Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Temper Tantrum

Have you ever noticed the pattern the psychopath or sociopath uses when they don't get their way? Maybe you were too busy at work to 'pay' attention to their specific need, maybe you travel a lot, maybe you are in school or have kids, either way, you are focused on another task or heaven forbid you have your own life.

Have you noticed that when THEY need something they will interupt you without a thought but if you really need something from them, they are unreachable, ignore your messages or take their sweet time to address you or to reciprocate a need you may have? When you ask them what took so long, they get upset and angry to the point they don't even want to talk to you.

Their needs are urgent and important but yours are not. They somehow work in that they are busier than you, more tired than you, not as financially secure as you, etc. Everything is about them!

I've dealt with many psychopaths in my life, I just didn't know it until the Jay incident. I didn't realize that anyone who abuses you verbally, mentally or physical carries traits on the psychopathy scale. I just lumped them into the asshole category but it's much deeper and scarier than just being an ass or a jerk.

They are nice at first, so nice that you think to yourselves, "Wow, I AM the luckiest girl in the world." While you are dancing on cloud 9 with stars in your eyes they change. But ever so slowly that you don't realize the little gripes and complaints they had over something just a few months ago, they found 'cute' about you as a person.

I would say that in all honesty, Jay was 'nice' for about the first month after I met him in person. I never did feel 'taken' care of by him but rather the opposite, it was he who needed constant taking care of. One of the first times he came over to my house he had some issues with his stomach. I rushed to the store to load him up on antacids, Imodium, and Preparation H. He had no idea how to administer Preperation H to his own ass. I jumped in like an expert nurse to coddle and take care of him. He relished the attention. From that moment on, I was the go to person for all things medical in his eyes. It was exhausting for me to tell him constantly over and over how to take Imodium or try to 'diagnose' why he was having stomach trauma. Telling him to, "just read the instructions" and it didn't work as he didn't seem to make sense of them. He would shoot back, "Hey, be nice to me." "I told you, I'm a late bloomer."

He told me that being a late bloomer meant he did not have sex until he was 22. He said he was socially awkward which I completely believe but I'm not so sure about the "I was a virgin until I was 22." He also cited the death of his mom for his apparent stunted growth when it came time to understand the back of a pack of Imodium. However, when she died, he was 26. So, whenever I would try and put the responsibility of something simple (like reading the directions on the back of an over the counter medicine) he would think it was mean of me to do so.

He acted like a very timid rabit until he felt uncomfortable and then he turned into a spiteful python. His anger was always right below the surface. He could be talking about something as innocuous as a song and then get pissed off enough to ignore me for days at a time. However, if I showed any sign of questioning or discontent or unhappiness, I was not allowed to have those feelings. He made quite sure that I didn't show him any sort of emotion unless I was happy and content. Basically I could not demand anything of him. I had to wait for him to dole out the morsels of attention to me. He acted as if I should be glad to get them.

Even more important, I could not be mad at him, he did not allow it. If I was upset about something I would have to wait until he was ready to talk about it. By the time that came around, it almost seemed like I was the foolish one to even bring it up.

Jay had several different ways of throwing his temper tantrum if he did not like what you were saying. He used one or all of them in the same instance. It would depend on how quickly he wanted to get me to snap back into submission. He also knew that I did not like to be dismissed. He was the master at dismissing me and my feelings. I would often tell him I felt punished by him but he turned that back around on me and tell me he was NOT punishing me. He was taking 'his time' and that meant I had to give it to him. HIS TIME consisted of his silence. It was pure punishment.

1. Anger
2. Poor Me, Sympathy, Tears
3. Distance
4. Leaving
5. Limited to No Communication, ie Punishment
6. Excuses
7. Manipulation


Raised voice (Angry) or complete silence. If he was upset because he was questioned on something or if asked for something that he did not want to provide (typically just an answer about something that did not make sense to me) he would give me an excuse..."Wow, I am really tired, can we talk about this later?" If I pressed him it would turn to anger. In a heated voice, "I told you I didn't want to talk about this right now!!" Once I was hurt I didn't want to continue the conversation. Then he would say, "What's the matter, don't you want to talk to me?" I felt like an animal that had just been kicked around. I did not want to talk to him but If I didn't, he would get upset over that and he may shut down for a few days. I didn't want that to happen so I would just change the subject until I could get off of the phone. I would just say that I was busy with work for a few days until I didn't feel so hurt.

If I said something about going out with my friends he would act jealous and he would pout. If I pointed out how he went out with his friends then it was a different story. He would say, "Don't you trust me?" During an exchange like this, he would blurt out things like, "Maybe you are losing interest in me." He would need reassurance and somehow the conversation would end up on him, rather than why I called in the first place.

If I said something that he felt was critical (and this could have been anything-serious or funny) (example-He would ask me, "Do you want me to bring over my box set of Transformer Cartoons?" I would say, "That's ok. I'm good on all things Transformers." He would say, "Wow, that's mean." Then he would be silent for hours. No phone calls, no IMs, texts, etc. A few days later he would say to me on IM, "You hurt my feelings." "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed. I expected more from you." I would not understand why something like that would 'hurt' anyone. He acted like a puppy who had been spanked by a newspaper. I got to the point where I really couldn't say anything around him. I kept so many things to myself.

Jay could be talking to you and not sound like he was 'there.' Whether that be on IM or on the phone, he would tell me he felt depressed and to not mind him if he seemed distant. This happened quite a lot. He may start off the day with "I don't feel very attractive today." "Don't be upset if I don't feel like talking today." He was available for the pleasantries but very distant and could not handle any heavy conversation that consisted of anything except the Hi's and Bye's during the day. He had these days often. So often that I spoke to him about taking anti depressants. He did not like the thought of having to take something to help stabilize his moods, he did not feel like anything was really wrong with him.

The angry silence. When we had planned to see each other on New Years Eve 2008, he said that he may have other plans. I did not want to be rude but I was a bit hurt since we had made previous plans. Rather than start a fight, I just said, "Oh good for you." Then it was "Oh you don't want to see me?" I might sigh or say something to show him I was frustrated and he would say, "I've got to go." I would say, "What? You just called me a second ago, why do you have to go?" "I have things I need to do." I didn't hear from him for a few days. He often acted as if nothing was wrong the next time we spoke or chatted and expected the same from me. He did not like to be 'reminded' that I was upset.

He would call me and ask me silly little questions about how to handle this or that. If I didn't answer or was too busy to call him back right away he would mention that down the road, "Well, you never pick up your cell, why do you even have one." He may even resort to, "I guess you are just too busy for me." (GUILT) It was extremely passive aggressive. He may say it as a joke or a digg. However, If I needed to call him and he did not pick up, he was upset with me to the point of telling me that he thought I was "up his ass all of the time." That was his most favorite thing to tell me. So, whenever I needed something it was me being demanding but his constant needs were seen as something I should be glad to do for him.

When Jay would be late to my house, I would tell him that I would appreciate him being on time. I'm not talking about 30 minutes or less. I'm talking 1-3 hours late consistently. He immediately went into hurt puppy mode, defeated mode. He may turn that defeat into the "I'm sorry it's not good enough for you" speech. If I didn't want to fight with him I would forgive him. If I was frustrated with his behavior, I might say, "Why do you always have to say that?" "What does it mean anyway?" From there he would talk about the traffic (EXCUSE) and that he was doing the best he could. Why wasn't that enough? He would say, "You don't act like you are happy to see me." I was angry. He would show up and bitch about this and that as though coming out to see me was such a hassle. At the point it became too much for me, I would sit down and start crying. I just couldn't believe he could be so mean. Then he would annouce he was leaving. (Punishment and Manipulation). If I asked him to stay, he would get angrier and act like my presence in my own house was bothering him. One time it did get violent when I went flying out of a door onto a deck as he pulled me with his right arm. Jay would say that I had caused his anger. That if I hadn't brought X up as a topic, then he wouldn't be forced to get angry. He would act as if it were my fault that he had to get upset. And this meant I had no right to be upset with him. He often said "I told you in the beginning this is how I am." As if this declaration was his 'disclaimer' on all future angry outbursts.

Jay was a master at the 'excuse' and he had them for everything. There was always an excuse. He can't clean his apartment because he's too tired. You are too tired for a year? He couldn't buy groceries because he worked long hours. He couldn't manage his money because he didn't make enough. He couldn't wash his own clothes because he was out of money and had no time. He couldn't buy something on Ebay because he wasn't sure how to search for it. He couldn't find the bathroom because the woman at the store was rude to him. It was always because of someone else or because of a situation that was out of his control. If only he had more time and money he could take care of the things that he should be doing anyway.

Jay used his tears like a nuclear weapon. The guy cried at any given moment. He knew that it made me feel bad and that it would stop whatever I was saying or doing and pay 100% attention to him. I thought he was depressed and he might have been but the tears he shed were a 'show' to endear me to him. The day Amy died he called me and used his 'fake' tears on the message. I really thought he was faking, he didn't sound like he was sad or upset. It sounded forced. He continued to use those same 'fake' tears with me when he wanted to talk about Amy. At this point I was doubting everything. Jay uses tears to get sympathy from women, men, people at his job, family and the limited amount of friends he has. He missed his mom. I could understand that. However, his mom died in 1998 and he still cried (like a baby) over it. As if it had just happened in the last year or so. He becomes severely depressed in August of each year because of his mom's date of death and birthday but he never goes out to visit her grave. Yet he will use this as the reason he will never leave Long Island.

He uses what is available to him. Words, silence, anger, his mom, Amy's death, his work hours etc to control what he wants, to obtain what he wants, guilt, everytime without fail. If he apologized, he did it to bring me back to something he needed or wanted not because he was truly sorry.

Dr. Robert Hare says this about psychopaths in his book Without Conscience:

Poor behavior controls

In psychopaths, inhibitory controls are weak, and the slightest provocation is sufficient to overcome them. As a result, psychopaths are short-tempered or hot-headed and tend to respond to frustration, failure, discipline and criticism with sudden violence, threats and verbal abuse. They take offense easily and become angry and aggressive over trivialities, and often in a context that appears inappropriate to others. But their outbursts, extreme as they may be, are generally short-lived, and they quickly resume acting as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened.

Although psychopaths have a "hair trigger" and readily initiate aggressive displays, their ensuing behavior is not out of control. On the contrary, when psychopaths "blow their stack" it is as if they are having a temper tantrum; they know exactly what they are doing. Their aggressive displays are "cold;" they lack the intense emotional arousal experienced by others when they lose their temper.

It's not unusual for psychopaths to inflict serious physical or emotional damage on others, sometimes routinely, and yet refuse to acknowledge that they have a problem controlling their tempers. In most cases, they see their aggressive displays as natural responses to provocation.


  1. Excellent blog; incredibly informative and helpful! Thank you so much for putting it together and for what you are doing here. I know you are helping alot of people! God bless you!

  2. Thanks for this post. I just came out of an intense relationship with someone who I have since deduced is a covert narcissit. I was with him for 11 years. He did all kinds of things while lying to me, while I was his "mother" taking care of all the bills, the home, etc. I was a trophy that made him look good to all his friends (because I really am an awesome person), and he devalued me so horribly and then discarded me -- moving in with another woman. I am heart broken and at the same time amazed wiht curiosity that i could have this experience, and not have known what I was dealing with for so long. I am happy to be out of it.

  3. I grew up with a psychopathic father and this blog sums him up to a T.
    He was an incredibly arrogant person (and still is), and thought he was God almighty when it came to everything he ever did. When you talk about Jay and as if the TV is stuck on 'Jay TV' that is how it is when it came to my father. He is the most brilliant human being on the planet, and you are nothing compared to him, no matter what. Also you speak of racism towards African Americans, my psychopathic father ALWAYS would go nuts in his temper tantrums with the N word and he also loved to make fun of Hispanics. I never seen why he hated blacks and Hispanics as much as he did.

    The temper tantrum was the most bizarre thing I experienced growing up. You had to walk on egg shells around him (and still do this day 20 years later) and it didn't matter what it was, you had no clue when he was going to explode and go on a rampage if he didn't get his way. It could be the smallest thing, like a spelling error, he would go berserk on a rampage because he could never be wrong about anything! Don't even bother correcting his bad spelling and grammar errors. He had bad drug problems, and wasn't very good at hiding his addiction from his kids as we were growing up, but if you mentioned that you found some left over weed stuck in the bathroom, you had to worry about him getting physically violent with you.

    My father did work and support us growing up, but that's about all he ever did. When he came home, he was an asshole 90% of the time. He was always bitching about something, and it was always our fault his life wasn't perfect. Later on when I got older, I found out the fairytales he told his friends at work about how he was this great loving dad, and never did anything wrong, and his family was crazy trying to fight him all the time. It made me want to puke. This coming from someone that can't even admit he was wrong ever, least he could do is TELL THE TRUTH to his scumbag crackhead friends, and tell them how he really treated his family for 20 years, and why his kids hate his fucking guts because he was always downing them left and right while saying how he was the greatest person at everything and they never would amount to nothing. He is nothing but a fucking pussy that can't own up to it. I fucking hate the scumbag.