When I owned my store, I used to flea market on the week-ends. Those were my relaxing days. I could kick back, laugh, take it easy and still make money. I didn’t have to dress up. No make-up, jeans and a tee with my boots. I felt comfortable. Maybe too comfortable and that’s what made him notice me. Who knows? But I’m not going to blame myself for drawing him in at all. No matter what I write, no matter what you read, Daniel is to blame for his actions alone. I did nothing to encourage him.
It has taken me a long time, a very long time to come to that realization. No one has helped me bring that to my attention. Not a member of my family. Not a friend. Not a therapist. Not anyone. Actually there is one person. My regular physician. She has always supported me. She has been one of my strengths throughout this entire ordeal. She has told me that my life, no matter how rough it had been, no matter how bizarre it was, was my life and that I was doing the best I could. She told me that I always looked good, had strength and was doing well. Without Doc B’s words, I don’t think I would be where I am today.
When I was at this outdoor flea market, I had an outside stand next to a corner lot. I used to see him rounding the bend with his wife. He was gripping her hand tightly, showing possession. He was always looked angry and domineering. Yet as he came around and down my aisle, he was always looking for me. I soon started looking for him. She would go catty-corner to another vendor, and he would come right into my booth. I actually never thought about the way they separated at that point. I wasn’t flirting with him. I was actually trying to sell my merchandise, and there were other people around sometimes, too. I wasn’t alone. It was a busy flea market.
He would stand in my booth, looking over merchandise, focusing on a particular section, asking questions. I would answer as a salesperson, attempting to make a sale. The weird part was that he never bought anything from me. Yet each week, there he was, appearing again. Again he would come into my booth, asking questions. And as they rounded the corner, he would have that angry scowl on his face, possessively securing her hand in his.
I would find out later from him, once we were living together, that the reason he came into my booth was to observe me. He wanted to know every physical thing he could about me. He didn’t talk to me, he asked questions. While I was busy answering those questions, he was busy noting every detail he could about me, including mannerisms, the way I talked, anything and everything.
I thought when he explained that to me, it was romantic. How naive I was. It wasn’t romantic at all. He was manipulative. He was cunning. He was designing. He was a controller. He was taking me in so he could spit me out the way he wanted to use me. That’s as simple as I can put it. It sounds disgusting and it is. It should have been easy to see. When you are in the midst of a person like this, when they are weaving their web around you, you have no idea what they are about. They really do manipulate people. They draw you into their webs and catch you. You don’t realize what they have done to you.
So weeks go on, Daniel and I get to know each other. Really, I should say, he begins to know me without my realizing it. I begin to fall for him. Stupidly. Perhaps I was vulnerable. A psychopath isn’t looking for a strong, assertive woman who is going to blow him off and laugh in his face. He/she isn’t looking for someone who is going to tell him to go away and never come back. In the place I was in, marketing my merchandise, every week-end, he knew where to find me. I am now marked by him. I am friendly and he misconstrued that. I was glib with everyone. That was part of my sales pitch. The flirting was something I had learned from my father. This was a behavior done in an open-air market, in front of thousands of people, wearing jeans, a tee-shirt and boots. It was 7 a.m. in the morning when I usually saw them. I really wasn’t thinking anything of it.
There is one thing I am sure of though. I am sure of what he was thinking and what his plans were for me. As I look back now, and I see how he manipulated my life with him, he manipulated my entry into his life that spring. Just as he manipulated the exit of his wife from his life that same summer. Exit the wife and enter the new woman. Divorce her and live with me.
What a mess I was crawling into.
He didn’t do this all on his own though. Enter his mother. The partial explanation for his psychopathic personality. The woman is histrionic, bipolar, and narcissistic along with dissociative disorder unrecognized. She was after me for her son. She would soon be seen as the catalyst of Daniel. She had this unnatural control over him that would make him bend over backwards and do anything for her. I would later find out why. And cringe inwardly in horror at what she had done to him as a child. I would hear her lack of remorse in therapy sessions she would sit in on with her son. I would see her walk away from his convulsing body when he would have a dissociative seizure.
Trapped by this spider in a web I thought. But in reality, I was being held hostage by a mother and her son. It was to last over seven years before I could get out on my own. And ten years before that woman is put in an assisted-living home. At least then I could half-breathe easier. Half of that team is put away. The other half is still on the streets.
I still wait for the other half to appear. I never know if or when he will. His lawyer has sent letters to me. He has been seen in towns around me. I still get unknown phone calls. The last landline box I had installed was ripped from my home within four days of installation. I still have pieces of my car taken off and put back on in the middle of the night. My last boyfriend received a phone call on his cell phone asking for me in my birth name. He’s still out there. Looking for me. Always. That’s what obsession is. As one of my sons once told me, “Mom, he never cared about any of us. We’re safe. It’s you he’s obsessed with.”
I’ll never forget the words of one judge in court when he signed a warrant for his arrest. “Get him”, he said to the sheriff’s officers that afternoon, “Someone’s going to die here.” It took those officers three days to “get him”. The only way they were able to secure Daniel on that warrant was because he finally turned himself in.
- Inside the Mind of a Psychopath (preview) (scientificamerican.com)
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