Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Rape of the Heart

Donna Wasson
September 27, 2007

This article will be different from most I write because it’s a warning, especially for women, to exercise the utmost caution when forming any kind of relationship online. The internet is an exciting and fantastic source of information, entertainment and communication.

But, as we’ve all heard, it has its dark side also. The number and variations of online predators staggers the imagination. The web is the perfect vehicle to prey upon the innocence of others. Now get this..I’m NOT talking about children.

I’m warning you about online adults who target other adults. Cyberpaths. Their goals can vary from swindling you out of your money, trying to talk you into all sorts of schemes, but the vast majority is after sex and or power, plain and simple.

Oh, you wouldn’t be fooled by someone online, would you? You couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to fall for their manipulations, right? You are dead wrong!

Statistics tell us that approximately 1 out of 20 people we interact with have, on some level that is destructive, sociopathic tendencies. I’m sure you’ve heard that serial killers are sociopaths, and that is true to the extreme. Naturally, there are different levels of dysfunction, just as there are different levels of, say, depression.

The predators I speak of are sociopath-lite, for lack of a better term. These people have a seared conscience and they view other people as objects to manipulate to get what they want. Most of them are narcissists, and will use you to fulfill what is called, “narcissistic supply.”

Narcissistic Supply is the term for what these people are addicted to. It is not alcohol or drugs, or even sex per se. They need your adoration, admiration, attention and time. The appetite for this supply is insatiable as they are basically emotional black holes, sucking your love and energy into themselves to try to satisfy the emptiness inside their souls. They truly are the walking dead.

This emptiness is so profound and permanent that they are rarely helped by any kind of therapy, because they are so used to acting rather than actually being who they really are. They cannot allow themselves to lower their guard and let others know their real personalities.

This emotional deformity is usually the result of profound abuse, emotional trauma or neglect from a primary caretaker, even as early as infancy. They learned early on to mimic the kind of person the caretakers seemed to want in order to survive. In the process, they discard and despise their true selves and manufacture a false self that they present to the world.

Sad? Yes, absolutely. However, these folks are usually so full of rage that they quickly learn how to channel the anger into the ability to expertly manipulate and ultimately emotionally injure others which makes them feel superior and powerful. This way, they are in control and cannot be hurt again. They turn into an abuser.

A narcissist with sociopathic tendencies is a very dangerous person indeed; the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. They are constantly on the prowl for new sources of “supply” and can sense a potential victim almost immediately, even the first time they meet.

Let’s pause for a moment to examine the perfect victim of these monsters. Most people grow up in relatively normal homes where love, affection and truth were modeled. These future victims were taught to be courteous, trusting and compassionate and in the normal course of their lives, have personally encountered nothing untoward that would change their view of the world and the strangers they meet. They’ve heard of evil people on the news and have seen them depicted in movies but have never actually crossed paths with one. In other words, they’re sitting ducks.

These victims are not stupid or thickheaded. They should be able to basically trust in the goodness of others. They practice the golden rule and simply assume others do the same. They are naïve but once they encounter and comprehend the evil that truly exists “out there”, their lives are forever altered and their innocence shattered.

Once the narcissist/sociopath targets a victim, they immediately begin to idealize and over-value this new source of “supply.” They are gifted actors, having presented their false self for so many years, and are able to expertly simulate emotions as they “bond” with the victim. They are attracted, curious, and deeply interested in the source and begin a process of courting or grooming the victim. They are incredibly charming and present themselves to be a deep, passionate person capable of loving or of being hurt. They appear to be empathetic and caring but all of these signs are the sheep’s clothing of the narcissist.

The victim falls head over heels in love with the mirage or false self the narcissist projects and they completely buy into the lies they are told.

The narcissist’s seemingly genuine immersion and exaggerated high regard for the source is extremely alluring to the victim. It makes them feel safe, loved and admired. The narcissist showers them with attention and they are so convincing they’re all but impossible to resist when they are on the prowl for a source of supply.

However, and this is what you must understand, once the victim is completely hooked and emotionally enmeshed, the narcissist begins to deplete them of their “supply” like a vampire drinks the blood of his victim. This begins to manifest itself by the narcissist toying and playing head games with the source.

They deny they said certain things the victim knows they said; they woo seductively and then turn cold and angry causing the source to come running to apologize for some supposed transgression. They are covertly condescending to the source while continuing to rely on their advice. They play with the source like a deep-sea fisherman reels in a sailfish and then lets the line go slack, back and forth until the fish exhausts itself.

When the narcissist senses the source’s supply is depleted or is threatened, the narcissist instantaneously and abruptly loses all interest in the victim. To them, the victim no longer exists and is thrown away like a piece of trash.

Of course, to be idealized one minute and totally devalued the next is utterly incomprehensible to the victim. Normal people do not treat others this way. It is a mind bending experience that leaves the victim questioning their self worth, judgment and sanity not to mention having to grapple with the extreme grief of suddenly losing what seemed to be a perfect relationship.

There is a term for what a narcissist/sociopath does to his victims. It is called emotional rape. It is the systematic and deliberate abuse of a person’s higher emotions without their consent. The victim fully trusted the alluring false self that was presented to them and was made to feel emotions and bonding for the express purpose of being used and discarded. When they give the narcissist the privilege of looking into their soul they never dreamed it would be used and abused.

The narcissist feels no true emotions. They are incapable. The “love” they feel for the source disappears immediately when the victim’s usefulness runs its course or when a seemingly better qualified source of supply is noticed. They are able to go their merry way without the encumbrance of guilt or remorse.

Being a tender human being, the victim usually grieves and misses the relationship for quite some time. The loss is devastating and they can get very depressed, blame themselves, obsess about contacting the narcissist, feel like they’re going crazy, and experience many other emotional manifestations that physical rape victims endure. The emotional roller coaster is so horrific that some victims even display symptoms of post traumatic stress syndrome.

It’s shocking how many narcissists automatically gravitate towards positions of power, i.e., the military, pastors, counselors, Bible teachers, CEO’s, school teachers, etc. Once they spot a potential source, they misuse their authority to attract and control the victim.

Again, the internet is the perfect place for these creatures to troll for sources of supply. They expertly navigate chat rooms, looking for vulnerable, lonely women. They set up websites that offer advice or counseling for every kind of loss. They present themselves as warm, caring and compassionate and are extremely attractive.

The narcissist/sociopath exploits and then completely rejects his victims. The most bizarre aspect of this “person” is there little to no malice involved. He views people as things to be used. The same way we don’t feel malice or love for a garden hose, he feels the same about other people. Absolutely nothing.