Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Too Many Psychos

A sign that I might have indeed been dealing with a very well disguised psycho bitch manager at Whole Foods a few weeks ago.  The last two times I popped into the store, the old-fashioned loaves in stock were missing exactly the pumpkin walnut and gingerbread flavors.  Every time before, they always had all the flavors, and I have gone to the store about twice per week for several months.

This is a very good description of how psycho people hide in our midst: What is it like to talk to a serial killer? which just came across my Quora feed.  Most people really cannot tell.  Most people reading this answer won't have a concrete understanding of what is being described, that really, that awesome teacher who loves kids, or the friendly neighbor, or the acquaintance who throws great dinner parties really could be a psycho underneath and behind the scenes.  I only feel like I do because of my twenty year friendship with a borderline personality.

This is not an idle comparison.  A while ago, I came across this research paper:  BPD as a Female Phenotypic Expression of Psychopathy?  It helped to answer something that had been bugging me for years.  Every once in a while, I'd Google about psychopaths, wondering why I kept thinking my former friend and her husband (my ex, unfortunately) might be on the psychopath spectrum, and if I was crazy for thinking so, but she didn't fit into the typical male antisocial personality disorder usually linked with psychopathy and is not a serial killer.  My understanding of what the "theorists" suggest is that the behavioral and mental patterns are similar but the chosen methods of destruction are different.  If you define a psycho based on the method of violence, such as serial killing, then you mainly only see males with antisocial personality disorder as psychopaths.  BPD on the other hand is more like a soul and spirit killer.  It's kind of like how boy bullies in school might be physically violent, but girl bullies use "psycho" manipulative methods.

Thank goodness I think there were only two psychos in my life, although two too many, and they are now a unit.  The sad thing is that in order to separate from abusive people in your life, you have to also be willing to lose all your mutual friends and acquaintances because most or all of them won't see that they're abusive people.  Abuse could not survive if it was perceivable to all or many.  Abuse survives precisely because the abuser is adept at hiding it from everyone else, particularly the target's social support.  When a wife-beater is exposed, someone always has to say something like, but he's such a great father and volunteers at the soup kitchen!  The New York Times ran a few crazy articles several months ago about an elite private high school in New York where pedophile rapists were embedded in the entire school culture, and even after the insane rapist teachers were exposed, tons of former students still said things like, he's an amazing teacher, a wonderful poet, and the greatest influence in my life!  Well, my memory is a little spotty and I don't feel like looking up the article right now.

I understand this because I was on the other side back in middle school.  I couldn't see what my former friend was doing to most all the other girls in our class and I lost two very good friends and the rest of the social circle because of this.  Neither could any of the teachers.  She was a teacher's pet and talked to them all after class.  In fact, the three of us got in trouble with a teacher for trying to get H off our tail as she was harassing us to no end, literally following us around the school for miles.  This was the start of my being trained by adults, teachers and parents, to put up with unacceptable behavior.  One of the reasons why I decided to just let her be friends was because I didn't want to get in trouble at school or get suspended.  B told me that her mom forbid her to hang out with H and that her mom said that my mom shouldn't let me hang out with her either because she was a "bad influence", and that if I let her be friends with me then they couldn't hang out with me.  I didn't understand this at the time but it was the right thing to do.  One of the things I regret.  My cohort from elementary school was a truly amazing group of people even at that young age and most of those people have been lifelong friends since then.

Back in middle and high school, H used to call our house literally 20 times per day every day.  Yes, that's an average of about every 20-30 minutes from 3:30pm to 10:30pm or 1:30am.  In the beginning, I didn't want to answer the phone or say anything more than I can't talk.  Children who haven't been corrupted sometimes have better responses than adults.  My mom literally didn't have time to go to the bathroom because of H's calls so she told me to talk to her for a little while so that she wouldn't call 20 more times that day.  There was the bad training number two.  I don't know why she didn't just tell her to stop calling.  Looking back, I would have researched if it was possible to get a restraining order on an extremely disruptive child.

You can't tell from looking at their smiling pictures, reading their delightfully worded e-mails, or having a splendid dinner with them.  I can't describe it exactly but the only thing I could say that differentiates their equally cheerful smiling pictures is a very very subtle difference in the eyes, a lack of something I would call "purity" and brightness, and having more of a twinkle instead of what I would call a shine or sparkle.