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How to get revenge against a sociopath

You’ve finally figured out what is wrong with an individual who has taken advantage of you, abused you, perhaps even assaulted you. Reading Lovefraud, you realize that he or she is a sociopath.

Now, you’re an emotional wreck.  You’ve been profoundly betrayed. You’re justifiably angry. Plus, the sociopath has caused you real problems. Perhaps all your money is gone. Or you’re in a vicious child custody battle. You’ve lost your job, your savings or your home. You suffer from anxiety, depression or PTSD.  You feel so far down that you don’t even know which direction is up.

You are outraged by the sociopath’s actions. You are further outraged that after this individual bulldozed through your life, he or she seems to be facing absolutely no consequences. The predator has simply moved on to a new target, leaving you in a heap of ashes.

You want your life back. You want to sociopath to be accountable for the destruction he or she caused.  And you want to make sure he or she never does this to another human being. But the predator turns on the charm, or plays the victim, or convinces everyone that you are mentally unstable. No one seems to be able to help you. In fact, no one even understands what you’re talking about.

It’s infuriating. If you were honest with yourself, you’d have to admit that you really want revenge.

“Living well is the best revenge”

This proverb was recorded by the English poet George Herbert in 1651. Perhaps whoever originally said it hundreds of years ago knew about sociopaths.

Right now, with your life in tatters, you probably feel like “living well” is an impossible dream. But you can start working towards that goal immediately—and stick it to the sociopath in the process.

The sociopath’s prime objective in life is power and control. If you deny the sociopath power and control over you, you take away what he or she wants most.

The power and control that the sociopath exerts is primarily over your thoughts and emotions. You can break that power and control, and it doesn’t even have to cost you any money. The first step, of course, is No Contact. We talk about No Contact all the time on Lovefraud, but if you need a refresher course on how to do it, read:

How to implement No Contact

It’s true that No Contact is difficult in many cases, such as if you share children with the sociopath, or you work together. In these situations, you need to get to Emotional No Contact. That means you detach emotionally; you do not allow him or her to upset you. There are caveats to this as well, because sociopaths are capable of atrocious behavior that really pushes your buttons. In these cases, you certainly deserve to be upset—just don’t let the sociopath see it.

Remember, they want power and control. If they see that they have triggered you, they know that they still have power and control over you.

The key, therefore, is to focus on healing yourself and improving your life. It will take time. It will require processing the pain, disappointment and anger of the betrayal. But if you decide to recover, you can do it. For more on this, read:

5 steps to recovery from the sociopath (they’re not fast or easy, but the healing is real)

This does not mean that the sociopath should get away with what happened. But if you want to hold the sociopath accountable, you need to do it from a position of strength. Working on your own recovery is the best way to develop the strength.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold”

The source of this statement is also unclear—it was first translated from French to English in 1846, but apparently was already a proverb by then.

It’s not a good idea to consciously go out to seek revenge.  (Another proverb attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius states, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”) But as time goes by and you build your inner strength, you may suddenly find yourself faced with an opportunity to hold the sociopath accountable.

The sociopath, of course, will continue a life of destruction. Eventually, he or she may target the wrong person or seriously break the law, and someone may contact you to find out what you know about this disordered individual. Then, in a calm and collected manner, you can describe your experience, provide evidence that proves a pattern of behavior, and contribute to some type of justice—whether it’s getting the individual prosecuted, exposed in the media, or just ruining his or her efforts with yet another potential victim.

Revenge may be possible, but probably not right away. So focus on your first priority, which is healing your own life. Then, be patient. By releasing the pain and upset of your betrayal, you’ll be ready when an opportunity arrives for justice.

To you, justice will be sweet revenge.

Lovefraud originally posted this article on August 20, 2012.

Posted in: Donna Andersen

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11 Comments on "How to get revenge against a sociopath"

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Being out a year or so…this is true. I tried to get revenge & made my life even worse. Now I let The Universe & Love Fraud guide me.

Excellent Article! Thank You Donna. I liked Confucius’s quote, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Very well said. It’s better to be patient and wait for an opportunity for justice instead. The sociopath I was involved with has already found a new target straight away and I am sure he would have gotten married already did he have a divorce paper. I feel terrible for that Vietnamese woman, but there is nothing I can do, I won’t dig my grave as it says…Thanks again for your continued support and encouragement.

Thank you for re-showcasing this article. I’ve left my psych-ex over 3 years ago and it’s been a battle ever since. What you write is totally correct. I barely have any contact with this monster because I could never have a meaningful adult conversation with him. So, I choose not to engage with him unless through simple text messages or emails only pertaining to our mutual son. As for revenge – I’ve been in counseling for almost 4 years now – strengthening myself. But I also blew him in on illegal things he has done. I’m hoping he is held accountable for his actions. I finally got the strength to do it. Aside from the horrible things he continues to do to me, legally, I can and do show my happiness in front of him whenever I can. He actually gets mad when I hug and kiss our son good bye or hello. He makes obnoxious sounds. An almost 58 year old man going on 7!!

This is a great article, however – this title has been used by every other site and support group. I actually feel manipulated by the title and I do every time I see it on any board or any newsletter.
While the concept is completely true, it’s misleading. After being manipulated by psychopaths, I think we deserve more directness and honesty and less recycling of titles and concepts.
For myself – having already gone NC and still looking for a way to make him held accountable, it gets my hopes up and then dashed them every time. Just like he did…

That’s interesting. I can’t personally recall seeing this title anywhere else, but that’s probably because I don’t have enough experience of all these other sites and support groups. So what do they have to say under this title? Is it any different from what’s being said here?

Incidentally when it comes to phrases that bother us, one expression that puzzles me is wanting someone to be “held accountable” for something. I realize you may only be using it because it’s the way so many other people express themselves, but what exactly does it mean? I’m pretty sure many of those people who use this phrase really mean they want to see that person punished! What they actually want is revenge! This euphemism about “being held accountable” is just a way for them to avoid looking vindictive. If they spoke with “more directness and honesty” they’d use a more explicit term like “punish.” I’d be more impressed if they said “I’d like to see that SOB tied to a post and given 500 lashes,” or whatever chastisement they had in mind.

Dear simply, sadly not all sociopaths are held accountable, and for the ones who are, it can take many years. They never feel any kind of regret or remorse, so sometimes holding them accountable can be bittersweet. You want them to stew in prison to think about what they did. Instead they capitalize off their notoriety and plot their next scheme. Even if you get your money back, you cannot get the wasted time or squandered health during the days you were involved with them. It is one of the most difficult things to finally just move on. Imagine if your happiness is dependent on what happens to other people. You are always at the mercy of things outside of your control for your own happiness.

Ironically, moving on will remove you from the sociopath’s control. When they cannot control you any longer, that will probably be the thing that frustrates them the most. I think that is what the article is trying to say.

I believe the gist of so called revenge, is like you say, Stargazer…moving on and giving the spath NO reaction to anything (no contact) IS revenge.

Knowing in ourselves, that WE are such good, caring, and decent people, who want to do good in our lives, is all that we need. That will carry us through.

Bev, you have helped me clarify what I was trying to say. Moving on is what will piss the sociopath off the most. Ironically, however, you won’t care anymore. So it’s a win-win. When you stop caring about revenge, you have officially taken the greatest revenge you can take. You have given the message to the sociopath that they were a blip on your radar screen once, but now they don’t exist to you anymore. They tried but they didn’t destroy you. What better F-you is there than that?

That’s it. It is wonderful and freeing when you don’t care any more. That is when you are truly out.

The spath will squirm when that happens. That’s all I need…lol.

Wanting revenge means that you aren’t truly out yet…

Thats it Bev and Stargazer! I remember reading somewhere that the only way to win against a toxic person is not to play. In our situation, its to have no contact. This is easier for those with no long term ties with them, but for those of us with business partnerships or kids, absolute no contact is impossible.

Emotional no contact or detachment is the way to go and with the ex, I find that he tries to bring up personal things outside of work to trigger me, and it works sometimes but I consciously mask the emotions he is stirring up.

He does get pretty upset when he realizes I’m not getting angry or I ignore him. I must admit that those times fill me with great joy, which I also mask.

I wait for karma to deal with him, but I’m pretty indifferent to him now, so pursuing revenge is not an option.

And…that is revenge!

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