You play, you lose
Peaceful Readers, in this six-part post, I’ll continue using the new nicknames that go along with the analogy of war.
♦ The Dictator = My sociopathic mother-in-law, Delia
(usually known as Her Majesty, the Sadistic Control Freak)
♦ The Other General = My sociopathic father-in-law, Andrew
♦ The New Recruit = Delia’s brother, Uncle Henry
Have you ever seen a major temper tantrum by a toddler? Kicking the floor, flailing, running around, hitting things, crying and shrieking hysterically, etc.? I saw a video of a tantrum one time that was truly mind-boggling. Every time the child’s mother walked silently out of the room, the child immediately stopped the spectacle and went looking for her. Then, when Mom (i.e., the victim/audience) was in sight, the theatrics—including flopping to the floor with explosive crying—immediately resumed. What a show. What a smart mom.
When your sociopath feels threatened or backed up against the wall (i.e., isn’t winning), you’ll see some new things. Kind of like a pumped-up temper tantrum.
The secret weapon
After our last family reunion, we made the decisions we needed to make. We knew—finally—that we were dealing with sociopaths, and we opted to employ a new secret weapon, The Weapon of Silence. It worked. It acted like a shield, protecting us. But it also forced my in-laws to choose new counter-measures in their attempt to get us back into The War Zone—their sick game.
About two months after the family reunion, Brandon received a major microburst sneak attack from Uncle Henry, a retired doctor who’s never called him to say hi and has never shown any interest in Brandon.
Why would Uncle Henry send his nephew—someone he doesn’t know at all—a rude, bossy letter via email? Because Uncle Henry’s sister, The Dictator, wasn’t getting what she wanted—our participation in her war. So she put on a dramatic temper tantrum for her brother to persuade him to enlist in her army. And it worked. He enlisted, he launched a sneak attack, and he revealed some previously-unknown things about himself. Things we needed to know.
The sneak attack, part 1
On Labor Day, out of the blue, Uncle Henry—The New Recruit—left a message on my phone asking Brandon to call him, without saying what it was about. This was a first. Thankfully—miraculously—we’d gone on a long errand and I unintentionally left my phone at home. I would’ve answered it otherwise, not having any idea what was coming.
I know in my heart that God protected Brandon from this sneak attack by phone. When a sneak attack comes, you’re in shock. When you’re in shock, you don’t say the things you need to say because you’re emotionally stunned—frozen.
After I told Brandon about the phone message, he responded, “My mom has sunk to a new low.” He knew she was behind it. And he was right.
We ignored the phone message from The New Recruit.
The sneak attack, part 2
The next day, The New Recruit sent Brandon an email requesting a phone call. Brandon typed: “Topic?” Uncle Henry’s reply: “Family.”
The next morning, this thought came to me:
Those who do evil and call it good
are not to be trifled with.
On Saturday night, after everyone had gone to sleep, I heard the still, small voice telling me to get on my computer and educate myself about sociopaths. I needed to prepare. I didn’t know exactly what was coming, but I knew I needed to get ready. So I sought, I found, I printed. I didn’t know when the right time would come to share this information with Brandon (including Lisa Wolcott’s article that I’ve recommended so many times), so I put the printouts on my bedside table.
The right time came the next morning, the day before my birthday. Happy birthday to me.
I didn’t know on Saturday night that Uncle Henry had been typing his letter/email to Brandon that day. I didn’t know, but God knew.
The sneak attack, part 3
Brandon told me on Sunday morning that he’d received a long letter/email from Uncle Henry—The New Recruit. It wasn’t pretty. It was 559 words of not pretty. I skimmed it briefly and handed Brandon the printouts about sociopaths. He started reading….
Later that afternoon—after church, much discussion and crafting of clever comebacks—we agreed to proceed with our secret weapon: Silence. I realized this truth and told Brandon, “You play, you lose.” That became our mantra for The War Zone.
Being sucked into the lies, the manipulation, the drama-fest achieves nothing positive and simply keeps our own emotions and lives spun-up in the sociopathic mayhem. As they say these days, we have our Big Girl and Big Boy underpants on. We don’t need to “set the record straight.” We don’t need to grab the bait. If we do, we’ll wind up with a hook slicing our faces open, choking for air. Never a good scenario for us. Always a Rip-snorting Good Time scenario for the ones doing the fishing—the sociopaths. The record will never be straight with sociopaths because they hate the truth.
When it comes to dealing with sociopaths, remember this above all:
You play, you lose.
Several days and many talks later, Brandon mentioned that The New Recruit’s sneak attack—the letter—matched the list of sociopath’s tactics—signs of danger outlined in Lisa Wolcott’s article, “How to Spot—and Handle—a Sociopath.”
We looked at the letter more carefully. Oh, no.
It started with insults and false presumptions and moved on from there.
Coming next: In part 2 of this post, we’ll look more closely and intentionally at The New Recruit’s sneak attack (i.e., letter). You be the judge. Sociopath or not?
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: Psalm 129:4
Song for Healing: “Deliverer” by Matt Maher