lessons of past, PTSD, recovery, psychopath, sociopath, awareness, dating a sociopath, divorcing a narcissist, Paula Carrasquillo, Paula Renee Carrasquillo, Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo

lessons of pastYesterday’s HuffPost Live broadcast, originally titled Learning to Love the Sociopath but later retitled Sociopaths: They’re not all Evil, awakened something in me.

And I’m a bit pissed it took so long.

Admittedly, for the past year or more, I have been living in a very sociopath-centric place. Everything I write, read and share has been in hopes of bringing awareness and education to myself and everyone else who has or thinks they have been in a toxic relationship with a sociopath/psychopath. To understand “what struck us” has been a priority. The other priority has been to heal and recover from the side effects of eating the shit sandwich we were served.

As a direct result of being consumed with trying to figure this out and going out of my way to connect with others who are desperate to find peace, too, I have taken for granted that not everyone understands or even knows how to define “sociopath” or “psychopath” or “pathology,” for that matter. Not even the so-called experts.

Yesterday’s show revealed to me that society misuses, not overuses, the terms, and we’re partially to blame.

When the show’s host asked the docs on the show to define “sociopath” and “psychopath” to clarify any misunderstandings the audience may have, they failed to deliver and instead, danced around the issue.


I’d rather not speculate (or at least reveal my speculations) here, on my blog, because real people were involved yesterday on the show. I don’t want to insult anyone.

Oh, hell. Screw that! I was insulted! Here is my speculation:

No one on that panel (besides me) has ever been on the receiving end of another’s pathology. The true receiving end. Sitting behind a desk listening to a “maybe” sociopath/client discuss their behavior does not make one an expert in pathology. Counseling a psychopath/sociopath (like M.E. Thomas believes she is and James Fallon purports he is) gives a person only HALF of the reality associated with pathology.

The other half missing in their analysis and expert opinions is us, the victims and survivors of these fools.

How can these people, the experts, intelligently talk or share an understanding of something they have never fully experienced themselves!? At best, they are speculating and playing an intellectual game, something pathology education and awareness has no time for.

I wanted to jump in and interrupt them several times. Instead, I sat back and smiled, because I am familiar with people giving me the hairy-eyeball stare when I reveal that I dated a sociopath. So chiming in and interrupting these “scholars” probably would have resulted in a nation of hairy-eyeball stares and nasty comments. Who needs that shit?

Instead, I sat back patiently thinking to myself, “THIS is why society calls every politician, lawyer or national leader a sociopath: not even the so-called experts are willing to admit that there is a human anomaly that exists in this world that even they can’t explain. Instead of trying to explain it using brain scans and with testimony from the lying and manipulative disordered, why not try to explain it from the point-of-view of the people most negatively affected by sociopathic behaviortheir victims?

I also wanted to say that the only people walking around over-using and misusing the words “sociopath” and “psychopath” are people who have NEVER been impacted directly by true sociopaths or psychopaths. REAL victims struggle to define their tormenters/abusers with such terminology. I don’t know about the rest of you, but it took me a couple years before I was willing to say that the boy in my story was sick. It took another year+ to be willing to admit to myself that he was, in fact, a goddamn sociopath!

Until I was willing to admit to and accept that, I was walking around thinking I was the cause of all the problems because the sick bastard told me I was. (Remember how they do that?)

So if we want to blame anyone for the misuse and overuse of the language of pathology, let’s blame ourselves. I had an opportunity to at least get the conversation moving in that direction yesterday, but I failed. If they had just given me more time or if I had just been more willing to behave like an asshole and interrupt the verbal chaos.

Lesson learned! Maybe next time. 🙂


Link to the show: Learning to Love the Sociopath?

(On a related note: I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all three of the other participants. It was a great experience, and I’m glad I accepted the invitation from the show’s producers)

abuse, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Forgiveness, Health, Humor, Lessons, Mental Health, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Sociopath, NPD, Peace, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Recovery, Relationships, Self Improvement, Sociopaths, Spirituality
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Join the conversation! 27 Comments

  1. […] On the heals of my HuffPost Live appearance, I was feeling defeated and couldn’t help but ask, “Is continuing to speak out worth […]


  2. I haven’t listened, but maybe tonight. Did you even know what a sociopath was until you met one? I didn’t. While I am not a clinician, I have a lot of knowledge in the field of mental health, and an uncanny ability to “diagnose” someone in minutes. I cannot even begin to account for the man-hours I poured into trying to determine what as so amiss with my former husband. Was it ADD or Asperger’s? Was he paranoid or avoidant? Nothing fit until I dared to entertain “sociopath,” then bingo! Can this be explained to the average person? I think not…not until the image of Ted Bundy is fully erased and the image of the guy next door who lost his wife last week and is dating two days later pops in.


  3. I think the big reason that there is much misconception is that most people associate the words psychopath and sociopath with serial killers, hence the average “sociopath” seems like a figment of the victims mind……..


  4. I only saw a bit of the interview. From what I saw, Paula, you did great. Why on earth would anyone support a sociopath by purchasing their book? I’m with you, I won’t even read it. The use of the term sociopath and psychopath has always been problematic. (Why is there so much fog around sociopaths?) Tomorrow I hope to spend a little time and post on it. Again — you did great.


  5. Paula
    I basically zipped through everyone else’s two cents on the broadcast except for some of M.E.s out of curiosity. The commentator had horrible questions and having lived through a parallel situation to yours I was most interested in hearing what you had to say. Some of the exact phrases your sociopath came out of my sociopath’s mouth. What a story there is to tell here. Thank you for sharing yours. It is amazing how bright, interesting, fun and beautiful women can be manipulated by these people. They have such skill.


    • Thank you so much, Robin, and I agree – Every single woman I have had the honor of meeting through my blog and FB page has been amazingly gifted and beautiful in many ways. The best part of my experience has been the connections I’ve made. ❤


    • Thank God I am free! Two other women involved at various levels with this person (one still is) have much to offer the world. One of them and I have become good friends and have much in common outside of that whole mess. Something good out of something evil!


  6. I was able to listen to a part of yesterday´s show just because the internet connection in my country sucks. But I got the part where you spoke and I thought you did it very well!. Anyway, I think that people tend to rely on the so called “experts” but like you say until you don´t experience by yourself, you´re not actually entitled to be an “expert”. And just out of curiosity, This is the first time I listen to M.E. Thomas, do you think she really is a sociopath? I wouldn´t expect a sociopath aware of their condition and writing a book or speaking on a show…


    • I think she is sociopathic because my gut reaction to her speaking and to the short excerpt of her book I read was to vomit. She sounds and speaks in similar ways to the sociopath from my past. Also, she only sought help after a series of job losses and career defeats. From what I gathered, she didn’t seek counseling because she was losing friends or family members. She was losing status and money! This book is her ticket to never having to work for another person the rest of her life, which is another reason I refuse to buy it or read it. To me, buying her book would be enabling her and her mass manipulations. She gains from the ignorance of others. On the other hand, I did feel for her. I hate pitying people who hurt others, knowingly or unknowingly. But she left an impression. Maybe because she’s a woman, I’m not certain, but I held back in the private chat after the live recording from asking her some things I really wanted to unearth about her character. 🙂


  7. Society does misuse the term, but while misusing the term, they leave themselves uneducated, and when one comes their way, and is standing, or sitting right in front of them, what I am learning is that they fail to recognize the traits that are right there in front of them. So even if we recognize the narcissitic person in front of us, we are still right where we started, because narcissists are professional liars, con artists, and Master manipulators who have learned how to lie, manipulate, and deceive in order to get through life, so what would make you, myself, any other reader, or even a professional any different? (Which is what you saw yesterday, and what even me, myself witnessed without ever even realizing it over a year ago now) because we as a society have learned to try and see the best in everyone that we come across, but what if that “best” is all a mask. The “best” is who the narcissistic sociopath WANTS to be, but their actions in present that say they are a narcissistic sociopath is what really defines them in the nows. They are two different people, and at the end of the day what I am discovering is that they are at war with themselves, which makes them at war with everyone else around them at the same time.

    I saw signs from day one, but it wasn’t until I really sat here a couple of months ago, and began reading your past posts, when it hit me that everything that I have been put through for the last 20 months of my life, that has turned my life upside down, was done on purpose, and all of the things that he was claiming to others that I was doing to him which was the source of the beginning of the end for me, was in reality what he was doing to me + more that no one to this day is even aware of.

    The narcissistic sociopath needs help, not enabling, protection, and more excuses made for themselves, and that’s 3/4 of society’s problem. Instead of recognizing the signs, and getting them on a straighter path, what we as a society are doing is encouraging, protecting, and enabling the behavior the longer we keep the ramifications of what they are doing to other people, and even themselves in the dark.


    • I agree with everything you have mentioned, Misty. I am okay with looking like a fool and being misunderstood by the masses. It’s okay. I’m used to it having lived with HIM for as long as I did. At least I can walk away and even sit in the midst of it and laugh at the absurdity of the ignorance. I have no interest in enabling these people. I guess that’s why I keep writing and now speaking. It’s pretty amazing how many people I know personally have come forward with their stories of fear and frustration due to a person like this they have encountered. I think society is getting tired of the behavior these fools exhibit. The reality slaps us all in the face, eventually. One day it will be better understood. I’m hopeful. 🙂


  8. Paula, I just watched and was cringing for many reasons:

    1) The so called “experts” were just talking mumbo-jumbo and though I have an M.A. in Education, and have been learning about/researching Sociopathy for almost 2 years, I could barely follow the psycho-babble.

    2) You did a great job but are so much like me in that it is almost impossible to convey via examples what it is like to be “struck by a sociopath” (the title of my blog and facebook page).

    3. When I first created my pages a year ago, “My Sociopath-Struck by A Sociopath,” I received many compliments on the “Struck” part of the title and until now, I did not see it worthy of the compliments. I finally understand why this title came out of my then devastated mind:

    One cannot explain being “Struck by A Sociopath.” It is sublime, slight-of-hand, almost phantom like…the twisting, the game-playing, the sneaky back-stabbing, the “playing victim” combined with the “smear campaign,” turning everyone against you, the drama and chaos a sociopath deceptively creates in your home, at your job, with your “friends”….
    When people inquire to those like you and I Paula with the, “Well, give examples….” It is almost impossible to do so without sounding “nit-picky” and a scorned and vengeful ex….

    These psycho-babblers can never understand unless they are/were involved in an intimate relationship with a Sociopath.

    Lynna, My Sociopath-Struck by A Sociopath


    • Lynna,
      Your use “struck” has always stuck with me. I use it often. We get side-swiped. Ambushed. It’s a shock to the system and why we are often rendered useless to leave faster than we should and then rendered even more useless when asked to describe our experience. It’s the collective and consistent behaviors of the sociopath and the disordered which cannot be given proper attention in such a short broadcast. But it IS a start. (And another thing we have in common, our M.A.s in Education. Namaste!)


  9. I am so happy to read this post, Paula, and to hear that you were disappointed, as I was.

    I didn’t see the show in real-time, but caught it later in the day and the only thing I could think was, “but, that’s not it AT ALL. These people don’t have a clue!” And then when the host said that your Socio’s behavior was “common,” well, I almost lost it right there.

    He could have asked for clarification, could have delved deeper into what you were saying and asked the questions that should have been asked – Why did you find his monitoring of your phone threatening? What does this incident have to do with the rest of the relationship? In what other ways was he controlling? and on and on.

    The host dropped the ball when he dismissed you. I hope there are more conversations like this in the near future featuring victims of Socios/Psychos/Narcs so that the general public can get a clearer picture of what this monsters are really like.


    • I jumped out of my chair when he tried to minimize what I was describing! I think a lot of people can relate to what I was TRYING to explain but remain silent because of the ignorance and minimization by those who have no flippin’ clue what they are talking about or care to understand. I was so frustrated. All I could do was smile. Typical response, I kept thinking. So typical. Luckily, the producer of the show understands that it’s not something to minimize. Hopefully, she’ll push for further discussions on the topic. 🙂


  10. Paula,
    Unfortunately I was listening in real time yesterday and had a visitor knock on my door who wouldn’t take a hint and leave but I just finished watching the full broadcast. You did awesome, it is almost impossible: or IS impossible to adequately describe the effects of a socio/psycho path in a setting like that.

    As anyone who has been involved with one of these “people” knows; to describe the abuse and damage to victim sounds crazy even to the victim. It is so insiduous, so ambigious, and so truly sick that the victim ends up sounding like the crazy one and perhaps even “nit-picky”. I think the interviewer minimalized what the experts were saying or it got brushed over.
    Like the one expert said, the psychopath doesn’t see he/she has a problem and are very rarely diagnosed until they commit a crime. Really at that point it is often too late.

    He also said labelling a person as a narcissist/sociopath is not as important as the abusers actions.

    I think too often people get too focussed on the “label” which can be very dangerous. What they didn’t focus on enough is the lack of empathy or conscience. Like ME stated their main goal is to mold, control and ruin the object of their abuse.


    • Sorry, hit post by accident. I think the interviewer missed the opportunity to expose the true nature of the sociopath and almost made a joke about it. I didn’t you were saying anything much different than the other two experts. ME and the interviewer minimized it in my opinion.
      You did excellent and looked great btw.
      Hugs and love


    • Those darn unexpected visitors! Don’t they know better? Haha! I’m glad you were able to finally watch it. It took me several hours before I could watch it and pick apart my comments and those of the others. Incredibly dissatisfied by the outcome, to be honest.

      I think this kind of discussion should be presented as a series. Nothing as complex as pathology and the affects of pathology on others can have a serious impact in just a 20 minute segment. And people like Dr. Phil (who has his own agenda) can’t do it, either. I don’t know what the solution is. How do we bring true awareness of the issue to the general public?


  11. It does seem that society is misusing those terms…and I know that if I try to tell my story to a new friend who doesn’t know all the stuff I’d been through in a toxic marriage, they do give me a blank look and go past it. That is exactly the point of why we quiet survivors just TRY to smile and go on past those who just cannot understand the confusion and pain associated with living in our sociopath/spider web. We keep going until we find comfort in those, like you, who DO KNOW what its like, as I liken it, to riding a carousel around for 15 years – riding round and round while going up and down and only after A LOT of courage to actually get off – OR FALL OFF – the ride.


    • And what a ride it was!! I was able to interact with the other participants off-line after the live recording. I let M.E. Thomas know that after reading a short excerpt of her book published on Psychology Today last month, I decided not to purchase or bother reading her book because her language and smugness was too reminiscent of the sociopath from my past and I already rode that rodeo. I Don’t need to go on that ride again. She just laughed.


  12. Sounds like this was a dress rehearsal. This also follows the pattern: Abusers demand silence and remind victims no one will believe them anyway. Takes practice to move out from under that millstone.


    • I hope I get another opportunity like this or others in this community get a chance to speak up. I admit I was intimidated, more by the fact my face was going to be out there and less by the fact I was alongside these “experts.” Thank you, Judy.


  13. nothing like experience to teach us a lesson!
    for your first time out you did great and you’ll know that much more the
    next time around!
    remember those that speak in psycho-babble only have book definitions
    to go by…


  14. The fact that they didn’t rely on you, a survivor of sociopathic abuse, only goes to show how some “experts” will coddle wrongdoers. Your experience sounds as ridiculous as the Dr. Phil episode on narcissists!


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