By | November 13, 2008 230 Comments

Sadism and warped empathy in sociopaths

Many who have been hurt by sociopaths develop a general distrust of others. This distrust is understandable given how difficult it often is to tell if another person is a sociopath. However, going through life with distrust is not a pleasant way to live. Victims naturally then want to know in detail what sociopaths are about so they can identify the untrustables, and go back to trusting everyone else.

One of the purposes of this website is to describe sociopaths and teach people to identify them. Sociopaths are pathological liars who like to talk as experts on many topics. They manipulate others and generally have a high opinion of themselves. They also lack remorse for their actions and don’t seem to care about the pain they cause others. In fact they seem to enjoy inflicting all types pain (harm) on others.

The enjoyment of hurting another person is called sadism. Sadism usually refers to enjoying another’s physical pain. However, sociopaths enjoy inflicting all manner of pain on others including financial, emotional, psychological and social.

To sum it up sociopaths are in the business of reducing people to nothing and then taking glory in their accomplishment.

I have just described the most important “traits” of sociopaths. Many of you are saying, “Yes right on, that described mine exactly.” But are you satisfied?

You probably do not feel satisfied because you are left with wondering why. Why would someone do that? If you discover the answer to the “why question” you can go back to trusting everyone else again because you would understand the sick motives of sociopaths.

Normal people don’t enjoy watching other people suffer do they?

Here is where some get stuck, because many people secretly and not so secretly hope they live long enough to see the sociopath finally suffer. Well, if you can enjoy another’s suffering what makes you different from the sociopath?

If we examine the reasons why we would take pleasure in a sociopath’s suffering, we see there are two basic reasons. One is revenge and the other is our ability to consider the sociopath as “inhuman.” If a sociopath is not really human, then it is OK to enjoy that private moment of our imagined revenge.

There are therefore two basic routes to sadism. The first is through the power motive. Revenge is about reasserting power over someone who has robbed us of power. The power motive is also called the social dominance drive.

I am grateful to Caesar Milan the dog whisperer, for educating the public about dominance. We all know that a dominant dog has no problem inflicting pain on underlings to assert his dominance.

The second route to sadism is called “compartmentalization” by psychologists. A person who compartmentalizes has a motive (drive) to inflict pain on someone and so rationalizes it by saying that the other person is inhuman or “deserves it.”

Interestingly, both routes to sadism operate in sociopaths. Jack Levin and others have written a great deal about compartmentalization in sociopaths. Sociopaths are also ruled by the power motive and so enjoy hurting because it is confirmation they are achieving power.

That gets me to warped empathy. Many, including Jack Levin, have pointed to the faulty logic behind the idea that sociopaths lack empathy. If sociopaths lack empathy then how can they enjoy another’s suffering? If they can’t identify other’s emotions how can they know they are inflicting pain and so get enjoyment? Is there any question that the sociopath that hurt you knew you were suffering?

Most of us have seen clearly the sadism of sociopaths, so we know they must have some kind of warped empathy. Empathy should lead to sympathy with another’s suffering not pleasure in another’s suffering.

In 1982, while reporting the results of a very well done study in which he found that violent sociopaths of normal to high intelligence actually have increased empathy, Heilburn* made the following statement:

“One way to interpret these results would be in terms of a sadistic, effective-processing psychopathic model of violence in which inflicting pain or distress upon another is arousing and reinforcing (pleasurable). Such a model would assume that acts inflicting pain are more intentional than impulsive and that empathic skills promote arousal and sadistic reinforcement (pleasure) by enhancing the psychopath’s awareness of the pain and distress being experienced by the victim.”

Now in 2008 researchers have obtained results that confirm Heilburn’s theory.

Researcher Jean Decety from the University of Chicago found that young sociopath’s brains light up with pleasure when they experience another’s suffering. In this study, the pleasure was especially present when the suffering was being inflicted by another person. How did the researchers demonstrate this? They showed violent movie clips to sociopaths and non-sociopaths then used fMRI to scan their brains.

Most importantly, the study showed no abnormality of the brain pathways involved in empathy. Sociopath’s empathy centers appeared to function just fine.

So how can I help you feel comfortable trusting the 90% of the rest of humanity who are not significantly sociopathic when I have already said that that most people can be sadistic under certain circumstances?

The answer is found again with motives, specifically the power motive. Learn to recognize the signs of excessive power orientation. It is OK to want a certain amount of power, but the pursuit of interpersonal power should not occupy a person’s every waking moment.

Well balanced people enjoy love and affection more than they enjoy power and control. I encourage you to learn to tune into love motives in others. I have found that consciously choosing to notice loving behavior in others has also helped me better recognize the power motive.

Avoid people who dehumanize others because whether or not one who dehumanizes is a sociopath, this compartmentalization is an important contributor to man’s inhumanity to man.

Lastly, I encourage you to stop supporting violent entertainment with your consumer dollar. Such “entertainment” fosters the development of sociopathy in at-risk youth. It also brings out the worst in everyone else.

*Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1982, Vol. 50, No. 4, 546-557

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This is a topic I am, sadly, familar with and even recently commented on a person talking about her sadistic ex.

Law enforcement has done some good studies on this topic and from an FBI journal research article there is this piece in a sadists own words:

One sexual sadist defined sadism in the following way: Sadism: The wish to inflict pain on others is not the essence of sadism. One essential impulse: to have complete mastery over another person, to make him-her a helpless object of our will, to become her God, to do with her as one pleases. To humiliate her, to enslave her are means to this end, and the most important radical aid is to make her suffer since there is no greater power over another person than that of inflicting pain on her to force her to undergo suffering without her being able to defend herself. The pleasure in the complete domination over another person is the very essence of the sadistic drive.

The line that says “The pleasure in the complete domination over another person is the very essence of the sadistic drive.” is key. The FBI study found that this state of ‘complete domination over another person’ is a goal to which the sexual sadist strives throughout all aspects of his intimate relationships.

Compartmentalization itself is not a bad thing or a good thing. Treatment professionals, doctors, firefighters, and others often use this to help them deal with a situation in real time. Doing surgery on a person and cutting them open is one example of when it is used in a positive manner.

I also agree with the warped empathy theory. To make someone suffer you have to understand what hurts and how.

Ex FBI Agent Roy Hazelwood stated this:

“A sexual sadist,” says Hazelwood, “is an individual who is aroused by the suffering of another person. It is not the infliction of pain that’s arousing, it’s the victim’s suffering. He may use pain – physical or psychological – as a tool to elicit the suffering, but it’s the suffering that’s most important to him. One thing that’s confused with sexual sadism is cruelty committed during a crime. A lot of crimes are extremely cruel, but very few crimes are called sexual sadism. We’ve overused the term, sadism, in our society. In my opinion, sexual sadism counts for no more than 7-10% of sexual crimes committed. But the sexual sadist is the great white shark of sexual crimes. He’s the premier predator.”

I agree with him that to often cruelty is often confused with sadism. Not that it matters to the person on the receiving end of course.

I also think that there is a range of psychopaths and this type of psychopath is the absolute worst in all ways.


BloggerT7165: I would put all our EXs in this same category. Mental and emotional abuse after the fact of knowing what we were really dealing with. On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the physical cruelty involved with the likes of them.

I still think my EX hasn’t resolved conflicts with his mother from when he was a child. I know my EXs mom never took sides with the children. She always stood by her husband (their father) side … and he doled out the punishment in the family when it was warranted. How, he could figure out what was necessary as punishment is beyond me … since he was at work during the times an (offense) occurred. When he arrived home after work he’d have his wife’s version of the offense and who was the offender?

If my mom ever not opened her mouth and spoke her mind … I believe I’d be rather miffed. Thank God all the women in my family are very strong willed, opinionated and are not wall flowers what-so-ever. Same with the men in my family. None of them had a problem speaking their minds and saying it like they saw it.


Elizabeth Conley

1. (Excessive Power Orientation is huge danger signal) “The answer is found again with motives, specifically the power motive. Learn to recognize the signs of excessive power orientation. It is OK to want a certain amount of power, but the pursuit of interpersonal power should not occupy a person’s every waking moment. ”

2. (Healthy expressions of love are not about power and control.) “Well balanced people enjoy love and affection more than they enjoy power and control. I encourage you to learn to tune into love motives in others. I have found that consciously choosing to notice loving behavior in others has also helped me better recognize the power motive.”

3. (Compartmentalization facilitates man’s inhumanity to man.)” Avoid people who dehumanize others because whether or not one who dehumanizes is a sociopath, this compartmentalization is an important contributor to man’s inhumanity to man.”

These three points Dr. Leedom made are important aspects of emotional intelligence I wasn’t born with and wish I’d been trained in from the cradle. I’m working on my kids, because I want to bully-proof them for life.

1. Excessive Power Orientation in an individual or organization can be detected very early, if you know enough to pay attention.

2. You can largely relax around people who consistently tend to build others up. These people care about others in a genuine sense. Healthy people express their love by empowering others, and avoid controlling behaviors. The absence of efforts to empower others or build them up warrants caution and deeper observation.

3. Whenever I’ve seen Narcissism in an organization, a we-they mindset has been endemic. Whenever I’ve seen dupes of Sociopaths, Psychopaths or Narcissists torment the personality disordered person’s target, compartmentalization has been at work. The N, P or S has managed to persuade his/her dupes and/or sycophants that the target is part of a special class that deserves persecution, shunning or gaslighting. The N, P or S has then been able to sit back and let emotionally unaware but otherwise innocent people do his/her dirty work.

We’re about to begin the exhausting and frustrating process of looking for a local church with good youth ministries for the kids to participate in. Our current church is small and growing smaller, due to a pervasive pattern of dysfuntional behaviors in its core leadership. While I intend to keep my ties with the friends I have there, I need to provide my children with a more wholesome environment. We won’t be looking for a “perfect” church, but we will be looking for a church where people in key leadership positions are reasonably self-aware. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with watching “cluster B’s” run ministries into the ground.


I don’t know if my ex would be considered a sadist or not, but he certainly had a cruel streak and seemed to enjoy inflicting physical and emotional pain. For ex. he liked to “accidentally” hit me in the face with his elbow immediately after going to bed–after this happened two nights in a row, I learned to always position myself in bed with my head turned away from him. Also liked to pull my hair during sex in spite of my telling him to stop that it hurt, and I am not talking the gentle kind like you might see in the movies. Once, I had a toe I stumped and it was bleeding with the nail barely hanging on. I was sitting in a chair and actually had a tv tray at an angle in front of me while i was bent over examining my toe and he managed to ram his workboot into my toe (accidentally on purpose of course while walking to the door) and rip the rest of the toenail right off. And that is just a few examples.

On the emotional end, he liked to point out some flaw in me in front of a group. For ex. at a condo beach party one time, he suddenly blurted out “Look at how ugly her feet are, at that thickened ugly toenail” and laughed. You could see the shock on the others faces and coulda heard a pin drop, but then one man very smoothly started talking about his own feet and how he solved the problem and then steered the conversation in another direction. God bless him.

He called one time while with another woman and then asked her if she wanted to talk to me and I could hear her saying no, then he told me “X says she doesn’t wanna talk to you, that you’re old enough to be her Mama.” And then there was the driving by with other women, then calling and leaving graphic voicemails with sexual content and telling me how much better they were than me. And, then there was the time he stole my hanging baskets from my front porch, gave them to the girl that runs the store next door to where I went to buy cigarettes everyday. He then called to tell me he did it and if I wanted to see my plants I could look at them there cause she had them hanging out on her store porch.

And then there was all the threats of burning down my place (which he has a history of actually doing that to someone), killing my dog, putting snakes in my outbuilding where my washer/dryer was located so “When you go wash you better be careful…”, f**cking up my car (which he actually did), of hiring somebody to rape me (So, you better watch your back…), and then there was the actual threats to kill me—the list goes on and on. He wasn’t really sexually sadistic, but he did favor one God awful contortion of a postion, in spite of the fact that was the one that killed my freakin back and he knew it. Even when he was a young child, his Mother said he would say really mean things to her, like for example taunt her about how fat she was. So he definitely has a cruel streak.


Dear Blogger T7165

“Compartmentalization itself is not a bad thing or a good thing. Treatment professionals, doctors, firefighters, and others often use this to help them deal with a situation in real time. Doing surgery on a person and cutting them open is one example of when it is used in a positive manner.”

I can relate very well to your statement, and it makes a lot sense to me. I often wondered why I became a doctor dealing with cancer patients and inflicting lots of emotional pain by telling them that they have to die in forseeable time. For one I think now I had to “accomplish” a wish of my N-mother who wanted to become a doctor herself but had no opportunity to do so and became a doctor’s aid instead. She always wanted me to become a plastic surgeon so I could “fix her” in old age (I NEVER EVER treat family or friends!!).
And the other aspect is to be emotionally very close to people, to have “a relationship”. I had a big crisis at age 22 when I discovered my difficulties with relationships in general and my neediness of being loved and respected and and I discovered that I was “using weak people” i.e. patients, as I felt all my life of being no use and I wanted to do something useful with my life. I then read a book about “the helper’s syndrome” and as a result I came up with the imagination of being a kind of a guide in rough terrain like a scout in the mountains, with special skills. That thought kept me in the profession as I would not have been able to continue with the imagination of “using” people to please my hidden agenda, and it helps also keeping my healthy boundaries even being very close to the patients. The patient is in the lead of HIS life, I am the consultant, and he is in command. So I try not to dominate him/her, and I must not be offended if they do not consider my advice as helpful at the moment. I can’t prevent them to fail either, I have them keep the full responsibility over their own lives.

I often have to be emotionally detached when I have to tell patients that they have for instance end stage cancer and that they will die quite soon of it when not something else is happening meanwhile. Last week it happened a lot, unfortunately, and my own coping skills were kind of wearing out. Thanks to you all I did not call my x-P with whom just 12 months ago the “honeymoonphase” started. The fog and the changing of the color of the leaves brought bittersweet memories back. I read every day here at Love fraud and it helped really a lot!

Sometimes I really think I am in a S/M-business, being both in the same time, really weird, inflicting emotional and physical pain day after day, trying to be detached and in the same time finding great satisfaction and consolation for myself, I laugh a lot, earning money out of it, and being admired by all the people to whom just the thought of doing my job is unbearable. I also experience great consolation when I can alleviate someone’s suffering or open a door to enlightment. The greatest joy is when I see them realizing being “captain of their own ship” again, that they can manage difficult situations, that they do not need me anymore.

In the last weeks and months I even thought of being “kind of S myself” finding fulfilment in my job. This post was REALLY very helpful putting all into perspective.
Thank you all so much, and have a peaceful weekend!

Elizabeth Conley

I’m not confident that all N’s S’s and P’s are Sadistic.

I’ve read that there was once a separate catagory for sadism in the DSM-III.

This makes sense to me. I can easily see how the conditions could be co-morbid, and this would be a very, very bad thing.

From what I’ve noticed, many N’s, P’s and S’s want their own way regardless of who gets hurt, or are oblivious to what others feel. I doubt all or even most care about the pain of others.


I doubt all or even most care about the pain of others.

I agree Elizabeth.

Libelle I find that it is a needed tool for some occupations. Plus many things that are often seen in a negative light are really neutral. It is what you do with these traits that matters rather than the traits themselves.


After both hearing about (from his family) and watching my ex P’s interactions with others and also me, and then reading the definiton given on the link Elizabeth provided, my ex meets every single one of the criteria provided, and only 4 are required. So, I guess he falls into the sadistic category.

In a study done by Meloy and Gacono, it was found that psychopaths produced significantly more SM responses to the Rorschach than nonpsychopaths. That 41% of P’s produced at least one SM response. I wonder how that compares to the general population scores.


Libelle also try to remember that it is not the inflicting of pain it is the complete domination with pain just being a tool to accomplish it. Doctors often inflict pain but not as a tool to gain complete domination over someone.


BloggerT7165, Jen2008, and Elizabeth Conley: I wasn’t referring to sadistic in the true sense of the world, i.e. inflicting physical pain … emotional pain of knowing they have no intension of being in a relationship for the benefit of both parties involved, only what was in it for them … is sadistic enough for me to consider they belong in this category … so maybe they are at the low end of the spectrum from 1 to 10, they still are on the scale, the way I am looking at them.

I say, we pull our pennies together, buy them an island … surround it with sharks (they’d probably would make pets of them, who knows) … and let them all live on an island together. Happily conning and lying to each other … wouldn’t I love to be a fly on the wall to witness them all in action. Now that is HELL on earth … trying to con other cons (LOL). Then they’d really have something to b*tch about, now wouldn’t they. Want to see a psycho cry and really whine about life?


Elizabeth Conley

A word about sadism:

Tragically, some sadistic impulses may be a painful secret that quite a few otherwise normal people carry around with them.

Fortunately, most of the people burdened with these awful impulses care about how other people feel. They would never act on these awful impulses, and they’d love to be free of the disturbing thoughts.

These people aren’t Sociopaths, Narcissists or Psychopaths. They aren’t going to hurt anyone, but they may suffer huge humiliation when their taste in pornography is exposed.

In my 8 years of active military service, I occasionally came across some extremely disturbing material while inspecting barracks and performing wall locker searches. The first few times, the discoveries really rocked my world. After a while I came to terms with it. Possession of these materials never once coincided with actual assaults on women.


Mine was a sadist, hands down. I didn’t know it until the mask slipped. I was 6 months pregnant. He told me he was in love with another women. The look in his eye was pure sparkle as I sat in my bedroom while he packed, crying my eyes out. Then the statement “no one has ever left you for another women, have they?” right before he left, was pure pleasure. I was 6 months pregnant, and yes I had been dumped before, just not like this. There was 2 weeks between when he told me about the women and between when he left. I cried every day for those two weeks. He was so turned on, we had sex every night those two weeks. This was a big deviation from the once a month sex that we normally engaged in. He was so turned on by my crying. So turned on by having two women at the same time. He told me she was crying too, which was even better. One of the hardest part about the whole experience was the pleasure he took in it. Here was a man who told me he loves me every day. And as soon as I was vulnerable by being 6 months pregnant, he took the opportunity to pulverize my sense of safety and he showed no mercy or “empathy”.

When I explain to people that I was abandoned at 6 months pregnant, they think it is just horrible. But I can’t ever explain to them the way it was done, because normal people just can’t nderstand this motivation. With such pleasure. With such excitement. From the person I trusted most at the time. I have a special bond with this baby, because of it. I am more careful with him, because of it. He is special and fragile.

Go Bird!

You did neuter that sob. Too bad so few do….

Birdie is a lucky baby.

Elizabeth Conley


I don’t think we have to buy that island. I think these things just naturally tend to take care of themselves.

I had a very interesting experience about a month ago.

My husband holds regular “testosterone festivals” at our home. That’s what I call his LAN parties! He and his buds get together and play computer war games, twelve or more men against the artificial intelligence of the computer network. It’s great male bonding. As a rule I lay out a few crock-pots full of charred animal flesh, make space in the fridge for their beverages, duct tape the toilet seat in the upright position and run off to play with my friends!

At the last LAN party, one of the guys brought along a girlfriend who seemed to be at loose ends. To my total surprise, she seemed to expect the entire household to revolve around her. The guys largely ignored her, so she became pretty sulky. As always, I had a pretty full schedule that day. Nonetheless, each time I made a pit stop at the house I tried to act hospitable toward her.

I had about an hour to spare in the late afternoon, so I dutifully entertained her in the living room with cakes and tea. Wow, what a fascinating person. Over the course of our conversation, it became clear that she was a Sociopath between victims. She was newly divorced, and looking for a new meal ticket. After whining for a bit about the trials of getting by without a maid and trying to pay for manicures on her meager alimony check, she commented that she didn’t think her current boyfriend could keep her in the style to which she was accustomed. (No, she didn’t use those words, but the meaning of her remark was clear.)

Oddly, she was interested in religious faith. She had been thinking about religious faith, and wanted to know what I thought about the possibility of a higher power. In the course of our conversation I told her that I believed that God’s plan for His people included an afterlife free of the risk of exploitation. Her facial expressions were absolutely fascinating. Her confident smirk and thinly veiled boasts suggested she was absolutely confident she would always be able to find a victim.

She wasn’t worried that I might see her for what she was, although I think she was mildly surprised when I dropped her like a hot potato for the remainder of the day and evening. She had made some remarks intended to pander to my vanity, and I think it came as a surprise to her that her flattery hadn’t made her likable.

Ironically, there were a lot of single men at the party who were more than capable of keeping her “in the style to which accustomed”. Luckily, she was too shallow and badly educated to know that she was surrounded by physicists, engineers and technical consultants having a boyish good time. I doubt I’ll ever see her again, but I’m sure glad I took the time to listen to her point of view. She’s the only female sociopath I’ve ever interacted with.


The most POWER you can have over another is to inflict pain (for no reason), show no remorse, and then have them come back for more.
What is more POWER than that? I think it’s all about POWER.


Dear BloggerT7165, thank you for your reply. I think it is really a online psychotherapy “my” x-P has made me undertake the last couple of months. It is like some of my soul-ice is melting and the ice from deep down is popping to the surface one peace at a time, and last month I was confronted with my nanny when I was 1 year old and my mother’s jealousy about her and mother’s neglect the same time, this week it is why I chose my profession in perspective of being raised by a P-father and a N-mother.
I also think that all traits can be used in both ways. Being extremely aware of the possibility of “using” and “abusing” people and the danger of dominance by knowing about the future of my patients (at least they think so and are extremely afraid in the beginning) I am dealing with in daily life I am quite the opposite of an old fashion doctor who paternalistically “knows what is good for you” and I try NOT to dominate but be a partner, companion.

By the way my x-P had also sadistic traits. When I was very happy (and everybody can see this), he asked “Are we happy?”, and I always was anxious because I knew he would soon say or do something to make this my happiness wanish completely, so I tried not to seem TOO happy. Sad but true. But not as horridly sadistic as you bird experienced (I just read it). I am speechless. Sometimes I think my suffering is just a “luxury problem” compared to the absolute devastating unbearable horror you and other people suffered. I wish peace to you an little bird!


Good for you Elizabeth Conley: Calling a spade a spade, even though they don’t know they are a spade.

She’s the only female version you met. You’re lucky. I know too many of them. Where I work is a dumping ground for the likes of them. I really think the powers in charge new what they were doing when they built our building … to house the self centered in our area. Stupid, naive me … thinking they were just young and immature when I started working there … always giving them the benefit of the doubt that they would grow up and eventually, grow out of their selfish ways. NOT!

The lies that would come out of their mouths, each and every day. They lie just as easily as we tell the truth… Then there was the setups they would conjure up, and sit back to see their victims tortured by what they created. The careers that they sabotaged … it was unbelievable.

Anyway, I don’t miss any of them. My friends that still work there tell me they are worse than ever, after I left. They already chose new victims to blame their problems on. I’m hoping for the day that there are no new victims that come to work there … and they only have themselves to blame. Let the fur fly between themselves.

They never change, but I have to pray for them too.

I always replayed the first 10 minutes to Gone With the Wind … they all know Scarlette like the back of their hands and they all play her to a T … or better.



Sarah999: And what is power? Why does one need power or control over another?

I’m a very secure person in my own right and never felt the need or desire for power or control.

Again, another opposite of what they are versus what we are.



by the time the first weekend was over after he left I had read why women love psychopaths, the sociopath next door and Lovefraud. When he started calling me again about two weeks later, I was ready. But he continued calling and emailing me throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. And when that didn’t succeed, he got his family involved. I was armed with the knowledge to take away his power, but it didn’t stop him from continuing the abuse for the remainder of the pregnancy. Everytime he called or wrote, my whole pregnant body fell into dispair and anxiety. But, I didn’t let him back in. I didn’t answer the phone. I didn’t respond to his requests. I didn’t budge, because I knew what he was. It doesn’t mean he didn’t try Sarah999. He did try and still does, and if I wasn’t armed he would succeed. I took that f*&ckers power away. Thanks for your sympathy libelle. Peace to you all.


Bird: You have come so far. Good for you and that little sweet precious baby bird.

I love to hear confirmations of new found power within ourselves. Keep up the great work … you are the best mommy for your little baby bird.


Elizabeth Conley


Yeah, well they’re useless as teats on a boar hog when it comes to friendship and family. A few really nasty broads have gotten their meat-hooks into some of my husband’s buddies over the years. I hate to see it. These guys are like my brothers. When they’re not war gaming with hubby they’re doing civil war reenactments with me and my kids, teaching my kids cool stuff or otherwise acting like the Mr. Wonderfuls they truly are.

I think Sociopaths have their uses. There are jobs in politics, law enforcement and the legal system that are toxic to normals and perfect for Ss. Beyond that, who needs ’em?


Sara999 said: “The most POWER you can have over another is to inflict pain (for no reason), show no remorse, and then have them come back for more.
What is more POWER than that? I think it’s all about POWER.”

I think so too. It was revolving door cycle with my ex of discard and luring back. So, my ex certainly accomplished this and relished every minute of it. Told me one time near the end that the only reason I was seeing him was because I was afraid of him. Yes, he had that satisfied gleam in his eyes. After I tried no contact, he went on his terrorizing spree, then about 3 months later he told me “The way I’ve terrorized you, you coulda shot my ass and got away with it,” then LAUGHED. It seemed to be all fun and games to him.


Elizabeth Conely: I hate to say this, but of course I will … they are good for being the first troops sent out in the face of danger… put them all in the front lines to block the attacks on the real men and women fighting a war.


Elizabeth Conley

Chuckle, I understand how you feel Wini, but that’s a real sensitive subject with us around here.

Most of us are vets of wars declared and otherwise, and most have been called baby-killer or worse. Ironically, the gentlest souls I know have seen the hardest action.

There are sociopaths in the armed services, and they are big, big trouble. If we only used them as cannon fodder, that would be lovely. Unfortunately, they usually use the rest of us in ways to perverse to catalog.


Elizabeth C: I know. But, I for one, would like to see their so called bad asses in action. Put your money where your mouth is … sort to speak.

I know, my husband did two tours in Nam and he lied about his age to enlist … he was a German citizen before enlisting … he swore an oath to become a US citizen so he could enlist.

I’m just saying … give them something to really complain about …being in the front lines instead of doing this nonsense and damage to us in the states while we have real men and women fighting this war for our freedom… and the anti-socials too.

It’s even more absurd to think about the likes of them … doing and getting away with their crap when serious issues are happening all around us in the world … without the likes of them dumping more into our laps. For what?

They should all be booted out of the country and drafted and sent over there … fight for your country, or don’t come back. EVER. Stay up in those them darn hills …

I know personally for me … when my bosses went after me … I thought about my husband and his buddies who fought in Nam for this country. No way was I go to buckle under for the likes of them. They drew first blood … and I fought that fight for all wives and families of husbands and loved ones who fought in the armed services for our countries freedom. My bosses went after me within months of my husband’s death. Knowing I had lost him, my father and my mom was ill and dying. So I figured, if my husband and all his buddies in arms can fight a war in another country, I could do my part and fight a war state side.



Oh, my dad, my uncles and all my cousins fought in the armed services too.



I was just reading bird’s comment about her experience and it seems that they do take advantage when you are the most vulnerable, when they feel that you have the least power…

When I was pregnant, maybe about 7 months, my ex got into a rage after I wanted to be intimate (he would withhold sex if I ever initiated and would often rage afterwards). He said horrible things to me…He later calmed down and came home from work and sat down to have a ‘talk’ with me. He said that he would have more desire if he saw more “work” and “production” out of me! I had a huge garden that I had planted and we were going to sell a lot of the produce at the farmer’s market and he wasn’t pleased with my “production”. I also had a very difficult pregnancy.

I told him that he was sadistic and that he was a bully and he laughed at me, with this sick smile, saying “I’d like to see how you’d deal with a real bully!” And then he turned around and left. The sick part is is that I think I actually did ‘work’ harder and I almost had my baby prematurely because of it…


maniatissa: My bosses went after me right after my husband passed away. Same with a co-worker, years priro. She flew out for her sister’s unexpected death, the wake and funeral were in another state. She returned after the funeral and our boss was right in her face the day she returned knowing that she would pour salt into the wounds.

When they found out my mom was dying, they tried to use my mother’s illness and of course, use her death to go after me, then they used her death as the reason I acted out with them. I remember them pulling me into personnel the day I returned from my family leave of death in the immediate family. They said to me “quote, so is this why you are acting so strange, because your mother is DEAD”. I was so stunned … but, both my parents voices calmed me as they spoke inside my mind “Wini, these people weren’t lucky enough to have parents like us”… “if they did, they wouldn’t be acting like they are”. My parents voices in my head calmed me as I just looked at them as they TALKED at me and tried to get me to become unglued. Because coming unglued in the work place is a reason they can dismiss you.

I notice that they always use the word DEAD instead of death, or passed on, passed over. All my future supervisors in that place for 6 years would always work the fact that my parents were DEAD. Unbelievable, how they have absolutely, positively no remorse or compassion …

Within months of my mom passing away, some of those bosses lost a parent too. I always extended my sympathy and concerns to them as well as asked them how they were doing.




It seems that it is all about power and abusing that power…

My parents have spoken to me like that too, sometimes in my dreams…

My ex came into my life when my mother was dying of cancer. He knew how much I was suffering (I was taking care of her and we were best friends- she was also quite young) and seemed to be very supportive. I don’t think I saw a lot of the red flags because I was so overwhelmed by my mother’s death. I think too whenever I was sad about her death he would take the opportunity to assert his role of power (this is once we were married). I told him it was like kicking a dog when they’re down…he was impervious to comments like that…


“Well balanced people enjoy love and affection more than they enjoy power and control. I encourage you to learn to tune into love motives in others. I have found that consciously choosing to notice loving behavior in others has also helped me better recognize the power motive.”

The problem with my S (we are now divorced) is that assessing him for loving behavior would be extremely misleading because he mimics that behavior almost perfectly.

In our 18 years together, although there might have been an occasional–actually, rare–flash of meanness, it was easy to construe that as inadvertent because for the most part he seemed sweet and tender and loving and kind. Now, of course, I realize that was all part of his manipulation, part of the deception.

He was the most affectionate husband around. Our friends and relatives all thought he cherished me. I sure did. The foot rubs, the neck massages, the romantic cards, the kisses. I thought he was my soul mate; I thought he was my very best friend. Although I now have no doubt he would kill me if he thought he could get away with it (I am a huge thorn in his side: he has to pay me spousal support plus I am a threat to expose him), part of me is still astonished that this man does not love me. I want to cry, weep, grieve, and the horrible thing is he’s the one I want to do this with!

He seemed like an all-around great guy. He works in a caring profession and patients and families of patients (not to mention many co-workers) think he’s an angel.

And now I see that this ability to deceive is what he loves most of all. It gives him such a sense of power. Even though he acts like he’s loving, it’s a sham that enables him to exercise power. Especially over women. He can manipulate them into sex. He’s such a predator. He’s no better than a rapist. I realized the other day he IS a rapist. Only difference is he can create WILLING victims.

He loves that he can juggle all these women, often work with many of these same women, know that they’ll keep his secrets, know that he can manipulate them and others to run to and fro, to care for him, to believe in him, to vouch for him, to even lie for him (thinking of course they are doing it for a noble cause).

And now I realize that not only does he do all this, but he enjoys the suffering he inevitably causes. In the past year and a half I have come a long way from thinking he was the most wonderful man on the planet to thinking, okay, he’s done some terrible things but he still has compassion–if he had just up and left like he had planned, surely he would have lost sleep thinking of me and my anguish–to thinking, at worst, he’s indifferent to the pain he causes, to finally realizing that the pain he causes is not merely incidental, he relishes it. He’s a sadist. A sadist! I can hardly believe it, but I know now it’s true.

And I know it for a certainty ever since, a month ago, he came back to the house to get the rest of his stuff. While there, he said–privately of course–to my daughter–his step-daughter–in response to her telling him the only reason she and her brother ever came around to him was because they thought he was good to me: “Had you guys fooled, didn’t I?”

He said this leering, crowing, gloating; he completely dropped his mask; he was proud of what he’d done. Not only that, he brought his new girlfriend with him that day. This barely a week after our divorce was final. I couldn’t figure out why he would do such a thing. I thought it was insensitive, I thought it was stupid (two previous similar situations having blown up in his face), I thought it was arrogance, I thought it was hubris. It was my 32-year-old son who said it was cruelty.

And he was right. That came as a shock to me, but he was right. And coming from him I knew it was right because my son–PhD in math–is the most objective person I know.

For so long my ex had me convinced he was such a loving man that it was so difficult for me to see the hideous truth: that he actually enjoys inflicting pain.


Yes, maniatissa: They do go for the power when they know we are at our most vulnerable (an illness in the family or death of a loved one).

I knew my bosses when they were my co-workers for 24+ years that I worked with them … or at least i WORKED, they just threw the wrenches in the wheels all the time they were there. So, there was no confusion about them on my part or any of their cronies. I knew before hand (because of the book “Narcissism, Denial of the True Self” by Lowen … what I was dealing with. I never underestimated how low they went that day, they would always going lower … so I had this knowledge under my belt. It was painful, just the same, whether you are prepared or not for the likes of them. They do pull out all the stops to get over on you. While my fiance pretended to be standing by my side and loving me and being there for me … this too, was a way for them to win and destroy me.

In the long run, I’m glad I didn’t find out that my EX was just like my bosses until years after it was over. I believed he was there for me, which gave me strength to take what they were throwing at me. If I knew he was one of them, I don’t think I could have accomplished going through with everything. It sure would have put me in a tail spin.

I couldn’t breath when I found out the truth of my EX and the damage that he did while I was my most vulnerable. The COWARD!

My legs were collapsing underneath my weight. I had to grab onto the chair next to my dinning room table. At the same time a friend of mine called and I told him I was collapsing, that I couldn’t stand up. He said, relax Wini, it’s the realization of the truth about what he is that is hitting you.

I couldn’t believe it … 2 shoes falling on my head at the same time, and I only knew and focused on my bosses, never thinking my EX was one of them.

I chalk it up to God is working all this out in his way, not my way …I have to have faith and trust in God that he knows what he is doing. On God’s time frame, not mine.



gillian: You could have been writing about my EX … except when you came to his profession.

My EX never unmasked himself … I unmasked him by viewing the paperwork he left behind. Not that he ever let that mask of his slip. I saw facts of paperwork versus the lies he told. By the time I found the TRUTH about him … he was long gone down the road, to a new state, newly married … still talking marriage with me via phone calls from what he said was work … the only work he was doing was stealing my money, the investors money, meeting and greeting, dining his latest victim (his new wife), having her sell her condo to purchase a new house with our money that is now his money … marrying her so he has legal rights to half the house …

He still thinks he’s projecting the illusion of the nice guy, the decent guy … that he portrays. And even if he knew that I knew … so what. He did what he came into my life to do, I’m a done deal … and he’s off to do others under, take what he can take … and so on and so forth.



One thing I have been thinking about, and after reading gillian’s post and other’s experiences and what makes the S or P behavior so unbelievable the end is the lack of bonding…It is the lack of bonding that allows to them to discard you and the people they ‘seemed’ to love…

It surely is an act and it is hard to accept that what we felt was a deep connection where we bonded with the other person, they had not formed this attachment. If they had then they would not be able to treat others with such utter disregard…

I have 2 daughters from a previous marriage and I truly believed that my x S loved them- he certainly said so and played the part. He would vacilate between saying he loved them and that were monsters. In the end (now) it is as if he had no relationship whatsoever with them. He surely never bonded with them when it seemed that he had. It is so shocking to realize that there was nothing of depth there.

As far sadistic behavior goes…they see others as objects…you don’t bond with an object…and also objects are easily discarded…I think that their lack of emotional evolvement is that of a child at a certain age which allows them to do what they do…


maniatissa: Think about it. How could you love or bond or do anything virtuous in life, if you’re clouded by greed, and all the other vices.

The reason they can’t love, is they are too busy being greedy … then naturally, all the other vices fall into place.

Opposites again … they are opposite of what we are all about.

God wants us to do for others while down on earth. Not do for ourselves. They violate everything God wants us to do while living a human existence.

When we do for others and not ask anything in return is when we experience all God’s virtues.

Therefore, if they are only doing for themselves … how can they possibly be experiencing any of God’s virtues.



Just to correct my last ex only at the end starting calling them monsters…He had never said this before and he was insistent on the utmost discipline from them. Him turning on them was his way, I think, of justifying discarding us…that since we were all so awful that we deserved to be kicked out…



You are so very right about the greed…It is all about them…

My ex actually said (not to me) that he would be interested in pursuing custody of our baby as long as it wouldn’t cost him too much in legal fees! Disgusting…

I believe that for him it was all about money and property and that I was in a position to expose certain things that might cause his family to lose that. This was more important than his daughter.


maniatissa: “They” would insult Mother Teresa and blame her for their problems if they came into her space.

Don’t take it personally. They insult everyone and anyone. After all, it’s everyone else’s fault why they are the way they are … never them. They are perfectionists?

Remember. If they are perfectionist … then there is nothing wrong with them that needs to be fixed, therefore, it has to be everyone else that is wrong, wrong, wrong. They are right everyone else is wrong.

And that is how they view their world. When you didn’t miraculously fix him within hours of meeting him … you were history in his mind… no matter what you did or didn’t do … what you could or couldn’t do.

And so they are off down the road to repeat the pattern over and over and over again.

It’s the same old song with them. Someone change the record please. Flip side. Or should I say, change the CD.



That is interesting because my best friend said that he sought me out because he thought that I would ‘fix’ his miserable life…I guess he hasn’t figured out that he has to do it…That was the problem- it’s always taking the easy way out and placing the blame elsewhere…


I believe Narcissists/Psychopaths/Sociopaths are ADDICTS . .
and they are ADDICTED TO POWER!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

What gives a person POWER? The ability to CONTROL.

Who has more POWER the person with no conscience or person with no conscience?

The person with NO conscience.

Why do people lie? To CONTROL the situation.

Why do people want POWER? Because it makes them feel good.

If you are addicted to POWER, it means you “MUST HAVE POWER”. Every time you get POWER it gives you a high (like a drug).

How do you get POWER? You choose someone who you think you can CONTROL, by lies, by rages, by gaslighting, exploitation, by manipulation, etc. Every time you are successful at CONTROLLING the other (i.e., wielding your POWER), you reinforce your addiction to POWER.

You cannot love or feel empathy for someones suffering, because these two emotions inhibit of your ability wield POWER over others and CONTROL them. Love and empathy prevent you from getting the fix you need. With love and empathy you would not be able to hurt others and that would reduce your POWER and CONTROL.

You lie, rage, gaslight, manipulate etc. often “out of the blue” when there is for no reason to do so. But there is a definite reason . . . you need a FIX “now”!. You need to create a situation that gives you a fix, in order to feel good. You have a need to exert your POWER immediately. You are effecting other people . . . making them doubt their sanity, making them focus on “what the hell is going on?”, or “why would he/she do that?”. This is POWER! This is CONTROL! and this makes the Narcissist/Psychopath feel good, again. “It is another fix”!


Sarah999: Excellent.

Besides being addicted to power … that means they must have to relinquish the humanity aspect of them being a mere mortal.

I believe they completely go against God just as Satan rebelled against God … jealousy that they weren’t the creator of the heavens and the earth.

It’s the same ole war played over and over again… throw the history of time … Jealousy, envy, greed to be what God is … and they know they aren’t deep down inside … so they deny, deny, deny their own existence. Their own humanity to be the all and powerful “GOD”. They know they aren’t God but will never admit it … that’s why the flip flop, they do the complete opposite of what God is all about.



maniatissa: I believe that we are all on different levels of spiritual growth… some of us are old spirits, some of us are teenage spirits, some middle aged spirit … and “they” are the infant spirits of the universe… BIG BABIES wanting instant gratification and that we are all extensions of themselves. Hence why they use and abuse everything and anything pertaining to us … we are just an extension of them … that’s how they view it. They don’t think about it because their minds aren’t developed yet .. or ever will be … unless, they get help to work this all the heck out of them.


Wini ~ i too believe that theory. I’ve been told i’m an ‘old soul’ a few times ~ on one occasion by a Hari Krishna devotee i quite literally bumped into one day when i rounded a corner too quickly to put the brakes on! We chatted for a while and he even insisted gifting me with a couple of the books he was supposed to have been selling, as he said there would be a lot in them to help me on my spiritual journey. He was right! They are absolutely beautiful books. He made no attempt whatsoever to try to ‘convert’ me either ~ in fact he even told me i wasn’t ready to join the Hare Krishna faith in this lifetime and that my path was taking me elsewhere. I cherish the memory of that encounter and can still recall the sense of peace and tranquility i came away with after talking to him for just a few minutes in that busy town centre.

Funny you should say about them being ‘BIG BABIES’. I called my ex S ‘baby’ once (in an affectionate way) and he went mad and told me not to call him that! Think i may have hit a raw nerve there! LOL. ;o)


Namaste: Yes, they are the big babies of the universe … we were fooled by their chronological ages … not seeing with our spiritual eyes … what they truly are. BABIES all of them … whining, crying, having temper tantrum babies.

It is amazing how when you least expect it … God puts people in your space to bring that peace and serenity into your soul. I’m glad you bumped into that man.

When we are ready, you will see the people you need to see. Anytime you need to run into someone like this young man … pray to God and God will make it happen. Just keep your mind, heart and soul open and you will see them… they come in all shapes and sizes, all sexes … all ages … but when you need guidance and assistance, walk around any corner.. down any street … whether it is paved or earthen and wham-o, they appear out of the blue.



I believe they are born with an INABILITY TO LOVE, when you are unable to love (i.e., care about another’s well being), you have no conscience or empathy.
They still want and need to relate to others (we are all social creatures). The only way they can relate (have an effect on) to others, is to have power over them. This power feels good, because they are relating, and this relating to others (i.e., having power) makes them feel a part of our society. Since they have no ability to love or or feel empathy to temper their POWER . . . It is irrelevant whether their POWER isto HARM or to HELP. Since it doesn’t really make a difference to the Narcissist/Psychopathy/Sociopath whether they harm or help . . . and since it is much easier . . . more effective . . . and dramatic to get POWER by harming. They harm . . sadistically, remorslessly, and effectively . . to get another fix.


Sarah999: We could all turn psycho if we wanted. Just focus on ourselves, become greedy, go for the gusto, use everyone and anyone that comes into our space, focus on all the vices we can do to others .. within a short period of time, we too will loose our ability to feel for anyone or any thing … WE have choices, free will.

Be careful for what you ask for, or what you are focused on, you just may get it.

They too will learn … it’s just not on our time frame … usualy when they bring their humility back into sync, they are on their death beds with a few more breaths to take … then they all become human again.

That’s why, don’t waste your time with them … they will be greedy up until the very end … when it’s too late. Then too … do they pray to God for their very souls to be saved and start apologizing to everyone … maybe not in words … but in thought … because right up to the end they are practicing being selfish.



Sarah999: I tell you this true story about a co-worker that worked up to her delivery date. She left the office that night … went and delivered the baby … came Monday morning she and her husband brought the baby in to the office on their way home from the hospital.

The baby cooed and and smiled at every single one of us that worked with her mother. Why? Because the baby heard our voices during the entire time of the pregnancy.

Believe me, these little tykes know more than what we think they know at the time of their births.



Hi Wini,
You said . . . .
We could all turn psycho if we wanted. Just focus on ourselves, become greedy, go for the gusto, use everyone and anyone that comes into our space, focus on all the vices we can do to others .. within a short period of time, we too will loose our ability to feel for anyone or any thing ” WE have choices, free will.

Some of us don’t, because we don’t want to (or can’t because of our conscience) . . and some of us do because we want to (or we must because we need a FIX).

Think addictive people such as alcoholics or bingers or anorexics, or gamblers. or heroin addicts, or cutters etc. You could say they have a choice . . . . but “THEY NEED a FIX”. They will die in order & many times as a result of “THE FIX”. The need for the FIX is that strong, that they know it can cause death . . but still go there!!!!!


Sarah999: It’s called getting a “big head” over something, anything.

You are right in your theory that they are addicted to being *ssh*les. They are addicted to the greed and all the other vices in life.

Hey alcoholics and drug addicts are selfish in their addictions too. That’s why so many drop out of therapy and self help centers … when they get to the part that they have to look at how selfish they are to throw everything, everyone to wayside to get their fix. They all have to admit that they are selfish and to make amends to everyone, including themselves, the wrongs they did to folks. Most people can’t handle the truth of why they are addicted … they made up so many stories along the way, and believed those stories … it so difficult to unravel all the damage they piled on top of piles to cloud the truth of why they started the addiction in the first place. Besides, the addiction takes on a life of it’s own … it’s not the root of their original problem that they couldn’t face in the first place. I think they don’t know how to deal with stress … anxiety caused by others that damaged them in the first place. So they grabbed to self medicate themselves … and then the addiction takes off … and it becomes a problem in itself.

All of the above addictions that you wrote about are cover ups for the real root of their problems. It’s getting them to step back and see the overall problem that you need to work with them on … the secondary problem is what we see and try to cure … which isn’t a cure at all … it’s only scrapping the real emotional problem that the secondary evolved from.

We are very creative being us humans … we are, yes we are. If we can get people to focus on the superficial level of another problem, we still get to hide behind what is really tearing us apart and that we are so frightened to face in the first place. Most of these real problems are so buried in their psyches that they don’t even remember the original problem … cause they too focus on the secondary problem… because believe it or not, the secondary problem is easier for them to deal with … just chalk it up that I am a this or that …



I agree that there is an underlying problem, and I believe that for the psychopath/narcissist/sociopath . . the underlying problem is their TOTAL INABILITY TO LOVE (which is genetic).

Ox Drover

Wow! I go away for a day and you guys have been BUSY!!! A great article and some thought provoking blogs on this thread.

Bird, I am so glad for you my dear sweet friend! You have made so much progress since that SOB left you, and I am so happy for you and my baby Birdie! Your Aunty Oxy prays for you daily!

I have no doubt that my P-son is a control freak and that he enjoys winning. He boasts about how much more “horrible than even the cops know” his crime (murder) was. I know my P-bio-father was a lover of control and a sadistic psychopath, and that he tortured one of his murder victims until “the (man) begged me to let him cut his own throat” (in his own words).

He used emotional pain and hurt as well and enjoyed inflicting pain both physical and emotional. He loved posturing in front of others so they could appreciate his “power” and control. He was definitely a sadist.

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