A Sociopath on Social Media

Many years ago, before I even knew the term, what one was or acted like, I met a sociopath.  Like most other people, I had no concept of the fact that ‘bad boys’ are really ‘mad boys’ that every girl should keep a distance from.  I too found ‘jack the lad’ very entertaining.  Havoc seemed to follow him everywhere, but his cheery face, the sound of him arriving before the sight of him, and his view of life as a game to have fun with, made all those who met him want to meet him again.  That was, however, until I discovered the dark history, and more alarmingly, the true and well-hidden identity and behaviour of the man behind the merry mask.

Rumour had it, that he aggressively and sometimes violently mistreated his girlfriends.  His tired work colleagues who were not in his merry band, were irritated by and dreaded his presence.  The local police feared having to attend any call-out with his name attached.  Coming from a highly physically and mentally abusive family, I learned his father punched his teeth out when he was seven years old and his mother committed the unforgivable matriarchal sin of turning a blind eye, leaving the young lad exposed and defenceless.  All throughout his adolescent years, that apple never fell far from the tree.  He preferred girls with little intelligence and even lower fighting ability whilst any man misfortunate enough to stand next to him at a local bar, would too find their teeth down their own throat.  Behind the mask, he was brutal, unpredictable, bipolar – due, as I later discovered, to his full-on addiction to drugs and alcohol.  I last saw him 30 years ago, when after a sudden exposure on his part, I made him fully aware that I could see the wretched little man behind the curtain.  It was just before he suddenly decided to move far away to start a new life.

Surprise then, when one Sunday afternoon some 25 years later, whilst having my quintessential afternoon tea, my high-pinky companion asked … ‘did you see that lad on social media?’  ‘No’, I replied, only mildly interested to learn that he hadn’t fallen down a very large hole.  ‘Well’, they continued on, ‘judging by his pictures, he’s found … Buddha’.  A spluttered apology for covering my companion in my tea later, the next two hours consisted largely of me repeating in trance-like fashion, ‘you did get that right?’, ‘you mean him’, ‘you mean …’, ‘him’.  ‘Are you sure’, ‘you’re really sure?’    ‘Yes’, they replied eventually reaching for their phone, ‘look here’.  I looked.  I froze.  My years later mind full of psychoanalytic knowledge suddenly rammed into full ‘analyse this fast’ mode.  Stunned was not the word.  I can’t remember if I paid my bill.

Conversions happen.  They really do.  People, often men with absolutely no interest in the spiritual side of life, do pass through transformations mid-life and spend the rest of their lives trying to make right all the wrongs that they committed.  They have, what Freud would call, ‘a death of their ego’.  Studying and analysing the psychological experience in both the scientific and spiritual worlds, enables me to differentiate those who have genuinely enlightened, as opposed to those whose egos have spiritualised.  With the latter being easier to spot due to their sudden make-over Jesus styley, announcing to the world they think they are an incarnation of the son of God.  Poor souls.  I feel so much sympathy for the latter, because I also know that they are amidst a defence mechanism, that should and when it fails, they will plummet back to earth faster and more burnt than Icarus.  A spiritualised ego is nothing more than a new addiction – to their version of spirituality – a world that unfortunately encourages the disintegration of the vital mind protector, that’s absence almost always brings on fragmentation or a full-blown psychosis.

Last week, from a distance, where he is only slightly more happy about that than I, I saw him.  The prodigal son … oh huey.  He probably OM’d his new best friends into oblivion.  Provoked by the ominous sighting, I decided to type his name into social media and oh for the love of … there he was.  Sitting amongst poppies, in a temple amongst brethren … oh I really can’t be bothered to bore you with the rest.  Trying to remain open-minded to the possibility of his new, er, path-ology, I decided to read a few of his posts on his timeline.  To my absolute no surprise they were full of the usual ‘love and light’ utterings, but what was a total shock was that he was being followed by 16,000 people, some of whom had traveled to meet him!  In fact, 16,000 girls were following, hanging on, liking and responding to his molasses-like post (she sniggered Freudianly), about how he loved strong independent women with resilience and a brain.  Well, he didn’t like this one did he! 

What none of his followers could possibly be aware of, was that they were dealing with a highly deluded sociopath, who, by his own confession, ‘loved his social media community’.  Oh run, little lambs, run.  Yup, I bet he does love that level of anonymity because online anyone can be anything they want to, can’t they.  Unchallenged.  Untouchable.  Unknown by the masses.  Everyone has a shadow-side, but he cleverly only revealed the light.  I had another word with myself and tried to believe that my cynicism was unfounded.  But something more than an aging eye was quietly mocking – it was my untrickable intuition.  I decided to shove myself into impartial, objective mode, as much as I could, but a close analysis of his posts revealed that he had not changed at all, but that he had tapped into the Internal Cinderella Archetype in all of the woman who followed him, all who wanted to be rescued and saved by a rough prince charming with a cheeky heart – yuck.  One doth speak with a forked tongue indeed.  With one side of his tongue he flattered their ego, tapped into their unconscious phantastical need to be rescued and valued and with the other half of his tongue, he anaesthetised their intellect and even more deadly, their clarity. 

In the physical plane, we are certainly not ‘all one’.  Some people are two, or, in the case of the multiple personalities, three or fifty.  And so I hereby fulfill my social conscience and expose the behaviour of the online sociopath for others to consider – although I suspect at least 16,000 will not.  Had they read his posts properly they would see that he never responded to their comments, not even to like them – such is the behaviour of the narcissist who has no interest in the other person in the relationship.  It was all I could do to withhold writing on his wall, so I consoled myself with the knowledge that every charlatan does eventually face the writing on their own wall, by a force much greater than I.  Or, for the spiritual reader, by the I. Or in his case, after eight paths, four noble truths and a thousand incarnations later, by Buddha.  Namaste.

by Carole Sawo