I’ve heard from multiple Lovefraud readers over the years who were annoyed, angry, horrified. These readers had finally realized what they were dealing with—a sociopath. They extricated themselves from the relationships and had no further contact with the disordered individuals. And what happened? Another sociopath came into their lives.
The readers asked: What is going on? Why can’t they leave me alone? Am I a sociopath magnet?
The answer is, not necessarily. Following are some observations to add perspective to the situation.
Millions of sociopaths
These disordered individuals are everywhere. As long as we’re living on this planet, we face the possibility of running into them.
Experts estimate that 1 percent to 4 percent of the population meet the criteria for psychopathy or antisocial personality disorder. But if you add in the narcissists and those with borderline personality disorder, 12 to 16 percent of the population are social predators. In the United States, that’s about 40 million people. With so many of them out there, we shouldn’t be surprised to come across them.
The bad news is that these readers found themselves dealing with another sociopath. The good news is that they figured it out much more quickly this time around.
I think these readers should interpret their most recent experience as signs of growth. Yes, another sociopath came into their lives, but they spotted the predator! They know the warning signs and listened to their instincts! This is progress! This is good!
The fact that another sociopath appeared could also indicate that these readers still have more healing to do. Sociopaths sense vulnerabilities, like sharks sense blood in the water. Perhaps the readers need to look for more injuries within themselves that need to be addressed.
Remember, sociopaths come into our lives by exploiting vulnerabilities. Afterwards, we need to recover from the nasty encounter with the sociopath. But we also need to heal the earlier, deeper injury that enabled the sociopath to target us in the first place. Perhaps we were neglected as a child or abused in an earlier relationship. Or perhaps we had negative beliefs about ourselves—that we were unwanted or unlovable. By addressing and healing our vulnerabilities, we protect ourselves from further pain.
How to stay safe
The bottom line is that millions of sociopaths live among us, so chances are good that at some point, we’ll come across them. So here are the three steps to protecting ourselves:
- Know that sociopaths exist.
- Know the warning signs of sociopathic behavior.
- Listen to our instincts.
Our intuition is designed to protect us from predators. It will almost always tell us, early in the involvement, that something is wrong with an individual. The trick is to pay attention and take action.
All of these readers did that. So yes, it is annoying to find another predator. But at least they got rid of them quickly, before too much damage was done. These Lovefraud readers should be proud of themselves.
Lovefraud originally published this story on September 10, 2012.