I’ve been coaching and training my whole life, since high school, and I didn’t really think there were bad people out there. I was very shocked when the universe threw me into a situation where I was face to face with a psychopath. As much as I hate to go there, I heard law enforcement, judges, attorneys, and prosecutors saying that these people are actually defined as being “evil.”
I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that, but maybe, the fact that they have no conscience, some people say, “They have no soul,” maybe they are. You wouldn’t question someone’s being “evil” in the extreme. We’ve heard stories about people who have abducted people, cut them up, and put them in the freezer. That would definitely be an extreme and we would consider that person as being evil.
Most victims of psychopaths don’t even know they’re a victim of a psychopath until it’s too late. Because these are very charming individuals, they can really get under your skin. They are the people that we love on the one hand, until they have shown their true colors, and then, it’s debilitating.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of good training out there for counselors and therapists. Before twenty years ago, if you came into my office, you’d have been in the same boat. Back in the day, if you came into my office and said, “I’m being attacked by a psychopath!” I would respond with, “Oh, really? Let’s sit down and talk about this.”
I’d lead with questions, like, “Why do you think this person is a psychopath?” and, “Why do you feel like you’re being attacked?” You know the routine, right? Because it was the furthest thing from my mind, that there were really people out there like that. As if it’s obviously a misconception of some kind.
And especially if someone said they were married to one, in business with someone, or related to one, like my brother, my aunt, my uncle.
How could that even be?
I don’t live in a world like that. In my world, which revolves around the people I love, like my kids. I have a son who is a cybersecurity specialist, a daughter who is an actress, who was just in two movies which were released back to back, Ecco and Friday the 13th Vengeance. (I know, she’s Seattle’s scream queen. When we see her on-screen she’s usually screaming, or covered in blood). Then there’s my other daughter who had her own punk rock band, is an artist in multiple disciplines, and works with the Girl Scouts of America. They have blessed me with a host of grandchildren, and I love these guys more than anything.
When I’m dealing with a psychopath and the psychopath attacks me, that’s one thing. But if he goes after these guys, my people? It’s a different thing. It’s on, like Donkey Kong.
Psychopathy is a spectrum. A psychopath on the left side of the spectrum is going to drive down the street, see a rodent crossing the road, and swerve toward it (bump, bump), and reward himself with a little giggle about doing so. On the other end, you ‘ve got people in the freezer.
It is a broad-spectrum, with any possibility between those two extremes. The people who I work with; are dealing with predatory psychopaths on the dark side of the spectrum, which are on the right side but a bit to the left of the extreme.
There is a lot of them, but there might not be as many as you might think. If you’ve been victimized y a psychopath, your friends probably have not. So, they have no frame of reference. They think you’re being ridiculous.
Just like, it took me fifteen years to find out there were people out there, like this. I didn’t run across any first-hand. I didn’t even know. You just do the best you can with what you have.