The Cost of a Psychopath

I’ve been writing my next book and decided to share a piece of it. Here it is:

All my life, I’ve been surrounded by facts and figures about how many years you lose if you do certain things. Like smoke cigarettes. Or do drugs. Or drink too much alcohol. People like to threaten and motivate each other with scary statistics that encompass not only dangerous behaviors but also self-neglect. Like failing to exercise. Or skipping stress-reduction techniques.

“For every year you smoke, you take a year off your life.”

Something like that.

But I don’t think anyone knows how many years you lose to a psychopath. Not even counting the years you spend going crazy before you finally figure out what you’re dealing with; not counting the years you spend in fear for your life or for your children’s safety or whether you’ll get to see them the next day. Not counting the years you spend together, sharing a home and meals and a bed, snuggled up next to someone who could easily do you in and after a few years doesn’t hesitate to let you know that indeed, you might be done in.

Even if you don’t count all those years lost to the darkness, even if you just count the years spent trying to get away, trying to heal, there’s still got to be an enormous total impact on your body, soul, and psyche—a monumental cost to your essential being that cannot be repaid or restored even though you got out and in some way or other moved on. There’s got to be a wearing down and a wearing out that brings you to a stop years before you otherwise might have been finished with this world.

There’s a toll you have to pay when you link your life to a psychopath’s, and that toll is paid with your life.

But no one can tell you how much.


If you liked this post, you may also want to read The Other Side of Charm.

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