It can be easy to see the snake in the road, but not so easy to see the snake in the grass.
However, once the snake in the grass has been revealed, we owe it to ourselves to get away QUICKLY before we get hurt.
Unfortunately, this was something a TCF reader failed to do and she ended up getting badly hurt.
Finding a non-toxic, sane and safe spouse-to-be these days is almost like playing a game of Russian roulette and as traditional Catholic women, we know that we are to be discerning and very observant of the dating red flags.
We are not the only ones in this predicament.
The current epidemic of problematic, dangerous and destructive people, narcissists and sociopaths have brought to the topic of personality disorders into public spotlight and practically everyone knows about narcissists and other forms of toxic people.
Dysfunctional people destroy lives, families, marriages and their own children.
However, many people seem to be only aware of the grandiose or OVERT NARCISSIST – the snake in the road that you can clearly see coming.
Many people are sadly unaware of the COVERT NARCISSIST – the snake in the grass that you do not see coming until it is too late.
In my opinion, these types of toxic and manipulative people are the worst kind of narcissists as well as the most dangerous type, as they are often charming, pervasive and insidious, and the destruction that they leave behind is often harder to repair.
And they are often found within Catholic or christian communities, as well as in places or fields where people are more likely to trust others such as in the teaching profession, therapy profession or even the medical profession
Now, let’s call my TCF reader Dorothy.
Dorothy, aged 35, met Mr Sociopath, aged 43, about a year ago.
Dorothy was very conversant with my tips, advice, and articles on dating and boundaries.
She knew that in order not to have her time wasted, she should filter out the timewasters and dysfunctional people quickly before she’s tricked into getting emotionally attached.
Dorothy is sweet, feminine, and conservative and Mr. Sociopath can see this.
He knows that she wants to be courted properly.
Mr. Sociopath at first glance seems to be a decent person.
Although he says that he doesn’t drive, he does have a job and mentioned that he is looking to meet the right person to get married and have a family with.
On their second date, Dorothy talks about being a traditional housewife and SAHM, and Mr. Sociopath seems on board with this. Be sure to read about Men Who Prey On Catholic Women.
On date 4, Mr. Sociopath drops several clangers:
- He takes her out only for a drink. RED FLAGS! He’s already beginning to treat her as less than. His previous dates with her in the past have been dinner and suddenly she is now downgraded to “just drinks?!” He’s already slipping in wooing and courting her, and a man like this would be stingy and abusive in marriage. Read THIS
- He tells her that he loves her – RED FLAG!! WAY TOO SOON. THIS IS LOVE-BOMBING – AN OBVIOUS PLOY TO GET HER HOOKED ON HIM!
- He tells her that he works limited hours – RED FLAG!! HE IS NOT IN POSITION TO GET MARRIED, LET ALONE SUPPORT A WIFE AND FAMILY.
- He mentions that he lives with his parents because he is saving up to buy a house – RED FLAG!! HE CAN ALWAYS RENT A REALLY SMALL APARTMENT IF HE REALLY WANTED TO.
Dysfunctional and dangerous people do tend to tell on themselves within the first 3-6 months of meeting them.
I advised Dorothy to end things with him quickly, which she did.
She graciously thanked him for their time together and wished him the best, saying that she feels they are not a good fit at this time as he is not in the right state to be in a marriage and it would be best if he focuses on his career and accommodation, as she would simply be an unnecessary distraction.
How classy and honest was that?! Well done, Dorothy!
You see, ladies, I keep telling you if a guy does not have a regular job (income size is irrelevant) and stable, independent residence (ie not living with family or friends), the man is not in a position to get married.
He is simply looking for someone to use, either sexually or financially.
Dorothy then moves on with her life, only for Mr. Sociopath to resurface about a month later, with excuses and apologies.
Against my warning, Dorothy decided she should be “nice” to him and “give him the benefit of the doubt”
Well, Mr. Sociopath proposes to Dorothy about 9 weeks from their first date.
Dorothy is overjoyed and I congratulate her, while still telling her to be careful and watchful.
They start to plan the wedding and things rapidly deteriorated from there.
Here are a few more red flags that Dorothy overlooked or explained away.
- He was hesitant in setting a date for the wedding and then when the date was set, he would try to change it or push it back again and again.
He finally conceded, but boy was it like pulling teeth. BAD SIGN!
- A man who is serious about marriage is generally eager to introduce you to his family and friends.
Again, it was like pulling teeth to get him to introduce her to his family and his friends.
- Mr. Sociopath’s previous relationship also had a broken engagement and it was an on-off relationship for 15 years!!
15 years of that poor woman’s life – WASTED!!
The guy is showing a pattern here – instability, timewaster, and broken promises.
- Mr. Sociopath has had several job changes within short spaces of time because, according to him, he gets bored!
RED FLAG!! HE DISPLAYS IMMATURITY AND INSTABILITY!
HE IS ALSO A DRAMA-WHORE THAT THRIVES ON CHAOS.
The way a person handles an area of his life is most likely the way he handles other areas of his life, so it is important to pay attention to signs like these.
- Mr. Sociopath had previously purchased a house a few years before, but said that he had to sell it and move back into his parents’ house.
RED FLAG – HE DISPLAYS POOR JUDGEMENT AND MAKES TERRIBLE FINANCIAL DECISIONS.
PS – he later mentioned that he tends to bite off more than he can chew.
Basically, he is saying that he makes promises and commitments that he has no intentions of keeping!
RUN, GIRL, RUN!!
- Parasitic living. First, he lived off his parents and then off his ex-girlfriend and then off his parents again.
Parasitic living is a classic trait of sociopaths, by the way.
- He was constantly fishing for information about her income, what she earns, her home, etc.
Sociopaths ask a lot of personal questions about your life to know how best they can manipulate and abuse you.
- He mentioned to her that he was so in love that he wanted to move in with her on their 4th date!!
No one falls in love faster than a sociopath who needs a place to stay.
He soon kept schtum on that when she immediately drew a boundary and informed him that she would not be living with anyone she was not married to.
- He kissed her with his eyes open.
Seriously, ladies, research has indicated that people who kiss with their eyes open tend to be sociopathic or psychopathic in nature.
If you see this, please RUNNN!!!
- Low paid job with low hours, and no future ambition or motivation to improve himself.
He has no health issues and is capable of working more hours or getting another. He just didn’t want to as his plan was to live off Dorothy….just like he lives off his parents and just like he lived off his ex-girlfriend.
Despite her expectation of being a SAHM after marriage, Mr. Sociopath had no intentions whatsoever of being a provider.
In fact, he would talk about how he wants them to open a business together – the guy has no business experience, so what he actually meant is “I want us to open a business together, but you will be responsible for running the business, ensuring sales and income comes pouring in, and I will simply leech off you under the guise of “we have a family business””.
- Mr. Sociopath could not go a mere 4 weeks without picking a fight with Dorothy and then disappearing, before re-appearing with lots of apologies, promises to change and so on.
This shows a clear pattern of addiction to chaos, instability, and drama.
Plus, they basically just love yanking the rug out from under you when you start to feel safe, sane, happy and secure. WATCH FOR THEIR PATTERNS AND DO NOT BELIEVE A SINGLE THING THAT THEY SAY!
- He was all talk and no action. This is psychologically known as Future-Faking.
He would say or promise things that he either never fulfilled or only fulfilled half-heartedly.
When it comes to sociopaths and narcissists, their words and their actions NEVER match.
They say one thing and do the other. When you see this more than twice, you have to get out of there ASAP.
- The Jekyll and Hyde personality, also known as blowing hot and cold.
On one hand, he proposes to her, but on the other hand, he is reluctant about setting a wedding date and even proceeding with wedding planning. His words and actions just didn’t match up.
This hot and cold type behaviour is classic for manipulators and sociopaths and it is done to keep you confused, mess up your cognitive processing, keep you trauma bonded, and cloud your judgement so that you can’t see that you are being abused.
- Passive aggressiveness.
Mr. Sociopath would pick fights out of nowhere or claim that he had a bad day at work, and then take it out verbally or emotionally on her.
When she stood her ground and held firm to her boundaries by telling him that she won’t allow him or anyone to speak to her or treat her poorly, he would ‘PUNISH’ her by canceling their next date, not showing up on a date, giving her the silent treatment or ghosting her for several days.
You see, sociopaths and narcissists absolutely hate boundaries – it is their kryptonite.
They cannot stand it when someone refuses to allow them to abuse them and they will punish you in some way. The longer you remain with them, the worse the punishments will get, up to and including murder.
- Sure, Mr. Sociopath never physically hit her, but he displayed other signs of abuse including silent treatment, stonewalling, deflection and projection, threats, ridicule and more.
His words are not to be trusted because words are free and easy, and this guy talks a good game, like many manipulators do, but the actions never match up to the words.
Toxic, dysfunctional and narcissistic people are known to be pathological liars.
His actions are not to be trusted either.
Of course, he wasn’t abusive all the time. He was nice to her sometimes.
Ted Bundy, the serial killer, also was “nice sometimes”.
Ted Bundy even volunteered on a suicide hotline, but I still wouldn’t recommend that a woman go on a date with him!
Mr. Sociopath also had good actions sometimes.
Each time he would get called out on reneging on an agreement or promises, he’d follow it up with actions such recommitting to her, setting the wedding date, setting up a meeting with his family etc.
However, note that these actions were NEVER sincere and how do we know this?
His patterns are the only thing to be trusted and he had a clear pattern of making promises but only following through when pressed or not at all, a pattern of blowing hot and cold, a pattern of parasitic living, a pattern of instability in his career, finances, and relationships; a pattern of manufacturing arguments and using it against her, a pattern of punishing her when she sets a boundary and a pattern of escalating abuse
Now all of this did not happen overnight in Dorothy’s relationship with him.
It was a steady creep. Just like the boiling frog effect.
The nature of abuse, especially abuse and manipulation by a covert narcissist, is often slow, deliberate, pervasive and insidious.
All the while, Dorothy continued with the wedding planning and as the bride, she was shouldering much of the wedding expenses.
Before she knew it, Dorothy was walking on eggshells, trying hard to be nice and compliant, to not trigger him, and always anxious about when the next blow-up would occur.
These are all signs that she was being abused, but she simply felt that she needed to be more patient, more charitable, and more tolerant.
It never worked though because almost on schedule, 4 weeks later, there would be yet another blow-up where he would threaten to end the relationship and then disappear for a few days, before returning to repeat the cycle of abuse all over again.
And with each cycle, things escalated.
This is why they call it the cycle of abuse.
After months of trying to excuse away my advice and warnings, she came back to me and I simply said to her:
“If he is this bad now, do you honestly believe things would get better AFTER the wedding.
He could disappear on the wedding day, leaving you at the altar.
He could disappear and abandon you and any children you may have during the marriage.
And now he knows that you will always take him back, he could step up the abuse to infidelity or violence.
Is this really what you want?
Is what you think God really wants for you and finally, is this really what you want to put your future children through?”
You see, abusers never change or get better. They only get worse with time and with age.
They are a never-ending black hole, feeding off your pain and anguish, and will increase the drama, chaos, and destruction until you are dead.
The only way to take back your power and save yourself is to refuse to play their game.
Step off the crazy train and cut them off.
Remember above when I said that Mr. Sociopath was never violent to Dorothy?
Well, abuse often escalates and the last straw for Dorothy was when during his last unprovoked blow-up, he growled about how everything and everyone was simply annoying him, and that he was so angry that he was ready to slit someone’s throat.
In the 10 months that they had been dating, he had never ever behaved like this or said anything like this either.
Whenever an abuser, toxic, dysfunctional or manipulative person threatens violence or suicide, please take all threats seriously!
These threats are what they plan to do to you.
Call the police, file a police report or at the very least, inform a trusted friend or family member about their threat!
Dorothy did us proud, folks.
As soon as he uttered those words, she grabbed her phone and looking straight at him, said something like
“Is that so? Well, that doesn’t make me feel very safe. If you mean it, I think I’ll have to call the police”
He backtracked and said that he didn’t really mean it….blah blah blah.
Generally, sociopaths and narcissists are cowards.
And two main ways to protect yourself from these monsters is through BOUNDARIES (No! I will not let you treat me or speak to me this way!) and CONSEQUENCES (If you do or say XYZ, there will be a consequence!)
However, narcissists and sociopaths REALLY hate it when you don’t allow them to abuse, manipulate or hurt you, so Mr. Sociopath decided to punish her by ghosting her yet again. Yawwn.
His pattern is getting both predictable and boring, isn’t it?
Now, he probably thought that he could saunter back into her life and she would take him back because she is eager to get married and she has already spent quite a lot of money already on wedding preparations.
But, you’ll be so proud of Dorothy. You honestly would!
When he attempted to contact her again, she simply sent him a text stating that she does not feel safe because of what he said….she also made sure to mention his exact words…..and that he is never to contact her again.
With the threat of the police in the air, Dorothy was finally free from Mr. Sociopath.
Well done, Dorothy!
Not just for exiting this abusive relationship with Mr. Sociopath, but by ending it in written form, you have written proof of exactly what he said and that you want nothing more to do with him.
Should anything happen to Dorothy, her text is evidence against him.
When dealing with a sociopath or narcissist, you must always communicate with them in written form – text or email – and never speak to them directly so that they cannot abuse or manipulate you.
They are also more likely to super careful when you limit communication to written form only as they are aware that their written responses can be taken as evidence of their abuse. Sneaky little bastards, aren’t they?!
For those who think that narcissists, sociopaths, and other toxic people don’t know what they are doing, this is proof that they absolutely know what they do. They know what they do is wrong; they don’t care.
Obviously, the best way to deal with a narc is to cut them off completely.
However, if they are a family member that you cannot go complete No Contact from, then have Limited Contact, including communicating with them, as much as possible, only in written form, and only when necessary.
This will protect you and keep you safe.
Dorothy is still rather shaken by her experience with Prince-Charming-Turned-Sociopath, and is experiencing chronic anxiety, palpitations and recurring nightmares, so please pray for her healing and recovery.
Abuse DOES cause damage to the brain.
Even though the entire relationship was less than a year, this man had managed to cause immense chaos and destruction in her life, her health and her finances.
If only she had heeded the initial red flags that he revealed on Date 4, she wouldn’t have lost so much time, money, health and peace of mind dealing with Mr. Sociopath.
Like I said, never ever wait for a man.
Sociopaths and narcissists are all abusers and users. They use and abuse people. Period.
They never appreciate nice, kind, sweet, feminine, traditional women.
You cannot love them out of their destructive, dangerous or dysfunctional nature.
A sweet, trad, Catholic girl with a narcissistic sociopath is the proverbial pearls cast before swine.
They don’t see your good qualities, they will never appreciate your good qualities and they will end up tarnishing and ruining both you and your good qualities.
They are selfish, inconsiderate, resentful and vengeful.
You cannot help you attract.
You will attract everything from hobos to CEOs.
However, while you have no control over who comes into your life, you DO have control over how long you allow them to remain there.
In summary, here are 6 main ways to protect yourself from narcissists, sociopaths and other toxic, dysfunctional or manipulative people:
- Know your worth as a child of the King and NEVER settle for less.
- Stop falling in love with a person’s potential. Make wise decisions based on how they are in the here and now, not what you think they could or would be
- Believe red flags and do not make excuses for them.
- Have strong boundaries and NEVER EVER lower your standards
- When your boundaries get crossed, follow through immediately with a consequence. This is VERY important! If you do not follow through, abusers will cross more boundaries and step up their abuse
- Believe the person’s patterns; not their words and not even their actions
It can often be easy to see the snake in the road, but not always so easy to see the snake in the grass.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
ad Jesum per Mariam