3 steps to prevent a sociopath from taking advantage of your vulnerabilities

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“Is it really a vulnerability to respond to somebody (apparently) liking and desiring you? Is that not just a basic human need that we all want to have fulfilled?”

The Lovefraud reader Dorabella asked these questions on a story that I posted a couple of weeks ago, The sociopath as your soul mate. They are great questions. The answers are: Yes, it’s a vulnerability to respond to someone desiring you, and yes, it’s a basic human need. So although these are vulnerabilities, they are also normal human qualities.

To be human is to have vulnerabilities.

A vulnerability is a weak point, and whenever we want something, that creates a weak point. Most of us want a romantic relationships, so if we don’t have one, then yes, that is a vulnerability. But suppose you have a great relationship, but you want a more fulfilling job — then that’s a vulnerability. Suppose you have a great relationship and a great job, but you want to make more money. That then becomes a vulnerability.

The list of possible vulnerabilities is endless — and normal. Vulnerabilities are not faults — they are part of the human experience. But vulnerabilities are also the openings that sociopaths exploit. Therefore, you need to understand your own vulnerabilities and how a sociopath may attempt to use them.

Here are three steps to protect yourself:

1 . Know your vulnerabilities

Are you lonely? Are you struggling to take care of your kids? Are you worried about money? These are all common vulnerabilities, and there are many, many more. A sociopath will snag you through your vulnerabilities. Therefore, you need to know what they are, so that you can pick up when you are being targeted.

How do you discover your vulnerabilities? Through self-reflection and paying attention to your inner dialog.

If you want a romantic partner and don’t have one, that’s an obvious vulnerability. But take a close look at your feelings on this issue. Do you feel like you’re nothing without a partner? Do you feel like you’re running out of time? The more desperate you feel, the easier it will be for a sociopath to target you.

Sit quietly with a pen and paper. Ask yourself, “What do I want? How badly do I want it?” Write down everything that comes to mind. You’ll have a list of your vulnerabilities — which is the first step towards protecting yourself.

2. If your vulnerabilities are rooted in pain, heal them

As a human being, you’ve certainly endured disappointment and grief in your life. You may have also suffered real betrayal and abuse. These experiences create energies of pain and vulnerability within you— and sociopaths just seem to have radar to spot them.

Therefore, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from sociopaths is to work on healing your emotional pain. How do you do this? By allowing yourself to feel the pain, so you can let it go.

This means allowing yourself to cry, grieve or express anger about what happened to you. Sit quietly, permit memories of what happened rise to your awareness, and then feel the emotions of the experience.

This isn’t pretty, so you’ll want to do this either alone or with the help a trusted therapist. And pain usually runs deep, so it will take time to access it all. But processing old emotions is absolutely worth the effort. Releasing old pain clears your internal vulnerabilities, so that sociopaths have less to latch on to. The healing work also enables you to feel happier and more peaceful.

3. If your vulnerabilities are targeted, listen to your intuition

Beware the person who seems to be the answer to your prayers. If someone sweeps into your life and tells you everything you want to hear, there’s a chance that your vulnerabilities are being targeted.

3 steps to protect yourself from sociopathsNow is the time to pay attention to your intuition. If you are getting internal warnings that something is off about a person or a relationship, trust your instincts. Go on high alert, or end the involvement — even if you don’t have proof of bad behavior. The time to pay attention to you intuition is before you have evidence of wrongdoing, not afterwards.

Being appropriately vulnerable

The truth is that any human relationship, especially a romantic partnership, requires a certain amount of vulnerability. You have to put yourself out there, take a chance, make a leap of faith. No one is perfect, so there are times that you will be disappointed in your relationships.

But by taking these steps, you can protect yourself from sociopaths who prey on vulnerabilities. Knowing exploiters and manipulators are out there, and understanding yourself, you’ll be able to judge when it is safe to open your heart.


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First I’m going to suggest someone show you how to add a button for commenters to delete comments, next is to suggest (because I strongly support this article) you either change the word ‘permit’ to ‘let/allow,’ or add the word ‘to’ between ‘happened’ and ‘rise’ as I’m sure you intended the article to read correctly. This is the quote I submit for editing: “permit memories of what happened rise to your awareness”


I know (now) what my vulnerabilities were, back then. I was very lonely, a boyfriend had left the tech school, we had dated since then, and then he enlisted in the military. Many of the girlfriends I had come to know, had left school (finished their education, or got married). I felt very alone, and along came HIM, saying all the right things, companionship and promises of a life together forever. I might still be vulnerable to companionship/money support, after being alone for almost 20 years. I definitely WOULD pay attention to my intuition, about ANY future relationship. I would also remember what and how I got involved with the psychopath back then, and NOT go through that again!


Hi Donna, Ted. com has a talk called “How to fix a broken heart | Guy Winch” (google). It’s worth everyones time to watch.
The video has 2,298,944 views.


I watched it Jan7, thank you. It was really useful and I’ve ordered several of his books. The part about not thinking about the good times and concentrating on the bad times is especially relevant for psycho’s victims, as there will probably have been far more bad times than good times.


I just watched. THANK YOU!! ❤️


Thank you so much for answering my question so thoroughly Donna. That’s really helpful, thank you.


This is one of the best, all time articles I’ve read on this site…or anywhere else. Thank you for sharing this one with us, Donna!


For me, loneliness has always been a vulnerability. There are so few people that I really connect with that when it happens with a man, he becomes very important to me. Then if we get romantically involved and we break up for whatever reason, it’s very tough to get over. This always turns me back to the deep well of pain from years of abandonment and betrayal. I don’t know when or if I will ever get to the bottom of the well. I believe that the right partner can help with healing old wounds. But I haven’t found that right partner. I feel I get closer with each man I date, and I learn something from each one. It seems like a cruel trick of fate that we need love and relationship to heal, but the very pain that we are trying to heal prevents us from enjoying healthy relationships. I am not out looking for a man anymore, though the healthy part of me really wants to have a solid companion to go through my senior years with. Sometimes someone appears and I really just like him a lot. When I like him too much too quickly, I can usually tell I’m dealing with a sociopath. Detaching my feelings from that person brings the predictable painful feelings of withdrawal. But I’m grateful to have the awareness that it’s what I need to do. They get easier to spot – sociopaths – though they’re still dangerously seductive, even after I know what they are. It’s not like they ever say, “Okay, game’s up, the truth is out. She knows what I am. I can behave normally now.” They just continue weaving their web of lies that are so seductive and so powerful in hooking people in. I’ve gotten to where I can observe the process and use those brief interactions to show me where my vulnerabilities are. Most of the con artists here are in this small economically depressed town are in the home repair/improvement industry. Many are ex felons who can’t get hired anywhere else.


I can relate to all that Stargazer. Yes, I couldn’t understand why mine couldn’t just accept that I was starting to see through him but still accepting him conditionally. He just gave up immediately then. Why are they still so seductive even when we know what they are? That’s what gets me confused.


Because that’s what they do. If they know you know they are lying, they will just lie some more. They get pleasure from the power of putting one over on someone.

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