Was he a sociopath? Why can't I get over it?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  regretfullymine 3 weeks, 6 days ago.

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  • #47852


    For two years I was in a non-relationship with a man. He was quick to want to spend time with me and talk to me. Several months later he yelled at me, saying this wasnt anything and it was going nowhere.
    This broke my heart.

    But the next day he acted like everything was fine. Telling me he has never been into someone so quickly. We spent the weekend together. This made me feel like there was a chance. We talked daily. But he would only see me on his terms. When we were together it was fun and amazing, he was affectionate. After a few good weeks or months he would say mean things and make no plans to see me. Yet he called me several times per day. I would tell him we had to stop talking to each other. And he would not let me. He always made it better and immediately rushed to make plans. We even went on a trip together.

    This was the cycle for 2 years. I tried to end it at least 4 times.

    Finally he let me end it and of course he was in a real relationship within weeks.

    I believe I was deeply trauma bonded to him. It was so painful. I have never cried so much and I really felt like I was going to die. I know that sounds dramatic, but I would sob in my bed for hours and it felt like my insides were being squeezed.

    I am so confused with how I feel. I feel stupid and ashamed. I feel like maybe I am being dramatic calling him a sociopath but I don’t understand why he wouldn’t let me go. And this is a 40 year old man with a child. This behavior cant be normal.

    It has been 5 months since it ended and I rarely thought about him for the past 2 months. I was busy putting energy into work and building up my own self as this non-relationship made me realize how little self respect and self love I have.

    Two weeks ago, suddenly I cant stop thinking about the situation and what happened. I dont know what I even want. It is confusing and my friends just have a “get over it” attitude. I guess I thought I could improve myself and I would just get over it. I dont know why it came back in full force and I feel like it unraveled all the progress I made.

    I feel stuck. I dont know how to move on. I feel emotionally used, almost dirty. I become convinced he is a sociopath. (It fits with his social/personal life in addition to his treatment of me) But then I start doubting it and thinking I am crazy. I just want to be over it. There seems to be this underlying anxiety from it that I cant shake. Is this normal? Any suggestions? Thanks so much for any help!

  • #47854


    Well, there was certainly something wrong with him to account for those wild swings in attitude, but what exactly is another question. It’s not surprising you were left so confused. He might have been a borderline. He might even have been bipolar. I think BPD is a better bet though, in view of his obvious neediness. There’s lots of information about it on the Web. Take a look here, for instance:

    Borderline Personality Disorder

  • #47857


    abbrea, I don’t know if he was a sociopath but I agree with Redwald, he probably has some sort of disorder and is possibly bi-polar. He definitely has issues and was nasty to you. He could possibly be a sociopath who was playing power games with you. I’ve dated a few guys who would suddenly “turn” like yours did and become mean or verbally abusive or would just ghost me then return – or not. It’s hard for a compassionate person to understand this behavior. We want to think it was just poor judgment or an aberration because the rest of the time, the guy is great. When we minimize or rationalize bad behavior, it is called cognitive dissonance. It helps us maintain the status quo in a relationship because facing the reality is just too painful once we’ve become bonded. We ignore the red flags because they don’t fit with our picture of the person as we want them to be. IMO it takes a few years to really know a person and see their many sides. People can hide their dark sides for a very long time. You did the right thing by ending the relationship. It doesn’t sound like he has any awareness of his disorder, and this will wreak havoc in all his relationships. I don’t think you would or could ever get what you need from this man. Doubtful his new person will either.

    People who are highly empathic and compassionate tend to attract wounded people, and they are attracted to us because we are more apt to forgive their bad behaviors. Knowing this may help you to forgive yourself. Empathic people deserve exceptional mates, not disordered people who make us beg from crumbs.

    Sounds like you are already doing what you need to do to take care of yourself. You may want to seek out some form of energy work to move the residual energy out of your body. There are many forms of energy healing. Donna has a post on here about EFT, which is very effective for trauma. I actually go to a healer who helps me cut the cords with people (or places) I’m attached to. But that doesn’t mean the cords can’t come back if you invite the person – or even the thought of him – back into your life. Depending on what you can afford, any kind of self nurturing like massage, Reiki, exercise, taking walks in the sunshine, and just moving on with your life….they will all help you to make the break. Prayer can work when you’re really ready to let him go. The more you can be in the present moment, laughing, absorbing yourself in movies, smelling flowers, and so on, the more quickly you will heal.

    My very best to you from someone who’s been there. (((hugs)))

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Stargazer.
  • #47860


    Thanks to both of you.

  • #47861


    I’d like to get my empathy removed. I wonder if that is possible. (Kidding, sorta) Empathy is my number one strength according to the Clifton strength tests. But I fail to see how it is a strength. People without strong empathy seem much happier 🙁

    • #47899


      Abbrea: I too have too much empathy for my own good; trust me, you CANT get rid of But, what you CAN do is work with being empathic..boundaries are needed. Empathy is lovely in the right situations/the right people. Psychopaths?? Empathy is like catnip to them; they hone in on empathic folks like radar, and use it against you. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries..and that little 2 letter word NO..Psychopaths HATE that little word. Don’t be afraid to use it early and often, with any troubled personality you have to deal with. NO, followed by NO CONTACT. People with little or NO empathy are difficult people. I’ve learned to work with mine; there are books out there, for help with being empathic. These WILL help you. I had to learn this the hard way. So may you. He’s troubled, you’re empathic. Be thankful YOU are the empathic one. You’ll be OK.

  • #47862


    I’m afraid too much empathy can be a liability at times!

    A couple of other things, abbrea. People often do find it notoriously difficult to “get over” a relationship with a personality disordered partner. That’s because these relationships, despite being confusing, disappointing and painful, can have a powerfully addictive quality that’s bard to break. There are several articles here discussing why this is. One aspect of this is explained very clearly in an article that talks about the role of intermittent reinforcement in creating addiction.

    Apart from that, there are several articles here discussing the difficulty of “getting over it,” such as this one of Donna’s:

    Why you can become addicted to a sociopath

    I can’t list them all here, but if you google


    you can easily find some.

    Incidentally the use of the term “sociopath” on this site doesn’t necessarily exclude the borderline, or even (for practical purposes) certain people with other disorders altogether, such as the alarmingly titled “Intermittent Explosive Disorder.” The point is that any disordered person whose behavior is erratic, contradictory, confusing and frequently hostile or abusive can have the same damaging long term effects on a partner regardless of what their actual disorder is.

    If it helps you, there’s an article here by Steve Becker (who wrote a lot on this theme) titled Differentiating the sociopath from the borderline from the narcissist. Steve appeared to be using the term “sociopathy” to mean what is clinically called “antisocial personality disorder,” which is essentially “psychopathy” but more loosely and sloppily defined.

    Good luck recovering from this anyway!

  • #47864

    Donna Andersen

    Abbrea – I think he is definitely disordered. Even though it hurts, you are better off without him, which I am sure you know in your heart.

    You wondered why you started thinking about him now, after several months have passed. It’s probably because you are now strong enough to process the emotional pain. Even though you were crying a lot when it ended, there was probably more inside you that needed to be grieved, but you just couldn’t take it anymore at the time. Now you can work on the residual pain.

    You might like my webinar — “Why it’s so hard to get over loving a sociopath”

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