What triggers a psychopathic break? What creates the catalyst in that person to begin the drumroll to hell? Why am a survivor of Daniel? One thought leads to another question to another thought until it’s a huge snowball gone into an avalanche.
I’ve been asked questions like these over and over. I’ve thought about them. I’ve had time to ponder them in my mind. My mind has thought about them in its nightmares. My subconscious has had much time to wrestle these thoughts, chew them up and vomitously spit them back out as vile.
Daniels’ mother used to tell me that I would remind her of his sister, Susan. She said that I was about the same age. She also told me that I had a similar personality. I didn’t believe one word she said. I didn’t know the woman who was his sister. I had only seen one picture of her. The picture, taken in second grade, was the only picture this mother had of her daughter, and the only one that she could find. I would find that odd.
She would tell me all about her daughter in the beginning, of how Daniel would chase his sister around the block with a worm when he was a little boy. She would laugh at this story. She would be reminiscing about the little girl’s days it seemed. But when I asked what did she look like, and where was she now, she would change the subject. That’s where Daniel would pick up the story later at home.
Apparently, his sister left home at the age of 15 or so. She went to New York to be on her own away from her family. Her father Lester went to the city to find her and bring her home. As Sandra tells the story, Susan didn’t want to be brought home, and she never discussed it with her daughter why, but her daughter could not wait to leave again. Sandra would often blame Lester with molestation and that’s why her daughter left. When I would ask why she didn’t get help for her daughter, or try to protect her children, Sandra would simply shrug, and say, “The girl refused. She wanted nothing to do with me.” I knew there was more to the story than she was telling me. I always knew Sandra would attempt to make herself look good, and put others down.
In this case, Lester had died. He couldn’t defend himself. So she would blame Lester for all the wrong-doings in the household that went on in the raising of their two children. She would say how she tried to do her best, oh how she tried., but it was always Lester that got in the way. I didn’t know Lester that long. He died shortly after I met the family. But for the short time that I did meet him, I felt that although there are two sides to every story, Sandra’s was far worse than his.
I would see Lester get disgusted at Sandra’s attempts in the home to defend Daniel”s wrong-doings. His laziness. His little-boy ways. I would hear arguments between the two about how she would cover-up for him as an adult now and how she had covered up for him all through his life as a child. “When will you let him grow up?” Lester would demand of his wife adamantly. “When will you let go and allow the boy to be a man finally?” Lester would look at her disgustingly all the time. Never smiling at her, never happy with her, he would always bellow words at the woman. Then again, it was a dance of two people that shouldn’t be together.
Sandra would get this sinister look in her eyes. She would smile complacently at Lester. She would back away slowly, as if she were a fighter in a ring, gauging her space. Lester would lean up against the wall, the table, wherever he was standing. He was a huge man. Standing over six feet tall, weighing in at a good 250 pounds, Sandra would be considered petite but really wasn’t. She was about 5’4″ and her weight varied. Once an overweight woman, she was now attempting to lose weight and was about a size 12.
I would see them do this fighter’s dance all the time. They would arrive together at the apartment building they owned and were in the process of renovating. Lester was there to work. She was there to aggravate him. That was the easy part to figure. Dressed in workers clothes, Lester lugging all his equipment and supplies to the roof. She would be standing on the ground, looking up at him on his ladder making her disparaging comments to him just to aggravate him in the heat.
Sometimes I would be in the apartment alone. I would hear the ladder scrape against the roof of the house and know Lester would be coming to work. If the day was a hot one, I’d pop one of the windows and offer him a cold drink. He’d eye me levelly, smile and sometimes take an iced tea.
I’d tell Daniel about these moments. He’d furrow his brows. He’d think about what I’d tell him. I’d see him thinking about his father actually being civil to me. “He was nice?” he’d question. “He didn’t try to hit on you?” “No,” I’d laugh. “Not at all, why?” I’d look at Daniel. I wondered if this was jealousy talking. I’d wonder why he would think his father would try to hit on me.
Daniel would lapse into these stories about his father. Stories that his mother had told him. Again, stories from the infamous Sandra. I was starting to see a picture forming here. Was Daniel himself or simply a product his mother created and constantly reformed? This was becoming sicker and sicker by the moment ? Can Daniel even think on his own?
Sandra, Ma Barker. Sandra, devil-woman. Sandra-underminer of all people. Imagine a narcissistic personality with histrionic overtones dissociating having bi-polar tantrums unmedicated. That’s pure evil unleashed. Sandra’s stories of her past deeds were a pure delight to her. She would laugh and cackle with a cacophony of tones that would make me want to leave the room. The stridency would make my parrot Hendrix start his shrill calls. Most frightening was the belief in her words as she relived her past (evil) deeds.
And her past evil-doings to humanity? She always blamed them on someone else’s call. Never herself. After all, Sandra personality had to look perfect, had to be perfect, had to be squeaky clean. She was never at fault for anything she had done. It was always the others around her that had made her do what she had done. The others were the responsible ones. She wouldn’t take ownership of herself.
Her childhood, her teen-age years, her marriage to Lester, the raising of her children and now, her attempted destruction of me were a mix of her psychological barriers.
Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriate seductiveness, usually beginning in early adulthood. These individuals are lively, dramatic, enthusiastic, and flirtatious.
They may be inappropriately sexually provocative, express strong emotions with an impressionistic style, and be easily influenced by others. Associated features may include egocentrism, self-indulgence, continuous longing for appreciation, and persistent manipulative behavior to achieve their own needs.
People with this disorder are usually able to function at a high level and can be successful socially and professionally. People with histrionic personality disorder usually have good social skills, but they tend to use these skills to manipulate other people and become the center of attention. Furthermore, histrionic personality disorder may affect a person’s social or romantic relationships or their ability to cope with losses or failures.
People with this disorder lack genuine empathy. They start relationships well but tend to falter when depth and durability are needed, alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. They may seek treatment for depression when romantic relationships end, although this is by no means a feature exclusive to this disorder.
They often fail to see their own personal situation realistically, instead tending to dramatize and exaggerate their difficulties. They may go through frequent job changes, as they become easily bored and have trouble dealing with frustration. Because they tend to crave novelty and excitement, they may place themselves in risky situations. All of these factors may lead to greater risk of developing depression.
Additional symptoms include:
- Exhibitionist behavior.
- Constant seeking of reassurance or approval.
- Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotions, such as hugging someone they have just met or crying uncontrollably during a sad movie (Svrakie & Cloninger, 2005).
- Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval.
- Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior.
- Somatic symptoms, and using these symptoms as a means of garnering attention.
- A need to be the center of attention.
- Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification.
- Rapidly shifting emotional states that may appear superficial or exaggerated to others.
- Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are.
- Making rash decisions.[2
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, DSM IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines histrionic personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:
- A pervasive pattern ofexcessiveemotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and presentina variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
And her narcissim?DSM-IV-TR 301.81 Narcississtic Personality:
- is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention
- interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
- displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
- consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self
- has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
- shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
- is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
- considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.
SplittingMain article: Splitting (psychology)
People who are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder use splitting as a central defense mechanism. They do this to preserve their self-esteem, by seeing the self as purely good and the others as purely bad. The use of splitting also implies the use of other defense mechanisms, namely devaluation, idealization and denial.
Relationship to shame
Psychiatrist Glen Gabbard suggested NPD could be broken down into two subtypes. He saw the “oblivious” subtype as being grandiose, arrogant, and thick-skinned and the “hypervigilant” subtype as being easily hurt, oversensitive, and ashamed. In his view, the oblivious subtype presents for admiration, envy, and appreciation a powerful, grandiose self that is the antithesis of a weak internalized self, which hides in shame, while the hypervigilant subtype neutralizes devaluation by seeing others as unjust abusers.
Dr. Jeffrey Young, who coined the term “Schema Therapy“, a technique originally developed by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck (1979), also links NPD and shame. He sees the so-called Defectiveness Schema as a core schema of NPD, along with the Emotional Deprivation and Entitlement Schemas.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, DSM IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines narcissistic personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:
- A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and presentina variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
It is also a requirement of DSM-IV that a diagnosis of any specific personality disorder also satisfies a set of general personality disorder criteria.
With these personality disorders in his genetic make-up, being raised by a mother with these diagnosed personality disorders, is it any surprise Daniel is what he is? He became a highly manipulative machine designed by Sandra. A machine that attempted many times to break away from the apron strings that tied very tightly. Machines break and need repair. The question always remains the same. Is it worth fixing or do you trash it and get a new one? You can’t trash a human being. You can put them away in a mental institution for life. That’s pretty much throwing them away. In his case, that’s where he’d be in a better place. Medicated highly and supervised 24/7. His green monsters probably wouldn’t bother him anymore. At least the general populace would be in a safer place. From him.
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