I clearly remember the words of my sociopathic ex-husband, James Montgomery: “Information is power.”
Sociopaths don’t really interact with others — they look for ways to exert power and control over the rest of us. Information, Montgomery understood very well, gave him the ability to manipulate, deceive and exploit me and others.
Let’s take a close look at how sociopaths acquire and use information at various stages of a romantic relationship.
If you’re looking for romance online, you’ve probably heard about how to protect yourself when you meet an online date in person. But what’s more important is protecting yourself when you create your profile.
When sociopaths are trolling for victims on dating sites, they study online profiles to figure out what you want, and then craft their images to match your wish list. Or, sociopaths present themselves to be just like you, so you feel like you’ve met your mirror image. What they are doing is using the information that you provide in your dating profile, or on Facebook, Instagram, etc., in order to hook you.
For this reason, limit the amount of information that you reveal in a dating profile or elsewhere online.
When you meet
You may remember that when you first met the sociopath, he or she asked you a lot of questions about yourself, and listened intently to your answers. You probably felt like your new romantic interest was so smitten with you that he or she was hanging on every word.
Actually, the sociopath was probing you to find out if you had anything that he or she wanted. Then, the sociopath listened closely to determine your vulnerabilities, to use them in order to hook you. So once again, the sociopath used information that you provided against you.
During the involvement
The longer you are involved with the sociopath, the more information he or she will amass against you. If you ever let on that you keep a journal, the sociopath will look for it, read it, and perhaps even copy it — yes, I’ve heard of this happening. The sociopath will go through your computer, phone, drawers, desk, or whatever, looking for information and items that may at some point be useful.
By this time, you may have disclosed many of your deepest fears and secrets to a seemingly sympathetic listener. Once conflict arises, and the sociopath wants to gain the upper hand, you’ll find him or her turning your information into ammunition. Anything you’ve disclosed in confidence will become proof of your inferiority, and therefore justification for the sociopath to attack you.
If you’re reading Lovefraud, then you’ve begun to figure out what your partner really is, and now you’re the one consumed with finding information.Who is this person? What has he or she really been doing all this time? And guess what — for you, information will be hard to come by.
While the sociopath has been drawing information out of you, he or she has been carefully hiding information. Phones and computers are password protected. He or she has been getting the mail first and removing what you aren’t supposed to see. Or, perhaps the sociopath even has a post office box that you knew nothing about.
And, when you need information for a divorce or other legal action, it’s gone. Mortgage documents, deeds, bank records, your inheritance records — anything you may need as documentation in a court case is missing.
What to do
Here are some tips for protecting your information, which will help you protect your life.
- If you engage in online dating, do not reveal much information in your profile.
- When you meet a new dating partner, verify as much information about him or her as you can.
- In the early stages of a relationship, be cautious about sharing information and be sure that private documents are secure.
- Once you figure out that you’re dealing with a sociopath, keep the information to yourself. Above all, do not confront your partner saying, “I know what you are!”
- If you are living with the sociopath when you decide to break up, be strategic about your escape, if it’s safe to do so. Make copies of all important documents and store them someplace that your soon-to-be-ex doesn’t know about.
- As you prepare to leave, do not let the sociopath know your plans. Keep quiet yourself, and do not reveal your intentions to anyone who the sociopath may pump for information, including your kids.
- Once the split is underway, be prepared for misinformation. The sociopath will lie to you, and will engage in a smear campaign to convince everyone in your support system that you are mentally unstable and the breakup is entirely your fault. Unfortunately, some people may believe him or her.
The information game
All sociopaths lie, which means they feed you and others false information. They know that if they can convince you to believe their lies, then they have power over you. They may go to elaborate lengths to convince you that their lies are true — creating fraudulent documentation, for example. And of course, when they lie, sociopaths are incredibly convincing.
As my ex-husband said, information is power. Make sure you understand what this means.