Here’s a scary truth that nobody ever tells you: There are people in the world — millions of them — who pursue romantic relationships not for love, but for exploitation. They convincingly portray affection, loyalty and support, but they have a hidden agenda. If you hook up with them, you may discover that you’ve been seduced by a sociopath.
These relationships aren’t love — they’re love fraud.
Love fraud is intentional exploitation through manipulating emotions in a personal relationship. The people who engage in love fraud are sociopaths.
No one aspires to be seduced by a sociopath. If you now suspect, or feel certain, that your partner is disordered, you certainly didn’t know that in the beginning of your involvement.
Your romance, at first, probably felt like a dream come true. But at some point, things changed, and now you’re feeling confused, abused and betrayed. Unfortunately, that’s typical for dating a sociopath.
Sociopathic seduction relationship cycle
When you’ve been seduced by a sociopath — someone who could be diagnosed with antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic or psychopathic personality disorder — you’ll probably find yourself in the following relationship cycle.
In the first stage of the sociopath relationship cycle, your partner showers you with attention and affection, making you feel like you are the center of his or her universe. This is called love bombing. Your partner is over-the-top attentive — calling, texting and emailing all day long, liking everything you post on social media, planning your next date. If you are having sex, it is probably exciting and plentiful. (This is typically how things start when dating a sociopath, although there are exceptions.)
You feel like your partner is totally smitten with you, but actually, the sociopath is engaged in calculated seduction. You have something that he or she wants. The sociopath will love bomb you — for years if necessary — in order to get it.
Exploitation and manipulation
The next stage of the sociopathic relationship cycle begins once you are committed to the relationship. That’s when the sociopath starts executing his or her plan of love fraud. Often it’s bleeding you for money, but not always. The sociopath may want you to provide housing, business connections, services like cooking, housekeeping or childcare, or a respectable image in the community (perhaps while he or she engages in a double life of sex, drugs and crime).
The sociopath may propose marriage. To a sociopath, marriage isn’t about everlasting love; it’s about accessing everything you have. You might discover this immediately after the wedding ceremony, or it could take years. Some sociopaths ask their new spouses to open up credit cards for them. Others appear to support their families for decades, and it’s only when you leave that you learn multiple loans have been taken out in your name, the mortgage is in foreclosure and there are no retirement savings.
Devalue and discard
Remember, the sociopath begins romantic relationships with you because you have something that he or she wants. Eventually you may become depleted — whatever the sociopath wanted, such as money, is gone.
Or the sociopath finds a juicier target. Or the sociopath simply gets bored. For whatever reason, you are no longer useful.
This is the third stage in the sociopath relationship cycle. The sociopath, who once showered you with nonstop praise and admiration, now criticizes and demeans you. Then he or she informs you that it’s over.
In the survivor community, this is known as the “devalue and discard.” You were on a pedestal, now you’re in the gutter.
After the devalue and discard, some sociopaths walk away without a backward glance. You are shocked. The sociopath said you were soul mates! That you were meant to be together forever! Now your partner is gone without even a conversation.
In some cases, however, there is another stage of the sociopath relationship cycle — Hoovering. This means the sociopath tries to suck you back in, like a Hoover vacuum cleaner.
After weeks, months or even years, the sociopath may get back in touch with you as if nothing ever happened. Or the sociopath may call crying, pleading for forgiveness, saying it was all a terrible mistake. She says she has learned her lesson. He says he’s going to church or therapy. If you’re not careful, you could be seduced by the sociopath again.
Know this: Sociopaths do not change. If you take your former partner back, the sociopath relationship cycle will start all over again.
7 classic lies from sociopaths and how to spot them
Sociopaths lie. The circumstances may vary, the scale of the lie may vary, but at some point in the sociopathic seduction, he or she will tell you something that simply isn’t true.
Following are seven classic lies from sociopaths (people who could be diagnosed with antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic or psychopathic personality disorders).
I love you
Sociopaths are incapable of love, as you and I understand it. Real love includes caregiving, and sociopaths simply cannot put someone else’s well being before their own. However, they have learned that if they say, “I love you,” they get what they want. So they easily mouth the words. Do not believe them.
I’ll pay you back
Sociopaths often, although not always, ask their targets for money. They’ll say that you are the only one who can help them, or offer you a surefire investment opportunity. They’ll even sign a contract or promissory note. They’ll promise to repay you — but these promises are useless. The only time you’ll see your money is when they are trying to establish credibility — so they can ask you for more money later, which will never be returned.
You can trust me
Beware of anyone who proclaims that they are trustworthy. Those who feel the need to tell you that they are trustworthy probably aren’t. And why are they saying this in the first place? Are you questioning their behavior or requests? If you are, pay attention — your intuition is trying to warn you of danger.
I’m not married
For a sociopath, marriage is simply a contract giving them access to their spouse’s assets, or control them in some way. Love and fidelity have nothing to do with marriage. So if sociopaths want to have sex with you, or target you for some other reason, well, they ditch their marriage vows like a winter coat on a summer day.
I can’t get (you) pregnant
Female sociopaths view pregnancy as a meal ticket — if they have your child, you have to pay them for 18 years. Male sociopaths view pregnancy as a control mechanism — once you are pregnant, you are tied to them for 18 years. Therefore, they have no qualms about lying to you about birth control.
My phone died
You’ve been unable to reach the sociopath, possibly for days. You may be sick with worry — has something happened? Then suddenly, he or she answers, as if you just spoke 10 minutes ago. You express your worry, and the answer is a shrug — the phone died. The truth, however, is that the person was with someone else, or intentionally trying to upset you.
Everyone thinks you’re crazy
This is a double-barreled lie. First of all, there’s nothing wrong with you — except, perhaps, the sociopath. Secondly, the sociopath is saying that your friends, family and associates are talking about you, when it’s likely that no one is saying a word. The sociopath’s objective is to put you on the defensive, and assert control over you.
How to know when the sociopath is lying
The problem with lies is that we’re not very good at detecting them. In fact, research shows that human beings can spot lies only about 53% of the time. That’s little better than flipping a coin.
And all those tips about how spot a liar — like they won’t make eye contact, or they’ll give themselves away with microexpressions — well, the tips don’t work with sociopaths. Remember, these are the people who can beat polygraph tests.
So what can you do?
Sociopaths lie like they breathe. They tell big lies and little lies. They mix lies with the truth, so you don’t know what’s real and what is not. And they often lie for the fun of it. So if you are sure, or relatively certain, that you’re dealing with a sociopath, then you must assume that anything out of his or her mouth is potentially a lie.
But what if you don’t realize that you’re dating a sociopath?
The best thing you can do is trust your intuition. If a statement strikes you as odd or improbable, or if you get a bad feeling about what someone says, pay attention. It could be a warning that the person is lying.
You may have been taught to give people the benefit of the doubt. Recognize that this is extremely risky. If you perceive that something is amiss, don’t talk yourself out of your perception.
Your instincts are designed to keep you safe. For your instincts to work, so they can save you from being seduced by a sociopath, you need to listen to them.
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Index of information on seduced by a sociopath
- Dating a sociopath? Spot the Red Flags of Love Fraud
- Online seduction and the dangers of online dating
- How to check out your romantic partner
- Can you find out if someone is married?
- Is he or she a military fraud?
- How to spot a romance scam