Monday, June 24, 2013

Fictional sociopaths: Tom Ripley

A reader sent me a movie clip with this description:

Also, here’s another video that I always resonated with. It’s John Malkovich’s portrayal of Tom Ripley in Ripley’s Game. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen that movie, but it’s nicely done. You could say Ripley’s game boils down to manipulating what had been a relatively innocent man into committing murder. In fact, the scene starts right after they’ve killed several mobsters on a train. They got off the train and are in a station restroom (the relevant part starts at 3:40 and ends at about 5:10). “The one thing I know is we are constantly being born.” Very true indeed, truer than most people realize.


[Ripley has just helped Jonathan kill three mobsters]

Jonathan Trevanny: [crying] I know I should thank you, because I wouldn't be alive now if you hadn't helped me.... but I can't. I can't say thank you. I don't know anything about you. Who are you?

Tom Ripley: I'm a creation. A gifted improviser. I lack your conscience and, when I was young, that troubled me. It no longer does. I don't worry about being caught because I don't think anyone is watching. The world is not a poorer place because those people are dead — it's not. It's one less car on the road, a little less noise and menace. You were brave today. You'll go home and put some money away for your family. That's all.

Jonathan Trevanny: If you "lack my conscience," then why did you help me on the train?

Tom Ripley: [smiles] I don't know, but it doesn't surprise me. If there's one thing I know, it's that we're constantly being born.

Jonathan Trevanny: But why me? Why did you pick me?

Tom Ripley: Partly because you could. Partly because you insulted me. But mostly because that's the game. [checks watch] We need to catch this flight. Shall we?

John Malcovich's are some of the most convincing portrayals of a sociopath I've seen.

81 comments:

  1. The sociopaths in films are always the best characters. I hate the 'morally good' characters succeeding in the end. The best movie that could have a sociopath in it, is one where the sociopath gets what they want at the end. Regardless of whether it is good or bad. If any of you know of a movie like that can you please tell me.

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    1. Do you resonate with characters who have a dark passenger and talk to their dead relatives? Do you wear masks and find that other people are complex aliens that you have to decipher body language from? I think you are just an inept loser who lives his fantasies through make belive movie characters. You dont have actually do anything 'morally bad' if you delude yourself by looking at other relresentations of what you wish you were. You sound like andy who takes great pride in speeding and
      making illusory imaginary friends who he manipilates like a hypnosis master. I don't at all care about the made up 'thriller' movies with oh so cunning sociopaths in them. Id much rather hang out and get laid or something that doesnt involve self delusion.

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    2. I do not indulge in self delusion. I simply enjoy watching movies that have characters who are smart and manipulative. Of course no director could ever capture a true sociopath in a movie. But they have to do something strange or creepy so that the audience can clearly see that they have faults. In real life sociopaths are much different to movie interpretations.

      I am not going to engage in your frankly ridiculous attack on my character. I do not care how you view me. For somebody who does not like to involve self delusion you seem to have a pretty good grasp on how to delude yourself into thinking I pick up masks from fictional film characters. I like clever plots in movies. I just also wish that there were times, like in 'The Usual Suspects', where you see the villain walk free.

      When you mention an inept loser, take a look in the mirror. You speak your mind. You jump to conclusions to quickly and to top it off you are being aggressive towards a simple question. If you cannot simply be polite or answer the question then don't bother wasting my time and everybody else's by coming up with an inaccurate assumption of myself.

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    3. There is a lot of stalemate in childish fantasizes here.

      In one hand they see in a presumed proto-morality of the bonobo a sign to question morality as something humanly valuable due to some impulsive primitiveness, but they don't see the similarity of their own thinking and behaviours with a little kid as as sign of underdevelopment.




      Jessi

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    4. @SociopathicPerspective The Watchmen may fit your criteria, have you seen it? The 'villain' fits the archetype of the sociopath who is capable of doing terrible things in order to stave off even more terrible events.

      He is cunning, charismatic, charming, and manipulative. And he wins.

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    5. I have not seen it, thanks. I will watch it.

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    6. You goona get some mask ideas from it?

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    7. Dont forget the emotionless aesexual part.

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    8. I already have that one down to a tee thanks.

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    9. I saw this film and while I do believe that Malkovich's portrayal of Ripley is brilliant and can be labeled as a sociopath, NO he's not. You should know "M.E.". Ripley helped this man kill people. And in prior scenes, he is violent to a point of sadistic where almost no emotion is expressed in his face. You can almost tell that Ripley is enjoying the viciousness of his attacks. He's a psychopath actually.

      Most sociopaths are not violent and would not kill.

      Delete
  2. As fictional characters they are both attractive and unbelievable, but that’s part of the game in most American movies. There is a human wish for immortality and divinity that it is usually represented in the evil fictional characters that behave as if they would be eternal and have no limitations. Very artistic.

    “The one thing I know is we are constantly being born.” Very true indeed, truer than most people realize.

    No, it is not, there are obvious proves that we are not constantly being born, look at your wrinkles. If you choose to live life like if you would, it’s something else; some people choose to be delusional in other ways.

    That way of living reminds me of animals, they have a very limited memory and awareness and live every day not just as if it was the first, but also as if it would be the last, but for them it is related to a small window of consciousness which also echoes in other aspects of their lives.

    Life is a tiny limited period for all of us, whether we like to see it like that or not. You can choose to live it as a daily beginning, which is like living without memory, but you can not remove the memory in others. People’s memory is the biggest resource towards learning and avoiding people that will hurt them again.


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    1. You didn't seem to catch this, but "The one thing I know is we are constantly being born" is a metaphor. My interpretation is that we are always facing new circumstances, and in facing them we enter a new world every day.

      Animals are capable of learning, especially when the stimuli are rewards and pain. Animals live in the wild, hunting or foraging, searching for mates, bearing and caring for offspring. If their offspring survive to become self-sufficient, then they have lived full lives. The gift of intelligence merely allows people to be alive without living, doing none of the things they were born to do.

      "People’s memory is the biggest resource towards learning and avoiding people that will hurt them again."

      No two people are exactly alike, but we all share common traits. You've learned to identify and avoid the people who have hurt you, and that is good. However, that memory only relates to the specific people who have harmed you. Expanding that experience to cover large groups of mostly unrelated people will lead to racism, scapegoating, and stereotyping. That makes you the aggressor and them your victims, and you'll find that the people you harm will learn to avoid you as well.

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    2. It was a metaphor? Seriously? I imaged someone changing Jamie’s diapers every morning!

      “Animals live in the wild, hunting or foraging, searching for mates, bearing and caring for offspring. If their offspring survive to become self-sufficient, then they have lived full lives.”

      I got a Disney’s image right now. Wonder why.

      “The gift of intelligence merely allows people to be alive without living, doing none of the things they were born to do.”

      OK, are you older than 12?

      “However, that memory only relates to the specific people who have harmed you. Expanding that experience to cover large groups of mostly unrelated people will lead to racism, scapegoating, and stereotyping. That makes you the aggressor and them your victims, and you'll find that the people you harm will learn to avoid you as well.”

      10?

      Children are not my thing, sorry. I am sure you are going to find better people to interact with here than me.

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    3. When faced with your nature, you choose to deny it at every step. Animals have no such luxury, denying their nature means death. Ignorance may not kill you, but to me a mindless existence is a fate worse than death.

      If to you I sound like a child, then let me be a child to my last breath. If being an adult means having a mind like yours, I don't think I ever want to grow up!

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    4. So you are the kind of person who abuses of metaphors in a debate. We are going to get lost if you don't try to get more concise and explicit.

      My nature is a human nature, a rational nature. It is not a luxury or not for an animal to have an inferiour cognitive ability than the one of a human. They live in the only way they possible can considering what they are able to perceive and understand.

      If you are not 12, then please develope the " things they were born to do" of your previous comment. Which are those things? who listed them?




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    5. I will endevour to aid you a bit Jessi if you would like. I am probably a lot closer to their age. No offence.

      Anyway, Anonymous, what you will realise soon is that what makes animals different from humans is the human condition such as, we know that we will die. Animals have no such knowledge of that. But it also opens up the way we can look at it. You can abuse the limited time you have by engaging in short term satisfaction at the expense of others or you can try to have a more, to you, meaningful existence.

      You need to illustrate you point a bit better. We understand some sort of a concept you are trying to give us but it lacks depth. Also remember you are talking to mainly people, such as myself, who will defend our points to the end.

      If you have any questions do not feel that they need to be long winded or complex. I will gladly answer anything you ask within reason. But you need to be concise and clear.

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    6. I do need to more often remember that people cannot read my mind. There are a couple specifics to which I was referring.

      The first is her absolute unwillingness to reproduce, or to really deal with children at all. As you say, we all face the inevitability of death. Why then does Jessi not only reject her innate drive to pass on her genes, but also the chance to share her values and beliefs with the young people who will be the next generation of adults?

      Also, she refuses to accept that morality is merely an emergent property that arises when people live together in groups. Everyone lives in this reality, including sociopaths. She considers people who recognize this as sociopaths, Is that why she believes so strongly in absolutes? Is she afraid that realizing that morality is wholly subjective will make her a sociopath as well? I suppose she'll continue to reject it until a situation arises that forces her to face it. Being born again, seeing the world with new eyes is not a choice, it is inevitability.

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    7. @SociopathicPerspective I was going to say: yes, Mach, I will pass you all the kids that come around.

      @anon, "Why then does Jessi not only reject her innate drive to pass on her genes"

      I don't reject it, I don't have that drive you are talking about. I appreciate people who think by themselves and children are in a too early development stage for that. I therefore leave children in the hands of those who can enjoy each others company.

      "she refuses to accept that morality is merely an emergent property that arises when people live together in groups"

      I was not aware of refusing it. Actually that is my main argumention, that society rules and ethics are merely about fair cohabitation.

      So, back to my question, then please develope the " things they were born to do" of your previous comment. Which are those things? who listed them?



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    8. I know you're not from the U.S., but I'll take you through a brief history of what fair cohabitation entails.

      After the U.S. was settled, fair cohabitation included identifying women as witches and burning them alive. It also included sailing to Africa to kidnap people and take them to the U.S. to be used as work animals. Raping, mailing, and murdering slaves was common practice, though maybe a bit taboo.

      Nowadays, in a post-racism U.S., African Americans only have to deal with poor access to education, hypersexualization, and greatly increased rates of incarceration. Women can vote and hold office, but in nearly every field they are paid less than men with identical jobs. Oh, and don't forget the queers, who are heavily stigmatized, though it's recently become less socially acceptable to murder them or toss them into a mental institution to be cured.

      Not everything that is socially acceptable fits in with your idea that morality is about fair cohabitation. If someone is a minority, or is perceived as weak, it is human nature to villify them, crush their spirits, and subject them to some sweet moral justice. You're actually doing a fine job of showing your human nature by being so strongly against sociopaths. It appears I was mistaken!

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    9. Fair cohabitation is fair cohabitation. The crimes made in the name of "fair cohabitation" or anyother synonym you might want to place, like in God's name etc, are not fair cohabitation.

      From what you say you have to acknowledge that there has been a clear progress in "fair cohabitation" even if it is far from an ideal case.

      "Oh, and don't forget the queers, who are heavily stigmatized, though it's recently become less socially acceptable to murder them"

      I guess I missed the American gay genocide...

      "Not everything that is socially acceptable fits in with your idea that morality is about fair cohabitation."

      Ethics is about fair cohabitation. Morality, its poor sister, has been corrupted with particular interests so the opposite to fair cohabitation, but to claim something is done with good faith, is not a synonym of good faith.

      I am strongly against people that use and abuse others, independently of their label. Since sociopaths actually do that, I critize that behaviour.










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    10. So, you are in fact aware that what is socially acceptable is not always just.

      I understand that you were betrayed by a sociopath. What if you didn't have a word for what he was? Can you not simply judge people based on the actions you have observed? There may be sociopaths who want nothing more from you than conversation. Will you lash out against them not in retaliation, but as a first strike?

      You have realized that no society is ideal, and everyone uses and abuses each other if it is socially acceptable. These people, though, have not earned your scorn. What makes sociopaths a special case? There is not a person living who has not hurt another.

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    11. Oops.

      *braces for more personal attacks*

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    12. @Andy, "So, you are in fact aware that what is socially acceptable is not always just"

      Of course, and the goal should be to make what is socially acceptable more just. But there is a real social evolution if you look at History. Slavery was socially acceptable in the past, for example.

      "What if you didn't have a word for what he was? Can you not simply judge people based on the actions you have observed? "

      I would have called him evil, I can be more precise to describe him now.

      "There may be sociopaths who want nothing more from you than conversation. Will you lash out against them not in retaliation, but as a first strike?"

      Maybe they want nothing more than a conversation but maybe they want more than a conversation, for me it doesn't worth the risk. But it's a preference. I don't like agresssive people neither and I also lash them out at first strike. Still, I can choose the people I prefer to relate to, no? On the virtual life it is different, since I can make sure it is just a conversation.

      "You have realized that no society is ideal, and everyone uses and abuses each other if it is socially acceptable."

      As I said, society has evolved, there is less acceptable abuse, and hopefully it will be less and less in the future. The fact that an abuse can be at some point in history "socially acceptable" doesn't make it just. "Social acceptance" is not a measure of fairness at it should reach fairness, by being more fair with time.

      "These people, though, have not earned your scorn. What makes sociopaths a special case?

      A manipulator who uses and abuses people is someone I scorn, independently if he feels empathy or not.

      "There is not a person living who has not hurt another."

      Maybe everybody has hurt someone sometimes, maybe accidentally, maybe punctually consciously because that person did something hurtful to them or they thought they did, ... but we are talking about systematically using and abusing people as a way of living. It is a whole different concept.









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    13. Imagine for a moment that there are people who are charming, manipulative, selfish liars who do not exhibit antisocial behaviors. Emmie recently referenced an article demonstrating that the two aspects of sociopathy were separable. How would you judge them?

      For what it's worth, I agree that people who run around ruining people's lives should suffer consequences for their actions. You mentioned that your sociopath's world is crumbling around him. Did you have a hand in that, or is he as self-destructive as Emmie claims to be?

      Someone who always uses others to get ahead may find himself alone when everyone is behind him and out of reach. Loneliness affects us all.

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    14. "Imagine for a moment that there are people who are charming, manipulative, selfish liars who do not exhibit antisocial behaviors"

      This reminds me the "I didn't manipulate anyone. Making friends, or at least building an illusion of friendship", to deceive is antisocial, it's fraud.

      Which article are you refering to? But I don't see the issue. If someone is a good athlete but a murderer you judge him independently for both, for the first you give him maybe a medal and for the second you place him in prison.

      Did you have a hand in that, or is he as self-destructive as Emmie claims to be?

      It was him. Maybe he got tired of his life. I keep a card to have a hand in the future.

      "Someone who always uses others to get ahead may find himself alone when everyone is behind him and out of reach. Loneliness affects us all."

      You want me to feel pity for someone who uses people? If loneliness would have been important for that person he would not have used others to get ahead.

      It is very hard to relate with a liar because you never know when he is telling you the truth, so you stop doing it. If a liar wants to keep someone, he should be honest with one person. I don't think anyone can avoid loneliness without being honest at least with one person.





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    15. Do you want to judge me, Jessi? I'll give you my Facebook page and you can decide for yourself.

      Delete
    16. "Don't judge a book by its cover."

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    17. Suit yourself. I don't really hide anything, though. I've always said that being honest is easier than lying, and for me that's true. I'm not going to force my identity on you if you don't want it.

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    18. I don't think you are going to place it here. (This reminds me of the beginnings...)

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    19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    20. Lol, I'm not criticizing anon 2:26, but being an anon saying don't hide anything has a certain irony to it

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    21. You see, you read diagonally, and then you get to wrong conclusions, Khan. Like Andy not being contradictory.

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    22. nah, I just only comment on the bits that interest me, giving me that appearance. I do read everything, there just isn't much I care about.

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  3. The best depiction of a sociopath in a movie is Denzel Washingtion in
    "Training Day." Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.
    One of the best sociopathic movies that rarely recieves mention is
    "Damage" by Louis Malle. When the son arrives at his' secret love nest
    and discovers his father in bed with his girlfriend and walks backwards
    out of the room and falls down a flight of stairs to his death that was
    one of the best scenes in all moviedom.
    Also,I was wrong about the title of a movie I reccomended a few days ago.
    The proper title is: "All Fall Down" (1962) It's about a "good" brother's
    relationship to his sociopathic brother.

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  4. I watched all of Malcovich's films and felt he was an excellent actor. He has to be a sociopath or was the victim of one for a long period to portray this exact personality.

    Recently he saved a man's life with no regard for his own. So, he has mastered his sociopathy or has empathy..

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  5. I never saw an ounce of Malchovich's behavior in M.E.'s interviews.............

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  6. The coolest part of this clip is the use of the bathroom mirror. Malkovich's eyes suggest that there is no other than himself in an experience, even as he is ostensibly providing reassurance.

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  7. I think these movies are made by closeted nutcases who want to be a mass villain to take out their pent up narcissistic frustration on everyone and get people to believe that they are something special

    Honestly I think Jessi is the only real sane one here, despite me thinking otherwise before. She doesn't pretend to be a high-functioning druid.

    I like calling out the wannabes and posers, it's a job I do for free.

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  8. Misanthrope,
    I look forward to being called out by your great wisdom. Today, you've helped me understand that I am a druid. I can't wait to see what other special gifts you will help me discover in the days to come. It might help my self esteem to the point I question my status as a loser.
    Thank you for your insight and in helping me to find my life's direction.
    Please don't leave SW to go make babies with Jessi. First of all, she'd have to pay for an abortion herself and that will cut into her ability to explain how the world SHOULD be. But more importantly, if you and Jessi left there would be no one important to pose for, and we would have to go back to playing with fire. It could end poorly.
    -xoxox

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    1. "I look forward to being called out by your great wisdom"

      I never claimed to be or implied being wise, but your reaction is telling.

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    2. Is Monica - Misanthrope?

      Delete
    3. If Misanthrope is anyone, it's Birdick trying to prove a point to Jessi. All you have to do is take her side, agree with her, and she melts like butter in your hands. Even if he's not Birdick, he still is proving Birdick's point. And with a name like Misanthrope no less!

      Delete
    4. Error in 12:41 PM
      Meant to ask "Is Monica - Mach?"

      Delete
    5. Mach is more articulated.

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    6. Articulated LOL

      Delete
  9. well, only someone of great cognitive capability could have so quickly surmised that everyone on SW but Jessi was a wannabe or a poser. Teach me, sensei.

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    1. just shut up mach.

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    2. Absolutely. It's time for me to listen and learn. But one question- if I may-


      @ Misanthrope: Was it genetics that gave you these superhuman smarts? Environment? Or simply your formidable free will combined with a love of learning?

      (Anyone who has the mental powers to read thousands of posts and almost a hundred thousand comments *AND* provide a comprehensive diagnosis for all commenters (loser and wannabe) shows the sort of confidence only merited by one who has achieved enlightenment...)

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    3. If I didn't know any better I'd say you are jealous of me :)! You are so cute, can I pinch your cheeks!?

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    4. mach calm down.....

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    5. Oh, the impersonators are back. This is getting complex for others. Hello Jessi 1:31, how are you doing? (rethorical)

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    6. Must be mach. She seems intent on lashing out. Machiavellian people are usually narcissistic.

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    7. I usally think about Monica for this type of things...

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    8. mach go away....

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    9. hey mach if it makes you feel any better i think you would have been funnier than M.E. on Dr.Phil. Maybe you should write a book called the confessions of a whiny insecure narcissist.

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    10. Machs book publishaJune 24, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      confessions of a whiny insecure cunt

      Delete
    11. Mach, I am finding you simply droll right now. And I never get to use that word enough. You should go on the attack more often.

      Delete
  10. Not to be Outdone--The Theme for the man who combines sexy and cerebral in one outstanding package--Daniel Birdick

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  11. I see the butthole patrol is still writing on this blog, pretending to be sociopaths like m.e. I mean seriously did none of you see her on Dr. Phil? Haha if she's got ASPD, I don't think the world has anything to worry about. Phildo knocked her out from the get.

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    1. Actually she did that on purpose pique more interest in her book. You don't really think she thought the hallmark of a sociopath was cutting themselves right?

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    2. I wish the socio I dated was fictional, i wouldn't be hurting as much if it was all fake. i sometimes think it would be better if i were dead

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    3. That is fake Monica. I lost my account because Google was spying on me, so if a funky Monica shows up it id not me.

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    4. NOW, the 1:36 PM sounds like the REAL UKAN. The others are all fake !!!!!

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    5. real Monica- hopefully that was not a veiled suicidal ideation post. If the real you does feel that way, please just try to make it through tonight. No need to think beyond tonight. If you allow the ones that hurt you to have the power by letting them tell you what your life is worth, then you are making a mistake.
      I don't know you in the real world but I know this. You had a rough break when you were born to a bad mother. You are trying to make sense of what happened to you. Sometimes you are mad and sometimes you are sad. The energy it takes to have all the emotions you have (not because you are defective or weak, but simply because you drew the short straw when it came to your first attachment figure) seems like more than you can bear right now. That's why you just need to rest and let the wave of the worst of the pain crest- it will recede- it always does.
      Remember this- you have experienced losses that most of SW can not comprehend on a empathic level. But just because this forum doesn't validate them doesn't mean that they are not real. Your pain is very real, and I am shooting straight when I tell you I am very sorry that you went through losses that were caused by individuals who should've loved you, not crushed you. It was not your fault.
      For too long your protests against injustice were dismissed and you were silenced. Individuals on this forum have said some incredibly shitty things to you. I don't know about what happened with your child, but I do know there is pain there. and that it can't be properly summed up by some glib commenter who has no fucking clue what it is to walk in your shoes.
      I am in no position to judge you, but my hunch about you Monica is that you are fighting your demons by seeking to know them. That's ballsy and is something I respect.
      Please- do not let some asshole who was careless with your heart have the deciding vote on what your life means, and whether it should continue.
      The fact of the matter is- you are still here. It has taken extraordinary courage and resilience to make it this far. Don't try to answer big life or death questions until you've had a good sleep and can get back on top of your emotions. Make it through the night, and if you want my info so you can message a sympathetic soul, contact me via tomorrow's post. In the meantime, you are in my thoughts, and I am wishing you courage and peace as you ride this wave.
      You have survived so much. You can certainly survive tonight. Chin up, sister.

      Delete
    6. @ Monica- ps: ME has my email address, and I will message her to let her know that I am comfortable with her passing it along to you.

      Delete
    7. Sure, you can write me, Mach. I let my Google account go. On SW, that is tantamount to people acting as if they are you in all sorts of outrageous ways. Just don't make me a ho, Folks. That will make them do it, but that is SW.

      Delete
    8. I'm sorry but I don't see a post from UKan at 1:36.

      Delete
  12. Monica- ball in your court- I sent ME an email saying it was ok to give you my address- I prefer to avoid impersonators...

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    1. Honestly, Mach. I am not interested in a relationship with you. I find you very haughty. The people I choose to get close to have to be people that I like and I don't feel that for you.
      Sorry, if this sounds cold but I try to be very honest on here or why bother coming on.

      Delete
    2. That is me. I need to get a new account. Grrrrr

      Delete
    3. honesty is the best policy, Jessi.

      but nice try.

      Delete
  13. I see what you did there UKan. Unfortunately Its too late to do much collateral as nobody cares about you. Your name is up for takes, so go back to badgering your borderline bisexual cheating wife.

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  14. borderline bisexual cheating wife.

    really?

    ReplyDelete

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