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Explaining the sociopath

Sometimes “no contact” is not an option

For more than two years, I’ve shared my story and relevant insights here once a week.

That’s coming to a close.  My book, Husband, Liar, Sociopath chronicles my marriage and the painful lessons learned. My book, Narcissists, Sociopaths & Wolves  includes a summary of some of the warning signs of being in a relationship with a sociopath. I hope the excertps I’ve shared from them have been helpful.

Husband Liar Sociopath

I didn’t know.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Psychopath Free’ — helping you understand your disordered romance and recover yourself

Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships with Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People, by Jackson Mackenzie

Review by Donna Andersen

I admit I’ve been remiss. Jackson Mackenzie’s book, Psychopath Free, came out in 2015, and I just finished reading it. I think I need about 48 hours in the day.

Anyway, if you’ve been romantically involved with a psychopath or other disordered individual, Psychopath Free will ring true for you. Jackson does an excellent job of describing the cycle of an involvement with a psychopath, from the glorious beginning when you’re feeling high on all the attention, to the confusion of the mind games in the middle, to the utter devastation when you are brutally discarded.

Are you changing in ways you don’t like? Maybe your partner’s a sociopath

Husband Liar Sociopath

Sociopaths are fueled by our reactions to them—so sociopaths trigger our emotions. What are the signs this is happening? 

Looking back on my unwitting marriage to a man I now believe is a sociopath, I realize that some of the warning signs that I was in a relationship with a sociopath were changes in my own behavior. My book, Husband, Liar, Sociopath chronicles that marriage and the painful lessons learned. My book, Narcissists, Sociopaths & Wolves  includes a summary of some of the warning signs of being in a relationship with a sociopath.

Find yourself explaining common courtesy and common use of language? Maybe he’s a sociopath!

Husband Liar Sociopath

Confusion over common courtesy, typical use of language, and purposeful misrepresentations

If you find yourself in conversations that come down to common courtesy, common understanding of language, or purposeful misrepresentations (especially if the language used creates a misunderstanding but is not an outright lie), get out, and get out fast. Sociopaths are masters of:

  • doublespeak
  • word salad
  • playing games with semantics
  • planting distracting misinterpretations of events
  • purposefully misleading.

The result is that you get tied up in knots just trying to agree upon the basic facts or “normal” human behavior. This is a warning sign! Most people want to communicate effectively and resolve conflict. But sociopaths often do not share these goals.

Psychopaths can consider another’s perspective — if they want to

Angry psychopathPsychopaths can understand what their victims are thinking, but they just don’t care. New research cited in The Atlantic has looked into the psychopathic “theory of mind” — the human skill through which we consider the perspective of someone else.

It turns out most of us have the ability to do this automatically. Psychopaths, however, do it when it will help them achieve their goals — and otherwise switch the ability off.

How psychopaths see the world, on TheAtlantic.com.

Link supplied by a Lovefraud reader.

Signs of a sociopath: Double standards

Husband Liar Sociopath

Signs of a sociopath: Double standards (continued)

After a sociopath has won you over , things start to change that erode “you” and shift the power to the sociopath. Looking back on my horrible, unwitting marriage to a man I have come to believe is a sociopath, one of the things that emerged was double standards. At first, our relationship seeming loving and mutually respectful, but over time, things changed drastically.

Eventually, he expecting me to honor all commitments to him  even when circumstances had changed significantly, but he felt free not to honor his commitments to me.  

Contempt and double standards = sociopath red flags

Husband Liar Sociopath

Subtle signs of a sociopath

Last week, I was on a long walk when I passed an older couple walking on the sidewalk in the opposite direction. I nodded as we passed, and I honestly don’t recall receiving any acknowledgement. They clearly seemed “together,” yet the way they were walking signaled something was very wrong. Briefly, I had a sense of knowing. “I bet he’s a sociopath,” I thought. You see, although they were on a walk “together” he was walking about ten feet in front of her, and had been ever since I spotted them walking toward me. That simple act communicates a lot—none of it good, as it signals an underlying lack of respect.

Gaslight–how the movie mirrors real life

 

Gaslight

Gaslight

Last weekend I watched the classic movie, Gaslight. For those of us who have been in a relationship with a sociopath, it is a great reminder that we weren’t imagining things and how good these puppeteers are at what they do. We were not paranoid, or too sensitive, or unable to take a joke, or fill in the blank. We were being purposely manipulated and deceived by someone who never loved us, has no ethical rudder; and, at our expense, was using us for their personal gain. To weaken us in order to achieve those goals, the sociopath has many tools that go beyond gaslighting—making us question our own reality.

Are you “too sensitive,” or is your partner a sociopath?

Husband Liar Sociopath

You’re too sensitive!

As I think back about my life and my unwitting marriage to a sociopath, a phrase haunts and repeats like an old-time broken record, “You’re too sensitive.”

For decades, I believed that hearing this phrase should trigger self-reflection and attempts at self-improvement. If I’m “too sensitive,” the underlying assumption is that I should work to become “less sensitive.” I believed this because this is what I’d been taught as a child, and it was reinforced through my adult life by two people I loved and respected at the time—my father and my now ex-husband. Yet, now I believe that hearing this phrase repeatedly by key people in one’s life should trigger another type of self-improvement—better understanding the red flags of being in a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath, and establishing appropriate relationship boundaries.

Are highly empathetic people particularly attracted to the calm, confidence exhibited by sociopaths?

Husband Liar Sociopath

The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, and Everyone In-Between: Part B

As I mentioned last week, I recently read the book The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, and Everyone In-Between by Dr. Abigail Marsh, Associate Professor of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience at Georgetown University. Her book sparked some “light-bulb moments.” I shared the first two last week, and I am sharing the third and fourth light-bulb moments this week. For those who read last week’s post, you might want to skip directly to light-bulb moment number three, below.

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