Infiltration by Psychopath
How does a psychopath ingratiate himself into your life? Read on to find out…
It’s been a while since I wrote anything for this blog, so let me fill you in on a couple of things that have happened since my last contribution. Due to my work contract coming to an end, I am now unemployed and economically inactive until I resume my university studies in September. With a much reduced income, I had no choice but to vacate my city centre apartment and find alternative digs.
Perhaps surprisingly for anyone who thinks psychopaths live only for the present and act entirely on impulse (this is not an entirely untrue picture, just an incomplete one), I had been well aware of when I would be jobless and had planned ahead accordingly. You see, I’ve been making friends and sussing out opportunities all year. Failing that, I had the telephone number of the local hippie commune which could have proved a rich hunting ground. But I have academic work to do, I needed somewhere quiet and stable to get on with it.
Elise is a primary school teacher. She works in the CLIS department (CLasse pour l’Inclusion Scolaire) – students with special needs, in effect. And she has a young daughter, Ludivine, whom she loves very much. In other words, she’s a kind-hearted pro-social woman who is used to putting others before herself. She is also lonely; her husband of ten years recently left her and her 4 year-old daughter, and in the past two years she has lost a mother and two grandparents to death’s clammy grip. On top of that she has an interest in languages and other cultures. Can you see where this going?
I now live in Elise’s brand new house in a quiet suburb entirely rent free, in exchange for a couple of hours of childcare a week for her daughter and a willingness to speak English – and otherwise fill a void – around the house.
If it sounds like I’m boasting that’s because I am, a little. But this also gives you an insight of how easy it is to let a stranger – a psychopath no less – into your life, into your home, with access to your child.* I don’t think Elise really stopped to consider the speed at which I became involved with her. If there’s any lesson I am imparting to you is think things through.
Having said that, I have been thus far no trouble at all to Elise. I have cooked meals, helped around the house (admittedly not as much as I promised to but she doesn’t seem to mind), taught Ludivine to count to ten, have English conversations whenever asked to and have kept to the all-important childcare. Being the caring, perceptive, understanding friend that I am, I have learned several of Elise’s secrets, her inner psychological worries and the like, and they are handy for manipulation purposes but if all goes to plan I won’t get around to seriously using them. Remember, this is my quiet place to get on with work – no time for drama. When I’m done, I’ll leave, and the family will be in a better, not worse, situation than when I arrived.
I guess there are two takeaway messages from this. One is what we have already touched on. Think critically. Ask yourself who you are sharing your life with and why. E.g. don’t just assume a charming foreign student is everything he seems to be and give him the keys to your house and a position of responsibility over your child. I’ve always liked the custom associated to the vampire myth that you have to implicitly invite the vampire in before he can access your home, and the same is true of psychopaths. You’re responsible for who you make part of your life.
But on a more positive note, my other message of the day. Just because someone is a psychopath it is not inevitable that death, destruction and heartbreak will follow. The fact is I am temporarily living the perfect suburban life; I have been domesticated. I even let the cat sleep on my bed.
‘Course, if it all goes tits up, there’s always the ultimate fall back…
*I say that like it’s a threat, and with someone else with different intentions it could be, but not me. I am competent and easy-going as a babysitter. I am not a disciplinarian but neither am I a pushover. Example, today Ludivine said “we’re going to stop at the park on the way home” to which I responded “Oh? Was that a question or a demand?” which elicited an apology and an admirably glib reformulation of her sentence into a polite request. I find the child vaguely boring, occasionally I have fun with her, but most of the time I’m stifling a yawn and pretending to be delighted with whatever tedious crap she’s doing.
All names have been changed, because that’s what professional journalists do in articles like this.