A week after we broke up for the last time, I parked my car on Abbot Kinney and started walking toward my best friend’s apartment. That’s when I saw him.
He was parked across the street helping another girl out of his car. He looked up to check the traffic, and that’s when he saw me. I wanted to die. And not because he was with another girl (that kicked in later), or because I was wearing a giant purple sweater that had “Shining Through” written on it (again, later).
No, I wanted to die because in that instant I knew that he thought I’d been stalking him. And worse, that he thought he’d caught me.
This remains one of my most cringe-worthy memories. Just thinking about it now makes me want to scream. A part of me wishes that I’d confronted him right there to set the record straight, but then I start laughing. I imagine myself stomping across the street in my giant purple sweater and screaming my truth through the traffic. Good God, that would have been amazing.
Almost as amazing as when I started driving home five hours later and found myself behind his car again – also completely by accident. And almost as amazing as when I suddenly and recklessly pulled into the driveway of a stranger’s house (in order to stop being behind his car by accident), only to be questioned by a cop who had been sitting at the corner and who subsequently threatened to arrest me for stalking.
See? This is why I hate telling the truth.
As a sociopath, it has always been easier for me to lie than to be honest. I learned quickly when I was a kid that my perception of the world wasn’t the same as it is for others. And worse, that the world isn’t kind to people who are different.
When you are a child, people don’t want to hear that you aren’t remorseful. They don’t want to know that you feel no guilt. Society rewards the like-minded, so I taught myself to lie in search of those rewards. Lying kept me safe. Lying kept me hidden. The only thing that ever got me into trouble was the truth.
This is still true today. I am constantly punished for telling the truth. Take my husband, for example. He doesn’t like the fact that I have come clean about being a sociopath. He doesn’t like the stories that I write. He doesn’t appreciate the research I conduct. He doesn’t want his friends to know that his wife is someone who doesn’t have access to remorse. He would rather I be “normal.”
My friends aren’t a fans either. They despise lying. That they have chosen a sociopath as a friend is not something they want to take a look at. My family doesn’t know about this website (not because I lied to them about it but because I simply haven’t mentioned it and no, that is NOT the same thing and we’ll discuss it another time). My grandmother, for instance, never wants to talk about my research or why I specialize in the treatments of sociopaths. She changes the subject anytime it comes up.
So what do you do? What do you say when your son asks if you have ever stolen anything? How do you respond when your husband wants to know why he should believe you when you tell him that you love him? What is your answer when your sister asks if you’ve ever lied to her? Or when your closest friends want to know your secrets?
When you are a confessed pathological liar, what does it matter if you tell the truth? If no one will believe you, who’s to say that lying is “bad?” When the truth will not set you free – when it will only further incarcerate you in the prison of judgment created by the very people who claim to love you – why bother with truth at all?
I’ll tell you why. Because the truth isn’t about the relationship you have with others, it’s about the one you have with yourself. And life is so much better when you don’t have to hide.
These days, I tell the truth – all the time. And I do it because I want to; not because I have to. Subsequently, I have developed a genuine respect for myself and insist that those around me to do the same – not in spite of who I am but because of it.
I want my children to understand that there are shades of grey when it comes to concepts of good and evil. I want my husband to know who he’s married to, rather than be afraid of what he already suspects. I want my best friend to admit that the reason she chose me is because I’m not afraid of anything, and that sometimes she borrows my strength to feel the same way. But most of all I want other people like me to know they aren’t alone. And the only way to do that is to tell the truth.
The truth may still get me into trouble, but these days I just don’t care. I am a sociopath with a doctorate. I am a rebel with a cause. Being open and honest about who I am and encouraging others to do the same is the most liberating decision I ever made.
Some days are easier than others. Honesty isn’t always easy. Sometimes I don’t feel like being judged. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to explain myself. Some days it’s easier to accept the fact that being honest often means being accused of doing things you absolutely did not do.
On those days I try to remind myself of all the years I spent making some largely questionable decisions. Just because I never got caught doesn’t mean I don’t have some karmic debts to settle.
Hell, maybe that cop on Abbot Kinney should have arrested me. Granted I didn’t happen to be following that boy on that particular night, but it’s only because I dropped the receiver for the tracking device I put on his car in the pool two days before and it stopped working. No joke.
Talk about karma.