All sociopaths wear a mask. The mask of kindness. The mask of generosity. The mask of romance. The mask of attraction. The mask of intimacy. The mask of seduction. And so on.
This is what reels us in. The pretense. The acting. The mask. The mask of perfection. And we, in our infinite loving goodness, reflect that mask back to them. The perfect mirrored reflection of beauty and adoration.
And then one day, that mask cracks. You remember the moment.. The moment when you look in their eyes and you KNOW the truth about them. The moment you recognize the pathological lies, the deception, the manipulation, the con. The game is up.
And from that moment on, your relationship with the sociopath is forever changed. This moment happened for me when…after middle of the night phone calls to his house and cell phone…I looked into his eyes and I KNEW. I knew he was having an affair, and that he was a liar. A year’s worth of investigation (yes, obsessing) has confirmed that nearly everything he told me was a lie.
From that point forward, the cruelty begins. Name-calling. Shouting. Out-of-control rage. Accusations of what you have…and have not done for them. Assaults on your character. Disparaging remarks. Outright slander. Saying horrible things about you to everyone who will listen. The smear campaign begins in full force.
Once the mask slips, you have a full view of who the sociopath actually is. Nothing is hidden from you anymore. They are the most hateful person you have ever encountered.
I equate the mask with a coin…beautiful, golden, intricately detailed and engraved on one side, and the cheapest, molten metal, with indistinguishable or hideous features on the other.
I thought my sociopath had a brain tumor. I couldn’t comprehend how someone who had seemingly been so kind, generous, and thoughtful…seemingly a “knight in shining armor”, turned into such a dark knight—instantaneously. Heartless. Cold. Unfeeling. Unsympathetic. Lying. Cheating. Berating. Chillingly frightening. Brrr.
After the mask cracks and you see their naked hatred, they become vengeful. It is as if they become your mortal enemy; even though you still love them and may try to salvage the relationship. And then they usually become cowardly. If you try to expose them, they will use every amount of charm and conning in their power to figuratively and verbally disarm you. (They are very good at this; they have a lifetime of practice).
They will attempt to dissemble your character piece-by-piece. They will not allow you to confront them with the truth; it is almost as if they become fearful of you and will try to retaliate against you with every piece of personal information they have garnered about you. Oh yes, and they will project upon you the very things that they are doing (and which you are innocent of). And they will tell unimaginable lies about you…that you are vile, manipulative, conning, vindictive, lying, and of course, crazy. Some of these whoppers are so monstrous that they can even ruin relationships you’ve had with family members and close friends. Everything is your fault, and they are the victim.
It is important to realize that just because you have seen their “true” self, they can still be extremely adept at keeping their mask intact for others. I have seen my sociopath go from screaming at me to laughing and smiling while speaking to someone on the phone…within 30 seconds. But you will most likely never see that initial charm again…unless there is something very specific they want from you.
And generally it is a very short time after you see their true self, no longer a reflection of beauty and adoration, that they will leave you. Or perhaps they already have their victim lined up. Because the sociopath cannot tolerate seeing their imperfections through your eyes. They will begin the romance phase, and once again have adoration from their next target. And the next. Then the one after that.
It is an awakening moment, when the mask slips. You are witnessing humanity at its very worst. (If they can be deemed “human”…I prefer to think of them as aliens).
No matter how attractive you initially thought they were, a sociopath is actually very, very ugly…beneath the mask.