FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Spaths Are Everywhere

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

They refer to themselves as “spaths”. “Empaths” are those of us with empathy. Just a little something I learned while navigating the web for information about sociopaths. Seems they’re everywhere—significant others, neighbors, the men and women elected to represent our interests, those two House of Cards characters, Claire and Francis Underwood, about whom spath Obama’s tweeting. (I won’t spoil episode 11 of Season Two, but when you arrive, imagine Jill and spath Joe Biden in that WOW/OMG situation.)

Here’s the deal:  After I’d told an e-pal and reader about my experience with a personality-disordered man, she said she’d divorced hers and sent this, Sociopath World, a website about ………….. yes, sociopaths. Many of the essays are posted by spaths and many of the comments and questions are written by spaths.

I can’t say I’ve recovered completely from the psychic assault of lies, whiplash, and the deliberately confusing flowery language. In fact, any thoughts of him and how effortlessly he told me so many whoppers make me feel a skin-crawling creepiness. At least now when a glimpse of him invades, I see someone hollow, pathetic, predictable, boring. The last time I heard his voice was in a message he left on my cellphone:

You do not have my permission to use my name in any publication (pause) nor identifiable features (here, I laughed)… All along I felt something was wrong. All along I knew I wasn’t a good person. I couldn’t get off the train–it was moving too fast out of the station. I don’t know. All I know is that shame and guilt is being heaped on me and heaped on me and heaped on me and I’ve been in therapy since then and I’m trying my best to make amends by living as honestly and as good a life as I can.

Positioned in there were a couple of sobs—for histrionic effect. I was reminded of this when I saw a question on the website: Can a sociopath genuinely cry?

Here’s an answer:

I actually cry quite easily. But when I do, it’s not because I’m sad. When I cry it’s because I’m frustrated things aren’t going my way, or someone doesn’t understand me. Sometimes when people are overly nice to me when I feel irritated this sometimes makes me cry, sometimes someone could sit me down for a serious talk about me, with me. From what I’ve gathered, it’s probably because I feel trapped and no other way to express it.

And another:  “I will cry if it will get me what I want … it’s probably more fake tears than real tears. It’s gotten so instinctual, they seem real, but they aren’t.”

Tears that “seem real”—we’ve seen them from Obama, when he delivered a speech in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. Crying over the massacre of children here, but never there, no tears for children killed by US WMD. Wouldn’t an empath cry for all children?

I’ve written about my naïveté. That I used to ask, “How do they sleep at night, these politicians who make decisions to decimate a population? The same ones who stand in front of cameras and let slide a tear when it’s expedient. Yet refer to the deaths of families melted by drone warfare as collateral damage. I now know they sleep fine. They’re spaths. Not empaths. And, yes, I get that same skin-crawling creepy feeling when they speak, when they use language meant to confuse, mislead. Or when they say, “God bless America.”

Back to my personal experience: After receiving that voicemail, I corresponded with a woman I suspected was another of his victims. Her story mirrored mine and confirmed what I suspected—his predation continued, despite the therapy, despite his telling me he was living honestly.  When she confronted him about the way he treated her, he said, “This is what I’m working on in therapy.”

There’s a scene in American Horror Story, Season One, when Ben, the psychiatrist, tells his client, Tate, the psychopath,  “Therapy doesn’t work.”

“Then why do people do it?” Tate asks.

Ben says, “Because they don’t want to take any responsibility for their crappy lives, so they pay a therapist to listen to their bullshit and make it all feel… special, so they can blame their crazy mothers for everything that went wrong.”

In other words, spaths use therapy as an excuse, to remain unaccountable. It’s their default exemption when challenged. “This is what I’m working on in therapy.”

I’ve been searching the web to see if spaths can be treated. Most experts say no. Seems the majority of sociopaths don’t think they have a problem. They think everyone else does.

P.S. No grandbaby yet. He’s holed up in that womb.

Missy Comley Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: missybeat@gmail.com.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
Charles R. Larson
A Review of Mary Roach’s “Grunt”
David Yearsley
Stuck in Houston on the Cusp of the Apocalypse
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail