Reply To: Hi – I'm a sociopath.



“Mirroring” is the hook that sociopaths use to get you to trust them. They get you to talk about yourself. If you like dogs, they say they like dogs. If you hate rain, hey, they hate rain too. They “mirror” back your thoughts and feelings and dreams to you. You feel like you found your soul mate.

You (the target) believe you and the sociopath are so much alike that you trust the sociopath instantly and deeply. Why wouldn’t you? He/she is telling you exactly what you want to hear. You are worthwhile and need to be helped and they can help you. The problem is that “mirroring” is not necessarily truth. The Sociopath might actually hate dogs, but is lying to you. He is lying so that you trust him. You won’t be able to tell the difference. Sociopaths are really, really good liars.

In your exchange with “Me”, you talked about being a victim. you needed a rescuer. “Me” responded exactly as the perfect rescuer would. He got angry that you had been put in this situation. His anger validated you. Then he spoke about how he would avenge how you had been treated. He was your knight in shining armor. When I read his reply he was acknowledging your fear, validating your experiences and expressing outrage that this could happen to you. He might be telling the truth. He might be lying. The trouble with people (any people… I agree with “Me” that ASD is on a continuum and all people have elements of this) is that you DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU CAN BELIEVE. It takes lots of lots of interactions to get an idea (like at least 20 where trust can be built up little by little), but even then, sociopaths can keep up a mask for years. In ‘neurotypical’ (non-ASD) relationships, mistakes are admitted and goodwill is established very slowly over a long time. “Mirroring” is a strategy that is a quick and dirty shortcut to trick someone into trusting them.

However, “Me” has said that he was not doing this deliberately to manipulate you, and this is as possible as the alternative, that he IS doing it to manipulate you. “Mirroring” in itself is not bad. It is a technique that therapists use. Parents also use it on their kids (think of baby talk with baby). This is what I meant by “intent”. Just because someone uses a technique, does not mean that they are planning to suck you in. “Me” could be genuinely expressing his feelings.

I was alerted to the possibility because “Me” has already said he was a psychopath. I might be wrong in my initial assessment of “Me”. I will alter my judgement after prolonged interactions if necessary. In the mean time, I will keep my guard up. I assume that “Me” understands this, because of his/her initial posts where s/he said something like, “I don’t expect you to believe me”. If Me was telling the truth, then s/he would be expecting suspicion and doubt from many people on this site. I believe that “Me” can give us some really useful insights, which is why I am grateful “Me” is on this website. However, I am also keeping my guard up.

In short, my flags for you were: “Me” quickly responded in a way that was most sociopaths’ favorite manipulation technique. a) you have identified yourself as acknowledged victim material for a psychopath (easy pickings) b) “Me” identifies him/herself as a psychopath c) “mirroring” was used (not necessarily a bad thing in itself), but my first thought was “this is mirroring”, rather than “what a nice, helpful guy”. Then d) you responded by asking this guy into your life to help (save) you.

This is a really good way for you to learn what is like to be “mirrored”. The interactions with “Me” (and how good it feels to be instantly understood and validated) are equivalent to 6 months of therapy IMO. This is why I am glad “Me” has offered him/herself to help us fill in the gaps of our own experiences.

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