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I think too much - Tactical Ninja

Mar. 16th, 2012

09:47 am - I think too much

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Yesterday I read this story - it's a guy talking about how he discovered that his sister is a sociopath. It's in sections in which he describes a series of events relating to his sister and his ex-wife. I found it through a link that said "Five easy ways to spot a sociopath" and the guy's shtick was that there isn't an easy way and that you should read his story to discover the sorts of behaviours to look out for.

However, as I was reading the story, something seemed a little off.


The first red flag popped up when I read about how his ex-wife had been diagnosed with a mental illness and how he still had the diagnosis - with little quotes implying that the diagnosis was paranoid schizophrenia. Now, my ex husband tried very hard to convince me that I was insane*, and I'm looking at this thing going "OK so maybe the ex wife is schizophrenic or maybe not, but how does this have any bearing on this story except to paint the ex-wife as not credible?" And, what would he stand to gain from that?

The story continues on to describe a 'conspiracy' between the ex-wife and the writer's sister, in an attempt to get custody of the two children. It's an easy story to believe, including the sister communicating with the ex-wife and claiming she hadn't, locking the writer out of her computer so that he couldn't see emails, apparently badmouthing him to his own family, and involving school counsellors. From his perspective, this was all about the ex wife not wanting to pay child support and the way he tells it they are evil scheming plotting sociopaths who will manipulate him and his children to get what they want.

However, I went into this after reading a bunch of pages like this one. So while I was reading, that was in the back of my mind, and red flag after red flag went up. His description of his ex-wife and his sister imply that he thinks they are less intelligent than himself. His descriptions of his son are very clinical and lack indicators of affection. He seems to have an uncanny recall of who said what to who and when, and the 'facts' always favour him. He paints himself as the innocent victim - I noted that his son's withdrawal and lack of friends coming to visit are first attributed to bullying and then to asperger's, and that his response to his father's concern is an attack on his own parenting. He seems to enjoy manipulating situations to catch his sister out lying. He charms the school counsellor that talks to him once but doesn't actually know him. And he goes out of his way to provide evidence of the two women's evilness - for his ex-wife there's the mental diagnosis that he's kept all these years and is happy to quote publicly on the internet, and detailed descriptions of her child support payments and various failed relationships. With his sister, there's a description of the way she interacts with her teenage daughter that is meant to imply that the relationship is dysfunctional, and a disparaging of her reaction when caught out lying.

And the whole time I'm reading I'm thinking "There is something really wrong with this."

Because this story could be read another way. Say your sociopathic ex had you diagnosed with a mental illness and used it to get custody of your children (yes, this is the sort of thing that sociopaths do). Say you knew your son was having problems in school and you suspected that it was because he was now bearing the brunt of living with a sociopath. Say your ex's sister agreed with you and wanted to help you get the kid out of that situation, but you both knew that a direct approach was pointless because you'd tried it before. Say you talked to the family and they agreed as well. How would that look? I reckon kind of similar to the guy's story, you know?

This guy takes gloating pleasure in catching all these people out in their machinations, and he does it by being a better manipulator than they are, second-guessing their tricks with his own, charming the peripheral people that are required to ensure there's always doubt as to who's right, undermining the credibility of his 'enemies' at every turn, making sure the audience knows that he could have hacked the emails but was far too honourable, setting himself up as the victim, convincing you that he is in the right and all these weird circumstances in which everyone in the world is against him is because they are all evil, not him.

So I'd like to suggest that an easy way to spot a sociopath is to read this guy's story and feel that niggling feeling that all is not right with this person. And that feeling? That's how you spot a sociopath IMO.

I can't tell if the guy genuinely thinks people will believe him, if he's playing some kind of game to see how many of the plebs he can fool, or if it's just some kind of clever mindfuck that shows you how to spot a sociopath by dangling red herrings until you realise that you're being spun by one. Dunno. I'm resisting leaving a comment.

*NB I should point out here that I don't think my ex husband is a sociopath - he didn't display the calculation that is required for that - but he did think I was crazy. And once that accusation was made, every 'non-rational' thing that I did was fuel for that fire. Express anger? Crazy. Be upset? Crazy. Want something different from what he thought I should have? Crazy. Etc. It'd be really easy to convince someone they're crazy if you were manipulative enough. See also: Gaslighting.


Well, that was a lot of time and effort for something that only a couple of people will probably read. But I find this sort of thing really interesting. I'm not saying I'll never get sucked in by a sociopath, but as life goes on I'm getting better and better at spotting them and thus avoiding them. At least, I think so.

Last night I varnished my balls. They are well shiny now, and also protected from the paint chipping off when they knock together. Tomorrow I'm supposed to be shearing a bunch of lambs. Go away, clouds!

And tonight will be day 6 of Dr Wheel's birthday, which this year goes for a week. <3

Comments:

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From:ferrouswheel
Date:March 15th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
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The actions of those who are more intelligent can often look like craziness to those stubborn enough not to want to understand.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 15th, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
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I always thought being angry was a pretty rational response given my situation - but it didn't feel rational.
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From:dragonvyxn
Date:March 15th, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
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i read it! your assessment sounds reasonable
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From:tatjna
Date:March 15th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
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I am extremely suspicious of the motives of anyone who says "I have never badmouthed my ex wife" on the same page as making public details of a mental health diagnosis that may or may not be the real deal.

I am also suspicious of the motives of someone who claims someone is trying to get custody of children so they don't have to pay child support any more.

Both of these may be projection on my part.

Either way, the result of my reading that was not sympathy for 'the poor bloke'. At my most charitable I think he comes across as bitter, obsessive and manipulative. Which I'm not sure was the intention of the piece.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 15th, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
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I never thought I'd say this, but right now you are giving far more benefit-of-doubt than I would.

But really, none of these people would be in my life. I just like reading about them and judging them on the internet.

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From:tatjna
Date:March 15th, 2012 11:10 pm (UTC)
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I read the comments.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:March 15th, 2012 11:13 pm (UTC)
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That could be a result of being somewhere on the autistic spectrum perhaps? Learning lots of social interaction cues and common sense (or perhaps learning lots about sociopaths) and then over application of the knowledge without the innate empathic understanding others have for applying it in context.

I know I was a bit retarded in that way in my early 20s.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:March 15th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, it's hard to tell without hearing more than just a single person's perspective on it all. Prolonged psychological abuse could even rub off on people and result in them acting obsessive or manipulative... at least while trying to make sense of the situation.

Btw - the guy didn't claim she was trying to get custody, just that it was initially thought she was about to from what she asked the children. The actual court case she filed was to only stop child support and nothing else (perhaps because the children told her they didn't want to move?)

I didn't have time to read the whole thing in detail though.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:March 16th, 2012 12:52 am (UTC)
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A site written about sociopaths, by sociopaths, for sociopaths?
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From:tatjna
Date:March 16th, 2012 01:04 am (UTC)
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That would be this site, in which a friendly sociopath answers readers' questions and blogs about anime.
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From:helianthas
Date:March 16th, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
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Yeah the word that comes to mind is "dickwad".

Also, school counselors are NEVER supposed to be involved in and therefore comment about custody issues. The party line is, "You're best off talking to your lawyer about that. How can we support David while he's at our school?" yeah, there are shitty counselors and we're all learning but I highly doubt the counselor said "Why is David not with his Mom?" We're trained to accept custody decision at face value unless we're somehow excited about being subpoenaed and dragged into family court.

Also, if he gave temporary custody or just "education rights" (ability to enroll in school, sign papers, make school decisions) then Kathy would've needed to be at the meeting, too, and/or the writer could not have spoken to the counselor (unless he still had some custody/Ed rights). Most of these laws, however, Are worked around If we know there is a healthy relationship with the non-custodial parent and there is no court order forbidding contact with the parent. For us in sue-happy USA, it really all depends on the court documents, staying out of custody disputes, and covering our own assess while trying to do what's best for the child.

The whole thing seems really fishy to me.

Tats, if you're ok with sharing, what kind of rights about school matters did you have when you didn't have full custody of the YOTD?

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From:tatjna
Date:March 16th, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
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I was still recognised as a legal guardian in the court papers so as long as I could prove I was me, I had the usual guardianship rights - on paper anyway. In reality I was not consulted on anything or sent any information about how he was doing at school. I nominated my Mum (who was in the same town) to act as my proxy and she went to parent teacher meetings and the like, procured copies of his reports and school photos for me, and kept me updated on what was going on.

Guardianship here can be shared amongst a few people.
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From:dianavilliers
Date:March 15th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
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That blog reads like poorly written fiction, but if it has any basis in fact... well I just hope the kids manage to escape and become whole, independant adults someday.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 15th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
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I read a little further into the site and apparently all three of the man's children are now 'sociopaths' along with all three of his siblings and his father. He believes his family has a 'bad gene' that he miraculously escaped.

Apparently his son and one of his aunts are the only people still talking to him, so it seems that for the most part, the kids have escaped. But it doesn't sound healthy at all.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:March 15th, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
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!!!

Okay - that's a bit scary.
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From:plantgirl
Date:March 16th, 2012 12:48 am (UTC)
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Argh. Carefully typed out a comment & then lost it.

I read as far as the daughter cutting him off & the sister being "extremely evil." I don't know if this guy is a sociopath, but he is creepy & manipulative & all my alarm bells are ringing.

I once had the misfortune of getting involved with a guy who was, at a minimum, borderline sociopathic. At a maximum he was a sociopath. He was very charming until I realized that almost every word that came out of his mouth was a lie. I also have a close relative who is very narcissistic (possibly has NPD.) Creepy guy sets off many of the same RED FLAGS for me as my sociopathic ex & narcissistic relative do. (Because if you put it in big throbbing red letters it means you MUST be telling the truth!)

The sad thing is that his sister & ex-wife may also be creepy & manipulative. There's no way to tell, because I don't trust 84.725% of what Creepy guy wrote.

It doesn't help that he misdiagnosed his sister with his armchair psychoanalysis. (It's one of my pet peeves.) If the sister is monopolar she wouldn't be manic, she'd be depressed. Add in that he offers no substantiation for his claim of mania, & he's just slinging mud. Add in his need to be Right! about everything, & .... *shudders*

He can't come to any of my parties.
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From:plantgirl
Date:March 16th, 2012 12:50 am (UTC)
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Also, kudos to you at being better at spotting sociopaths. I had to learn the hard way. (Experience-based learning, anyone?) And while it was certainly effective, it wasn't fun.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 16th, 2012 01:05 am (UTC)
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I too learned from bitter experience, and part of the reason that guy set off my alarms was recognition of the thought pattern.

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