If there was one thing I was sure about when I met the psychopath, it was that I knew myself. I knew my strengths and my weaknesses; I understood the good points and the not-so-good points of my personality. I knew I was kind, open-minded, and sincere. I knew I was thoughtful and regularly focused on my feelings, analyzing them, processing them, and learning from them. I knew I was a good listener, and I was a good communicator. I knew I was a perfectionist and liked to have certain things “my way.” I knew I was an introvert and enjoyed my alone time. I knew I was conscientious, reliable, and responsible. I knew that I connected with others via deep, meaningful conversations. And I also knew I had a tendency to doubt myself and struggled with insecurities, especially about my physical appearance.
I knew all of the above about myself when the psychopath came into my life. I even knew that I should trust my gut, having identified the misgivings I had when I became involved with a few other men before the psychopath and observed the unsuccessful outcomes of those relationships. But that gut feeling can be a hazy one if we don’t trust ourselves. It can be hard to listen to our gut when we are insecure, especially in terms of our desirability as a potential mate. I did not trust myself. I was deeply insecure, more than I realized. And what I knew in my heart but did not want to fully admit to myself at the time was that I wanted a relationship VERY, VERY much. I did not fully comprehend the intensity of that desire. I knew I was shy, I knew I found dating stressful, and I knew that I longed for a partner. I might have even been aware, to a small degree, that I envied my married friends. And quite frankly, my biological clock was ticking. I wanted a family! All of this, I see now, made it likely that I would—unknowingly—rush into a dangerous situation.
What I did NOT realize then was that the world is teeming with human predators. I did not know that these predators can seem “normal.” I did not know that their sole purpose in life is to exploit others—emotionally and/or financially and/or physically--in a never ending series of sick mind games based on lies. I did not know that there are human beings who are barely human, who are unable to feel the full range of emotions, who are literally incapable of loving and connecting with others in any meaningful way, and who have no conscience. And I really did not know that evil can be cloaked in a very intelligent, seemingly insightful and considerate package.
In retrospect, I WAS self aware, as much as I could be at the time. I was naïve. I was not aware of the complex nature of humanity. I was missing key information about others because of my tendency to isolate myself, because I was blessed to have loving parents who never lied to me and never abused me, because I did not know that the bullying I endured as a child was a manifestation of the evil I would encounter in the future, because I never healed from that trauma and was left feeling inadequate enough to be victimized again years later, in a different way, in a different form. And so I could not see the lies for what they were. I was distracted by the compliments and the mirroring. I became emotionally invested and made allowances for behavior I should have rejected. And I did not know that this person who had taken such an interest in me had completely sadistic motives and was deliberately trying to hurt me.
Psychopaths are good at blending in. Many, many people are unaware of the evil that is right in front of their faces. I was one of those people. My encounter with a psychopath has been a gift in so many ways. It has given me a depth of understanding about myself and the world that never would have been possible before. It has given me the opportunity to heal from my whole past and develop the love for, confidence in, and trust in myself that I need and never had. And most importantly, it has re-taught me that life truly is a journey. There is so much more to learn about the world and about myself, each and every day.
Reflections On Self-Awareness
My encounter with a psychopath has been a gift in so many ways. It has given me a depth of understanding about myself and the world that I've ever had.
Article Author: HealingJourney