The Stranger Across the Kitchen Table

little-red-riding-hood-gustave-dore copy

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.

♥ Thank you for reading.


Comments are closed.

Related Posts

7 thoughts on “The Stranger Across the Kitchen Table”

  1. Maria

    My ex-husband of 21 years used to make me feel so special by cooking me meals, special celebrations during the holidays and my birthday. However, sometimes he had a cruel way about him. He would make fun of me like a bully, but he always said he was kidding. And he made fun of me in front of his friends as well. It would never be anything too bad, but just enough keep me off balance and make me feel uncomfortable. He would tell me that is part of his personality and I should accept it. Also, when I would talk serious with him, he would alwahys make jokes and sometimes I wasn’t in the mood for jokes so it used to get old. He also wrote the sweetest things in cards all through the years.
    Anyway, he cheated on me 15 years ago and then left me for another woman a year and a half ago. He had been seeing her for over a year before I found out (which was after he left me). He said that the plan was for him to leave me and then if I happen to see them both out somewhere he would tell me that they just got together. Basically, he has no concience in my opinion. What do you make of all this? I would really appreciate your input.

    1. Admin

      I’m sorry you went through all of that. From what you’ve told me, you are better off without your ex and lucky you didn’t have to experience many more years of his cheating and emotional abuse. I know it’s hard, especially because of the sweet things he did, but we deserve more than someone who is only good to us some of the time. You may find something helpful in this article: “Hooked on Messy Loving — Why toxic relationships are addictive.” It answers this question — “If someone does something nice for you, is he or she entitled to abuse you?” All the best to you!

  2. Maria

    Thank you for answering me. I love your articles. Do you offer phone consultation?

    1. Admin

      No, I don’t do phone consultations. I’m not a counselor, I’m a person who was affected by this and created this blog to help others. I hope you will find the help you’re looking for :-)

  3. Admin

    I’m glad to hear you knew it was time to break away from him. I wish you all the best.

  4. Ishypoo

    I’ve read and researched material to find anyone’s personal experience close to mine. I believe it would be cathartic.
    I was married 33 years to a diagnosed psychopath and schizoid personality disorder with avoidance. 25 years of marriage was almost too good to be true. We have 3 children that are grown and have children of their own. I have 7 grandchildren.
    He became Mr. Hyde when my youngest daughter went to college out of state. It started slowly and then went out of control. I had to change locks on my doors, and security system and file for divorce when I realized he was trying to kill me and make it look like an accident. I know he kept his depravity secret and his pretense as a normal person so I would raise his children, and we went to church which helped him look like a moral person for business purposes. He even was in positions of presiding. I was so happy and in love for 25 years, and made him look successful and had much to do with investments of my own that accounted for our financial gain, but he took the credit, and I took care of my family. He was a wonderful husband and father in my presence. I was unaware that to my children since they were born he tried to make them think I was their worst enemy. This my son told me in front of his father. A real defining moment. He would have ended it years before had we not had children. He was told it was almost an impossibility for him to have children, so we had 3, because I never used birth control. They were the joy of my life. I thought they were his. We are all his possessions. I have been divorced 4 years. My children stopped having anything to do with me, and I can’t see my grandchildren because of all the deceptive behaviors mentioned in the book that they use. My children have suffered a great loss. Their mother for his pleasure to see me suffer. I have no delusions that he ever loved me. And I don’t know what my children think of me, or what heneous act they believe I committed that they cannot forgive me. I know it is about the brainwashing and all the other traps. That it was all planned from the start by meticulous, manipulative, calculating, vicious, means for my destruction and his gratification. But he continues to stalk me, he spreads lies, he has the ability to make friends and family hate me. He uses spies and my own children. The more I have read I’ve realized he used covert seduction with them which is so damaging and confusing. I don’t think I’ll heal. He has used them and they can become his main target at anytime. I have cometely isolated. He has turned all family and so many friends against me as enemies. If they don’t hate me, then he hates them. No one likes that. They really want to be liked by him. My physical health is on such a decline. I have a fatal disease that can be cured, but I cannot manage I’m so weak. The condition has effected my cognitive thinking. I have tried to contact my children with no luck. He has been trying to find out about this. I haven’t told anyone about the illness for fear he will turn my life into such chaos. I have to see to my health. I am not sure how to proceed. I have to have a family member with me during this process.
    I can barely get a bath and eat properly because of my weakness. When I get better it is absurd to think I can go on with a new life leaving my children to be destroyed by this madman. He isn’t going to leave me alone until he kills me. Law enforcement is no help. The legal and judicial systems are a huge part of this problem. There is no safety. It is difficult to stay hopeful. This process I have to go through for my health is so overwhelming. I will have to do so much planning and decision making and organizing which I am not able to do. He killed his first X wife. He was never questioned. His plan is to kill me. I don’t doubt that he will kill me and get away with it. Then on to our children.

    1. Admin

      Ishypoo, your story is extreme and I can understand why you express feelings of hopelessness, but you are overwhelmed right now and it’s impossible to see things clearly or take necessary steps in this state of mind. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and that you are seriously ill on top of it. Thinking about how to deal with all of this would be overwhelming for anyone! You need to find people who will help you, and you need somewhere safe to stay if you believe he is really going to kill you. Maybe if you were in a safe place, like a shelter, and had access to a therapist who could help you sort it out and focus on the priorities, it could become manageable. It sounds like your health needs to be a priority. Call your hospital’s social work department right away and find out what help they can provide. Please don’t let it go another day without doing so. My heart goes out to you and I wish you all the best in getting through this. I believe you can do this, one step at a time.

Comments are closed.