“I hate him, with every fiber of my being, I hate him,” Marie said as she looked back on her day. “But while I hate him for this moment, I won’t let the hate linger because I’m not going to give him that power over me.” After years of silence, her bio dad sent a package of weight loss tea to her work. It was his way of saying, “Happy Mother’s Day, I see you. I’m watching you. You need to lose weight.”
This was not the first package of its kind. Over the 30 years of no contact, he would periodically send Marie a newspaper clipping, an article, or random note all with the same weight loss message. Marie knew it wasn’t about her weight, it was his way of sparking insecurity, disapproval, and paranoia in her. He did this to get her back for the years of distance. The packages almost always followed shortly after her brother, who kept limited contact, would have a visit with him.
It took Marie years to unpack the damage his pathology did to her psyche. Sociopaths are gifted at installing bugs into a person’s hardware that can remain hidden for years which slow down the functioning of a person and can even destroy it if left unchecked. But this time, instead of sparking fear in Marie, she used his “gift” as a reminder of the now eradicated lies.
Lie #1: You deserve to be abused. Her reason for no contact was simple. He was and is unsafe. Shortly after Marie turned 18, he contacted her for the first time in four years saying that he wanted a relationship with her now that she was an adult. So she tested him by asking him about a memory of his severe physical abuse. He threw her baby brother against a wall to keep him from crying, he beat her mom up till she could hardly walk, and he struck her when she got between him and her mom or brother. He denied doing it at first. But when Marie insisted that she witnessed it numerous times, he arrogantly owned it and said her mother deserved the violence and so did Marie. That was it, she was done with him.
Lie #2: Your only value is monetary. When Marie was 12 years old she sat at a long conference table with her bio dad, stepdad, brother, a judge, a court reporter, and several attorneys. Her stepdad wanted to adopt Marie and her brother. After years of no child support, broken promises of visits, random gifts (Marie would get her birthday gift on her brother’s birthday), and lies about nearly everything, Marie’s stepdad wanted to give them stability. When asked by the judge if they wanted to be adopted, both Marie and her brother said an emphatic, “Yes’. Her bio dad visibly upset that he no longer had the emotional upper hand, turned the conversation towards money making it clear he was not walking away empty handed.
Lie #3: You don’t deserve me. Marie’s grandmother (bio dad’s mom) would insist on visits when Marie and her brother were younger. The visits were awful as her grandmother would spend the time crying telling Marie how much her bio dad loved and missed her. Then she would give them gifts saying they were from him but clearly from her. During one of the visits, her bio dad was surprisingly there. Her grandmother was elated to have everyone together. In an effort to mend the obvious discomfort in the room, her grandmother insisted he express his love for Marie and her brother. Her bio dad literally turned on the tears and said what was asked in front of his mother but in a sideways glance to Marie, he turned off the tears, went cold, and flashed a look of, “You are pathetic for needing anything from me”.
Lie #4: Your life is in my hands. Marie was in the ER with a bruised left eye and a broken right arm when the doctor quizzed her about the fall. Marie had jumped off a see-saw to get to her crying mother and fell on her right arm. Her mom called her bio dad to take them to the hospital. He was furious that she interrupted his day (he was with another woman at the time) and cussed out Marie’s mom in the car. This was back in the day when kids sat on their parent’s lap in the front seat of the car. When Marie’s bio dad went to hit her mom, Marie put her head between them and received the blow. Later, her dad warned her that if she ever got between him and her mom, he would kill her.
Lie #5: You will never be rid of me. The messages Marie’s bio dad sent her over the years were reminders of this lie. Her bio dad took pride in being like a haunting in her life. Marie was young when her uncle showed up to the apartment in the middle of the day and asked her mom, “Are you ready to go?” She was told to put only the things she loved the best into one suitcase and they left. Her parents divorced shortly afterward. On occasion, Marie would ask to see her estranged bio dad but he would rarely agree. On the few times that he did, he would say, “No matter where you go, I will find you. You can’t get rid of me.” This was not said with a spirit of love and commitment, rather one of intimidation and fear.
While there were more lies he tried to install, these five had the deepest impact and greatest potential for destruction. Marie was thankful that her bio dad was only a sociopath and not a psychopath, she realized that he was far too ignorant to be at the psychopathic level. However, it was hard for Marie to find others that could relate to her experiences. So, she made a career out of it. The best counteract to the lies is exposure to the light and helping others to find a similar path.