“Sociopath.” It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot. “Psychopath,” or the abbreviated version, “psycho” are used even more. People usually use these words to describe someone who they maybe don’t like, someone who has behaved in a rude or cruel way, someone who has harmed someone else, or sometimes simply someone who is exhibiting signs of an active psychotic disorder.
Most people don’t realize that psychopathy is an actual personality disorder, and not generally one characterized by psychotic symptoms. An actual “psycho” is not someone who is in psychosis-they don’t talk to themselves or fight with hallucinations. The term really refers to someone with antisocial personality disorder, which is marked by an inability to feel empathy for others.
Of course, no mental health professional is going to go around calling people with this disorder a “psycho,” or even a “psychopath” or “sociopath.” Those terms are considered colloquial, but they do in fact describe a real personality disorder that some people have. My ex boyfriend was one of those people.
Forgiveness. That noble condition of the human mind which allows us to reconcile our past pains with our survival instinct. Some believe forgiveness brings us closer to the divine by allowing us the opportunity to rise above those who have hurt us. Others think of it as a way to absolve ourselves from pain and trauma.
Me? I’m a grudge bearer. I’m not exactly proud of this. I believe that forgiveness is an admirable ability. But it’s pointless to try to pretend away a quality of mine which is so very obviously real. Betrayal embitters me. Even small slights, those I can eventually forgive, keep their teeth in me much longer than for most.
When I was in grad school, a roommate, driven by weird jealousy and social isolation, made a false accusation against me. Nothing came of it. It didn’t leave a mark on my record, and nobody believed her; what she did was petty and stupid and everyone knew it, but I was furious. I raged at her. I called her a “cunt” to her face even though I am a feminist. It was vengeance, pure and simple; even if only vengeance enacted as cruel language and glaring. My husband once told me that if I could forgive Betsy, the roommate, I could probably obtain enlightenment.