I still think about him.
He had a beautiful spirit to him — not in a sense that he was some sort of guardian angel or anything. Far from it.
He had this depth to him; he was a puzzle I couldn’t figure out. He was “beautiful” in that he was an enigma. And I love things I cannot solve. Whenever he would speak, do or feel, his eyes never matched his actions — ever. He was always like an under-microwaved pastry — warm on the surface, but cold and unpalatable in the center.
His name is Josh. And he is a sociopath.
I didn’t quite get that he was a sociopath at first — it didn’t even cross my mind. Many other descriptive factors came to mind. I would say, “Maybe he has a superiority complex,” or “He’s desensitized from his traumatic past.” Other times I would say, “He did have a very troubled upbringing — this makes him distant and averse to forming connections.” But more often than not, I would reason that he is a “man,” and therefore feels the need to live up to the social norms of masculinity.
Josh didn’t like to talk about his past. But when he did, I found out that his parents were not in the picture. His father was incarcerated and his mother, he said, was nowhere to be found. He hadn’t seen any of them – ever. He lived with his grandmother and 2 other sisters.
On a cold December afternoon in 2009, Josh told me he received an odd Facebook message from a woman in her 30’s. According to Josh, the woman wrote, “Oh my god! You’re John’s son! You look just like him.” It turned out that this woman was Josh’s father’s girlfriend.
Josh’s father, John, was out of jail.
“He really really wants to meet you for Christmas,” the woman said told Josh. “Are you willing to reconnect with your father?”
Shocked by the strange turn of events, I shook him and said, “Holy sh**! Well? Are going to go?” Josh barely moved a muscle in his face — his eyes remained simultaneously lifeless, but intense. He nonchalantly said, “I guess.”
“…Shouldn’t you be more excited? You’re literally about to meet your dad!” Stoically, Josh said, “I’m so used to not having him around, whether he’s here or not — it doesn’t matter.”
I didn’t see a sociopath then. I saw a man who was resentful. And, again, I saw a man who wanted to live up to the social norms of masculinity — he was going to remain emotionless. And that’s that. *Shrug*
The night that he was to meet his father, Josh texted me and said, “He never picked up my phone call.” And I was crushed. I was crushed because Josh was so convinced that everyone in his life would disappoint him — and his father was just another person that proved him right, and proved me wrong.
“I wasn’t expecting anything more from him,” Josh said apathetically.
There goes Josh again, I thought, trying to put a mask over his emotions. *Sigh*
***A month later, something devastating happened***
Josh’s younger brother, at just 14, was brutally murdered — a gunshot shattered his skull in the streets Boston. He texted me and told me what happened. At the time, I was done with Josh. At this point, he already stood me up a couple of times and ditched me to hang out with his friends instead. I told him I didn’t mind him cancelling, but the least he could do was contact me to let me know. He never did. And never seemed to understand why I was so upset about it. I vowed that the next time he asked to hang out — if ever — I would stand him up, too.
Unfortunately, this “next time” was Josh needing companionship for the death of his little brother. I went to meet him.
He didn’t look distressed. In fact, he didn’t exhibit any emotions that revealed that he was dealing with the death of his beloved brother at all. Thinking he was still wearing his I-am-a-man-and-I-do-not-cry mask again, I told him that it’s okay to release some tears — it’s cathartic. “I tried to cry; I really did.” Josh told me. “But I couldn’t — I just couldn’t.”
It was as if he felt, in honor of his brother, he wanted to cry as some sort of ceremonious salute to his brother transitioning from earth to heaven, but he was not able to because there was a disconnect between his brain and his emotional functionality.
This disconnect — which I never really quite noticed until I looked back in retrospect — prevailed throughout the 6 years I knew him.
Josh would often yearn to engage in random acts of violence because he had this all-consuming anger that always bubbled up right below the surface — he wanted an outlet for his rage. He carried a knife with him at all times and, because he had no sense of self control, he would shank anyone who slighted him. He was very stealthy and very intelligent with his crimes. He did, however, get caught up by the law once — Josh decked his friend’s father in the face and knocked him out cold.
“I love the feeling of bones crushing underneath my fists,” Josh said once, basking in the thought of a pleasureful punch.
The father, of course, pressed charges.
I wish I could tell you the details of the case, but Josh — as aforementioned — didn’t talk about his life much.
So much so that he didn’t tell me that he had a girlfriend. I found out, and needless to say, I was furious. He looked at me coldly — he didn’t care. He didn’t care to cheat on me, and he didn’t care to cheat on her. The only thing that did make him squirm was the fact that I said, “If you’re going to cheat, you should do a better job at cleaning up your act!”
Josh, for the first time in years, fidgeted in discomfort. His slyness was being questioned, and he wasn’t going to have it.
“I am good at what I do,” he said, defensively.
“If that’s the case, she wouldn’t have reached out to me, you idiot.” I discovered that he was sneaking around on me because his girlfriend, somehow someway, reached out to me and found my social media profile. She told me that she was Josh’s girlfriend.
I was devastated.
But he barely gave one f***. Except for when I challenged his craftiness.
“I am good at what I do,” he said again, not bothering or caring to process the fact that his girlfriend retraced his tracks back to me.
Josh was a man that couldn’t fathom love, but he knew how to fake it. He knew all the right words to say. He was charming. He would lie compulsively to get what he wanted the most — sex. He didn’t want sex to satisfy his lusty desires, he wanted sex because getting in a woman’s pants meant victory. It was why monogamy didn’t work for him. Winning meant hopping from chick to chick, thotting around town, to nab his trophy.
His victims of choice? Virgins. I asked him why. He said, “It’s less about the sex; it’s more about the triumph of f***ing a prude.”
*Shudder* It was over between us. I wanted nothing more to do with him. We did, however, remain friends — somewhat.
In about a month or so, he told me that his girlfriend dumped him. “She said I was too emotionless and she needed someone with, at least, a modicum of compassion.”
I told him that, perhaps, he might have done things to her that he should have been sorry for, but never truly expressed any remorse. “Do you feel any guilt at all?”
“It’s foreign to me,”Josh said.
“What is?” I asked, since he couldn’t possibly be saying that guilt was a foreign concept to him.
“Guilt,” he responded matter-of-factly, “I’ve never felt it before. Once I’ve done something, I must have meant to do it. So why bother feeling ‘guilty’?”
It took 6 years of knowing him, but then it finally hit me — he was a sociopath. He had no empathy, no sense of “conscience” or “guilt,” he was extremely self-interested, he was a megalomaniac, he could kill without blinking an eye, and expressed no remorse (i.e. standing me up or being surreptitious about his other lovers).
A sociopath through and through.
Once it clicked, I was intrigued. I finally knew what made him tick. I finally solved the puzzle — I knew who he was. I found great pleasure in getting him back for neglecting me, and being hush-hush about his girlfriend. I would outsmart him in debates, obliterate his ego, and point out all his logical flaws. I would consistently remind him that he was not as smart as he thought.
Josh’s response? *Squirm, squirm, squirm*
Josh found no use of me anymore. I was always a step ahead of him now. He couldn’t manipulate me any longer because I knew what he was capable of. After a 6 year situationship, Josh stopped talking to me and walked away. He was done.
And that is the story of the time I dated a sociopath.