Ending a relationship with a sociopath is not a normal break-up.
Sociopaths (people who could be diagnosed with antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic or psychopathic personality disorders) do not pursue romantic relationships in search of mutual love and companionship. They are looking for someone to use in some way — such as for money, sex, or to siphon off your emotional energy.
Therefore, when you end a relationship with a sociopath, you can’t get together, hug, cry and wish each other well, as you might with a normal person. When leaving a sociopath, you need to be strategic. Here are 10 mistakes to avoid:
- Thinking you can still be friends
You may still be cordial — even close — with past romantic partners. This doesn’t work with sociopaths. If you have any contact at all, the sociopath will attempt to reel you back in and exploit you again. You need to get the person out of your life — completely and permanently.
- Getting together in person to break up
Yes, the polite way to end a relationship is for everyone to have closure. But sociopaths don’t care about closure — they care about maintaining control over you. When you’re leaving a sociopath, breaking up by text — or even ghosting — is acceptable. Don’t seek closure from your partner. Give it to yourself.
- Believing that the sociopath can or will change
Remember — sociopaths are fundamentally different from the rest of us. Once they are adults, no therapy or rehabilitation will cure their disorder. Therefore, don’t fall for their pleading or promises. No matter what they say, they cannot permanently change. You need to accept that and act accordingly.
- Feeling responsible for the sociopath’s behavior
After abusive behavior, the sociopath may have said, “I did that because you (insert supposed offense here)” — blaming his or her behavior on you. Don’t believe it. You are not responsible for the sociopath’s actions.
- Staying to prevent the sociopath from committing suicide
If the sociopath you’re breaking up with threatens suicide, he or she is either serious, or trying to make you feel guilty so that you don’t leave. Either way, the best thing you can do is call 911. If the person is serious, let the professionals deal with it. If the person is not serious, you have called the bluff.
- Failing to protect your physical safety
Unfortunately, some sociopaths are vindictive and violent. When someone is physically abusive, the most dangerous time for you is when you are leaving the relationship. The sociopath may fly into a rage and do the unthinkable. If you have ever seen the sociopath engage in violence, whether towards people, animals or property, take precautions.
- Failing to lock down your finances
When sociopaths have access to your financial accounts or records, they may steal your money, run up your credit cards or steal you identity and open accounts in your name. The first thing you should do when you leave a sociopath is run a credit check on yourself.
- Failing to lock down your electronics
If sociopaths have had access to your cell phone, computers, and other devices, they may install spyware to monitor your communications, or key loggers to steal your passwords. These can be very difficult to detect and eradicate. You may need to get all new devices.
- Failing to understand the smear campaign
Long before you knew there were any problems in your relationship, the sociopath may have started undermining you. They often lie about you to your friends, family or even employers, accusing you of doing drugs, cheating, or being mentally ill. The objective is to ruin your support network, so that when you seek help and validation, no one believes you.
- Underestimating the sociopathic desire for revenge
Many sociopaths (especially narcissists, antisocials, borderlines and psychopaths) view romantic rejection as a “narcissistic injury” — a totally unacceptable affront to their egos. They may decide that the person who caused the injury (you) must be punished. If you think this may happen, plan your exit very carefully.
Leaving a sociopath can be tricky — you may need to plan carefully. For a deeper understanding of these and other issues, and for practical advice on leaving a sociopath from Lovefraud experts, check out this webinar series: