By | March 2, 2011 820 Comments

Dumb Sociopaths

Contrary to a prevailing myth, sociopaths are really no smarter than the average individual”¦probably dumber. Sure, a good one can dupe you, but as I’ve written elswhere, this is no great shakes, as most of us can dupe each other if that’s our goal.

That’s because we enter relationships risking trust and faith in each other, which makes the exploitation of our trust and faith really easy. It takes no genius or particularly smart, crafty person to exploit this trust and faith. It’s as easy to do as it’s wrong.

And so, most sociopaths aren’t really that clever, or ingeniously bright. Most make messes not only of others’ lives, but their own too. Many end up in jail, and those who don’t are often finding trouble in other areas, exercising poor judgement all over the map, squandering friendships, family, and all sorts of meaningful opportunities.

By most standards of a successful life, sociopaths live lives of abject failure, accomplishing little more, at the end of the day, than having produced plenty of havoc and pain. None of this indicates that, as a group, sociopaths are smart.

Sometimes the media sensationalizes the sociopath as the dark, brilliantly predatory monster, especially in classic cases of psychopaths like Ted Bundy. But Ted Bundy wasn’t so smart. In the end, he was nothing but a vicious, sadistic murderer who managed to lure young, naïve girls sufficiently into his proximity to then viciously murder them.

How much of an accomplishment was this? To be able to lure naïve girls near enough to his car to then kidnap and kill them? Otherwise, OJ Simpson style, Bundy was ambushing dormitories at night and butchering innocent, sleeping college kids. Not exactly a genius, or courageous guy, at work here. Just a perverse, murderously violent, cowardly man.

Sure, Bundy was reputedly charming and articulate (video of him bears this out). But this didn’t make him “smart.” He was, clearly, adept at “masking” himself. But again, effective maskers aren’t smart; they’re just good maskers. And nonsociopaths routinely are good maskers.

Good masking, good self-disguising is a type of social skill, and not the purview of sociopaths exclusively. Also, many sociopaths are terrible maskers, just as many nonsociopaths are.

My point is that the “mask” is not an indication of “smartness.” It’s merely the case that some sociopaths, and some nonsociopaths, can mask aspects of themselves and their agendas effectively; but bear in mind, just as many do this very poorly.

In the end, sociopaths, as a group, have a poor track record of living effective lives. Rather, they live disruptive, unsatisfying lives”¦fraught with pathological attitudes and empathic deficits that bring misery to others and, correspondingly, much trouble and, at best, empty satisfaction, to themselves.

Sociopaths simply are not successful people. They may (or may not) skate along under the radar for some stretch of time, but this is not a “game” that smart people play, and that smart people get off on.

Only dumb people play this game. Only really dumb people live this way. Only really really dumb people derive satisfaction, for however long they can swing it, from pulling the wool over others’ eyes.

It’s just no great shakes to do this, and it doesn’t make you smart.

(This article is copyrighted © 2011 by Steve Becker, LCSW. My use of male gender pronouns is for convenience’s sake only and not to suggest that females aren’t capable of the behaviors and attitudes discussed.)


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Again, your article is a good one! I’ve had similar thoughts about the sociopath that I know, thinking that he’s not the brightest light bulb in the pack, being extremely frustrated by this fact. I dislike talking to him because he lacks common sense and we end up talking in circles. Life is too short for the nonsense that he mixes up in life, wanting to be finished with all of it, period.

Ox Drover

Good point, Steve, in that the “smart” (as judged by IQ points) or “dumb” (same ruler) isn’t something that psychopaths are any more or less blessed or cursed with than the rest of humanity. They are just ONE cross section of humanity…some smart ones and some not so smart—however, even if they are IQ SMART, their life styles are PRETTY DUMB and UNSUCCESSFUL much of the time. My own P son is an example. He scores in IQ in the 99th percentile for “smart” but on a LIFE SUCCESS SCALE he scores a 99.9th percentile in the LOSER CLASS…because no matter what his IQ is, his “success” rate, even as a criminal, has been a BIG FAT GOOSE EGG–ZERO! He’s been caught and arrested for nearly every crime he ever committed. How is that for a FAIL rate?

Other people that I fully believe “qualify” as full-blown psychopaths (or at least VERY high in psychopathic traits) who are smart and slick are the ones that are talked about in “Snakes in Suits, When Psychopaths go to work.” Some of those men and women are very “successful” in terms of money, status, education, position and power—Bernie Madoff is a perfect example I think of this kind of person. Smart, and slick at masking their conning behavior.

Unfortunately, we only see the ones like Madoff who ultimately FAIL in their cons—many others simply slip under the radar and continue their conning the entirety of their lives. Witsend talked about her father, as an example. He was an abusive beastly alcoholic to his family yet at his funeral his co-workers talked about the “Wonderful” man that he had presented to them at work.

It sort of made me think of the phrase someone posted here a pretty good while back (not sure who posted it) “He was such a NICE GUY, WHEN HE WASN’T ROBBING BANKS.” Sort of like Ted Bundy, such a NICE GUY when he wasn’t raping and murdering people.

Yes, we are easily convinced someone is a “nice guy” and as Cordelia Fine, PhD said in her book “A Mind of Its Own, How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives, ” she defines our “vain brain” as like a “smart lawyer searching for evidence to support our case rather than a jury searching for the truth.” then goes on to say “memory is often the overzealous secretary who assists in the process by hiding or destroying files that harbor unwanted information.” “evidence that supports your case is quickly accepted, and the legal assistants are sent out to find more of the same.” “The case is soon won. A victory for justice and truth, you think, conveniently ignoring the fact that yours was the only lawyer in the courtroom.”

In other words, we believe what we want to believe and stack the “evidence’ to that end.

Dr. Fine also has a great sense o f humor I think too…in the same chapter as the above she says “There is in fact a catagory of people who get unusually close to the truth about themselves and the world. Their self-perceptions are more balanced, they assign responsibility for success and failure more evenhandedly, and their predictions for the future are more realistic. These people are living testimony to the dangers of self knowledge. THEY ARE THE CLINICALLY DEPRESSED.” (Emphasis mine) LOL ROTFLMAO


It like this observation of yours. Yeah the supporters of the psychopaths are more numerous and therefore much more dangerous than the 1% of psychopaths.


excellent points. I used to like making similar points to my ExP, to his face and in emails. It was very satisfying to explain his PD to him with an air of concern. Of course this was in response to his comments insinuating that I was suffering from a mental problem. Once it was clear to him that I had him figured out, he slithered away.

Ox Drover

Sky, they don’t all “go away” when we let them know we have them figured out…some of them attack all out, coming at us with fangs and claws, out to destroy us entirely.

lesson learned


I agree with that.

Sky, I HOPE for a slithering away 🙂

I know a lot here is said about they like to taunt former victims.

THAT I don’t get. Particularly when they have one “good” one or several on the hook presently.

I just hope he gets preoccupied enough in another triangulation that the thought of me is booooooooooooooooring!! 🙂

And then at the same time, I feel SO bad for anyone that crosses his path.




Yes Oxy he did keep coming. And I kept gray rock showing no emotion except concern for him. I explained how each of his behaviors was infantile. He kept at it but I psychoanalyzed and dissected each word until even he began to question his motives. Eventually he saw that he couldn’t get a word in edgewise that I didn’t turn around as proof of his psychopathy.
that’s very demoralizing to a psychopath. 🙂
I’m sure he still plots against me but at least he did slither away for now.


I read somewhere and I believe it’s true that Most people would rather be thought of as evil rather than stupid.
You can tell someone that his behavior is evil and that will not change him. But if you tell him he’s foolish he will change his behavior. nobody likes to look foolish.
That’s what I like about this article. Steve makes it clear that sociopaths are foolish.
I’m not meaning to say that he changed but he stopped bothering me for now.

lesson learned


I understand. I did that to my spath too. Too much awareness to where the games didn’t work anymore. Maybe that’s another thing about NC that’s so great too. I believe he thinks I know, cuz I said I know and I wasn’t going to let it go.

He didn’t like that too much.



“My point is that the “mask” is not an indication of “smartness.” It’s merely the case that some sociopaths, and some nonsociopaths, can mask aspects of themselves and their agendas effectively; but bear in mind, just as many do this very poorly.”

I suspected my x-spath was hiding something but my goodness gave him the benefit of the doubt.

However, online, either by design or stupidity, he does not cover his tracks well. He uses the same obscure screen name for both dating and porn websites. In addition, it is quite easy from one to learn his full real name.

lesson learned

Great article, Steve.

I’m just now watching all the shenanigans about Charlie Sheen.

I find this very interesting. He’s clearly STOOOOOPID, if not downright foolish, as Sky mentioned foolishness earlier.

BUT isn’t celebrity and the public a bit forgiving about this man? I don’t think he even BOTHERS to hide that he’s spath. He just IS….but why isn’t he IGNORED, rather than REVERED (even if negatively) for his behavior? I find this absolutely appalling, yet also like a HUGE train wreck…’s so amazing the opinions so varied, the interviews so many….that it’s nothing less than disgusting AND AMAZING that there is so much attention paid to him. I wonder what would happen if this man was not garnering all the attention he’s getting….by being STOOOOOOOPID!!!



Steve – with all due respect your article reads like a thumbing of the nose to some spath who has irritated you. I don’t think you found the real gem or kernal in your article; i think it needs more development.

on the relative intelligence of spaths – i doubt it is any different than the rest of the population. sometimes a particular spath look smarter to us as they are all about manipulating people and getting what they want, and other times they look dumber as their motivations are so different than ours are.


yes, so it does, but is there anything wrong with that!? 😛

I personally enjoyed it. hehehehheee!

No matter how smart they are, they sit around wasting their time on the most useless endeavors. In the end they cut off their nose to spite their face. The psychological reward they get for wasting our time, only earns them a momentary satifaction which they need to repeat over and over again in order to maintain it as “real”.


Once again, you hit it.

At the end of the experience, you have t look back and shake your head.

The compulsion to lie like that is something remarkable.

In the Native American Folklore of the Southwest. they tell stories about Coyote, the trickster who tricks himself into and out of trouble all the time.

The stories are funny, but over and over we see the coyote try to gain and then, in the end wind up the loser for all his trickery.

But to none, does the coyote represent less than a determined and able predator who is equally determined to survive.


I’ve never forgotten the morning they executed Ted Bundy. I remember exactly where I was at the time. I was staying at a hotel right across the road from Sea World in San Diego—though it was a business trip I was on, not a vacation. When I woke up to the radio alarm that Tuesday morning, Florida of course was three hours ahead of California, so Bundy had already been dispatched. While I was getting ready to go to a meeting, the radio announcer was telling his listeners all the news of the execution. It was memorable for one remark especially.

Bundy in fact was fairly intelligent. However, it’s interesting that even then, some people have inflated the public perception of Bundy’s intelligence further still, in the way Steve described. I myself had been left with the impression Bundy had an IQ of 140. When I looked it up, it appears his measured IQ was only 123 or 124. That does rate as “superior” intelligence, but he was no mastermind. I have no idea where the 140 meme came from. Perhaps somebody started the myth that Bundy was some kind of “genius,” and they picked 140 because that’s one proposed threshold for “geniuses,” Mensa level.

Steve’s article highlights an important philosophical point: that there’s a difference between being “intelligent” and what we call “smart.” Generally we reserve the word “smart” for people who are successful in practice at achieving whatever it is they set out to do. A lot of people can be “intelligent” yet still do “dumb” things and fail. Especially if they’re under the influence of some obsession or delusion, or their behavior is influenced by some flaw in their psyche—as Bundy’s undoubtedly was.

So there’s more than one truth in this article. It’s perfectly true that psychopaths as a class are no more intelligent than people at large, and they may well be less so. Certainly plenty of CRIMINALS are dumb—granted that criminals don’t all have to be psychopaths. More than one police officer has observed that it’s lucky for us that so many criminals ARE dumb—otherwise they wouldn’t be so easily caught!

Clive Bunyan of Yorkshire, England, was an outstanding example. He wore a “mask” of a different kind. One day in 1970 he decided to rob a store in the village of Cayton. His motorcycle could make a swift getaway, and wearing his crash helmet in the store would make it hard for anyone to recognize his face.

The robbery went without a hitch. Clive marched into the village store, threatened the cashier and ran out with £157. In seconds he had roared off down the road and was nowhere to be seen. Police however had no difficulty getting on Clive’s trail. Stenciled across the front of his helmet was the name CLIVE BUNYAN in large gold letters.

Clive and other bunglers are honored in this Top Ten List of Stupid Thieves (mong other places). Not every thief is as stupid as those, but it’s highly likely that some people turn to crime because they’re too dumb to earn a living by more honest means!

The trouble with modern mass media is that they often give us a distorted picture of the world. Many events “make news” precisely BECAUSE they’re unusual, EXCEPTIONS to the norm, and therefore “newsworthy.” Run-of-the-mill events that constitute the norm don’t make it into the newspapers. So we don’t hear so much about the run-of-the-mill psychopath (or criminal) who gets caught. The ones we hear most about—like Bernie Madoff—are exceptional in one way or another. Madoff was exceptional, not only in the colossal amount of damage he did, but in getting away with it for so many years. Most miscreants couldn’t come close to a run of success like that, even though Madoff’s empire was bound to come crashing down in the end.

Ted Bundy was quite intelligent, but he was decidedly not “smart.” Granted, he did make a couple of very clever escapes. And he did get away with a string of murders for a time. But predatory killings of this type can be notoriously hard to solve, when there’s no prior connection between killer and victim. Yet if Bundy kept on doing it, there was no way he was going to get away with it for ever. The laws of chance would see to that. Sooner or later there was bound to be a slipup of the kind that happened with Carol DaRonch.

Just as important, Bundy did made mistakes. His first blunder was to run from a police officer when he could have stopped and bluffed it out. His second mistake was not getting his cover story right, which flagged him as a liar. His third mistake was keeping items in his car that were altogether TOO suspicious. These included a “mask” of pantyhose with holes cut in it. A ski mask alone would have attracted far less attention. And why take a crowbar as his “blunt instrument” when he could have used a lug wrench, a natural tool to have in a car? His fourth mistake was leaving a paper trail of evidence: maps, brochures, and gasoline credit card charges that proved he’d been in Colorado when women were abducted. He should have paid cash.

And all of that pales into insignificance compared with his most colossal blunder of all. Once his second jailbreak had succeeded, he might have stayed free for longer, and he could at least have preserved his own life. Instead, he had to go and commit MORE murders, for which he was sure to be caught—and in FLORIDA at that, a state (unlike many others) that resolutely applies the death penalty! Bundy wrote his own death warrant right there.

If all Bundy had “achieved” was to slaughter several dozen women, creating pain, havoc, and fear for hundreds or even thousands of people, that alone didn’t have to mean he was “not smart.” Not if he’d gotten away with it. After all, his success was not to be measured by our standards, but by his, by what he himself set out to do. If we think butchering a string of innocent victims is a ghastly and perverted thing to do, not something we’d ever dream of wanting, that wasn’t true of Ted. Apparently he took pleasure in it. He may well have felt the same pride in each “kill” as a hunter displaying his trophies. And if this caused pain, grief, fear and rage among countless humans, what was that to him? He was a psychopath, so why should he care about the suffering of others?

If he could have gotten away with it indefinitely, I would have had to admit he was “smart.” EVIL beyond all doubt, but still “smart.” He’d be getting all the sick pleasure HE wanted out of life, perhaps gloating secretly over his own cleverness as well, the way he was putting it over on the whole world. But that’s not how events turned out, and he’d embarked on a predatory lifestyle he couldn’t possibly have kept up. It was bound to bring him down eventually, and that was NOT smart.

Perhaps he never looked that far ahead—a failure of “intelligence” typical of many psychopaths. At any rate, the world did find out his secret, so he LOST—beaten at his own game. His “chosen lifestyle” came to an end at only 32 years of age. Then, after the usual interminable delay, they stuck him in Old Sparky at 7:16 in the morning—4:16 California time—and fried him. Listening to the radio that morning, I never forgot the news report about the Jacksonville DJ who was broadcasting to all the people having breakfast in their Florida kitchens at the time. The DJ urged them to turn off their electrical appliances to make sure there was plenty of juice for the Chair! Crowds chanted “Burn, Bundy, Burn!” When Bundy had taken so much pleasure in bringing death to others, it was fitting that his own death should be the cause of CHEERING and MERRIMENT among the population at large. To act in a way that brought such an ignominious end upon himself, that was not “smart” by anyone’s standards.

kim frederick

Hi Redwald. I enjoyed reading your post above.

I gre up in Washington State, near Seattle. I was 15 years old while Bundy was on his reign of terror. I had long brown hair, parted down the middle, and fit the profile of Bundy’s victims.
This was when, for the first time we started locking our doors at night; I was not allowed to walk to the store alone.
I moved to Florida shortly before Bundy’s execution. Restaraunt reader boards advertised, “Bundy fries.” LOL.
I would like to disagree about one thing, though. I don’t think Bundy’s getting caught has much to do with his relative smarts.
First of all, his raping and killing was probably compullsive, so I’m sure he had little control over it. As a Psychopath, he probably had little impuse control, and couldn’t see around corners. He probably had less fear and anxiety than the rest of us, and increased Narcissism, thinking he was above the law, and smarter than the average bear. Those factors have nothing to do with smarts, particularly…although they did get him caught.
I wonder if they cut open his brain and learned anything new about serial killers.

Ox Drover

I went to bed early and missed some of the later/earlier comments until this morning and I’d like to comment on some of them.

First: Sky: QUOTE:I personally enjoyed it. hehehehheee!

” No matter how smart they are, they sit around wasting their time on the most useless endeavors. In the end they cut off their nose to spite their face. The psychological reward they get for wasting our time, only earns them a momentary satifaction (sic) which they need to repeat over and over again in order to maintain it as “real”. ”

While I agree with you that “gray rock” (not showing a lot if any emotion to their behavior) in SOME cases works—some how I don’t think that trying to tell them about their short comings, or their own problems, even while showing concern for them, will necessarily work with any but the most passive personality disordered person—I got two black eyes and a broken nose to show for that tactic from my P sperm donor.

As far as “enjoying” trying to convince them that they have a problem, it seems to me to be sparring with the devil and a dangerous tactic that can back fire if you misjudge how passive your oponent is.

Silvermoon, very good analogy of coyote and his antics–VERY GOOD analogy! I love those stories, BTW.

Redwald–good points about the smarts/not smarts of various bungling robbers. ONe of the kids my son recruited for a home invasion robbery actually left a MC helmet at the scene of the crime with the victims left tied up—with his NAME AND ADDRESS inside it. When they went back a few hours later to try to get it, the victims were up and untied and SHOOTING OUT THE DOOR—my son’s jacket got a bullet hole in it as he and the other kid fled the scene! LOL

While at least “one part” of me would have cheered at “Bundy Frying” and would have actually wanted to flip the switch myself, actually, that cheering Oxy (even cheering at someone getting what they richly deserved, and he did richly deserve to pay for his crimes!)…that CHEERING person at the death of another human being, even an evil one, richly deserving their execution, is NOT the OXY I WANT TO BE. I would much rather be the Oxy that is SAD that another HUMAN BEING is so evil that they must be executed, or locked in jail forever.

I can into my own healing process a big proponent of the death penalty—and in Bundy’s case I think there was plenty of evidence that he was guilty of more than one murder, so I don’t have a problem at all with him being executed, though it does make me sad. But now, I see that our “justice” system, or IN-justice system as I call it now, is so fraught with ERROR and injustice that too many times people have been “convicted” because of faulty evidence or rushes to judgment and the many people being freed off of death row and life without parole by DNA evidence 10-20-30 years AFTER THE FACT, PROVING THEY ARE INNOCENT, (not a technical “not guilty.”) makes me leery of the evidence that is sending men and women to their death. The thought of even one innocent man or woman being executed for a crime they did not commit makes my blood run cold. So I am, because of the way it is administered, no longer in favor of the death penalty in general. There is a young man in Arkansas’ death row that I think it is becoming apparent is innocent, with the case based almost entirely of a “witch hunt” and him and his two friends being “goth” dressing smart mouthed low class trashy teenagers, presto, case solved, get the retarded one to “confess” and CASE CLOSED. 18 years later there is finally going to be a new evidence hearing for the DNA of what MUST be the real killer (because of WHERE the DNA was found) so hopefully, after 18 years in death row, and 18 years for the other two in gen pop, they will be released for a crime they did not commit.

KIM: QUOTE: “First of all, his raping and killing was probably compullsive, (sic) so I’m sure he had little control over it.”

I disagree completely Kim, he had enough CONTROL to plan his killings. “Compulsive” is not something over which someone has ANY control for. He Tried to HIDE his crimes, so therefore he had some control over when and where he chose to do them, and hiding of the evidence (though he wasn’t really good at hiding things, he did try)

COMPULSIVE is someone with OCD who washes their hands 300 times a day even though their hands are raw and bleeding, because of a fear of germs, it’s a way to decrease their anxiety about the germs they fear….I think Bundy KNEW what he was doing and did it because he WANTED TO, he ENJOYED the thrill he got from it, he might have been impulsive, but he could decide to do it or not. He was not compelled by some force he could not resist if he had tried to resist it, in my opinion.

Because my P son is in the “genius” range (99th percentile on an IQ test) and is ALSO one of the most STOOOOOPID criminals I have ever seen with so little foresight or successful planning to keep his crimes undiscovered or unproven—i.e. the partner who left the MC helmet at the scene of the crime—taking the murder weapon home and putting it under his mattress, telling the victim’s room mate he killed the victim, telling one of his ex-convict buddies he INTENDED TO KILL HER days before the crime, then calling that same buddy on a TAPE RECORDED JAIL PHONE, and telling him where the body is and asking him to move it. DUH!

So IQ and “life-smart” are NOT THE SAME THING, I think that is pretty well proven. My son could have had a free ride to any college he wanted to get any kind of a job that would have made him “relatively rich” and he could have afforded all kinds of risk taking exciting hobbies or professions, so why did he choose to be a small time crook? Why was he unwilling to get the degree and the job and the money that was available to him for only the most normal amounts of patience and effort?

I think he got hooked on the “adrenaline rush” of the risk taking when he was a teenager and started the petty theft and crimes. When he got away with one, he got a “fix” and it was so addicting he had to have another FIX…and another and another and another….and just as if he was on crack or crank or heroin, he needed bigger and bigger fixes and he needed to share these “highs” with others just as addicts like to shoot up together, share needles etc. it is a “social” thing as well as a “high.” It is the anticipating the fix and plotting to get the fix, it is getting and sharing the fix with their buddies, and then talking about the high later. Just like a bunch of drunks or junkies talking about the last drunk or high and enjoying it in retrospect….my P son tells his P buddy in letters about how his “crime is worse than the cops even knew.” That doesn’t mean that they don’t have any CONTROL over it though. They just manufacture their own “drugs” inside their body—adrenaline! What a rush! It becomes their life, but they can control it, or could channel the getting of it into more socially acceptable channels than robbery and murder. We all like the adrenaline rush, and we watch scary movies, or sky dive, or ride horses, or motorcycles, but find more socially acceptable ways to get our “fixes” than crime.

kim frederick

Okay, Oxy. Agreed.


My reference about enjoying…was:
I personally enjoyed STEVE’S ARTICLE. My reference was to One’s comment on it.

As far as my BS with the spath. The intent was to let him know that he was not unique or creative in anyway, no matter how many avenues of deceit he could come up with. I let him know that I could read his mind. The end result is he stopped talking to me. which is what I wanted.

What Steve said is true. The ONLY reason they are able to put one over on us is because we have no concept of such an audacious liar. I mean WHO WOULD LIE LIKE THAT?

Once we have that piece of the puzzle, once we KNOW that when they move their lips, it means they are lying, they have nothing. They KNOW THIS. That’s why they slither away once unmasked. Even the violent sociopath is faking. Most of the rage is a show to see the terror on our faces. The truly scary sociopath is one like Ted Bundy, who – out of the blue – hits you over the head with a crow bar. Who DOES that?

Ox Drover


QUOTE: The truly scary sociopath is one like Ted Bundy, who ”“ out of the blue ”“ hits you over the head with a crow bar. Who DOES that?

Truly scary psychopath for you maybe, but for me, the truly scary one is the one I KNOW IS AFTER ME and unmasking him or NC doesn’t make him slither away but only makes him more determined to do me in. One who cannot stand to “lose” by letting a victim get away, who will stalk me to the end of the earth and/or his or my life. Who would still feel he had “won” if he died in the act of getting revenge on me.

The Ted Bundys of this world are much less scary to me because they are not so focused on ME as an individual. All the random killers in the US are still statistically UNLIKELY to converge on my house on any given night, but a psychopath who is targeted on me as an individual is another dimension. I still refuse to live in TERROR, but I will live in caution and continue to do so as long as he is alive.

Statistically, more women are harmed or killed by a KNOWN KILLER than are harmed by random killers. Most murders are by people who KNOW YOU, NOT BY PEOPLE WHO KILL AT RANDOM.


Yes Oxy, I know you are afraid of your son because he sees a target painted on you. At least you know this and can take action.

Before I knew about sociopaths, I was like all those other women who were more likely to be harmed by their known killer. Now that I know, it’s very UNLIKELY that I would expose myself to them. The blow would have to come from out of the blue, not from the result of a domestic violence incident. We KNOW how they think, we KNOW the red flags: DRAMA. If we ALWAYS use DRAMA as a red flag, we are one step ahead already.

Come to think of it, even Ted Bundy used DRAMA before his kills: in the form of the pity ploy. They are really too predictable, if you know what to look for.

I can predict Oxy, that before your son targets you again, you will see DRAMA. It will start to swirl around you to create confusion. To paraphrase what someone posted the other day, when you start to see panic in a member of a group, you know that there is a predator around and it usually isn’t the one panicking. Not more than a day or two later, that is exactly what happened. Claudia got nervous and started panicking, she triggered Kim and Shabby and a few others.

That’s the great thing about knowing the predator and his tactics, they really can’t take you by surprise.


This is a subject that I often think about. In my own personal experience with my P/S daughter, I know that like Oxy’s son she has a genius level IQ. She got excellent grades in school and a partial academic scholarship to a prestigious college. In that regard she is NOT DUMB.

HOWEVER, sooner or later all of her lies, manipulations, unlawful activities are discovered. She also uses this certain “cool” username for everything she does online, from her e-mail account to her numerous dating websites to craig’s list ads and newspaper ads – everything. All you have to do is google this name and page after page pops up.

NOW, here is what has always puzzled me – is she just that DUMB (even her criminal activity is easily traced) – or – does she want to get “discovered”. After all what fun is it to be so devious when no one knows about it.

Ever since she was a teenager, if I didn’t happen to discover, on my own, what she had been up to, somehow, when I least expected it, she would PUT IT IN MY FACE.

Am I DUMB, or am I on to something?????


that’s called a “tell”. All sociopaths do it.
You know how some serial murderers will write letters to the police or newspaper and give them “clues”. The green river murderer would help the green river task force with the searches. And he took his wife to the river bank to have sex.

It’s so much fun for them to know that they are getting away with something and they need to show you how smart they are, but they can’t reveal it completely, so they do a “tell”. It’s more of their infantile behavior.

My own ExP would say, “it would be so EASY for someone to poison you, because you take so many vitamins”. WHO SAYS THAT? A sociopath does.

Ox Drover

Sky, Unfortunately, I wish your prediction were true, but I don’t think it is. The only “drama” I will see if I see any will be someone sneaking up to my house in the middle of the night with a match or a gun….the group dynamics in this case are going to be hidden, and the drama will be hidden from me. Unless he is getting out, in which case I WILL KNOW ahead of time….but I have formulated a plan more clearly, even with all the “if this-es and the what-ifs, and the then-that’s involved.”

Coming to a place that is CALM enough to even formulate an advance plan in life is difficult when there is on-going drama in one’s life. Finally getting to a calm enough place has been a long journey for me, but I think I am getting there where I can operate more logically-driven and less emotionally-driven in order to make better decisions. There will probably always be some emotional components to some decisions, but if I can come to a happy medium where I am not RE-acting to everything that happens in an emotional forum, but am RESPONDING to circumstances in a logical and rational way, then life should be pretty smooth.

The Ted Bundys of this world are not a big concern for me, but I do lock my doors at night now…LOL and I do have my “friend” under my Bible on my bed at night. The confusion that is created in a GROUP that causes panic and the perp is NOT the one panicking is more applicable I think to people working or living together, rather than just a sneak attack from a predator sneaking up in the dark I think.

It is sort of like my ancestors who moved on to lands hunted and owned by the Native Americans, I know I live in “Indian” territory, and I know that the “Indians” may surround my house any night because they don’t want me there…so I just keep barking dogs to warn me of an impending attack, keep the door barred, and keep my powder dry….and if I get a chance to attack first or shoot’em in the back, I will. I know I won’t get any quarter, but I won’t give any either. (Score one for me and my anti-parole attorney!)

super chic

Yes, a “tell”
That’s what I’m talkin’ about!!

kim frederick

I think you’re on to something. Ever hear of Duper’s delight?
It’s a small almost imperceptable, and fleeting smile on the face of a liar who is caught in the lie.
Putting something in your face is also a power play. It screams, “You have no control over me.”
My X did it a lot and enjoyed it.


My exP did the “tell” all the time,
But now I also realize that he would create drama BEFORE he began a ploy. He wanted to make sure I was off balance and unable to react logically. So he would start with a story…”I was at the 7-11…” or “I got a phone call…”

God how I hated phone calls and 7-11’s. I began to notice the pattern, but I thought it was because 7-11’s were a bad place to shop! It never occurred to me it was HIM, because WHO WOULD DO THAT?! a sociopath would.


Did I mention, I love this site, I keep getting names for all the “weird” things I have been seeing all these years. Imagine, I thought I was just “seeing” things. What a relief. A “tell”, OK, sounds good. BTW – I have been using “grey rock” all over the place.

Now, seeing Steve brought up DUMB – here is another question to put out there. The daughter has been seeing the same psychologist OFF AND ON, (when she needs his testimony, etc. it is ON) for over 7 years now. He has diagnosed Borderline Personality, so he even got that far. Let’s assume that he understands one of the symptoms – LIES. Recently, just two weeks after she was arrested (again) for domestic violence, he made an official statement to my Grandson’s therapist that my daughter “was working very hard on her problems and had come so far he felt she was VERY capable of parenting her children effectively” Ofcourse he knows this to be true because this is what she tells him.

My inclination is to send this man a copy of The Sociopath Next Door along with the Police Report/Court Records from the DV case. I guess my questions are – would this be unethical of me and/or a just plain DUMB idea – is this professional that DUMB ?


Ay skylar you make me laugh with your lately chorus “Who would do that? a sociopath would”
I’m like this lately and really i’m boring people deathly.
I want to get rid of this obsession. There are psychopaths and malignant narcissistics? Now i can’t deny it but I would like just to waste a couple of minutes vomiting metaphorically and then change chips. Really, there’s just one life and those garbages don’t deserve such a waste of attention and energy.


it may be boring but it is NECESSARY. They are everywhere in our society. It is more than just learning about them or us.
It’s learning about the way the world is RUN by THEM.

That professional is just DUMB. Maybe he’s a sociopath. You would have to watch and observe much more before you can make any moves.


I know it Skylar. This is the scaring fact: they’re everywhere and have much influence on others.
This doctor has blamed on me because of this reason, because getting obsessed won’t change that fact and she as a doctor and as a rather feminist woman wants first women well-being than starting an obsessive crusade against social kamikazes.
She hasn’t at all denied they exist, in fact she has became very serious when i’ve mentioned i had left the german i had already mentioned to her time ago because i had discovered he’s an integrated psychopath. And about the teacher she says to ignore him, being strong, and mind just my business.

kim frederick

I just found this and want to share. It’s for everybody here, but especially Sky and LL…..and me. 🙂
Sky, what is the right way to post a link? Do you include the http:// or not?


Again, hope that’s right.


“She also uses this certain “cool” username for everything she does online, from her e-mail account to her numerous dating websites to craig’s list ads and newspaper ads ”“ everything. All you have to do is google this name and page after page pops up.

NOW, here is what has always puzzled me ”“ is she just that DUMB (even her criminal activity is easily traced) ”“ or ”“ does she want to get “discovered”. ”

Exactly the same with my x-spath. I could never understand why he would use “innocent” sounding usernames on dating websites that when you google are also used on porn websites.

Maybe it is the “telling” thing, as the message I got was that he was not only far from innocent, but HIV+.


thanks for the link.
The easiest way to copy and paste a link is to LEFT click on the browser’s URL, to select the URL. Then RIGHT click and select “copy” from the drop down box.
Then you can paste it whereever you want.
The URL doesn’t seem to work.

kim frederick

Sorry Sky, but I am such a technoilliterate that I don’t know what left click and right click means.
I know how to do the ctrl c and ctrl v thing but when I try that with this computer I get something else my daughter or her husband has tried to link. Don’t know how to fix that either.
What do you think is wrong with the link as I posted it above? Do I need the http://www. stuff?

kim frederick
kim frederick

Ithink I did it> 🙂


I don’t know why there was “freeyellow” in your link, but maybe this is it?

Let me please explain Left and Right Click.

Do you have a mouse with 2 buttons? the left button is the one you most often use. (if you are right handed you are using your fore-finger to click) The right button (you click with your middle finger) gives you some drop-down options like copy and paste.
I also prefer control-v and -c. For that you would simply LEFT click the URL above the browser window and it turns blue. Now use your key board to control-V (copy) and control-C (paste)

kim frederick

Yes Sky, Yours is right.


that’s a beautiful prayer. So appropriate. Thanks for that. It also reminded me of the prayers to Saint Michael which I found so effective in dealing with the shock of the exPath. I think I need those prayers again today in dealing with all the other spaths in my life.

These prayers are prayers for humility which is the ultimate protection against spaths.


Kim ~

Thanks so much for the prayer. Such a perfect prayer to pray for my grandson.


Quite true, just spent 18 months going through court to get child maintenance ..after countless hearings the judgement has arrived, he owes £45k, we are going back to have a chat about my costs and the icing son’s maintenance has been increased!! Now to get the cash …and I have educated myself in enforcement.

Normal SP behaviour, lying thieving, narcisstic, selfish beyond belief and quite stupid at times. He kept giving me the evidence to show he was lying, and when caught out SPs don’t like it.

Also I have learnt SPs hate surprises, so I first froze his bank account and then sent in the bailiffs to current wife’s house ..she off the internet friends reunited dot com!!. Current wife assaults bailiffs, police called by bailiffs and then 3 hours later they extract £5k from mother in law sign of SP.

Now claims to being separated (couldn’t remember when in court) living in a tiny rented room heart bleeds and before that his car. Before anyone feels sorry for this SP, he claims to have spent 60k on said wedding (lasted a year according to the SP) due to her family being dysfunctional they also demanded 22.5k at his wedding (victim) and to cheer himself up he spent £45k on a car and not a penny in child maintenance.

I was litigant in person and when cross examining him, the SP with the piggy eyes, yellow teeth, badly dyed hair treble chin and huffing and puffing his 52 in chest (he is of course an Adonis in his mind), I thought what did I ever see in you. Still being path liar it didn’t take long, and he is quite thick really but so ‘superior’ he actually thinks because he says something it is therefore true. Unfortunately for him, no one believed a word that came out of his twisted mouth, his mother is the same.

My children straight A* students one off to read physics at university the other hopes to read classics. I could literally see the jealousy poring out of its orifices. Best thing he ever did was stay away and marry some thing on the internet, she has been convicted of harassment, no sign of the SP on that day. She is clearly easily manipulated and worse in one of her many emails she described him as ‘the most honest, honorable (sic) and principled man she had ever met’, she needs to get out more!!! She went on to tell my children their father never wanted to see or hear from them again and good luck!!

He has managed to get her to remortgage a property, 3 months after the wedding ..perhaps she won’t feel the same about him in a few years time!! Caught her having my house valued ..he of course told her he owned it ..par for the course.

Still he owes the HMRC quite a bit as well judging my his fraudulent tax return, I’m sure they will be catching up with him very soon.

So I whole heartedly agree, SPs sometimes are just deluded and so full of their self importance they fail to read the neon signs saying ‘WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU’.

Justice can be served but it is draining time consuming and I consider myself a strong person ..this has however been one hell of a journey. He looked really miserable and so he should!!


One last thing ..sensing he had lost and always wanting the last word his closing statement …Judge, what is the appeal process?’. The Judge had not even given her judgement!!! So the Judge after pausing for a moment (in disbelief) told him and glared at him. He was the applicant as well. A waste of everyone’s time.

The judgement now reads ‘I have no hesitation whatsoever in dismissing his application to vary child maintenance’. Apart from being disrespectful (he told the Judge at one point she didn’t know what she was doing), he had even claimed a previous judge had lied and also stated that this particular Judge had no jurisdiction. He is all the other things, violent abusive , no empathy and blames everyone else, financially a mess …

My children know he is a SP, and have no respect for him, he is just a source of embarrassment to us all. Will he be back, who knows but he knows that I know is a SP and I don’t believe a word he says makes dealing with him so easy!


Your posts are very uplifting!
It’s so nice to see that someone out there is believed about the spath. And you got more maintenance! EXCELLENT!

Now it’s time to collect.
Please, never let your guard down, they don’t like to lose and they don’t understand consequences so they will behave audaciously to avoid making payments FOR ANYTHING.

My exspath wanted a helicopter but he didn’t want to pay for it, so he convinced a guy to sign it over and agreed to make payments. Instead of payments, he arranged an accident for the poor man. Free helicopter for spath. Do not do anything that is not being documented so that he cannot try to fly under the radar.

God bless you.

lesson learned

moving on,

Absolutely one hundred percent AWESOME on your part!! I think EB would LOVE your story! You’re an inspiration for believing and embracing the absolute BS and acting on it!

GOOD for you! Sounds like your kids are going to be just fine too.

This is great stuff, Moving on!


Ox Drover


I think I would send it to them…it is NOT unprofessional or unethical for YOU to talk to her therapist…he just can’t talk to YOU. You can also write him a letter, enclose any court documents etc that you’d like to. He will, of course, tell her that YOU sent them if he knows it was you (or suspects, or she can figure out) so that is stirring the hornet’s nest if you do..but you could send the book and a copy of the DV report…then deny, deny, deny! BTW, I don’t think dis-information to a psychopath is counted as a “lie” –it is SELF DEFENSE! LOL (((hugs))))


skylar and lessons learned many thanks

This is my first time on here just wish I had found this site sooner. I know he has no intention of paying and uses the court system and abuses the children to ”win’; this time it has backfired on him. He now knows that for £50 I can send the bailiffs in, and they add £000’s in collection fees. Of the £5k taken from mother in law I got £2.6k. So cost him even more money …idiot.

We are back to court on the 30th March and the judgement says that he has to have a reasonable offer of payments. Well we all know SPs are not ‘reasonable’; so he will waddle in with some ridiculous story and then the Judge will make the order.

Once he has left court he will rewrite the ending and pretend it is all going away ..which it isn’t. He rang the bailiffs many times abusing them calling them fraudsters, they just laughed at him most people do now. I would love to send the bailiffs in again ..I have frozen £5,816 in his bank account which I have asked to be handed over to me.

Also unfortunately for the SP the judge has documented all his lies, separated living in his tiny room, his ridiculous spending or as she puts it ‘totally unjustifiable expense’. Being a SP current wife hasn’t got a clue …and he channels all his mail through mail boxes or post office boxes as in the UK so she doesn’t get to see the mail. I circumvent these by simply not putting his name on the envelope drives him nuts and he keeps telling me at every hearing it is annoying him I think to myself well done ..and its upsetting current wife ..tick in box again ..

He has done some truly awful things especially to my son I have him taped its not him pulling my strings anymore; I’m doing the string pulling and exposing his lies.

I am 3 years divorced separated 5 married 13 and everything he has ever told me I now realise was a lie. Now I use his lies back at him, so a copy of the judgement will find its way to the current wife and she can have a read all about her ‘separation’ which of course is rubbish and all the rest of his drivel.

I was not the applicant he was so taking me to court so he was rather stupid as he will now pay my costs as well …and the Judge also documented:

‘He said the children are not a priority! They are nevertheless the court’s priority’. Sat there and said he couldn’t careless about them …that really got the Judge on his side ..not ..

During the hearings and trial he kept trying to tell me about his wonderful life ..I got fed up of hearing me say ‘I am not interested, I am only interested in the money’. When do SPs stop thinking they are the centre of the universe???

This may make you smile, claims to Judge knows nothing about current wife’s income, next breath that is what she lives on, Judge back at him but you just stated you know nothing about her income ..dohh!. He has so many different addresses the judge told him to sit down and document where he has been living with dates ..5 minutes pass ..’he can’t remember’, can’t remember when he separated. The sheer scale of lying and ability to sit there without looking even vaguely embarrassed is breath taking.

The Judge is going to consider a stay of execution, so if as predicted he turns up with a silly offer re: the arrears, (fingers crossed) she’ll go for his jugular!

lesson learned


I think you sound GREAT! Really strong! I think you’re really REALLY fortunate to have a judge who BELIEVES you…as well as all of those around you who are supporting all of this and KNOW who he is. The guy sounds like a complete IDIOT and more of a Charlie Sheen type, he doesn’t HIDE that he’s an idiot, even if he believes he’s special.

Easy spath to back spath. NICE!

Good for you, Movingon! It’s nice to hear that someone here actually gets the opportunity to backspath A SPATH!!



hi skylar

Forgot to say, thanks for the warning he knows that if he so much as contacts me or comes near me or my children I will call the police. I have security cameras etc ..I live away from him ..but I don’t underestimate him at all ..I just now understand better how his twisted mind operates. Accident ..sounds like murder ..poor man and his family.

My defences are all in place, he will never abuse my children or me again.


Moveingon ~

Good for you girl. Please send some of your local judges this way, sounds like you had one who “got it”. In our court, the judge would have stepped down from the bench, given the S/P a tissue and a hug !!!!! In the end, you would owe HIM money.

Stay safe and watch your back.

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