Micro storms or sneak attacks
Have you ever been around a preschooler who had her hands over her eyes while she was doing something naughty, thinking that if she couldn’t see you, you couldn’t see her? Preschoolers crack me up. Sometimes, after putting Sneaky Samantha in time out, Mommy has to make a quick getaway to her bathroom to bust-a-gut laughing at what she just saw. Who said parenting wasn’t fun?
Unlike a sneaky, disobedient (and simultaneously hilarious) preschooler, sociopaths will sneak up on you, eyes wide open, all-the-while making sure you know what they’re doing to you. I mean, really. It’s no fun for Her Majesty to dog you out behind your back if she can’t make sure you find out about it. So she calls you herself, acting like she’s doing you a favor, and tells you what “everyone” was saying about you—with, no doubt, some colorful embellishments thrown in by… (say it with me) Her Majesty, the Sadistic Control Freak.
Charming—that mother-in-law of mine. How forthcoming; I mean sociopathic.
Micro cycles and storms
In the last segment, part 3, we talked about everything from butterflies to a dust storm, and even a wedding. Well, not really a wedding. The wedding that wasn’t—for us, at least.
Anyway, we looked at how sociopaths use certain annual events, like holidays, to keep their storm clouds spinning at regular intervals, sweeping their victims up in the mayhem. Those recurring, calendar-based events are the macro storms in the sociopath’s Family Cycles.
Now we’ll check out the micro storms.
I don’t mean to imply by using the term micro that these storms are small in their impact or intensity. To the contrary, they can strike you with hurricane-force gales, knock you off your feet and drown you.
In a military sense, these are the sneak attacks—unforeseen and very effective. Sociopaths do their thing—attacking their victims—whenever the mood strikes or they get bored, so the timing frequently comes as a complete surprise. They can zing us in person, usually at the end of an event/encounter; by email or phone; etc. Any contact method will do.
A sociopath showed up on our doorstep unexpectedly on what would’ve been a peaceful Sunday afternoon. How thoughtful; I mean controlling. Yes, my sociopathic father-in-law, Andrew, showed up one recent Sunday—not to say hi or anything normal like that. He drove 80 miles each way on his mission—to change our minds about a drastic reduction in our contacts with them. He came to get what he wanted—our compliance. He left empty-handed.
Can these micro “sneak attacks” be called a type of cycle? Hmmm. Good question. I say yes, because the attacks don’t seem to end. You never know when the next one’s coming until it arrives. Some of the most surprising attacks come from a new accomplice who’s never attacked you before. Your sociopath will gladly drag any willing soldier into the conflict, even soldiers who don’t have the foggiest idea what they’re fighting for or who they’re fighting against. (Look for more about that in an upcoming post about a sneak attack from Uncle Henry.)
Her Majesty’s sneak attacks—a photo, a phone call and a fiasco
How about a few colorful micro storm/sneak attack examples from Her Majesty, the Sadistic Control Freak (my sociopathic mother-in-law)? She’s a pro. Let’s see. So many examples to choose from…. Ahhh, yes.
The photo: Premeditated evil
How about the time when she mailed me a beautiful, professional eight-by-ten photograph of Brandon and his first wife. I call this incident premeditated evil because the photo didn’t just fly into the envelope, get stamped and mailed. Wasn’t that an interesting “gift” to send to her daughter-in-law? Let’s get right down to it. What an unbelievable, evil, troublemaking hag. I totally ignored it (tore the photo to bits and threw it away) and never gave Delia the satisfaction of knowing that I’d received it.
The ridiculous phone call: Spontaneous evil
About a year ago (before I blacklisted her from my phone), Delia called me out of the blue with some theatrical nonsense about how afraid she is of Brandon, who hadn’t done a thing to stir up this breathy, dramatic performance. What a psycho. Oops. Wrong category. Sociopath. She just got bored one day and decided to spice things up (i.e., jack with us) by tossing some drama and a lie into her Sociopathic Stew.
The babysitting fiasco: Control freak evil
Last, but not least, long before we realized what we were dealing with, we asked Brandon’s parents to babysit for our son Logan when we went out of town on a very-rare business trip. Logan was three years old at the time. I left written instructions on what his daily routine was, including which television shows he was allowed to watch and when they came on TV (maybe “Clifford” and one other show on PBS). Brandon specifically told his mom that our son wasn’t allowed to see the movie Polar Express. That was his one instruction to her. (It was not approved by us for several reasons, including the fact that we don’t do Santa.)
Guess what Delia the Sociopath did? She bought Polar Express for our son and watched it with him. When we got home and discovered this, we were both livid and speechless. Needless to say, that was her first and last opportunity to babysit her grandson for more than an hour or two at our home (on very rare occasions). She blew it, catastrophically. Frequent requests to let Logan spend the weekend or enjoy a sleepover at “Granny’s” were instantly denied.
Her Majesty, of course, would tell you a different tale about The Babysitting Fiasco—something like this…. “Brandon never told me that.” “Frankie Ann didn’t leave us any instructions at all” or perhaps this alternative: “I didn’t have time to read all that nonsense. I know what I’m doing, for goodness sake.” “We were just being attentive, loving grandparents.” “Isn’t that what good grandparents do? Watch movies with their grandchildren?” “They should’ve thanked us for buying him that movie. How ungrateful and unappreciative!” “They’re over-protective.” “They don’t know anything.” “I’m more experienced at parenting than they are anyway.”
Can you hear the gaslighting? Did you notice how she pulled out and fired up her Blame Thrower?
Yep. That’s the way Her Majesty rolls, where her chosen victims are concerned. She takes aim and fires. Storm-wise, she’s like a tornado—sudden, spinning violently, and highly destructive, like a bulldozer on steroids.
We learned this painful lesson from The Babysitting Fiasco: No one tells Her Majesty what to do, not even her grandson’s parents. Respect for anyone else? Not happening.
I like how Lisa Wolcott explains these truths in her blog, “How to Spot—and Handle—a Sociopath.”
Sociopaths like to win, they like to dominate.
But the defining characteristic of a sociopath is a person who has no conscience.
What does this mean? No empathy. An inability – not a choice, but an inability – to care or even think about the feelings of anyone else. An ability to move through life with complete disregard for their actions: no remorse, no capacity for shame, and no guilt.
We didn’t know—at the time The Babysitting Fiasco went down—that Delia’s a card-carrying sociopath. Now it all makes sense, in a very disturbing, mind-blowing kind of way. Oh well. Live and learn.
The micro/macro one-two punch
Within the annual sociopathic macro cycle, these micro events, or microbursts, smack you unexpectedly, as a constant reminder of who you are (the victim) and where you fit (or don’t fit) in the family.
Micro events keep victims feeling hunted, confused and never safe. Always on guard. Always wondering when the next attack will come.
Wondering when and how to escape….
Stay tuned for part 5, which includes a disturbing hug scenario, The Name Game and much more.
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.
Truth from The Word: Luke 8:22-24
Song for Healing: “Oceans” by Hillsong UNITED