* Note: This article is written by a friend who goes by the pseudonym “Peace”
During a relationship with a psychopath, we are likely to experience a range of emotions that we’ve never felt before: extreme jealousy, neediness, rage, anxiety, paranoia, etc. After the inevitable devalue and discard, many of us blame ourselves. If only I hadn’t been so jealous, then maybe he wouldn’t have left me… If only I hadn’t been so needy, then maybe he wouldn’t have left me… If only I hadn’t been so—
Those were not your emotions. I repeat: those were not your emotions. They were carefully manufactured by the psychopath in order to make you question your good nature. Victims are often of the mentality that they can forgive, understand and absorb all of the problems in a relationship. Essentially, they checkmate themselves by constantly trying to rationalize the abuser’s completely irrational behavior.
For example, most us probably didn’t consider ourselves to be jealous people before we met the psychopath. We might have even taken pride in being exceptionally easy-going and open-minded. The psychopath sees this and knows how to exploit it. During the idealize phase, he draws us in by flattering those traits—he just can’t believe how perfect you are. The two of you never fight. There’s never any drama. You’re so relaxed compared to his crazy, evil ex!
But behind the scenes, something else is going on. Psychopaths become bored very easily, and the idealize phase is only fun until he has you hooked. Once that happens, these strengths of yours become vulnerabilities that he uses against you. He begins to inject as much drama into the relationship as he possibly can, throwing us into impossible situations and then judging us for reacting to them.
Most people would agree that jealousy is toxic in a relationship. But there’s a huge difference between true jealousy and the psychopath’s manufactured jealousy.
Take the following two conversations:
Boyfriend: Hey, my old high-school friend is coming into town if you’d like to meet her!
Girlfriend: No! Why do you need other female friends? You have me.
In this case, the girlfriend truly seems to have some jealousy issues that need to be addressed. Assuming he hasn’t abused her in the past, this is an inappropriate display of jealousy.
Boyfriend: My ex is coming into town. You know, the crazy abusive one who’s still completely obsessed with me.
Girlfriend: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that!
Boyfriend: We’re probably going to meet up later for drinks. She always hits on me when she drinks.
Girlfriend: I’m confused. Could we talk about this in person?
Boyfriend: You have a problem with it?
Girlfriend: Nope! No problem. I guess I was just a little confused since you said she abused you. But I hope things go well! It’s nice when exes are able to be friends.
Boyfriend: Jesus Christ, you’re so jealous sometimes.
Girlfriend: I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be jealous. I was just confused at first. Maybe we could talk about it in person?
Boyfriend: Your jealousy is ruining our relationship and creating so much unnecessary drama.
Girlfriend: I’m sorry! We don’t have to talk about it in person. I really didn’t mean to come across that way.
Boyfriend: It’s fine, I forgive you. We’ll just have to work through your jealousy issues.
In this case, the psychopath did three things: 1) Put the victim in an impossible situation that would make any human being jealous, especially after talking about how crazy the ex is. 2) Accused the victim of being jealous, even though the victim tried to respond reasonably. 3) Played “good guy” by offering to forgive her for a problem that he created in the first place. This places him in his favorite role of teacher vs. student.
The longer this abuse occurs, the more we begin to wonder if we actually have a jealousy problem.
And it’s not just limited to jealousy. To offer another example, many of us may begin to feel needy and clingy during the relationships with the psychopath. But again, it’s all manufactured. Who was the one who initiated the constant conversation and attention in the first place? It was him. Once he’s bored, he will start to lash out at us for trying to continue practices that he initiated.
Again, most people would agree that neediness is toxic in a relationship. But there’s a huge difference between true neediness and the psychopath’s manufactured neediness.
Boyfriend: Hey, I won’t be around tonight because my grandmother wants to get dinner. Sorry!
Girlfriend: Oh my god, I haven’t seen you in three hours. This is getting ridiculous. You better text me the entire time.
In this case, the girlfriend truly seems to have some neediness issues that need to be addressed. Assuming he hasn’t abused her in the past, this is an inappropriate display of neediness.
Girlfriend: Hi, I haven’t heard from you in three days. Just want to make sure you’re doing okay.
Boyfriend: Jesus Christ, I have a life outside of you, you know.
Girlfriend: I know, I was just sort of confused because I’m used to hearing from you every day.
Boyfriend: You’re so needy. I have important things to do and I can’t just drop everything to text you.
Girlfriend: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sound needy. It was the first text I’ve sent in three days.
Boyfriend: I can’t deal with this. I’ve never met someone so needy in my life.
Girlfriend: I’m really sorry! I won’t bother you again.
Boyfriend: It’s fine, I forgive you. We’ll just have to work through your neediness issues.
Once again… In this case, the psychopath did three things: 1) Put the victim in an impossible situation that would make any human being needy, especially after the constant attention in the idealize phase. 2) Accused the victim of being needy, even though the victim tried to respond reasonably. 3) Played “good guy” by offering to forgive her for a problem that he created in the first place. This places him in his favorite role of teacher vs. student.
The longer this abuse occurs, the more we begin to wonder if we are actually needy people.
We must understand that in loving, healthy relationships, no one would ever put us in these situations in the first place. Our boundaries were put to the test, and we did the absolute best we could, given the circumstances. In the future, we should never allow someone to tell us who we are or what we feel. Happy Healing to all!