I cannot diagnose my monster anymore than you can. I do not have a degree in any type of psychology, mental illness, or therapy. I cannot know what I do not know.
But I do have experiences. Years and years of experiences. And I have watched repeated behaviors occur time and time again. And I have insight from those that came before me, those that witnessed my journey, those that we allowed close after the great sadness swept in, those that continue to watch as I forge through the aftermath of the relationship, those that have similar experiences, and of course counselors, friends, acquaintances, my children, and so on.
One of the beauties (and also curses) of this day and age is the internet. A wealth of information at our fingertips. And while Google doesn’t in any way, shape, or form give me a certificate to label anyone, I have found it often gives me the the words to explain what I have experienced when I cannot form any. It is a very useful tool if used with discretion and honesty. A very dangerous tool if not.
As the word “abuse” got introduced into our world, my monster vehemently fought it stating, “I’ve never hit you”. But we all know there are realms of abuse that go far outside the physical. Abuse is an evil entity that takes shape in many forms: verbal, mental, emotional, sexual, and financial. Each of these can morph and change and co-exist and destroy in their own rights. And though his statement of never striking me is true, it does not exonerate him. Because physical abuse can be so much more than lifting your hand against someone. I know that first hand.
a·buse — /əˈbyo͞oz/
verb 1. use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse 2. treat (a person or animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly
I stayed with my monster for a year after the great sadness began. I cannot ever say I am grateful for what occurred but I will say that had something catastrophic not happened, I don’t know that I would have ever been saved. I was on the path to either completely losing my mind or losing my life. And because of this monstrous event (pun intended), the veil we all were hiding behind was dropped and our lives were blown wide open for all to see.
With becoming completely exposed also came the ability for forbidden thoughts, words, feelings, and actions to be allowed to come out. On both ends. I was able to say that I felt controlled by him. I was able to start telling anyone at all about what was happening and had happened behind our closed doors. My voice was meek and terrified but it was finally allowed. But he also felt that freedom of the loss of the veil. He felt that nothing was off limits and that I deserved punishment and all that he had to dish out. And he did not hold back. And if I had thought things were bad before the great sadness fell upon us, I soon found out that I had no idea.
I had never had a day of therapy in my life but I found myself forced into individual counseling, group counseling, and marriage counseling. And within these walls, I began to piece together what had become of my life and why. I began to learn terms and words that explained it all too clearly. I met others who understood my world all too well. And slowly, I began to stand up to my monster. He hated therapy. Despised counseling. Was angered that he was being exposed as my knowledge grew. Was mortified that I was trying to heal. And as I became stronger, he became scarier.
I have no way of measuring how long it took me to finally admit I was a victim of abuse. I would flip flop back and forth. I would listen in my once a week, hour long counseling sessions to truths that made it crystal clear but then I’d go home and face an entire week of him drilling into me why I was not. My brain felt like mush. My body ached. It was too much. Too much all the time. I could not get a firm grasp on any sort of reality. And it all comes down to this one simple fact… you cannot heal in the environment that made you sick.
And I often think to myself, “If I had such a hard time admitting I am a victim of abuse, how much harder would it be to admit that I am an abuser?” And for a fleeting moment, I have compassion for my monster. But then it quickly fades away as I think of all the opportunities he has had to lay down the machine gun and heal himself. And how he has chosen to continue his path of destruction rather than walking away from it.
Narcissistic sociopath with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This is my diagnosis. This is where Google has time and time again explained behaviors and mindsets and definitions. Whether or not it’s official, it is a puzzle that the pieces fit into all too well. I have read hundreds of articles. Read dozens of peoples experiences. And whether or not it is accurate, the fact remains that the behaviors are still there. He is nothing if not consistent in being text book when it comes to these disorders.
Indicators of a Narcissistic Sociopath:
They seem so normal. They usually live normal lives just like everyone else. They could be your neighbor, your co-worker, shop at your grocery store, or attend your church. They can mimic the emotions they need to fit any situation. They seem to have it all together. The seem perfectly healthy.
They are prone to grandiosity. Believing themselves to be higher up and better than anyone else around them. Arrogant with an air of confidence. God complex. Looks at those around them with disdain or beliefs that they are inferior. They do not take responsibility for anything negative in their lives.
They are manipulative. And quite good at identifying people who are vulnerable or too trusting. They are users of good people to get the outcomes that they want. Not above using any tools or lies or emotions or charms.
They lack empathy/sympathy. They care only for themselves and cannot be bothered to do anything for others unless they see a way in which it benefits themselves. Even those closest to them. This is just how they are and cannot help their lack of humanness.
They require excessive admiration/narcissistic supply. A need for attention that is drawn from their environment and essential for their self-esteem. This does not take into account the feelings, opinions, or preferences of others. It is all take and no give.
They are charming/charismatic. Incredibly adept at using these wiles to lure and charm and reel others in for their benefit. It is not until they have wholly succeeded in this that they begin to show their true colors (usually only to their closest friends/family) and by then it is too late for the victims.
Indicators of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following…
They make efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Though more often than not it is imagined and so they take charge of their own abandonment and create scenarios/situations to force others into actually walking away.
They have a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships. And these have a history of fluctuating between idealization and devaluation. Often times romantic partners but not necessarily. Always those closest to them.
They suffer from identity disturbance. They have an unstable sense of self or self-image and recreate themselves time and time again.
They suffer from impulsivity in areas that are self-damaging. Ranging from binge eating, eating disorders, spending, promiscuous sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and so on.
They have recurrent negative behaviors. Behaviors such as suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
They suffer from affective instability. Reactions relating to moods, feelings, and attitudes including intense dysphoria, unease, irritability, or anxiety. These can last a few hours to a few days.
They experience chronic feelings of emptiness.
They experience anger. Inappropriate, intense, and uncontrollable.
They experience paranoid concepts and ideas. Often stress-related and transient. Sometimes with severe disassociating symptoms.
With each of these indicators into this monstrous disease, I can tell a story or two or more of a time I witnessed each one with my own eyes. I can recall the circumstances. The words spoken. The feelings felt. Sometimes I can recall exactly where I was standing. I can recall being so confused, not understanding why these behaviors were occurring and desperately trying to stop them. I can recall the year the veil was dropped and that I stayed and the moments of “that’s what they mean”. And now I can see the behaviors occurring with such clarity, often times calling them before they even happen. This is because my monster carries the burdens of being an undiagnosed abuser. And I carry the burden of being a survivor.