I grew up with violence and swore that I would never end up in a violent relationship. I was always weary of any signs of it in my boyfriends and thought I’d done pretty well to marry a gentle man who seemed to adore me.
What I didn’t notice was the emotional violence. That was one kind of violence I wasn’t familiar with. I might have experienced it, but I wasn’t conscious that I did. I didn’t know what to look out for.
I didn’t realise that his weird behaviour and obsessiveness were the tell-tale signs of an emotional abuser.
That bookshelf full of horror books should have had me running for the moors. But I quietened my intuition and told myself to not be such a wuss.
The stories of being chased out by an ex-girlfriend’s father with a shotgun should have given me fair warning, but instead I sympathised.
The frequent occurrences of being spied on in the bathroom and bedroom should have made me leave. But I kept believing the excuses and kept forgiving.
To this day I have a fear of being spied on when I’m in the shower.
The creepy feeling I got when I was being leered at when naked or semi-naked should have told me that this relationship was not good for me. But I let it all go. I kept telling myself it was all me. That there was something wrong with me.
But what wife feels that way about her husband when everything is supposed to be OK?
Towards the end of the marriage, I felt violated nearly every time we had sex. I saw the contempt in his eyes, but I thought it was all me.
Why didn’t I listen to my intuition? Why was I so desperate not to be alone that I put up with all that?
Why didn’t I have a better grasp of what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like?
But asking these questions sets me up as not only the victim, but as the one that should be blamed for all that happened.
It’s true, I didn’t listen to my intuition. It is also true that the man I was with for 18 years mistreated me. He made daily decisions to abuse and manipulate me with no thought for my well-being, only for what he could get out of it.
That is the true nature of a sociopath.
Are sociopaths born or made? It is a question I have asked of many psychologists and they all say that it’s both. One needs to have a genetic predisposition for it, but it’s the “nurture” part of the equation that determines the end outcome.
My parenting is solely focused on not creating two more sociopaths. This may mean that I obsess about certain things like lying and being unkind. I constantly try to remind my boys that other people have feelings and that their behaviour affects others.
So far, they both display no signs of any pathology.
I hope to god that it stays that way. I will not rest until I see them both as adults who are kind and compassionate towards others, with no sign of emotional manipulation, or any unhealthy obsessions.
I just want them to be normal.
Image by josef.stuefer