Tag Archive | psychopath

A Psychopath’s Responsibility

I’ve been asked repeatedly my thoughts on the girl who cajoled her boyfriend into killing himself, and I’ve been hesitant to really say much on the subject, but I’ve given the matter enough thought now. So strap in–we’re going to cover many different angles very quickly.

Prison?

Whether the girl is guilty of murder or not, prison is not the answer, because two wrongs don’t make a right. Whatever the girl may or may not be guilty of, prison is not the answer. So it goes without saying that, whatever my thoughts on what the girl did, I am not saying that she should be kidnapped and imprisoned against her will by the state.

With That Said…

I’m frankly stunned by the number of libertarians I’m seeing who express the sentiment that the girl bears absolutely no responsibility for the guy’s death, and, without being overly generalizing, I suspect that most of these people have never witnessed nor experienced psychological abuse. It should go without saying, though, that psychological abuse… is abuse. Not only is psychological abuse abuse, but it’s a critical tool in the psychopath’s toolbox, if not the most important tool at their disposal. It is, after all, psychological abuse that prevents men and women in violent relationships from leaving. It is what causes one to continually go back to the abuser, no matter how flagrant the abuses are. I’ve written about this before, having gone through it with a psychopath, and won’t spend a lot of time on it here.

I’ll say, however, that only someone who is ignorant of the damage that a psychopath can do to a person’s mind could allow someone to absolve psychopaths of the consequences of their psychological abuse. It is psychological abuse that causes teens to kill themselves. It is psychological abuse that causes transgender and gay teens to kill themselves. Psychological abuse, while not as obviously a violation of the NAP as punching someone yourself, clearly is a form of violence. I would argue that it’s a more horrific form of violence than physical abuse, because it is the psychological abuse that causes victims of violence to return to their abuser, and that causes kids in abusive homes to believe they are wicked and filled with demons, even if they have done nothing wrong, which may manifest in the person’s mind for decades to come, longer after the scars of any physical violence have healed.

It was long-term psychological abuse that caused me to be in the third grade and begging a devout Christian friend to stand before me and say, “Get thee behind me, Satan” to exorcise the demons from me–demons that I firmly believed possessed me because of the desires and needs that I had to repress. It was that same psychological abuse that caused me to be in my late 20s before I was able to come to terms with something that had been true at least since I was three years old and hiding my underwear so that I had an excuse to wear my sister’s. More than two decades of self-loathing, doubt, confusion, strife, and suicide attempts followed before I was able to come to terms with everything, and the psychological, religiously-motivated abuse is the reason why–a fact to which the scars on my wrists will testify.

I was in the fifth grade, I think, the first time I attempted to hang myself. Young and inexperienced, I used a braided leather belt. It snapped. For the next several years, I cut myself regularly. They were not suicide attempts by any means, but neither were they cries for attention; I did everything that I could to hide them. I wouldn’t be able to explain why I did it, but I did. My body is marked with scars from razor blades. My wrists, my upper arms, my chest, my legs… And, of course, there were the sincere attempts, the hospitalization in a behavioral ward, and all that fun stuff.

Testaments to the tremendous damage that extended psychological abuse can cause.

If you don’t think that the girl who texted her boyfriend and stayed on the phone with him as he cried out and choked to death bears any responsibility for that, then you don’t have any ground to stand on to lament what my father and grandmother did to me, because they are two manifestations of the same thing: psychological abuse.

The Psychopath’s Toolkit

The psychopath is an expert at manipulation. David Karesh, the Church of Scientology, and countless other cults around the world are experts at manipulation, but there are also those whose ambitions are smaller, and bloodlust more controlled. They seek out damaged people and then destroy them. They know exactly how to worm their way into your mind, and how to bend you to their will.

If you think you’re immune to it, you’re not.

The only thing a person can do to arm themselves against it is to gain knowledge in the psychopath’s tactics, to learn the manipulation techniques, to stay alert of them. However, in learning those techniques, a person will find out exactly how much damage a psychopath can do to a person’s mind, and I find it hard to believe, to be completely honest, that anyone aware of the manner in which a psychopath can manipulate a person’s mind and destroy their agency would go on to deny that the psychopath has responsibility for what this destroyed person does.

Where shall we draw the line?

Is it morally wrong to type out “kys” in World of Warcraft’s Trade Chat? Should a person be considered guilty of murder if, having typed that out to someone, that person then kills themselves?

Why do we have to draw a line?

“One size fits all” justice is fundamentally flawed, because the circumstances of actions matter, infinitely more than the actions themselves.

If I push someone down, and they break their arm, then I am guilty of assault.

However, if I push someone down and out of the way of an oncoming train, and they break their arm, then I am a hero.

What’s the difference? There isn’t one. In both scenarios, I pushed the person, they fell, and they broke their arm. The only thing that’s different are the circumstances. Since the circumstances are different, the hypothetical result if I had done nothing have changed. If I had done nothing in the first example, the person would have continued on through their day without a broken arm–a superior consequence than what came about when I pushed them. If I did nothing in the second example, though, the person would have died–an inferior consequence than what came about when I pushed them. We are comparing hypotheticals here, and we’re making our assessment of morality based around that. That is always how we assign our moral values.

The alternative, had this girl not taken her actions, are that the guy would still be alive. Because of her actions, he is dead.

I see no way of escaping the conclusion that she is responsible for that. We’re not talking about someone who opted not to run into a burning house to try to rescue someone else. We’re not talking about hateful children who laughed as they watched someone drowned, and who couldn’t have saved the drowning victim anyway*. We’re talking about a girl who explicitly told her psychologically vulnerable and long-term victim of psychological abuse boyfriend to get back in the vehicle and finish dying. I am stunned that so many people are arguing that she did nothing wrong simply because she didn’t physically hold the door shut.

Group Responsibility?

While discussing this with someone on Facebook, someone said that only the individual is responsible for their actions. I pointed out that, by this reasoning, Hitler was not responsible for the Holocaust, and Stalin was not responsible for the murder of twenty-five million Christian farmers. To my shock, she said that was correct–the individuals who carried out those orders were responsible.

I don’t deny that the individuals who committed the actions are responsible. I’ve pointed this out in the past. However, the person who gave the command is absolutely as responsible. That’s what it literally means to have authority, to have power over someone, to have the responsibility of making decisions for someone. The psychopath takes this power slowly and with systemic psychological abuse, but they take the power all the same. Even so, the brainwashing tactics of the military are shockingly similar to those used by psychopaths: destroy their individuality and make them dependent on the command structure. That’s at least as much the point of boot camp as is physical training. The stated purpose is to break people down as individuals and build them back up as a part of a machine. This is done through psychological abuse.

No one is saying “Group responsibility.”

I am saying that all individuals who play a role in making sure that an action is undertaken bear responsibility for that action being undertaken. Quite the opposite, I’m the one arguing for individual responsibility. I’m not absolved of responsibility if I order a friend to kill someone and that friend does it. “Woah! I didn’t kill that person!” I could argue, and these NAP-advocates, evidently (the ones with whom I’ve spoken directly) would agree. I didn’t kill that person.

Even though I’m literally the one who caused it to happen…

Yes, the soldier who drops the bomb bears responsibility for that. So does the commander who ordered the bomb to be dropped, though.

“They could just disobey orders” is an inadequate answer. And it’s true that, if everyone refused to obey orders, war would cease to exist. But who is advocating group responsibility now? For the individual, refusing to obey orders results in arrest, kidnapping, and imprisonment. Through coercive means, that individual has most, if not all, responsibility for the action waived, in the same way that we American citizens bear no responsibility for what the state does with our tax money because, through coercive means, we are forced to obey and pay taxes. You can’t have it both ways, where Americans aren’t to blame for how tax dollars are used because we could just choose to not pay taxes, but other individuals are to blame for the results of actions they take under duress.

To say that only the person who personally executes a given action is responsible for that action is short-sighted and extremely narrow. It is tunnel vision on the minutae of the action. There is a lot of cause and effect that goes into every single action that a person takes, and not all of that is the person’s fault–much of it is beyond that person’s control. To suggest that only the person who personally executes the action is responsible is to say that a man who wakes one day to find a gun to his head and someone telling him, “If you don’t find and kill one person right now, I will kill you,” is the only person responsible for the action he commits, and that the person who put the gun to his head and gave him that ultimatum bears no responsibility.

“He still made the choice, though… He could have chosen to just die. He didn’t. He chose to murder someone, so that’s on him!”

It’s such a narrow way of viewing… reality. Cause and effect. Actions and consequences. Responsibility.

Suicide Isn’t a Violation of the NAP

No, it isn’t, and a person of sound mind has every right to take their own life. I’ve argued before, and will again, that suicide is not indicative of mental illness. However, this guy in question was clearly mentally ill. He was clearly unstable and incapable of making the decision to kill himself. If he was capable of making that decision alone, he wouldn’t have gotten out of the vehicle, for fuck’s sake. That he did get out of the vehicle is ipso facto proof that he did not have the agency required to soundly make the decision to kill himself.

I think a lot of the people arguing that the girl didn’t do anything “that wrong” don’t know what the girl did. They seem to think she just sent a few text messages. If only that was the extent of what she did… But it isn’t. He got out of the vehicle and called her, and she told him to get back in and finish killing himself. Then she stayed on the phone with him while he cried out in agony and died, because she wanted to ensure that he did see it through. That’s a FAR cry from typing out “kys” in a chatroom.

Through the verbal persuasion that is the gift of the psychopath, she held him in that vehicle until he died.

You can’t possibly think that a guy who got out of a vehicle, having decided that he didn’t want to go through with killing himself, called his girlfriend, and then climbed back in and stayed on the phone with her while he died was “of sound mind” to be making decisions about whether he wanted to live or die. The girl was clearly a poison to him.

If someone called you and confessed that they had been about to kill themselves, but gotten out of the vehicle, would you, under any circumstances, tell them to get back in, and then stay with them on the phone while they died? Absolutely not. Every single one of us would say, “Where are you? I’m coming to get you. Stay on the phone with me while I drive to you. Don’t get back in the vehicle.”

Because we’re not psychopaths.

No, we shouldn’t let the state set precedents in its One Size Fits All legal system that would allow it to prosecute anyone who ever said “kill yourself” in a text message, phone call, or chat room. Yet there’s an enormous gap between these things and what this girl did. And just as we should not allow the state to set precedents like that, neither should we set the precedent that psychopaths are not responsible for the consequences of their psychological abuse because it technically doesn’t include physical assault.

But abuse is abuse.

The NAP does not specify that violence has to be physical.

* Those who are not trained divers or trained lifeguards should never attempt to rescue a drowning person. Cold though it is to say, attempting it will ensure only that two people die. Drowning people thrash wildly, panicking, and are extremely likely to knock you unconscious. If you do not have a lifejacket and a rope or boat, you should never attempt to rescue a drowning person yourself, unless you’ve explicitly been trained to be a fantastic swimmer. Not only that, but if you do manage to get behind the person without being knocked unconscious, do you know how heavy another human being is when you’re pulling them through water? The average person doesn’t have the stamina to swim a hundred yards alone, much less when dragging someone else through the water.

1134 Words on a Psychopath

Anyone who has ever been the victim of a psychopath sees the clear parallels to domestic abuse. I grew up watching my mother be thrown through windows by alcoholic Everett Barber (yes, that’s really him, because FUCK HIM), beaten, punched, kicked, and choked. Everett is reformed now, and has been through AA, but I will not accept his redemption as valid until he’s actually apologized to my sister and me, and to our mom–I’ll accept the apology on my mom’s behalf.

I’ve certainly seen my fair share of domestic violence. So please understand that, when I make this analogy, I do so with full knowledge of the unbridled horror of it, and with full awareness of the helplessness of the people involved. Because that’s what perpetuates the violence–helplessness. As a child, I was helpless and powerless to affect the situation. But I tried. That early Saturday morning as my mom choked out, “Everett, I can’t breathe,” I tried, pulling two sharp knives from the kitchen drawer. “Mom, I’ve got a knife!” I shouted and took two steps toward the bedroom.

And then I stopped.

Because I was 8 years old. I was in the second grade, and this was a grown man. Knives or not, I knew I couldn’t take him.

I turned back to the drawer and, standing in darkness, dropped the knives. And then I burst into tears and repeatedly said, “Mom, I’m sorry…”

It only recently occurred to me why I apologized. I never thought about it until I reached that point in Dancing in Hellfire. I apologized because I couldn’t help her. I apologized because I was helpless. I apologized because I was powerless. There was NOTHING I could do.

You can’t imagine how badly I want to go to Everett’s house and totally fuck him up. I reject violence in all its forms, and that is the only thing staying my hand. I’m not a scared little kid now, and he’s not a big adult. I’m in my prime and he’s almost an old man. By all rights, I should now make him helpless and powerless.

But I won’t.

But neither am I able to forgive it or just let it go, and I doubt anyone would be able to. Not if they saw what I saw and heard what I heard.

So I know exactly what I’m drawinG parallels to. And I’m doing so for a reason. Because the psychopath systematically establishes power over the target until the target is helpless, and if you don’t know it’s coming the psychopath will succeed. And, often, the psychopath will succeed anyway, because the psychopath has spent a lot more time perfecting their craft than you will have spent perfecting your defense.

Get back from me, demon, or be exorcised.

Get back from me, demon, or be exorcised.

The psychopath knows what to offer you to entice you. Me, I was looking for a soulmate, someone to connect with on a different level, a kin spirit. Whatever you want, the psychopath knows how to make it appear that you’ve found it. The psychopath is good at this.

But it’s not just about lying to you. It’s about making you lie to yourself. It’s about using lies to make you tell and believe your own lies; it’s about the psychopath enticing you so much that you engage in self-deceit, because then the psychopath truly has power over you.

The psychopath will tell histories that conflict with what you remember. You are right. Never, ever lose sight of that. When something you know conflicts with the psychopath, you are the one who is right. Don’t let yourself believe the psychopath’s version thinking that you can secretly hold to the truth, go along with it, and play the psychopath’s game.

You can’t. You will lose.

The psychopath knows doublethink better than you, and the psychopath will not only use it, but will manipulate you into using it, and it’s then that you are nearly her thrall. By this point, it’s almost certainly got to run its course, which will be painful for you. Very painful. Don’t let it get this far. You are the one who is right. Don’t allow your memories or thoughts to be overwritten. Don’t play along.

The psychopath expects you to play along. Remember, the psychopath is several steps ahead. The psychopath knows fully that when you agree, you have conflict internally and that you are agreeing because you want to believe and that you’re entertaining the possibility that you misremember. When you say, “Hmm… I think I remember bits and pieces of that,” the psychopath knows you’re conflicted. But if you cede the ground that you are wrong, you’re giving the psychopath license to rewrite your memories in her favor. And the psychopath will do so.

A lot of people think that victims in abusive relationships are fools for hanging around, but it’s important to understand that there are a lot of emotional factors there. It’s almost like Stockholm Syndrome in nature–the abuser fulfills their needs and gets emotional highs from it, or some other kind of pleasure from it. But the victim gets something, too.

Yes, you are.

Yes, you are.

The victim is always chasing a carrot on a stick, and the psychopath is always dangling it and tempting with it. Your hope is the strongest weapon in the psychopath’s arsenal. Your hope that it will work out, that the abuse will stop, that you’ll get what is on offer… These are what give the psychopath power over you. The psychopath knows that you hope, and knows how to keep that hope alive. The psychopath keeps the tiny embers burning, kindling the fire just enough to keep it from going out altogether.

You have to let that fire die.

It’s not easy, and the psychopath knows that, too. It’s never easy to stop chasing the carrot, to give up hope and accept that you’ll simply never have the carrot, and it’s made harder by the psychopath’s insistence that you can have the carrot, often “one day.” But you want the carrot, don’t you? Isn’t the carrot fucking everything you ever wanted?

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to be used
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused

So knowing how to deal with a psychopath, and how to keep yourself protected (because the psychopath lives and loves to play games) is useful, but it doesn’t help much until you’ve identified a psychopath. That’s obviously a lot easier to do in hindsight, isn’t it? Only hindsight gives us the clarity to realize what has happened, how we were played with from the start, and how we were merely victims. How can we distinguish sincerity from psychopathy? How can we know we didn’t misremember?

We can’t.

Ego and Bait

This post is no longer 1134 words. I’m okay with that, because the preceding section is. Anyway.

One of the biggest telltale signs of a psychopath is an out-of-control ego. This doesn’t necessarily manifest in pride; obscene amounts of pride don’t necessarily mean psychopathy, and the psychopath is too clever to display large amounts of pride. The psychopath doesn’t do anything that blatantly gives away the ego.

Ego manifests in many ways, and perhaps the most obvious way is a lack of empathy. But it also appears in harder-to-notice condescension.

I’m saddened to think that I’m absolutely correct, but I don’t know what else to think. Between the stupid “communication through blogging” shit and the way she repeatedly tries to elicit an emotional response from me, only to immediately fall back to one sentence replies and silence, there’s nothing else I can think. She just keeps throwing bait out there and then running back to the shadows, presumably to laugh and enjoy herself when I take the bait. But I didn’t take the bait this time. I kicked it toward the bushes she fled to. And I won’t take the bait again.

Truly the most appropriate image there is for this.

Truly the most appropriate image there is for this.

This time I didn’t try to kick the football. I turned and tried to kick her (remember we’re being metaphorical here). I’m not going to do another somersault because she cajoled me into trying to kick the ball again. I’m not a fucking dolphin at Sea World. I’m Charlie Brown, and I’m no longer trying to kick the ball. Could she convince me to try again?

Absolutely. But not with words. No matter what she says, there are no words Lucy could use to get this Charlie to try to kick the ball again.

Ignorance: The Psychopath’s New Weapon

I actually do want to make the case at some point that humanity is in real trouble, especially in the United States, where we have cultivated ignorance and exonerated it consistently enough that there’s little prospect for continued growth. I frequently have people say “I’m not reading that book you wrote” about one of my comments, proudly broadcasting to the world that they can’t be bothered to read, and this is worsened by it being said as though I’m the one in the wrong, I’m the fool, for writing a reply that was too long for their particular brand of idiocy. But that’s for another day, and the title I’ve chosen isn’t actually related to that.

Someone recently asked me how I can publish a story that Bradley* wrote, and I was told that “Aria didn’t write the story. Bradley wrote the story.”

Needless to say, my mind was positively boggled. And, of course, this was from the psychopath (told you–see this post to learn what I mean), no doubt trying a different tactic to get an emotional reaction out of me–you know, as the psychopath needs. I’m proud to say I didn’t give it, and I won’t give it now, because there was no emotion to my reply. There was only cold brutality.

I replied pointing out that humans evolved from apes, yet there are still monkeys. My point was actually that the psychopath’s question was just as ignorant as the Christians who ask how there can still be monkeys if we evolved from them, and to point out that, yes, I did evolve from Bradley. It was the perfect metaphor for the situation. But the psychopath doubled down on the ignorance and said “Yet we don’t claim credit for the work of the monkeys” or something like that.

I replied three times. First, simply “I did write it.” Then I gave a mini-explanation, a very short one of just a few sentences, and then I said predictable. Well. The psychopath was predictable, to the extent that I couldn’t even pretend to be surprised or pretend to have an emotional reaction. That’s what the psychopath does, remember? I explained that in the last post about it. The psychopath attempts to elicit an emotional response, presumably to feel in control but I don’t care enough to ask “Why,” and then immediately drops back to short replies and no replies. The psychopath simply wants drama, simply feeds on emotion, and is incapable of caring what those emotions are.

So rather than feeding that, I rebuked the psychopath extensively, shredding the thought process and revealing the ignorance underlying it. “You can’t publish that story you wrote yesterday, because you were wearing different socks yesterday, and since you’re not wearing the same socks today you’re a different person and therefore not the person who wrote the story,” I used as a slippery slope. It’s perfectly true, though. The reasoning is as asinine as it was faulty, and rivaled only by the almost pathetic attempt to elicit an emotional response.

There’s just no context where the psychopath’s question and replies make any sense. Even the people at the Westborough Baptist Church aren’t that looney. No one is so confused on the matter that they think a transgender person is literally a different person mid and post transition, especially not to the extent that I wouldn’t be able to rightfully claim to have written something that I wrote.

In another brazen display of the psychopath’s out-of-control ego, I was asked how I expected her to react. I must admit that I took some vindictive pleasure in pointing out that… I didn’t. I never gave a moment of thought to how the psychopath would react. I didn’t consider how George W. Bush, my Aunt Diane, my ex-wife, or Asheik Mohammed Samar, random name in India that I just made up, would react, either. Because these people aren’t part of my life. I don’t make it a habit of wondering what random people who aren’t part of my life will think or feel about what I do. I consider the reactions only of people in my life and people who care about me–not random people thousands of miles away.

Of course, it’s not true that the psychopath is a random person thousands of miles away, but that’s the thing–she might as well be. I didn’t destroy the relationship and friendship, and I clinged to them far longer than I should have.

When I told a friend of this, she asked what could the psychopath say that I would take as sincere. The answer is…

Nothing.

The time for words is long over. There is absolutely nothing that she could say to me that I would accept as sincere. Only actions can speak loudly enough to be heard over the blood pouring from the knives she put in my back.

It still isn’t any easier for me. I doubt it ever will be, and she surely knows that; she certainly knows that I still love her and want to believe she’s sincere. But I can’t.

In the interest of our friendship and years of circles, I did give her time to reply and apologize for the fucked up thing she’d said. She hasn’t done so. Again–predictable.

One thing is all it would take from her. And, believe me, I want to let it all go. You have no idea how badly I want to just release all of it. It would be so easy. One thing to convince me that she’s sincere, that she’s not just a psychopath, that I’m not just her victim, and that she is the person she claims to be. One thing.

And it is the one thing a psychopath would never do.

As I said.

Predictable.

* My “Other name” isn’t Bradley, but that’s close enough.

A Psychopath and Her Victim: Abusive Relationships and Walking Away

Sunday night, I received a message from the Vegas chick: a strange apology fixated almost entirely on herself rather than me, the recipient of the apology, which was so blatant in its narcissism that it contained references to herself 46 times. While I do have to give the Vegas Ordeal its treatment one day and fully describe the thing from start to end, it is likely to soak up thirty thousand words alone, so it’s almost certain to be reserved for Dancing in Hellfire. But it’s okay–I don’t intend to harp on about it today. It was damaging, it was severe, and it was unparalleled to anything most people will ever experience.

And it was, I see now, nothing more than the sadomasochistic dance of a psychopath and her victim.

She knew of my needs, because I’m an upfront person. I’ve just honestly been through too much to have interest in playing games, so I’m straight up with people. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve by any means, but I don’t beat around the bush. If I expect something of someone, I tell them that; I don’t leave it to them to guess what I want, what I need, or what I expect. A lot of people make this claim, in my experience, but I actually mean it. If I say “I need direct communication from you, or I’m walking away,” then take it at face value: if I don’t get direct communication from you, then I’m walking away. I don’t throw ultimatums lightly, and I never back down from them. A great deal of consideration and introspection goes into me and everything I do; I do nothing lightly, and I do nothing to manipulate. When I make such a claim, it is because I want direct communication, but that’s hardly manipulation; it’s a warning that I’ve been pushed to the brink, and that I will tolerate no more.

Between my old website, many long conversations with her, and years of circling around, she knew me very well; she knew exactly how to exploit me. She knew exactly what to offer me, exactly what to say, and exactly how to say it. She knew exactly what to do to turn me into her thrall, and she succeeded. I thought she was genuine, because she knew that I sought someone who was genuine, and so she knew to present herself as genuine. It was like this in every area. She knew what to do and what to say to take me off my guard, to manipulate me, and to bring me under her control. And she succeeded, as she knew she would, because I’d given her the tools she needed to do it over years of friendship and borderline relationship.

It was jarring when I realized, shortly after my return to Mississippi, that she had done this exact thing to me before, when she lived in Alabama and offered for me to come see her on one of my birthdays. I was excited; she seemed to be excited. And I got about halfway there when her sister texted me and explained that we couldn’t go through with it because of some ridiculous bullshit. Before the Vegas Ordeal, she knew that she couldn’t do that again, and that if she tried that shit when I was halfway there I was likely to absolutely hate her forever, no holds barred, and would be uninterested in ever speaking to her again. But what would have been the next closest thing? Turning me away within days. And that’s precisely what she did.

Blinded by the hope that we could repair our relationship and unable to see that I was playing directly into the hands of a psychopath, I stayed in touch with her; we immediately went back to talking on the phone every night, and I did my best to keep a smile on my face as the fallout from the Vegas Ordeal struck me repeatedly. As I said, evidently I was supposed to be more cheerful about the inevitability of living out of my car then, because she turned away from me for being a downer. Yes, this chick for whom I’d given up my entire life, closed my company, spent all my money, and moved across the country to be with… threw me out of her life because I was being a downer about the incredible consequences I faced from all of that.

Then I dabbled and thought about reigniting my old site, and she almost immediately contacted me through it. I emailed her explaining something she’d misinterpreted. She replied with a post on her blog. I replied via email. She replied with another post. Soon we had fallen into a cycle of posts, where I would post something direct and meaningful, and she would post vague, non-sensical poetry that had to be interpreted–and even then didn’t make a lot of sense. I grew frustrated and threw the gauntlet at her feet: engage me directly, because I’m finished with this stupid shit. And it was stupid, to be communicating that way. She clearly wanted to communicate with me; I clearly wanted to communicate with her. But she wouldn’t give me the “satisfaction” of doing it directly.

Through all of this, I was motivated by need–the same need I’ve written about before–and it’s no coincidence that I was only ever able to go to her blog to read her replies as Aria. Otherwise, it was just too painful. And though I’ve minimized that need substantially, and though she went to great lengths to make that a need for her (as psychopaths do) and succeeded, I did force myself again to throw my hands up and walk away, which made this the third time I’d had to do it. If you’ve ever walked away from someone you love, you know how difficult that is. And I had to do it not once, not twice, but three fucking times. It is more complex because of the psychopath/victim game that she has played, but that doesn’t change the fact that I do love her, and that this is merely on top of the standard relationship interplay of a psychopath and her victim.

The manipulation in the apology she sent is blatant. Out of respect and love for her, I will not post it here, but suffice it to say that it’s the most unapologetic apology I’ve ever seen. While professing to be sorry, she creates a shadow version of herself that “has no empathy” and magically has an “undiagnosed mental disorder” (a refrain I’ve seen so often from women attempting to excuse their fucked up behavior), and, here is the best part, “a work in progress.” As though we’re not all works in progress. But it’s more insidious than that, isn’t it? You can’t be too harsh on a work in progress. When aspiring musicians share their music, they say it’s a work in progress as a buffer against criticism. Shitty Early Access games on Steam hide behind “It’s an alpha build” or “It’s a beta build” as a matter of policy, because they know–we all know–that you can’t judge a paper too harshly when it’s still a “work in progress.” It is the phrase of a coward, someone who wants to indemnify themselves against criticism and consequences; it is not the phrase of someone who admits they were wrong and is genuinely apologetic for it.

It’s of extreme significance that among the last things she’d heard from me, before I walked away in October, was that I demanded an apology. Because it made her aware that the only way she could keep playing with her toy would be to offer me an apology–and so she did. In the most insincere way possible. At the end, she also added that she wants me to know that it wasn’t my fault. That blew my mind to read.

She didn’t have to tell me that. I’ve known that from the beginning. I have never said or believed otherwise. I have said countless times that I rolled the dice, but she was the one who determined the outcome. I have never said or implied otherwise. Why does she think that she can make me believe it was my fault? She can’t. I was there; I know what happened. I know how it went down, and I’ve known from the beginning that none of this was my fault. That doesn’t have to be said.

This would be the fourth time that I’ve had to walk away from her, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. But I know now… that walking away doesn’t do any good in this sort of relationship. It simply doesn’t. I have to make her lose interest, and I do that with the Gray Rock technique. You can’t always walk away from a psychopath who has targeted you as her toy, because she won’t leave you alone; like clockwork, she will pop back up and rip the wounds open again, all while denying that it was her intention to do so and all while apologizing for how sorry she is in the first place. See why I can’t accept the apology as sincere? The very fact that she would contact me to voice her apology is ipso facto proof that it isn’t sincere and can’t be sincere.

In talking to a friend, I was asked what kind of apology I would accept as sincere. If she showed up on my doorstep one morning, in tears with her arms wide, saying, “I’m so sorry” when I answered the door, then I would accept that as sincere. But she wouldn’t do that under any circumstances. But I don’t want that, really. I don’t. What I want… is for her to be sincere. And she can’t do that. Or she won’t do that. It doesn’t matter, whichever is the case. The result is the same.

If you’ve never been in such a relationship, count your blessings, because it’s much easier to become ensnared than one might think. The psychopath knows what you want. The psychopath knows what you need. The psychopath knows where you are weak, and the psychopath knows how to exploit those weaknesses. The psychopath knows where you are strong, and the psychopath knows how to avoid those areas. The psychopath knows how to get into your head and into your heart, and how to keep herself there. The psychopath knows how to hook you, and the psychopath knows how to keep you on the hook.

And walking away doesn’t always work; it depends on what the psychopath is getting out of it. The key thing is that the psychopath has to lose interest. The psychopath has to come to believe that her toy is broken; only then will she move on to find a different toy. As long as she is getting what she needs out of the toy, she will keep picking it up. I don’t pretend to know what she wants from me or what she is getting out of this, but her apology was most assuredly not for me or my benefit, and her immediate switch back to cold, one-line responses is all the proof that I need of that. She just wanted to elicit an emotional response from me, and I gave it to her, because I reacted emotionally–because she knew how to stir those latent emotions back up, how to rip those scabs back off. The psychopath has to be made to lose interest. And this means I must be a gray rock to her.

Because she won’t leave me alone… And goddamn it all part of me doesn’t want her to leave me alone. Part of me wants her to be the person that she pretends to be. But she never will be. That’s what I want, though: I want her to be the person she pretended to be, to be the person she ostensibly wants to be. But she isn’t that person. And I’ve accepted this. I accepted it long ago.