As a person with NVLD (similar to Asperger’s in many ways), I have trouble reading body language, which left me vulnerable to a couple who I believe to both be narcissistic sociopaths (story here).
Because I was so vulnerable, I didn’t understand why my wonderful, sweet best friend would turn on me so suddenly and betray me (and, with his wife, begin stalking me later), leading to a long, drawn-out, painful process of healing and recovery.
Over the years, a part of me has held onto the hope that one day, he’ll repent and come to my husband and me, looking for forgiveness and renewed relationship.
This despite the fact that he strangled and asphyxiated one of his kids shortly after we broke off relations with him and his wife. The little girl reported him to the police and he was convicted.
Now his wife, I knew early on that she was a danger, which is why I resisted her attempts to force me into a close friendship with her. (Normally it’s easy for me to befriend the spouses of my friends.) Over time I finally got a word for the danger: narcissistic sociopath. One day, I even saw her sociopathic smile of glee when an enemy (who, by the way, used to be a friend) had done something terrible.
But him? A sociopath? The more I learned about narcissists, the more I could believe he was one, but I thought he was one of the lower-level narcissists, incredibly self-centered but not out to actually hurt anyone.
But it seems I was wrong. When he choked his kid, the newspaper published his mug shot on its website. There was no remorse in that face, just anger, even contempt. A couple of years later, I got a disturbing e-mail from these people which said I “don’t have all the facts”–which made me wonder, What the heck kind of fact can excuse that you choked your kid in a fit of pique because she wasn’t cleaning up?
But that wasn’t all. When his probation (PROBATION? no jail time? SERIOUSLY?) started, the state took more mug shots which it posted online on a website which publishes offender information.
Just as I did with the first mug shot, I studied the new mug shots, trying to identify the expression on his face, a difficult thing with NVLD. I can get common expressions just fine, but the more subtle ones are harder to catch and understand. I used websites on facial expression and was pretty sure it was contempt. I also saw posts on sociopathic smiles, but when they’re just words or just a couple of pictures, it can be harder to be sure if that’s what you saw.
Then Lucky Otter published a blog post with both descriptions and lots of pictures of various forms of the sociopathic smile. For example:
Jack Brown, MD, is a physician who is an expert in reading body language and facial expressions. He said there is a particular expression that sociopaths and malignant narcissists use much more frequently than normal people: what he calls the Elevated Central Forehead Contraction with a Partial (Insincere) Mouth Smile. It’s a closed mouth, fake smile with the eyebrows drawn together as if the person is frowning. It’s similar to a smirk, but not quite. The overall effect is mocking condescension and cruel contempt. Brown says this expression is used often by serial killers, mass murderers, hardened criminals, and by everyday bullies and other people who lack empathy.
Source: Sociopaths rule America — but there’s an easy way to identify them. | Lucky Otters Haven
I highly recommend reading the whole post, of course; this little snippet doesn’t do it justice. Anyway, thanks to this post, I pulled out the mug shots again, this time showing one to Lucky Otter.
Her verdict? Sociopath–complete with subtle smirk and dead eyes.
Dang, I was so fooled by this guy. Even to this day, I’ll think back to things that happened and think he’s not so bad, deep down, and just needs to repent and things will be fine. I’ll think he just needs to get out of the sociopathic control of his abusive wife, and the real Richard will come back out again. Heck, he wanted to be a priest!
…Er, yeah. He can’t be now, because of the choking incident. Think of the bullet that the Orthodox Church dodged here.
Especially with this couple *still* stalking my blog all these years later (a bunch of times just in the past couple of weeks), and now with a new group of sociopathic/psychopathic/abusive trolls stalking me here and on Twitter, sometimes I wonder if I should just remove everything I ever wrote about this couple and other abuse stories as well. You know, for protection against whatever these creeps might be contemplating.
But then I think, No, people NEED these stories. Victims and potential victims NEED to know what narcissists/sociopaths/psychopaths/other abusers are capable of, so they can protect themselves from future abuse, and heal from the past.
And that means putting my own story on the Web, dirt and all, without trying to sanitize it like some people might. Saying “I never did anything at all wrong when dealing with my abuser” will not help you or other victims learn how to protect themselves. And there may be times where I don’t recognize what I did wrong, but other people will, and that can help them figure out what to do in their own situations.
And my ex-friends need to know that
- I know what was really going on,
- I reject their attempts to project their crap onto me and make me think I was behaving badly and needed punishment,
- and I won’t be vulnerable to them again.
So yeah, I don’t post this stuff just to help myself feel better. I also post it to help others, because this problem is rampant in today’s society. And check out Lucky Otter’s post to help you spot these people before they rip out your heart.
Comments are turned off because this is a reblog–and because I’m still being watched by these people.