Mirroring is at the heart of how sociopaths hook us and why others think we were just like the sociopath while inside the toxic relationship.

Not only do sociopaths intensely love bomb and praise us in the beginning, they mirror how we behave and how we react to people and experiences.

The sociopath agrees with our parenting style, choice in friends, work ethic, family connections, and how we approach solving problems. In the beginning, the sociopath never questions, challenges or opposes us in these areas of our identity. We are led to believe that the sociopath is on the exact same page as we are when it comes to absolutely everything life throws at us.

As victims, we don’t realize that the sociopath builds his mask of sanity by agreeing and mirroring us with intensity. This intensity, simultaneously creates a bond of deep trust and commitment. We see the sociopath as someone “just like us,” so we trust the sociopath intrinsically…with everything!

As a result of being fooled into believing this false bond of trust is genuine, we begin to reciprocate and naturally mirror the sociopath, because that’s what humans do in close relationships with people we love and trust. Unfortunately, mirroring the sociopath means gradually and insidiously taking on the same shitty attitude the sociopath has about life and dealing with people.

We criticize the same people, places, and things the sociopath criticizes. We assume that the sociopath’s criticisms are coming from a place of extensive thought, intellect, and consideration; because our criticisms of people, places, and things come from those places. We falsely mirror what we think is healthy observations of our environment, when, in fact, the criticisms the sociopath spews are the opposite of healthy and come from a place of jealousy, hate, and contempt.

We end up behaving like a jealous, hateful, and contemptuous sociopath not realizing we’re behaving like a sociopath!

To those ex-victims and survivors on the outside, we appear perfect for each other…two shitty people living out their shitty lives together. Two sociopaths, side-by-side. Perfect!

Reconciling this is difficult in recovery. It takes time to undo the brainwashing and to not keep thinking we are the pathological ones. It’s painful when we look back on some of the stupid and thoughtless things we did to and against people and situations all in the name of being faithful and committed to a person we thought was just like us.

Personally, I do not believe two sociopaths in romance or even business could ever last. I think sociopaths repel each other and have a knack for spotting “their kind” better than anyone else can. And if two sociopaths were to get together, I think there would be so much fighting about control that they would each self-implode. They would never work out.

What do you think? Do you think or have you ever thought that your ex has found his perfect match, because you have been led to believe, in your mind, that the new victim isn’t really a victim at all, and is instead a sociopath, too?

Namaste!
~Paula

Category:
abuse, Child abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Health, Mental Health, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Sociopath, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Recovery, Relationships, Sociopaths
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  1. […] Mirroring is at the heart of how sociopaths hook us and why others think we were just like the socio… […]

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  2. […] Mirroring is at the heart of how sociopaths hook us and why others think we were just like the socio… […]

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  3. Reading this reflection Paula you posted in response to Dane was awesome “…He hasn’t changed. He’s no more in love with her than he was with you. She’s not better than you. But she’s got something you didn’t; yes, it’s true. But it’s not a bigger heart or a more understanding disposition. She has something material and tangible that you didn’t have like money, a younger or more toned body, a trust fund, a business…all insignificant THINGS that do not make real people connect to each other on a deep level. The bond he shares with her is just as superficial as the one he shared with you…”

    I use to think the new person the sociopath he was with was had something innately profound she could offer him that I failed to possess. I felt extremely inferior behind the big girl smile on my face when he left. I consoled myself and told myself the reason he began a life of crime was because of her. That I knew him well, not her, and that he had never done these things before he left me for her so she must be the true monster that turned him into a monster. I realize that he has been the monster all along. He discarded genuine love I had given him and then sadistically laughed and taunted me in the aftermath about this same bond he worked for years on me to get me to give to him. Unfortunately for her, he weilded a lot more damage on her and she mirrored his true behavior as oppose to vice versa. He was the cause of the horrible lives they ended up living out together. I thought I found a truly nice person in him and she probably did as well. And I’m finally at peace knowing it’s ok to search and want a truly great people in my life who won’t try to destroy me when I offer them love and not to get intoxicated with their act of “niceness” or any other ploy, but to really observe their behavior with others. Not just the gestures they want me to see. I hope the other woman he moved on to finds the same and he dies alone as that is all he deserves. It’s Frightening to trust again.

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  4. Paula you are absolutely amazing! I am trying so desperately to get my life back together… It’s been six months now but it still hurts so bad! The best way I can describe what I’m going through is the article you put out ( Where’s the sense in the end of a relationship with a sociopath) oh Paula I wish I could meet you so you can knock some sense in me, 11 years I spent with this person and then 1 day it’s all over he didn’t want to do it anymore me our home, my God who does that!!!

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    • I’m so sorry, Tammy. I understand and know the stress and anxiety you must be experiencing trying to make sense of this senseless and less-than-human behavior. 😦

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  5. […] Another blogger and survivor of narcissistic abuse described living with a psychopath as analogous to the frog in boiling water–a frog if dropped in a pot of boiling water, will jump out, but if the water is slowly heated with the frog in the pot, the frog won’t notice the increase in temperature until it’s cooked to death. That’s what life with a psychopath is like. The relationship always begins great (though there may be red flags we choose to ignore) and slowly, like the boiling frog, becomes abusive. As the victims, we may even mirror the abuser’s psychopathic behavior, doing things and acting in ways we’d never dream of if we were not in that relationship. Another blogger describes this phenomenon very well here in this blog post about mirroring. […]

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  6. This is exactly what happened to me when I was still married to my psychopath. Until I saw the writing on the wall, I colluded with him and started to act psychopathic myself and do and say things I would never dream of doing or saying had I not been in that relationship. I think it’s similar to the theory of crowds–in a crowd people will do heinous things they never would if they were part of the crowd, especially if they’re being led by a psychopath (think Hitler and his unholy army of flying monkeys–the nazis). Now when I look back on things I did when I was with him, I can’t believe I had sunk to those levels of immorality, but the difference between him and me is I feel ashamed of those things while he does not. That’s what separates us from them.

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  7. Hey Paula, my ex has a new girlfriend which at first made me jealous but then I think logically and how lucky I am to be free, and instead of me feeling that my exs new gf is just like her, I actually feel sorry for her because that poor girl is probably going though the exact same things as I had to go through, my ex actually tried to brainwash me to the point that when I was intoxicated she said “Emily nobody else is real, they are all robots, I am your dreamgirl, everything is a test you are been experimented on, nobody matters so don’t worry about how others will feel” I remember at the time going to bed that night her cuddling up to me and my eyes wide open thinking “what the f*** am I doing, what have I gotten myself into”
    I am a second year psychology student now and I look back at that moment a lot and think wow if I could have been more love struck by her at that present moment it could have worked, which leads me back to the thought that her poor girlfriend now is probably going through all the crazy things that I and a few other exs of hers that I know had to go through.

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  8. Paula I marvel about your wisdom. Do you research it? Because it’s consistently so enlightening I’m wondering if you study the subject. I’m LUCKY that my soc. lives so far away. It is such a blessing, but because of that I can’t really relate to the part about me taking on his views on life. Thankfully, I’ve maintained my moral integrity, with a metacognition about who he really is. You are more helpful than my new therapist. She seemed to recoil at my calling him a sociopath. She preferred to call him passive aggressive. I’ve only seen her twice, but I don’t think she’s well enough attuned to this kind of situation. Anyhow, thank you again, Paula – wishing you all the best!

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  9. I agree with you Paula. I think sociopaths spot each other better than anyone else. I have seen the narcissists in my life try to mirror me- using literally the same vocab, ideas, etc.

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    • They are knowledge thieves! They swipe our knowledge, and it’s up to us to call them out on it. They can regurgitate with ease…like memorizing lines for a play. Emotionless and easy. Stale. But they end up SEEMING like they know what they are talking about when, in fact, they haven’t a clue.

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    • That’s my sister. But she’d do something like that months after she’d disagreed with me (usually in a berating way) on the very same thing she would ‘now’ be touting. And never acknowledge the disagreement either.

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  10. Hi Paula 🙂

    Another great post & well written 🙂

    You know what’s really odd is that the new OW & I have been in contact & as she stays knowing what he is etc…I am starting to view her motivations very differently.
    I don’t think she’s a socio but, she is enjoying the ‘power couple’ role that they both now project. In actual fact, if he wasn’t a full blown wacko, they would be perfect as they both hold high positions & both love money & are materialistic.
    He’s attracted to her wealth & she needs a charismatic escort!
    I was also recently contacted by his life long best friend who, reassured me that I was correct but, that it was just between us, I think he actually fears the reprisals due to their meshed lives in law enforcement etc….
    His friend is amazed that the OW is staying put as the Socio has told him he feels trapped by her?!? Perhaps he has met his match & he doesn’t want to be ‘outed’ by her. He loves her money & is currently swanning around the world on first class travel so, is in his ‘I’m not materialistic’world of possessions & $$$$ like a pig in shit 😉

    The OW emails me that he’s a selfish bastard & I am blown away that she shares this as I could use it but, cannot be bothered with their sicko game??? What do you make of that?

    I’m perplexed at why she tells me as, I could use it against him & bring them both undone!
    I think she want s me to ‘bail her out’? What do you think?

    Truly I am sick of them trying to pull me back in as I’m well & truly out & on with my life. It’s really very bizarre.

    PR 🙂 xoxo

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    • What kind of sick game is being played with you? What is your intuition leading you to believe? Is it pity and more chaos she’s after? Attention? Why would a wealthy, intelligent woman really care what others thought if she’s really suffering?

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    • Thanks Paula,

      I cannot believe that as a Dr of Human Behavior that stays knowingly, then confides in me for support etc…but, then carries on with the ‘show’?
      I think she has some really big insecurities or is mirroring the delusion. She came right out & told me I had ‘nailed’ his personality to a tee!

      I told her that he will stay whilst she supplies the meal ticket but, that he has all the power because,she accepts his infidelities.
      The element of sneaking around is removed & he thrives on the thrill of the chase & the covertness.
      As she’s onto him, he will really ‘go hard’ & bring her to heel. He will want the ultimate domination. Power & sex & money are all he cares about. Even his best friend said that his obsession with money is paramount to his personality.
      The Socio told me, ‘she can think what she likes but, that is not the reality!’
      He also repeated that statement to his friend.
      I told the OW this so, I think it’s a major power struggle & the implosion will be her as, he cannot be matched. She has managed to contact all the OW’s as, he offered them up so, that she is Queen Bee, the ‘chosen one’ the winner, the idealized ‘specialist’ of all the other special ones etc…she’s buying all the BS & knows its all fabricated!
      She has no idea that the ones he offers up are not her problem.
      He has 1 in the hand & numerous in the bushes according to his best mate.
      She will never ‘flush’ out one because, she is married & they have an ‘agreement’.
      He also has a lifelong GF that has vowed she is his forever & accepts all his meanderings & he finances her as well.

      It’s just phenomenal & people are coming out of the woodwork. It’s really is like a ‘soap opera’ & the leading ladies keep interchanging & staying. I would never have believed it if I wasn’t involved, it is bloody fascinating! WoW…:)

      I am staying out of it I can assure you but, intrigued by nonetheless.

      PR 🙂 x

      P.S. It bothers me though as, she has influence on research into women’s plights worldwide. Her research & police profiling work are documented!!! God Help Us if that’s the expert opinion speaking up for us!

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    • You may as well write a screenplay based on the drama!!! There’s a reason you were enmeshed in the first place. It’s so sad that that kind of life and person is desired over simple peace and happiness. They’re sad people. Would be nothing if stripped of all their possessions and titles. Maybe she senses that…knows what she is and can’t escape because she secretly likes the thrill of it all. 😦

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    • Paula, the OW will never be poor as her father in mega loaded & is the ‘princess’.
      I think it’s because her life is superficial & always has been, then it’s hard to separate the true meaning of life which for me is not possession based.
      It’s funny because, I often called him on his contradictory lifestyle & his proclamation monologue of not being ‘materialistic’ but, that his Rolex watch,Harley Davidson, Convertible car,designer everything including underwear told a different story etc…
      I never wanted that life & never expected it, it’s not me. He must have mimicked me in his approach to her so, he didn’t appear a ‘gold digger’ but, now she’s stuck with him & he carries massive debts. Initially when I met her, she repeated my words that he had said, back to me & I was floored until I researched the traits & then it all made sense.
      They can have the money etc…it does ‘buy’ love but, not happiness or health so, l predict at the end of the day however it plays out, I have peace of mind & they have pieces of material.
      I know what I prefer 🙂

      Love & Light 🙂 PR xoxo

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    • PR, I got sucked into the materialistic world of my ex, too. At first, it seemed okay because I like nice things and I thought I had worked hard to be pampered a bit. But it became an obsession for him, it seemed. He even became angered when I mentioned that I preferred a smaller home to anything extravagant. I could clearly see how our values clashed but always just thought he’d outgrow thinking “things” mattered so much. But who was I fooling!? He was 35 years old! He wasn’t going to change.

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    • Oh & I have been sharing your posts on my Facebook page 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  11. Paula,I love the image of two sociopaths self imploding. In a way this is what happens when they go into narc rage—-but they take the implosition and bring it outwards. @ Steve Holt, yes I do believe that they are evil and they know it. How did my ex-narc put it,but he said it in a gentile way and it was in the midst of critizing a so-called friend, ” You are talking to the king of bull shitters here.” At the time that comment confused me. Little did I realize he was outing himself. I should have seen that big red flag and realized at the point that nothing he was telling me was the truth. I believe he quickly changed the subject after that having realized what he just did–which is probably why I was wound up confused…….

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  12. psychopath would criticize Jesus Christ and try to control him too I have no doubt about that!and no doubt about it would criticize Jesus himself and tell him what to do and how to act and what to think no doubt

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  13. “As a result of being fooled into believing this false bond of trust is genuine, we begin to reciprocate and naturally mirror the sociopath, because that’s what humans do in close relationships with people we love and trust. Unfortunately, mirroring the sociopath means gradually and insidiously taking on the same shitty attitude the sociopath has about life and dealing with people.”

    This is so true. The author Thomas Sheridan calls the sociopath wanna-be’s “Proto-psychopaths”. I mean, some do wanna be, and some, like me, would simply become “as they are” by proxy. I do think that my psychopath/sociopath is married to one of his kind or at least a wanna-be. It’s sad how we will sell our souls to be in the club.

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    • Isn’t that frustrating, Flowersfromapsycho? There are many of these wanna-be proto-psychopaths on WordPress in comments. They are easy to spot after a few strings of comments. Their true nature defies them. No matter how cool they think being cruel and calculating is, they can’t maintain the facade when pushed. At least, that has been my experience with the wanna-be types. 🙂

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    • How funny.. no one can seem to maintain their facade! 🙂

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    • hi Paula a very simple question visit sociopath know there’s something wrong with them?do they know they are totally destructive and evil? Thanks

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    • I think sociopaths know right from wrong according to societal norms. However, I believe sociopaths think those norms are unfair and unevolved. Sociopaths honestly believe their way of seeing things is superior, and it’s the rest of us who are evil for being obstacles. I associate sociopaths with the line repeated by the bad guys at the end of every Scooby-Doo episode, “And I would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids!” We are bad for meddling, huh? How twisted and convenient. 🙂

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  14. Thanks Paula! You put a smile on my face and hope in my heart. It’s nice to know there are people who understand. Everything you said makes sense and oh so true. I can’t believe I was all out of hope this morning and now I’m feeling better thank you so very much. Dane

    P.S. Do You believe everything happens for a reason?

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    • Yes. There is much synchronicity in our lives. We open ourselves to the real reasons behind everything when we choose to answer all of our “Why me?” questions with two different questions: “What knowledge and self-awareness has this experience brought to me and how can I use what I’ve learned to grow, transform, and share with others?” 🙂 ❤

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  15. In any relationship good or bad the two people always pick up certain beliefs and other opinions.That’s normal. As long as one person does not lose their own identity completely. I constantly question myself on everything I do. Some may say I’m too introspective. Some people tell me I think too much. All I can say is the crazy making manipulation and lies can make a person crazy but does not make a compassionate person a sociopath. In the beginning I was to believe we had each others back…but in reality only I had his back. My Love for this person was in truth his love for me was a lie a lie I lived I don’t have a thought process on how to get over on people…You break a heart honestly or you torture a soul dishonestly by playing with someones mind your messing with their life because not all people are strong enough to endure such cruel head games…it makes one second guess everything they know and who they are as a person. As far as the new person in his life I must admit I do get jealous at times thinking I wasn’t good enough or my love wasn’t enough and If only I could have been the one he changed for, to me that’s a great love. And the anger arises knowing he’s happy and moved on and I’m for the worse knowing him and he threw me away with no apologies no regret no compassion for me. The wasted time really pisses me off because he played a game with my life and it doesn’t seem right that he could destroy my hopes and dreams while his come true and he wouldn’t even be where he is if it wasn’t for me helping him. But the new person I don’t consider a sociopath or a victim according to him he loves her even though he has been unfaithful to her and to me the first year and half they have been together. Basically I do not believe he has truly changed because in my heart a person has truly changed would make amends with the one before the new one. I don’t know if this makes any sense I don’t seem to be making much sense these days. Hope I wasn’t too confusing…thanks for listening. Have a great day. Dane

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    • You make perfect sense, Dane. The pangs of not being good enough when we see the sociopath SEEMINGLY moving on and being happy are normal! We all, at some point, measure ourselves against others, but you can’t keep doing it. It’s taking away your worth and value. He hasn’t changed. He’s no more in love with her than he was with you. She’s not better than you. But she’s got something you didn’t; yes, it’s true. But it’s not a bigger heart or a more understanding disposition. She has something material and tangible that you didn’t have like money, a younger or more toned body, a trust fund, a business…all insignificant THINGS that do not make real people connect to each other on a deep level. The bond he shares with her is just as superficial as the one he shared with you. And she is clueless! And why would you feel inadequate against his material needs and obsessions?

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  16. Spot on! My abuser partnered back up with his psychopath mother…together they strip other kind hearted people of their resources….

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    • Have you ever seen “Grifters” with John Cusack and Angelica Houston? Great example of how they eventually destroy each other.

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    • Thanks…never heard of it…I’ll watch it😄

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    • AoA….you described my ex. I hate using the word ‘my’ as I want zero relationship associated with him….. He & his mother are for sure cut of the same cloth, and when I finally got away, retained my clarity, i could recall countess of conversations where he & his mother said pretty much the same thing about a person/place/thing. Made me wonder…who started the delusional train wreck. Great great post Paula!!

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    • My ex phycopath partnered up with the golden child, his daughter, after he left me on my birthday. They are just as evil as each other – the son of his was ignored, blamed. The mother of the girl went against his wife beliving he didn’nt rape the mother……he did. Not seen her mother in 15 years due to his lies. They are Monsters…….both him and the golden girl. She has just left her lovely husband without reason and no closure. She in love with her father and him with her – wierd relationship.
      She came first in our relationship. Maybe incest. Who know’s/ They derserve each other.

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    • They twist an unbelievable web of lies. Left you on your birthday😁 mine left on Christmas Eve…they seem to have a natural desire to ruin special days. It is sickening how they lock up into incestual relationships…they have no respect for boundaries, and they don’t see past their own noses!

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