untitledhusband’s youngest brother is a sociopath. At least, that’s what we have surmised, based on our random observations over the past 21 or so years. Since we’re the only ones in the family to recognize the signs, it is starting to create some conflict for us. Should we bring this up at the next family gathering? Should we leave a copy of “So Your Son is a Sociopath” in untitledmother-in-law’s mailbox?
Perhaps I need to give you a little background. Break out your mail-order PhD’s and start the clock, people. The session has begun.
When untitledbrother-in-law was four, he started the family home on fire not once, but twice. Don’t even ask how a four-year old got a hold of matches, cause I don’t know. At the age of 12, he damn near beat our cat to death with his bare hands. We came home to find the poor cat panting, and his eyes were dilated – both signs of extreme physical trauma. On another occasion, he was caught beating a tied-up dog with a broom. No injuries there, thank god – just a rightfully pissed-off dog. And at age 16, while caring for the neighbor’s dog, the animal mysteriously died. OK, now if this were your kid, wouldn’t you find it odd that most animals in your child’s presence are either injured or dead? Would you not be sleeping with a crucifix and a tazer gun, you know, just in case?
After achieving his goal of not only maiming, but killing, another living being, he made the jump from animals to humans. At the age of 20, when he was babysitting his one year-old cousin, the walker she was in spontaneously broke into a zillion little pieces. He told everyone that he was playing a game with her, and that the walker bumped into the wall and shattered. The child was not visibly injured. We were like, “OH. MY. GOD.” Everyone else was like, “Oh those cheap walkers. We’ll have to get her a new one.”
This history, coupled with the fact that he has no emotion – no ups, no downs – has led us to our diagnosis. Surprisingly, no one else in the family sees what we see. I once read that one in 10 people is a sociopath.
As for right now, untitledbrother-in-law is a 21-year old college drop-out. The only bloodshed that we are currently aware of results from his habit of routinely bleeding his parents dry. Perhaps if he would’ve stayed in school, he would’ve learned that if you’re going to make a career out of extorting money from people, you should choose those whose household income is more than $45k a year.
From our vantage point, we see him blowing his money on beer and tattoos (one, ironically, is of barbed wire) and titty bars and $5 mochas and then asking his parents for groceries and gas and rent. This cycle of bouncing checks, asking for money and bouncing more checks just goes on and on.
What slays us are the never-ending excuses dished out by untitledmother-in-law. “He was adopted and who knows what he endured as a baby.” “Deep down, he is a GOOD KID.” Good kid? No no no. Good kids are building irrigation systems in Africa and volunteering at nursing homes and selling lemonade for cancer research. This kid – he is not so good.
untitledhusband and I, we try to stay out of it, cause really, it’s none of our business. And even if we wanted to make it our business, what could we do? We could broach the subject with untitled-mother-in-law and untitledstepfather-in-law, but they wouldn’t believe us. They’d end up hating us, and untitledbrother-in-law would become a martyr.
We go back and forth as to whether we are overreacting or not. Do we have a predator in our midst, or is this simply a young man who will spend the rest of his days working at Seven Eleven and kicking puppies? I wonder if this is the inner turmoil that Jeffrey Dahmer’s family felt as they weighed their suspicions against that little voice that kept saying, “Nah, he’s fine. He’s just a little…different. That’s it. DIFFERENT. He’s our son, he’s our brother. He’s FINE.”