If you must fight a sociopath, you cannot be nice

Sociopaths do not believe that the rules apply to them. They do not fight fair.

Therefore, if you choose to fight a sociopath, or if you have no choice but to fight a sociopath, your own fighting style will need to become aggressive as well.

If you’re a nice person, if you typically want to do what’s fair for everyone involved — well, that doesn’t work with a sociopath. A sociopath’s objective is not to be fair. It’s to win, and possibly annihilate you in the process.

To survive the battle, you’ll need to act in a way that is probably contrary to your nature. It will be uncomfortable, but necessary.

First decision — do you fight?

Here’s the first and most important decision: Do you fight at all?

Typically, fighting means a legal battle. Here are a few things you need to know about going to court against a sociopath:

  1. Sociopaths love going to court. Often they’ll be cool and collected, while you have a meltdown, which makes you look bad.
  2. Sociopaths often hire sociopathic attorneys, so they’ll be tag-teaming you.
  3. Sociopaths lie in court. They also get witnesses to lie, either knowingly or unknowingly.
  4. Judges frequently don’t understand sociopaths and may not see through the lies.
  5. Court costs money. Sociopaths will keep the battle going until you no longer have the money to fight.
  6. You may know the truth, but may not be able to prove it. Justice may not prevail.

Here are some previous Lovefraud articles on this topic:

Issues to consider before taking a sociopath to court

10 tactics for child custody battles with sociopaths

How to prepare for your child custody court battle against a sociopath

An open letter to lawyers who have clients involved with sociopaths

Staying engaged

As I’ve written many, many times on Lovefraud, the key to recovery from your experience with a sociopath is No Contact. You have to get the person out of your life, and then out of your head.

If you are fighting a battle with a sociopath, you are still engaged. This person and this effort will continue to drain your energy. It is difficult to move on with your recovery.

So here’s the critical decision: What course of action will lead to your recovery the fastest? Even though you want justice, would it be better for you to write off your losses, walk away and start over?

Also, is your physical safety at risk? If the sociopath is violent, do you need to flee to protect your life?

Forced to fight

Some people insist that you should never fight a sociopath; they are so evil that it is impossible to win. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I’ve heard from plenty of people who have won.

Yes, perhaps you should just leave. But sometimes standing up for yourself is the best way to achieve recovery. Sometimes you have to fight in order to protect yourself or the people you love. And sometimes sociopaths leave you no choice — they start the fight, and you have to defend yourself.

So if you are going to battle a sociopath, there will be times when you need to fight fire with fire.

Acting differently

Sociopaths tend to target people who are cooperative, considerate, and forthright citizens. These are wonderful traits — but not necessarily helpful when it comes to battling someone who has none of them.

You’re going to need to think and act differently.

At the very least, you need to be guarded. Do not tell the sociopath what you are going to do. Do not tell anyone who might talk to the sociopath what you are going to do.

Do not worry about the sociopath’s welfare. Do not try to protect him or her. I assure you, the sociopath is not worrying about you.

Do not assume that the sociopath wants to do the right thing, even when children are invovled. For the sociopath, winning is everything, no matter who gets hurt.

Following the rules

Sociopaths, as I said earlier, do not believe that the rules apply to them. Therefore, if you believe in following the rules, you are at a disadvantage in dealing with a sociopath.

For example, suppose you want a divorce. If you were married to a normal person, you could talk to your spouse, agree that the marriage was over, agree to split your bank accounts right down the middle, and you would both get half of the money.

If you were married to a sociopath, your best bet would be to decide on your own that you want the divorce, go to the bank and get your half of the money (or more), retain a lawyer and then serve the sociopath with divorce papers. You should not inform the sociopath in advance that you want a divorce, because once you got to the bank, all of the money would be gone.

In fighting a sociopath, sometimes you may need to bend the rules. Sometimes you may need to act first and worry about the rules later. I don’t necessarily want to recommend that you break the law, but you do need to realize that laws may not serve you. If you’re worried about violence or some other crime, remember that something bad has to happen before the police can take action.

I definitely had to bend the rules in dealing with my sociopathic ex-husband. If you want to learn what I did, I tell my whole story in my book, Love Fraud.

Aggressive action

Sociopaths only understand power. Perhaps you’ve been beaten down so long that you don’t feel like you have any. Surprisingly, this may actually be a source of power, because the sociopath will underestimate you.

Make up your mind. Don’t reveal your plans. Figure out where you can push the envelope. Then when you’re ready, hit the sociopath with everything you’ve got. The element of surprise can help you win the fight.

If you must battle a sociopath, there is no win-win. You cannot be nice. You may need to find the strength for bold, aggressive action.


Comment on this article

17 Comments on "If you must fight a sociopath, you cannot be nice"

Notify of

Absolutely true. I have found this with a spath female neighbor.

I am soon going to file for divorce and have been waiting abd trying to prep for years while waiting for the kids to grow older abd independent so that custody would no longer be an issue. But after speaking to many women who are through or have gone through the divorce process, it seems very disheartening to hear how the courts don’t really hold the spath accountable for not following the rules as they shouod.( I.e. not disclosing info in timely manner etc) sometimes this discouraged women from leaving . because it seems too difficult to win. Anyone out there that can offer words of encouragement to keep going ?

I have been through that nightmare. You are going to win some and lose some.

You are correct, timely responses are not enforced. If you are in court, you can bring this up. Ask for a timeline and consequences levied.

If you are in the middle of divorce you can write into the judgement. Try to have your attorney fees covered if you have to return to court because they drag their feet.

I have this suggestion for you, for example, you have the right to ask for a copy of the ex’s tax return each year and they are supposed to hand it over. Of course there is no penalty for not responding. If this is going to be important to you, find a way to write into the judgement the production of the tax return, with the consequenses of not following through.

If you are not yet separated, and have access to banking statements, credit card info, stock portfolios, make copies and keep the originals for yourself if you can.

Even a tool like Our Family Wizard is supposed to keep tgings cordial and professional, but my ex just used to it to harrass and intimidate me. There’s no consequences for a sociopath.

In this case what I’ve done with my ex, I created a cost to this harrassment. When he writes an email through OurFamilyWizard and uses that to berate me, I write a letter to his attorney and include the nasty emails. I request that the ex write non-personal, respectful, responsive emails so that we can co-parent. That worked because he had to answer to a third person.

Love all of this:)

You have to be five steps ahead of the spath, seemingly.

and, in ANY legal dealings, get as good an attorney as you can afford. I got lucky, the lawyer I was referred to, was out of our area; so he wasn’t about to be influenced by my spath’s years of residence in this county. he was able to keep the spath (and his attorney) from taking me for what they could get (and put my spath under court-ordered financial guardianship, which I’m sure, enraged him, but he couldn’t fight it)..

The attorney I hired is tough and said she has dealt with many sociopaths. She is very experienced and very action oriented or so it seems. She is not sensitive or consoling in any way. I wasn’t that concerned with that anyway . I wanted someone tough , smart and who can get the job done. I am hoping I chose correctly although sometimes I walk out of there wondering if I did bevause she is tough… even with me

nancyw1234 is your divorce over? How did it go? (Mine is scheduled in less than one month. Hoping for a fair settlement. He uses character assassination as evidence of why I should not get one, naturally.)

Hi Free2be,
No I filed about a month ago but we haven’t progressed from there much since I am still trying to figure out if I should let him use our attorney for the divorce. It means I have to sign a waiver and I am not sure if I should even though my attorney said it should be ok. He keeps fluctuating between being mean and then super nice. I think he thinks that he can still change my mind since we haven’t gone to court yet. How is it going over all? That is normal for a sociopath for character assassination. I am expecting that also since I found copies of text messages I sent to a person that I felll in love with ten yrs ago. Can you believe he has been holding onto those since then and never said a word to me??? Who does that??? Then he realized that I went through his files and found the evidence that he is planning to use against me and got very irate that I went through his stuff . But along with those texts , I found photo copies of my safe deposit box slip saying how much cash I saved back in 2008!!! Again , he has been snooping on me and pretending nothing is wrong this entire time .
I have been going through this for a long time and hung in until my youngest went to college this year . Good luck , please let me know how it goes

sounds good!!

Thxs for the great advice Mirco. I have been taking photographs of as many documents as possible without him knowing . He owns his own business, works from home , has a separate PO Box to which I never see where he puts the incoming mail, has not filed our taxes past 4 years( he told me had but told me he forged my signature. And I have recently found out that we have had a bank lien placed on our home the past 4 yrs due to a dealing he had made with the bank that fell through. I don’t have access to any of his bank account info for his business and he won’t give me password for it . I know this will not go smoothly and he will make it as tough as he can for me . I m still having trouble processing what I married , and if I am mistaken in all of this

That is so true. Sociopaths only understand power, and to fight back, sometimes, is only an option. Especially, when you dealing with sociopath, who won’t leave you alone, with a life-long dedication to destroy every single aspect of your life.
I’ve learned this with my ex-husband, who still keeping tabs on me years after divorce, by continuing to interfere and sabotaging everything in my life.

mtn339 sorry to hear this. O.N. Ward’s book has been helpful to me.

Unfortunately true.

unfortunately very true indeed.

Send this to a friend