Meet Daniel. The psychopath I thought I was falling in love with. The one that I thought I was beginning a relationship with. The one that was too good to be true. The one that I used the word quiver about. Oh well. They say if it’s too good to be true, it is. And he was. The one with all the red flags.
Daniel, Daniel, sweet psychopathic Daniel. How do I begin? I’ve told you how I first saw him. How he used to round the bend at the flea market, holding on to his wife’s hand so protectively, so defensively, so pathetically. How sad he appeared to me then.
His eyes covered by dark sunglasses, his head capped, shoulders hunched, his face always glowering, he would come around the corner looking for me every week-end. His whole demeanor would change when he would see that I was at my booth. I used to think that it was because there was a chemistry between us. Silly, naive me. How gullible and vulnerable I was without realizing how strong I could have been also. I hadn’t taken Psychopath 101.
My brain was telling me one thing, while my emotions were telling me another story. Chemistry was taking over where it shouldn’t have and I was listening to something I should have known better to ignore. I was feeling empty inside, and Daniel picked up on it.
By the time he would drop her hand, she would go her way,and he into my booth, although Daniel wasn’t really smiling. He was a changed man. He would smirk at times, the corners of his lips might go up. He would flirt somewhat, like a little boy. He was child-like in his ways to me. But those child-like ways were endearing, boy-like and cute. Almost adorable. Very sweet. This was all before I knew. Before I knew about his psychological problems…
Most women, when they first meet a guy, don’t ask him certain questions. I mean, these types of questions don’t come to mind for the average relationship. Can you imagine yourself asking a potential date these questions? Handing them a survey and telling them this? “Hi, I always have my first dates fill this out. Just as a precautionary measure. Don’t be shy now. I value honesty, by the way. Oh-I do have a way of checking if you lie. And if any of your answers are yes? Please be sure to fill in the dates and links to where and when. Thank you.”
And of course, there’s your date. After being handed this questionnaire, filled with questions, wondering why you have insisted that they fill it out to the best of their ability, as if they are completing a job application. And the Questions! #1. Have you ever been issued a PFA(Protection From Abuse) Order against yourself? #2. Have you ever been in an anger management course? (If so, when and why? Court-ordered?) #3. Ever been arraigned on an assault charge? And my personal favorite, because only if they committed a felony, they would know why I asked this question, #4. Are you allowed to visit Canada? Americans that have committed a felony are not allowed to go into Canada if they have a felony in their past.
Well,the list could go on and on. Actually, wouldn’t it be wonderful if as potential dating partners, we could sketch this list of questions we had for a date. And they did have to answer truthfully because the answers could be checked by a local law enforcement program. We could weed out potentially harmful candidates immediately. I’m also pretty positive the ACLU would have this type of program knocked down immediately for invasion of personal privacy, which it really is. But a procedure like this would make for very safe dating for those people that don’t want to talk about their pasts.
We’re forced to find out about a person on our own. So let’s say those of you reading this are Monday morning quarterbacks. You read what I write and say to yourself, “How couldn’t she see this or that in him?”. It’s easier for the reader to see what was going to happen as you are reading this blog. It’s similar to watching a movie. You can guess what’s going to happen. And again, you question the victim’s motives, her strengths and her weaknesses. But remember, you weren’t there. You can second-guess me now. But I couldn’t do that then.
The summer ended, it was fall and the market was soon closing. I would be going inside to an indoor market. I had no idea where he was from. I had no idea if he went to the indoor market I usually sold my wares in. I went in for the winter and didn’t see him again for a few months. It was almost springtime before that meeting occurred. Tending to my booth, he bounced in excitedly. “I just bought a truck,” he said. “You’re the first person I’m showing it to!” Somehow his exuberance took hold of me and I just walked outside with him, leaving my booth open.
I knew there other vendors to watch it for me. I really wasn’t worried. He was overjoyed at the idea that I wanted to see his truck that he had just purchased. This idea delighted him so much. All he could do was smile from ear to ear. He went on his way after about 10-15 minutes, a very happy man, or actually, a very happy young teen-age boy. His exuberance was catchy.
Later I would find out that I really was the first person he had shown the truck to after he had bought it. His father had lent him the money for it. Even his wife hadn’t seen it yet. For whatever his reasoning was then, my opinion mattered more to him. That was probably his way of showing me how I pleased him, encouraging me in a non-verbal way to continue the relationship.
One Friday, after he had cashed his paycheck, he had come into my store. He handed me a Ben Franklin. He asked me to hold it for him. He told me he wasn’t that good with money, and wanted to save it, but if he tried to, it would be gone within the week. I took it, and put it in a corner of my wallet. The following week, he asked me for the one hundred dollars. I opened up my wallet, and handed it to him. He acted rather surprised. “Did I take you by surprise?” I asked, “Didn’t expect me to still have it?” He looked at me. “No, I didn’t”, he countered, “Most women I would have asked to hold it would have spent it.”, he said. “I”m not most women.” I replied. Again, he was placating me, telling me how I wasn’t like the other women he knew. Again, how naively I was reacting and thinking.
This was all too good to be true. I cannot emphasize this enough. If it seems too good to be true, it is. If the person appears to know you inside and out from the very beginning, and you find this astounding, back off. It isn’t astounding. That person is dangerous. There is a reason that they know what they know about you. They have studied you. They have learned about you without you realizing it. They have picked up on your behaviours, mores and mannerisms without you even realizing what they were doing. Psychopaths, sociopaths are very good at what they do. They will convince you this relationship was meant to be.
But still, still in the back of your mind, it feels so good. Somehow, somewhere you don’t want to believe what your brain is telling you. The reality of the situation doesn’t want to sink in. Why? I can tell you the reasons in my situation. I cannot talk for all women, but I am sure that the reasons are very similar.
These people choose vulnerable women. They choose women who are seeking something, even if they don’t know what that something is. For some reason, it is very obvious to them. Vulnerability sticks out like a sore thumb. A woman can be strong, she can be independent, she can be alone and take care of herself. Through all of this, she can still be vulnerable. That is extremely important to remember.
The first few times we met during the afternoon, we would go to a park, actually a park with woods and a large creek. He knew I missed the water, coming from New Jersey, and felt land-locked in Pennsy. He actually brought me a token gift the first day in the park. What he didn’t know was that I was a member of PETA, disliked hunters intensely and would be quite revolted by the token gift. As he was handing it to me, he explained that it was considered quite valuable in the animal world to hunters, and he had taken it when he caught a squirrel. (Ugh!) It was a red furry squirrel tail. Nothing was more disgusting to me than the cut-off tail of a dead animal. As he was handing it to me, I didn’t want to take it, and explained why. His face dropped slightly, it was one of those moments when both realize that they don’t want to hurt the others’ feelings. Or carefully calculated by Daniel to measure my reactions to his feelings. Either way, he was watching me carefully. He put it back into the envelope and handed it to me. That was the end of the squirrels’ tail.
Odd though, I kept it for years in one of my wallets. Maybe as a reminder of a first gift, perhaps because of the look on his face when he was giving it to me, I’m not sure. But every time I saw it, I’d shake my head disapprovingly. I might even take it out of the wallet. Occasionally I would hold it up to the light to see the colors. You see, I wrapped it in a plastic zip-lock bag and taped it shut.
- Spotting the Psychopaths Among Us (psychologytoday.com)
- Dexter the Amiable Serial Killer: PT Bloggers and Other Experts Show their Love (psychologytoday.com)
- Bella DePaulo: Analyzing Dexter: Psychologists and Criminologists Explain Why They Are Smitten (huffingtonpost.com)
All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License