Thursday 4th January 2007
Off we went on our New Year’s Eve then, me Sue and Heather. We went into a posh bar first, but it was full of people we didn’t know, so we went to a local pub that had a band on, then they were having a disco. It was brilliant, all our friends were there. Then I saw Steve walk in. With two girls. I grabbed Sue and showed her, because one of them must be her, the girlfriend.
I ran off into the toilets and texted him I was in the same pub. When I went out he was gone: oh well, that’s made his feelings clear then!
But then suddenly there he was, in front of me. He’d gone to look for me. We went out into the corridor and he said neither girl was his girlfriend, he’d just popped out to get some beer and was going back to his girlfriend, should have gone ages ago. He still stayed for another hour. I don’t really believe half the things he says, and if they are true, I told Sue I think it is part of his addictive personality: I’m the latest addiction. And then there’s that thing about how needy people can spot a rescuer a mile off: I know because I am that rescuer.
But none of this stops me from missing him when he has to go back to his girlfriend.
Still, it is a fab night, and we’re having a real laugh with people we know, a really big group. Then I look up and there’s Steve, and I can’t believe he’s really there. He decided to come back.
He makes me feel like I am about 21 again. The disco is dead cheesy, and they play King, ‘Love and Pride’. I tell Steve, ‘my god, it really is 1985 again’. Then I realise that would mean he’d be 6.
Keith texts and asks where I am and what I’m doing. Steve says to ignore him, but I text him back. I ignore his second text though. Too busy snogging. It’s New Years Eve, and normally I hate it because I have to kiss people I don’t know. But this midnight is a fairytale ending, because I’m kissing someone I want to kiss, someone I thought I wouldn’t be kissing. Someone so many other women want to kiss, but can’t because he’s been fobbing them off all night.
When the pub finally kicks out we all go back to Sue’s. She’s lost her phone and Heather has left her bag in the pub. But they are both saying how cute Steve is, how good we look together (I remind Heather she said the same about me and Keith). I see on my phone that Keith has texted me 7 times since 11.58. Sue and Heather yell as one, ‘forget Keith!’
They go off to find their losses, and me and Steve snog on Sue’s sofa. When they get back, we say bye to them, then spend the rest of the evening/morning talking and kissing at the corner of my road in the freezing cold. The birds are singing when we part.
This is totally crazy, but feels like another miracle.
Thursday 5th January 2017
All across the internet – in blogs, on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, you name it – are lists of ‘red flags’ – things to look out for that are indicators of toxic people and that should end any budding relationship. Here’s one I really like from Psychopaths and Love, one of my favourite blogs. And here’s another one, from PsychopathFree, that is of the more usual ’30 things to look out for’type. The constant refrain is, ‘get this information out there so people can know what to avoid, so they won’t fall for it like we did.’
The reason this approach fails so miserably, the reason even people who have already had one abusive relationship so often go on to have another one, is perfectly illustrated by what I wrote above:
I don’t really believe half the things he says, and if they are true, I told Sue I think it is part of his addictive personality: I’m the latest addiction. And then there’s that thing about how needy people can spot a rescuer a mile off: I know because I am that rescuer.
When I first met Steve, I knew nothing about sociopathy. I knew nothing about abusive relationships. But I knew what was going on. I knew the picture he was painting wasn’t representative of the truth. But I ignored that.
I was actually shocked when I read this blog. I really fell for the story I told myself, that I hadn’t realised at the time, that I’d had no misgivings. I knew he hadn’t really been someone I’d seen a future with, but I didn’t know I’d had such insight into things so early on.
A list of red flags wouldn’t have saved me, because I’d already spotted at least one. When you want something, you will disregard any number of red flags to get it. I wanted fun, I wanted romance, and I wanted to feel understood. So I chose to disregard huge warning signs.
Forget about learning the red flags. The one thing I would say that is crucial to never falling ending up with a sociopath again is to look at yourself. Look at how you got there. Look at why you didn’t leave.
To go back to an analogy I often use: it’s as though he were a burglar, I saw him scouting around outside my house, and I still decided it would be fine to leave the windows open.
And I never did find out who those other girls were…….