Sociopaths learn to hide, and that hiding is safe, from an early age. When others are growing up, in perhaps safe environments, and free to be who they truly are, the Sociopath often has a childhood that is linked to abuse and trauma. Hiding behind the screen, was a normal coping mechanism.
As part of my Counselling course training, we had a choice of books to review. For one of the books I chose to review was Families and how to survive them by John Cleese and & Robyn Skynner (1993) Cedar Books
It was probably the most interesting book that I would read throughout my counselling training. The book discusses, how we as human beings are affected by what we see as children. That families, display only so much to the ‘outside world’. The rest was according to Skynner & Cleese ‘hidden behind the screen’.
Learning to hide from an early age
It is said, and also my belief, Psychopaths are born, and Sociopaths are made. What this means, is that Psychopaths are born that way, and would be that way, no matter what their childhood. Sociopaths on the other hand, are apparently born normal, but are shaped in childhood, by abuse, neglect, parental alcoholism, drug abuse, parental infidelity, child hood trauma. Something went wrong.
In childhood, perhaps both parents were not ‘there’ or ‘available’ to the child. Why this affects some children, and they turn into Sociopaths, and not others, I do not know? I know, lots of people had a rough childhood, and didn’t turn into psycho’s. Maybe sociopaths are more sensitive? I really do not know, and I haven’t found anything that offers a definitive answer.
If the work of Cleese and Skynner is accurate, every family lives it’s life with only so much of their lives displayed to the outside world. We choose what we ‘display’, the rest hidden behind the scene, behind the curtain (think of the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy as she pulls back the curtain to see the wizard behind the curtain, nothing like the scene that had been portrayed of him outside).
At the time when I read this book, Social media was not as it is today, and Facebook was not as popular (07/08). My thinking, when reading and reviewing the book, was to think of my own family background. My father was strict, and display to the outside world what he felt was important. To the outside world our family was
At least this was the view of our family, that my father liked to give to the outside world.
To have some understanding about this ‘hiding behind the curtain’, look at Facebook today, and what people choose to display to the outside world. People portray their best image. What is displayed is the good
It isn’t really socially acceptable to display much of anything else. Do it for too long and acquaintances often see themselves removed as friends. People don’t feel comfortable, with ‘too much exposure’ to someone that they do not know too well. Of course, the Sociopath thrives on this, at least, with others lives, not their own.
Sociopaths learned at a very early age, that what isn’t displayed, and what is hidden is what brings ‘shame’. People shouldn’t air their dirty linen in public. It is my belief, that Sociopaths in childhood, live in a world where they are ‘shamed’ on a regular basis. From an early age, they are aware that they are not the same as other children. Their family home, is not the same as their friends. So, they learn, from an early age to ‘hide’.
The inner world of the Sociopath – Jealousy, Rage and Shame
Sociopaths are very good at ‘hiding’. They use charisma, and charm, to disarm and manipulate their victims. The victim would not see what was going on behind the curtain. Or what is displayed to you, is very far removed from reality. What a Sociopath is really hiding within, is the deep sense of rage, inner shame and jealousy. Traits that were learned in childhood.
Sociopaths grew up in a world where they felt shame as children. If you look into the childhood of a Sociopath, most of the time, there was abuse, neglect, or some kind of childhood trauma.
In childhood, Sociopaths felt ‘out of control’. In that they had no control over their lives. They had no voice. They certainly had no power, and likely power was ruled over them. When they grew, as they had no control in their childhood, they learned to exert control over others. Exerting control over others, made them NOT feel out of control themselves. What better way to have total control over others, than to hide yourself behind the curtain, while at the same time having total dominance and control over their victim? This was something that the Sociopath NEVER had in childhood.
Witnessing the Narcissistic rage. Should give you some idea of what is really going on behind the screen that they hide behind.
It doesn’t matter how well you get on, the Narcissistic rage, will always periodically surface. They become a different person. This was the only time I was scared of him. I had never seen anybody so angry. Nothing I could do or say would change it. If I tried to leave the room, he would follow me, shouting, ranting and raging. When it was over, he would act like nothing had happened. That I should forget about it. Why am I making a fuss?
The more hidden the Sociopath is with you the less
- He/she is connected to you
- He/she has respect for you
- He/she plans to be with you long term
- Or alternatively if you have been together long term, they are thinking of leaving
Sociopaths do not trust others. Perhaps they learned this at an early age. Perhaps, they know that they cannot be trusted themselves and so they expect others to be untrustworthy.
Perhaps ALL that you knew of the Sociopath in your life, was someone who lied all of the time. Someone who was deceptive, and deceitful. The sociopath is always hiding. Rarely do they trust someone to be themselves. The more that the sociopath hides, the further they are from you.
The Sociopath feels safe when they hide behind the mask
Once you discover who they really are, the sociopath might have some fun trying to dupe and con you further, or have you believe that your viewpoint is wrong.
They hone in on their victims, living off of them, as a life force. It isn’t flattering when a Sociopath attaches his/herself to you. Although, it might feel that way at the time. If you visualise it, what greater sense of control is there? Than to remain hidden behind the screen yourself – while at the same time, pulling the strings, moulding and shaping the latest victim, who is, themselves exposed and standing outside of the screen?
Don’t believe the Sociopath who says that they will now be a ‘good person’ or ‘an honest person’ as they can’t do this. It isn’t who they are. It isn’t where they feel comfortable. They feel comfortable, hiding. They hate that you can be free.
Shame, and forcing others to live under fear of exposure
It reminds me of the film The Witches. Their power, was to hide under the mask of normalcy, looking like normal people. When indeed they were anything but. If you were to see the reality, and just how ugly the person was behind the mask, really you wouldn’t be interested in going there. What you see at the time of Narcissistic rage should give you some idea of how they really think and what they really think of you.
You…. you…. the mouse…. with the ugly witch….. all dressed up in normal clothes. You wouldn’t stand a chance.
As Sociopaths have always spent their lives hiding. This is normal to them, and their family background. They have a sense of ‘disdain’ for those who are able to be free, and to live in honesty, truth, not behind the mask. Visualise the small boy, girl as a child, living the life of shame, and their envy of other children, who had normal family lives. There is further proof of this, when you try to leave the Sociopath, the threats, intimidation, bullying, ruining, smear campaigns, lies about you, anything to ruin your reputation. Just as the Sociopath felt as a child, living in a home, where their own parents were to be ashamed of. The sense of shame that they were made to feel, they project onto you.
Did you ever feel ‘pressure’ from the Sociopath, to be more open, faster, and quicker, than you wanted to be? Or perhaps the need to ‘prove yourself’ to them? Did you notice how it wasn’t really your choice, how much information you disclosed? You were manipulated to disclose. The sociopath does this deliberately, and of course with glee.
They know that they now have the upper hand over you. You see while they are still hiding you are now fully exposed, and this of course, will enable them to play the game with you. To poke you with a stick, and to feel, just as they felt as a child.
The sociopath enjoys exposing you, while remaining hidden themselves. You might not always be aware how they are exposing you, as much of this is done behind your back, while being smiling and ‘supportive’ to your face. Although, they are never really even that, it is all an illusion.
The sociopath loves to ruin, humiliate, and shame. Particularly if they are no longer playing you. They love to make you feel, how they feel deep within, behind the curtain.
The mind of the true Sociopath that lies within.
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