This might sound weird but when I think back to my childhood and think about the lessons I was taught, I can picture certain adults sitting inside my body sewing things on to my organs in order to be sure they stay there and are secure. I don’t know why I have this vision but this is what I see.
My adult mind knows who I am and yet when speaking to my therapist this morning, I caught myself using a name for myself that is definitely not mine. I replied to a question about honesty and how I just can not allow even the tiniest of lies to escape my lips because “I don’t want people to ever find out that I am a sociopath”. After all this therapy, that word still comes in to my description of myself! Annoying!
I was only a very young girl when this word was sewn in to me for the first time. 4? 5? Maybe 6? Right at the age when I started noticing that my life wasn’t normal and occasionally said things that I shouldn’t have (according to my monster/mother).
“She can’t tell the difference between the truth and a lie yet. The other adults would nod and throw me a pitying glance.
Stitch here, stitch there. “I don’t know the difference between truth and lies.”
“Heather has a great imagination for sure!!! Hopefully she will eventually join us in reality.”
Stitch here, stitch there. “These things that are happening are not real.”
“Heather seems to have some deep-seated issues. She keeps hurting herself.” And the doctor who was kind to me the first 2 times I had severe bladder infections is now scolding me and telling me that I need to be more careful or I will cause real permanent damage.
Stitch here, stitch there. “Being hurt and in pain is my fault. If I was more careful, it wouldn’t happen. It is MY fault.”
“She just wants attention and will do or say anything to get it.” My tears, my pleading, begging, reaching out is now ignored by any adult who has contact with me.
Stitch here, stitch there. “My fear, my pain, my need for help are just my own crazy attempts to get attention.”
And when I had the courage to tell my father about that janitor at school abusing me? “He’s a family man. You don’t want to ruin his life.”
Stitch here, stitch there. “If I tell on anyone, I am responsible for whatever negative consequences they or their families suffer.”
Then add “She’s been diagnosed as a sociopath” to my teachers. “She’s been diagnosed as a sociopath” to my doctors. “She’s been diagnosed as a sociopath” to my friends and their parents. “She’s been diagnosed as a sociopath” was used to explain away ANYTHING that could not otherwise be blamed on me. Even to those who questioned such a diagnoses in a young child or early teen…. “Oh we’ve been to hell and back with her. We’ve done everything we can think of. This is the only diagnoses that the professionals have been able to state with any clarity.”
Stitch here, stitch there. “I am a sociopath.”
I didn’t even know what a sociopath was when I started telling people (professionals) who asked me that I was one. Even at the age of 43, I went in to Homewood for in-patient treatment and I gave them my diagnoses of being a sociopath alongside PTSD, depression and anxiety.
It was sewn so deeply in to my core that even I did not know that it wasn’t true.
Stitch here. Stitch there. Sew her up. She’s convinced this is all her fault. A job well done!
Sociopath is not just a word to me. It is not just a diagnoses. I spent my entire life trying to be so honest and so transparent just so that other people would never learn my nasty secret. Honest Heather, kind Heather, thoughtful Heather, good friend Heather, educated/smart Heather, giving Heather… those were just elaborate fronts I made to hide the fact that I was a sociopath. I was more afraid of people finding out my real truth than I was of anything else so I lived my life proving that I was anything but all of that.
I knew the “truth” and was terrified others would see it too.
It affected every part of my life. I was afraid to get too close to people, I was afraid to tell them about anything from my past, I lived in constant fear, I could not trust anyone around me because I knew that if they ever uncovered my truth, they would dump me like a hot potato.
So here I am 3 years later. I understand now that I was brainwashed. I was force-fed the lie that everything that happened to me happened BECAUSE of me.
I’ve begun to really open up to others in a way I could not do before. I am learning to trust and I actually have a few people in my life that I can actually say I trust fully. That is incredible.
I know 100% for sure that I am not and never was a sociopath. My therapist actually says that I am on the total other end of the spectrum. I refuse to lie about anything and I care more about others that I do about myself more often than not.
So then why today does the sentence “I don’t want others to realize that I am a sociopath” still come flying out of my mouth? It was sewn in. Sewn deeply, fully, to many different parts of me. It became more than a word. It became who I was. I am Heather the sociopath.
So why share this? Well, if there is one thing I have learned over these last 3 years and especially in writing this blog? Everything that I have been through has also touched others.
Perhaps you are “the liar, “the attention seeker”, “the drama king/queen”, “the idiot”…
Maybe you are the “waste of space”, “the useless piece of trash”.
Will you ever get anything right? Are you the fat and ugly one? The horrible daughter, wife, mother or the male counterparts?
I have no clue what you were taught and I have no idea what was sewn in to you but there is only one way to work towards ridding it from your system after you are actually able to see that you are, and never were the real problem.
We have to open up those stitches. It might take a long time like it is for me or maybe you can just rip them out and move on but no matter how long it takes? You are NOT what was sewn in to you.
You are you. Amazing, incredible, fantastically human and therefore flawed yet still perfect. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. I sit here nearly in tears because I just want to know you hear me and try to believe me if only for a moment.
I am Heather,
the sociopath, the attention seeker, the idiot, the troublemaker, the cause of all bad events.
I am Heather, the writer, the artist, the good friend and amazing wife (just ask him!), the person others go to when they want the truth. I was told that I listen and offer suggestions with grace. That made my heart sing. I’ve worked hard on the graceful part. I am many things. Some good and some that still need work but I am NOT a sociopath or any of the other words that were sewn in to me.
I have a few stitch removers. Does anyone want to join me in removing a few unnecessary seams?
Have a wonderful weekend!