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LIFE HAPPENS — 4 Comments

  1. For dealing with people who are toxic, whether or not they are psychopaths or just users or mooches, I suggest reading GAMES PEOPLE PLAY by Dr. Eric Berne, this is a simple way to look at the interactions of how people deal with you, their ego states and how to avoid playing their “game” which leaves you in the ditch.

    It is written in simple language that anyone can understand and is even funny. Dr. Berne had a great sense of humor, for further reading his book WHAT DO YOU SAY AFTER YOU SAY HELLO is the next step.

    In order to deal with the toxic people in our lives we must first EDUCATE OURSELVES TO BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE THEM. And to recognize what we do to stay in their games, rather than opting out.

    It is a life long process of learning and we can start to heal ourselves and the wounds that have been inflicted on us in the past.

    I admit that for decades I fell into the trap of ENABLING others to continue to do their worst by allowing them another chance after ANOTHER CHANCE and just keep up the malignant hope (a cancer of my soul) that they would see how much I loved them and quit hurting me.

    I will not become cynical and stop caring about people and helping them if I can, but I will no longer allow myself to be manipulated into enabling them.

    Learn all you can to protect yourself. God bless.

  2. I had missed this post until just now Joyce.
    Even educating ourselves to recognize them is not enough. I’m pretty well educated on the subject and can spot them a mile away, but when they’re in our own family, it becomes a blur of disordered traits and it couldn’t POSSIBLY be psychopathy. right? wrong. I’m starting to understand that my sister is indeed a psychopath. She’s just kind of a dumb one, so you tend to overlook so many of her WTF? statements.

    Regardless of who the psychopath is, our spouse, our parent or our sibling, the reason we can’t see them for what they are is because we don’t want to. We CARE. As the Green River Murderer said, when he was asked what made him different from other people, “It’s that caring thing.”

    You call it malignant hope and you’ve counseled me many times on the subject. But still, I F*!KING CARE. I now know that it is impossible to care and to see clearly at the same time. That is why the psychopaths train themselves not to care at all. Caring colors our perspective. Worse yet, we care because we like caring, not because the people that we care about are deserving of it.

    Obviously it’s going to be difficult to not care about my family members but I have to remember that just because you care for a snake doesn’t mean it won’t bite you. Care from a far and stock some anti-venom, just in case you slip up.

    Great article, Joyce, you said the words I needed to hear right now. Thank you.

  3. Skylar, it IS MORE DIFFICULT to spot the psychopaths (or even the severely dysfunctional folks) in our families. I was usually pretty assertive with non-family members but with “close friends” and blood relatives I had “door mat” on my back. Like you, it took me decades to see that you cannot change these people and that they will hurt you any chance they get.

    I was talking with a friend today who is a survivor of two marriages to psychopaths and we discussed this very subject.

    A couple of days ago a man I had known for over 50 years and and cared a great deal pulled a couple of stunts that made me back totally away from this “friendship” First he invited me and a friend of mine who was visiting from out of state to go on a road trip with him.

    During the drive his driving scared me to death, he was using both hands to “talk” while the car which was going too fast, to weave on the road. I asked him to slow down, then he ignored me. Then I asked again quite forcefully and he started yelling at me that his driving was fine and I wasn’t going to tell him how to drive in HIS car. My friend was in the back seat having a “heart attack.” So when he ignored me again I said very forcefully, “Stop here right now and let me out” He kept on driving and I repeated my demand that he stop and let us out on the side of the road. Finally he turned around and drove back to a church parking lot, got out and let me drive.

    I wish now that I had used my cell phone to have called the police and told them I had been kidnapped.

    A couple of days later he came over to my house and yelled at me that he wanted a gun he had asked my son to repair for him since it had been a month and the gun was not yet repaired. He also had several guns here that he wanted my other son to appraise for him but he demanded the one that he had requested be fixed of a minor problem (for free of course) be returned because we had taken too much time to get it fixed.

    My son wasn’t home at the time and I was not sure where the gun was or which one it was so as he was yelling at me, I told him I would return it as soon as my son came home.

    When my son came home we loaded up all of his guns and took them back to his house then drove back home. I really do not expect to hear from him again, and don’t want to.

    The odd thing is that several folks who know about these two events think I am some kind of meanie for breaking off contact with him. They would say things like “maybe he is under a lot of stress”

    He is quite elderly but does not seem to me to be in any way senile, his memory is good both long and short term. He has been to some extent controlling inn the past, but not to this extent.

    I could list 100 other folks and the “problems” I tried to smooth over when they used me or abused me, and not all of them were psychopath, just selfish or dysfunctional in some way.I know that you and I both have had several psychopaths both in our family and our “friendship” circle. It isn’t only the CARD CARRYING PSYCHOPATHS we need to get out of our lives, but those people who do not respect us or our boundaries.

    For years I had NO boundaries for “close friends” or family members who were dysfunctional or psychopathic. Once I actually CAUGHT a “friend” in the act of stealing from me and I CRIED FOR 3 DAYS because I had “embarrassed her” by catching her stealing. I look back on this episode and laugh now, that I would be so much of an enabler.But the episode had a great benefit for me because it MADE ME THINK about my own dysfunctional habits in enabling these users, allowing them to use and abuse me over and over.

    Learning about the DARK TRIAD of “rescuer-persecutor-victim” and SEEING myself more clearly inn the mirror of my mind allowed me to LEARN TO SET BOUNDARIES. Setting boundaries of how I ALLOW others to treat me, whether or not the are full on psychopaths or just jerks. I don’t need either of these people in my life.

    I treat others with respect and I expect and DEMAND that they treat me with respect as well. I no longer have any trouble walking away from a relationship that however long or close it was has degenerated into lack of respect on their part. Unless of course that the person inn question has genuine remorse and DEMONSTRATES this by a valid apology as well as a change of behavior.

    Both Jesus and St. Paul talked about what to do if a “brother” offends you, you talk to them privately, if that doesn’t work, take witnesses, if that doesn’t work take it to the church and if that doesn’t work then “treat them like a heathen, not even to eat with them.” To me that sounds like NO CONTACT. I figure if it is good enough for Jesus and St. Paul it is a pretty good idea.

    Apologies must show a change in behavior to be valid. I got not even so much as an “I’m sorry” from this man, and in fact, he tried to blame ME for not having the gun fixed on his time table. I had tried to explain that we had crops to tend to and my son was working from can to can’t every day to get irrigation up etc. but he wanted my son to neglect our crops to get his fun fixed IMMEDIATELY. We were simply trying to do him a favor but it was apparently not to his liking. It wasn’t like he had a pressing need and I didn’t come to his aid, he wasn’t out on the freeway with two flat tires and I told him we didn’t have time to come out to rescue him.

    I do not ever want to lose my altruism because people don’t always appreciate what I might do to try to help them, but at the same time, when Jesus healed 10 lepers and only one came back to thank him, Jesus didn’t stop caring or helping others, and I don’t want to stop caring, but at the same time, I don’t have a sign on my back that says “kick me.”

    Losing a person we care about or love because they are psychopathic or dysfunctional HURTS, that is the truth. BUT we can also realize that we don’t have to give a pass for abusive behavior to ANY one. EVER.

    Skylar I know it hurts, but I also know that it is a lesson that you needed to learn. The pain will lessen as time goes on, but do not ever lose the lesson. God bless.

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