The sneak attack, part 4 of 6

Uncle Henry’s letter, paragraph 3

Welcome back. We’ll be continuing our analysis (i.e., blasting) of Uncle Henry’s sneak attack/letter today, as we walk through the first half of the third and final paragraph. I want to thank you for putting on your combat boots and wading through the mud with me on these recent posts. They aren’t pretty, but hopefully they’ve been really enlightening. I’ve learned a lot; that’s for sure. Let’s put our crusty, trusty combat boots back on and walk forward on this mission.

Red flags captured
I’m duplicating the Red Flags for Sociopaths list from the last post so we can refer to it during today’s matching game; I mean mission. In part 2, we waded through the first paragraph and found examples of four out of the eight red flags. Impressive. In part 3, we tackled the second paragraph and found two more. Solid work. That’s six out of eight red flags, troops. There are two items left on the list: item 3, Charm and Niceness; and item 7, The Unsolicited Promise.

Search and rescue mission
Let’s see what we can find today in our search and rescue mission. We’re searching for the truth so we can rescue ourselves and our non-sociopathic loved ones from the danger and evil of sociopaths (and people with other personality disorders).

It’s time to search for more red flags for violence (i.e., sociopaths). Ready? I just heard a hearty “Sir, yes sir!” That pumps me up, big time.

Peaceful Readers, if you’re already familiar with the current nicknames and the list of Red Flags for Sociopaths, jump on down to The Letter: Paragraph 3.


Temporary nicknames
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

Red flags for sociopaths
In her blog, “How to Spot—and Handle—a Sociopath,” Lisa Wolcott shares warning signs for violence… “a menu of sociopathic characteristics” from a book she recommends. I’ve summarized most of the descriptions below. We need to become really familiar with this list. Study it. Think about times when people have used these tactics against you.

1. Forced teaming (i.e., Crashing a problem)
Sociopaths lie to their victims, claiming to have a predicament or problem in common with them.

2. Speaking in “we” terms
Sociopaths use the word “we” to manipulate their victims and pretend to be connected in some way.

3. Charm and niceness
Sociopaths use charm/niceness to manipulate their victims and “to disarm their mistrust.”

4. Too many details
“If a person is lying they will add excessive details to make themselves sound more credible to their chosen victim.”

5. Typecasting
Sociopaths insult their intended victims to get them entangled in conversation to prove the sociopath wrong.

6. Loan sharking
Sociopaths will “help” victims even when they haven’t asked for help so victims will feel obligated to reciprocate. Sociopaths frequently say “You owe me” in various ways.

7. The unsolicited promise
“A promise to do (or not do) something when no such promise is asked for; this usually means that such a promise will be broken. For example: an unsolicited, “I promise I’ll leave you alone after this,” usually means the chosen victim will not be left alone. Similarly, an unsolicited “I promise I won’t hurt you” usually means the person intends to hurt their chosen victim.”

8. Discounting the word “No”
“Refusing to accept rejection. “No thanks, I don’t need help,” the victim says. “Nonsense—it’s no trouble, we’re almost here!” says the sociopath.”


The letter: paragraph 3
The three distinct parts of The New Recruit’s letter (i.e., sneak attack) were skillfully written. The first paragraph is the control freak part. The second paragraph is the intellectual, “I’m so smart” part. And this third and final paragraph wraps things up with the sugary-sweet part. Think of this letter like a three-course Sociopathic Supper—salad, main course and dessert.

Let’s see how the third paragraph matches up with the Red Flags for Sociopaths list. I’ve numbered each sentence to prepare us for today’s matching game (i.e., mission).

“(1) What the current situation between you and your parents is not known to me. (2) I just know, through your mother, that you and Frankie Ann have chosen to cut off all communication with them and disavow any future interest in “the farm.” (3) The farm has always been a special place for you. (4) I can fantasize that you, perhaps, had hopes that in years to come, you, like your father for Grandpa, could become his helpmate, even partner in allowing them to live longer and “weller” in that place. (5) Whatever the situation, whatever the current hurt, we are called as children of God to be peacemakers. (6) Peacemaking frequently requires sacrifice. (7) But it always requires risk and vulnerability as we reach out (not withdraw) in love, hoping, as St. Francis of Assisi stated “to be understood as to understand”. (8) His full prayer follows:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

(9) I trust I will hear from you soon.

Uncle Henry/Recruit”


Match up
This paragraph is interesting. It weaves many sociopathic tactics together oh-so-skillfully. It also attempts to be warm and fuzzy. Not. Let’s see what we can find, troops.

“(1) What the current situation between you and your parents is not known to me.”

(Sentence 1) This sentence is simply a fact. It’s the one non-sociopathic sentence I can find in this 559-word letter. Way to go, except for the awkward grammar.

Red Flags for Sociopaths item(s) to be determined…
The next sentence is tricky, so let’s keep marching and see what comes. “(2) I just know, through your mother, that you and Frankie Ann have chosen to cut off all communication with them and disavow any future interest in “the farm.””

Comments from Little Miss Sassy Pants
(i.e., Frankie Ann, yours truly, me)
(Sentence 2) I just know….
Buddy roe—I mean Uncle Henry—you know nothing. You heard some crazy, dramatic lies from your sociopathic sister, The Dictator. I’ll say it again. You. Know. Nothing.

Here’s the question. Where does this sentence match up with our Red Flags for Sociopaths list?

Mr. Know-it-all
After the disastrous family reunion, Brandon talked on the phone at length with his parents, detailing their inappropriate behavior. Brandon and his dad sent a few texts back and forth. The Long Talk took place seven weeks before this sneak attack. Perhaps our omniscient (i.e., all-knowing) New Recruit was mistaken about some things, like the “[cutting] off all communication with them” part. Yes, in keeping with natural consequences and healthy boundaries, Brandon’s communication with the sociopaths has been cut back by more than 90%. (And my contact with them has been cut back by more than that.)

The farm
The part about “the farm” is truly mind-boggling. As a matter of fact, we first told The Dictator and The Other General (my in-laws) in 2010—yes, six years ago—that we wouldn’t be retiring to the farm. While we were camping out-of-state with The Dictator and The Other General after Thanksgiving that year, Brandon and I went looking at various properties that we were considering buying for our retirement years. Brandon has repeatedly told his parents that we are not ever going to live on “the farm.” Sadly, since they’re both sociopaths, they ignore everything we say and rewrite it the way they want it to be. Wackos on steroids; I mean Gaslighters Extraordinaire.

Red flag combo
Obviously, The New Recruit took the bait from his sociopathic sister, Delia—The Dictator. But I’m still thinking about how those three little words, I just know, fit in with our red flags, because I’m not feeling warm and fuzzy about that little phrase. Is it a round-about form of Forced Teaming (i.e., fabricating a supposedly-shared predicament) or Typecasting (i.e., insulting). Hmmm. Maybe it’s a smooth combo of both. Very interesting. Give that soldier a medal for his creative use of sociopathic tactics.


Another combo deal
I consider the next two sentences to also be combo deals, made up of item 1, Forced Teaming; and item 3, Charm and Niceness. Call it our Sociopathic Smoothie.

1. Forced teaming (i.e., Crashing a problem)
Sociopaths lie to their victims, claiming to have a predicament or problem in common with them.

3. Charm and niceness
Sociopaths use charm/niceness to manipulate their victims and “to disarm their mistrust.”

Check it out. “(3) The farm has always been a special place for you. (4) I can fantasize that you, perhaps, had hopes that in years to come, you, like your father for Grandpa, could become his helpmate, even partner in allowing them to live longer and “weller” in that place.”

Comments from Little Miss Sassy Pants
(i.e., Frankie Ann, yours truly, me)
(Sentence 3) The farm has always been a special place for you.
Saying something doesn’t make it so, Mr. All-knowing and All-powerful; I mean The New Recruit. Nice try. To clarify the obvious, special isn’t necessarily a good thing, now is it. How in the world would The New Recruit know how his nephew Brandon feels about anything since they never talk to each other. Seriously.

Yes and no
Yes, for most of his life, Brandon felt very connected to the property at the farm because there were no positive emotional connections with the people in his family of origin, only dysfunction and abuse—manipulation, lies and attacks. So the only positive memories from Brandon’s childhood were about the physical property and his time spent with some of the animals. In recent years, Brandon re-thought and relinquished his nostalgia for “the farm” and acknowledged the truth about his experiences there, unbeknownst to Mr. All-knowing and All-powerful—The New Recruit. Was life on the farm special? Yes, in the distinctive and unique way described in the dictionary. Good? No. Not at all.

(Sentence 4) I can fantasize that you, perhaps, had hopes that in years to come, you, like your father for Grandpa, could become his helpmate, even partner in allowing them to live longer and “weller” in that place. Yep. You can fantasize all you want, Uncle Henry, but that doesn’t make any of it true. Where is that trash can? Once again, it’s time for me to throw up.

Picture this, Peaceful Readers: Uncle Henry/The New Recruit wearing a tacky, green plaid leisure suit, a bad comb-over and an obnoxious grin. What we have here is a cheesy sales technique that feels a lot like Forced Teaming to me (i.e., “we” have a problem and “you’re” going to fix it). Well done, Uncle Henry; I mean Sociopathic Salesman.

The violence
Here’s the background. The New Recruit’s dad, who was also The Dictator’s dad, was extremely violent and scary. I heard a story about him shooting and killing some kittens in front of his children because the kittens made him mad. Maybe one of the kittens scratched him or they were making too much noise. I forget the details. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Leaving and staying
The New Recruit boogied out of there—away from “the farm”—and into the military, followed by med school as soon as possible, and made his life several hours away. And he stayed away. Smart move.

His sister, The Dictator (also known as Her Majesty, the Sadistic Control Freak), stayed on the farm. Her slave, I mean her husband (The Other General) worked on the farm daily in addition to his full-time job. The Dictator’s dad treated his son-in-law and his grandson—Brandon—like his indentured servants. Work. Cuss. Yell. Hit. Belittle. You get the drill. Over-arching attitude? “I own you.” Sounds sociopathic, doesn’t it?

The dying years
This arrangement worked really well for The New Recruit, because someone else and someone else’s children got to take care of “the farm” and The New Recruit’s parents for many years while they aged and died, and The New Recruit was off the hook. Brandon experienced the pleasure of tending to his violent, abusive grandfather for years after part of his grandfather’s face was missing due to cancer, thus giving him a grotesque appearance that vaguely matched his monstrous personality. Ahhh, yes. The joys of farm life.

I’d like to strike a match to these words: helpmate and partner. Where is my cast iron skillet? I have the creepy feeling that someone’s trying to manipulate my husband and me. I wonder why.

A sociopath’s dream—repeating history
It’s in this context of taking care of abusive relatives while they fall apart that The New Recruit now wants Brandon and me to recreate “the pastoral, bedpan-lovin’ years of caretaking on the farm.” Only, this time, it would be for The Dictator and The Other General, so he can go on living his life of luxury, pretending that The Slave Class (our arm of “the family”) is in our rightful place—on “the farm” taking care of all the dirty work. No can do, pal. (Besides, The Dictator and The Other General made assisted-living arrangements, etc., for themselves and documented everything they wanted in their trust. It’s just a lot more fun to fire weapons of manipulation, drama and lies while they pretend that they didn’t already take care of all that later-in-life business.)

Out of sight, out of mind
It didn’t actually cross The New Recruit’s mind that Brandon has a great family, a great career and a great life of his own nowhere near “the farm.” It was hunky-dory for The New Recruit to boogie away from there and make his own life somewhere else, but Brandon’s not allowed the same freedom. “Dr. Recruit” just came up with the best idea. Brandon, our son and I get to give up our friends, our home, our careers, our son’s school and our church home for the blessings of Slavery to Sociopaths on “the farm.” That’s the ticket! Why didn’t I think of that?

True to form, sociopaths don’t think about what’s good for anybody else, do they. But wait a minute. We haven’t established yet if The New Recruit is really a sociopath, like his sister and so many others on the family tree. Hmmm. We’ll consider that later.

It seems to me that The New Recruit has a need to control—from a distance—what’s happening in other people’s lives without actually doing any of the work. Most interesting. Brandon crafted this comeback to Uncle Henry, if he ever tries to control Brandon again: “I will bury you in the shame of the debt you owe me.” I must say; that’s a good one. But in the end, we keep reminding each other of the ultimate truth when dealing with sociopaths:

You play, you lose.

Thank you, Peaceful Readers, for staying with me during that unpleasant march through the manure on “the farm,” with its orchard of sociopathic family trees….

Coming next: In part 5 of this post, we’ll continue looking at paragraph 3 and analyzing the attack vectors (i.e., tactics) in The New Recruit’s sneak attack/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: John 6:28-40

Song for Healing: “When We Had None” by March of Morn’

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