Wednesday, 30 August 2017

How to love a sociopath

Over the last year, I've come to realise that there isn't a lot I know for sure in life. Actually, I'm almost positive I know nothing, and I have no answers. I second guess myself a lot these days, because I'm not sure of anything anymore. He did that to me by taking away my ability to believe.

I used to believe in true love, forgiveness and magic. 

I wish I could remember why.

What I do know a lot about, is unhealthy relationships. It took me a long time to admit what was my fault, and what was his. It's hard to swallow, like unsweetened medicine. I have to take it, but it doesn't mean I like the taste. The truth is always bitter, even when it's on my side.

I never wanted to think of him this way, he used to be sweet. He used to be funny, grounded, and loyal. I sat with those words for a long time, guilt resting comfortably in my ribcage. "Used to be." I loved him dearly.

He was never those things, he was just good at pretending he was. For four years, he had me thinking that he was inherently good, that he was the one to help me become the person I wanted to be. Then, that person died. I was left with someone empty, callous and cold. Someone I had destroyed, or at least, that's what he had me believe. I always made the perfect scapegoat, but I'm not his victim anymore. I grieved, but I survived.

He says I love you quickly. It's a careless transaction, a quick purchase that reads "I control you" on the receipt. He cares about power, money and sex, and the natural highs of attention. He's attentive, charming and intense. He tilts reality, and you'll forget about the small print, and ignore the terms and conditions until he recites them back on a loop.

He hurts everyone around him, just because he can. Socially destructive, self serving and volatile, his lies are so intricate they are almost impossible to follow. He gives answers by letting you get lost on the way.

I got used to the distraction of threats as he threw a private book of rules at me. I got used to him vowing to give us time, but empty promises and broken pendulums lived inside his clocks. I got used to my new reputation of Psycho Shelley, the girl who didn't know what was real anymore.

I got used to being stolen from. I got used to him holding me hostage with the past, trapping me in my words until I surrendered my treasure. Sometimes my anger made me brave, and I'd demand better. I'd scream as vibrations pulsed through the floor, and I'd look him in the eye, unafraid of punishment.

Sometimes, I feel my guilt all over again, and I hope he's taking care of himself. Then something happens, and I remember this is who he is, until death do us part.

He manipulated me, her and everyone else. I don't really care about them, but I do care about us. There are people who felt sorry for us, but don't anymore. Because we ruined his life. Here's some advice for the next girl, because he's wasted no time in finding one, and he still hasn't learned that information finds its way to me. It won't be his final mistake.

Don't get me wrong, he's exceptionally talented. He has this knack for making you feel like he can build and destroy you in the same sentence, and you'll ask him to do it again. He loves role play, so you'll always be bad cop while he's the wrongly accused. You'll never be the devil, a role that's reserved for me only.

1. Cry
Stock up on waterproof mascara, or you'll spend most of your time painting an entire face of ruined makeup. You'll learn the quick ways to unsmudge your lip lines, noting that nude lips are the only way to go these days. You'll learn how to tap and conceal your skin until the hurt is in hiding. You'll get used to patchy cheeks, and stress rashes, and tears will start to flow easily. He'll say crying is a weapon, which makes you cry even more.

He'll be rigid, and he'll inhale sharply. He'll push your hands away, as if you'll hurt him. He'll storm out, but he'll come back soon. Don't worry.

2. Say sorry, a lot
You'll learn a new language of poetic apologies and speeches. You'll fight harder than you have to, while you spin around in circles and juggle his excuses. It's a repetitive dance, and you'll end up apologising 15 times for something he did. After all, how dare you call him out on his betrayals, lies and abuse? You deserve this, remember. I know you feel dizzy, but you have to keep up.

3. Sleep
Sleep when you can, because you won't be getting a lot of it. He'll say abuse is physical and that he's never put a hand on you. He'll say that words don't matter, and that your self defence is taking advantage of his weakened state. He'll promise to turn up at 9pm, and you'll be staring at the bedroom door at 1am. He'll turn his location off, and he'll say that his texts won't send. He'll reply at 4am, saying he's so sorry and that he needs to be alone to deal with his emotions. He'll say he's not happy, and it's your fault. It's all your fault, don't you listen, bitch?

He'll threaten you. He'll give you ultimatums, offering one solution- either he hurts himself, or you. There's no light behind your eyes anymore, no life in your skin. You start snapping at people, shooting looks of frustration and sounds of impatience. Sleep is fractured and lonely. You'll wake up at 2:30am, the time he used to get home from working on the bar. You'll wake up checking your phone every half an hour. Sleep is broken. You don't need to set alarms, now.

4. Befriend your secrets

Eventually, you'll be alone. He'll keep you away from the people you love, saying they hate him and have vendettas against him. He'll say no one sees that he's getting better, and you'll tell him you do.

You'll hold this secret between you, and protect it. You'll look at him and see how he once was. You'll remember how he laughs like a child, pulling ridiculous faces that only you could love. You'll have a spark that he never had with us, because you saved him.

You'll keep his secrets, and make them yours. When he hurts you, you'll feel bad telling the story, because he's not really like this. When he makes you cry, you'll try to pull back the tears before they hit your face. It hurts him to hurt you, he doesn't want to see you like this. He doesn't want to look at you, the unpretty reflection of his deceit. He thinks you're an actress, performing your best role yet, and he'll give you a round of applause.

His voice will break from time to time, as the mask starts to slip. A life in disguise is hard to maintain. He'll tell you that this is the person you should be afraid of. No one else can believe your accusations, because he's such a nice boy.

5. Be prepared for your new reputation

To cover his lies and relationships, he'll tell everyone you're crazy. He'll call you a slut, a psychopath, and a bitch. He'll tell everyone he can't help it that you love him so much, that you can't let go. He'll do this while coming home to you every night. He'll dangle possibilities in front of you, while another girl waits for her phone to ring. When he gets bored of you, he'll ignore you for four hours at a time. He'll say he was asleep, and you'll worry about his depression. He'll say you're posting old pictures, and people who know you will became people you knew.

Remember that sociopaths can erase you from their lives as and when they please. You're interchangeable, just like we were. He keeps you around to serve his ego, to save him. He'll never tell you that he's too far gone.

He'll use suicidal musings to extract sympathy, he'll use old anecdotes and practiced half smiles to win. He has a blog, which he asked me to proof edit, thinking I would spellcheck his love letters to someone else. He'll come over, and say he misses you. He'll threaten to kick your door down on your birthday, because even though you're not together anymore, you belong to him.

He'll text you four times in a row if you don't reply on time, but when you do it, he'll call you crazy and ignore you for 48 hours. Then he'll say he was too emotionally vulnerable to reply, but he was talking to someone else. Sorry, I tried to tell you.

He'll tell you no one else can touch you, that no one else can make you laugh. He'll tell you that you're his person, a line he took from our favourite show. He's forgotten what it's like to sleep in our bed, after letting other people rest between the sheets.

One day, he'll see the girl who left him. He'll see her free from him, he'll see her rise. He can't accept he's lost control of one of his puppets, and she's cut the strings. He'll tell you he wants to die, and it's your fault.

Then, he'll be told to leave you alone. Eventually, he will. But the sociopath can't be alone, and has to have someone to feed from. He'll get to work on someone new, eventually.

He thinks he's won. He's tried to delete us, doing his best to kill us. For a while, I wouldn't write about it because I was scared of what he would do, but I've long been forgotten.

Towards the end, you'll get smart. You'll predict his next move, and you'll know the truth before you've even found it. You'll leave.

This time, the narrative is mine. Thanks for slipping up, and for letting me take it back. That's the thing with petty thievery, you can just take something when someone isn't looking. I learned from the best, didn't I?

How to love a sociopath?


And now for you, the man in the mask. I hope you free yourself, now that we've found our way out. You probably won't, but I'll cross my fingers anyway.

By the way, in case you've forgotten, I know what you've done. If you're looking for forgiveness, go back to church.

One last thing, I loved you more.