Anyone who has ever been involved with a narcissist or psychopath needs to see the true crime docuseries “Evil Lives Here“. Each episode presents a poignant account of a violent criminal through interwoven interview segments with someone who knew the perpetrator very well (typically a relative or ex-partner) and staged reenactments that visually demonstrate what the interviewee described.
True crime does fascinate me, maybe morbidly so, and this particular show had always been a favorite of mine. I’d begun watching it sometime in 2017, long before anything about my soon-to-be-ex came to light, and long before I knew much about how psychopathy and narcissism could ever look like in everyday life.
The interview reveals the entire story, beginning at its original roots, focusing on the good times and the early signs. Then it takes viewers through the entire story (up to and perhaps past the conviction and sentencing) as it unfolds and intensifies.
Certain elements of the show are formulaic and predictable. The interviewee is always someone who’d been close to the perpetrator, such as a parent, sibling, adult child, cousin, or ex-partner. Sometimes the beginning is rocky already, such as in the case of someone speaking about their older sibling, while other times, there were the “good times”, typically seen in cases where there the interviewee was a romantic partner.
The show begins by asking the rhetorical question, to paraphrase: “if a future violent criminal was living right next to you, would you be able to recognize the signs?” And then it goes on to illustrate the story, being sure to highlight the “red flags”, early clues, and “something’s odd”s that invariably crop up.
Having watched a smorgasbord of YouTube videos by Dr Ramani on narcissism and psychopathy videos by Dr Todd Grande, I can now pinpoint which category these violent criminals fall into. And without fail, they do fall into one of 3-4 categories, ranked by most to least common (as seen on the show):
- Factor 1 psychopathy
- Factor 2 psychopathy (aka sociopathy or Antisocial Personality Disorder)
- Malignant narcissism (a small minority)
- (Severe) Covert narcissism (I’ve seen only 1-2 so far)
There may be elements of psychosis and whatnot in some cases, but that’s actually less common than I would’ve thought. Psychotic elements are more of a condiment, if anything, than a fundamental ingredient.
Now, couple the above ranking with the fact that one thing is glaringly certain to me: my soon-to-be-ex fits the pattern of Factor 1 psychopath (on which I’ll write a future post), so strongly that it’s almost a textbook pattern.
This isn’t looking promising, dear ones.
It’s well worth mentioning that not all Factor 1 psychopaths are criminals, nor are they even violent. Many–if not most–lead normal lives among the general population, posing little if any threat at all. However, of the violent criminals profiled on the “Evil Lives Here” show, roughly half fit this personality type.
Upon watching each episode, one can see that the perpetrators don’t just commit violent acts out of the blue one day; there’s a build-up. Typically the timeline begins years before, with little signs that signal something amiss or otherwise “not right”. Maybe it’s a (lack of) emotional reaction to a tragedy, or inflicting distress on a younger sibling or a thirst for power/control at a young age, or an intense interest in something morbid or inappropriate.
The (typically psychopathic) future perp begins to get their jollies from dark acts that seem innocently odd at first, but then escalate. Escalation is a constant with these types of people. Satisfying the urge for a thrill or pleasure is like an addiction in that it requires more and more, something stronger and stronger. They are no longer satisfied with just Activity X, they must now engage in Activity Y, which goes a step further, and then eventually Activity Z, which is even more intense and taboo than the previous, until finally they’ve entered criminal territory.
For example, maybe they had fantasies before, but in order to achieve that same level of satisfaction, they might watch videos for a while. When the satisfaction of the videos wears off, they might interact online with a real person, and when that doesn’t work anymore, they might attempt to seek out a person in real life. And that’s when most of the crimes occur.
I consider my own story thus far, which is nearly identical to the kinds of stories “Evil Lives Here” depicts. It begins with my discovering my soon-to-be-ex’s p0rn material when we first moved in together years ago. He’d gotten rid of it then, but who knows what transpired after that; maybe he really didn’t consume it for a while, or maybe he did in secret throughout the entire time.
Now enter the concept of escalation; I discovered that he’d been interacting online with young girls (not illegal, but creepy nonetheless) for the past few years (at least). Also, he’d been watching explicit videos that were much more extreme than the previous material had ever been. Consenting adult material no longer did it for him.
And now, this explicit material may very well (but I can’t be 100% certain) border on the illicit. While I’m not sure if he’s actually guilty of anything criminal yet, the desire is there–that’s what I do know. What I don’t know is how long it might take before the next escalation takes place and what form it will take.
I literally feel like my life almost feels like its own “Evil Lives Here” episode, except that it’s not finished yet. I wish I were exaggerating–really. But I’m seeing all the dark signs, the red flags, the secrecy, the dishonesty, the paranoia, the hidden accounts, the unexplained absences (or at least, not keeping me updated like a normal person would, even a normal person going through a divorce), noncommunication, lack of empathy, complete stoicism, underlying rage, the oddities and abnormalities, and so on.
It’s not like I’m not seeing it. It’s not like I’m ignoring it, turning a blind eye, shoving it under the rug, or sticking my head in the sand. I’m also not explaining it away, making excuses or justifications.
Behavior is behavior; there are no excuses.
I see the tip of the iceberg very clearly, gleaming in the arctic sun. It’s clearly defined and very obviously there. It’s just that I don’t know how deep, wide, or jagged the iceberg underneath may be. I don’t know its boundaries or contours or dimensions. I don’t know its density or risk.
It’s almost as if you watched an “Evil Lives Here” episode and simply hit the pause or stop button with about 10-15 minutes left to go.
And that, dear ones, is what has me the most concerned. The fact that every line those (usually female) ex-spouses say about how they’ve felt or what they’ve said to themselves about their spouses, their relationship, or their situation, I’ve said too. Everything their now-ex-husbands have done, to them and/or others, mine has exhibited similar behaviors. The innocent spouses, too, were kept in the dark, completely unaware of the depth and magnitude of their ex’s secret/double life.
Until it was too late. Since the show’s producers can only interview those who lived to tell the tale, they all survived. Some discuss how it was revealed to them later that they’d gotten out just in time; that they were very likely their ex’s next target.
In my situation, it feels like a show-taping-in-progress. The dice are being shaken. They’re probably about to roll. I’m just not sure how they’re going to land.
I’m not sure I want to know those last 10-15 minutes. I have the feeling that I’ll be one of those who gets out just in time, too. ❤