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Everyone is a sociopath

Editor’s note: Steve Becker has a very dry sense of humor, and the following post is written tongue-in-cheek. If you have a humorous story about a sociopath, feel free to add it as a comment.

Well, thanks to the Investigation Discovery Channel, the latest estimates are that 85% of the general population is sociopathic, and likely to commit a horrific, calculated exploitation of another human being within the next three weeks.

Even leading researchers on psychopathy laud this cable channel (which, admittedly, is absolutely riveting) for getting their own estimates properly realigned. Only in the last two months, just on my street alone, two of my neighbors killed a spouse (one for insurance money, the other for the chance to be with someone else); two other neighbors, separately, kidnapped and tortured hitchhikers over a two-day period, during which both missed their kids’ respective travel soccer tournaments; my neighbor across the street, a great friend, is now believed to be a suspect in eight abduction/missing children cases since 2010; and the identical twins of another neighbor, three houses down, are believed to be responsible for the serial mutilation of dozens of dogs in the area since 2011 (they are 19, and my principal babysitters since 2009; and, because it’s so damned hard to find babysitters these days, they will remain my babysitters because apparently, at least as best i know to this point, they just mutilate and savage dogs).

And let me tell you something else–the street I live on is filled with relatively “normal” people. I’m told that what happens in my “neck of the woods” is nothing compared to the psychopathic crimes being perpetrated at a newly estimated rate of every 12 minutes around the corner, on my friends’ streets. They want to move to MY block.

Last month, my best friend learned that his wife of 16 years, a strikingly stable, well-adjusted individual (I still regard her as such), while mixing herself screw-drivers at night, was mixing him vodka-anti-freezes. He lies in critical condition at Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ, but his wife is still a great neighbor and, admirably, visits him daily in the CCU unit (albeit one assumes she is scoping out chances to slip him some extra poison to finish him off.)  Last week, when I visited my buddy in the hospital I warned him firmly to beware his wife’s visits, but he’s in a coma, so I doubt he heard me.

It’s gotten to the point where I, myself, have become a bit paranoid. Recently I went to my internist, feeling weak and lethargic, just not myself, and asked him, “Could it be antifreeze, doc?,” to which he replied, “Well, how much antifreeze have you been drinking, Steve? More than a glass a night?”

Ha ha. He’s so funny. A real rip.

Anyway, it’s all very sobering. It seems you really can’t trust anyone anymore, not your neighbors, friends, kids, spouses, family, co-workers, not even yourself. Everyone, or almost everyone, it seems, thanks to the disconcerting revelations of ID Discovery,  is a sociopath.

 

(This article is copyrighted (c) 2013 by Steve Becker, LCSW.)

 

 


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88 Comments on "Everyone is a sociopath"

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Admittedly the news is full of IT—PURE CRAZINESS anymore!

My daughter and I laughingly refer to Investigation Discovery as “The Death and Destruction Channel”. It definitely should only be watched in very small doses.

Yes, I definitely think Steve Becker was taking a poke at the network with his tongue firmly planted in cheek. I understand where he’s coming from. This network is all day, every day tales of horror. I used to enjoy watching the documentary- and investigative-style shows like 48 Hours. The shows with the dramatic re-enactments of murders and other brutality were never good for me. I could see how a person could easily begin to look for boogeymen behind every curtain.

This isn’t to say that anyone, especially those of us here, should bury our heads in the sand. We all know bad people exist and thankfully we’re all learning to look for early red flags now.

I just really look forward to Steve’s articles because they are always so full of scholarly research written in a down-to-Earth way. But, I will have to just let him have fun with this one, I guess!

I can’t watch those shows. I used to like to watch the mystery “unravel” on certain shows. But, when I got PTSD, I reached a point where I just couldn’t handle it.

Hi all — I used to post under a different name that had my actual first initial in it. You never know.

Anyway — to be totally fair, I have to give Investigation Discovery credit for their show about stalking. That one at least highlights a crime that too many people seem to think isn’t a real threat, or only happens either to celebrities, in the movies, or both. There’s an Ann Rule book called “Every Breath You Take” about a spath who eventually ordered his ex-wife murdered, even though she was completely out of his life and had moved from Texas to Florida in order to stay that way; he just couldn’t bear the idea that she’d “won” by getting custody of their kids in the divorce. This freak called a bail bond agency (he had managed to have her arrested on bogus child-abuse charges, thanks to a neighbor of hers who sympathized with him), employees of his own company, and eventually his 11-year-old daughter — to whom he had signed away parental rights! — in order to get the clues he needed to track his ex down in order to have the hit performed. There are some persistent sons-of-[things] out there.

The other stuff, I agree, is sensationalized to the point of ridiculousness, like “Deadly Women,” which goes as far back as the 19th century for examples of female murderers. But I have to credit them for bringing attention to stalking. The presenter of that show is an attractive, successful woman, in fact a psychiatrist, who was stalked, and she makes it very clear that stalking happens to everyone in all walks of life. Not enough people know that stalking is as prevalent as it is, and is not, NOT romantic.

Allergic: Interesting. I can’t handle much of those shows because of my PTSD. But, anything that helps people (especially legislators) see that stalking is life threatening is the right thing to be shown on TV.

I doubt that any legislators are watching these shows but I could be very wrong. If they are, it is to learn how to get more power, not to help constituents. Constituents now equal targets to slime for votes.

Well!! I had a fine day at the beach today with a dear friend who is a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Words of wisdom from a lady who has been around the block a time or two….she told me to be very wary of anyone looking for a PURSE and a NURSE. I will certainly take it to heart!!! No $$ ever to be “loaned” and no falling for pity plays!!
Its a jungle out there!!

Thanks so much Steve – great observations. The problem is, they don’t use the term “sociopath.”

When I was interviewed for the premiere episode of “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?” (which was the highest rated premiere in Investigation Discovery history), I said, “There are people in the world who have no heart, no conscience and no remorse, and they’re called sociopaths.” The producers cut out the last phrase about sociopaths. So even though Investigation Discovery portrays an unending parade of mayhem, they don’t identify the root cause – a personality disorder called sociopathy.

It may be that the show’s producers feared that phrase they edited out could be interpreted as “making a diagnosis”, or possibly as “being inflammatory” or “creating public prejudice against those with mental disorders” ?

That possibility occurs to me because I’ve come across those same accusations at other sites I read and post at, that are set up to discuss the issues faced by the adult children of personality-disordered parents (specifically, parents who have Cluster B personality disorders, which I personally think of as “kissing cousins” to psychopathy.)

Particularly at the “Psychology Today” website blogs about borderline pd (blog articles written by psychologists, psychiatrists, and by lay-persons) the open and frank personal stories shared by readers of these blogs, of their own experiences of childhood mistreatment, abuse and neglect endured at the hands of their Cluster B pd parents seems to attract a lot of outraged commentary by those who feel that sharing these personal experiences is somehow attacking and fomenting prejudice against those with personality disorders.

The advocacy groups for the support of the mentally ill can be kind of militant, I guess.

It must be hard for a TV show to strike a balance between discussing very real, very serious, very uncomfortable social issues like mental illness and yet remaining “politically correct”.

Actually, the TV producers are concerned about liability issues. Saying someone is a sociopath can lead to a defamation lawsuit. Producers of these shows are in the entertainment business. Even though explaining what is really going on – that sociopaths live among us – would help their viewers, they aren’t interested in that.

We are all, to some extent,narcissists; or at least should possess some narcissistic qualities. We must love ourselves, that is a good thing when kept in proportion. When we love ourselves, we take care of ourselves and our needs.

Sad part is when a spath enters our lives, they manage to get us to stop loving ourselves. I am not sure how they do it, but they do. I am not saying we all give all our love to them, in my case that certainly was not true. Once they get us to lose our self esteem, our sense of self love, our sense of self worth, we become a lesser person. That does NOT mean we become spaths, it just means that we care less about ourselves than we should. We settle to survive instead of thriving to survive.

I disagree with the title of the piece and its conclusion.

There is a *qualitative* difference between the “normal” (aka, relatively mentally healthy) and the “psychopathic” (aka sociopathic or antisocial pd) brain-mind, which shows up in a characteristic way of perceiving the world, interpreting incoming information or processing it, and reacting to this information or acting on it.

The main differences: most people have the quality of or capability of experiencing the traits of empathy, compassion, and remorse, and most people have a conscience; those with Cluster B pds and/or psychopathy don’t have these traits.

In fact, recent scientific studies appear to be showing that the actual brain structure, the wiring and/or the chemistry of the psychopathic brain is different than those of non-psychopathic subjects.

I agree that everyone has a dark side, and everyone can engage in narcissistic, manipulative, lying, self-serving behaviors every once in a while, to a mild degree, but most people feel badly when they do something like that.

Psychopaths never feel badly about hurting other people, and feel entitled to do whatever it takes to get them what they want, when they want it, even if it means stealing from someone, hurting them or even killing them.

I believe it was Dr. Robert Hare who wrote that those with psychopathy tend to regard other people in the same way that a cat regards a mouse. A cat would never put itself in danger or sacrifice itself to save the life of a mouse, bring a mouse food, nurse a mouse back to health, none of those things. Other people are just prey to a psychopath; good for a momentary distraction (the way a cat will cripple a mouse and then bat it around for a while, for sport) or good for a small snack.

And yes, I know there are exceptions; there are always stories of this or that wonderful, big-hearted mother cat who adopted a baby rat or squirrel or rabbit and nursed it along with her own kittens. But that is the exception rather than the rule.

What I can agree with, though, is that it does seem that the actual number of psychopathic individuals in the general population is increasing. That doesn’t surprise me, because I have read studies that one of the traits of psychopathy is that they are driven to have a lot of sex with a lot of partners, so psychopaths tend to leave a trail of progeny behind them. So if there are spaths out there out-producing the normals by a large ratio, then yes, eventually our population will reflect a high percentage of psychopathy. And maybe “eventually” is *now*.

I agree. If this article was written tongue in cheek, it wasn’t obvious to me. I’m not familiar with his other writings, so I took this one at face value (as a straight/serious/sincere opinion piece.) Like you, I hope that he is joking about allowing a neighbor who is into animal torture/mutilation to babysit his kids. That does sound too bizarre to be true.

Alright.So it’s “entertaining” to pay for the latest Armageddon or World War movie or play gory video games—but you’re still considered “normal” by society.Now when you start lying,charming the pants off someone,exploit,etc,you have a lizard brain.I see nothing,absolutely nothing charming about lizards!What I do envision with all this talk about lizard brains,is a space movie with those lizard critters…euweee,positively evil! Psychopaths don’t come from lizards…they’re brought up the wrong way in alot of instances.In the case of their children,their mothers are never prepared for what they’re faced with!

These “lizards” (actually, I like lizards so I prefer to just call them evil) are born that way. They are not just brought up the wrong way although that can contribute to the evil.

I came across a site called “EnPSYCHOpedia”, which seems to be a massively researched compilation of current studies, theories, and opinion about the nature of psychopathy (sometimes aka sociopathy, and not exactly the same as antisocial pd) and found a discussion on the causes of psychopathy; the following is an excerpt from that discussion:

“Failure of Nurture – Bonding?

Many researchers are biased toward – and cling to – a “nurturing failure” explanation for psychopathy. Regarding this, Meloy notes:

…[T]he importance of biology in … psychopathy should not be dismissed (Raine, 1993; Cooke, Forth, and Hare, 1998)… Studies have shown that psychopathy has a negative curvilinear relationship to neglectful and abusive childhood family experiences (Marshall and Cooke, 1999).

In other words, those persons who are severely psychopathic were less influenced by family factors when they were growing up; whereas those with low-to-moderate psychopathy were strongly influenced by family experience.

Neuro-imaging (PET) also suggests that functional deficits measured by radioactive glucose among samples of murderers with extensive criminal histories are more pronounced among those from good rather than poor home environments (Raine, Stoddard, et al., 1998) [42]”

So, if I understand this article correctly (and the researchers like Dr. Robert Hare that are referenced in the article) nature + nurture is involved in creating a psychopath, but in different degrees depending on the extent of the genetic component vs the extent of the invalidating environment in each individual case.

Dr. Hare (or one of his colleagues) also touches on this point in the Canadian documentary “Psychopath”, in which he comments (and I’m paraphrasing from memory here) that as many criminal psychopaths come from good homes (and had caring, involved, “normal” parents) as there are psychopaths who come from horrific, abusive or negligent homes/childhoods.

Here is a link to this documentary, the first part (1 of 10)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm1S_n0V5kk&list=PLsfK2kCQzM1-YbzkbwYpq1soc-35Nwxxv&index=1

Hi Babs:

Your information is accurate according to undisputed research.

I am reading a book written last year and the author cites multiple studies from around the world that used MRIs and other ways to actually see where the parts of the brain “light up” or don’t “light up.” The studies continue to make it very clear that sociopath/psychopath tendencies are genetic and that, just like a birth difference of any kind, their brains are physiologically different. If the parents recognize it early and the parents do not have any problems of their own that are overwhelming, some can be “nurtured” to understand the difference between right and wrong. However, this is very rare and nearly impossible to do. It also is very damaging to parents who were/are at a loss. It is not their fault unless they were abusive and made it worse. My spath claims one of his earliest memories is of throwing a rock at a baby and hurting it and that the neighborhood was in an uproar and that it was “bad.” He may, or may not, have made this story up. I will never know. When I ask him how his parents handled the situation, he doesn’t remember. He also shares that no one in his family ever hugged or said they loved each other. Yet, he claims he was given every single thing he wanted and he lived with his mother until age 32. From what he says, she did everything he wanted and he sees this as “love.” I am wondering if she was just fearful of him after his father died and did everything he wanted to avoid rages and abuse. I can certainly relate to a possible fear she may have had of her own spath son. She died long before I ever met him, so I can’t check with her. But, there are good people on this site who are parents of sociopaths and they tried everything and the sociopath’s brain could not be tamed or trained with anything any of them tried.

Ad more studies are conducted, they prove that the brain is where it begins and ends for most sociopaths. The studies I am reading about reveal that they don’t even FEEL any consequences or fear of consequences. They also do not FEEL positive reinforcement the way a normal child would. My understanding is that they do not feel in parts of the brain the way non-sociopaths feel. They only understand enough about how others feel feelings to use them to get lizard (amygdala) needs met. The way they reach towards the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy are completely different than the way non-sociopaths work to reach the top.

Even the most serious consequences do not stop sociopaths/psychopaths. IE: Serial killers know if they are caught, they are likely to receive the death penalty, yet their brains compel them to kill multiple people anyway. They do not feel feelings as others. From what I am reading, they only understand the definitions of feelings in others. But, their brains do not show signs of FEELING the feelings of people with non-sociopath brains. I have been reading about studies where they show slasher, and other disturbing photos or film footage to psychopaths and non-psychopaths. Different parts of the brain light up or do not light up consistently with the sociopaths in comparison to non-sociopaths. Upsetting images do not upset them in the least. However, and this is where is helps us, psychopaths are faster and recognizing facial CUES in normal people. They can “read” empathy, sorrow, vulnerability, trust, etc. faster than non-psychopaths! So, they can use that quick (and unfeeling) scanning ability to read us and use us based upon quickly assessing our feelings (or what they would call weaknesses).

The more we know and share about the scientific research about sociopaths/psychopaths, the more we can understand what we are dealing with. They have a brain disorder and it IS proven to have a genetic component. The author of the book I’m reading even worries that the reason spaths cheat and are into so many sex addictive and risky sex behaviors so much is because their brain mutation is trying to procreate itself more than non-spaths! Scary and a good reason to protect from having children with a spath. I will watch your link as soon as I get a chance. Thank you.

Please share the title and author of the book. I like to keep up on the scientific data. Thank you.

Babs,
Good video,thanks for posting it! I didn’t see the rest in the sequence.It just seems like there are so many theories;no real answers!To anyone who has suffered from these monsters,it is no longer an “interesting theory”!It just seems to me that atleast the dangerous ones ought to be kept off the streets permanently…the others ought to have to check in and their whereabouts and MO be known at all times!

Doh! It turns out there are only 5 parts/sections to this particular documentary. Below are the links to the rest of it (at YouTube).

The part about criminal and non-criminal psychopaths coming from all kinds of home environments: good homes, bad homes, and in-between, begins at the end of Part 3, but gets cut off (a few words of Dr Hare’s are missing, it appears) and continues in Part 4.

This is the link to “Psychopath” part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f5hUCcckjg&list=PLsfK2kCQzM1-YbzkbwYpq1soc-35Nwxxv

part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqfOaij60ss&list=PLsfK2kCQzM1-YbzkbwYpq1soc-35Nwxxv

part 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBr1RFSTihk&list=PLsfK2kCQzM1-YbzkbwYpq1soc-35Nwxxv

part 5
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt4Gwfg4Y74&list=PLsfK2kCQzM1-YbzkbwYpq1soc-35Nwxxv

Although different etiological theories are popular with different researchers, they all do seem to be converging/agreeing with each other, at least in this documentary and in other research sources I’ve located (like at the Mayo Clinic site) that the exact causal factors are not simple; its not just nature and its not just nurture, but a combination of both, and further research is needed before we understand the details regarding just exactly how and why these factors combine to generate mental disorders like psychopathy.

The newest, cutting-edge research tools such as real-time 3-D computerized MRI brain scanning seems to be adding a whole new perspective on the study of mental disorders like psychopathy RE their causes and possible new, more effective treatments.

One researcher (in the documentary) spoke of a possible research study that would attempt to “boost” amygdala function in diagnosed psychopaths, to see if that had any impact in increasing their ability to experience empathy.

Only time will tell what these new research directions, with these new research tools, will turn up. It does give me some hope, though. I’m all for trying new approaches, as long as they’re ethical and moral, to find something that can help treat psychopathy. Right now (according to the documentary) criminal psychopaths who have undergone psychotherapy actually have a higher recidivism rate than those who did not undergo psychotherapy.

Dr Hare speculates that psychotherapy is like sending a psychopath to acting class; it just teaches them how to be more convincing when they mimic the emotions of empathy, remorse and compassion: it teaches them to be more effective, more efficient predators. Scary.

Babs,
Thank you so much for posting the rest of the videos in the sequence! I’m going to look at them now before I get off.Just wanted to say that I agree with Dr Hare in that pychopaths can LEARN to ACT empathetic,compassionate,etc.My husband has learned to act like a morally righteous man,lol!

Babs,
Wow,
That took awhile to go through! I was impressed with the MRI scanning!James Blair’s study was a neat way of testing visual and emotional responses to a picture.It always troubled me that my husband could look at pictures of Jews and Christians who suffered during the Holocaust;I was repelled by them because it hurt my heart so much!

My husband used to tell me that he was “a good actor”.I now understand what that statement actually meant!

I agree if there’s a way to treat psycopaths,it should be done.But I felt like I was watching science fiction when they started talking about putting a micro chip in the malfunctioning brain! What if the micro chip starts malfunctioning?! Does the spath have a ‘seizure’ while waiting for some switch to be flipped on a giant screen?!!

Yes, that is a pretty extreme, science-fiction type of theory to try. There was an original series Star Trek episode that featured a whole population with microchips implanted in their heads that zapped them painfully whenever they had “bad” thoughts… its called “For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky.”

I don’t think implanted emotion-modifying microchips are remotely feasible at this point in time, for both medical and ethical reasons. But at least there are efforts being made RE researching possible treatments and hopefully finding *something* that will help treat psychopathy, since traditional methods like psychotherapy (“talk therapy”) don’t work on psychopaths and can even make them more crafty, more successful predators.

Right now, its kind of a no-win situation; all we can do at this point in time is educate ourselves and the general public about psychopathy and learn ways to minimize the damage done by these intra-species predators.

Thanks to Steve for this astute and wryly comic critique of whatsounds like an absurd and fear mongering ratings grabber.

Thanks Steve. That was even more over the top than my comments, and I totally loved it. I know these behaviors are on the rise. Wherever I go, whatever I’m doing I get constant reminders that I am less important than that person, and that one, and definitely this guy over here. As I pull my shopping cart back to avoid being rammed, or have to take a different rout home because I was boxed out of the lane. There was plenty of room. The other driver just felt that one less vehicle in front of him was important enough to nearly cause an accident. Whatever the scenario I just usually say to myself ‘ wow I see you’re definitely more important than me ‘ I seem to get these reminders daily. I think the universe is trying to tell me something. Ok I get it already !

Steve

I don’t know where you live but it can’t be anywhere near us. We don’t have, to my knowledge, that kind of horrific activity.

Not in our neighborhood.

But on jobs I have experienced psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists…hell…my own parents. It is real.

Babs94540: I agree. It sounds fabricated or at least highly exaggerated. He is a sensationalist. I don’t believe in most of it.

I agree with that comment (that approx 85% or people are sociopaths).
Sociopaths “kiss up” and “abuse” down. If you’re in a position of power, you would think that there are fewer sociopaths (because they don’t reveal themselves to you, instead they charm you). If you are in an inferior/dependent position . . you see their true sociopathy. This is one of the reasons why powerful people, just can’t believe that statistic. For them, it is not reality. (Noody would dare rage/bully/abuse the queen of England). Also, sociopaths do not exploit/abuse everyone. They may exploit their wives (or close relatives) but their co-workers (maybe 100’s of them) might think they’re wonderful. If you have a very naive demeanor (which I do) and are aware of this pathology (which I “NOW” am, they very readily expose their true selves (i.e., bullying, lying, raging, blaming). I spot them almost immediately . . Not because I’m so smart, but because they don’t expect I’d be onto them. IMHO 85% is about right. Remember, a serial killer needs to only kill 2 or 3 people to be a serial killer. He is not defined by the hundreds of his acquaintances/friends he DIDN’T kill. He is defined as a serial killer by the few he DID kill. Same for an abuser/bullier/exploiter/rager. An abuser/bullier/exploiter/rager, is not defined by the hundreds of people he didn’t abuse/bully (but could have). He is defined as an abuser/bullier by the few people people he DID abuse/bully. So IMHO the 4% statistic freqently quoted by the “so-called” experts . . is total hog-wash. Also consider, that a major hallmark characteristic of the sociopath/Psychopath/narcissist . . is that they are “MASTERS” of covering up/masking their pathology (true self). How can those idiots say 4% of the population are sociopaths (in one breath) and then say their major characteristic is that they are masters of deception & cover up (in the other breath). That is an idiotic statement on it’s face!

I agree that the estimates are very understated at 4%. By the nature of the disorder, they easily escape diagnosis whereas the victims do not. And from what I hear about TV, which I do not watch, they are all over the “reality TV”. The humor intended may have beeen too close for comfort.

How about politics, finance, and corporations? Where people with “power” and good “impression management” skills call the shots.

Hi Sarah999,

I think you have made some very astute and observations, specifically, the fact that psychopaths will “kiss up” and “abuse down”. Good call; those in power positions are not subjected to a spath’s bullying: they’re being seduced by the spath’s mesmerizing charm. The spath wants the superior’s job, or wants the superior to share their power/status with the spath. If the superior is charmed into sharing power, then the spath will eventually undermine his/her superior and take all their power, and boot their former superior out.)

And of course this dichotomy of behavior would impact the perception of how many spaths there really are in the population. (Me personally, I think its more like 10% than 4% or 85%; one out of every ten people you know could just as easily put a bullet in your skull as shake your hand, with as little concern, if it benefitted them in some way and they felt they could get away with it.)

Also an important observation you made is that it doesn’t take more than two or three corpses to make a serial killer. The masks that serial killers wear, fascinates me. The jolly, friendly ones are usually described as “such a nice guy” or “such a sweet gal” by their neighbors and coworkers, after they’ve been caught. The more secretive, sly ones are often described as “quiet”, “intelligent”, “studious” and “shy.”

But that very specific behavior that spaths seem to have, of being able to appear normal, appealing and “OK” when they need to charm and gain trust, but then when they feel its safe for them to do so, like when their target is alone, to unmask and display their open naked contempt, hatred and abuse… I don’t think this aspect of psychopathy gets enough attention and discussion. I think it needs a bigger spotlight.

It also depends on the culture. In certain cultures, i.e., where men are allowed to beat their wives, relatives are supposed to MURDER their daughter/sister/cousin being an innocent victim of rape. Amputations occur for A minor theft. Murder for drawing a cartoon. IMHO That culture is sociopathic !

Yes I took it as “tongue in cheek” I am addicted to ID and dateline, I have to turn it off to keep some sort of sanity, But Seriously, we have lived thru some DEEP and HEAVY trauma and we want to be taken serious, Im sure 99.9% were so misunderstood in coming forward with our experiences we do not take jokes lightly, I take very little lightly these days, it comes with the territory, believe me I hate feeling like this! Thank God I am further in my recovery but 50 something years of trauma doesn’t go away quickly!!

I thought everyone had “some” good in them, I know its no longer true, I try to pass that along also!

Steve, the responses being skewed had more to do with the timing that the article came out. Some who use and enjoy a more biting wit felt the need to pull it back so as not to step on sensitive toes. I agree with Imara that we need that here. Besides if Dr Steve can throw down like that, I can’t be lambasted for it. Right ? See how I just made that about me ? Guess I’m learning something from those psychos.

And I worried about you 4light?!Lol! 🙂 Yes Steve,please keep up the fine articles!Gotta admit,this one was a bit different in style,and as 4light said,the timing wasn’t the best,but we’re survivors,doing our best to wade through the stress and streams of change.

Blossom I’m so happy to see you back. Saw something from Tea earlier. You gals really brighten things up around here. Just don’t start singing that Gloria Gaynor song or I’m outta here !

Blimey 4light,
I say,I say you’re a good bloke! What song will you sing for us?! 🙂

Babs94540,
Also consider that “the experts” agree . .
1) that sociopaths typically do NOT come for treatment (It is their victims that seek (and need) help). The sociopaths are quite happy with themselves (thank you very much 🙂
2) The sociopaths are masters of deception, and often seem even MORE normal than a non-sociopathic person.
3) They can maintain their cover for decades.
4) They are also masters of BLAMING others.
5) They come across VERY credible.
6) It is documented that about 30% of wives are physically & emotionally abused by their husbands (and many wives do not even recognize or report their abusive husbands). IMHO physical abusers are on the sociopathic continuum.
7) Certain cultures/ideologies are 100% sociopathic.

For all these reasons (1-7) . . . Any percentage estimate is going to be grossly UNDERESTIMATED (by an order of magnitude).
The “experts” should stop mimicking the prior PC statistics . . (just so they don’t get into trouble).
I am shocked when I hear “so called” experts that I admire spout a statistic about the % of sociopaths, and then go on to say . . sociopath’s hallmark attribute is that they are masters of deception. Experts can’t have it both ways. It diminishes their “expertise”, credibility, and integrity (in my eyes)

From my experience, I don’t believe that the overwhelming percentage of the population is sociopathic. If it was, I would not have had to go hell and back to find a law firm willing to take my case. Any firm would have been willing and had the ‘cookie cutter’ briefs, etc. on hand-just fill in the names, dates, amounts. I would have not been put through a 6 1/2 day proceeding. The brokerage, over 80 years old, would have handbooks on ‘how to deal with sociopaths’.

I do believe that the great majority of people have at least one of Dr. Hare’s checklist applicable to them at some point in their/our lives. Impulsiveness, how many of us just had to have that ooey gooey, over the top, extra large, ice cream sundae or bought that great pair of shoes at a wonderful price that didn’t fit quite right when we tried them on. How many of us failed to take responsibility for something we did, the ‘not me’. Cartoonist Bill Keane, creator of ‘Family Circus'(a wholesome, family strip) even had a ‘not me’ creature that followed the children around.

We are human, we are not perfect, even with all of our errors, we are far from sociopaths. We have to be careful to use the word ‘sociopath’ judiciously. If we just bandy it around every time we get hurt, it will lose it’s real meaning.

Well said Lost. Human foibles and imperfections are part of even the best people. It’s the composite of layers of badness that converge until…. Ok now we have not a weak or imperfect person, but a wicked or evil one.

Steve,
Isn’t it ironic that people will watch ID (or soaps,etc) and get so involved that they talk about the characters and events as though it’s REALITY.But then a person who has dealt with a sociopath tries to explain to these same people what they’ve experienced and they look at you like you’re CRAZY?!

I had this whole post written out about how I haven’t watched TV in 10 years just for this reason, how the media loves to sensationalize negative events, etc. Then I had a crazy, disturbing interaction with my disordered neighbor upstairs and had to rethink that entire line of reasoning…..!!

Having been a member here for 5 years, I’ve noticed there are many people here – or have been in the past – who DO see sociopaths everywhere and think they make up a large percentage of the population. It is probably normal for someone who has been badly traumatized over a period of years to think like this. This line of thinking – that there is a sociopath under every bush – does not resonate with how I think or live my life. I do not worry about sociopaths or other disordered people, and I don’t attract too many of them these days. However, I know one when I see one now, and I know enough not to get involved with them.

As far as my neighbor, since I sold my condo a year and a half ago and I’m renting it back from the new landlord, I can just say to the neighbor, “Take it up with my landlord.” Such a blessing to be able to say that. We HAVE had some crazy neighbors around here. We had a sex offender unit for a while and a few ex-felons living upstairs in my building. But I still think they were more the exception than the rule. The other neighbors banded together and confronted the landlords of these units until the offending parties were removed or left on their own. Though there certainly ARE disordered people out there, I strongly believe that we attract people into our lives based on our own energetic patterning. Changing those patterns inwardly will change the types of people we attract.

Hi everyone. I have been following Lovefraud for more than three years now and this post made me register so I could send you my comments and questions. Please excuse my english as I am not american.

I do believe that our weaknesses can work as a big outdoor sign for spaths. We as victims dont realise that we left our naivety and emotional weaknesses in the opening for everyone to see and of all people spaths are the ones who can best spot us even from a long distance and this is why so many people get framed more than once by these vampires.

It took me five years to realise my wife was a spath. And only after two years of therapy medication books and a lot of searching that I finaly realised that the key people in my life had sociopathic traits. Even more scary to find out that I still interact with many people that have these traits today and that as much as I try to get away from them I still cant find a “spath free” enviroment.

This made me wonder if I was going insane or taking this “spath syndrome” too seriously or too far. Could it be that I was sudenly labeling almost everyone around me a spath?

Unfortunately I believe that the answer is no. There are a lot more sociopaths than the 4% informed by researchers and there is an even bigger percentage of the population that may not be sociopaths but can sure behave like one given the oportunity.

But 85% is a lot. I am sad but also glad someone said something about this. It feels lonly out here and I do not feel I will ever have confidence enough to trust someone again. The monstruous spath are not the ones I fear. I fear the most the ones that can live for years unoticed. Those who seem to be so nice good decent people but are in fact spaths in disguise.

Can someone comment on this please?

PS.: Thank you! You all have given me a lot of help for the past three years. I hope I can be of help too. Maybe I tell my story one day.

Katzu – Welcome to Lovefraud. I am so glad that Lovefraud has helped you.

The author of this post is making a joke. He is making fun of a television channel here in the United States called Investigation Discovery. This channel has dozens of reality TV shows about people who marry con artists, commit murder, go to jail, escape going to jail, cheat on their husbands or wives, etc. etc. If anyone were to watch only this channel, they would believe that everyone in the world was a sociopath.

The author of the post is not really saying that 85% of people are sociopaths. He is exaggerating because a lot of what is on TV, and a lot of what people talk about, are these cases.

On the one hand, it is important to know about sociopaths. ON the other hand, putting them on TV just feeds their egos.

Maybe it would help to create a “Humor Section” for light-hearted posts meant to poke fun at “spathiness”? I think more than just a couple of us didn’t realize that that particular article was tongue-in-cheek, took it as a sincere post, and were either upset or took the information seriously. Just an idea to consider. Such a distinct and separate humor section might generate very interesting submissions and dialogue, sort of like those “World’s Dumbest Criminals” or “To Catch A Predator” shows.

I agree. The spath who infected my life is (and has always been) a source of humor for my family. One of my brothers in particular used to caricaturize her in our living room, much to our glee. He called her
‘pin head’ whenever she drove by our home in her small Japanese car (her pinhead look was at its most prominent at those times). It was hilarious. No sympathy for her at all. Not after the hell she put me through.

Funny stories about sociopaths – I’d love to hear them. Please post them as a comment on this thread. I’ll add an “Editor’s note” to the beginning of the article to clear up confusion.

Yes, if anyone has a funny story, please share right here!

My ex-husband, James Montgomery, took $227,000 from me to support his dreams of entrepreneurial grandeur. He was going to start a TV station, open a theme park, start a zoo of exotic animals, etc, etc. He told me that I was married to “the next Walt Disney.”

Well, he is now 73 years old and living on a minimal pension in Australia. Montgomery was still trying to meet women online, and at least seven told me that he started emailing them, they looked him up, found his profile on Lovefraud, and dumped him.

After his most recent wife divorced him, he could no longer afford his apartment. So he moved – apparently to a hippie commune in Australia. One of the women who dumped Montgomery ran into him at a train station near the commune. He weighed 300 pounds, was wearing a long orange caftan, a long scarf around his neck and glasses with pink lenses. She said he looked like a circus clown.

So much for “the next Walt Disney.”

Donna, sounds like he could be the next ‘character’ IN a Walt Disney film. The talking elephant or something like that. (snicker, snicker).

You probably already know this funny story about the spath I dated but I don’t think any of the newcomers here know it. He lied to the army and told them he was injured in Iraq and had no feeling from the waist down. He told them he could hardly walk. But the dumbass was so vain, he had me take pictures of him at a reptile show we went to. In this show, he was standing and holding a 75-lb burmese python (!). In another picture from a reptile show, he was carrying his young daughter on his shoulders. Imagine the army commander’s surprise when I sent him those pictures! Not to mention it proved he had driven an hour and a half to my town (he told them he couldn’t drive.) He eventually got convicted of fraud and adultery (surprise surprise) and it was HE who had buried himself in evidence. ha ha

He also told the army that he and I had just been platonic friends. But the dumbass had left 25 voice mails for me telling me how he was in love with me and how special last night was, etc., etc. I couldn’t wait to tape those messages and give the tape to the army.

He told me he’d just gotten a divorce. Then he posted pictures on the reptile site of him handling his brand new snake – wearing his wedding ring!

Dumbass wasn’t supposed to even keep snakes in the army housing. He lied and told them he didn’t have any. So imagine their surprise when I sent them the link to the reptile site where he posted pictures of his 10 snakes in their cages in his daughter’s bedroom!

If not for the damning evidence, he would have probably gotten away with it. Sociopaths can be very stupid and arrogant, thinking they will never get caught.

The funniest story by far was after I went NC with him. He stalked me at a reptile show. He actually walked right up behind me several times and smelled my hair (!). I just happened to buy a snake hook that day. My friend Dennis was carrying the hook for me when he saw the sociopath sneak up behind me. He very nonchalantly poked the spath in the crotch twice with the snake hook! After that the spath promptly left the scene. I had no idea this was happening but when Dennis told me afterward, I laughed so hard, I spit out my lunch. He almost caught the hook on the spath’s zipper. “Player gets hooked”. ha ha ha It still makes me laugh.

I’m not usually one to laugh at another’s stupidity, but……ha ha ha ha ha. Enjoy!!!

Having a sense of humor about the stupid things the psychopathic stalker did over the 4 years he victimized me was an important coping skill for me.

I’m running through the dumb things he did in my mind. I have many, but will tell you about one that I have on DVD.

First, some background. I have a restraining order that he repeatedly violated. He is not allowed to drive on my street due to his refusal to drive by without making his presence known to us.

He sued me in civil court, putting a mechanic’s lien against my home. His attorney wanted him to be allowed onto my property and into my home so he and a surveyor could “measure” my basement and the outside of my home. I refused and told my attorney to tell a judge to get a jail cell ready for me because I would never allow him into my home.

We had to have a hearing since I refused. The judge allowed him to drive on the street in front of my home, just one time, on a specified date and time, and explain his fraudulent claim to the surveyor. He was not allowed to get out of his truck or enter my property or home.

My husband happened to have that day off. I had a college visit with my daughter which I decided would be better for me to attend and not to be at home.

My husband set up a camera in the window facing the road to video the scene just in case the stalker would once again ignore the judge and enter our property.

In the mean time an arrest warrant was issued for the stalker on 8 new violations of the order of protection. I knew this but didn’t think they would arrest him right in front of our home.

I received a call from my husband while at the college visit. He was snickering because the chief of police and a sheriff’s deputy pulled up in front of our home, blocking the stalker in between them and arrested him on the 8 new counts of violating the Order of Protection.

The best part about it was that it was all being recorded by my husband. From the moment law enforcement pulled up, he locked himself in the truck for a time, then finally let the surveyor out who quickly got the heck out of there. Then they finally coaxed the stalker out and we got to watch them cuff him and take him away.

He ended up pleading guilty to the 8 charges, receiving the maximum 30 days in jail for each charge. He lost the lawsuit and I was awarded just under $15,000 restitution due to him pleading guilty to perjury for filing the fraudulent lawsuit against me.

He is now in prison for 21 years total due to his pursuit of me. Plus 240 days in county jail when he finishes the prison sentence.

Mr. Becker,

I read your article when it was posted and could see that it was tongue-in-cheek, so I was not offended by it. I also wasn’t offended despite the fact that a Discovery ID episode of Stalked: Someone’s Watching features a portion of what my family endured. The episode is titled Above the Law.

Let me assure everyone that my episode is fact and not created by writers. They have 22 minutes of air time to attempt to put each victim’s situation into perspective for the viewing audience so minor changes are made.

One of the things they changed is the narrator says that I married my high school sweetheart, while a wedding photo of me is on the tv screen. Actually, I was my ex-husband’s second wife, and the wedding photo is from my wedding to my second/current husband, lol! That was a shocker to see. Good thing they cropped my current husband out!

In my conversations with producers I told them that I didn’t want my story to be embellished. The truth is bad enough and I’m not the type to exaggerate.

When they mention that the stalker called me over 400 times in one month, that wasn’t quite accurate either. He actually called me over 1200 times in one month. I guess 1200 times is so many that it’s unbelievable. It’s actually true though.

After my episode aired I spoke with the Chief of Police in my town who appeared on the show commenting about my case. We both agreed that the episode only showed the tip of the iceberg of what my family endured.

My appearance on the Stalked episode was my desperate attempt to bring the ongoing situation to light. The sheriff in my county doesn’t report crime to media unless something happens that he can’t keep quiet, as in a murder. There is a reason for this, which can be seen by anyone who looks at the weekly court roster in our courthouse, which regularly has 40 or so cases for a rural area.

I am disappointed, however, when I see commercials for ID’s shows that seem to sensationalize them. I feel stalking is a serious, dangerous crime and needs to be taken more seriously. I hope ID continues to bring this issue to light so something is done about the lack of punishment for this crime.

Well, maybe I should have noticed that the numbers and the stories displayed where a bit unreal.

But I would like to maintain my original comment. I would apreciate if anyone had anything to say about it.

I still live under the impression that there are a lot more people with psychopathic traits around me and in the world in general than anyone would ever agree to consider to be truth. Maybe my perception of reality is distorted by the fact that I am still going through a very rough time or maybe I am really surrounded by spaths because I am still sending them signals without realizing even today. They seem to be only people that I atract. I am not trying to “atract people” but I have this strange feeling every time I start on a new job or anything. I keep asking myself where are the good people in this world? What am I doing that is so wrong?

Hi Katzu,

Even the most well-researched statistics are just estimates, just good guesses based on available evidence, and so mental health stats are based on the number of individuals who happen to make it into the system: you can’t be counted as a “stat” unless you are actually seen and diagnosed by a psychiatrist/psychologist.

Since those with Cluster B personality disorders and psychopathy rarely if ever voluntarily seek psychological treatment for their own self, unless they happen to have a co-morbid condition like depression or anxiety, or unless they drag their spouse or child in to see a psychologist to “fix” *them*, I think the stats RE the percent of the population that have a diagnosable Cluster B disorder or psychopathy are way, WAY low.

The factor of “functionality” plays a part, also. Usually its just the low-functioning Cluster B or psychopathic individuals who are involuntarily detained and diagnosed. My mother was a high-functioning borderline pd/narcissistic pd individual who had a smattering of antisocial traits also, but she was formally diagnosed only after my Sister and I grew up. If a person is high-functioning enough to hold down a job and not get arrested for brawling in public or embezzlement (etc) and not get herself involuntarily held for evaluation from trying to commit suicide, driving drunk, etc., then he or she is not going to make it into the statistics. My mother was not formally diagnosed until she was in her late 40’s (and then, she received a bpd diagnosis from two different therapists) but she managed to do a great deal of psychological damage in the meantime, to her little family.

Also, a person can be skating by in the “sub clinical” category; they may display only 4 of the five diagnostic criteria for, say, borderline pd or narcissistic pd, or they may display all of the traits but infrequently.

I agree: a valid diagnosis can only come from a psychiatrist or a psychologist, and I’m only going by my own personal experiences and by what I’ve read on the subject, but I still think that the total percent of the population that has either a Cluster B disorder or psychopathy is closer to 8% than just 1% or 2%.

But, I tend to be a rather cynical and untrusting sort of person, so take that into account.

Katzu – I agree that there are more disordered personalities than just the official estimates for people with antisocial personality disorder.

When I speak to students, I define sociopaths as “social predators,” and I refer to it as encompassing several different personality disorders. Here are the disorders, and the official estimates for how many people have them in the US:

psychopaths and antisocial personality disorder – 1% to 4% of the population
narcissistic personality disorder – up to 6%
borderline personality disorder – up to 2%

So if you add them together, up to 12% of the population, which is 37 million people in the US.

Katzu, reading your post reminded me of how I sometimes felt when I began reading about personality disorders. For a few months after ending my relationshipwith a man who displays many sociopathic characteristics ( and who I now believe to have borderline personality disorder due to his recently staging his own hospitalisation in his increasingly hysterical attempts to get me to break months of no contact), I read almost daily about sociopaths and narcissists.

This becomes unhealthy, if it results in a distorted view of humanity. The truth is that whilst personality disorders exist, the vast majority of people you meet are not personality disordered. Most people are far from perfect, but are generally well meaning and do not intend harm to others. It’s very important to remember this, especially as the stress and trauma of a relationship with a harmful, abusive person commonly causes depression, which often makes us feel less than positive about the world in general and about other people.

Whilst it is statistically the case that, if we counted up all the people in the world who display harmful, abusive behaviour, they would unfortunately number many millions, it is still the case that you are much more likely to meet empathetic, well intentioned people as you go about your daily life.

It’s also useful to remember that we may come across very difficult people in life, who may be abrupt, irritable, egocentric and unsociable, for example, who are not personality disordered and not dangerous, they may be suffering from a common mental health problem like depression or anxiety, or they may have a difficult personality style, rather than being personality disordered, which is a serious psychiatric condition which indicates high levels of dysfunction over many years in many circumstances.

Sociopathy and Psychopathy are spectrum disorders, the foundation of which is lack of affective empathy. Any homo sapiens is capable of adaptive behavior that may be construed as harmful. If I picked up a knife to stab an attacker, I’d be inflicting harm. That wouldn’t make me a disordered person.

The distinction can be made as to whether a person inflicts harm as protection or inflicts harm with the intent to violate and secure personal gain.

I’m inclined to think that there are far more folks out there who have disordered moral reasoning than the 4% currently estimated by psychoscience. And it seems the “me first” mentality of society lends itself to “anything goes” in interpersonal relationships, creating more sociopaths than we’ve seen up ’til the present. Also, because their behavior is serial, not isolated, a small portion of the population can cause harm to a great many folks.

Steve, I’m sure glad I don’t live on your block! And I do think you either need to find a new sitter, or plan outings where you take the little ones with you ’til you do!

JmS

jm_short:
I in agreement with your observation about “far more folks out there who have disordered moral reasoning than the 4% currently estimated by psycho-science.”

I attribute this to an unaccounted for number of sociopathic ACTS by a growing narcissistic entitled population. Where does it come from? Surprisingly, much of it comes from GOOD DECENT people who think they must not judge… there’s no one to say NO. STOP. THINK. BE CONSIDERATE.

The outrageous behaviors of such a large number of spoiled vicious sociopathic brats is SO prevalent that it’s considered NORMAL. (it’s changed the bell curve!) AND…if some rare person does say no, they are the ones dismissed as immoral.

It’s no wonder that victims of sociopaths can’t get heard.

Why are you glad you don’t live on Steve Becker’s block? He is joking. The man is a licensed counselor and a long standing and well respected contributing author to this site. Surely you didnt think Donna would post in seriousness claims that “85%” of people are sociopaths. By authors who allow animal mutilators to babysit. Come on. Donna even wrote the following to make crystal.clear this article is satirical. ..Editor’s note: Steve Becker has a very dry sense of humor, and the following post is written tongue-in-cheek.

Katzu, hello. Other posters have already covered things pretty well but I’ll add a couple thoughts that may be helpful. Babs94 made some good points and my thinking is along those lines. If 1-4 % of the population would be considered a true sociopath, how many more would be considered malignant narcissists, borderline, histrionic….
Then as the other poster stated there are those that fall just shy of fitting neatly into a category. Bottom line is as you mentioned they are exhibiting traits that are consistent with what we typically view as cluster b . Kind of brings the number up a bit doesn’t it ? I recently found another site that has been very educational for me. There are many excellent articles that touch on exactly what people like you and I need to understand about what makes us particularly vulnerable to these types. It’s called Counsellingresource.com from dr George Simon. People like us are labeled as neurotic (not in a negative sense) and many articles key in on how easily we are read by, and manipulated by those with character disorders. Here’s a good article to get you started – Nobody understands neurotics better than psychopaths. Hope this helps.

4light;

You are quite right. All those with a Cluster-B PD are toxic individuals, even though many, especially the Narcissists, are quite successful. In fact, one might argue that malignant Narcissism is a prerequisite for success in segments of our unfortunately increasingly Narcissistic, materialistic society.

However, interpersonal toxicity is not limited to Cluster-Bs and if somebody viewed “interpersonal toxicity” as the measure for Sociopathy, a very large number of persons would be viewed as such.

The other day, I took stock of everyone I knew, trying to find somebody who fit my ideal of a truly “model” person. I could not identify a single one. This does not mean everyone I know is a sociopath or even toxic.

It just means I don’t know anyone without serious issues, whether they recognize such or not and many cover their issues without outward signs of “success.”

BBE, Hello. Interpersonal toxicity – I hadn’t heard that expression before. I’ll have to research that. That model person can be a tough one to find. Your first paragraph regarding society’s direction, – hard to argue with you on that one.

4Light;

“Interpersonal toxicity” is a term I just coined! There do seem to be a few others who have used it, but not many. However, it is a very good term that is all encompassing — really just a refinement of “toxic individuals” or just “toxic” used here.

Sometimes, by trying to label an individual as a Sociopath, Borderline, Narcissist or whatever we essentially miss the forest for the trees. Somebody need not be any of these to be toxic or more specifically, interpersonally toxic.

I agree BBE, as per my post to katzu, there are many reasons other than a personality disorder why someone may be very difficult, unpleasant or even abusive to others. A person can behave very badly towards another in a particular point in their life and not be personality disordered.

There is often debate on LF about the percentages of people who are ” sociopaths” . The fact is that 6 personality disorders are now recognised in the DSM, only three of which are intrinsically going to create a high conflict, abusive and even dangerous individual ( Anti-Social, Narcissistic and Borderline) and noone is going to get a diagnosis of any of them without hving displayed years of highly dysfunctional behaviour across a number of contexts. They are not regarded by the psychiatric profession as ” spectrum disorders” in the manner of Autism. And statistically, far more people don’t have them, than do, luckily.

Regarding sociopathy. This term is essentially a term used synonymously with psychopathy as LF regulars know. Hare makes the point that there may be many individuals with some psychopathic traits ( e.g. Reckless, or interpersonally exploitative)who are not diagnosed, and who will never commit a criminal offense ( some will and will evade detection) he calls these  ” sub clinical” psychopaths. Despite psychopathy therefore being considered by Hare to be essentially a spectrum of dysfunctionality, affecting more than the very small percentages of full blown.diagnosed psychopaths, it is still the reality that most human beings are not more than, at their worse, a harmless pain in the. neck.

I do think it is important all of us in recovery not to begin seeing psychopaths/ sociopaths under every rock. Most of the experiences suffered by posters here are quite rare. Thank God.

Thank you for you coments. 4Light2shine I will check the article and the site you mentioned, thank you.
Before I could read your answers I was asking myself what could I expect posting here and what good would any answer do to me. Simpathy is not going to help me at this point. But then I realized Im still weak and still havent internalized (accepted, or fully learned) some key aspects/issues of what happend to me. For example, my father does have a personality disorder and although I reached that conclusion two years ago only last month this fact really struck me and made me think of the consequences it had in my life. Its like if I knew it intelectually but was unable to really believe until now.
I agree with all you said above and maybe I am really exagerating a bit. I think what led to me feeling everyone is a spath have to do with the fact that I lost everything including money and my social status. Not that a social status mattered to me but it does make a difference for lot of people. So to give you a better picture of the situation let me tell a bit some points of my story. I dont know the exact word for this but the exact translation would be “emotional deprivation” meaning by that that I was raised without much love or contact with my parents. My father had (still have) a very tight controll over my mother and he “teached” her not to spend much time with me as this would (acording to his wisdom) not be good for my education (!). So without realising any of this I was prone to have abusive relationships where other people wouldnt treat me with much respect but I would still comply in exchange for the crumbles of atention and afection they would give me. I wouldnt see this as a sick thing. This all ended in a very toxic relationship that almost got me killed 37 years after. Only then I started realizing there was something (or a lot of things) fundamentally wrong in my life. As I lost everything (money and professionaly wise) slowly everyone around me, my “true and great friends and brothers) left and I was by my self. At this time I was going to therapy and seeing a neurologist and they both recomended me to a specialist. So this specialist was suposed to help me get my life on track again. It sounds unbelivable but fact is after three weeks of treatment this therapy specialist – a very beautiful woman about my age married with two children (girls age 6 and 4) – called me to say she was recomending my case to another doctor and was no longer seeing me as a patient. Why??? Because she was in love with me(!!!). The day after this she went to my place to see me and talk. Have in mind this happened three months after my break up with my ex-wife and I was just recently uncovering the truth feeling lonley and cheated for the last six months. And I fell in to her! She gave me confort and I was once again weak. After two weeks into this “love affair” with my ex-therapist(!!!) she left her husband and moved to a new place. And she was telling me she wanted me to move over to her place and live together. I was the great love of her life and she loved me so much and was so happy she wanted us to form a family. Me her and her two kids! Thankfully by this time I was already reading everything I could about sociopaths. But it took me another two months to be able to find a way (and the strenght) to break up with her and run from that trap. I guess I was lucky she was so convinced she could fool me that she started doing things to acelerate that bond that where simply too much and scared me. Like once we were in bed and she just called her kids and put them all to sleep with us(!!!). I cant trust a “doctor”!
Anyway I dont have the time to tell you everything today. One day I will. But the end result of everyhing that happened in my life is this: My family turned their back on me thanks to my father and my ex-wife that convinced them she was the victim. She also gave me a bad reputation on the town I live. I got no friends and you here at Lovefraud are the only ones I talk about this now. I am on my middle forties and working as a clerk on a tiny hotel. I dont make enough to pay my rent but there is this “friend” that lent me the room that told me that “its alright, you pay me whenever and whatever you can”. I dont trust her. I have no future perspectives no motivation (in fact Im fighting depression), and dont have a clue what should I do in order to get out of this situation.
Behind ble eyes, I think this is a great name cause I listen to this song today and I keep thinking how much it have to do with me. Its tough to be seen as the bad guy by everyone.

Anyone who sees you as the ‘bad one’ here is blaming the victim. As long as we blame the victim these sociopaths will thrive.

One last thing. I just told you Im living on a small place (a romm with bathrrom and small kitchen) a friend lent me. I said I dont trust her, but still Im here. Why? Because I have nowhere else to go. I dont like this situation and my mind is thinking about it non-stop to the point of exaustion. But today my alternative would be to live in the streets. I have reasons to belive her offer have other reasons and as time passes and she figures out she wont get what she wants I know I will have to leave. So this is just one more thing about not being able to find a toxic-free environment.

I just watched Margareth Heffernan’s speech on TED about Wilfull Blindness. I think there is a lot of that on my case. Many people took a distance from me because of what other people told them about me. I feel some of them are not sure what the truth is but its better for their interests and confort to just stay away from me. I became a leper.

Katzu, I can really feel for you and I’m so sorry to hear how much loss you have suffered. I too grew up with some disordered family, and like you until the last couple years didn’t understand what the behaviors meant or how it had affected my ability to live an emotionally healthy life with normal, healthy boundaries in place. I didn’t have a clue, and so when I met the most powerful enemy I have ever had I opened the door wide and let her in. I was deceived, manipulated, defrauded. 5 years later I like you have basically been evicted from my life. While I’m not hated by most here I am very much viewed as mentally unstable thanks to her constant subtle slandering. Like you I reached out for help early on when her lies and machinations were overwhelming me. I being a man of faith reached out to a spiritual shepherd who ended up being a highly deceptive, manipulative person who was himself engaging in some inappropriate conduct with her. Caused me years of problems trying to clean it up by going around him. Unfortunately he is the most influential man in our region and my speaking out against him had lasting repercussions. Her paramouric alliances have served her well. I am over here. I have lost hundreds of friends and my decades long well earned place in the community has been stolen away by a sparkly beacon of deception. I am fortunate to have a small but loyal support system. My family and a few friends, and I appreciate them more than I used to. Truthfully at this point I’m seeing the value in starting over in many ways. Maybe we can rebuild our lives carefully and slowly. My escape will be soon and I will be vilified by her adoring, devoted, deluded followers. We have a lot to learn so don’t stop educating yourself. Take care.

4light-

Gaslighting and vilifying is such despicable behavior. As if the pain of the direct impact wasn’t enough, living through the loss of relationships you once treasured adds horrific insult to injury. It’s very difficult to thwart the lies a disordered person will use in order to move on with their life and cover-up for their past.

You might get some solace by knowing that those folks who fell for the misrepresentations about you, might ultimately be in your shoes one day. You are indeed fortunate to have friends and family who stick by you. The silver lining around the cloud of being victimized is that you find out who your real friends are! The opinion of the rest don’t really matter.

Best-
JmS

Thank you all again for your comments. I read everyone and felt some comfort from your words. It feels good to have you to talk to and read. I will keep on fighting and one day when this storm is over I will take the time to share my experience with you. At this moment I still dont have the time. Right now even the few moments I have to access the web are counted.
I dont want “justice” as I dont believe this is at all possible. This is one thing I learned early. I just want a chance to start my life again, and do it right this time. I want a chance to have a real life with real truthfull relationships. I dont care for money or anything I lost. I am very sad and sorry for the friends and “friends” I lost and left me but I rather have them gone than never knowing what real friends are. As a song I heard once said (and as much as this experience hurts) “…I wouldnt trade the pain for everything Ive learned…”. Of course I feel like I had enough and I am ready to give up learning! At least this kind of learning. Thank you but I had enough! I wish I had some control over these things. But I dont and it seems that there are still some tough chapters in my life for me to go through.
Once again thank you very much. You are great. I guess Donna and all of you here can be happy on the knoledge that you make the life of so many people that have no support a lot better just by being here and giving each other support.

One more thing. I still feel very insecure by everything that happened and how things turned out for me. Sure Im wiser now and everything made me stronger and less naive but I am not ashamed of admiting to you I am scared about the future. I cant get no decent work and I see nothing better coming up. Im walking on faith things will evolve for the better. I just recently accepted nothing will come from anyone in my family or friends (this was realy late of me to realize). But I feel I am doing my best and although it might not be the best someone could do its the best I can do and that should be enough. No more self punishment. I hope you all send some positive energy as I sure will need.

Katzu,
You have the perspective of a victim of a sociopath. When your life has been hijacked and you have been living in barely survival mode, PTSD is frequently a normal occurance, as is depression is NORMAL, and a type of agoraphobia is NORMAL and a type of paranoia is NORMAL. ALL you are feeling and experiencing is NORMAL when you’ve had a life with a sociopath. I am sorry for it, but that’s a fact.

Things CAN evolve for the better. We understand the path you must walk. It’s hard to imagine that things will get better. As sad as it is to realize, most everyone here has literally walked the same path you are on. And Yes, my dear, eventually it does get better. I was in such dire straits that I was not employable. Now I have recovered enough to open my own business and THRIVE. Just saying that so you know, again (I remember having to be told again and again, which is again, a symptom of PTSD, nerves are shot! Memory is shot!)…things will get better.

For me, the paranoia was a good thing. When in such a vulnerable state, you are an easy target for others to exploit. Keep them all at arms length, even the helpful ones. Take in what works for you. You can say thank you but it does not entitle ANYONE to assert any “helpful” control over you.

I hope you have access to a therapist that treats TRAUMA. It helped me a lot to write and write and get the anxiety and circle thinking out of my head and onto paper. Do not watch news or violent tv shows or movies. I watched happy shows, like All Creatures Great and Small. ANY violent shows feeds stress. You must not allow anyone to add stress into your world.

You MUST be the #1 person on YOUR side. Try to do healing things for yourself, touch stuff like soft materials next to your skin, massaging in lotion, nice bath with candles/music, etc.

This is my advice for you to think about and only incorporate in your world if YOU decide it resonates and might work for your improvement.

All my best. And Yes, as a matter of fact, I am sending you Positive Energy. Realize, recovery is a PROCESS, baby steps forward and some that go back. That’s Normal. You take care, Okay?

Katzu: I can totally relate. I am unemployable now, especially in this ‘new’ world where you have to know far more, produce far more, and have customer service skills. I am so badly damaged I am going to try to get on disability. Are you a ‘healer’? Maybe whatever you did was far off the beam for you. A whole new sea change is about to happen for you …
because you were not born to suffer like that. I am meditating and praying for you. The ‘healer’ comment is just my way of sharing what I may do (because it turns out I never was a ‘company’ person or ‘office’ person). Have you read Richard Skerritt’s “Tears and Healing” on the web? I read a great blog about how we lose ourselves to others almost constantly until we discover we are someone else’s machination, or ‘hand puppet’ if you will. Become who you were meant to be (gotta figure out what that is…I am still figuring it out). It may be more than one thing. Just read a quote: “If you become who you were meant to be you will set the world on fire.”

NotWhatHeSaidofMe: SO glad to see that ‘someone gets it’ because the outside world does not. People…co-workers especially, do not understand why we are the way we are. We are abnormal to them, when truth to tell we are totally normal people reacting to the ‘abnormal others’ who literally infected us.
So they torment us and try to make us quit our jobs. We suffer AGAIN and experience the stress and bullying/manipulation that we did to start with. It is a living Hell. Someone told me to try ‘Co-dependents Anonymous’. There are great people who ‘get it’ in these groups. Wish me luck!

NotwhatHeSaid- Your words are so helpful… I really didn’t have plans on seeing anyone to deal with this situation that I’m in.
I figured, once he’s gone and I’ve made my escape all will be right with the world. but it won’t be.
I cry randomly, now.. I was never a cryer. I’ve always been a happy person, genuinely happy. I thought I was still being me but people keep asking me what’s wrong and saying I seem sad or ” not myself”
I am paranoid, because I feel like he knows I’m trying to leave and he’s waiting for me to think I’ve gotten away with it.
Once, I feel safe or relatively safe, I will seek help.

Tee-

Don’t wait ’til he leaves to get help. And your anxiety, fear, depression, and all the other losses of self you feel might be helped with medication. It won’t make the problems go away, but will enable you to function better while you find resolution.

JmS

Jm- I don’t feel safe to do that now.
He’s leaving in exactly 11 days. My life is on hold for 11 days.
It’s all so unfair.

4Light2Shine: “very much viewed as mentally unstable thanks to her constant subtle slandering”.

This was my mother to a “T”. I still have her in my head and I am fighting hard to get rid of her.

Pity? Totally have it for her but she was unrelenting in her diatribes.

Hi Barb. Wacked, nuts, looney toons, jacked up, not playin with a full deck…. Feel free if anyone wants to flesh out the list more, it could be fun. Sorry to hear you had to deal with that from your mom. That would have to be emotionally exhausting . So did you learn to thicken your skin a bit ?
I wanted to share an article that I read this morning that would fit very well in subject on this everyone is a spath thread. The site is called Counsellingresource.com and the article is Lance Armstrong and the character of our times. I think many of you would enjoy it. It’s about 12 pages into the blog. Sorry for not posting a link. Along with being pretty much nuts I’m also a bit of a dork with technology. 🙂

4LighttoShine: that was not the worse of it, but suffice it to say I had strength from somewhere. Unrelenting criticism, though, has caused me mental health issues to the point where I cannot work anymore. And Disability is not going to understand it. I am screwed.

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