Editor’s note: Resource Perspectives features articles written by members of Lovefraud’s Professional Resources Guide.
Sarah Strudwick, based in the UK, is author of Dark Souls—Healing and recovering from toxic relationships. She has also created a wonderful animation that describes the antics of a sociopath, called Exposing the Mask of Insanity. View the animation here.
The sociopath’s unconscious death wish
By Sarah Strudwick
I recently received an email from one of my readers saying that her husband and mother, who are both sociopaths, had suicide clauses in their wills, so I decided to write an article on the sociopath and suicide. Many people think that sociopaths never commit suicide, but I beg to differ.
For those who aren’t already aware, many of those who have symptoms of sociopathy often have other personality disorders such as narcissistic personality disorder. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why when I wrote Dark Souls that I grouped the two personalities together. Whatever we decide to call these people, whether it be sociopaths, psychopaths, or narcissists, the DSM-5 has now decided to propose putting narcissistic personality disorder in with the “psychopathic type personality.”
So what do all of these psychopathic types have in common? A need for admiration, narcissistic supply and attention. When the attention runs dry, they will resort to any number of tactics, using guilt, blame, anger, and so on, to get their needs met. I saw a very unnerving video from a death row inmate in the U.S. where the guy is asked why he did what he did to others and how he felt about being and death row. He said, “Because I just want to die.”
I recently heard of an old acquaintance who I had had the misfortune of being friends with many years ago. He recently died under strange circumstances, although it appears he committed suicide when he got caught out. He was one of the psychopathic type personalities, a loner, a user with a distinct liking of hurting animals and children. I wondered whether the sociopath has an unconscious death wish.
Sociopaths have a distinct lack of impulse control, coupled with their own lack of remorse. My own ex threatened to commit suicide a couple of times when I said I would leave. Of course he never did it. Each time I was gullible enough to take him back.
My own sociopathic father even made a half-hearted attempt at doing it when my mother decided enough was enough. When finally asked in counseling why he did it, he replied, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” My view is that it was more like he was concerned he wouldn’t have supply any more, and he knew that killing himself would hurt everyone, including his children.
The ultimate gesture
Often you will see headline cases in newspapers where sociopaths go on killing sprees and then just as they are about to be caught out, they turn the gun on themselves as the ultimate “f*ck you,” so that they cannot be brought to justice.
Most of us who have lived around sociopaths know that their sole need is to use others, and unless they are receiving attention, then their lives aren’t really worth living. Take the likes of Ted Bundy and Charles Manson. In their warped way, I am sure they love all the adoration they receive.
Some normal people may want to be come famous. They may be driven by a desire to do something good and succeed.
A sociopath doesn’t care about being successful or doing good. They don’t care whether or not they are “famous” or “infamous.” They don’t mind having a bad name or being associated with something detestable, which is why so many celebrities who have sociopathic tendencies will be more than happy to appear in the news doing pretty much anything just to get headlines.
Here in the UK all serial killers are hated hence our most famous psychopath, Fred West, hanged himself before trial, despite being on suicide watch. Thus he was never tried for his heinous crimes, which included raping his own 13 year old daughter and chopping up a few dead bodies.
But the moment the supply runs out for the sociopath, then what? They are happy with punishment in the form of everyone either hating them, which is why so many thrive in prisons. The worse thing people can do is ignore them, in which case they have nothing more to do than look at four walls, and put them in isolation, so they have to “talk to the hand” and have to face their own souls and miserable existences. And since they hate being ignored and probably died along time ago, what better way to be remembered than to give the ultimate “F*ck you” by blowing their own head off, or hanging themselves off the end of a bedpost in the hope they will have some kind of recognition?