Thank you for sharing your story with us, Dr. Lawrence. And for having the courage to admit it when you discovered that your assessment of your patient (he WAS your patient, wasn’t he, even though he was a psychopathic personality incarcerated for life (a murderer, I presume) was a bit too optimistic. Psychopaths are quite manipulative — and they live inside a narcissistic bubble where they are the “supreme being”, and everybody else they encounter is “defective”, or “ignorant” or “an easy ‘mark’”. They wind up in prison because they have victimized people and got caught, and they have no remorse for what they have done — because they feel they are miles above the rest of us ordinary humans — superior in every way, and not subject to the petty rules and obligations of the rest of us.
It seems to me that you are fortunate to still be alive, and (I hope) still financially protected — that this man has not victimized you more than he did. I hope you won’t encounter him again in your life, ever! Psychopathic personalities are terrifying to encounter, and to cope with! I think we are encouraged by our social upbringing (those of us who are raised by loving parents who have good social values) to be compassionate, understanding, and forgiving. We give folks a chance to fix their mistakes and to prove they are socially responsible, and capable of having respect and affection for others.
Sociopaths/psychopaths most often don’t come from families where mutual respect, affection, and responsibility are taught to the children. Psychopaths sometimes proceed from parents who were, themselves, disordered mentally, emotionally, and sociologically. As they say, “The Apple doesn’t fall from the Tree.” As such, a professional trained to help these people adjust and learn to live in “polite society” are at a real disadvantage. Psychopaths can be very charming, when they want to be…if they are intelligent (and many of them are), they can learn a great deal about what motivates people, and they can manipulate and control others.
Of course, I’m preaching to the choir here, pardon me…but basically, you knew he was a “snake” before you let him in…as that old song goes. You are fortunate to have survived that encounter and the lesson it taught. May you live long and prosper…and never encounter that man again.