Ever See A Fly On A Leash?

Psychopaths are abusive to animals. So they say. And the way they are abusive isn’t always the way you might normally expect.

Daniel had come into my store one day. I was re-dressing the main window. He hopped up on the ledge and began talking to me. I was working with mannequins and set-ups while he was (I’m guessing here) trying to impress me. There was a fly in the window buzzing around. It was summertime and the front door was open.

“Ever see a fly on a leash?” he asked. I just looked at him while I kept myself busy. No, I’d never seen a fly on a leash and I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

Before I realized what he was doing, he reached over and plucked a hair from my head. Yeah, literally, plucked a strand of hair from my head. Lucky for him it was one strand. Altho I did let loose with a string of expletives and was angry at what he had just done. He said he needed the strand of hair to show me something.

He then proceeded to catch the fly. I’m sure by now you know where this is going but I’ll keep on telling the story. His back was to me at this point. I was thinking this guy is a bit off/weird/whatever and kept on working. He suddenly turned around and opened his hand. In it was the “fly on a leash”.  He had wrapped my one strand of hair around the fly, tied it, and it was now tethered.

To some, that may just be a fly. To me, it was a living insect that he had just trapped and was torturing. And to do that so quickly and successfully meant he had done this before. Who actually thinks of leashing flies? Yeah, well, I guess psychopaths and their assorted counterparts do. It takes a uniquely convoluted mind to think of that one.

Oh those Red Flags.



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Survival Of A Psychopath(With Borderline Tendencies…They Kill Your Pets, Don’t They?) Part Two

Post #50 spoke of the beginning of the deaths of my pets. It took me 50 posts to pull my courage and strength together to write this series of “They Kill Your Pets, Don’t They?”. The legacies of Hendrix, Berwyn, Shortcake, Sabbath, the dead kittens, the decapitated tabby, Thor and all the others always stay in the back of my mind. The cruelty of Daniel and his mother is unspeakable. My tears are sometimes uncontrollable. I have been damaged by these people, yes. But I have also been strengthened by their ruthlessness and callousness.

Daniel’s cousin raised Samoyed puppies. Years ago, I had a Sammy that was a teddy bear with my own children. Yehnsei was a great dog with the kids when they were just toddlers. They would use her as a pillow when they would watch Sesame Street. She was such a gentle dog. When his mother told me about his cousin and her dogs and suggested we acquire a puppy from her, I agreed to take a ride down to her farm.

We drove down and took a look at her dogs. She had two available. The one that I chose was about six months old and seemed well-trained. We brought him home, and he behaved well with my other dog, Sabbath. I had told his cousin we had cats also, and she said that wouldn’t be a problem. Her dogs had been adjusted to cats, also. The new dog seemed to be happy when we brought him in, and he played happily with the cats in our household, also.

I was in another room when I heard a cat screeching. I ran into the second bedroom and found the new Samoyed cornering Shortcake, one of my cats. I thought this would be typical, a new dog discovering a new cat type of thing. Problem was, it seemed he had injured my cat and I had to rush my cat to my veterinarian.

My vet took my cat immediately, x-rayed him, administered tests, etc., and pronounced him ok. He said Shortcake had been through an upset, would need to be watched overnight, could come home but would be fine. I was nervous and upset now about this dog and wanted to return him, but my main concern was about my cat.

I stayed up all night nursing my cat. He seemed to be fatigued, more frightened than anything and I stayed next to him. At about 6 a.m., I decided to take a shower. Shortcake was now sleeping peacefully and doing better, so I felt I could leave him for a few minutes while I refreshed myself. I regret that decision to this day.

After my shower, I opened the bathroom door to find Daniel standing directly outside of the bathroom door. Standing within inches of the door, waiting for me to open it. Quizzically I looked at him, asking what’s wrong. He blurted out, “Shortcakes dead!” Not again, my whole demeanor just slumped. I ran to my bedroom, pushing him aside. There was my Shortcake, lying in his bed, dead. Another dead animal in my home. I had left my cat alone with this man, never thinking, never realizing that he would kill my pet behind my back. Never did I think these thoughts. Never. But it happened. And I’m sorry that I left my animal behind while I took my shower. I never knew that I was leaving my pet in the hands of a murderer. That thought haunts me and brings haunted tears over and over again. The pain that I feel never seems to lessen itself.

Again, a tearful burial was done in the backyard. Tearful on my part, and false tears on Daniel’s part. I don’t know what went through his mind. I don’t even want to imagine. I won’t give credence to any thought that might have gone through his sick, twisted mind. All I know is that my cat was resting finally, I had gone to take a shower, and he used that opportunity to kill yet another of my pets.

Daniel then called his mother, Sandra to tell her the news. Sandra raced to our home. I’m not sure exactly what Daniel told her on the phone, because she was under the impression that the dog had killed my cat. I tried to explain to her that my vet had told me Shortcake was ok, and wasn’t hurt, that he shouldn’t have died. But Daniel gave her the impression that this dog had done enough damage to the cat that something else had gone terribly wrong and  instead, the cat did die.

Sandra then packed the dog in her van and drove him back to the cousin’s farm. She returned the dog, calling it a “killer”. Little did she know it was her son that was the real killer of the animal that had died. Somehow Daniel had convinced her that the dog was responsible. He had used the opportunity at hand to kill. He had psychopathic urges, saw an opportunity to use them and did. I look at all of this now, and writing about it makes me want to hug my animals and protect them with all my might.

Did I realize Daniel had killed Shortcake? Did I see it in his eyes when I opened the bathroom door? I saw some type of gleam there, yes. I mistook the black gleam in his eyes not for the despair of the death of my cat, but it was really for the excitement and the thrill it must have given him to take the last breaths from my cat.

Daniel was out of breath as he told me Shortcake was dead. His eyes were startling black. He was shaking. He was excited. He was moving back and forth uncontrollably. At the time, I interpreted these signs differently.

How do I know these things now? I can’t forget that look on his face then. I’ve seen blackness where his iris is supposed be. I won’t forget the cajoling way he used on the camcorder calling to my cat that he decapitated. His agitated affectness when Berwyn “died”. I’ve heard his low chuckle when he’s either done something or thought something that is morally or socially unacceptable.  I’ve lived with a diagnosed psychopath. I’ve seen their mannerisms. My bones have been chilled by their ways. Now I know.

The American Psychiatric Association‘s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders incorporated various concepts of psychopathy/sociopathy/antisocial personality in early versions but, starting with the DSM-III in 1980, used instead the term Antisocial Personality Disorder and focused on earlier behavior instead of using personality judgements. The World Health Organization‘s ICD incorporates a similar diagnosis of Dissocial Personality Disorder. Both the DSM and the ICD state that psychopathy (or sociopathy) are synonyms of their diagnosis. For more information please go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder.

Education about Antisocial personality disorder helps to understand the complexities involved in their personal judgements as described in my posts about Daniel. I am not making excuses for him. I never will. I’ve said before he is a sick man with a twisted mind that has slipped through the cracks of our judicial systems. I don’t believe he can be rehabilitated. I don’t believe that electro-convulsive therapy worked for him. Nor do I believe that medication helped him, other than putting him in a dream-like state where he was asleep 18 hours of the day.



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Survival Of A Psychopath(With Borderline Tendencies…They Kill Your Pets, Don’t They?) Part One

I’ve been talking about my pets in my posts. About how Daniel killed some of them. About how Daniel left me dead kittens in my freezer to find when I was living alone in the house we had once shared. How he decapitated my tabby cat. He and his mother Sandra knew pets and animals were my vulnerability and how animals are my love.

I’ve wanted to talk about a statistic that I read about that keeps people in situations that they might normally walk away from if they didn’t have pets. Why women stay in these horrific relationships for unknown reasons that others can’t understand. They don’t want to leave behind innocent creatures that they know will die. Helpless animals that don’t deserve to be abused and killed at the hands of the psychopaths that women live with.

Before I do, I’ll relate my own stories about what happened while I was living with Daniel. While I was in my situation, in the beginning, I didn’t realize that it had been Daniel that had murdered two of my parrots and two of my cats. I never would have imagined that he would leave me dead kittens in my freezer. Never would I have thought that he and his mother would donate large sums of money to the local humane shelter and then anonymously call me in as an animal abuser.

The parrots had died under suspicious circumstances and my son who was fifteen then happened to be in my home at the time. The parrots were kept in their cages, along with their play pens in the family room. It was a brightly lit room, with two walls of glass windows full of streaming light. An ideal room for birds. I had three parrots at the time, an african Congo, a mini-macaw, and a white cockatoo. The african Congo and the cockatoo I had raised from babies and were hand-fed by me and purchased long before I knew Daniel, while the mini-macaw I had adopted well before I met Daniel also.

My parrots were people-socialized, talked and interacted with my other pets in my household. Hendrix, my beloved cockatoo, even “fed” his nuts to my dog, Sabbath. Hendrix was quite the squawker, quite the jinxter and had seven locks on his cage for when I wasn’t in the home. Once, when I had gone out, I had come home to find him leading the pack of other pets around the house in a line, in a “Pied Piper fashion”. He had opened his cage again, and the other pets were following him around the house. He was quite the boss of the animals in the house and very loving. I adored him, but for his safety, had to secure him with seven locks to make sure he couldn’t get out of his cage and create havoc when I wasn’t home again.

All of my birds were fed a mix of hand-picked parrot food, nuts in season and fresh fruits and vegetables. They enjoyed baths in my sinks and sunning outside when the weather was warm. They snuggled with me, and with other friends that would visit. They were well socialized little creatures.

On this particular day, my son came running upstairs to me and very quietly said, “Congo and Buddy are dead in their cages.” I asked him where Daniel was and if he had told him. He said Daniel was out on the back deck, which was just outside of the family room’s door, and no, he hadn’t told him. I ran downstairs, and there were two of my parrots lying on the bottom of their cages. And there was Daniel sitting right outside of the family room, at the picnic table, looking in.

I reached into each cage to check their vitals and look for signs of anything. My birds were dead. I couldn’t tell how they died. Their necks weren’t twisted or out-of-place. They were just lying there. This seemed so surreal. Earlier in the day, when I had watered them, they were fine. Nothing was amiss and they were happy as they usually would be. Hendrix appeared to be fine. Hendrix, by the way, as a white sulfur-crested cockatoo was a larger parrot than Buddy and Congo with a wing span of probably four feet. Congo and Buddy, by comparison, were much smaller parrots, and easier to handle.

Daniel finally came into the family room. He acted with concern, at least I thought, at the time. He said he had gone in and out of the house through the family room and hadn’t noticed anything wrong. My son and I couldn’t understand how this had happened. Suddenly, two out of my three healthy parrots were dead.  As I said earlier, never did I think Daniel had done anything to hurt them. Now I know better. My son and I have discussed this incident now and we both agree that my parrots died at Daniel’s hands. Parrots need constant care, constant nurture, and a healthy home. They had the best care and environment. I hand-picked their food. I fed them a special diet of vegetables, fruits and special parrot food, along with the types of nuts and seed that each could crack with their beaks. They were sheltered from drafts. Their cages were cleaned regularly. I spent quality time talking with,  holding, and caressing each one daily. They had water sprays in my sinks. But I didn’t keep them safe from Daniel. How was I to know? The bastard feigned sadness and sympathy and stood with me as I buried my birds in special boxes. I cried as I wrapped their bodies carefully and placed them in special boxes. Now I know he was feeling nothing.

The next death to happen was Berwyn, an orange tabby cat that was an ornery fellow. Berwyn had a special illness that would shorten his life span by a few years, but he still had many years left. I had adopted him a few years earlier. He was one of those special cats that had a personality that you remember. Berwyn had pressure on his brain, similar to hydrocephalus, and he would push his head into your chest because it felt good to him. That was ok to me, because whatever made him feel better while he was alive, as long as he wasn’t in any pain, was alright. The vet said he could live for years, and he wasn’t in any pain, but he would push his head against you.

In my living room, somehow, Berwyn had climbed into the ceiling. The home was built in 1846, and the ceiling was 11 feet high. Ber had knocked one of the ceiling tiles loose, and these were the old-fashioned ceiling tiles that were about 8 inches in size. He would walk across the wooden rafters and taunt me, as any cat does its owner. Eventually, quite a few tiles were knocked down by Berwyn, but I somehow didn’t care. I knew he was having fun and they were only tiles that could go back up any time. He was a cat that I didn’t know how much longer would be with me. I guess because I knew BerBer was walking on shortened time, I gave him lee-way in doing things I shouldn’t have let him do, like knocking those ceiling tiles down. But the gleam in his eyes, and the swish of his tail when he saw me would make me laugh. Then Berwyn would roll over and jump into my arms and start purring. I figured let him have some happiness and fun before it was his time to go.

One morning, I had awakened and gone into the bathroom. Suddenly, I heard Daniel yell from downstairs. I came around the hallway from upstairs and looked down. There at the bottom of the stairs was Daniel and all he said was, “Berwyn is dead.” At the bottom of the stairs was Berwyn, lying dead on the floor. As I said before, the vet had said Ber could live for a few years. Suddenly, another death had occurred in my home. Daniel was acting strangely.

He said he had gone downstairs and just “found” Berwyn lying there in the living room “dead”. Here was the odd scenario about Berwyn’s death. Daniel was acting erratically and wouldn’t let me look at Berwyn. He said I wouldn’t want to see him this way. I questioned him why. I’ve seen enough death in my time, and said I needed to see him. No matter what I said, Daniel would not let me see Ber. He had wrapped him up in a blanket and said he was going to take care of the burial. So the opportunity to view the body never presented itself. In the back of my mind, somehow, I knew Daniel had killed Berwyn, but I didn’t want to believe it.

I was still disabled from the accident, still a prisoner in this home.  And now, I was privy to the murders of my pets. There were still more deaths to come.

Please see the following links for more information on domestic abuse and abused animals:

1. http://saavprogram.org/media.html.

2. http://www.vachss.com/guest_dispatches/ascione_1.html.

3. http://www.americanhumane.org/interaction/support-the-bond/fact-sheets/animal-abuse-domestic-violence.html.



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Survival Of A Psychopath(With Borderline Tendencies…The Triad & Exposure To The Truth)

I’m sitting in the peacefulness of my backyard with my two dogs, watching them eat their treats out of their specialty toys. I make them mixes of yogurt, peanut butter, cheese and home-made dog biscuits that I stuff into these containers. They lay in the grass quietly, lapping every last morsel from the crevices of these inventions, oblivious to the sounds of the birds and the neighbor’s cats watching them. It gives them focus, adds some healthy food to their diet and aids their gums and teeth. And what does this have to do with psychopaths and their other disillusioned compadres?

I’ve had a rough few weeks. Animals bring us a peacefulness like no other. They ask for nothing in return for the love they give us. They wait adoring at the door for us. They wag their tails, they purr in our laps, they caw and flap their wings in wild anticipation of their owners interaction. They simply love us for who we are and how we behave towards them. They are dependent upon us for their food and water because they have been domesticated by us. In return, we ask that they love us unconditionally. No hidden agendas, no lies, no secret games. Just love shared among species. We can learn much from our relationships with our pets. They need to be nurtured with love and discipline so they will become the best animals they can be. Non-aggressive, loving, loyal, non-demanding, faithful and hope they will step up to the plate to alert us if danger is ever-present.

Violent, hostile and aggressively sick behavior towards animals seen during childhood is one of the three red flags often seen by psychiatrists that point to future criminal and psychotic behavior as adults. When children act out towards their pets, when pets go missing in a household, it is a cry for help and should never be ignored by the parents. This is a behavior that a child will not grow out of and is not considered as experimenting. It is the beginning of the triad of behaviors known as the “MacDonald Triad” or the “triad of sociopathy”. Two other behaviors that are included in this threesome are fire setting and enuresis, or persistent bedwetting after the age of five. There are conflicting schools of thought as to whether hardened criminals that have committed murder and other horrific crimes do carry this triad in their own mental characteristics. For more information on the triad see:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macdonald_triad.

I can tell you that Daniel succumbed to two of the three characteristics according to the stories told to me by both him and his mother, Sandra. At this point, I don’t remember them discussing his bed-wetting incidents, but then again, most men don’t ever want their mothers relating stories about how long they went on wearing diapers or wetting their beds.

When Daniel was about nine years old, he deliberately set a small brush fire in a field near his home. He then pulled a fire alarm near the field, as the story was told to me, so he “could watch the firemen and fire engines come and put out the fire”. As Sandra was relating the story to me, as usual with great relish, she told me how excited little Daniel was about the firemen, and the big engines racing down the street to put out the “little brush fire” he had started.

When it was finally put out, and it didn’t take long, little Daniel went up to one of the firemen and told him what a “grand” job they had done. Apparently, little Daniel had also told the firemen, in his own excitement, that he was the one that had started the fire. The fireman asked Daniel why he had set it. “Because I like fire engines and fires!” little Daniel told the fireman. The fireman admonished Daniel and explained to him the severity of what he had done. He told him that while they were putting out the little brush fire, there could have been a much more serious fire where people’s lives were at stake and he must never do this again.

He then brought little Daniel home to his parents. The punishment? Daniels’s mother apologized to the fireman, they laughed it off (as she told the story) and little Daniel was smacked around again. No psychiatric involvement. No counseling. No wondering what was wrong with this child. Just laughter. And she topped the story off with how he became a volunteer firefighter as an adult because of his fascination with fire. Twisted thinking raising a twisted son. Bizarre rationale. I sit here now and write these thoughts of my times with these two people and still shake my head at how the system failed in recognizing a budding psychopath. How she fooled and flirted her way through so many bizarre occurrences that should have been recorded  on police records and were not.

As an adult, he killed some of my pets. I’ve written about some of them. I’ve written about the dead kittens in the freezer. I still have the pictures he took from when he decapitated my cat. I have the video he left me on my digital camera of the same cat before he killed her when he was attempting to grab her from where she had climbed high on a shelf away from him and he was calling to her. I never look at these items. I can’t. But my mind has never forgotten them. It can’t forget the horrors. My mind cannot forget the look on my cat’s face on the top of the shelf because I know what happened next to her. He decapitated her. He’s a bastard for killing her. My thoughts go beyond hate, beyond disgust, beyond pity for him for what he has done to my animals. There are no words to describe my feelings.

I do know that as a child he didn’t have any pets, except for one dog and for some reason, that one dog was spoken about very little. I can’t say why Sandra didn’t speak much about the dog. I don’t know why she wouldn’t. I have no idea what happened to it, just that there was a puppy for a short time.

So back to what animals bring us. Peace, joy, wonder, happiness. What do they bring to the criminally and psychiatrically insane? A sense of empowerment, a sense of control and a way to bully and vent their inner rage over what is happening to them. If they are abused at home, often, they will take out their frustrations on a helpless animal. This isn’t to say all abused children behave in this way at all. There should be other factors in place, of course. And Daniel had far too many factors from birth and in his environment in place to set his role in motion from the time he was born. Animals would never hold a place in his heart.

He told me of his “beloved” Akita, who had to be put down when he was an adult. Instead of bringing his dog to the vet, he and a friend took the dog out to the woods, and shot the dog between the eyes. Then he created a burial site for the animal in his backyard. Convoluted thinking? Shoot your dog in the head because you claim you can’t afford to pay to euthanize him, then create a burial site for him in your backyard? Sick, twisted, dark thoughts. These are the stories that Daniel and his mother would tell me and believe them to be rational. These are the stories that haunt my soul. Stories such as these never leave you. When I watch my own pets now, I guard them carefully. They are my precious cargo. I don’t ever want to come home again to a decapitated animal. What Daniel and his mother has done to me cannot be undone completely. Some things I will always carry, no matter how hard I try to forget.

I stopped believing in the good of humanity some time ago. I don’t believe in angels anymore. I don’t even know if I believe if there’s any good out there. The Smiths’ destroyed a lot of my heart and no matter how hard I try, the stories of them re-surface to taint my good days. Time has passed and yet some days, it seems as if it was only yesterday.

There are other pet stories that I haven’t related yet, some too painful to write yet. They’ve hardened my heart irreparably. These people knew exactly where to hit me hard and where my vulnerability lie. My question to myself now is should I ever show a vulnerability again? Do I still have any naiveté or wonder of the world left? Or have I stopped smiling at the stranger I pass on the street as a friendly gesture of good morning?

These tragedies have reached my inner soul, and try as I might when the lights go out…the Monsters come out and play. Do we suffer when our demons are better company than the people we call friends and nights we spend tearing hair out and shedding tears are more comforting than those where we suffocate in darkness and solitude?

Don’t preach to me that it gets better if you’ve never walked a foot in my shoes. Don’t tell me that when you’ve hit bottom the only place to go is up if you’ve never faced the horrors of one of these personalities attempting to murder you. When you’re a victim, the unfairness is your reality. And the unfairness is that you became damaged because of an evil person that is very ill.

I know some of  the damaged survive if their wills are strong. I only wish there was enough wisdom out in our society today to address the victims appropriately with the true compassion and understanding they need instead of society giving its fascination to the criminally insane. Let the public beware of both sides, using real words. Let’s not allow psychopaths and their victimization of others become a buzz word of this decade or far worse, something that others might call a slur on the criminally insane. They are very real people who do very real damage to others and they must be identified. The only people who can truly speak the stories about the damage they do are their victims. Let their victims be heard.



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