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I have always believed the boy (the sociopath in my book) coveted something I had that he could NEVER have. At the time, I didn’t realize that it was my conscience he was after.

The boy would speak of his exes and of me and explain that he was attracted to all of us because we seemed to have good values. He claimed he was never in love with any of his exes but mentioned what good and loving people they were. This statement always confused me. If they were so lovable as he noted, why then couldn’t the boy love them?

But whenever I threatened to leave him or simply had disagreed with something he said (always petty stuff), the boy would claim I didn’t love him the way he NEEDED me to love him (basically meant full agreement with everything that spewed from his mouth), but that all he did was love me so much. By the end of our relationship, I would respond to his dying devotions of love to me with,”You don’t love me. You love the idea of me and what I can do for you.” He never understood what I meant, and it’s taken me nearly 18 months to fully understand my own observation.

I believe the boy and other emotional and psychological controllers and manipulators (i.e., narcissists, borderlines, sociopaths) wish to steal our goodness right out from under us. I believe they recognize they lack something genuine and good (a conscience) and somehow believe that being in close proximity to our genuine goodness (our consciences) it will somehow rub off on them.

But they will NEVER succeed. EVER. The only thing the boy succeeded in doing was to render me numb and robotic. I lost my capacity to show love and care (for him at least). I absolutely hated and was disgusted by the sight of him. Thankfully, I escaped before he realized this and discarded me as he had so many before me.

Unless the boy can look within and recognize his own ugliness, he will NEVER be good. He is a thief. He is a serial killer of innocent spirits. He’s a sociopath to the core.

“The Wise Woman’s Stone”

“A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.”

“The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.”

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

~ancient Indian parable

Category:
abuse, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Lessons, Narcissist, Peace, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Relationships, Sociopaths, Spirituality, Writing

Join the conversation! 73 Comments

  1. Heavens, this is the BEST post that I have seen about sociopaths.

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  2. Love the insight and encouragement you have put down here; it gives those of us trying to move on after narc abuse. As I commented before though, I respectfully disagree with putting “borderlines” in that box (more like trash can). BPD is not an interpersonally exploitative group. After my narc/sociopath forever guilted, gaslighted and twisted me round the bend calling me a borderline and a “suicidal bitch”, it’s hurtful and triggering to find it here. Please look into Marsha Linehan’s work and research. BPD is a legitimate illness that can be treated.

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    • *hope. It gives us hope. lol

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    • Cassie, I agree with you on the borderline issue. I have a very good friend who is borderline and she is almost the exact opposite of a narcissist/sociopath/psychopath.

      The main difference is ; she knows she has a problem and is getting on going help. Meds and counselling does help her and the most important thing is , she is always trying to improve herself and is a very honest caring person.

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    • I have read her work. She is in fact a BPD herself. Although I agree it is a disorder that can be corrected, it’s like everything else- only if the sufferer wants to get better. There are many who claim they want to improve but don’t do the work to get there. I’m not writing to support BPDs. I’m writing to help people recognize relational harm caused by sociopaths and other Cluster Bs.

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  3. […] it doesn’t matter what the topic, you will always be wrong. (Unless it’s knowledge or experience you have that he wants to suck from you. Just don’t ever expect a “Thank you” for your free lessons. Sociopaths take with […]

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  4. will i ever stop thinkinf of him? i think I still care about him. I know he will oly hate me and wish the most disturbing things for me in my life. why did i have to have the misfortune to meet him. i feel like i know evil now. i can’t un-know it

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    • No. We can’t undo our encounter with evil. However, I look at it in a positive way: we now have the superpower to recognize evil before it can consume us or steal anything from us again. You will stop thinking about him but you will never forget how he made you feel. Which is a good thing. It’s our mind’s defense mechanism, not forgetting. My anger has dissipated. Any energy I use thinking about my experience is spent writing it down and sharing with others like you to understand that none of their shittiness was our fault. He and others like him hate themselves and project that hate onto EVERYONE. All we can do now is live happier knowing we are free and we survived!! 🙂

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  5. this is really lovely to see. i knew for so long that something was amiss with this individual.

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  6. He will search all of his miserable life for something he cannot have and yet never have the courage to look within for what he is after…

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  7. I used to tell my ex that it seemed he liked the idea of a wife, but didn’t really seem to like (or even know) me. He didnt understand what I meant either…just kept telling me I was wrong, he loved me, as evidenced by the fact he says he told his coworkers.

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    • Hahaha! They are all so alike that it’s frightening! He’d just cock his head to the side, as if looking at me sideways would some how change MY perspective. Made me dizzy is about all it did. 🙂

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  8. I’m having trouble knowing where on this page to post as there are oddly place “reply” links, but in any event, while I appreciate Valerian’s comments, they don’t seem to come from someone with the same disorder as what I’ve experienced. The man I know had no “good friends” because no one knew “him”. He surrounds himself with people who don’t threaten his need for attention; he lives with a constant need for affirmation; he is the god-fearing father on Wednesday and sex-addicted single guy in the bar on Thursday. I could go on and on… Valerian claims to have some form of authentic relationships that I just don’t recognize as typical, or even POSSIBLE, with the man I know.

    And thanks, Paula, for your concern about us in recovery. I’m not sure Valerian has the same disorder, despite differences in scale. I’ve never known a sociopath to have the capacity to endure the confines of a long term honest relationship.

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    • Laura, I think what Valerian Tales is would be considered an disempathic Sociopath. They have the ability to have feelings for a closed group of people. Usually “close” family members and a partner in complete compliance. She’s not like My X (the boy) in many ways, either. But she does lack the empathy and conscience that makes her sociopathic, just like the boy. Your X seems more of the typical type of sociopath. Haha! Like that’s any better. 🙂

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    • What I am is a sociopath – there’s no such thing as an empathic sociopath, any more than there’s such a creature as a vegetarian lion. The man you describe is a textbook malignant narcissist. A sociopath can have narcissistic traits and behaviour can be similar, but they are not the same thing.

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    • Valerian, you need to do your research. All sociopaths are narcissists. And there are categories of sociopaths. You are definitely NOT a model of all sociopaths. You are a
      disempath. Would you like me to introduce you to another self-proclaimed disempath?

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    • I have researched, but there are a lot of contradictory sources and a lot of opinion unsupported by science. I agree that there are ‘types’, but this is the first I’d heard of the empathic sociopath. Happy to talk to someone else who fits the description. Can you point me to your source for the categories?
      Narcissists and sociopaths are different things because they are made in different ways and have divergent capabilities. The new DSM doesn’t even include narcissism as a disorder, I hear.

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    • You definitely need to re-educate yourself. You should start where I started: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

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    • And it’s “disempath.” I see my phone removed the dis-. Maybe that helps you.

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    • Thanks, found it now. It’s from David Lykken’s taxonomy, as I recall – I have read the book but a while ago. You’re right, it seems to fit.

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  9. I don’t know if VT is talking to me and my comment or to Paula…
    #one….this is not my blog so I can not answer the question about another’s input
    #two…I have one socio-path, in my family and her henchman and I certainly don’t need another dynamic duo.

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    • It was addressed to both of you, really.
      Dynamic duo – he’ll like that. He quite likes the Robin costume. But he’s not disordered, so could provide another perspective again if needed. Just a thought.

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    • I prefer NOT to have him chime in. For obvious reasons. He’s a victim and doesn’t know it. He’d simply provide validation for your actions and treatment. That’s not what this page is about. It does nothing to help with healing. It only confuses.

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    • That’s quite a hefty value judgement there. Can you describe in what way he’s being victimised?

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    • No. I can’t. But I can imagine. The specifics aren’t important.

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    • OK, so he’s a victim because you think he must be? The specifics ARE important. I do not emotionally, physically or verbally abuse him. I respect his feelings and his wishes. I appreciate him and acknowledge everything he does for me. Whatever you’re picturing, I guarantee it’s not accurate.

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    • The specifics are not important for this blog. Each victim/survivor of a sociopath and cluster B personality disorders know how people are victimized by sociopaths. Because you are a sociopath and lack empathy, you can’t even begin to explain the “How” of being a victim. Your nature makes you unable to have a thoughtful and honest discussion about it with non-sociopaths. We don’t need you to explain what we feel and what abuse feels like. We know. The specifics coming from you or your compliant mate serve no one seeking understanding on this page. All that does is incite triggers and anger. I don’t want that inflicted on anyone carelessly by you or him.

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    • We’ll agree to disagree again, then. I’m not trying to explain your feelings to you, but it would help me to have clarification so I can check with him whether he recognises what you’re describing.

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    • I’m not here to help you or to find agreement between us. That’s something I conceded to a long time ago, there can never be agreement between me and a sociopath. And if that seems unsympathetic to you or unempathetic, I agree.

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    • Not unsympathetic; hostile, maybe. If you can’t clarify, as I suspect, that’s fine. I’m not responsible for your fear or your anger, I am not your abuser. I possibly share his condition but I don’t share the behaviour.
      I’m still here to be helpful if I can. What shall we talk about next?

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    • Haha! You don’t get it. I refuse to allow a sociopath to anger me or tell me how I’m feeling or how I should be feeling. The hostility you perceive is called you not liking what you’re getting from me. I’m cool as a cucumber. You are helping my readers more than you know just by the way you respond to my comments. Keep being you and demonstrating all we read about sociopaths. This isn’t a game of question and answer. I’m confused by your question of what do we talk about next. Dialogue isn’t forced or scripted. Just like life. Things come up. Posts get written and people are either moved or not moved to provide their POVs, insights, and counters. I’m bored with this. I’m learning nothing new. Time to move on.

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    • Do you need attention?

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    • I’m assuming that one’s for me … I don’t know about ‘need’. I’m comfortable by myself, I’m comfortable around others. Sometimes I like to be acknowledged for what I’ve achieved or validated for who I am. It varies according to mood. I don’t like being ignored or disrespected, but I think that’s normal?

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  10. While this latest discussion has many valid points to it and for sure we all can learn from it, I’m reminded of a saying…

    just as you can not have a positive, meaningful, progressive (add your own adjectives) with a drunk…the same can be true of certain personality types and those with mental health issues.

    just my two-cents worth…

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    • Absolutely, Gert. A person with a conscience can never reach their full potential or have an inkling of true happiness while in a relationship with a controlling sociopath. VT’s own admissions make that perfectly clear, I think. 🙂

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    • seems that way to me too, thanks Paula for engaging in this, it was not an easy task, I’m sure, and it provides more understanding. You have more patience than I.

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    • I’m running the various comments past my partner, the ones that relate to him … would you like his input? I expect he’ll contribute if asked.

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  11. I would love to get Valerian’s response to a question about honesty and its relevance in her life. Does she make an effort to remain honest with her spouse/partner? Her circle of friends? Strangers? Because they continuously search for new sources of excitement, is she ever honest with her potential partners? Does she claim to be available when meeting a prospective sex partner? Does she volunteer the information regarding her extramarital relations to her spouse/partner? And, COULD she live honestly? Or would the desire to “mask” her disorder overtake an attempt to live honestly?

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    • I think she’d say the contract to allow her to cheat is her form of honesty, her mask. However, we know it only provides her with more shatter-proof mask that is difficult for outsiders to detect. She’s found the perfect suckers to keep her true identity disguised. But that’s just my assumption. Let’s see if VT sees your comment and responds. 🙂

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    • I’ll be all over this one as soon as I get to a proper size screen. Been trying to comment all day on my phone, and WordPress keeps kicking me out.

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    • OK then, let’s see – I’ll try to answer point by point.

      Do I make an effort to remain honest with my partner – Yes. He has categorically said he wants to know the truth, even if I think he’d prefer not to know, so I have committed to answering his questions honestly and completely, and letting him know what I’m doing.

      Friends – People who are close to me have known me for long enough to form an accurate assessment of my personality. I’m not sure what you’re asking precisely, as in what sort of thing would you expect me to tell them/not tell them? They know what my strengths and weaknesses are, and they know I am there for them if they need me. My traits have some positive applications, i.e. I’m excellent in a crisis. I don’t use the word ‘sociopath’ much, but it wouldn’t surprise my closest friends if I did.

      Strangers – I feel no need to share personal information with people I don’t know. I wouldn’t pretend to be someone I’m not (i.e. more emotional), as that’s just pointless.

      Potential partners – I wear a wedding ring, and I will let people know I’m married. If something develops I will be clear that I’m not very emotional, and that I’m not looking for a long-term relationship.

      Volunteering information regarding extramarital relations to my partner – Yes, as described above. He tells me he wants me to be honest and up front, so I am. That includes not lying by omission.

      I’m not certain what you mean by ‘live honestly’. Can you clarify? and I’ll try to answer. I don’t ‘mask’ my disorder, but I do try to behave appropriately for the company I’m in, so as not to offend or distress. But I think that’s a normal social response, the social contract. The person I am in real life, day to day, is the ‘real’ me, not some false front, but I don’t wear a badge saying ‘Psycho’ in the same way that people with mental illness don’t share it with everyone they meet.

      Does that help? Feel free to ask follow ups if I haven’t answered something as completely as you’d like.

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    • Also, Paula … “true identity”? I’m not a superhero, you know =D *tucks in cape*

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    • It’s a metaphor. Not meant to be a compliment. I personally think anyone who has survived treatment by a sociopath is the hero. But that’s my point of view.

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    • Not all sociopaths are abusive, and not all abusers are sociopaths. Other than that I absolutely concur – anyone who removes themselves from an abusive relationship and rebuilds their life is a hero.
      PS I know it wasn’t meant as a compliment – shall I start using sarcasm/humour tags? I can’t resist a good feed line, I’m afraid, so this may keep happening.

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    • Abuse is the use of control over someone be it physical, sexual, verbal, emotional. Even being sarcastic where sarcasm isn’t appreciated can be considered abuse.

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  12. Paula, Your post is so accurate and describes MS and me almost exactly. The ensuing discussion between you and Valerian Tales is profound. It is such significant learning that takes place in reading the thoughts of a self-proclaimed sociopath. Valerian Tales can admit she is a sociopath, process it in her writings, and you were given a rare opportunity to engage in the dialog, …very few sociopaths come to this revelation in their lives let alone reveal themselves openly. Thank you for providing this to all of us who are learning about this disorder.

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    • This is as much a learning experience for me as it is for everyone else, believe me. It’s only recently that I realised that I’m not normal, that not everybody thinks like me, and that there’s a whole massive dimension of experience I can never truly know. It really helps me as well to be able to compare my thoughts and views with you all, and to get your feedback on what I say.

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  13. Absolutely wonderful post! So very accurate, especially your portrayal of the confusion that results form interacting with someone such as this. ON the one hand, he is saying how wonderful and loving his exes were, on the other hand, they were not good enough for him. Your ability to move through this situation and analyze it for what it contains is an inspiration to us all!

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    • Thank you, Kimberly. The parable attached to the end is what inspired this post. It just clicked! I have never been comfortable with how he rationalized anything cruel he would do or think. He actually had himself convinced that he NEVER cheated on anyone, because in his eyes, the relationships (with his wife, fiancee, live-in girlfriends) were over before he began any affairs. Hmmm? Shouldn’t the OTHER person in the relationship also be in agreement with that assessment? According to his thinking, no. After all, he is the center of his own world and the only one that matters. HER feelings don’t matter. Geesh! How silly of us to think our feelings matter. 🙂

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  14. Hi Paula. This struck a chord with me, and I wanted to share a little of the rationalisation that went on in my head many years ago, to see if it makes sense to you and your readers.
    I come from a broken home, and saw from a very young age that people fall in and out of love, that ‘true love’ is a false construct based on lust, hormones, envy and a drive for status and security. Bear in mind that I don’t have the neural equipment to ‘feel’ love, so this was all based on what I could observe. What I saw normal people do to each other after having sworn to love, cherish and protect made me realise that nobody stays ‘in love’, and that the most enduring relationships are founded on quite different principles.
    When I met my current partner I didn’t fall in love with him, but I recognised the many good qualities in him, and particularly his selfless regard for me and my wellbeing. He was (and is) my best friend. I thought a relationship with him would be sustainable, strong, because of the respect I had for him.
    I didn’t envisage that I would get bored and be looking for extramarital excitement within a very short space of time, but that is what happened. It continues to happen, because no matter how strong the bond and the respect, we need stimulation and new sources of admiration.
    I’m not trying to excuse the behaviour; as I’ve said before, this disorder makes us basically selfish children who believe we are entitled to constant thrills. Some to a greater degree than others, and some more actively hurtful than others, but the underlying drive is just that. Your article helped me put some jumbled thoughts into order on the topic, so thanks for that and I hope my viewpoint helps in turn to clarify for others.

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    • Valerian, Thanks for your honesty. I know you aren’t trying to make excuses for yourself. But are you sure you couldn’t change your cheating ways by sitting down and talking to someone, a counselor or someone who might be able to walk you through what being in love and loving really means? Being in love certainly doesn’t mean a person is on a constant pedestal or that you must accept everything that person does or says. Being in love is about respect and care. Part of being in love is recognizing when you do something that would hurt that person if they find out so you stop.

      I guess my question to you is: do you want to be in love or do you just want to pretend like you’re in love? Living a lie isn’t the same thing as living the truth just because you don’t get caught. Thank you again for commenting and sharing and exposing yourself.

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    • Interesting questions, thank you.
      I know what it is to love, intellectually; I have a few people in my life for whom I feel what I would describe as love, or the closest approximation I’m capable of. Their welfare is my concern, I will support them and provide for them, I will be present (physically and emotionally) when they need me.
      I have felt romantic attraction very few times, almost always as a crush or obsession. It’s unsustainable, and either vanishes or changes into liking/respect/affection and the relationship continues on different terms if at all.
      Sadly a therapist couldn’t change how my brain processes things – the disorder’s not something I ‘have’, it’s what I am. I can only learn to pretend (as I have for the whole of my adult life) – and who wants to be with a fake?
      My partner is aware of my disorder, as we discussed it in depth as soon as I realised there was a name for it. He has always known what I am like, even before that, and accepts that although I don’t actively search for new sources of stimulation, I will use them when they turn up. This includes casual encounters and affairs. We have ground rules to make sure what I do doesn’t threaten our relationship; I’m not looking to replace him.
      Sexual jealousy and monogamy are very recent and Western concepts, and you will find that sociopaths reject them (as regards to themselves) because they are external expectations, enforced by early childhood conditioning. We don’t feel shame or guilt, so that sort of training is ineffective even when we’re very young. We learn to not get caught instead, or lie our way out of trouble. We are dismissive of the emotional pain we cause because we don’t know what it is, and deep down I wonder if we think people should just ‘get over it already’ because it’s not such a big deal. Certainly to me, sex is not linked to love, and carries no emotional weight whatsoever.
      I’m rambling, I think – I’ll stop there and see if that answers your questions or raises more.

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    • Your comments, again, are very appreciated. I think they help to affirm everything about why being in a relationship with someone with your condition should be avoided at all costs. I personally do not think telling your partner and having him be okay with your ground rules is exactly fair. You get away with it because he has empathy for you and your affliction. You are essentially abusing his loving and caring nature by using it to continue your behavior. I have always believed someone with your condition can’t change or somehow be re-conditioned. Your words make my assumptions true. I guess if you really loved and cared for your partner, you’d walk away from him and spare him further pain and adherence to your rules. Not exactly a happy way to live, in my opinion, with all of these rules to understand you. Very selfish and controlling and exactly why I write about my experience. Just because you recognize what it is you are doesn’t mean it’s okay to subject others to it. Are you worthy of being with this person who clearly loves you despite what he knows? I don’t care if you aren’t in love or sexually attracted to him. It’s clear you are not. Are you with him because he accepts you and it’s easy to continue hiding and pretending to the outside world? Do you feel like you are winning? Do you ever wish you were different?

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    • An astute response, and all the better for being challenging. I think you’re correct in a lot of what you say; people like me shouldn’t settle down. We will take advantage of and disappoint people who have expectations of us sooner or later. If I had known what I was then, I wouldn’t have made the same choices.
      One of your remarks I do have to challenge … The ground rules are HIS, not mine. He tells me what the dealbreakers are and I stick to them. As an example – me sleeping with other women is allowed, no question. In fact he quites likes knowing that it happens.
      As far as our relationship is concerned, we have an active and satisfying sex life.
      Would he be better off if I left? He doesn’t think so. If at any point he changes his mind we will have to deal with it. I would prefer not to put my family through a break up, however amicable.
      I have asked myself in the past whether I’m still here because I’m able to have everything my way, but it’s more than that. He knows me inside and out, and loves me unconditionally and absolutely, faults and all. Who doesn’t want that? And in turn he is the most important person in my life.
      Do I feel like I’m winning? No. I derive my self-esteem from all sorts of positive attributes and achievements in my life, and fooling or cheating someone for fun seems childish to me.
      Wishing to be different – not really. If you could wave a wand and give me full emotional capacity I’m not sure I could function. I imagine it would feel like having part of my cognitive functions switched off or blurred, and I wouldn’t be able to do my job or manage my life as effectively. If I’d been born normal it would be different. Something about sociopaths though – we don’t wish for stuff. We work out how to make it happen, or if it’s not possible we choose not to want it any more.
      On balance though I would say I agree with most of what you say. Living with someone like me is not easy. But if you matter to me, I will at least make an effort for you, and the more you call me on my behaviour the better. I can’t promise never to disappoint, because the biggest issue I have is lack of impulse control, but I will try. People who are close to me feel I’m worth it, and I am genuinely grateful for that at least.

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    • You clearly fit the disempathic sociopath type to a T~ You have a small inner circle of people you seem to care about and seem to care about you and that suits you just fine. I can’t imagine the circle is very large or that it grows. More than likely, it will decrease over time. The man you are with now clearly has some issues with self worth and boundaries. He’s okay with you cheating on him with women because he gets off on imagining two women together. Very typical of adolescent boys and thrills of masterbation. You’re serving his fantasy. Not the same thing as fulfilling his needs. He will surely tire of you and this game. (Unless, he is himself a sociopath.)

      I mostly appreciate your comment:
      “we [meaning the sociopaths] don’t wish for stuff. We work out how to make it happen, or if it’s not possible we choose not to want it any more.”

      This is My X. He actually would say to me, “Why can’t you let things go like I do. I don’t worry about anything. Do you see me worrying about losing my recent contract? No. You should learn from me.” No thank you! That would be a regression to infancy. Please don’t try molding someone into being a sociopath. It doesn’t work. As mentioned in this post, all you do is strip a person of their spirit, rendering them robotic and numb.

      I prefer to have a conscience and to worry about things, because when I do make my choice to move forward and prosper, I don’t ruin people to get what I want or end up abandoning people just because they didn’t serve me as I expected them to serve me. THAT is the saddest part of imagining an existence without a conscience. But as you note, sadness about not having a conscience isn’t something that crosses your mind because you don’t have a conscience to make you feel sad in the first place. Very convenient for you and other sociopaths, I think.

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    • This is a fascinating discussion – very helpful for me, and I hope for you too. You’ve raised some more interesting points for me to think about, so here goes:
      Conscience … I can’t feel bad about not having something that would make me feel bad. It’s illogical to me. It’s not that I have no moral compass AT ALL, just that I’ve had to construct something that helps me to be useful rather than harmful. I don’t choose to be this way, it is just how my brain works and I cannot change that. All my life I have wondered why others are so irrational, contradictory and dishonest, and why the rules were accepted even though they made no sense at times. I have at times felt like a Vulcan (cliched, but apt).
      You assume lacking a conscience means I will automatically ruin and abandon people. I’ve had the same said to me of murder and other crimes. My answer is always this: I am no more likely to do those things than you are. I have no urge to, no desire to. The big difference between us is this – if I DID do those things, I wouldn’t agonise beforehand and I wouldn’t feel bad afterwards. I would also have a pragmatic reason for doing it, probably entirely selfish but nonetheless very real.
      As far as the sexual behaviour goes – chastity, monogamy and fidelity are societal constructs, not innate values. If we had been born in Fiji, for instance, or Pakistan – or even Utah – then polygamy, polyamory or premarital sex might be perfectly acceptable. If I were an Italian or French male I would be considered absolutely normal. The revulsion you feel at my situation comes from the fact that you quite reasonably expected to be the only woman in his life, and he promised you that and he lied. The deception and the breaking of faith is the problem. If he’d said ‘I’ll be sleeping with other women while we’re together’ you could have chosen whether or not to accept that (I’m guessing you wouldn’t have …). Don’t forget, I have been in that situation too. Exclusive possession is not my thing, but I still couldn’t stay in a friendship with Patchy because he chose to lie about things he should have and could have shared, just for the fun of it. It is the misrepresentation of what you mean to them, as friend or colleague or lover or spouse, that is the evil act. I do not lie to people about their importance to me.

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    • I am fully aware of society constructs and cultural influences on my moral code. That’s why it’s called a moral code. It’s different depending on where you live and who you are involved. I live in a society with many cultural mores (pronounced “more-ays”) and feel an obligation to uphold those mores. I don’t steal, lie, cheat, or murder anyone because a.) none interest me and b.) it’s against the law, and I don’t feel like sitting in jail.

      I am an intricate part, a member of the community in which I live. The rules apply to me. And because I enjoy acceptance and the social part of community, I prefer to practice the rules/mores in my every day life. If I killed someone, I’d probably turn myself in and surrender every stupid (not pragmatic) reason I chose to kill that person. I’d go to prison for the rest of my life because there is no excuse for hurting someone, I don’t care what they did or said to me or stole from me. I will serve my time with much remorse and shame.

      Would you announce to the person you plan to kill that you will be killing them next Sunday at 6 o’clock? I guess warning them would protect you from being labeled evil, because, after all, you warned him. Twisted, Valerian Tales, it really is. You can not escape the social constructs, as you call them, by creating some pragmatic reason for your behavior just because it suits you. Go be a recluse if you don’t like the society constructs.

      But that wouldn’t satisfy you. You’re antisocial not asocial. The very society that you think is ridiculous is by its very nature the thing that feeds you, whether you choose to believe it or not. If everyone were a sociopath, you’d be bored because no one would care what you did or when you did it or why you did it. You’d end up killing each other quickly. So, you see, you NEED us. We don’t need you. We keep you alive, like the vampire you are.

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    • Well, that escalated quickly. Let’s not turn this into an argument… I can think of think of examples of acceptable social mores elsewhere that you would absolutely reject – female circumcision, for one – and things you do every day that would get you stoned or beheaded in other places – driving, talking to the bank teller, wearing trousers. And yet if you lived in that society you would consider those values normal, acceptable, even desirable.

      Murder is an extreme example, but OK. Murder is wrong, of course. Unless you’re a soldier. Or a state executioner. Or if it’s in self defence. Murder is wrong when society says it’s wrong, and OK when society has a need for people to die. I don’t want to kill anyone, but I can see the fallacies in the moral code we’re given. Doesn’t mean I’m going to rush out and stab anybody though.
      I accept that the rules apply to me, and I have a responsibility to society to contribute and not do harm. And I do follow the rules, and I pay my debts and my taxes, and I stop for fellow humans in distress, and all the same things you do. This is important – I do these things through choice, because I believe they are the right things to do, and I can see how they benefit both me and the wider society. I don’t conform through fear, conditioning or apathy, but through a belief that these things make sense.
      Society is not going to collapse because I sleep around. If it were, we’d already be living in chaos because of the number of normal, loving , caring empathic people who cheat on their partners. That rule makes no sense to me, it’s not a law, it’s a cultural fallacy designed to ensure property gets inherited by the right child.
      I don’t find society ridiculous, but people are sometimes. When you aren’t equipped to feel fear or shame for breaking the rules, you need something else to help you work out what’s the right thing to do. So you question everything and you reject assumptions that don’t stand up to scrutiny, and when you see how others accept and repeat those assumptions you wonder why.

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    • I’m not arguing. I am simply taking your comments to their logical conclusion. If you see it as me arguing with you, that’s your perception. Not my intent.

      Female circumcision? That’s not in my cultural system. If I lived in that cultural system, I’d probably fight against it the same way I fight for women’s rights and freedom of choice in this country. There are issues worth fighting for in any culture. I am a “Think globally; Act Locally” kind of person. I can only do so much to help my fellow human.

      And people make up society. So, if you find people ridiculous, you also find society ridiculous. The two things are not mutually exclusive. And you make your choices based on what is acceptable and based on what won’t get you noticed. Cheating is destructive. It’s what feeds other poor choices by people. It’s what makes a cheating cop look the other way when he sees a woman being beaten by her husband because she caught him cheating. If you can’t see how the act of you cheating (and that of others) has a tremendous impact on the society, you’re fooling yourself. Not me. Cheating is usually the root motivation in domestic violence, intimate partner abuse, homicide, and suicide. Real or perceived cheating. Cheating is nothing to take lightly.

      But you have an agreement with your partner. So your cheating is protected by a contract. Again, good for you. You’ve succeeded in beating the cultural mores. And because you have no conscience, you’re okay with that. A normal healthy conscience-filled person would still shutter at the act of cheating even with a mutual contract. I don’t think you can grasp that, though. I don’t expect you to or find it necessary for this discussion.

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    • Sorry about the time delay – even us vampires need to sleep 🙂
      I’d like to continue the discussion, but I’m conscious that it’s hijacking your excellent post somewhat, and perhaps we should agree to disagree. I’m not going to change your mind and you’re not going to change mine. I’ve been commenting because I think my perspective, however distateful to you, provides balance to the discussion and maybe is useful to your readers.
      Choosing to be open about what I am is a reaction to the way sociopaths are portrayed, and while I agree that a lot of what is said is true, it’s not all there is. I still get a sense that you believe we could learn to be ‘normal’ if we only wanted to badly enough, and that just isn’t going to happen. When I say my brain is different, that’s not a metaphor. My actual physical neural structure is missing crucial areas that would process emotion, guilt and fear. I can no more develop these than you can grow wings and fly. Huge sections of the first-world white middle class moral code are based on what people would think of you if you transgressed, not on the actual effects of the transgression itself, so those distinctions are meaningless to me. It’s like asking a blind man to appreciate a rainbow.
      I’d like to stick around and contribute, if you all feel you would benefit from it. I’ll be guided by you though.

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    • I absolutely KNOW you can’t change. Every reader who has ever experienced a sociopath KNOWS you can’t change. We KNOW its your brain and you lack something called a conscience that can’t be fixed with a magic pill or operation. I am not trying to convince you to agree with me. I’m expecting your counters to be filled with rejections. Remember, I have had these conversations many times before but just with a man who can’t grasp he’s a sociopath. Everything you have written, has been said to me or written to me before with the only difference being word choice. But the essence is the same.

      I view this discussion as a learning tool and as an exercise in the absolute futility for anyone trying to attempt change in a sociopath. You have helped many people with your honesty and astute understanding of yourself in this comment string. Please stick around. I am not angry with you or in any way trying to provoke you with my direct comments. You are who you are; I am who I am. You know it; I know it. So why sugar-coat the situation and pretend we don’t?

      Thank you again, Valerian Tales, for providing affirmation to many of us who have experienced our own sociopath and for the many who don’t believe sociopaths exist.

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    • Valerian: Thank you for your response. Having just left a 2-1/2 year relationship with a sociopath, my questions really deal with my continued attempts to understand his disorder and the choices he made. He was living two separate lives: one as a married businessman and one with me. Between his communications with his wife, and me, he probably had to lie upwards of ten times a day or more. This form of “covert” living, if you will, that requires someone to constantly be on guard about their stories, their contacts, what they’ve said previously and how to keep it all straight seems so incredible. Having no conscience allowed him the ability to maintain this inauthenticity 24/7, and then simply shrug his shoulders when finally caught. The lack of honesty, and then lack of remorse, seems like such an extraordinary condition.

      Perhaps I should phrase it another way: Do you lie? If so, for what purpose? What prevents you from lying when you don’t? It seems to me a true sociopath finds excitement in both getting what she wants AND in getting over someone who trusts her. You claim to be honest with your partner and potential lovers, and this strikes me as odd inasmuch as this contradicts everything I’ve read and understand about the disorder.

      Again, thanks for your comments.

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    • Hi Laura – you’re welcome, and I’m happy to be able to contribute here.
      My view is that constant lying is very hard work, and I wouldn’t be comfortable with it. Lying by omission is much easier to keep up, or half-truths. That’s probably how he managed it day to day.
      I do lie, sometimes, if I’m caught off guard and my inner monologue isn’t an appropriate answer to the question. I think that’s standard social contract stuff though – you look fine, I love your hair, what an excellent idea etc etc.
      Everything you’ve read so far is probably written from the point of view of a victim rather than a sociopath. You have descriptions of the impact of our behaviour, and assumptions about our motives, but most of the current literature doesn’t acknowledge the neural and physical causes of the disorder. It also doesn’t allow for variations on a scale – sociopath = monster, end of story. I do love getting what I want, that’s true. But then most of the things I want are within my reach through honest means so there’s no need to use other methods. Excitement is achievable, for me, through my hobbies – music, science, sport, education – and the company of good friends. I wouldn’t be comfortable on a knife edge chasing thrills all the time though.

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    • I want to make it clear that none of the people who have survived relationships with a sociopath NEED to hear the sociopath explain their motivation for their treatment of others. That just makes a non-sociopath survivor more frustrated. Just knowing the sociopath is a sociopath without a conscience or empathy is enough to help with the healing process. Knowing isn’t going to change what happened or make the victim/survivor feel better about themselves. Lauren, don’t fall into the trap of attempting to make sense of something that makes no sense to people with a conscience. Otherwise, you will push yourself further and further away from finding peace. Valerian SEEMS to be telling you HER truth. HER truth is not THE truth. It’s a twisted version of THE truth.

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  15. it takes a lot of courage to confront one’s self, of what they don’t want to acknowledge…that the one they love may be not good for them…but the first sign is
    when the one you love does not treat you with respect, when ‘they’ are more important than you are, when they do not like what you do and try to dismiss your efforts and work. (I couldn’t change a diaper fast enough, I couldn’t peal a potatoe correct, your teenage daughter doesn’t like you, your too stupid to go to school) the list is endless

    does you skin crawl, are you afraid, don’t know how to answer, are you pissed off and don’t know how to express your anger because you are afraid of what will happen…those and more gut feelings will tell you when you need to get out

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    • So true, Gert! I wish more people recognized that emotional and verbal abuse renders people psychologically numb and disillusioned which makes it difficult to think clearly enough to get out of the situation. That’s why it’s so important to talk about this, so if it’s happening right now to someone, and they read this they might be able to get out of their fog long enough to defend themselves and leave.

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  16. […] What the sociopath covets. Share this:TwitterFacebookStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

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  17. Paula,
    this is wonderful, you captured the essence of what they ‘take’ from those they say they love!
    controllers are not limited to our partner, they can and are in every other family connection (parent, sibling, cousin).
    educating ourselves of the behavioral aspects of this type of personality will help everyone know when they are in the midst of such and learn to get away from them

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    • It’s so difficult to see this as its happening to us. That’s the most frightening part, Gert. We, the people who have lived with this abuse and control, need to keep sharing what we know. I wish more people would “get it” before it’s too late. 🙂

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  18. i am so glad you got out, so many don’t ! what a powerful story about the stone.

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