Signs of a sociopath: Double standards (continued)
After a sociopath has won you over , things start to change that erode “you” and shift the power to the sociopath. Looking back on my horrible, unwitting marriage to a man I have come to believe is a sociopath, one of the things that emerged was double standards. At first, our relationship seeming loving and mutually respectful, but over time, things changed drastically.
Eventually, he expecting me to honor all commitments to him even when circumstances had changed significantly, but he felt free not to honor his commitments to me.
Sociopaths may even try to put you in their debt purposely by accusing you of reneging on promises and commitments even when the situation has changed. Yet, they are masters of letting you down by saying something like, “That doesn’t work for me anymore” or “I don’t want to do that any longer.”
If you persist, you may be labeled unreasonable or a shrew. They will often gaslight you by denying they ever made a commitment to you in the first place. “I don’t recall saying that.” The “conversation” below provides an example of this.
Sociopath: Don’t we need milk for tomorrow morning?
You: Yes. We talked about that this morning, and you said you’d pick some up on the way home.
Sociopath: I don’t remember saying that. Anyway, I got stuck at the office and just got home. I don’t feel like going back out.
You: I guess I could run out to get milk before it gets even later. Is there anything else we need at the store? Dinner’s almost done. Can you finish it and maybe set the table while I’m out?
Sociopath: But you promised to make dinner tonight, because I was planning on watching the game. It’s already started, and I was really looking forward to it. You can go later, right? Anyway, what’s for dinner?
Sociopath: Chicken again? I’m not that hungry. I’m going to go watch the game.
You: Can’t you record it so we can have dinner together?
Sociopath: I really like watching it live. It’s just better that way.
The sociopath is signaling that you are inadequate, because you cannot anticipate his every need by cooking something other than chicken. But if you had made something else, he would have criticized that as well. Also, even when the circumstances have changed, the sociopath is holding you to your commitment to make dinner—defined by the sociopath as the entire dinner experience, including setting the table.
You are a disappointment. Asking for even a little of the sociopath’s time and help is not well received. You are made to feel that you have let him down, when, in fact, he has let you down.
Lastly, this is an example of sociopath math. His need to watch the game live trumps your need to sit down together to enjoy the dinner you invested time to make, and his stance comes with the bonus of signaling to you that spending time together is not all that important to him.
If conversations like this feel all too familiar, do not invest time to “talk about it” or “work on the relationship.” Simply get out.
This and other subtle red flags are listed in my book Narcissists, Sociopaths & Wolves (just click on the cover).
Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.