Page 1 of 10 1 2 3 ... 9 10 >
Topic Options
#581 - 08/13/02 09:02 AM The Mask of a Psychopath
Anonymous
Unregistered


I have been wondering for quite awhile about the "masks" that only a Psychopath can wear.

Cracks may soon begin to appear in the mask they wear, but once you are trapped in their web of deceit and control, it will be difficult to escape financially and emtionally unscathered.
Pg. 211 - Without Concience

Do the eyes also change when the mask cracks or slips off?

How do you describe the "cracks" that became visible and at what stage did you see the Psychopath unmasked? Did the cracks become more frequent prior to the unmasking?

Di

Top
#582 - 08/13/02 12:34 PM Re: The Mask of a Psychopath
Anonymous
Unregistered


Posted: 8-13
Kris

Dianne,

"Cracks may soon begin to appear in the mask they wear, but once you are trapped in their web of deceit and control, it will be difficult to escape financially and emtionally unscathed."

The cracks began to appear almost immediately, a few months into our relationship, as soon as he was sure of me. But I was 20 years old. I didn't have enough life experience to be able to smell danger. My life had already been marked so much pain that I did not react in normal (self-protective) ways to it. You always hear that life is full of pain, and when a person has been abused as a child, she doesn't know how much is abnormal and unacceptable. I knew that all people had problems, that no one had perfect mental health.

A child abuse victim is a perfect mate for a psychopath because she has been trained to tolerance of extreme pain, and trained to take responsibility for the abuser's abuse. I would wager an hypothesis that a child of a borderline (which my mother was) often marries a psychopath. A borderline looks a mess, is clearly an abuser. She rants and screams, verbally abuses, and is not extremely clever with the blaming and shaming that pins her responsbility on her victim. In other words, a borderline doesn't wear a mask. To the victim raised by a borderline, the psychopath appears to be riding a white horse, and is a glowing presence of virtue and kindness up on that horse. He appears as the exact opposite of the borderline parent, which is exactly what she is looking for. She is exactly what he is looking for, too: an interanlly hemorrhaging victim.

So, I didn't know what to make of the cracks. But, mind you, a successful psychopath is so clever and looks so wonderful that NO ONE knows what to make of the cracks. I had been close to my pastor for many years. He had counseled me privately, for years, had helped me to survive my childhood, and had marveled over my strength, repeatedly, saying he couldn't imagine a child surviving what I had (he was my mother's pastor, too). He was counseling me through the p's courtship of me. He married us. When, finally he met the man to counsel us for marriage, he told me, later, that p was much more mature than the image I had presented of him. He was utterly bowled over by p.

In one of the first months of my marriage, I went to my pastor, and tearfully told him that p had had sex with a woman in our bed while I was sleeping in it. My pastor was into psychology; he had run workshops in the church based on "I'm Okay; You're Okay". He did not know what to make of what p had done. He asked me to examine myself for anything I might have done or said that had threatened his manhood. And I continued to look inside myself for years and years for the answer to p's unbelievable behavior. This was a man who loved and respected me, but he was so impressed with p, he could not imagine the fault was his.

No one can, to this day.

The first time p's mask came totally off was 10 years into the marriage. We were in financial hell, and had been for several years, at that point, no money for rent, food, shoes for the children. P was losing our only asset, a tractor and some equipment that he used in his landscaping business. It was about to be repossessed, and finding a buyer was, of course, my job. Which was ridiculous. P had grown up on a farm, and had connections with farners and equip dealers all over several counties, and he was a man. We were also being threatened with a lawsuit if he did not return some money to a customer he had taken for a ride. (Talking to the enraged customer was also my job.) There was equity in the equip, and we needed to find a buyer ASAP. I was a full-time student, worked part-time, had 2 small children, and was ill, but all problems were ALWAYS all mine to solve.

I was close to a nervous breakdown, or past maybe. Every evening, I asked p if he had talked to anyone about the equip, and every evening, he said no. Finally, one evening, I fell apart, sobbing and begging him to solve the problem, sell the equip. I showed him how badly my hands were shaking, how I couldn't take the stress.

That night, after the kids were in bed, he threatened to kill himself, running down the stairs. I was running after him. He went into his office room, and when he came out, he had a knife in one hand, a rope in the other. He was NOT the man I knew. He was Satan. All the images you have seen, rendered by artists, of Satan...that was who I faced. His entire physiognomy was transformed. His forehead was arched so high, it rose up off his scalp, the upward points above his eyebrows formed into 2 horns. His eyes were black depthless hell. He held me against a wall with a knife to my throat the entire night, spewing vile hatred into my face. It was all about sex. How I would NOT control his sex, he would f#ck anybody he wanted to [censored], and he kept screaming that he was going to f6ck my second best friend. (He actually tried to have sex with my first best friend a few days later.) He would take the knife away and slash the air around me like he was slicing me up. He released me at daybreak. I fell to the floor. I had lost 10 pounds in one night.

We were in therapy, at this time. I never told about this. But shortly after this, p acted out profound depression, and the therapist "pulled out of him" that I was threatening suicide. It was a complete lie, but she believed it, and because I had told her that p was doing that, previously, she believed me to be a liar, and treated me like filth after that, nearly destroying me. P "saved me" during the weeks of nearly losing my mind.

This wasn't a lightbulb moment because I was so far down that I couldn't have seen a thousand lightbulbs blinking above my head. The thing outsiders don't understand is what happenes to the victim, that she becomes so drained and compromised, on every level, that she is not functioning anymore. She is just trying to survive, minimally. In the midst of hell, she is blamed for everything. She no longer has the ability to sort out the truth.

By the way, my third best friend called that morning before I had pulled myself together, and I told her what had happened. Her response? "Well, I would want to hear J's side of this before I respond." J was her friend, too. I hung up on her. But her words affected me just the same.

Top
#583 - 08/13/02 02:18 PM Re: The Mask of a Psychopath
Anonymous
Unregistered


There is another clarification I would like to add to my post above. After what happened in the basement, I was filled with a kind of horror and shame that is difficult to describe. Throughout that night of terror, the psychopath was driving the lie into my soul that what was happening was all my doing, that I had driven him to ravening mad insanity with my incessant badgering and abuse of him. The hours-long tirade was punctuated with "Youuuuuuuuuuuuu...will NOT...do this to me....youuuuuuuuu...will be stopped!.....youuuuuu..." He crucified me, over and over, with his lying accusations, spitting them into my face, and acting out stabbing me dead with them. Hours and hours of this.

I can still feel the force of those accusations, dripping with hatred, piercing my soul, and the shame, oh, the shame with which my soul received them! It does not matter that a scene like this is irrational. A human being has only so much strength with which to cling to rationality. When a person is worn down to nothing, she can no longer deflect irrational blows to her self. It is important that I convey this. People who stand outside of the victim's experience stand and judge. They do not understand that the victim accepts increasing abuse because she can no longer make sense of her world. Her inner world becomes a chaotic swirl of disasters brewing everywhere, imminent danger, and the driving accusation relentlessly aimed at her that she is causing it all.

The scene I described was the first of many just like it. My shame grew exponentially with each one. The psychopath was simultaneously acting out, in the home, that every last thing I said was abusive. The children were picking up on this. If I asked J to do something, his response would be, "you mean I have to drop what I am doing and do THIS RIGHT THIS MINUTE!" Of course, when I asked my children to do anything, I got exactly the same response. My children viewed me, increasingly, as the psychopath viewed me. With everyone in my family speaking to me as if I were a witch, how could I not feel that I WAS one? Shame was every second of everyday. Every time I opened my mouth, more shame was driven into me by the round of sarcastic responses. Then, when the psychopath went on a rampage, I was shamed to the point of feeling like a teeming pile of maggots. There was nothing lower than me. From this perspective, I attempted to raise adolescent children. You can well imagine the success of that.

Although, praise God, my children are now fairly well-adjusted. No thanks to me.

Top
#584 - 08/14/02 06:51 PM Re: The Mask of a Psychopath
Anonymous
Unregistered


From Molly:

Another way to look at this is that the good mask is simply what society requires of the p. He looks good, or does good, because it is required of him. Is this to say that behind the mask is a seething demon, ready to do evil? I don't think this is necessarily the case. I think the p can go for long periods of time, doing only good. I think the p can keep his mask on for a lifetime for certain people or groups. When the mask is good, is he good?

What if the evil acts and intentions of the p is also a mask? You know, like the double mask that symbolizes theatre, tragedy/comedy. The p is clearly acting with intent and not passion (unless you consider cold blooded anger passion) in his evil persona.

Could good and evil be just two sides of the same coin for the p? Two sides of power?

How can you really be good or evil when you are basically so cold blooded? The choice then becomes one of situational expediency rather than one of the heart.

What, then, would be behind the double mask of the p? Could it be a lost child, someone too young to have even developed conscience, trying to survive in an adult world which makes no sense to him? Without love, what could make sense? friendship? children? marriage? job?

What if the p is stuck in some emotional age, where everything has to be sucked into self, where everything is a matter of life and death, where love has no meaning, only power? Without power, how can you guarantee your needs will be met? Without power, how can you guarantee that you won't be abandoned to die, at age 4,3, 2, 1, whatever age the p is stuck, in a gutter in the street?

Thus, the sadistic component (power) is as much a part of the good mask as it is of the evil mask.

Or, maybe I'm just finally cracking up lol.

Top
#585 - 08/15/02 11:32 AM Re: The Mask of a Psychopath
Anonymous
Unregistered


From Molly,

Survivor and all,

It's an interesting way to look at it. In the case of the trip to Hawaii, (in a theoretical sense), for instance, the p is actually wearing the double mask. To the girlfriend, he is a romantic hero, whisking her off to paradise, paying all expenses, most likely acting like the man of her dreams. To the wife, he is the rotter, spending the marital assets on his bimbo: half that money belongs to the wife, thus he is not even spending his own money, leaving wife and baby to struggle and suffer. Could we assume that this double mask is not lost on the p and one that he finds deeply satisfying? Isn't it just an extreme continuation of what he has done all along? He is conning both parties, one with a good mask, one with a bad.

What does he get out of this? Why does he behave like this? Why is this a necessary component of his life? Why does he need to split himself into the good and bad? What is behind the double mask? What causes this odd mental construct? These are all questions.

On a more practical level, if one is aware of this, I think it can be helpful for those of us who have to deal with the guy over divorce issues and children. For instance, I have stated that a good child psychologist strikes fear into the heart of the p. The psychologist threatens to reveal the evil mask, and a p who is noticeably attacking his own children looks very evil. The p, in wanting to present a good mask to the psychologist and control that perception, will have to treat his children well, at least on the surface of things. This doesn't completely solve the problem, obviously, but it does ameliorate it. It makes it easier for the children. Of course, this is just one thing, and the whole problem is very complicated. A particular p might revel in looking bad to his wife/exwife, so if she accuses him of being bad, he might find it deeply satisfying. On the other hand, he might turn this against her and work hard at making her look bad. It is a situation to be constantly managed. But, having a heads up on what is really going on does help in the management of it, at least for me. I've never looked at it so objectively before, but I have behaved in my method of dealing with it as though this is true, just instinctively, and it has helped. Of course, I am also quite a ways into this whole process, years (sigh).

(just my opinion, nothing else).

Top
#586 - 08/19/02 07:00 AM Re: The Mask of a Psychopath
Anonymous
Unregistered


I have had some thoughts about the whole concept of the psychopath's mask(s) floating around in my mind. What this whole subject brings up for me I can only comment on from my own experience and observations. Since I've lived with psychopaths in my life I'm sure that I have a much different slant on this than those who have had a more nurturing upbringing and a loving marriage and family life in adulthood.

From observing the psychopaths I was enmeshed with I see that the mask (I think of it as the false good self that is put on for the outside world and to hide the true real ugliness) is very painful and difficult to keep on for very long. With the people that the psychopath only shows this "good" face to there can only be a limited interval of time where he/she can maintain. For example, the exhusband psychopath would put on a nice guy persona for the people that he was manipulating and then come home and be completely worn out, stressed, agitated and have to withdraw or lash out around me and the children. I see now that to him this was part of our use and role for his needs. He could keep up the nice guy persona as long as it didn't exceed his level of endurance to maintain. Then he would have to retreat to his "lair", lash out and abuse his targets, then feel refreshed to go out with the good guy mask once again plastered on to con and manipulate for his wants and needs.

It took me awhile to put this together and for so long no one would believe it if I tried to explain. Its been and continues to be a process to understand. But I find from talking to and observing more people that its very common for family abuse to be tolerated. That there is some kind of belief that its ok and the role of the family to allow this kind of treatment. Some kind of family system thing.

This is kind of a ramble here. I'm still processing.

Cherie

Top
#587 - 08/19/02 07:09 AM Re: The Mask of a Psychopath
Anonymous
Unregistered


PS to my above post.....It comes to mind that I think of the good mask as a perfomance. When the show is over and the curtain comes down the psychopath goes to his "dressing room" (his home) and takes off the makeup.

Cherie

Top
#588 - 08/19/02 07:45 AM Re: The Mask of a Psychopath
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi Cherie,

Yes, I believe you and allow me to explain here from my limited experience:

As I have related, in the beginning, this p that I THOUGHT I knew, was Mr. Wonderful---wined, dined and complimented. As time passed, the wining, dining and compliments decreased. His mask was starting to wear off and I just had this icky feeling in my stomach. I attributed this to that he could be having problems at home and his anticipation of leaving. Oh sure!

Within time, it seemed to me that he had to drink, like an anxiety reliever. The one time he really didn't drink and he seemed to be withdraw and edgy. Then, his mask started to have cracks or the make-up wearing off, as I noticed he couldn't seem to be around me for an extended period of time. There was excuses, "I have to do this or that."

He would make comments about his wife, which I did not think was anything out of the ordinary, just instances that happen during the course of a relationship. Then, I really thought, maybe he is the a__ to live with and his wife is not crazy.

I really can see him being Mr. Nice Guy at work or in public and then being very stubborn with his wife because I noticed if I made one comment that he did not like, he would seem to be pouty and blame me. I would think, here I treated him very well and I made a remark, "What is the matter?" and he would get upset and treat it like a "woman thing."

He should receive the Academy Award, as his "performance" is excellent. I don't know if he has fully fooled his wife, but he fooled me and I bet he is fooling other women at once. He just loves to have adulation from an audience with his Mr. Nice Guy mask on. Beenthere

Top
#589 - 08/19/02 08:33 AM Re: The Mask of a Psychopath
Anonymous
Unregistered


Yes, Cherie and Beenthere, I believe it is strain for them to keep the mask in place. In the last four years with my husband, one of two things happened when he came home from work. If I spoke to him about anything, within one minute, he would be in full, raving lunatic mode, knife out, threatening to kill me, kill himself, all of it my fault, of course, this was what I had driven him to, with the horrible abuse I had heaped on him, which might have been asking him if he knew where the hose couplings were. The only other possible scenario was him hooking immediately into either tv or computer solitaire for about 2 hours, very, very intensively, then he ate, then fell asleep. He did not speak to me. I was not allowed to speak to him. I think it is absolutely true that he had completely worn out the ability to keep the mask on at home, ever.

Top
#590 - 08/21/02 07:16 AM Re: The Mask of a Psychopath
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi Kris,

I appreciate you telling of your horrendous experience about what you went through when the mask came off. I can only imagine how terrible it was for you and wonder if anyone believed you about his two-facedness (mask). During my brief time with this particular p, I did not experience such a blantant display of rage, just little slips of the mask that left we wondering, "What?"

For instance, we were supposed to meet at a designated time and place. I arrived about 20 minutes or so earlier than the designated time, however, he was there. He did not turn around right away, even though I knew he saw me. When he did turn around, I noticed that he did not smile and seemed to be somewhat angry and said, "You are early." He did not seem particularly happy that I was there at that time. One would have thought that he would be happy to have those few extra minutes with me. Instead, there was no beaming smile, just an overwhelming need on his part to get another drink.

After reflecting and reading your posts, I realize that he probably needed that extra time alone to be able to put his mask on with the help of a few drinks.

The mask again also slipped when an off-the-wall comment was made that he chose to ignore his wife and that he did not talk much to her when he was at home. I didn't say anything, but wondered why. Now Kris, I know why. Your below post made it perfectly clear. I think it was he totally worn out his ability to keep the mask on for his wife. He related a similiar story to yours, but it was about how she tried to budget. I thought it was just a common sense way to do things. He made her out to be the scrapegoat and how dare her as he was the breadwinner. I believed that he didn't stay for extended time periods with me due to honest reasons. Now I believe it was also because he would not be able to control his simmering rage which was beneath his mask and did not want exposed. Beenthere


Top
Page 1 of 10 1 2 3 ... 9 10 >

Moderator:  Dianne E.