If you want to know how sociopaths behave, just watch any TV show on the Investigation Discovery channel. All the stories are true. They’re all about sociopaths. All the stories will enlighten you about disordered behavior — if you know what to look for.
In fact, I found a page on the ID website with helpful information: 5 Signs you share your home with a psychopath. The descriptions are reasonably accurate.
I often turn on ID while I’m cleaning the house. Because of the reality show format — narration, interviews and reenactments — I find that I can listen to the shows while I work, and still follow the whole story. Time and time again, I hear perfect descriptions of sociopaths seducing and then exploiting their targets.
Shows like Evil Lives Here, Murder Comes to Town, Evil Twins, and The Killer Beside Me, depict exactly how sociopaths set their hooks into their targets and then break them down. The emotional and psychological abuse is all there — sometimes described by the people being interviewed, and sometimes reenacted in short scripted scenes.
For example, a show may describe how a couple has a storybook romance for months or even years — until one party becomes controlling, denigrating and finally violent. What you are seeing is the classic idolize-devalue-discard sequence of a sociopathic seduction.
Because of the extreme manipulation, many targets lose the ability to break free. They keep trying to make the abuser happy so they can return to the bliss of the early days. This is the typical response of a target who has trauma-bonded to the abuser. Unfortunately, many of the targets end up dead.
Murder, of course, creates drama, which is why the shows focus on murder stories. The murder story lines, however, get in the way of the educational value of the shows.
The focus on murders strengthens the connection in the minds of viewers between disordered behavior and violence. The truth, however, is that although sociopaths usually behave exactly as described in these shows, most do not commit murder. Therefore, if viewers see the same exploitative behavior in their own relationships, except there’s no violence, they may not recognize the behavior as abusive.
And, people have a tendency to believe, “That would never happen to me.”
Yes, it could, so you should educate yourself about what to watch out for. To learn what a sociopathic involvement looks like, I recommend watching almost any show on Investigation Discovery. Here’s their lineup:
By the way, my personal story was featured in one of the few Investigation Discovery shows that doesn’t focus on murder, Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? The show is available online. Click the link below and scroll to Season 1, Episode 2, Don Juan Down Under.