The biggest reason why we get tangled up with sociopaths is because we don’t know they exist. We don’t know they live among us, so we don’t watch out for them, so we get in trouble.
Then, when we try to tell our friends and families what happened, they have no idea what we’re talking about — because they don’t know sociopaths exist either. So on top of the devastation we endure from the sociopath, when we turn to others for support, we are not understood or even believed.
If you’re trying to explain your experience with a sociopath, here are some facts to help you put your story in context:
1 . Approximately 40 million people in the United States — 12% of women and 16% of men — could be diagnosed with exploitative personality disorders. The specific diagnoses are antisocial, narcissistic, or borderline personality disorder, or psychopathy. (For convenience, Lovefraud refers to them collectively as “sociopaths.”)
2. Despite what you see in the media and movies, sociopaths and psychopaths are not all serial killers. Most of them never kill anyone — in fact, many are never even convicted of any crimes.
3. Sociopaths can be found in all demographic groups — male, female, old, young, rich, poor, all nationalities, all races, all professions. They are everywhere.
4. Sociopaths look just like the rest of us — some are handsome, some are homely. They do not look like they’re crazy. They easily blend into society.
5. Although most people understand the word “antisocial” to mean someone is a loner with no social skills, people who have antisocial personality disorder are often friendly, charming, gregarious and fun. The mental health field chose bad terminology — no wonder we’re all confused.
6. Sociopaths are skilled liars. They are so good at deception and manipulation that anyone can fall for their lies. They can fool cops and psychologists, so the rest of us don’t have a chance.
7. Sociopaths do not have the ability to love — this is the core of the disorder. They literally do not feel love the way the rest of us do, in that they will never put the welfare of someone else before their own — not even the welfare of their children. If they do appear concerned about your welfare, it is an act so that they can exploit you later.
8. Sociopaths feel entitled to get what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Sociopaths also have no empathy and no conscience. Taken together, this means they will do absolutely anything to get what they want, and don’t care who they hurt in the process.
9. A key way that sociopaths manipulate others is by trying to make you feel sorry for them. They tell sad stories about their problems and the people who hurt them, all with the objective of convincing you to give them what they want.
10. Sociopaths are profoundly different from the rest of us. They love being the puppet master, and are motivated only by power and control. But because of the way most of us have grown up, believing that “we’re all created equal” and “there’s good in everyone,” we are susceptible to sociopathic deceit and manipulation.