How a sociopath’s victim feels, part 2 of 6

Propaganda and Bubba Goes Shopping

I sure enjoyed filling out The Sociopath’s Family Life Report Card in part 1 of this post. It reminded me of the way I feel when I tear up a ridiculous letter into little pieces or run it through the shredder. Know what I mean? I brush the palms of my hands back and forth, thinking “I. Am. Through. With. That. Garbage. You. Wacko.”

Next? Heavy sigh. No; that’s not the right description. It’s more like a deep, slow, cleansing breath. Then I shake my head back and forth quickly, to shake the lies and the drama out of my thoughts. Goodness.

As we move forward, Peaceful Readers, the answer to this next question is paramount. Whether or not our parents “got it” or “did right by us,” as the saying goes, those of us who are parents must do everything we can to get things right in parenting our children. Parenting well is an absolute must. So we have to think seriously about it.

What is the parents’ job assignment?
Your job as parents is to protect your children from trauma (not from life itself),
and to make sure your children—all of them—feel loved by you.

When parents fail
In my book, those are definitely the top two items in Parenting 101. (Yes, I know that some childhood traumas, like cancer, can’t be foreseen and are not the parents’ fault.) When parents fail by omission or commission in one or both of those areas—protecting their children from trauma and ensuring that their children feel loved by them—their children must take The Healing Journey successfully as adults in order to truly thrive.

Essential reading
If your parents failed in either or both of those areas, you know the fall-out in your own life from their failure. Read The Five Love Languages of Children or any of Gary Chapman’s books on Love Languages to learn the key to making your children and your spouse feel loved. Reading and applying the truths in a Love Languages book will be part of The Healing Journey in your life.

It is unnatural for parents not to love their child. It is unnatural for a husband not to love his wife or for a wife not to love her husband. It is unnatural for parents to show their child cruelty, which includes indifference. Ditto in a marriage. We know these things instinctively, but instincts are trampled on in sociopathic environments, aren’t they.

Feelings and expressions
Time spent with a sociopath, who has no feelings or conscience, is unnatural. It’s hollow at best, and that empty hole is filled with lies, pretense and Sociopathic Storms (i.e., rages, attacks, dramatic/icy rejections). The victims live in fear of those storms.

Hear me when I say it. Just because sociopaths have no feelings doesn’t mean they have no expressions, as you know all too well. Expressions (e.g., facial affect, voice tone and volume, etc.) and feelings are two very different things. In a healthy person, feelings and the expressions of those feelings are closely related, they harmonize and they make sense. In sociopaths and persons with other personality disorders, their expressions are ridiculously dramatic, loud, with crocodile tears flowing, excessive body language, etc. What an Academy Award-worthy performance!

Why so much fabricated drama? “To manipulate you and control you, my dear.”

“And,” says the sociopath, “to make you feel sorry for me even though I’m the one socking it to you.” Voila.

Sociopathic propaganda
At the heart of every sociopathic system is the need to create and maintain victims. No victim? No one to control? “No fun,” says the sociopath.

Meet Bubba
“Life just ain’t worth livin’ if there ain’t somebody handy to jack with,” says the Southern Sociopath. Let’s call him Bubba. Propaganda, more casually known as mind control, molds and controls victims. It’s one of the Top 10 Tools of the Trade in Sociopathville. Bubba won’t tolerate any push-back to “the way life is” or the way Bubba makes sure it is—with Bubba doing what he wants… when he wants… to the victims he wants. That’s life, The Bubba Way. His way or no way. Buh-bye, Bubba.

The propaganda list
The persistently-pushed propaganda keeps the victims in line.

It goes like this:
♦ “We’re family, and to us, that means something” (whatever that’s supposed to mean).
♦ “You have to be loyal to our family. That’s what family’s about.”
♦ “We’re a normal family.”
♦ “All families are like this.”
♦ “We’re doing this because we love you.”
♦ “You should be thankful for all the wonderful things we’ve done for/bought for you.”
♦ “Most children would be grateful to be a part of a family as good as ours.”
♦ “You’re trouble.”
♦ “There’s something wrong with you.”
♦ “You deserve what you’re getting.”
♦ “What happens in our family is nobody else’s business….”

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

The propaganda (or mind control) pumped into the victim’s thoughts doesn’t match what the victim sees, hears, experiences and feels in this sick environment, so there are problems. Big ones. Who gets blamed for all the problems? The victim, of course.

Natural responses to unnatural circumstances
Victims of abuse respond very naturally to what they experience. Those who are hit learn to cower, they avoid being touched, and they can become aggressive—to express their anger and in hopes that they can protect themselves. People who are yelled at learn how to hide, trying to be invisible or extremely good. What about the ones who are lied to and told they’re bad? They believe the lies, feel broken, and take responsibility for things they shouldn’t.

Children’s instincts
It’s not a child’s natural instinct to protect himself or herself, because that’s the parents’ job.

Please read that last sentence again, because it’s a biggie.

Children are created with the natural instinct to speak the truth. If you’ve parented a preschooler, you know what I mean. “Mommy, why is that lady so fat?” “Mommy, why does that man have spikes in his face? Gross.” “Mommy, why did she paint all that black stuff on her face? She’s scary.”

Training victims
Sociopaths use their overpowering personalities, their propaganda, and their prowess at manipulation to skillfully train their victims to ignore and suppress their natural instinct to speak the truth… truths like “That hurts,” “That’s mean,” “You’re wrong,” and “You don’t love me.”

Like I mentioned in Portrait of a Sociopath, part 2, sociopaths aren’t big fans of the truth. As a matter of fact, they hate it. Anything that shines the light on who they are and what they’re doing is disallowed. “Don’t talk back to me!” “I will not tolerate your disrespect.” “I wouldn’t have to do these things if you weren’t so bad all the time.” Yep. Sociopath Central Station, with lying trains of thought zipping around like clockwork.

Victims’ emotions
The propaganda, the lies, the mind control are one and the same—a serious form of emotional abuse that results in victims with these emotions and realities: anger, hopelessness, isolation, sadness and more. Sound familiar?

Bubba goes shopping
Back to our Southern Sociopath and his clan in Sociopathville. Bubba puts on an enthusiastic, downright-energetic show when he steps inside the church building or the grocery store. In fact, he stops and talks ad nauseam to practically everybody. How friendly; I mean obnoxious. And he brings the whole family with him to the grocery store to show the good folks of Sociopathville what a devoted family man he is. Then, the minute the family’s back in the car, Bubba starts up his Sociopathic Storm—blasting people ferociously and/or turning immediately into Ice Man toward the ones he’s not speaking to—as their rightful punishment.

What happened to Bubbly Bubba, the Big Blabbermouth—the one we just saw in the store? (He’s the male redneck version of Chatty Cathy.) Ahhh, yes. Southern Sociopath is back, because nobody’s watching. At least—nobody who merits his pompous, well-practiced performance for his adoring public.

Coming next
Stay tuned for part 3, which covers sociopathic cycles and how their storm-like patterns affect their victims.

Healing through truth and music
Peaceful Readers, I’ve found great healing in my life through the beauty and truth of God’s word and through music. I hope the truths and songs that I share at the end of each post will bless you too.

Today’s scripture is one of my two favorite passages. To me, it gives the key to the peaceful Christian life, despite the storms you’re facing. What we think about drives our hearts and our lives. Remember that God is near, and think on these things….

Truth from The Word: Philippians 4:4-9

Song for Healing: “My Hope Is In You” by Aaron Shust

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