By | January 14, 2019 6 Comments

29 excuses that sabotage our instincts about sociopaths

Almost all of us have an instinctive warning that something is terribly wrong early in an involvement with a sociopath (antisocial, narcissist, borderline, histrionic, psychopath). Almost all of us ignore the warning.

Last week I wrote about the physical symptoms that we often feel in 8 ways your body warns you about sociopaths. I included fear, chills, difficulty breathing, crying, pounding heart, upset stomach, nightmares and a nagging feeling. The post was widely shared, and several Lovefraud readers added more physical warning signs: immobilizing exhaustion, poor appetite, nervous tension, tiredness, cloudy thinking, vague upset, tightness in the chest.

When we’re involved with a predator, our bodies desperately try to get out attention to warn us of the danger. Unfortunately, our minds override our instincts, even when the disordered individual is engaging in damaging or hurtful behavior.

Our partner does something mean or selfish. Or our partner acts coldly towards us. Or we catch the individual in a lie, or suspect that he/she is cheating. But instead of recognizing the behavior as a potential deal-breaker, we explain it away.

Suppressing our instincts

Here are some of the stories and excuses that we tell ourselves to let our callous partners off the hook:

1. I must have misunderstood.

2. We all have our issues.

3. He/she really does love me.

4. I’m sure he/she didn’t mean it.

5. He/she has been through so much (not knowing the stories are lies).

6. It must be true — no one would lie about something like that.

7. Everyone deserves a second chance.

8. I don’t have any proof that he/she really did it (when suspecting bad behavior).

9. I’m going to give the unconditional love he/she has never had.

10. I’ve been hurt before and I’m just afraid that I’ll be hurt again.

11. I’ll prove that I’m different (after stories about the individual’s exes).

12. He/she would never intentionally hurt me.

13. We just got our wires crossed.

14. I want to make my own decision (after warnings from other people).

15. I don’t want to be judgmental.

16. He/she is stressed out.

17. I’m being paranoid.

18. If I bring up my concerns I’ll upset him/her.

19. When I asked why it happened he/she had a plausible explanation.

20. I should always give the benefit of the doubt.

21. There’s good in everyone.

22. He/she is just having a bad day.

23. I feel scared, but there’s no reason for it, so I must be overreacting.

24. He/she is being so sweet to me — I feel bad for doubting him/her.

25. The last time I brought up an issue he/she was so hurt that I ended up apologizing.

26. I will not abandon him/her like everyone else did.

27. He/she is doing such important work (after stories of the individual working for the FBI, CIA, etc.).

28. I just need to soothe the wounded child inside him/her.

29. I cannot base my judgment on a mere gut feeling.

Act on your instincts

Actually, yes, you can base your judgment on your gut feelings. Your personal relationship is not a court of law, and you do not need proof beyond a reasonable doubt when deciding whether or not to keep going with a romantic partner. If you get any intuitive hits at all, pay close attention.

In fact, that’s the best way to protect yourself. You should not only listen to your instincts, but you should act on them. When your body is telling you that something is dreadfully wrong, don’t let the wishful thinking of your mind overrule it.

When you were involved with a sociopath, did you talk yourself out of listening to your instincts? To help others, please share your experience below.


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I find it has been so easy for me to justify/explain away my husbands poor behavior….namely bc I compare his actions to myself and think….I would never do that so it mustn’t be true. How wrong I have been! After recently concluding my husband is a narcissist, I now see things in a very different light. I am now quite aware of the games he is playing and the lies he is telling…..I know I need to leave but after 2 children and 10 years of marriage I’m finding it all a bit tricky.


just about ALL of this list of excuses, I used on myself. I’ve had to apologize to MY intuition for not speaking out..when in fact it WAS and I wasn’t ‘getting it’..I’ve had to think and re-think these intuitive nudges/urges/unpleasant body sensations..and it WAS my intuition (all but screaming, trying to get me to listen, and NO I didn’t listen) body was ‘on to him’ long before my mind began to figure things out..I too had kids (3) and no higher education or support system for help. I rode the storm out, until the boys were older enough; but I had absorbed more years of abuse by then. Believe me, it got much rougher. And it gave HIM more years to brainwash the boys against me.


Have the “three strikes, you’re out!” rule.

Not only religiously read everything Donna Andersen puts out, but I Google this topic and read what other authors have to say (be careful that it is good information) and attend “YouTube University” and watch videos on the topic.

You can never know enough!


Was fortunate to not get involved with this person. I WANTED to, until I saw the change in his behavior a few months in. We worked together. The first day I was introduced to the staff in my department I looked at this guy and got an immediate chill in my body. I thought, “this guy is seriously mentally disturbed”, and I stayed away from him. But, he started being very flirtatious and seductive to me- -standing really close, making intense eye contact, picking imaginary hairs off my shoulder, being very charming, loquacious, complimentary – said we worked well together. I thought, oh I was wrong, he’s really very nice, maybe he’s just shy. Then we all had to go to a “managing your emotions in the workplace” class because he and another co-worker had a violent argument in a hallway. He would also continually trash our other co-workers, telling me he had so many ideas on how to save the company money, but he couldn’t because our co-workers were so lazy , and he had to run around and do all of this menial work because they wouldn’t do their jobs.
A few months after, I challenged him on something- just asked him a question really, and he flew into a rage. It was so loud our manager had to come out and calm him down. I tried to talk about the (work-related) event which led to the argument, but he became sarcastic, and said our communication was bad. After that I was friendly and professional, but distant in all of our dealings. After a period in which he ignored me, he went back to being friendly and kind of flirtatious. I watched him bully two people out of our department- really smart people. One quit outright, one got a promotion. He verbally insulted her intelligence directly to her, and anyone who would listen. He then went around to all of the (female) managers in our unit telling them how to run their departments. Two managers tried to bring the issue to HR, their jobs were threatened by our department head. This person also constantly berated people he was supposed to train as “stupid” if they didn’t understand things the first time he explained them. He would tell them they were wasting company time and money- he even quoted a rate if they clicked a mouse twice instead of once. He brought people to tears. His constant refrain was “you don’t know how to communicate with me”.

Flash forward half a year and we had another run-in. I was inquiring to another person in that department, and he chimed in, unsolicited, and proceeded to become sarcastic and hostile. I spoke to my boss. She said to speak to HR. I spoke to HR, and they told me to write a letter to his manager, I sent an email to his manager saying, basically, if your guy can’t say anything in a positive way, he shouldn’t say anything at all. He countered with sexual harassment. I was labeled “childish” by our department head for bringing it up. We had a meeting with HR. It was a joke- since the “harassment” never happened. His behavior was hostile throughout. He was not amenable to any kind of discussions about how to communicate He would sigh and shake his head and curl his lip, and make other visual displays of disapproval. It was decided by HR that we shouldn’t speak to each other. It was shortly after this that he got a promotion. He shunned me for half a year, then suddenly started talking to me as if nothing ever happened. He did this kind of thing to several people in our department, including my manager. Someone would have an issue with him, would say something to his manager, and he would fire back with a formal HR complaint against that person accusing them of something or other. Finally it became overwhelming, and they were about to lay him off, but by that time it was five years later, 2007, the economy collapsed, our company went out of business and he was in the first wave of layoffs, which surprised him very much. So he got severance, benefits and the whole deal. I should have listened to that initial voice telling me he was disturbed-could have avoided the whole mess! The positive part is I started becoming aware of what narcissists are and how they behave, how to spot and avoid them. This web site has been an enormous help.

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