It’s Not You – It’s HIM

Let me start out by saying that I am by no means a forensic psychologist with a degree and years of clinical experience with psychopathy.  I am, however, a woman who ran into a really bad dude.  I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that during the year I spent with Luc I did see some odd signs – or red flags.  Sadly, some of the signs I didn’t pick up on, and others I simply ignored in hopes that things would improve and my son’s father would actually be the man I had hoped he was.

Since starting my blog, I have heard from hundreds of other women who have also run  into some really bad dudes.  While these men are different guys, and not all are psychopaths, they are all people each one of these women now wishes she had avoided.  All of them showed signs, and we all ignored these signs until it was too late.  These women are all strong women who have stood up and admitted to having ignored these signs (or completely missed that they were signs at the time), and have shared their stories in an attempt to help other women recognise when its time to RUN.  Ladies, I salute your courage and I congratulate you for leaving no matter how long it took.

If you are reading this blog entry and recognize one of the below red flag situations as similar to something that is currently happening to you in your relationship, please take the advice of many women before you – and run.

 

Compulsive lying:

Red Flag Story:  ”One night he received a phone call from his mother.  I was sitting next to him so I heard the entire story.  He said, ‘sorry we couldn’t answer we were just eating dinner.  Yeah, we made mashed potato, baked chicken, and carrots.’ When he hung up, I said ‘why did you tell her that’s what we ate when we had grilled chicken with broccoli cheese rice?’ He then said, ‘What difference does it make?  We ate dinner, we had some kind of chicken.’  The lies continued to get worse.
My thoughts:  People who lie for the sake of lying have problems.  Luc used to lie about things that didn’t even make sense to be lying about.  Psychopaths are convincing liars because they don’t have the conscience that makes non-psychopaths feel guilty about their lies.  While it may seem like the lying is small and “no big deal” as they will claim, the root of the issue is that this person is not trustworthy and is probably also lying about things that are big deals.
Cheater: (and I don’t mean just cheating with another woman)
Red flag story:  ”At 35 years old he cheated at carnival games because he ‘wouldn’t feel like a man if he couldn’t win a prize’ for me.  I hated the stupid stuffed bear, but he insisted it was for me.”
My thoughts:  This red flag goes a bit hand in hand with the compulsive liar.  Luc used to cheat at golf every single time he played.  He would brag about fake hole in ones and talk about how great he was at the game.  A cheater translates to someone who cannot lose and needs to always be the best.  Since many psychopaths have deep self esteem issues, they cheat a lot because they cannot stand feeling less than perfect.  Find yourself a good, honest man who isn’t afraid to lose a game.
Blaming other’s for their own problems:
Red flag story:  ”He would always insensitively talk about most people-as if he was better than them. Even if Mother Theresa was around-he would say she was something negative. He always blames everyone else. Always. Never takes full responsibiity for his actions.”
My thoughts:  This is a big red flag that a lot of people miss at first.  Typically, this red flag plays out when your partner says or does something terrible to you (i.e. calling you a degrading name or straight punching you in the face) and then turns the situation on you and makes it appear as if you were, in fact, the real problem.  Additionally, if you run into someone who never seems to be able to apologize for their bad behavior and always finds someone else to blame for their “circumstances” – you have run into a bad dude.

Can’t hold a job:  
While several women wrote in about this particular problem, this one is quick to sum up:  If the guy has too many problems that prohibit him from finding work or keeping work (be it sheer laziness or violent tendencies), he is also not likely to be capable of sustaining a romantic relationship either.

Sexual violence/ problems:
Red flag story:  ”The neighbor’s boyfriend was caught having sex with her fifteen year old daughter.  The ex tried to convince me that it was consensual, and that I was a sheltered prude who needed to up my awareness and game so that I could agree with him.”
My thoughts:  Luc was famous for using sex to control people.  He would always try to tell me that I was a prude because I wasn’t willing to get into his “fettishes” such as swinging, voyerism, etc.  Don’t ever ever ever let someone make you feel bad about not wanting to enter into some type of sexual situation with them.  If what he is asking you to do doesn’t feel right, that is probably because it is NOT right.  Sexual problems are a big red flag.  I would venture to say that most psychopaths have sexual problems that they call “fettishes”.
Extreme behavior even when there are no other obvious signs: (also known as “raging”)
Red flag story:  ”My ex boyfriend burned nearly everything I owned while I was at work.  He never showed any violence before, so I gave him another chance and things went well for another couple of months….until he snapped again and dragged me across the house by my hair, squeezed the breath from my throat as he bashed my head into the wall, and shoved me off the porch.  Sometimes the signs just aren’t there, or they seem so small all the time that you don’t put them together in your head until after something bad happens.”
My thoughts:  I destinctly remember looking into Luc’s eyes and thinking, ‘wow…he looks crazy right now’ while he was in the middle of one of his rages.  Crazy men act crazy when they snap.  While they are mostly on their best behavior, there are moments when they won’t be able to control themselves and they will show you a glimpse of their true self.  When you see that scary look in their eye (or after you have learned that they have burned your stuff), you best leave immediately because it will only get worse.
Attempts to get you away from family and friends:
Red flag story:  ”It happened slowly as we moved to an area that was further away from my family (I have a really close family).  He tried to isolate me by taking my car keys and ringing me every five minutes to make sure I was home.  One night, when I didn’t clean the cutlery to his standard, the next thing I knew he had slammed a phone book into me and started punching it (so he didn’t have any bruises).”
My thoughts:  Bad dudes don’t want you to have friends and they want to cut you off from your family.  Why is this?  Because when they start to beat you they don’t want you to think you have anyone to run to.  This might start out subtle, but eventually it will be obvious that they are not interested in fostering a relationship with those you are close to.  He wants to be your best friend, your lover, and your only family – he wants to own you.  Don’t let him – keep your people (friends and family) close.
Finally, by no means is this a comprehensive list of red flags.  This is simply a list of things other women have shared as red flags they wished they had seen and run from.  When you are in a relationship or considering a relationship with a man, consider both their actions and what they are saying to you.  I leave you with one final thought.  If a man says the following statement (or some variation of) run away fast before you end up in family court with him, and find yourself beating your head against a brick wall in anger:
 ”I haven’t seen my kids since they were born because their mom(s) is/are crazy and kept me away from them.  But, I mean, my kids are my life.  I raised those kids, I was always there for them…”

The woman my son can be proud of

Tonight I sat and stared at the Christmas tree my parents put up this year.  My eyes quickly focused in on a small ornament I had bought a little over a year ago today.  I remember like it were yesterday when I had brought Prince into this small mom and pop Christmas store in search of his first Christmas ornament for his very first Christmas (which unknown to me at the time also happened to be his last).  The ornament was of a baby in a pea pod shaped frog outfit.  The baby was wearing a crown and a cape and it had a simple inscription:  ”Little Prince”

The baby seemed to stare out at me from amongst the other ornaments on the tree.  As I stared back at it, I couldn’t help but to cry.  Despite how strong people have said I am throughout this ordeal, I didn’t feel strong in that moment.  The helpless emotions I have been feeling throughout this holiday season came rushing out as I stared at a small token that represented my little Prince.  I stared at the tree and remembered how instead of my son sleeping peacefully in his crib, his body lay cold in the ground.

This coming week will mark eleven weeks since my son died.  This time of year is a time when people tend to reflect on the year and think about how they will “change” or “reform” or “resolve” for the new year.  I have spent a considerable amount of  time thinking about my son and how much time I spent trying to protect him.  I have put a lot of thought into how I will transfer that energy into getting Justice for my son and holding the “periphery criminals” (those who stood, and continue to stand, one the outside periphery of Luc and both condone and enable his criminal behavior) accountable as well.

Beyond this, however, I am also focused on how I can be the type of person my son will be proud of.  This might sound strange to those who don’t believe in an afterlife, but bear with me on this one.  Every day I wake up, I balance my firey burning rage against the system that failed my son and the demon Luc himself.  There are moments, however, when I imagine my little boy watching me from heaven.  I don’t want him to see me angry all the time and full of hate.  I want him to see me as I would have wanted him to see me had he lived.

 

So in the new year, I am not making a New Years resolution that will fade in a few months as life gets busy.  I am starting the new year deep in thought about how I can be the woman my son will always be proud of.  This is not something that can be accomplished overnight because I have some work to do.  I need to be able to wake up without wanting to punch a hole in the wall in anger about what has happened – I need to be able to focus my anger into justice achieving activities – I need to be able to move forward with grace in the face of the most horrendously bad lifetime movie-esque story.

 

 

The Lost Child Club

This post is dedicated to the parents who lost their babies in Newtown, Connecticut today.  18 babies died in their classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School when a gunman deliberately came into their classroom and murdered these innocent children.

Rest in peace baby boys and baby girls.  My Prince is waiting for you in heaven to show you the ropes, give you a big hug, and welcome you home.  You were loved and you will be missed.

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Tonight, several parents join a club that no parent wants to join.  I call it the “Lost Child Club”.  This group of parents are forced to live life as parents without their children.  These parents woke up one morning with healthy children, and are now going to have to go to sleep knowing that they will never see them again.  Unfortunately, I can imagine how these parents feel.  While my son was not killed in a mass shooting, I remember how I felt when I realized that my Prince would never wake up again.  A part of me died that night with him as I know is the case for all of the families who have lost their babies tonight.

I joined this club nearly eight weeks ago when my son died tragically and suddenly during an unsupervised visit with his father.  Before Prince died, I could never have imagined being a part of this club.  I wouldn’t have signed up, nor would I have wished membership on anyone.  I knew I was not the first parent to lose their child in a tragic way, but after it happened – I hoped that I would be the last.

A loss for the right words:

When I first heard about this tragedy I was on my way to meet with someone who I had identified to help me with my case.  I needed someone who could help me in my fight for justice.  For the last two days, I have been practicing what to say in this particular meeting.  I needed someone who could add some teeth to my fight and this guy was the guy to do that.  After hearing this news, however, my “speech” fell apart.  Hearing this news brought me back to how I felt the night I lost Prince.  So instead of the grand speech that I had prepared, I said something like the following:

“I had something to say – I had planned a speech.  I just heard the disturbing news about a shooter who killed an entire class full of babies.  I have no words right now that sound right.  I need your help.  My son died and I need your help.”

 

Under normal circumstances, I consider myself a very articulate woman; however, this situation has left me cold.

 

Psychological Confusion:

I hear news anchors talking about how “rare” these things are and attempting to calm down the public.  Having met someone who is capable of this sort of horror, I wonder if it is as rare as people want to believe.  While we don’t yet know if this shooter was a psychopath, it is clear that he had some sort of psychological condition.  Given what I know about the system, I believe that we will soon hear about the people who could have reported “suspicious behavior” or possibly even had him committed to an institution.  We will likely hear of the many things broken in our system that allowed this mentally ill person to walk into an elementary school and murder innocent babies.

We have laws in this country that state that if you are seriously ill, you cannot possess a weapon.  What is the threshold for this and do we really enforce this?  For example, Luc owns a handgun and actually still possesses a concealment permit in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  That’s right – a man who is under investigation for killing his own child is walking around a free man and allowed to conceal his weapon in public.

 

Finding some words:

I won’t sit here and say that my situation is the same as these parents.  While there are similarities, there are many differences.  (No better – no worse – just different)  I have been living in chaos since the day I met Luc almost three years ago.  I worried about Prince every single day,  because I came to understand what Luc was capable of and how truly disordered.  These parents, however, sent their children to school.  While they were at work expecting their children to be singing songs and learning to read, these children were being killed.

There is nothing that I can say that will make tonight any easier for these parents.  There is nothing anyone can do to make them not want to jump in the grave with their children.  If they were reading this tonight, however, I would say this…

“You are not alone.  You were not the first, and you probably won’t be the last.  You did the best you could to protect your child.  You will, however, still beat yourself up for all the things you think you should have done and all the things you wished you had done differently.  This is normal.  Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve.  You need to do it your way.

Right now, you get the ability to act or feel however you want to act or feel.  When this initial grief phase begins to ease, please try to celebrate the memory of your baby.  Your child is now your guardian angel.  You were chosen to be your child’s parent and, unfortunately, you and your child were chosen for a greater cause for which might not make sense at this time.  Don’t lose your faith in God because of this tragedy.

You don’t know me and we might not ever have the chance to meet.  If you cannot get out of bed and fight for the memory of your child, I will try and fight for you.  I am a mother who lost her son.  I fight not only for my son, but I also fight for yours.  When you feel like dying, please remember that you are the only thing left of your baby in life.  Your child deserves the right to live through your memories.”

For all of my readers who have children.  Don’t just hug your children tonight.  Hug them every day and never take being a parent for granted.  You never know what hand you will be dealt in life.  Even a child can be there one day and gone the next.

 

The Pain of a nation:

We need to all start taking some responsibility in this nation.  How many people see child abuse on a daily basis and don’t report it?  How many people see someone with a serious disorder and allow him/her access to a child?  How many children are going to have to die before we as a country start actually trying to fix the things that are wrong with our country?

President Obama said, “our hearts are broken.”  I would take that a step further and say, “Our nation is in danger.”  What has made our nation special is that throughout history we have overcome tremendous challenges.  We have been able to come together and make important changes.  Now we face a crisis on children.  Let’s come together and fight for our children.  Let’s put our differences aside and start asking the right questions and seeking the answers.  We are all responsible.  Reporting something after the fact is too late.

I was not the first, and clearly I was not the last…but I wanted to be.  Rest in Peace baby boy Prince.  Take care of these new baby angels.