Religion, spirituality and sociopaths

Editor’s note: This article was written by the Lovefraud reader “Adelade.” It refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.

Religious and spiritual beliefs are of extreme importance to people. More than their beliefs of themselves, people adhere to religious and spiritual doctrines because they give them a strong sense of continuity, comfort, and meaning. Teachings and rituals often fill in the gaps of what we cannot provide to ourselves or process as a result of living, dying, and the random events in Life that cause us to question, “Why did this happen?”

The first thing that an invading culture or nation does is to take away or abolish the religious or spiritual systems of beliefs of the vanquished. Aside from taking away native languages, this is probably the most humiliating and defeating of all “punishments” delivered to the vanquished because the core beliefs that sustained that culture (tribal, or national) are not only removed, but completely invalidated. Because these core beliefs run so deep, the culture and individuals are stripped of identity, meaning, and value. After the native religious or spiritual beliefs have been dismantled, they are replaced with those of the conquerors. Either go with the program, or risk losing businesses, homes, and/or lives.

Forgiven of their sins

In my personal experiences, my spirituality had always been a factor in how I was easily targeted, and so completely manipulated. I was raised in the belief (religious, spiritual, and cultural) that every human being deserved compassion and understanding. The spiritual and religious doctrines held fast that everyone should be forgiven for their sins and/or crimes, and given the “benefit of the doubt,” as well as a “second chance.”

The perpetrators hear the words of forgiveness and acceptance, and usually exhibit a brief spurt of “regret” for “what happened,” but typically return to their previous damaging behaviors. In some religious systems, it is taught that a person is forever forgiven of their sins and crimes if they accept specific teachings to be true. What this generally translates to for sociopaths is that everything that they ever did, are presently doing, and will do in the future is magically absolved, and all they have to do is speak the words and literally act out scenes of “transformation” for this to be accomplished. In the World Of Sociopath, they are given the “green light” to continue their abuses with impunity because they have “already been forgiven,” according to doctrines.

Using doctrine against me

Organized religious or spiritual groups are the most fertile trolling ground for the disordered because of these facts. In my first marriage, the abusive ex-spath used our marriage vows as a weapon. If I disobeyed the abusive ex-spath, then I was disobeying God. Consequently, he insisted that God had given him the Divine Expectation to exercise “husbandly rights,” and that I was committing a sin if I didn’t give in to his demands, regardless of whether they were sexual, financial, or otherwise. In essence, I would burn in Hell if I disobeyed him.

The second ex-spath used my need for spiritual and religious grounding to his advantage as well. Unlike the abusive ex-spath, the second one painted himself as a devout follower of Jesus, and had experienced “true miracles” that he described, in detail, as evidence of his connection with God. He also played on the fact that he had attended a Bible college and had intended upon becoming a pastor. Of course, he never completed the required courses, but he could spout some religion and passages with incredible and convincing authority. He used my own ignorance of Books and Verses to his best advantage, and all the while asserted what a “humble” person he was and how money had “no importance” to him except as a method to “pay the bills.”

We are what we believe

Whether the entanglement is with a spouse, significant other, parent, sibling, coworker, or member of the church, temple, or program that we are involved in, it is vital to understand the link—and difference—between religious/spiritual beliefs and core self-beliefs.

Precisely how these two systems of beliefs are targeted, exploited, and dismantled by sociopaths is very simple: we are what we believe. If we believe that everyone deserves to be forgiven, then we forgive even when the person clearly doesn’t “deserve” it. If we believe that we are responsible for everyone else’s happiness before our own, then we will set aside all reasonable expectations of reasonable behaviors in lieu of “fixing” everyone else’s problems for them. If we believe that we were born sinners, then we are ashamed of having been conceived and born at all. If we believe there exists a heaven and a hell, then we will act accordingly to enter one and avoid the other, and do so by the requirements of another mortal human being. If we believe that expressions of sympathy and compassion are to be given to everyone, then we feel obligated to tolerate behaviors and choices that are often inappropriate and unacceptable. These are the things that religious and/or spiritual sociopaths intuitively recognize and exploit to their advantages.

Religion and power

When we read about religious or spiritual leaders engaging in the most heinous behaviors and crimes, we have no business even acting as if we’re surprised. Power corrupts, and there is nothing more powerful to human beings than their systems of beliefs. That’s not meant to translate that we shouldn’t feel shocked that someone would abuse their positions of power, but it is a fact that those who are in power didn’t get where they are by simple altruism, even with regard to religious/spiritual leadership. Every human being carries secrets, and no one can claim to be the example or epitome of what their higher power dictates as perfection.

Before anyone chooses to take offense at these observations, I want to clarify that I am not opposed to any individual wishing to adhere to their chosen religious or spiritual beliefs, as long as those beliefs aren’t espoused in hatred or intentional harm. What I hope for readers to take away from this is the importance of caution and self-validation. God, Great Creator, Yahweh, Jehovah, Buddha, Vishnu, or whomever we hold as our “higher power” has already gifted us with everything that we “need” to realize our own potential and value in this vast Universe. If something or someone causes us to feel uncomfortable, DE-valued, unworthy of love, obligated because of their own humanity, negative, or emotionally drained, then we need to step back, re-evaluate our systems of beliefs, and figure out whether our core beliefs are flawed, or the person that’s causing the discomfort is. Then we need to alter our beliefs, choices, and decisions accordingly.

Belief and abuse

I have witnessed countless scams, cons, and abuses perpetrated by “devout” individuals. They used their membership in their churches or temples as a cloak of respectability to continue abusing, exploiting, and ruining other human beings. “God says that you have to ______, or you’re going straight to Hell,” is a verbatim phrase that I’ve actually heard on several occasions from the abusive ex-spath, church members, and religious leaders.

Not one human being is the sole keeper of the direct cell number to speak with God about meeting these requirements. We must trust our gut instincts that we were gifted with, and protect our self-beliefs, first. Without strong boundaries and healthy “Self-isms,” even empathy, sympathy, understanding, and forgiveness is misguided and can result in serious self-damage.

Religious and/or spiritual sociopaths gather a host of minions, as well. Many of these participants themselves have sociopathic tendencies, and find their own sense of influence, power, and control as they enable and assist in the leaders’ machinations. Other minions are so personally damaged or unstable that any association with the leader provides them with false validation and acceptance they will even do murder if it gains the approval of the leader.

A brief and incomplete list of convicted contemporary religious and/or spiritual sociopaths include is available on Wikipedia.

Of all sociopaths, religious/spiritual predators not only destroy lives, but they destroy core beliefs in one’s Self. The religious and/or spiritual sociopath can not only dismantle a human being’s finances, sexual identity, and physical/emotional health, but they have the ability to end lives of innocent men, women, and children in the name of religion.

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40 Comments on "Religion, spirituality and sociopaths"

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That was the most difficult thing for me, forgiving myself for being so stoopid. It seem’s everybody around me knew I was getting burned but me, well i knew I was on fire I just didnt know I was in hell..
Yes, the humiliation and shame of the truth was a bitter pill to swallow. But I aint perfect, never will be..
Forgive him? Yes just the same as I would forgive a predator for doing what they do, they prey on the weak or injured, so i stay out of they way and carry a big stick.

Anybody seen the new Geiko commercial?
I like to think of us as those antilope wearing night vision goggles, and making comments, back and forth about how Harry, (the lion) is back again, and it’s embarassing, and that he’s better than this. “Ever think of going Vegan, Harry?” We antilope laugh amongst ourselves. 🙂


Really? I’m totally convinced. I mean every word. We do forgive for US, not for them. And yes, I forgave the woman who was in the triangle with me even though I do still have disdain for her; same for spath. Forgiving doesn’t mean that the feelings we have necessarily goes away.


That’s what I said…forgiveness is for US, not for them.

lol! thanks for the laugh.

Ok. I got the lion’s name wrong. It’s Carl…or, maybe Karl.
Thanks for posting the link, Skylar.

It’s pretty accurate though. Notice that the antelope are embarrassed FOR the lion. They say, “It’s embarrassing.”

Hi, thanks to all that responded to my situation. I understand and feel like I should run away also but my GF is not a sociopath, just a weak person that was sucked into something when her life was really down. I am hoping that she will have strength and be able to escape it. I am reading lots about how to help someone who is in a cult etc. She is getting better, she has removed the picture of the guru from her wall, laptop and cell phone, that is a start. One person mentioned that I should look at myself for getting into such a relationship… this is my new relationship after having been with a sociopath for 2 years… That is a good question, I crave love and sharing so why would I do this again? My new GF is warm and a great person and she does love me but I am not a priority to her. Her guru, his people and her spirituality all trump me and even her daughter who she rarely contacts. I am low on the totem pole for attention so I feel lonely and it reminds me of being with my ex-sociopath. So I should explore why I am in such a relationship again. ugh.

I also googled topics about sex with gurus… It makes me sick to think she really believes that having sex with her guru is a fast track to heaven (enlightenment).. one interesting quote i found, para-phrased by me, “zen buddhists frown on sex as it may lead a person to attachments with a lover..” basically saying beware of sex as you might fall in love and thats not cool. This thinking really upsets me and makes me wonder if Buddhism could be telling us to give up attachments to people… I respect Buddhism but I think this bit of it promotes a sociopathic way of thinking. It is great to not be attached to material items, but to avoid relationships with a lover, daughter etc seems way wrong to me. Of course I am a rookie and don’t understand it all. I agree with the comment above about her spath turning Buddhist, it is very trendy right now and hip in America. I think it can be super positive but the guru part can lead to corruption and easy prey for sociopaths. I bet he is finding tons of new victims!! 🙁

On the topic I found this:

“…f you’ve ever wondered why so many gurus sound alike and seem to
have attended the same training camp, ‘Prophetic Charisma’ is a must-
read. Oakes interviewed twenty charismatic leaders and many of their
followers, and was once a member of a group led by such a leader.

What Oakes learned was that none of these charismatics was capable
of ordinary, intimate relationships with peers. They all had some
form of narcissistic personality disorder, and compensated for lack
of intimacy and lack of empathy by becoming avid students of social
manipulation and communication arts.

Another feature Oakes observed was that the leaders often learned to
have ‘canned’ responses to any situation, and knew how to ruthlessly
exploit the slightest sign of self doubt or hesitation in an


Many times people with emotional problems and self esteem will become invilved with others who are “unavailable”—either people who are married, psychopaths, or unwilling to commit, or in your case a woman who puts her guru above you…..

So not what does this say about her, but what does this say about you? Why are YOU willing, even apparently eager, to become involved with women who do not put you as a priority? You were invovled with a P who of course could not commit or put you as a priority, and NOW you are involved with a woman who puts a guru above you. So WHERE I ASK is the Problem? It sounds to me like the problem lies with YOUR “PICKER.” You keep picking “unavailable” women and then trying to make them become available. You are seeing “progress” with this woman.

Well, what is wrong with leaving her and finding someone who puts YOU first not a guru and not themselves? What’s wrong with finding a healthy woman? Just a suggestion.

Stevyn, OxD is spot-on, and I’ll take it a step further. What’s wrong with a woman who puts HERSELF first?

You do not have the power or control to “save” this woman. You just don’t. It may not be pleasant, but it is a simple fact. And, when it comes to rescuing other human beings, it rarely ends well.

For whatever reason, this woman has some very serious personal issues that she believes the guru can fulfill. HER issues are not YOUR issues, no matter how much you want to own them.

For whatever reason, you are choosing these desperate and “lost” puppies, and I agree with OxD that your “picker” may need some adjustments. If you are desperate to “save” something, involve yourself with an animal rescue league. Animals don’t have voices or choices – they exist at the whims of their owners. People DO have voices and choices, and they either use their voices and make their choices based upon fact, or they don’t.

Personally, with regard to myself, I wouldn’t involve myself with any man or woman that is clearly demonstrating foolish and dangerous choices. I’ve got my OWN issues to sort out and I don’t have the time or inclination to sort someone else’s issues out FOR them, anymore.

Brightest blessings

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