I spent hours and hours yesterday trying to work through this very complicated issue in my heart. I eventually ended up at gym on a Sunday night trying to walk off the energy and sadness and fury and pain and sadness and sense of betrayal and and and.... Today my feet are swollen and sore (Rheumatoid Arthritis flare) and my hair is falling out again (Hashimotos relapse or the Chemo?), and I'm obviously feeling the after effects of this stressful and painful time. So I thought I'd try to use today's blog to sort through the issues in my head so I can at least have words for them.
But First: Is John a Sociopath as well as a Narcissist?
I've been reading up a lot on Sociopaths over the past month, and particularly on Sociopathworld.com. I'm asking myself this question because it materially affects my understanding of John's intent around me, and because his shrink used that language in some of the work John was doing with him a few months ago. John was wondering whether he was one or not. Sociopaths lack empathy. Completely. They are unable and unwilling to enter the world of the other and live their lives manipulating the 'empaths' around them to set themselves up as comfortably as possible. Simpy put, they use people to get what they want. The ugly Sociopaths abuse people for amusement too, seeing how far they can push them and what they can get them to do. They discard them immediately when they are bored (the extreme ones murder them) or have no further use of them. And they replace them with absolutely no problem.
If John is a Sociopath then everything that he has done and is doing makes perfect sense. A Sociopath would have sought out a company to 'live off', and a woman like me that he could exploit. They often choose strong, capable, high powered women because the thrill of pursuit, seduction, and ultimate domination presents a challenge that they can really get off on. Manipulating a weak woman is easy, but not as rewarding. Dominating a tough chick like me, and bending me to his will - better thrill. I am empathetic, and enabling, and compassionate. I see potential in people and am inspired easily by their effort to grow. Deep in my heart I am needy and fragmented, lonely and abandoned. I run a company that earns well, with the potential to do much better - and so create wealth and a comfortable spot for him. I am perfect fodder. When John joined my company he made a lot out of the fact that one of our competitors called us a 'bunch of housewives' and I think John thought it would be a cushy job with lots of women to exploit and a piece of cake to turn around because clearly we women were not up to running a high performing company on our own.
If he is a Sociopath then all the things he has done which have been destructive, deceitful and manipulative in nature would all make sense. And if he is one, then there is really no conversation to have with him at all. Because then I would know that my entire time with him was a complete manipulation and a total lie. I would know that he chose me to exploit me. And did exploit me with finesse. He worked his way into my company, my heart, my body, my family, my network, my vagina and took from me everything he could. If that is the case then I have been raped and abused and robbed at a level that I am unable to even contemplate. Then every memory, every bit of love, every soul connection that I had is just garbage. It didn't exist. It wasn't real. It was just pure evil visited on me. There is no redemption for him. And the thought of this terrifies me beyond belief. If this is him then OH MY GOD - how do I ever recover from knowing that? How will I ever heal? It means that his attack on me in court is actually about finishing the job - making sure he does as much damage as he possibly can to me and make as much money out of me as he can before he moves on to his next victim. He wants to see me irretrievably broken. And won't stop until I am.
But if he isn't a Sociopath, but 'just' a Narcissist (which is bad enough), then where does it leave me? When we split up he was wading courageously into therapy. He was clinging to the belief and scant evidence that Narcissists can heal if they work their asses off about it. I believed that he was doing his very best to get well, even if his battle was devastating for me, there is a part of me that would want to support him through that no matter what. He was so badly harmed as a child and I have such compassion for that. As a Narc he would be primed to exploit my compassion, and lie to me to cover his cheating with other women and hide his extreme sexual exploits from me. He would have wanted to keep up my delusion about him and hide the deviant part of him from me. Because he could feel. He could experience shame. And sadness. And loneliness. And a need to connect. And his attack on me in court now is more about desperation and rage than it is about needing to destroy even more of me. He is destroying me without realising that that is the consequence of what he is doing now. Here there is space for redemption. Here he could actually stop and reflect, through his healing and therapy, that it's time to stop attacking me. And find a way to work with me that would heal us both.
So he has done some dishonest and thieving things. He has taken advantage of my trust and love for him and used his position to benefit himself financially. I found out. I asked him to leave immediately. He is now attacking me in court and trying to get the maximum settlement he can out of the labour court. Money he is not due. Money he has already taken.