I mentioned my mostly stoic but sometimes incredibly over-emotional acquaintance in a previous post. We were going to move to another city together but that fell through for many reasons, not the least of which being that I realized that he was attempting to use me for emotional support that I am simply unwilling to give. Yes, I led him on regarding the move and I suppose I’ve led him on this past week in which I’ve kept quiet and left him with false hope that a move was still in the works. He’s the kind that threatens suicide whenever things do not go his way, but he also threatens suicide whenever he’s depressed. I bring all of this up, because when I break the news to him that we are not moving, I suspect that he will, once again, threaten suicide. Now, this does not concern me much other than it would violate my general principle (these days) of avoiding harm for others when possible. I brought all of this up to my therapist who relayed the following to me, the point of this post. “We can influence others, but they are the sole arbiters of control and choice in their lives.”
Are psychopaths toxic? This is a question that I get somewhat frequently. Others want to believe that the psychopath is irredeemable; that we are pariahs that deserve no human contact. The answer that I give is that it depends. Are we talking about the unsuccessful psychopaths that line our prison walls or our more adapted kin that have learned to succeed in life, warts and all? Ultimately the onus of any interpersonal relationship with a psychopath must reside with the neurotypical. We don’t blame the stove if someone touches it while it is hot, now do we?
Psychopaths are known for their predatory ways. Well, the neurotypical would call it predatory; I’d call it taking advantage of openings. The truth is, we detect when others are weak and vulnerable and, if the price is right, we strike. Conning, manipulation, parasitism, and theft are not uncommon for psychopaths. Like the mosquito that identifies the best host to feed upon, the psychopath can do the same. Without a sense of conscience and without the capacity for remorse, it just makes sense.
I’m not convinced that the psychopath does not want interpersonal relationships, but I am convinced that the psychopath grows tired of the steps needed to create and/or maintain those relationships. I believe this sentiment is summed up best by this finely worded forum post by one of the moderators:
I want a cactus. But instead I end up getting some needy little sunflower and I put it in the shade because I only want to look at it on occasion. Then one day I go to admire my flower and it’s dead. I neglect them. I only want to see them on my terms.
I’ve often used a similar analogy to describe my stance on interpersonal relationships. I really, really do want some semblance of an interpersonal relationship, but I am a perpetual loner because I have zero desire to grow and maintain those relationships. I want to be surrounded by potted plants; plants that require the most minimal of care and are always available on my terms.
The neurotypical must cut out the dead flesh if they want to escape the parasitism of the psychopath. The psychopath does not care whom he leeches from. As long as their is benefit to be had for little in return, the psychopath will continue to suck their host dry.
This parasitism is usually nothing personal. It is not as if the psychopath is seeking retribution or revenge for sins that the target has committed. Simply put, the psychopath seeks to get everything for nothing. Whether it is the target’s pursestrings or their companionship, the psychopath is merely playing the part of a flesh eating disease: devouring everything in its path while giving nothing in return. The mosquito does not care who it bleeds dry so long as it remains full; the same can be said about the psychopath.