Dear psychopath victim,
I wake up each morning, get to class, glide through tasks, socialize successfully (now there's a shocker), and ZAWHMVBCOYX. You enter the arena. Sharp sword drawn, lips peeled back to reveal rigid fangs. Burrrr. I took a left turn at Starbucks and there I stood alone, eye to eye with a fire resistant fuzzball, caramel macchiato in hand….. caffeine and excess sugar only a temporary weapon in the uphill battle against monstrous psychopaths. Courtesy and temporary marker smiles never last for long while dealing with a psychopath. You might trick yourself into believing they've moved on from the past or might actually better your life somehow. If you feel yourself enter this zippity-doo-da faze look for these warning signs: mysteriously long time without being bothered by said psychopath, change of heart towards demons, and acceptance of your Norma Bates Role in your psychopath's Norman moment. Never forget the pain and irritation your psychopath has inflicted on you. Would you forget the nuances of your yeast infection? NO! Never! So think of your pain like that. Whatever happened, happened right? Maybe it didn't hurt physically, but mentally it had you crawling across the ER floor. Your psychopath did that to you. Maybe they were your best friend, your godfather, your deranged mother, classically weird uncle, falls-asleep-in-the-back manager, or partner. Whoever they are, know that they are crazy. It's not you. Some people are so far gone emotionally they can't begin to make sense of the world around them, let alone operate in it properly. Often, people who feel they are on their last finger at the edge of the cliff of life, don't want to fall alone or fall at all. So they'll pull anyone into their precarious situation if it means a chance at brightening their own prospects. Obviously thats just an analogy (and if you should actually find yourself in that situation...well I've got nothing… never was much of a hiker), but self-image conflicts and petty arguments are something we all get sucked into at one point or another in our lives. Logical people try to find the blame in a situation and duel it out evenly, out of the goodness of their heart, but in most cases its really not their fault. There is a plethora of unfortunate circumstances and mental challenges a person can encounter in their life, so we can't possibly begin to understand exactly why someone does something or why they feel the way they do about something. For an example, I once had a friend who grew up with an abusive and sexist father. As she developed into an adult she became extremely passionate and sensitive about gender inequality issues and feminism. On the outside, she just looked like your run of the mill feminist, but on the inside, she was harboring years of pain. This affected so many aspects of her life and was the reason behind many of her decisions. To summarize, don't blame yourself if you encounter a psychopath that mistreats you or others, runs away from your friendship, picks fights with you, tries to turn people against you, seems intent on making you feel less, speaks in a condescending manner, won't concede or reason with you after a storm, verbally harasses you, abuses you in any way, or schemes against you like a true Blair Waldorf.
You are normal, reasonable, and full of greater potential. Be bold and find your own way to tell the psychopaths in your life to get lost. Not everyone will always take your side, but friends who can be persuaded to leave you are not real friends. You are your own best friend, so be the best friend you can be, and stand up for what's right. Fear for what comes next is a distraction from the courage that lays within yourself.
It's not them…. it's you. The world does not owe you anything. I do not owe you anything. Your behavioral excuses of, "I'm a person too" or "I've been through a lot" do not give you the right to hurt those who cross your path. Guess what? I'm a human too, and so is she, him, and all the people you pass on your walk to wherever. No life comes without baggage. Admittedly some people are weighted with more than others, but that does not give you the right to push more fortunate individuals in your path of self-destruction. Blaming a mental illness, medication side effects or your bad therapist for your overbearing behavior aren't excuses either. Don't try to pin this on a generalizing issue. Doing this gives those with mental illnesses a bad rep. I've met plenty of people who struggle with mental illnesses, but still interact positively with others. Medication is a side effect in itself. Its use is intended to help YOU be happy not to make OTHERS miserable. Is it working? Like really? If you're getting something out of putting others down is your medication truly helping you to be your best self? Really? Really? You're going to blame your bad choices and actions on your therapist? Finding someone else to blame for your own problems is not only childish but irresponsible too. If any of these issues apply to you, you are not a psychopath because you have a mental illness, take medication, or go to therapy. Those are all completely normal things. Its the way you use these as invalid excuses when hurting others that makes you the mean person you are. As far as past or current negative experiences go, everyone goes through something tough at some point. Be it the loss of a friendship, the death of a family member, bullying, extreme stress, alcoholism or drug use, abusive relationship, financial instability, and so on. What has happened in the past or happening currently in your private life will make life that much harder for you. People have an incredible capacity to be understanding, but if you cause unnecessary issues no one will feel compassion for your situation. Its ok to have bad days and to make mistakes, but keep yourself in check and evaluate yourself when you encounter a conflict, "Is this person really wrong or am I being particularly sensitive or taking my frustrations out on others."
Everyone makes mistakes so if you see yourself start to become overbearing or prone to conflict, don't automatically assume you're a bad person. Its never too late to change your ways or apologize to someone you've hurt. Always get an unbiased opinion and analyze a situation. Don't automatically assume you're right. Listen to those you've hurt and those trying to help you and be open to accepting what they have to say. Look at the choices you've made over time and see if you recognize any patterns in the conflicts you encounter. If you feel like you need help, that's ok. Go to a friend, family member, or therapist and see if they can help you sort your thoughts out. You may feel like the world has made you its punching bag, and it may have at the moment, but don't continue the chain of pain. Let it stop with you. The world can be a beautiful place if you help it to be.
We each play the role of victim v. psycho at different times of our life. We owe it to each other to open our eyes to the broader picture and choose love in each of its forms over hate.