Chapters
Chapter 4: Heart on Camera Lens

“The Psychopath”

Fiction. Based on a True Marriage to a Psychopath. 28 minute read

“I’ve had some situations in my life where…it’s been life and death situations. You confront it with that [music]. What I have finally learned is that I need to be strong through that process… ” -Danny Thurmer

“The Psychopath”

Fiction. Based on a True Marriage to a Psychopath.

by Mingjie Zhai

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Dear S,

I take responsibility for not listening to the screaming red flags in my gut that have shown me that you were no good for me. But the seduction was so strong, the siren in me was calling to be abused and used by you, like a moth to a flame, I continued to draw near to you knowing that your teeth are sharp and you were looking for your next victim.

The first red flag was when you had that tone of pride when you shared how you made the girl cry, the one you had led on for weeks and suddenly cut off. You would delight in how much power you have over women. Your shares of psychopathy on the cold hearted way you have treated other women fed my ego. You also shared about the ex girlfriend you had left high and dry when she flew from Seattle to LA to see you. You stood her up the night you took me out to the Cheesecake Factory and told me what you did. I was disgusted at you.

I knew I was falling for a monster. So why did I stay?

I thought I could be a monster tamer.

I thought I could somehow love you enough to transform your monstrosity.

I loved the idea of a challenge.

I thought I could be Belle in Beauty and the Beast. And while I thanked the girlfriend you were with of five years who softened your heart just a little, I also knew how you wound up treating her with the same triangulation tactic you later implemented on me six years later. But I was a young, dumb, naive, foolish girl who thought I was somehow the exception.

I also had a big ego, with delusions of grandiosity.

I was different. I was special. I can change you. The other girls are stupid, but not me. I am your special girl.

Yes, I wanted to feed your monster. I offered my services, my energy, my time, my body, my labor to feed your narcissist supply, like Renald with Count Dracula, like a true codependent. Little did I know, I was not special. I was convenient. I served my function. I provided you with half the rent, with great sex, with groceries when you were hungry and medicine when you were sick.

When I graduated I moved into a tiny apartment with you and started working as a retail store girl so I could make half your rent while you drove 15 minutes away from your work. It’s always 15 minutes away from your work. No matter where we lived. It did not matter that I had to drive 45 minutes to an hour one way just to get to my work, we lived where it was convenient for you. I wanted to fly off to study abroad in Hong Kong, but you told me when we first met that you would move on with another girl if I left, so I canceled my trip. I aspired to be a journalist and travel the world, but you wanted me to stay home, yet you started traveling, sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks, and I soon found myself exhausted from work, unable to write, and too afraid to stray from you to travel on the summer breaks, winter breaks, and spring breaks I was afforded as a teacher. I stayed home, so I could see you, and we played video games, ate, drank, and lounged about, aimless all day.

I noticed you had no friends when we went to your hometown. It was because you had put up a wall, because you are, like me, a loner and a sociopath, and so it made sense that you are not able to cultivate long lasting friendships, because you lacked character the way I lacked character. You just don’t trust anybody because you grew up as a Jocasta son and did not even realize it. You don’t even recognize that you are a psychopath because you never wanted to face the truth of what you were doing to other people. Selling drugs was just a way to make extra income so you can buy the BMW, wear the golden necklaces, bracelets, and expensive watches, and act like a cool cat while driving your nurse girlfriend around when you were in college and she in high school. You were working a job, going to business school, and selling drugs, and it had to be your mother who kicked you out of the home, disown you, for you to finally stop.

Your mother.

Your mother.

By the way you turned out, I could tell there are some deep dark secrets you’ve hidden from me about your childhood. You would paint idyllic pictures of your childhood. You mother would read to you, teach you how things worked, and dress you up in nice clothes, from what I could see in the family photos, but something was off.

Your father.

Your father was a prominent Army Captain that moved your family from one place to another. He had status, he had skill, and he had a son, you.

On the surface you seemed to have great relationships with both of them, but when you finally took me home to introduce your parents to me, the house was mostly quiet, and the sooner we walked in, the sooner you were antsy to leave and show me around town.

I remember wanting to eat hot wings the entire time we were in your hometown in Bellevue. I was addicted to sex, to spice, and to sleep. I loved cuddling with you every morning and every night. I loved drinking alcohol and eating the spices that different restaurants had offered–spicy ramen, spicy wings, spicy hot cheetos, and spicy Indian. I loved our love making. I knew your body, every dot on your back, every knot on your neck and shoulders. I knew how to touch you and you knew how to touch me, and that was good enough.

Until it wasn’t.

Until it wasn’t.

One day, I don’t remember when it was, but it may have been when I had already convinced my parents to pay for the downpayment of the townhouse you wanted us to buy so we could get a bigger place, it may have already been when we have adopted our three cats and Roxy to compensate for the two children we both forfeited, it may have been looking at myself in the mirror and realizing that I hated my job, I hated myself, and I hated that I was stuck in some cycle that I couldn’t break. I was exhausted. I complained that I hated my job, yet was too afraid to quit, for if I quit, then perhaps I would not fit into this story frame you and I shared, of this power couple, homeowner, providers for one another. I worked two jobs and gave you my paychecks every month. I started giving you my paychecks about two years into the relationship and you took it without hesitating, telling me that you were saving it for some mutual savings account, that I never saw after our breakup. You would buy the expensive TVs and every weekend we would go to Costco, which was the favorite place where you would want to buy the latest electronic device. When I looked at the travel magazines, I yearned to travel and photograph, I yearned to take on the journey of working towards my first career choice. I saw the TV, the video games, the latest gadgets and devices as debt and anchors–seductions to stay home when I wanted to fly.

I used to cry when I sent you off to the airport and I cried because I would miss you but maybe I also cried because I had wished it was me that was traveling and flying as well. Year after year, summer after summer, I would stay home, in our tiny little apartment, and I felt the illusion of safety because you would come home, accept for those nights you did not. Those nights you forgot to answer your phone and I would get worried, only to find out the next day that you were passed out in the car, drinking with this person-san and that executive person-san. It was all hierarchies for you. And I kept to myself, isolated with what few friends I did have, making sure that they were also married couples so that we can have this couple friendship going on, for you were my world.  

Still, one winter break, perhaps it was at the Japanese bookstore in Seattle called Kinokuniya, I had come across a Nat Geo travel magazine and something caught my eye. I believe it was the arctic under the Aurora. Something in that picture called to me. I knew I was not where I want to be. Panic had set in. I knew if I continued on this path with you, I would be completely trapped in the insulation of normalcy and mediocrity. There was nothing I could do. You had average dreams and I had creative, artistic, and traveling ones. We had different goals from the beginning. You wanted to be a business mogul and I wanted to be a writer, a journalist, and a writer, so you thought you could placate me by buying me an expensive DSLR camera. I couldn’t fly because all my money went to you and the house you wanted. I started complaining so you encouraged me to start traveling without you, and when I did do that and discover that I can enjoy life without you, you started feeling distant, perhaps insecure, jealous, but you hid it well. You continued to enable my use of alcohol because you and I were both alcoholics, but the alcohol no longer placated me. I was beginning to wake up. I stopped smoking and encouraged you to stop, but you ignored me. I started to work out, but you continued distancing yourself from me.

You knew I was starting to rebel. You knew I was starting to assert my own independence, and putting together what I wanted to do and then actually doing it. When I drank my wine, I remember telling you I wanted a divorce. I talked about it many times, but this time, I was serious. I knew you were toxic for me by this time. More importantly, I knew I was toxic to you. I felt like a bird trapped in a golden cage that I had helped you construct for me. I was tired of pleasing you, of cutting you paychecks to live the dream you wanted us to have, and most of all, I hated you. I hated you for dismissing my dreams, I hated you for keeping me numb, dumb, and naive so I can be controllable, I hated you for holding my money and my life force hostage. I knew that if we kept going this way, I would be a life prisoner, carrying our children, and later you would use whatever gaslighting, manipulative tactics necessary to leverage the kids against me. I knew this intuitively. I knew you still had the monster to contend with, six years later, I was unable to do anything about it, because the fact of the matter is that I could not do anything about it. In fact, this monster of yours almost suffocated my light. I knew from a young age that I am divinely designed to travel, to explore, like Lara Croft, a world that is unseen and yearns to be explored, named, written about, its story told.

I yearned to be like Angelina Jolie, a woman with a dark past who is able to transcend the toxic feminine through the good works of adoption, advocacy, and storytelling. But I knew being under your wing is a road to spiritual suicide. I would have worked and worked and worked just to prove my love to you that would never be good enough, because there will always be a woman better in some arbitrary aspect. I got tired of playing the wifee facade. It was never me. It all came down to the initial spell you started when you said you could not connect or feel and I had told myself that I would be the one to transform you. I couldn’t transform you. In fact, I was drowning. I saw my life force leaving me. If I did not leave you, I would have drowned with you. It was the alcohol I could not stop drinking, yet the alcohol was everywhere, and whenever I drank, I would feel helpless, useless, and defeated. I started to hurt you, I started to hate you, and I started to push you away. I needed supernatural aid. I asked God to please break down this cycle so I can break out from this trap.

God did give me a release, but not without trials and tests. I started to realize that you were beginning to triangulate, this time with a Japanese woman, an older woman, whom you had illicit sex with, whom you were flying with to the timeshares homes we had invested together, and now, wherever you are, I hope you are happy with her. I hope you recognize your narcissism before you use another woman to triangulate in an attempt to discard her. I hope you resolve your psychopathic behaviors by addressing the root of the cause of your childhood trauma and dissociation, but if you are still drinking, if you are still womanizing, and sucking up her resources, then you will live a life of insanity, something you had projected upon me. Something I had almost believed. Her life energy, the wrinkles on her eyes and her cheeks, and the folds on her neck, may they be redeemed by the Grace of God because I know that if you have not changed, then you would be both the spiritual vampire sucking her dry. For a woman who has compromised her values, who has labored away to please you day in and day out, and can be easily discarded, dismissed, and devalued, is the evil that controls your dissociated mind.

Do you know that I had married a Narcissist and a Sociopath? I don’t mean to place labels on to you because you are much more than that. I’ve seen the truth inner light in you and you are poetic, romantic, and loving when you are in my arms. But there is also the other side of you, the covert abuser, that I could not place a finger on until the last year of our time together when six months prior to our breakup, I found an email of you and her already planning on moving in together, whereas I was none the wiser. You had gaslit me, telling me that this email I had intercepted was referencing her and her boyfriend moving in together. When it was clear to me in my years of experience teaching English, reading, and researching that you were indeed colluding behind my back to move in with someone else.

To This Day

To this day, you never told me at what point you started your adulterous affair. To this day, you never told me what your real issues are though at this point I already know. You are a Jocasta Son because living with you and observing you from the beginning to the end, I recognize the behaviors, the facade, the false charm, and the manipulation. You were a snake in the grass, but you taught me a beautiful lesson on life– that there are snakes in the grass. You can say that by now, nine years later, I am building the anti-venom after the venomous bite you’ve made straight into my heart, when you dismissed me as crazy during the times I suspected you of cheating, colluding with the other woman on starting a new life with her while you were still leading me on, still having conversations with me about starting a new family. The year you were having the extramarital affair, I had given you almost 20k of my hard earned money, and you would just take, take, and take. You were shameless, entitled, and had no empathy.

I now make peace today knowing that the reason all this happened wasn’t because I was intrinsically of no worth, it wasn’t that I did anything wrong, and it wasn’t that I deserved it.

It was simply that you were a psychopath and a narcissist. You told me from the very beginning before the love spell kicked in all those things you did to the other girls. It was I who thought I could cure your dis-ease. It was I who thought, through sheer love and effort, that I would inspire you to change, like Beauty and the Beast. I knew you were a beast from the beginning. A killer. Why did it surprise me when I later found out that I would soon be discarded like the way you discarded your girl of five years? I was seven years with you so I thought I was different.

I hope by now you have discovered this parasite in your mind, and if you have not taken the critical steps in seeking divine help to intervene, then you will live out a tragedy. This is not a curse, but rather a warning, a loving warning that you must turn now before you run into an edge of a steep cliff with no way out. Turn from your ways now to save your marriage, to save another woman from getting her heartbroken, and from hurting your family.

The Goodbye Gift

That is the best I can do, the last Goodbye gift.
I will always love you, but you are a monster, so I can’t save you, nor ever be with you.

I forgive you.

You are who you are and I can’t change that.

I know God can, should you seek His divine help.  

I barely escaped the claws of your attacks with my life intact. Four mental hospitalizations through the callus and curses you’ve planted over time.

The truth is I don’t need your repentance for my redemption. It’s been 9 years since we’ve been together, and I want to thank God for delivering me from the grasp of evil and a life sentence of spiritual stagnation. I had made the mistake of making you my god, when you were just a man, one flawed and broken man, who had covert narcissism that you and I were both unaware of.

The house of cards is falling.

Thank God.

Goodbye, S, Goodbye.

I love you for the real you, but your monster almost killed me.

Still, I forgive you, because God has delivered me and shown me the ways of true love.

Love and Blessings,

Angelie

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