One of my favorite sitcoms is a show called “How I Met Your Mother”. On the show, the main character, Ted, is friends with a guy named Barney who is a diagnosed narcissist (i.e., high-functioning sociopath). After Ted discovers Barney had slept with his ex-girlfriend, he becomes furious and confronts Barney. This is the best line I’ve ever heard describing how normal people feel in a relationship or friendship with a sociopath:
Ted: “You know, I’ve seen you do some bad stuff… Some really terrible stuff to a lot of different people. I just always thought there had to be a limit. I thought I was the limit.”
We all believe that WE are the limit with our sociopath. We think WE are the exception to their destructive behavior.
When we’re excused from their name-calling campaigns or public humiliation, we become grateful… like we were just pardoned from an execution. That’s why we think they care about us. It’s only after your usefulness has been depleted that you’ll see you were targeted all along but your brain was in such a passive, survival state that you tolerated their attacks. Back then, you said things like “Oh, that’s just how he is. He doesn’t mean it.”
Unfortunately, they do mean it.
Once I figured that out, I was able to heal. You know that old line: ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’?
Well, in dealing with sociopaths, it really wasn’t ME… it was actually THEM.
Now that I know what an amazing, kind person I am and what I want to do in life, the crazies are gone (although I do still get random texts and emails about every 6 months from one or two of my former psychos — and I have no idea how these people track me down).
I don’t let things upset me as much anymore. The longer I have that peace and serenity, the stronger and happier I become.
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