I mean, sob.
Big snotty, operatic tears. Quivering lip. Hiccups for breath.
When he was busted. When I was leaving. When I was imposing a consequence.
The self-pity channel was EPIC. (So was the rage, but that’s a story for another time.)
Mostly these were tears for himself, if I listened carefully. Whatever shall he do? How can I throw him out into the cruel, cruel night? Whatever shall people think?
And other times, these were performance tears for me. He was so, so SO sorry. Oh, to think of losing me. Oh, how he loves my son. Oh, our life together. How, HOW could I imagine that he didn’t care?
And then switch-o change-o! It was gone.
When I asked for regret or remorse, he couldn’t summon it. Not in on a shrink’s sofa. Not to answer my questions. Nope. But if I’d had enough? If some ugly truth was discovered? Waterworks.
They say the calling card of sociopaths is self-pity, and I believe it. Because the only other time I saw him choke up (not for deaths of family members, or his mother’s ill health), was on our first date. He told me he was divorced and he wobbled. And I was embarrassed for him. I thought, oh poor man, he wears his emotions on his sleeve. I never sussed that he had no emotions at all.
Those tears were convincing. Of all the mindfuckery, I assumed those tears mattered. They signified some depth of feeling. I could not believe, for the longest time, that anyone could DO THIS. Could manufacture an emotion!
Other than the sheer shamelessness of it, I couldn’t believe anyone could perform the raw mechanics of it. I realize there are gifted actors, but even they probably have to prepare themselves for the role. Think of something traumatic. Douse their faces with saline. But to just conjure up tears and upset like that?
I felt AWFUL. Like I was the bad person punishing a poor, misunderstood wretch. How dare I? Wasn’t I being harsh?
Well, of course I wasn’t. The guy was a total sociopathic fraud with a double life. And seemed quite sincere with his threats.
Anyway, I escaped. Everything I learned is shared with you as the What Not To Do wisdom of Chump Lady.
The Friday Challenge is to share with CN your close encounters of the fake tear kind.
Did you get operatic remorse? Weepy sad sausageness?