Lovefraud’s standard advice for interacting with a sociopath is not to interact at all, to implement a strict policy of No Contact. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.
Perhaps you share children with a sociopathic ex-partner. Or perhaps you have a disordered boss or co-worker, and aren’t yet able to find new employment. Or perhaps some member of your family is disordered. If you have no choice but to interact with a problem person, here are some tips that may help you.
- Do not react emotionally.
Sociopaths will often do or say unpleasant things just to provoke a reaction out of you. Do not take the bait.
Remember, all sociopaths really want is to win. If they get an emotional reaction out of you, they view it as a win. It feeds them — and you don’t want to feed sociopaths.
It’s okay to be upset by what they say or do — just don’t let them see it. When you are away from them, go ahead and yell, scream or cry. In fact, it’s important to do this. You want to get your outrage out of your system, so that you can calm down and maintain your cool the next time they try to get under your skin.
- Do not try to make them understand how you feel.
If you have a problem with a normal person, you might try to explain your perspective in a non-judgmental way, using “I statements.” For example, “When you use that tone of voice with me I feel like I’m back in grade school.”
For this technique to work, you need to be dealing with someone who has empathy. Sociopaths do not have empathy, so you could turn yourself into a pretzel trying to explain your feelings, and they will never get it.
Also, don’t try to hurt them so that they’ll know how you feel. They won’t be hurt — but they might get angry and come up with another way to retaliate.
- Do not try to appeal to what’s right.
Sociopaths know, on an intellectual level, the difference between right and wrong. They just have no emotional attachment to doing what is right, and no moral inhibitions against doing what is wrong.
Therefore, any effort to convince them to do the right thing, just because it’s right —for you, the kids, the company, whatever — a waste of your breath.
- Keep information to yourself.
Say as little as possible to the sociopath. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you.
Be especially careful not to reveal anything about your plans to the sociopath — or anyone who might convey information to the sociopath. This may include your own kids, friends and family. Sociopaths are very good at pumping others for information, often feigning “concern” about you.
- Anything the sociopath says could be a lie.
All sociopaths lie. Therefore, you should not believe any statement that the sociopath has ever made unless you have independent verification.
Even if the sociopath provides proof, it could still be false. Sociopaths routinely forge and fabricate documentation, websites, email exchanges and text messages. They also get other people to lie for them, although those people may not realize they are lying.
When you’re dealing with a sociopath, everything is suspect.
If you’re divorcing a sociopath, you’ll find more helpful information in the Lovefraud CE webinar: