Do you suspect that you are dating a Sociopath?
We often hear the term ‘’Sociopath’’ and most people tend to imagine a serial killer, a violent individual, someone that looks like a criminal and has had many encounters with the legal system from transgressing the law. However, you would be surprised to know that recent research shows that 1 out of 25 people are sociopaths and they are much harder to spot than you actually imagine. Research shows that most sociopaths are found in higher positions in the corporate world, in fact the chosen position for a sociopath is the CEO position. They don’t usually achieve it through merit but due to their machiavellic nature that believes that ‘’the end justifies the means’, their strong ability to manipulate people in order to achieve what they want, their strong desire for winning, power and money.
Welcome to the Sociopath world, a world full of charm, confidence, manipulations, compulsive lying, no empathy, strong desire for winning, power, cost-benefit analysis and pure grandiosity.
How to Spot a Sociopath
I have always been fascinated by understanding Sociopaths because their persona is most probably the most difficult to understand, in fact there is no cure for sociopathy, so if you found that your partner is a sociopath you may be assured that he will remain a sociopath whether or not he promises to change. Even if he manages to incorporate a ‘’changed persona’’ for a little while, it does not last and in no time, they will go back to their standard behaviour. Compulsive lying and manipulating people is a lot easier for sociopaths than being real, and just like an alcoholic would impulsively drink, the sociopath has a strong impulse to manipulate people and telling lies.
The reason why I am writing this article is with the aim to bring awareness to people in order to help them to be able to identify one and reduce the chances of being manipulated by one and become a victim of one like many did. These personas are so well acted that they can basically become anything they wish to become with such confidence that it would never cross your mind that the persona that you are dealing with is basically a fake identity. They are very intelligent individuals, creative, their confidence levels are very high, they believe in their own lies and therefore it is very easy to become a victim of one. Unfortunately, it does not take very long until their mask falls off and people start to realise that they are in fact con artists therefore they find it very difficult to maintain their relationships and their jobs.
Okay, at this point you may have probably thought of someone that you might think is a sociopath or indeed you might have thought of yourself. Okay, before we jump to strong conclusions let’s take a look at the different characteristics to look out for:
1. Lack of conscience or empathy.
Sociopaths are not very good at putting themselves in someone else’s shoes nor to feel sympathy for others. They normally lack on emotions such as guilt, remorse, sympathy and pity. Whereas most people would say ‘’Think before you act’’ their motto is ‘’act first and think later’’. This means that they are highly impulsive and tend to respond to their emotions without putting any thought to it. This may be very dangerous if the person has violent tendencies as it may lead to violent behaviour if any strong negative emotion is triggered. However, regardless of their actions they DO NOT feel remorse for their actions and they tend to be very cold hearted. A sociopath once told me:
‘’Many times, I think that I do not have emotions’’
2. They also lack emotions in response to events and their capacity to love is very limited.
When they do appear to be in love and act accordingly it is normally as a means to achieve what they want. They can become the most loving creatures on earth and the best lovers you can ever have; they study your behaviour in detail and listen to your weaknesses, your needs, what you are looking for and they become exactly it, so well-acted that you start to believe that you have found your soulmate.
He will tell you that he loves you very early in the relationship, how he waited for you his whole life, and isn’t it amazing that the two of you are exactly the same, love the same things and complement each other? On top of that, you met each other at the perfect time in your lives which reinforces the idea that you are meant for each other and always have been. You would never imagine that you are in fact dealing with a con artist. Con artist stands for confident artist and their high success rate in the manipulation of others through the different tools they use is mainly due to their high confidence levels.
I once asked a sociopath if he ever suffered from any break up in his life and his response was:
‘’No, I have never suffered from leaving any of my relationships, not sure why? Probably because I was the one messing things up’’
3. Sociopaths are very attentive and they love to lure their victims when they can sense vulnerability.
On of the most important features a sociopath has is the need to gain control, and if he had met you and comes to the realization that you do have what he wants you may become a victim of "Love Bombing" which is a technique they use to make you flattered by overwhelming you with constant texts, phone calls, emails, social media comments, spend excessive time with you which at first makes you feel on a pedestal, he literally makes you believe that in such a short period of time he fell totally in love with you. Everything may feel like a dream or a movie and later on you realise that it was indeed fiction.
Dating a sociopath feels like eating a very delicious cake without realising that there is poison inside whereas dating a normal person feels like eating a piece of fruit. It is not amazing; however, it is real, constant and follows the natural process of a healthy relationship which takes time to build.
So, he already assessed you, he knows exactly what you want to hear, he starts mirroring you and starts gaining full control over you and through the excessive communication you may find that it starts interfering with your other activities, with other relationships you have and all of a sudden you find that he is also gaining your full attention to focus on him only.
A recent case of a relationship with a sociopath, he had told her partner that he tends to suffer from severe panic attacks that are mostly predominant when he is alone as he cannot be alone with his own mind, negative thoughts come to his mind and he literally feels that he might go crazy and starts panicking. As a result, every time she had to go somewhere the partner would immediately start experiencing the symptoms of the panic attacks and therefore she had to do everything in a rush as she needs to stay with him to calm him down from the panic attacks. While she was away the shower of messages were non-stop, too much love and attention which would literally give her no time to focus on other things except for him.
Why Love Bombing?
Through love bombing the sociopath does not give the partner time to think about the situation nor to spend with others, it isolates the partner, it intensifies the relationship in a short period by making it move extremely quickly.
On the abovementioned case, the love bombing was so excessive and calculated, he did a fantastic job in mirroring her partner to the point that two weeks later after getting to know each other they were both ready to get married. They were positive about the decision and planned the wedding for 4 months later. There was an underlying need to rush into the decision, he was suffering from too much unexplained anxiety as he was aware that the mask may fall down at any time.
He moves so quickly and deep into the relationship and within a few weeks he had already moved in with her, think about it, since everything is so perfect with them, and they will indeed get married why not settled down at her house? In fact, he complements her, they get along so well, he helps out with so many things, he might as well.
All of a sudden, his car broke down, the parts are only available overseas and are highly expensive, meaning that all of a sudden, he has no car and started using her car and referring to all her belongings as ‘’ours’’, by that time they have realized that they were soulmates and they are ‘One’ and therefore everything becomes ‘ours’, he now had full control over her and her things.
As the time goes by she starts to realize that he had little to no friends, the jobs he said he was working at do not exist and in fact he does not have a job, the entire situation had been manipulated, she had indeed been trapped into a calculated situation full of lies. She finds out every story he shared about his past, the number of kids he has, where he lived, where he worked, where his family is, his day-to-day, life everything was simply fiction.
The love bombing basically did not give her anytime to fully analyse the circumstances however, as she starts realising these things he had already gained full control and ‘ownership’ of her and her belongings, he was now over possessive, threatened her that he would never allow her to leave him and that he would be capable of killing her or trying to sabotage her in the society if she ever considers leaving him. By that time, he was trying to create fear over her and she was basically stuck in the situation for a while until she gradually moved away from him until she got the courage to ask him to leave.
4. Narcissism, Grandiose Self-image and superficial charm.
In which they think that they are superior to others, they feel strong admiration for themselves, their looks and they are very charming. In fact, they use the charm to manipulate their victims and mimic emotions of others.
In order to show emotions, they try to look like they are crying and if they are lucky they manage to get two tears down their face.
5. Sensitive to criticism.
You may notice that they totally dislike being criticized, they will easily play the victim even if it involves lies in the process as they are constantly looking for approval from others.
They would literally prefer to run away from a problem, changing topics or to become aggressive as opposed to listening to criticisms.
You would notice that once their mask falls off and you are fully aware of their lies, once you try to confront them they will shower you with even more lies, they will find ways to blame other people or you for their behaviour to make you believe that their behaviour was conditioned and justified, they will minimize the severity of the problem to zero and find all the tactics and ways to escape from it. They may also escape by moving away from you and find another vulnerable victim that will feed their ego instead. Remember that it is all about them, all about their ego and making them feel superior and special.
6. Poor judgment and failure to learn by experiences.
Earlier on the article I did mention that there is basically no cure for sociopaths. Yes, no cure. This means that they will continue making the same mistakes and maintaining the same behaviour regardless of how many times their mask falls off. They will move to the next target and implement the exact same tactics they used on the previous targets. They lack remorse, shame, they have an unreliable nature, lack of insight, general poverty in major affective reactions and failure to follow any life plan.
7. Paranoid and compulsive lying, their lack of understanding of emotions and lack of trust to people make them very vulnerable to paranoia and excessive control.
In a relationship with a sociopath, you will notice that they want full control of your behaviour and constantly checking on you. They become paranoid over small things such us, if you are on the phone for a while, and they are trying to contact you, they might quickly jump to suspicious conclusions and together with their impulsive nature they may easily snap with you. Once you finish your call you may just find an angry message from them suspecting that you were cheating on them over the phone for example.
Compulsive lying is part of their second nature as it is part of their philosophy that the means justify the end. If confronted with lies they will easily justify their lies with more lies and in the process, they will find a way to play the victim and you might just find yourself apologising to them without realising that the game has been reversed and all of a sudden you are on the wrong.
8. Promiscuous behaviour.
You will find that most sociopaths tend to get involved in numerous relationships, they are capable of maintaining several relationships at the same time, they do not discriminate between partners and can easily move from one relationship to the other without going through the expected sadness/suffering that the average person would go through.
A sociopath once shared with me that we opened a broadcast list on WhatsApp with plenty of women and every morning he would send a sweet good morning message, or any other sweet message based on the occasion to all of them at the same time. This means that the woman may feel special and believe that he actively thought of her in the morning and sent her the cute message, but the reality is that she is simply one among many others. They will use their tactics everywhere and continue to lure them until one of them softens up and may well become the next victim.
Due to the fact that sociopaths lack the feelings of ‘’shame’’, it makes it easier for them to literally try every single woman as they do not fear rejection and taking risks in seducing most women automatically increases their chances of scoring in comparison to the regular man.
You will find them to have the tendency to have a parasitic lifestyle and you may easily find yourself supporting them financially and in other aspects; they manage to manipulate you to the extent that they become the core and centre of your life. You find yourself living to fulfil their needs and without realising you slack in all other aspects of your life. You will notice that they lack the ability to honour their commitments, you will notice that they are unreliable any many ways, they tend to not respect the boundaries imposed by others and focus on their self-needs only.
As a mentioned above, when you meet them they may tell you about their achievements, work history and current employments and with time you may come to the realisation that it was all fictitious and that their past and present moment is a lot less interesting than what they have portrayed and they are basically unemployed.
10. Juvenile delinquency.
Even though sociopaths do not have to necessarily be aggressive you may find that in their teens there was probably history of aggression, antagonism, ruthless tough mindedness and manipulation.
They may share stories about fights that they have been involved in which may be shared in a distorted manner, you may notice that they have certain scars or abnormalities on their bodies that the explanation they give you does not appear very clear.
Above are some of the main features that you can look for to determine on whether you are dating a sociopath or to be able to spot one. These are overall characteristics and a full diagnosis by a clinical psychologist based on the DSM criteria needs to be done in order to fully confirm the diagnosis.
If you do realise that you have been a victim of a sociopath tactics and love bombing you may have the tendency to experience guilt and shame. However, you have simply been a victim among many others of a creative, intelligent, manipulative confident artist. Everything was premeditated, and they made sure to lure you in your most vulnerable state. They are so good at that that it makes you believe that you are living a dream as it is so perfect. They prey on very intelligent people and some may say that they tend to be easier to manipulate. The most important thing at the moment is that you are now aware and you can take measures to free yourself, overcome yourself from the toxic relationship and move towards living a happier life.