Psychopaths and Duplicity by Lisa Jean

A cool crisp autumn afternoon and I’m lounging around the house recovering from a severe cough that has left me too weak to do much else. Doing some channel surfing I come across a movie with Clive Owen and Julia Roberts called Duplicity. While watching it I am reminded of how duplicitous a psychopath is. How duplicitous anything a psychopath says is. As well as how duplicitous a relationship with a psychopath is.

The dictionary definition of duplicity is:

“1.contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially: the belying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words or action

2: the quality or state of being double or twofold

3: the technically incorrect use of two or more distinct items (as claims, charges, or defenses) in a single legal action”

 The first definition is “contradictory doubleness of thought, speech or action.” This would be the very definition of a psychopath. In the beginning of the relationship when they are in the idealization phase the person they present to you is nothing like the person they truly are. Additionally, the intent of their relationship with you has little if anything to do with what they are saying to you or showing you. If the psychopath is intending a romantic interlude with you, or even a romantic relationship with you their actions, words, speech and thinking is rampant with lies. They may present themselves as being smitten with you and wanting to be your everything. If you are a single parent, they’ll be the man/woman who loves children and is happy to be there for you to help with watching the children, help with cooking meals, doing homework, or playing catch with the children. At night he/she may be ready to draw you a bubble bat, bring you a glass of wine, pamper and care for you. While in actuality they really couldn’t care less about your fatigue, or stress, or feelings of being overwhelmed. In fact they are probably rejoicing in your suffering because it is making the door for them to enter into your life so incredibly easy to walk through.
Any gesture, action, or words you hear them speak that appear caring or thoughtful is duplicitous. The only care or thought a psychopath feels centers around himself or herself. If your psychopathic partner has ever seemed thoughtful, or generous, take a good look at what may have motivated the seemed generosity. For generosity and the psychopath are a contradiction in terms. The psychopath is generous to himself alone. When I reflect back on some seemingly generous or selfless acts or words my psychopathic ex told me, or did for me I can always trace back a selfish motive. Even if the only motive was to keep me in his life for the next time he needed me for a victim. Had he completely burned our bridges and severed the relationship to a place that would be irreparable he wouldn’t have a sure thing lined up in terms of future victim supply.
Apparently, even the simplest of generosity or thoughtfulness is full of duplicity. The entire relationship is wrapped and woven very tightly in a mask of duplicity. The loving relationship I thought I was a part of, the connection I felt with this person and all the moments of intense emotion and passion we shared was duplicitous. I and I alone was experiencing them. What he was experiencing was a series of accomplishments, victories and defeats that were and remain completely about himself. There was never an “us”, there never is an “us” with a psychopath. There’s a me against you. There is “I will conquer and destroy you, I will win, I will come out on top, I will have control and power over you.” I, I, I, I, I. This is the crux of the relationship with a psychopath. There is no “us” in “us”. There is “I”, victory and defeat for me and me alone in “us” for the psychopath. Once again, duplicity.
The psychopath has been in the practice of living a duplicitous existence since their very first recollection of “self.” As soon as the psychopath is aware of themselves in relationship to a world outside of themselves they are aware of the difference between themselves and others. In order to simulate being like others and fit in with “them” the psychopath has to appear like “them” i.e. us. Hence the beginning of duplicity. They watch, mimic, pretend, learn how to be like the rest of us. Much like the big back wolf learns how to be Grandma in Little Red Riding Hood. Appearing like Grandma is what will get him the meal he so desires. The Big Bad Wolf may be one of the first introductions we as children have of a psychopath. He is extremely duplicitous. He pretends to be Little Red Riding Hood’s friend. He pretends to want to help her deliver her basket to Grandma’s house. But his real intention isn’t to help Little Red Riding Hood at all. His intention is to help himself to whatever it is he wants.
Another red flag was the self-deprecation. I saw this as insecurity and vulnerability. In actuality this too was duplicitous. The focus on his flaws turned out to be more narcissism. It was another way to have his ego fed by the attention and empathy of others. When he would ask me if I found him attractive, he’d get to hear exactly what he’d been craving. “Of course you’re handsome.” He’d ask me what I liked best about him. What I would rate him on a scale of 1 – 10. He would ask these almost daily for nearly all the 7 1/2 yrs we were together. Duplicity in action. Feigning insecurity when his ego just needed a constant supply of feeding: narcissistic supply. He never did return the gesture to tell me I was beautiful of course.
When allowing someone to enter into my life I intend to err on the side of caution. Not that I’m going to be paranoid and assume everyone is out to victimize me. However, I do intend to keep some distance until I know I can trust that person. This may mean a person who would have gotten a second chance from me in the past will not get it in the future. To some this policy may appear harsh. But upon further thought, it’s not. I have never hurt another person intentionally. I’ve never done something so thoughtless that it was in complete and total disregard of another’s feelings to the degree that it directly hurt them deeply. I’ve been thoughtless and careless, of course, I’m human. I’ve made attempts to change my behavior and been sincerely sorry when I’ve hurt someone. But, I never expect them to roll out the red carpet and welcome me back to do it again. I understand I need to prove my trustworthiness to others, before they can also trust me. I think if we entered our romantic relationships with this healthy assumption we would have been safer from duplicitous individuals.
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