ASK DR. LEEDOM: Why are addicts and sociopaths similar?

Tough Cookie wrote:

I have found that sociopaths often tend to be abusers of drugs. In my case, my sociopathic boy friend was addicted heavily to drugs. It seem to me that sociopaths and drug addicts tend to hold very similar characteristics (i.e. manipulative, selfish, impulsivity). How is one able to tell the difference between the characteristics of sociopath and the characteristics of a drug addict?

You made a very good observation, that is, many sociopaths are addicts/alcoholics and many addicts/alcoholics have sociopathic tendencies. Remember, sociopathy is a spectrum, with mild, moderate and severe cases. Severely sociopathic people are called psychopaths.

Why the link between sociopathy and addiction? If you have read the material on this blog and on my website http://www.parentingtheatriskchild.com, you know that I propose that the best way to understand sociopathy is to consider the Inner Triangle. Addicts/Alcoholics have severe impairment of the Inner Triangle. I believe impairment of the Inner Triangle causes addiction in people who expose themselves to substances of abuse.

Coincidentally your choice of adjectives manipulative, selfish, impulsivity directly corresponds to the Inner Triangle! Selfish relates to an inability to love-the base of the Inner Triangle is Ability to Love. Impulsivity relates to Impulse Control and manipulative relates to Moral Reasoning- the sides of the Inner Triangle.

Why would an impaired Inner Triangle lead to addiction/alcoholism? The short answer is that balance in life means that loving the people in our lives has to be our greatest pleasure. When other things are more important to us than love, we become susceptible to substance abuse. People who are also impulsive and who lack moral understanding, do all kinds of things trying to fill the void caused by an inability to love.

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GOOD GIRL……..now as you THINK about this, refer to your OWn post here often………

I see your vulnerabilities here but a spath would see them more…….the fantasy of hearth and home and a GOOD man to share that with and that’s not BAD, sweetheart! That’s GOOD stuff, but only with a man who is so DESERVING of you..

Maybe some therapy would help here too…..another vulnerability, missing your DADDY!!! A GOOD man…..and all the stuff your ex displayed……and I”m betting you SHARED that with him in your vulnerability to him? We often reveal, while vulnerable and in pain about sometihng not having anything to do with spaths at all………..to THEM that they hone in on. Do you see?

Missing your daddy. Take care of it. Whatever is leftover from the pain of that loss.

MAKE a HAPPY family, with just YOU AND YOUR CHILD in your visual………..maybe the right HIM will pop up later, you’re GETTING THIS! I KNOW IT!

Spaths feed on what you are missing, a vulnerability as simple as loneliness, for some of us, as big as endless abuses…



This is a GREAT learning curve for you!

Fun, excitement? Yep, very VERY COMMON behavior, called “love bombing”……..but true love, chica, comes when you TAKE THE TIME TO GET TO KNOW SOMEONE……..

So be single awhile. Expound on your wonderful gifts, LEARN MORE from your newfound INSIGHTS……….

You’re so blessed, Aerin. ANd a GOOD heart. All you need is a little of the hard lesson you’ve been given and turn it into something good, just a little dirt in the road for you…so sweep it away and move on……..

What a great gift you have been given!

All the best to you!!

YOU CAN DO THIS. I don’t have ONE doubt about it.

All you need is just a little straightening of the table cloth. That’s all. An ironing of the wrinkles.

And you’re good as new 🙂

Stay positive and BE BLESSED!!!


Hi LL & Oxy,

I just want to thank you guys again for your words, thoughts, insights last night. It really brought a lot of clarity into the situation I’m in.

Your encouraging words are very enlightening, and yes LL I am going to reference back to my post referring to the vulnerabilities I had before I got messed up with my ex. I’m so glad I did that. It really was an eye opener. It’s weird how you could know these things in your head but to actually say it (or in this case write it out loud) is very therapeutic. I need to make a mental note of not internalizing my feelings anymore!!



Your insights and openness is simply nothing less than awesomeness!

you’re going to be JUST FINE! Promise 🙂

And you’re welcome!




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