Synchronicity and Cognitive Bias: Why we suddenly start seeing sociopaths everywhere!

The following is featured in my newsletter – volume 1, issue 3.


There is a natural phenomenon that occurs once we experience or learn something new — we suddenly start seeing repeated glimpses of and frequent allusions to the experience and what we learned from it everywhere.

Many refer to such experiences as coincidences, synchronicity, Baader-Meinhof occurrences, selective attention, or the recency effect.

And we have all experienced this phenomenon:

Remember when you first started to learn how to read and suddenly, as if by magic, words and letters started floating past you everywhere you looked? The stop signs, cereal boxes, and magazines were always there. They simply didn’t interest you before you learned what the symbols meant.

Or you buy a red car and suddenly you start noticing everyone seems to be driving a red car, too?

Or you think about changing your diet, and suddenly you feel like you are getting bombarded by news related to the importance of diet and nutrition.

Even the content of this newsletter could be an example of a startling coincidence for you today, in this moment.

Whatever you call it, it happens a lot in healing and recovery:

We become absorbed in the subject matter and develop a cognitive bias for sociopath awareness and education, and begin to see sociopaths EVERYWHERE!

It’s not like the sociopaths weren’t always there, and we’re suddenly manifesting them due to some type of paranoia. Nor are we sociopath or narcissist magnets who somehow attracted these types of people into our lives. Everyone is surrounded by the 1 in 25 among us. Everyone. We are now the lucky ones who can identify and “sense” them better than others, better than we could before.

Like that line from “Sixth Sense,” we really can see (sense) dead people (sociopaths) now.

We couldn’t before, because how would we know to refer to something as some “thing” if we did not have the knowledge that that some “thing” existed?

Before we learned about sociopathy, we applied what we already knew about ourselves and relationships to the abuser and the toxic relationship. We defined the sociopath in terms of ourselves and the familiar, which is why we failed to understand the sociopath for what he/she was/is.

However, once we became educated and learned about sociopaths and finally understood the dynamics behind why our specific relationship was toxic, we experienced freedom and relief and thoughtfully came to the conclusion that sociopathy awareness might explain other failed relationships from our past and in the present.

So we began the practice of using this new tool of sociopathy awareness and applied it to other situations and relationships as they happened or were remembered from our past.

Many of us, after much time and reflection, determine that our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, long-time friends, co-workers, or even the coffeehouse barista we never liked are sociopaths or, at the very least, highly narcissistic.

But sometimes we were/are not always right in our conclusions of people, and our awareness is on overdrive and acts unfairly and labels individuals a little prematurely. We witness a person doing or saying something that is rude or selfish, and we immediately jump to a conclusion and say to ourselves, “Bam! She’s a narc! I know it!” In our hastiness to judge, we fail to remember that we all possess narcissistic tendencies to a degree depending on the circumstances, our age and maturity level, and our awareness of self.

For example, teenagers are all highly narcissistic. All of them, even the quiet and unassuming ones. It’s unfair and unwise to label teenagers as having personality disorders considering a teenager’s brain has not fully developed nor have teenagers figured out their identity in the first place. Most selfish and disrespectful teenagers spend the majority of the time failing at relationships, romantic and platonic, and become deprogrammed over time to behave better. Being a teenager is a rite of passage into adulthood and a painful time of trial and error. It’s those among us who emerge from their teens and early 20s with that primal brain still undeveloped that we must learn to spot and discern.

Awareness of sociopath abuse, psychopaths, and other pathological types opens up new ways of looking at and dissecting our current, past, and future relationships. We can use the tools to improve ourselves and how we interact with others, and we can also use the tools to determine who is worth the hard work it takes to establish and foster healthy relationships moving forward.

What we learn today impacts how we dissect, deconstruct, and digest our environment and the world moving forward. There is no denying that we will continue to see patterns, coincidences, and red flags of behavior that will immediately lead us to ask, “Could that person be what I think she is?”

The key to forming conclusions about others that are more right than wrong is to continue practicing and applying what you learn about sociopath awareness and to continue nurturing and fostering your intuition.

Namaste!
~Paula

The so-called experts need to pay more attention to victims of sociopath abuse

I love when psychoanalysts contact me to personally warn me that diagnosing people based on criteria is dangerous and careless without proper licensing and credentials.

I’d like to respond with a big fat, “No shit, assholes,” but I’m trying to be more controlled and understanding these days.

First, I am not suggesting that anyone diagnose anyone as a sociopath. I encourage everyone to understand how to spot sociopaths by their behavior.

Second, learning to spot the warning signs, in the moment or in hindsight, is not careless or dangerous. It’s mindful and essential to our growing awareness of ourselves and the environments in which we live and work.

Third, if the majority of psychoanalysts were accurately diagnosing victims and survivors and pinpointing the source of our trauma, none of us would be forced to take action on our own through self-study, research, and finding our own solutions to heal in order to determine that the monster responsible for our trauma was someone we once thought loved us.

The so-called experts need to start listening to those of us who have actually experienced what a sociopath is before any real help can be provided to us through psychotherapy.

The so-called experts need to pay attention and consider what we have to say, not attempt to shut us down with shame and blame and finger-pointing. We’re sick of that dismissive attitude. It’s harming and destructive.

This is how I feel today: For over 3 years, I wasted $200/month on psychotherapy! Psychotherapy did absolutely nothing to stop my nightmares or to bring me understanding. Psychotherapy actually hindered my recovery in many ways.

Writing my story and learning from other survivors’ stories guided me to where I am today…among other very important practices.

Namaste!
~Paula

In the Aftermath of Sociopathic Abuse: Discovering Your Healing Plan and Transformational Powers

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You were victimized. You’re tired. You feel damaged. You’d rather sleep than jump out of bed and enjoy your day.

What’s there to enjoy, right?

You feel ashamed. You feel depressed. Some of us even feel bipolar and/or borderline.

You have exhausted all of your inner resources. You can’t seem to snap out of this indifferent state of being.

And because you keep reading websites and books, you’re convinced you suffer from PTSD and are depressed or bipolar or borderline.

So you contemplate visiting a doctor whose job it is to diagnose you in order to fix you.

You think if you get that diagnosis, you can be prescribed that pill that can fix you.

(Really? You think a doctor who doesn’t know you can figure you out in a single session, prescribe you a medication and then you’re magically fixed? Does that ever work?)

For many of us, the diagnosis, the label placed upon us by our doctor, can often be our downfall. We initially think getting labeled will relieve us and that taking that pill will get us through our day.

I think the opposite is true. I think being labeled can destroy our psyche even more. I think in our search for empowerment, we become even more disempowered and dependent, because once the diagnoses hits our ears, fear sets in. Receiving the diagnosis and prescription can act as triggers in many cases.

So what do we do? We need to know what’s keeping us stuck and how we can get unstuck. We desperately want answers and a solution to our pain.

I think it’s as simple as changing our expectations and accepting that the diagnosis, whatever you discover it to be, is temporary.

We must stop relying solely on what that first doctor tells us and what that first doctor prescribed.

We must stop defining ourselves using the diagnosis as a mental crutch:

>>You aren’t anxiety; you suffer from feelings of anxiety.

>>You aren’t depression; you suffer from feelings of depression.

>>You aren’t PTSD; you suffer from symptoms of PTSD.

None of these diagnoses are permanent, and there are many alternatives to taking prescription medicine.

So first and foremost, don’t just go to any psychiatrist or family doctor. If you can, find a doctor or counselor who specialized in trauma as a result of relational harm and/or domestic violence situations.

And unless you absolutely can not perform simple daily tasks, reject the prescription. (You CAN do that!) Instead, ask your doctor for alternatives to medication. Ask your doctor about holistic approaches to treating your depression and your PTSD triggers.

Your doctor may be clueless! If your doctor is clueless, ask for a referral. But great doctors who are being continually educated on treatment methods and approaches will be thrilled that you’re open to something unconventional.

Search for holistic health centers or integrative medicine clinics or programs in your area.

If you take a medication that makes you feel numb, fuzzy and not yourself, talk to your doctor about the possibility of coming off the medication while simultaneously trying something more natural or holistic as a counter balance.

You may discover that simple changes to your diet, cutting out alcohol, experimenting with various forms of exercise or changing jobs can have an enormous, positive effect on your emotional health.

(Yoga and meditation have done wonders for me. Maybe Pilates or running or kayaking is your thing. Experiment!)

We are all very different and require varying degrees of care and attention. Some of us have many, many years of untreated trauma to wade through and medication is often necessary for the short term. It is!! Absolutely, it is.

But remember that this is your body, your mind and your future. When you feel like something isn’t working for you, tell your doctor. Don’t be afraid or intimidated to ask, “What else can I do to regain my emotional health?”

And don’t be afraid or intimidated to shop for a new doctor.

You’re not damaged; you’re temporarily broken. But with an open mind, a conscious effort and doctors and/or counselors you trust, you really can heal and become transformed.

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://piccsy.com/mobile/2012/06/picc-iqf6yoyt6)

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