By | August 12, 2013 32 Comments

Sociopaths change how we look at the world

Most of us grow up believing that all people are created equal, that human beings are basically good, and everybody wants to be loved. These are the messages we learn in school, in church, and in the age of political correctness, from the media.

These beliefs are the lenses through which we view the world and the people in it. Our beliefs influence how we perceive and understand the behavior of those we meet. And, for about 90 percent of the population, the beliefs work just fine.

Bad treatment

Then we realize that someone in our life isn’t treating us well. We may think this person is reacting to our behavior, that we’re doing something to provoke anger or elicit criticism after all, that’s what we’re told.

We know we’re not actually doing what we’re accused of doing, so we try to figure out where the outbursts and hostility are coming from did he or she have a difficult childhood? Is he or she still suffering from the pain of a former relationship?

We try to be understand and accept. We stop asking questions; we stop doing things that “push buttons.” But nothing changes. In fact, we’re treated worse than ever.

So we take to the Internet to find out the reason for the behavior. We Google “pathological lying” or “domestic abuse” or “cheating.” Or, we describe our experiences friend, and our friend says, “It sounds like a sociopath.”

We find a checklist of sociopathic behavior, and, to our shock and dismay, it exactly describes the person who is causing us so much pain.

Why do they do it?

I can’t tell you how many times Lovefraud readers have told me stories that follow this basic outline.  When I talk to people on the phone, the question I hear most often is, “Why do they do that?”

  • Why do they lie, even when they’d be better off telling the truth?
  • Why do they blame me for everything?
  • Why won’t they let me go, when they’re already seeing someone else?
  • Why are they telling everyone that I’m mentally unbalanced?
  • Why do they want to ruin me?

The answer to these questions is: They act this way because they’re sociopaths, and that’s what sociopaths do.

Shattering beliefs

Learning that sociopaths exist is like an earthquake, a tsunami, for our belief system.

Our ideas that that all people are created equal, that human beings are basically good, and that everybody wants to be loved are not totally correct. Yes, these ideas apply to most people in the human race but not everyone. A certain percentage of the people who live among us are fundamentally different, rotten to the core, and unable to love.

This is why experiences with sociopaths are so disorienting. Not only have we suffered physical, financial, emotional or psychological abuse, but we are also forced to accept that our entire understanding of life and other people is flawed.

This is why we feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us. This is why we feel like we cannot trust ourselves. Realizing that social predators live among us causes our world view to collapse.

What we have learned, through painful experience, is that there are exceptions to what we previously believed. We now know that there are people who look just like us and act just like us at least when we first meet them. But their objective is not to live alongside us; instead, they want to exploit us.

We now know that sociopaths exist. With this information we can modify our world view, realizing that we must carefully evaluate the people we let into our lives.



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Your post is absolutely true. It changed my entire belief system, religiously and spiritually. I see the world entirely different.

I was raised just as you wrote, believing everyone had some good inside and that you could reason with everyone if you just knew how to speak with them. Then I married my sociopath. He did mean and cruel things just for the fun of it. He destroyed my innocence.

Now I realize that although sociopaths look human, they are not. They are an entirely different species. I realize this at my core now. I also am much better at spotting their behavior. It is kind of depressing though to see there are so many of them. I have to remind myself to look for the “real” humans and I have become quite cynical. I don’t know if this is a better way to live but I do think it keeps me a bit safer…..


This applies in so many places, not just close personal relationships. I used to naively think that my charitable donations and my tax dollars were used to help those in need. Very few of those dollars are going where they should. Now they are paying huge salaries for CEOs of “charities” and for government bureaucrats. They are funding total deadbeats who are able but unwilling to work. They are funding scam artists who sign up for free EBT cards, free phones, etc.

Yes, there are some people who are truly needy and deserving of my help. I still give to charity, but I am VERY careful about which organizations I give to now.


Excellent article Donna. I haven’t logged in here in years so long in fact that I had forgotten my username and password. But I thought it ironic when I looked it up… the name I chose so many years ago (7) when I first discovered this website. Even back then I realized that my world view had changed due to my experience with a sociopath…and to this day I am still: Getting Over The Trauma.


So very true.


This article took my breath away. I’ve asked myself those same questions… why does he act like that? Maybe I am provoking him and I’m not realizing it. So, I give him what he wants, I try not to argue and sure enough, nothing helps. I went online to see if it’s me or him? It’s him. He has all of the classic signs and I never put them all together, including the all out tears when I tried to kick him out. My life has forever been changed by this.. man, and I use the term loosely. Now, I’ve become the greatest actress in the world just to get through each day, until I can get him out of my house and away from my family.

Divorced from Gaslighter

Tee: Good for you for trying to get all of your ducks in a row before leaving. Too many women leave in a huff and only after the break-up do they realize that they don’t have the resources that they need to survive. They either have to return to a situation that will be even worse when they slink back, or they end up without adequate housing, or in some Catch-22 scenario where they can’t afford childcare in order to look for a job, and they can’t find a job because they don’t have childcare. Or they don’t have proper clothes for work, or a reliable car or whatever.

If there is no domestic violence, then just keep preparing until you KNOW that you can make it independently.


Thank you Divorced.
He doesn’t work so he’s home to watch everything! What mail I receive, what emails come in for me , and he pretends to be me in texts if he doesn’t recognize a phone number. He calculates how long it takes me to come home from work and if I stop somewhere I should call him. Once, I’m home he takes my car and does God knows what. honestly, I don’t care what.
So, yes.. I have a plan in place.


God uses sociopaths to drive us back to Him. Because the reality is that no matter how good we think we are in human terms, the sociopath reminds us nothing we can do humanly is good enough for our eternal salvation that we are doomed to be an unending victim of such an alien, unhuman entity otherwise described throughout history as Satan, the devil, demnonic, etc.

There is nothing humanly possible to save us from the sociopath except seeking healing and safety through the power of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and our Father in heaven.
God can use the sociopath for his glory in those lives who believe they are so humanly good in their own minds they are surely infallible not needing God’s help. When you cross the path of a sociopath,, God likely placed him in your life for a reason.

God commonly lifts his restraints on Satan, demons, when we aren’t following Him when we are called to do so. God allows Satan permission to do things in our lives to turn us back to Him. We are fallen humanity, the sociopath is the closest thing we humans encounter that is Satan in the flesh. We need to ask why we were attracted to having such an intimate relationship with evil and deception and take responsibility by surrendering our lives to God and studying his written Word as a map to heaven and eternal safety.

Jesus Christ is the true Messiah and savior of mankind. God is real, exists and available to us 24/7. He is not a myth or an old dead legend. He is our Creator, He created the universe and everything in it.


Silent Storm: please see my post below… I am there… I thought when he and I met he was my Knight in Shining Armour and God put him there for a Reason…. it was no coincidence….. so when I finally realized after much re-search and then I found this site, that I had a Spath in my life.. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.. OMG… so spot on…. but I couldn’t release myself of him.. I had NEVER met anyone so charming, so smart, so willing to please so many ways…. and now… he made the step and I need to REALLY realize that what you say above could be the “Reason”… I have been so depressed, anxious, sobbing.. like I never thought I would feel good again.. and I’m still not at peace…with with time and returning to my Faith that he tried to take from me…. I know I will be OK…. I hope… thank you.


This was a great article and so true. It is impossible to second guess a s-path’s objectives because they don’t think like everyone else. I was N-C for nearly 2 years until yesterday. He pinged my LinkedIn page and I thought “may be…..” and pinged his back with the hope that may be he has gotten his act together. Of course, he does what he always does – go silent and wait. I feel stupid and feel like I’ve betrayed myself into thinking that it was a possibility of change. Of all the things he has done in his life, he always lands on his feet and is able to charm anyone and everyone. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and then he will get back what he has done to me and probably to others. But I’ll never know. The key to this whole thing and the hardest part of it all, is that I’ll never know the ‘why’ of his behavior. And therefore have to let it go.


I think your essay is right on target.

I also think that that very issue: realizing and accepting that there ARE bad people in the world, but they can be overcome, is what the old Fairy Tale stories are about.

In virtually every Fairy Tale, there is an evil Witch, Fairy or Sorcerer, or a wicked Parent (or Step-Parent), or an evil King, or a nasty, hateful sibling (or set of siblings) who are out to either exploit or destroy the Hero/ine. The Hero’s journey is in learning to rely on his or her own instincts, learning to accept help and wisdom when it is offered (from a Fairy Godmother or Wise Old Man) learning to remain a good, kind, honest, loving person and not give up, and learning to use his or her gifts (intelligence, logic, reason, good heart, creativity, skills/talents, etc.) to solve the riddle, find the Golden Key (or other magic talisman), outwit (and usually destroy) the Evil One, receive the reward and live happily ever after.

Seems to me that beginning in the 1970s or so, the whole concept of traditional Fairy Tale became politically incorrect. The original old Fairy Tales were deemed horribly violent and unwholesome for children, particularly (it seemed to me) those that cast the step-mother or step-father or step-siblings in a negative light. Instead, as you point out, children were taught that “everyone is nice, everyone is good”.

That is a lovely sentiment, but… its a lie.

I think Fairy Tales need to be brought back in all their original politically-incorrect vividness because the nature of the true Fairy Tale is that Goodness wins out in the end, and Evil is punished. I think tales of the eventual triumph and glory of the young child or young adult who not only survives but wins, even though enduring appallingly dangerous, frightening circumstances, gives hope, courage, and resilience to the child reading such tales or hearing them read to him.

And it plants the seed of the concept that there ARE indeed wicked people in the world, and its important to accept this reality so you can either avoid wicked individuals or protect yourself from them, and that’s a good and positive thing.

To that end, I recommend for adults the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker. This book is about learning to trust your subconscious inborn instincts again, learning to recognize manipulative behaviors, mannerisms, and words that ‘spaths or con-artists use. I feel that this book helped me more easily recognize these red, waving warning flags.

Nothing is a 100% guarantee to spath-proof a person, but, knowing the potential warning signs can help cut down the odds of being conned and exploited or harmed, significantly.


Donna, your post struck HOME with me girl… I was raised as a Christian and thought I had my religious/spiritual beliefs “locked in”…little did I know that it take a 3 1/2 year long distance involvement with a Spath to shatter what I once held to be true and firm… After just spending a wonderful 10 days with him, he notified me via email 3 days after I arrived home, that I need to leave him alone for awhile… that our Story is NOT finished… but he needs some space.. 700 plus miles between us and he NEEDS space now? lol… I know what that means.. don’t we all? Anyway, I’ve only posted on here a few times, and thank you all for your advice to me about “run fast” and “have no contact” with him…I just didn’t do it… he told me we would always be in each other’s lives and the last email I had a week ago today was “I truly love you and always will, but I need left alone for awhile”…..well, true love doesn’t leave one alone, now does it? Any way… your post/article is SPOT ON… and I’m now “leaving him alone” (for good, I hope..please God,help me be strong)… yes I’m still depending on my God that he tried to take from me. He’s definitely a sick man.. and that is what I keep telling myself every time I think of him.. which is still a lot….I know I’m smarter than this (isn’t my user name Savvy?? for Pete’s sake? 🙂 ) Those who have a Faith, please pray for me.. because I’ve been a mess the past week.. thank you all for!!


Savvy, I just said a prayer for you! “Be still and know that I Am God.” If you are still and listen, you will know that God WILL carry you through this. Having faith is believing what we cannot see – but you know he will get you through this. You can’t yet see how you will move past this – but you will and you will be stronger for your experience! Your blessing has already been given to you in 2 separate gifts: he does not live near you – and you now know what this looks like so you aren’t likely to make a mistake with another spath. I was able to move past my ordeal – and I PROMISE YOU, you will too! Just stick to your guns and don’t back down.


Savvy, your post hit a spot for me. It is like me talking. I know exactly how you feel and it is hard to stop thinking about someone who has had a profound impact on our lives. I have no magic words to share except you are not alone. That giving in makes you vulnerable and that is what they count on. That they feel that they can come back whenever they want to and pick up where you both left off. My ex-spath pulled the same “we need some time apart” thing. I didn’t understand it at all at the time as he lived in AZ and I in northern Cal. But, now he is 3000 miles away and I’m grateful for the distance. Take care of yourself and nothing bugs them more than ignoring them.


thank you Shelby333… let me tell you..this site has helped me understand that “I” am not the sick one…it is so comforting to know we are indeed not “alone”… God, help us all!

I continue to be amazed by the numbers of us who have found our lives, hearts, spirits, and finances ravaged by these beings. I saw Donna’s experience on a TV program and although I “got it,” I’m not sure the producers did in all honesty. This “trek through the bowels of the Twilight Zone” served as an inoculation, unfortunately, if ever Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story, The Birthmark” were to be a sign post, it surely is one not only differentiating the normal folks from the psychopaths, but of an explanation of the aftermath. Following the ordeal, we are not the same. It’s almost as if evolution were readying us for a jump in the future.


Before the sociopath, I was under the impression that people were honest, open and looking to see their lives grow, particularly in relationships. To this day, accepting that this is not true for me is very difficult, although intellectually, I accept such. Emotional acceptance is different and I find emotional acceptance more difficult.

This causes a bifurcated view of people. When I am detached, seeing toxic traits and behaviors is very easy for me, even in those who others often laud. However, when in one-on-one situations, I still have trouble with the person over-riding my intellectual guard.

Thus, my advice is to step aside and look over our personal “red flags” checklist and stick to them.


This article is extremely accurate. Being married to a sociopath for 31 years before I divorced him has completely mutilated my thinking and reasoning. My entire world imploded. My children’s lives and what they have been exposed to are still part my sorrow and guilt. I have been divorced since 2008 and I still will not allow myself to become close to anyone. I no longer believe in any supreme being. My son finds solace in drugs in order to deal with his feelings of abandonment and rejection from his father. My daughter is bulemic and anorexic. Trying to find a foot hold in an ever existing emotional hurricane from her dad. I have doomed my children by staying with the sociopath for far, far too long. Now I exist. My hopes of ever helping my children and rebuilding my life are ridiculous. Destruction is complete. There is no silver lining in being with a sociopath. There is no Higher Road of glory. There are no demons from a Netherworld to fear. The real evil is human and is right here on earth.


Hello Comille54
I am sorry for your burden. I understand much of it. I carry sorrow and guilt for my own children. I stayed thinking the problem was me, which gave my exhusband years to play mindgames with vulnerable minds, as you say, “dooming the children”.

I have found a way back to inner peace, a mustard seed if I can share with you? It is quite simple. I realized I had the capacity to LOVE. Just that one thing makes me worthy of dignity. I rebuilt myself based on that one single premise. It’s taken me years but by reclaiming my dignity and collecting acts that prove my capacity to love, I grew my self respect enough that I can function in society.

Maybe, if you can see that in yourself, maybe you too could build from there? It’s the most solid rock I know to build on. I wish you all the best.


I was one of the children who lived with a psychopath for a long time. I fought all my life not to let him a part of my personality. In comparison to what I was exposed to I think I have been successful. But is there anybody out there who can shed more light on the effects of a psychopath father on children, particularly boys.

I know there is tendency to label these children as secondary psychopaths but I haven’t seen anybody talking about the mechanics of it. And I am sure all these children don’t become secondary psychopaths.



He is probably testing out the “newbie” so he can decide if she is more “profitable” and at the same time he is putting you in a somewhat panic, emotionally distraught mode so when he makes contact with you again you will be so relieved it will emotionally/biochemically bond you tighter to him. Makes the “glue” stronger. i.e. the addiction. The one I was with did this routinely. I didn’t realize why he did it until I read about it making the bond (for me) stronger. As we all know, they do not bond. In the end…he literally bragged about the bond being like glue. They know exactly what they are doing.


It’s all been for nothing, all 20 yrs of hell. The little bits of empathy that I grabbed onto as if they were hope. Yes it has changed my whole outlook on how I view the world, people, their words and actions. I trust no one and with good reason. People generally suck. They lie and blame cause…poor little feels so bad for them to admit they have made a mistake. Gees, its only a mistake, everyone makes mistakes. These people, sociopaths, they have deep, deep rooted issues and yes..they just plain suck. I am having a horrible time recovering, but I will..or I won’t. I just know that I am left with nothing. Everything the homeless wanted that he didn’t have he took from me cause I was so stupid to take him in. He looked for every opportunity from me and anyone else to take and take and take and learn and learn and learn, he has it all and we have nothing. Con artist! And truly..we that remain, we can cry, bitch about it,complain what creeps (not the word I was going to use) they are and no one is there to do a damn thing. Not women’s crisis, not family, no one. I see funding going here and funding going there and there is NO funding to help a person stay out. I tried, I tried for years to get away, but after I was trapped financially, it was too late, no credit, no money, no nothing. And when there was nothing left, he even took my trash cans. Yep changed the way I look at the world. I now only look out for me and my kids and the homeless with their hands out, and the poor little anyone out there…too bad I will never help again. I will never again volunteer in my community, never offer to help nor help when asked. why? because no one helps and I have no voice…oh let me rephrase that, I have a voice, no one listened. Praise the Lord!


I forgot to add to my last post…Pay back is sooo sweet! I am in my 50’s and always my whole life have lived and taught my kids too to treat others how you want to be treated. but now after going through this crap, I believe that still however now…I add to that…if that doesn’t work…treating others how you want to be treated, treat them just like they treat you. Sad but true.

To Be Free

I haven’t posted in a while. I broke up with the spath in Dec. but after a month of NC, started talking to him again. That lasted 3 months. So, the second NC has been since May 1. Only time I saw him was in court on May 31st. And I can thankfully say that I have been totally NC since then.
I’m still dealing with the affects of this relationship. My mind is still having a hard time understanding what all happened. I guess it always will.
My problem now is having to close the door to a “backdoor” contact. It happens to be his ex-wife. She was very instrumental in helping me get the truth! and for that I am truly greatful. But….she wants to talk now because “I’m the only one that understands.” I sure I am along with his other victims that he has had. But since she lives in the area where he does and they have children together (the daughter is also like the father), she knows what is going on a lot of the time. In our conversations she has brought up the fact that is new girl is this/that and whatever. I told her I did not want to know anything but she hasn’t stopped. So, now I have quit taking her calls.
My problem now is the comparison my mind goes to about this new girl. I really want this to stop. I just think about how great he is treating her! But then I have to remember this is a lie! And there are other comparisons that I go thru. How can I build my self-worth again?

To Be Free

Thank you, Donna! The website has helped me so much! Thanks for all you do!


Trust is earned, not given. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in the past year. It’s unfortunate that I was exploited by a longtime online friend who I felt it was ok to trust. I was operating under the same fundamental beliefs mentioned in the first paragraph of this article. I do feel like a morin still and wish I hadn’t learned this way. I don’t wish this on anyone. Well except for him

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