One day the psychopath I was involved with smiled broadly and said,
“We get along great for two strangers, don’t we?”
My immediate reaction was one of being completely stunned, which turned quickly into hurt and bewilderment. Strangers? We weren’t strangers, far from it! We were soul mates, after all. I felt as if I’d been punched in the gut.
After all was said and done and I realized he was psychopathic, I thought for sure he made that statement to purposely hurt me. And maybe he did, but one thing is clear now — it was the truth. No one is more than a stranger to a psychopath. Without the ability to bond with others, they remain permanently and significantly disconnected. They are true loners.
Psychopaths are also strangers to everyone else. We can never know who they really are until we see beneath their carefully constructed mask, and when we finally do, we realize they are not at all who they seemed to be.
Here’s what one psychopathic person says about experiencing those close to him as strangers.
You may have heard of James Fallon, a neuroscientist and author of the book, “The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain.”
In the course of his research, Fallon discovered that he himself has a psychopathic brain and displays many of the traits of psychopathy (although he does not consider himself a “full-blown” psychopath).
In an interview published in the Atlantic, “Life as a Nonviolent Psychopath,” Fallon describes his relationship with those closest to him. When explaining how he interacts with his wife, sister and mother, he says:
“Even though they’ve always been close to me, I don’t treat them all that well. I treat strangers pretty well — really well, and people tend to like me when they meet me — but I treat my family the same way, like they’re just somebody at a bar. I treat them well, but I don’t treat them in a special way. That’s the big problem….They absolutely expect and demand more. It’s a kind of cruelty, a kind of abuse, because you’re not giving them that love.”
In an interview from Psychology Today, “How To Think Like a Psychopath,” Fallon says “It’s so disappointing to people close to you. You don’t want to be married to me or be my kid or close friend because I’ll kind of dump you, and I don’t even think about it.”
When the psychopath I knew enthusiastically exclaimed that we sure got along great for two strangers, he may have really been pleased as punch, since that’s the most he is capable of and the most he can ever give — or get — from a relationship.
But we non-psychopaths need for our closest relationships to be with people truly capable of loving and connecting. To believe we are loved by someone — and then to find out we are no more than a stranger to them — is deeply shocking and disturbing. Understanding how the psychopathic mind works can help with moving forward after the relationship comes to an end. When you realize you were dealing with someone who was fundamentally different in many ways, it may help resolve your lingering feelings of confusion.
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“Invaluable. Having been in a relationship with a psychopath for many years, I desperately needed some insight into what had happened and why. I have gained a tremendous amount of strength and knowledge toward healing from years of abuse by reading this book. One of the best.”
“Insightful and informative! This book provides a good understanding of psychopath’s traits. It’s very helpful the author broke it down in different subjects for giving the complete view of a psychopath.”
“Five Stars. Very helpful.”