Advice for dealing with sociopaths: Don’t take it personally

Lovefraud recently received this note from a reader; we’ll call her Allison.

I want to thank everyone involved with the Lovefraud website. It is truly a gift. To the brave survivors, I wish you peace. I am a survivor myself. In fact, I’m divorcing mine as we speak. I will write my story another time because this time I only want to give a piece of advice that has helped me the most. When I was able to do this, the rest was easier to get through. I stopped taking it personally. It was not an easy task. I read everything I could get my hands on and while I learned his actions were mostly textbook, it was easier for me to let go. Once I convinced myself that I was not the first nor will I be the last, I shut my heart off and stopped taking it personally. This was my key to survival. I offered a silent apology to the women of the world for throwing this one back into the dating pool and went on with my life. I stopped taking it personally and I slept better, dreamed better, laughed more and found that I’ll be just fine. If this helps even one person, it will have made it worth it. Take care.

Allison’s advice is very simple, but it goes directly to the core of the sociopath’s manipulation, betrayal and abuse. The sociopath never cared about us one way or the other. We were convenient targets. We had something the sociopath wanted. Or we presented an opportunity for the sociopath’s amusement.

Sociopaths do what they do, because that’s what they do. We just happened to be there.

Of course, that’s not what the sociopath told us. First, he or she proclaimed love and devotion, or a sterling opportunity to succeed together—whatever the promise was. Then, when the promise started falling apart, the sociopath told us it was all our fault.

We, as normal human beings, believed the original promise—how could anyone say those words and not mean them? So, when the blame started flying from the person who made the promise, we believed that as well.

As we say here on Lovefraud, the sociopath is the lie. And the sociopath lied because that’s what they do. They are missing the parts—emotional connections to other people and conscience—that make us human.

Opportunity for healing

Still, there is a reason that we went along with the sociopath’s program, and that is something we do need to take personally, for our own recovery and growth.

This does not at all excuse the sociopath’s heartless behavior, nor is it meant to blame the victim. But most of us engaged because we wanted to believe the original promise.

We have to ask ourselves, what was missing within us that allowed us to believe? Did we have experiences in our pasts that made us susceptible to the manipulation? If so, it’s time to look at these issues and heal ourselves.

So as we extricate ourselves from the sociopath, understand that this is how they are, their behavior is not our fault, and we shouldn’t take it personally.

But we should take very personally the opportunity to excavate the old, erroneous tapes in our heads, and create wonderful new lives for ourselves.

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a great observation.

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