Outside of the obvious (lack of conscience, remorse and the ability to experience affective empathy), the biggest difference between sociopaths and the rest of us is their immediate need for pity and sympathy in the aftermath of their abuse against others.
Sociopaths jump on the “victim bandwagon” long before their victims figure out they are victims.
While the real victims spend months and years ashamed and in the fog of victim denial, sociopaths immediately start looking for sympathy, validation and support by declaring themselves VICTIMS!
Sociopaths quickly find a willing audience (generally a new victim or existing minions and family members) and repeatedly say things like, “Can you believe she made me do that? He deserves what he’s experiencing. It wouldn’t have happened if she had just listened to me in the first place. What a cruel and mean thing he did. She is so sick. He has no idea what a great friend in me he lost. She’ll never find anyone who is willing to help her the way I tried to help her. I doubt he will ever learn. She’s so pathetic.”
Those listening to the crying and distraught sociopath intensely spewing his/her unbelievable story of abuse with the air of saintly tolerance and feigned concern through a flood of crocodile tears, imagine that the sociopath must have been attacked by some type of human monster. The sociopath’s audience quickly and instantly judge the source of the sociopath’s “pain” as a person who is cruel and hateful.
Unfortunately, these people, the sociopath’s source of supply and validation for his/her shitty behavior, have no idea that it’s the sociopath before them seeking their pity who is the monster.
Sociopaths have a knack for playing the victim expertly and feel deeply that the only reason they “had to do what they did” to their victim is because their victim somehow abused the sociopath first.
To the sociopath, abuse is perceived very differently than how the rest of us perceive abuse.
An abuse against the sociopath means someone in their sphere of influence–their current intimate partner, business partner, best friend or family member–directly assaulted the sociopath’s existence through that person’s indirect actions and/or words.
Actions sociopaths associate as direct abuse against them include:
When someone questions, opposes, or debates the sociopath; exerts their free will and free thinking in any given situation; seeks assistance from anyone other than the sociopath; makes decisions without first consulting the sociopath; succeeds in efforts not first approved by the sociopath; receives more attention or recognition from mutual acquaintances than the sociopath; and/or looks or feels happier than the sociopath.
To the sociopath, these are direct affronts to the sociopath’s sense of security and identity. These “abuses” put the sociopath on the peripheral of a person’s life and not at the center of it, and sociopaths just HATE feeling like they are not the absolute center of their victim’s world.
When the sociopath feels this way, the sociopath is convinced he/she has been victimized by an uncaring and heartless monster. And there is always a willing audience to listen to and support the sociopath cry about injustices against him/her.
Is it because people like drama? Or does it have something to do with the sociopath testing his audience’s moral code and human decency in the moment?
I think it’s the later.
While the sociopath spews about the cruel and hateful assaults against him/her, it would be cruel and hateful for the sociopath’s audience of supporters to look upon the sociopath as a liar, don’t you think?
And that is exactly what the sociopath counts on and uses to his/her advantage in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the toxic relationship.
“It’s all her fault! All I did was love her and she left me! She is so cruel and sick and doesn’t appreciate a good man when he’s standing before her.”
Blah, blah, boo, hoo. It’s amazing how shameless they are in their quest for pity.
Sociopaths sound more like insecure and self-loathing toddlers frustrated because their mother turned her back to tend to a sibling or to dinner or to someone, anyone, who is not the out-of-control and selfish sociopath.
But the sociopath’s audience somehow fails to see the monster behind the mask and instead believes it’s looking at a person, the sociopath, who tried so hard to be loved and was rejected and abandoned by a hateful and mentally ill abuser not worthy of the sociopath’s gift of enlightenment and righteousness.
(Note to any sociopath reading this: The above sentence was written using the literary devices called sarcasm and irony. I know neither are easy for you to recognize and wanted to make it clear in case you take the message literally and as a compliment. Sorry. That’s not what it is at all.)
So by the time the REAL victim comes forward months and/or years later to dispute the sociopath’s claims and/or detail what REALLY happened, everyone who supports the sociopath and who heard the sociopath’s early claims of abuse look upon the REAL victim as the abusive liar the sociopath successfully triangulated and manipulated them into believing she was. Sociopath supporters are blindly unwavering in support of the sociopath.
“I can’t believe anyone would accuse [insert name of sociopath] of such actions. He’s such a good and decent person. He’s done so much for [insert name of community]’s cause. I can’t believe anyone could accuse a person who has been through so much of such a horrendous act. Only someone mentally ill could accuse such a good person of THAT!”
We see this injustice repeat across all crimes of abuse, rape and fraud. We watch victim after victim on the news who come forward years after they were molested or raped being denied credibility. They are denied credibility because people who haven’t been abused assume REAL victims wouldn’t wait so long to report such offenses, which speaks to the collective cluelessness of society when it comes to identifying REAL victims. Tragically, even law enforcement, attorneys, social workers, psychiatrists, judges and juries are included in this collective ignorance.
The first thing that should be clear to those who are clueless is that REAL victims don’t even identify with victimhood until physical and emotional symptoms begin manifesting in their lives. Even then, many victims refuse to believe that their anxiety, addiction, depression, loss of hope, or physical handicap is a result of being a victim of abuse, a result of post-traumatic stress.
Victims/survivors of sociopath abuse struggle with accepting we were/are victims in the first place, and question whether or not we asked for our suffering, because victims of abuse believe it IS their fault and don’t seek to blame and/or point fingers at others, alone and definitely not in front of an audience.
But sociopaths, on the other hand, are thrilled to gain the pity from others and immediately declare themselves victims. With full and unwavering support from their unsuspecting new group of patsies, sociopaths are able to nurture a dangerous sense of self-empowerment, delusions and entitlement.
Suddenly, as if by magic, the poor abused sociopath is “over” the “suffering” he/she unfairly endured. Until, of course, his/her current group of so-called friends starts questioning, calling out, or ignoring the sociopath’s righteous and “expert” advice, and the pity party and crazy-making cycle grows and festers with new victims and new accusations.
So we must question those who attempt to infiltrate themselves into our world who seem so “unlucky” in life and have a history of jumping or being “pushed” from group to group, relationship to relationship, cause to cause.
Instead of blindly inviting these “strays” into our communities, we need to protect ourselves and our friends and ask these people directly: “Why do you think you keep losing people in your life?”
What’s the “right” or “wrong” answer to this question? I think everyone finally knows how to sense and discern between a sociopath’s disingenuous answer and a non-sociopath’s genuine response to the question. Besides, I don’t want to detail a correct or a wrong answer just so sociopaths can steal our knowledge and put it in their “mask of sanity” toolkit.
It’s fair to say that we know how to look into a person’s eyes, feel their energy (good and bad) and know if the fool is a fool. After all, we were fooled before, right? So now that we’re experienced with being duped once, we know immediately when it’s standing before attempting to dupe us again. The only thing that might be different is the costume. We won’t fall for it’s bait. We are confident and trust ourselves now, right? 🙂