By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)
I’ve recognized that my son is a psychopath since 2006, and have cut contact with him. Unfortunately, he has not forgotten me, and sent one of his friends to kill me, and probably intended to, one by one, kill the rest of the family, so he could have everything we collectively own.
Every so often Patrick comes up for parole. I have been working with an attorney who “gets it” about psychopaths, and with others, to protest his parole. I have had wonderful support here from the Lovefraud community, many of whom have sent letters to my attorney in support of my parole protest. Many family members and friends have written some wonderful letters as well. Some of the strongest, most meaningful letters are written by hand on lined notebook paper. I have wept when I read some of them, wept tears because it made me feel so loved to read what the person wrote.
But going to people and asking them to write the letters has also been very stressful. It has been embarrassing as well. I had to explain the situation to some people who didn’t know about all this … “I have a son in prison for murder and he tried to have me killed and I’m protesting his parole. Will you write a letter for me to the parole board?”
Other people have known me for decades, know the situation with Patrick, know he is in prison for murder, know I went into hiding because he sent a former cell mate to kill me. I had no doubt these people would freely write letters … and some of them told me a resounding “No, I won’t write a letter.” Even though I told these people there was no way he could find out they wrote the letter, since parole hearings are secret, like grand jury hearings, still, they would not write the letter.
Betrayed and belittled
I felt betrayed and belittled … that they did not take my safety as a priority. I began to feel somewhat like I felt when my son, D, and I ran for our lives, leaving our home and most of our possessions to go live in a trailer parked in a friend’s front yard. At that time, my son, C, my daughter-in-law, and my mother “pooh-poohed” my fear of a convicted pedophile that was living in my mother’s home as her “live-in caregiver,” was a “friend” to my son, C, and a former cellmate of Patrick’s.
During that fateful summer when I first discovered LoveFraud, I spent days crouched over my computer compulsively crying. I haven’t felt that bad since then. But this parole hearing, and being turned down by people I considered close friends for decades, has sent me into a tailspin of emotional turmoil and physical symptoms brought on by the anxiety and stress.
Last time when he came up for parole, we had a large packet of documents and evidence against my son and the Trojan Horse friend of his. We had letters and cell phone pictures from inside his prison cell that he had e-mailed out to his friend, before he got caught with the cell phone. This time I don’t have that evidence to present to the parole board. And 20 years, plus or minus one or two years, is about all the time “life” for murder means in Texas. (Unless it is a cop or multiple murders.)
This chaotic mess sounds like a plot from a bad soap opera. It was so unbelievable that my new therapist that summer actually thought I was a paranoid schizophrenic, and asked me to bring in witnesses to my bizarre story. Frankly, I wasn’t offended, because my story did sound like a nut job.
Re-experiencing the trauma of the past
Over all I have done pretty well. Even still, I still get stressed!
No contact is so important in allowing us to heal and to stay healed. But just like a physical wound that heals and leaves a scar, and is never the same as undamaged tissue, neither is our psyche. When we have contact, even “back door” contact, when we have to dredge up all the old feelings and the old emotional responses in order to deal with a current problem with the psychopath, it re-injures us.
I publish articles here all the time on how to deal with psychopaths, how to stay strong, and yet, sometimes I feel that anxiety, I feel that stress, and I feel that pain again. So just knowing about psychopaths, just knowing the things to do, doesn’t always keep us from feeling the painful emotions.
It doesn’t mean I am a failure; it simply means I am human. I, too, have feelings, and I, too, have needs for safety and peace. Sometimes, just thinking about the situation with my son takes away that feeling of safety. The disappointment I feel when friends I loved devalue and belittle me by refusing to help me with my parole protest, by even writing a letter—well, it hurts. The ones who have written powerful validations of my situation, though, have made me realize I do have some wonderful caring friends.
So I am not alone. Most of the time I do okay. Most of the time I count my blessings, and I have many blessings. But sometimes, I just cry into my pillow for those people I wish had loved me as much as I loved them.
What I’m trying to say by this article is that no matter how well you do, how healed you are, there may come times in your life when you feel like you are re-experiencing the trauma from the past, and falling apart again. It’s okay. It happens, even to the strongest of us, even to the ones who “know” all about psychopaths, because we are human. We do have emotions, and sometimes those emotions are triggered.
When it happens, accept it. Be good to yourself, let yourself feel your feelings, but rest, eat right, and reach out to those who love you. And above all, count your blessings. God bless.