Sociopathic deceit: Plan or second nature?

Sociopath behind mask.

Sociopaths hide their true intentions behind a mask of charm and charisma.

Lovefraud recently received the following question from a reader:

When a sociopath targets his victim, does he think and create a plan as to HOW he is going to manipulate his prey to glean what he wants, or is this just second nature to him?  How can he spend MONTHS being such a kind, considerate person, going out of his way to do the “little” things that matter in life, before turning into the evil monster?

When you have been deceived and manipulated by a sociopath, the most difficult idea to grasp is how totally different people with this personality disorder are from the rest of us. Their behavior is different from everything we thought we knew about human interaction.

Sociopaths—both male and female—seem to be missing the parts that make the human race human. There is no deep warmth. There is no true caring. There is only fake warmth and fake caring, which disappear immediately once sociopaths decide they have no further use for us.

How do they become like this? According to Dr. Liane Leedom, it’s their different motivation.

Power motivation v. love motivation

Normal people, who do not have a personality disorder, are motivated by both love and power.

We feel emotional love for family, friends, neighbors, and even animals or causes, that are important to us. We care about everything we love, which makes us take action to please, support and protect them.

Normal people also have a healthy power motivation. This is what makes us pursue achievement, leadership and recognition. But our power motivation is kept in check by our love motivation. Therefore, although we strive for accomplishment, we’re willing to strive fairly, without injuring other people as we pursue our goals.

In sociopaths, there is no balance between their love motivation and power motivation. The defining characteristic of real love is caring about another person’s health and wellbeing, and this is practically nonexistent in sociopaths. Their power motivation, however, is out of control. All they really want is to win, to control and to dominate others.

Born to be manipulative

Sociopathy (technically called antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy) is highly genetic. That means children can be born with a genetic predisposition to the personality disorder. Whether this genetic predisposition “expresses,” or becomes active, depends in part on the child’s environment, including the parenting he or she receives. When sociopathic parents are part of the child’s life, their notoriously bad parenting may encourage their offspring’s latent disorder to develop.

When children are born with a genetic predisposition to the personality disorder, what it means in practice is that they have a stronger power motivation than love motivation. From a very early age, these children derive little pleasure from warmth, affection and closeness, and much more enjoyment from getting what they want.  Therefore, the children learn, essentially through trial and error, how to behave in order to get what they want. They learn manipulation techniques—and spend their lives perfecting them.

Games sociopaths want to win

To get back to the Lovefraud reader’s question, I think sociopaths pursue both avenues of manipulation, depending on the individual and circumstance. Yes, they think and plan about how to get you to deliver what they want. And yes, they’ve been doing it for so long that much of their behavior is second nature. They are opportunistic, so when chances to manipulate you pop up, they know exactly how to capitalize on them.

Because their objective is to win, sociopaths view their interactions with you as a game. Some sociopaths have the patience to play the game as long as necessary in order to score that win. Then, when they’veachieved their objective, they’re finished. The charade is over, and you find, to your horror, that everything the sociopath said and did was designed to deceive you.

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78 Comments on "Sociopathic deceit: Plan or second nature?"

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One thing is certain, if we blame ourselves for someone else abusing, cheating, stealing, faking out, being cruel, etc., it is THEM. Sociopaths NEVER backtrack and think about what they could have done differently in any relationship with anyone. They are only thinking of themselves at all times. Blaming ourselves for picking them is like blaming ourselves for getting stung by a bee. We just happened to be the human they happened upon at the time they needed to sting someone. We have our self esteem and self love and selfulness to work on because of the sting of a spath. We can learn more about them and hope to avoid another one or recognize him earlier and swat him/her away. But, we didn’t pick anything. We were targeted.

I guess our search for who are these psychopaths are gives a whole different and sinister meaning to the old adage … “all the lights are on but no one is home” for a description of a person’s thought process.

They are but empty shells. Yes they know exactly what they want and how to get it. But there isn’t a soul, nor conscience, not a heart, or a feeling, nary an empathetic or sympathetic double helix in their entire body.

NOT to be political at all but if not all psychopaths are serial killers, but all serial killers are psychopaths it gives pause to the disagreeable thoughts of the death penalty practice. After what I’ve been through the horrible thought of the fact there is no revenge equal to the destruction that the psychopath caused comes to mind from time to time. Then I meander to the thought that only a certain and miserable death would be close enough. And then my thought transpires to thinking even that would be too good for him.

Going on to thinking about the psyche of the psychopath enmasse I go so far as to wonder if they should all just be snuffed out at birth. I know it’s horrible but I am about to be homeless in two weeks and it has all come down from that chance meeting with the psychopath 8 years ago. So that brings me full circle. And back to if all serial killers are psychopaths then is it just an empty shell of a person that justice condemns to death after-all.

I am so sorry this is so dark but I am frightened. I’ve never been homeless before. I don’t know how to be homeless. Where to go or what to do. My 17 year old daughter was sobbing tonight because she wants to help me and there’s little anyone can do never mind my teenage child. I feel like a terrible mother and horrendous role model. This is not her problem. It is traumatic for anyone including me and never mind a teenager.

and yes I long for redemption and revenge sounds as sweet as anything else in my life right now. All the lights are out and I have no home. xoxox love to all, Lillian


I read your post – would it be possible for you (and your daughter) to stay with a relative(s) or a friend(s), giving you time to make gradual changes in the future? I know about living with apprehension, fear… regarding living conditions. The ex-spath has put everything on my shoulders – I am the sole support for my family. Fortunately, my side of the family is there should my kids or I need help. I am sorry that you and your daughter are going through this hellish, nerve-wracking (traumatic) experience. I pray that a good living solution arises for you. Peace.

One of the services that Donna was referring to would be Human Services.They have emergency housing sometimes.Do you have food stamps or have you applied for them?Since your daughter is still a minor,there is TANF.As for helping with dr appts and prescriptions there is Medicaid.

Lillian, I sincerely hope you’re able to work through this and find peace. My prayers are with you.

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