The wheels on the bus go round and round… I can remember singing this song to my children. It made us laugh as we sang together. The lyrics fun and simple, full of hidden meaning, round and round. The wheel of emotional abuse and I was the bus leader teaching the riders to sit nicely, don’t make a fuss, keep singing, don’t look forward, insulate yourself on the bus. It doesn’t matter what the driver when the driver harms you, keep singing, let the sound drown out your pain. After all, you were probably singing too loud or off-key and you were being punished or ignored for your own good. See what a better person you are now, sitting nicely, head held low, singing on key, robotic.
That’s what I taught my children. I taught them to put up with abuse, that it was normal to feel like shit, never good enough, always on edge. Is it your day today or are you on the “good list”? I taught them that phrases like, “you are crazy”, “what’s wrong with you?”, “you are too sensitive, I was only teasing”, and “that never happened” were ok. I taught them to just keep quiet(keep singing) and go in your room. We will talk later. I thought I could spare them the wrath, I would take it. I would be their ally. Wrong. I was the enemy too, teaching them that abuse is ok, tearing down their self-esteem, weakening their voices.
Jumping off the bus made me a temporary hero. There was applause with a few good luck shouts, but quickly I was an outsider, an enemy. I was the one who disrupted the dysfunctional and abusive joy ride. I was the one who destroyed their lives. If it weren’t for me flailing myself off the bus we would still be singing, round and round, wondering if the driver angry, drunk. Sitting outside of the bus, watching the wheels, wondering how does the bus driver keep his passengers in their seats singing. How does he convince them they are the sociopath, they are angry, they are crazy? Quite well I know how they complacently endure abuse and the mental trauma, I taught them too well. Isolation, minimize, deny, blame, pit sibling against sibling, abuse authority, dangle the economic carrot, threats, intimidation and verbal attacks. Round and round.
Now that I unlearning, I don’t know how to unteach the wheel of abuse. It is painful to watch what I(we) lived. Occasionally, one of them stands up in protest and screams, only to be slammed down again, more brutal than before. The attacks are more violent. They run away from the bus fearful and frantic, drastically severing their contact with all who love them, still scared of their shadows, still humming the tune. I taught them that too.
Six Signs of a Sociopath
- Behaves in harsh and/or hurtful ways, and then expects you to have no reaction; to act like it never happened.
- Manipulates others, either from the sidelines or directly.
- Treats you very differently at different times or different days, for no apparent reason.
- Lies easily when needed to get herself off the hook.
- Externalizes blame. The sociopath does not take ownership or blame for his mistakes or misdeeds.
- At times, appears to actually enjoy manipulating and/or hurting others.