, me, and others healing and recovery from the toxic slime, a good way of describing what our spath experiences leave us with. Thanks. (((hugs and peace to you))).

    • Blue, that is rich of them to expect you to pay for having your x husband’s stuff stored (for free) at your house. LOL It seems that somehow toxic people think that it is our responsibility to take care of the disordered offenders, and try to guilt us into accepting that responsibility. I’m sure at the time you were under a lot of stress etc. but with 20/20 hind sight (always a good way to see things. LOL) you should have called the lien holder to come get it, if your name was on the title as well as his name, sold it, or simply called the cops and told them it wasn’t yours and have them tow it off….LOL

      Looking back with the 20:20 hind sight I would have done a lot of things differently myself…but I did the best I could at the time with the knowledge I had at the time as well…and we can’t change the past, only our reactions in the future.

    • You know, Bluejay, your story about your BIL’s creepy behavior reminds me of a “friend” of my ex husband’s and mine after our separation.

      This was a couple that my then husband and I had been very close to spending a lot of time at their house with them and I considered myself a friend to the man as well as the woman. they had a rabbit farm with a huge rabbit house with hundreds of female rabbits growing them for a company called Pel-freeze. I also grew a few rabbits for meat and have been interested in their business. So after the separation, my kids and I went to spend the weekend with this couple and while the wife was getting something done and the kids were off playing he invited me out to the rabbit house to look at some new female rabbits he had bought, as we walked down the lane between the cages inside the house, he (I thought) tripped and fell into me, and I tried to keep him from hitting the ground…it took me a minute to realize that he had “jumped my bones”: and was intending to have sex right there in the rabbit house.

      When I (very surprised) what his actual intentions were I told him in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that I did not do that…and he said soemthing about “I just figured you might be needing some, you can’t blame a guy for trying” and YES I could, but I told him (idiiot) that I would not tell his wife, which I never did.

      Turned out he had been a “player” in the past and she had left him and told him when she took him back that if he EVER did it again or tried even that would be the END forever.

      So anyway, I came back to see them a couple of weeks later and the wife was cold as ice..It was obvious .HE had told her I jumped HIS BONES and of course he had resisted me. LOL

      I never saw them again after I left that day.

      So just a gut thing with me, but I think your uneasiness at his touch etc is because you intuited that he was in a “subtle” way coming on to you.

  10. skylar,

    You’re young at heart, so, you’re not old. I cringed where you described yourself as an old lady. I’m a couple of years older than you, finding my age hard to believe (not being able to get my head around it).

  11. Okay, I want you “old” ladies to shut up about AGE!!!! Rat now!!!!! I’m going on 67 this fall, and only yesterday I was TWENTY-seven, the days go slow and the years go FAST!!! ROTFLMAO 🙂

    • Joycie…….LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!

      Some days, I FEEL like I’m as young as a toddler, and most other days, I FEEL like an archeological artifact…….oy-vey…..

  12. Truthspeak,

    I have a very good friend who has walked with me through the craziness of recent years. She is a good judge of character, really grasping how people are. My friend has told me (like the professionals who advised you at one time) that D.’s family members don’t care about what I have gone through or my children. I still can not wrap my head around it. I grew up assuming that everyone was pretty much the same, but, I learned differently, the hard way. I’m a late bloomer, I guess.

  13. Great discussion guys….yea when you start to look at the WARPED dynamics of our families /or the families of the offenders, even taking it back a generation or two, to see the dynamics that come down over the generations, it is definitely an AH HA moment for us NOW…the enabling we were trained to do, the scapegoating we were assigned, and the “care-taking” roles we were assigned. My maternal DNA donor was sure I would take care of her in her old age and she would never go to a nursing home…it was just understood. Of course she and I had taken care of my grandmother (her mother) in her last years and did it willingly without any resentment.

    So when daddy died and mom decided it was time for me to take care of her that’s when all hail broke loose. I had taken care of her and my daddy 24/7 while he was dying with cancer and she was down after surgery but after his death and my husband’s death nearly a year went by and I still took care of her, then realized I needed to care for MYself and do my own grieving and take care of my own business, and that’s when she got pithy, and of course with Patrick and the rest of the family, including the man he sent to kill me, all telling her she was a saint, oh, and BTW would you buy me a vehicle, loan me some money, etc.and she felt back on top again, didn’t “need” me at all she had others who would dance to her tune…well, until I got away and they went to plan B. Now she has no one, except her fantasy of Patrick…and though she is getting more frail, her help is all hired help.

  14. Joyce,

    I still don’t want to believe what I suspect might be true – that the BIL came onto me. His wife called me last spring and I suspect that she has noticed something in her husband, but, I didn’t tell her about my experiences with the BIL. She talked about his upbringing and how her husband came out of it, overcoming any obstacles – she seemed to want reassurance and I said something like, yeh, I guess so. I don’t want to disclose what happened, sparing her some pain. It makes me uncomfortable.

    • Bluejay, that’s why it’s termed, “cognitive dissonance” and “denial!” LOL

      True story:
      Staying at a friend’s home during a required business trip, out of state. Her boyfriend had only been living with her for little over one year. She was having difficulties with this guy because of his behaviors that were excused on bipolar disorder. Okay.

      ***Please, note: CAPS are used for emphasis, ONLY, and not to be construed as online yelling, under any circumstances.***

      My friend was at work, her domestic partner was at home (HER home) because he doesn’t work – he was declared “disabled” and receives SSDI. We were conversing about my upcoming business appointment and discussing our own anxiety issues, and I could clearly see where this conversation was heading, but I listened and responded during this exchange.

      This guy was all jovial and going into “deep” discussions about his “issues,” and started using a lot of AA language, like: inventory; accountabilitiy, etc. I just kept listening. He was speaking to me as if I were a very close and trusted compatriot and co-conspirator. “Only Truthspeak” understood HIS issues and battles, so I was being led to believe that I was hearing “deep things” about him……

      At one point, I mentioned that I had some anti-anxiety medications that I had brought because of this particular business appointment. This guy suddenly lowers his voice and looks around furtively and then says, “I was wondering if you could hook me up with one of those? Just don’t tell _____, okay?” I KNEW this was coming – he’s taken these things from other long-time associates of his girlfriend and even stole HER post-surgical pain killers. I looked at this guy and said, “No. I won’t do that. You’re taking too many prescriptions that might interact badly.”

      The light switch flipped. He went from jovial and conspirator to MEAN and suspicious in a nanosecond. Did I tell his girlfriend (MY friend that was so good to me)? You farking BET I did. I risked our friendship because I felt (and, believed) that she needed to know what this man was doing in her own home. She had already voiced concerns over his behaviors, and this was just another bit of evidence that proved, without a doubt, that this boyfiend (spelling error intended) was a danger to her and her relationships. Whether or not she got angry at me for telling her the truth was NOT going to be my problem.

      Once I left, he despised me, entirely and let her know it. Before he asked me to keep a secret from my friend, I was the best of the best. In the same day, literally, I went from that to being hated with ferocity – and, this was something that she recognized even BEFORE I told her about his request for my drugs and to keep that request a secret. She knew. And, that incident was helpful for her to make a decision, later, about her own safety and well-being.

      NOBODY who has ANY “good” intentions is going to demand that one friend or family member keep secrets from another. If it’s something THAT delicate, then they need to either NOT involve other people, or they need to address it with their partner or family member, personally.

      Secrets are dangerous and actually FEED bad behaviors. By keeping a secret, we agree to ignore and/or enable others’ bad behaviors. What are we afraid of when we don’t tell someone what their partner or family member is doing? Are we afraid that we’re going to lose that relationship? If it’s THAT toxic and a secret is THAT important, then it might not be such a healthy relationship from the gate.

      Secrets = toxic, and I cannot enable toxicity, anymore. In a previous life, I might have actually FELT guilty for not giving the boyfiend my medication – seriously. On that day, I recognized just how much damage one person can do to another when secrets are kept. This gal didn’t deserve what was being done behind her back, and the other “friends” that enabled this guy’s behaviors and addiction are NOT her friends, at all.

      So………rant over…… 😉

  15. Blue, I didn’t tell the wife either…I figured she needed to find out for herself, in those cases usually it is the messenger that is slain, not the perp…I think you did right not to disclose your thoughts to your SIL…the ONLY time I ever got involved in something like that and “told” was him my Best friend’s husband ACCUSED HER of having an affair to me, and named the man and the place, and I WAS WITH HER AT THAT TIME AND PLACE and I know for SURE she did not…I told him that, and I also told her what he had said to me. Maybe I was wrong to do so, I’m still not sure..I did find out later that he is abusive of her, at least financially and emotionally. Which though I had known them for decades, I did not know because she never complained and the man traveled for a living so I wasn’t around him much til he retired, then I saw the TRUTH. and when he lit in on me verbally I told him I wasn’t married to him and didn’t have to take his shiat. I have neither heard from her or seen her since that day nearly 3 years ago. But I understand the mental fog she is in, the trap after nearly 50 years of marriage. We had been best friends for 30+ years at that time. I miss that friendship but Ii also realize that there was some dysfunction there too…

  16. I’ve been under the weather lately with a case of pneumonia, and haven’t felt like writing any articles…though a couple of readers have suggested some great topics, so I thought I’d take a page out of Truthy’s book and “revive” some of the older articles.

    To me, this is one of those “ah ha” subjects…the difference between “mistakes” and “choices.”

    Also, I think it is good to remember that we can’t “label” someone legally, even if we “know” that their behavior falls into a pathological sphere. What we can do is to notice the CHOICES they have made and are making, and from those choices see what their character is and decide if we want to be associated with such individuals.

    • Joyce, it is always a good option to revisit important discussions like this one. And, I have you firmly in my most positive thoughts, prayers, and energies!

      We are not “qualified” to make an assessment, absolutely. We can voice our beliefs in such a way that does not leave us open for civil action, and that is a very important thing to understand for most people who are just out and still quite raw from our experiences. We WANT others to know what we experienced and the type of individual that perpetrated the harms, but we must be very cautious about how we relate our experiences to be truthful, honest, and objective (whenever possible) to avoid giving such toxic people ammunition with which to FURTHER inflict damages…..

      The second exspath had already told me that he was attending a “Goth Party” in Philadelphia with a couple that he knew “…from work…” that I had NEVER heard him mention, before. This was the most glaring indication that he had been doing things behind my back, and I asked him, straight-up, if he were engaging in an affair. His answer was (and, I quote), “What woman would HAVE me?” LMAO!!!!!!!!!! Uh……….talk about deflecting……..

      Fast forward to immediately prior to my discovery of WHAT he was doing in Philadelphia to his asking me (again, I quote), “Do you think I’m BiPolar?” My answer was, “I am not qualified to make such an assessment, and you would know better than I of your own symptoms.” He was setting up the notion that he had a mental illness……….just in case………because things were beginning to unravel, and he knew it.

      Observing a person’s deliberate choices and comparing those actions and choices to the words that they speak is a tremendous tool in personal safety. I do not have time for anyone that continues to make BAD choices or follow through with decidedly toxic behaviors.

  17. Truthy, even in a clinical setting diagnosing “bi polar” disorder is sometimes very difficult as generally the person who is manic is not coming in, so professionals see only the depressed state of the person. There is a young man in my family that I am now convinced is bi-polar and it has been a difficult decision for me even though I have known him well since he was an infant. He is also ADHD so that makes it even more difficult to make a diagnosis, and many people have multiple problems, not just one. Having one problem doesn’t keep you from having others and psychopaths generally have several, including ADHD and Bi-polar, Hamilton, who attacked our family had all those diagnoses and apparently the DNA necessary for them is all sort of “together” in the genes, though a person can have 1,2, or 3 different diagnoses.

    The CHOICES (not mistakes) that people make are the hallmark of their character in my opinion. The choice to hurt others, to lie and be dishonest, is just that, a CHOICE and when people make dishonest choices, it doesn’t matter what the diagnosis is, they are not people that we can trust.

    The man I spoke of who is diagnosed ADHD and I’ve also seen deep DEEP depression, up to and nearly suicidal, I think does most of the dishonest things he does, the bad choices (though not on the level of a psychopath because he does have a conscience) I think are done when he is manic, though his mania doesn’t go to the extent that he is psychotic or hearing voices, he does feel invincible.

    Many people who are diagnosed bi-polar do not take medication consistently because they actually enjoy the “highs.” Treating a person who is bi polar with anti-depressants can actually throw them into a manic high which can be a disaster.

    The bottom line though is that CHOICES which are made for whatever reason, still have CONSEQUENCES.

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