Those of us who’ve been around a sociopathic individual or two in our lives know exactly what this quote means. Conscience is like a clear window; unobstructed. Most of are very conscious of our conscience. Then you have the mind of the sociopath and all bets are off. They hide behind the curtain of normalcy. It’s ironic that many people still believe that a sociopath is either an ax murderer or a drooling, obviously insane person who can’t cope. Nothing….nothing could be further from the truth.
Most sociopaths are very intelligent…and seldom pick up an axe other than to chop wood. A sociopath would much rather have someone else chop their wood…because something like that might just be something they consider beneath them. However, they are certainly not opposed to making their “subjects” feel like they’re minimal.
Don’t get me wrong, the sociopathic personality is very charming until you have used up your usefulness in their eyes. Then the gloves come off and you find yourself in a battle to decide whether you’re actually as crazy as they make you out to be. There are few things that the sociopath will own up to, for they, in their grandiose sense of “self”, fully believe that they can do no wrong. If they haven’t been caught red-handed, then they’re not guilty of anything. If they have been caught, it’s their victim’s fault or someone else’s. Never do they should the wrongs that they have perpetrated on someone else. They are an excuse-making machine.
I remember when I told someone that knew us as a couple back then, that my ex had flown the coop. Shocked, she said, “OMG, the sun used to rise and set around you for him. Honestly that’s how I felt, despite our problems that we needed to sort out. He was over the top with everything he did, like it was a contest. A game. And in hindsight, it was. I was just another conquest. I was his smoke-screen and his way of hiding behind the normalcy. He had morphed into a normal peudo human. At least for a while.
As far as the inability to cope in the real world? A sociopath is like a shape-shifter of science fiction proportions. They’re all about the smoke and mirrors of illusion. Pity the person who finds out just what they’re hiding, ’cause then the gloves are truly off. If physical violence is to their liking; it will be used. If manipulation and verbal abuse is something that’s high on their hit parade; then they’ll use that. Sometimes they’ll be satisfied just with leaving you penniless and ostracized by people that you used to know. The charisma of the sociopath knows no bounds, if they feel that they can buy your love, then they will. Whatever is easiest and fits into their game plan best.
The real disturbing fact is that you will often find out about their secret long past the time when you can remove yourself unscathed. You’re in it hook, line and sinker. The sociopath knows it and you know it. Executing your exit from their clutches will be painful because you’ve gotten used to the charms and live with the hope that someday those same charms will show themselves to you again. The devil that you know, is the one you will cling to. Anything else, namely the unknown, will scare the crap out of you for various reasons. Perhaps it’s because your self-confidence has been eroded by the verbal insults or you feel that you have made your bed and should lie in it. Whatever the reason, removing yourself from a life with a sociopath is no easy task. The control they love to exercise keeps you right under their thumb, exactly where they can use you to their advantage. Think of a cat with a toy mouse on a string or a puppet being manipulated. It’s pretty much like that. In order to preserve whatever is left of your life and what once was, the victim will often find themselves doing and saying things that they never, ever would have done before. I can’t tell you the number of times that I lied to preserve his butt. It was like I was on auto-pilot to save the shreds of my tattered love. Ridiculous. Primarily because that love was one-sided, I just hadn’t figured that one out yet. It’s dark behind the curtain; you’re alone because the person that’s intent on driving you into the ground wants you scared and on edge. It keeps you from stepping outside. It keeps you from hearing the voices of your friends and family who are saying that it’s time to leave.
All this exists behind the curtain. All this and so much more. The curtain that hides the dark along with the light.
When the curtain is finally drawn and you are finally free, you are left blinking in the sunlight wondering and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Jumping at noises, sleeping with the lights on, looking over your shoulder and double-checking that your locks are indeed fastened. The nay-sayers won’t believe it; but many of you know this to be true. I know it and so do you!
The curtain has been lifted now, the masks are off and the only thing left now is to heal.