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The sociopathic syndrome

I recently heard from a man, whom we’ll call “Jeff,” who wanted to know if the woman he was involved with, “Amanda,” was a sociopath.

It started as a friendly involvement, with Jeff trying to help Amanda out. Amanda, who was from a foreign country, called Jeff her “best friend.” Jeff eventually started to have feelings for her. But then came a series of unsettling experiences:

  • Amanda made pornographic videos, which were posted on the Internet.
  • Amanda worked as an escort. Jeff offered to pay her rent, so she wouldn’t have to be an escort, and Amanda agreed—and continued being an escort anyway.
  • Then Jeff asked Amanda to sign a contract promising that she wouldn’t be an escort. She signed it—and broke the deal again, with absolutely no guilt.
  • Amanda claimed to be struggling financially. Although Jeff wasn’t well off, he gave her money—and then discovered that Amanda sent a large sum of money back to her home country.
  • Jeff discovered Amanda was having multiple liaisons, often on the same day. One guy was married, one was a “sugar daddy,” and several were her “best friend.”
  • Other men were also paying her phone bill and rent.
  • Jeff stopped taking her calls, but did communicate via email. They agreed to get together to “talk things over.” Amanda cancelled.
  • When they did finally have a conversation, Jeff thought Amanda’s words sounded hollow. He also realized her words were used for manipulation, not for communicating the truth.
  • Jeff stopped talking to Amanda. But he knew that if he contacted her again, she would be nice and friendly, as if nothing ever happened.

So is Amanda a sociopath? I think so, and that’s what I told Jeff.

His next question was, “What are the most glaring indications that she is a sociopath?”

And that brings us to the point of this article: The most glaring indication of sociopathy is not any particular trait or behavior, but the overall pattern of traits and behaviors.

Sociopathy is a syndrome. What exactly does that mean? Here’s the Dictionary.com definition:

Pathology, Psychiatry . a group of symptoms that together are characteristic of a specific disorder, disease, or the like.

So, although Amanda is an escort, it doesn’t necessarily make her a sociopath. She took advantage of Jeff, but that doesn’t make her a sociopath. She had multiple sexual relationships, but that doesn’t make her a sociopath. Her words sounded hollow, but that doesn’t make her a sociopath. And, if Jeff and Amanda ever talked again, she would act as if nothing happened, but that doesn’t make her a sociopath.

Amanda is a sociopath because of her overall traits and pattern of behavior, including promiscuity, entitlement, manipulation, exploitation, breaking agreements, lying, shallow emotions and lack of remorse. All of these characteristics, taken together, add up to character disorder.


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54 Comments on "The sociopathic syndrome"

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if sociopathy is a syndrom, a disease, and despite all difficulties around the subject (dealing with this people and everything that comes with that), what shud a mother do? look at her son or daughter and go away forever, am fed up, or look at this with compassion, kowing itss a disease?

Donna, thank you so much for this harrowing article! I had a former “friend” who was very promiscuous with married men and would often accept gifts of jewelry and money. Her overall behaviors fit the profile, as well. Since there’s no blood test or urine analysis that can conclusively confirm that someone’s a sociopath, their patterns of behavior are what clearly points to the Truth. And, there’s no disputing their patterns of behavior because each and every sociopath follows the same basic pattern.

Annad, sociopathy is NOT a “disease.” It cannot be medicated. It cannot be surgically removed. It cannot be resolved through counseling therapy or psychotropic medications. Sociopathy is a CHOICE IN BEHAVIORS, period. Whether it’s genetic or environmental, sociopaths choose their actions whether their choices will harm someone else or not. And, if someone else IS harmed, they do not feel any remorse.

There is NO ROOM for “compassion” for a sociopath. It is a “normal” person’s compassion that they use to their advantage. Pity? Yes – a mild degree of pity is appropriate because it must be a horrible and hollow Universe that they have created for themselves. They shout out into that Sociopath Universe, and all they hear is the echo of their own voices. Fine by them – they tend to be their own best friends.

Brightest blessings.

Doesn’t this raise the question, though, how much has to happen before somebody sees the proverbial handwriting on the wall?

What difference does it make, really, if this woman is a sociopath or not? Her behavior is reprehensible and over the top.

How much unacceptable behavior needs to occur before it stops being the predator’s fault?

Aren’t we, as individuals, responsible for the people we associate with and the kinds of behaviors that we will tolerate or excuse?

It’s one thing to be lied to and deceived, but to know all these things and then still wonder if the person is “nice” sounds like the person is not being a victim, but a volunteer.

Donna, I agree with your assessment of this woman’s behavior, the overall pattern of using other people, the dishonesty, the lack of responsibility for supporting herself with an honest way of making a living, the sense of entitlement, the breaking agreements.

As for jeff’s behavior if you compare his behavior to what I listed as the RED FLAGS OF DYSFUNCTION in my recent article
http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2012/04/27/the-red-flags-of-dysfunction/ he pretty much violated each of those things in dealing with the woman.

The woman was dishonest…that right there is enough for me to say that she was “toxic” whether she was a psychopath or not. When we associate with dishonest people we end up being used.

I agree with G1S that we are responsible when we see the REPEATED signs of dishonest behavior to extricate ourselves from relationships with these people.

There comes a point when we know about the dishonesty that we cease being victims and become volunters.

Dear Annad,

I am sorry that you are having problems with a child who shows signs of psychopathy. I have a son who is a psychopath, and is in prison. There are others here who also have children who are psychopaths and have attacked them in various ways or used them over and over.

It is very heart breaking to break contact with a child because we want to hold on to hope that the child will reform. Unfortunately that hope is many times misplaced. It hurts to cut contact with them but it is the only way to survive. God bless you.

G1S, there are people who go to their graves in denail of what they have not only witnessed, but experienced with their spath children. It is probably the saddest and most gutwrenching thing imaginable.

OxD, you know better than anyone how painful it is to separate the child from the adult spath. Your kind words of support and encouragement will be appreciated, I’m sure.

Annad, I will apologize if my response to your post came across as angry. I AM angry, but it has nothing to do with you. No excuse, but I’m very raw at this moment and I will encourage you to keep reading the articles, the responses, and post your own experiences and feelings. This is a “safe” place and strictly monitored so that people who are seeking and giving help aren’t trolled.

For myself, I cannot see an answer to how to approach obviously sociopathic children. What options does a parent really have? Since sociopathy isn’t a mental disorder, a parent can’t (and, likely wouldn’t) institutionalize their child. One can’t abandon their child, can they? This is where the horrible quandary occurs: what are the options?

My very sincere healing blessings to you, Annad.

Actually, Truthspeak, in my state a child can be legally declared a “wayward child” and turned over to the state.

Here is my state’s legal definition:

WAYWARD CHILD ~ Any child who is truant, disobedient, a
runaway or who who seems unable to change such behaviors.

This is from the state’s website, directed at teens.

YOUTH IN STATE CARE

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN STATE CUSTODY?
~ The State can take you into custody by one of two ways:
* Voluntary – Parents agree, without court order, to let DCYF take care of you.
* Court Placement – Court grants custody to DCYF because you were being either abused, neglected or are otherwise a dependent child.
~ When in state custody, the state has temporary care and supervision over you.
~ While in state custody, you will have a case plan written for you.
* A case plan is a document that specifies what you and your family need to do to resolve the problems that got you removed out of your home.
* The plan describes the long-term goals for your welfare, type of foster care or placement and a statement of why certain services are appropriate for you and your family.

G1S, I imagine that all States probably have something similar in place. I can only imagine what a torture it is for any parent who has to come to such a point with their child or children.

And, having case plans is a grand idea, but what if the parents are unable or unwilling to follow through? I’ve seen the parental denial to the point where their own child who was 100% proven guilty of a violent crime sit there and defend their offspring’s actions as somehow “provoked.”

Pretty scary, all around.

Truthspeak,

How old is your child? witsend’s child was 16 at the time she first came here. she was DESPERATE to find a way to help her child (who had also been diagnosed as bi-polar but would not take his medication) and she was trying to get the school to help her. He would go to school but would sleep in class. He would not cooperate at home and finally Witty was actually afraid of him. I think at one point he threatened to burn the house if she did something or other.

He called the cops and told them she was abusing him. The cops basically said “we’re not going to do anything” she was totally powerless.

I don’t know what your state has available, but I do know in my state, as in G1S’s there is a way to get the state to help you with a child you cannot control. I suggest that if this child of yours is under age 18 that you call a mental health facility and speak to someone there. You may be able to find some help. It isn’t much is my guess but it might at least give you a break and let you get a night’s sleep for once. If your child is truly psychopathic there will come a point where if you are wise you will cut contact with them, but if the child is under age 18 you may be able to find some help from the state, or get some help for your child if they are not totally psychopathic. sometimes it is difficult to tell the “out of control teenager” versus the psychopath. Keep trying to see what is going on, and get some help, FIND some help! The squeeky wheel gets some grease. God bless.

OxD, I was posting as “Buttons” a long while back – the eldest son is 26 and was the one that had forged military documentation and service awards. He was diagnosed Cluster B…..verrrrrrrrrry dangerous.

The youngest is NOT spath, but perfect victim. He’s still trying to work it out, but he has very strong ties with his spath brother. Of course, those “ties” only exist on HIS side.

When the eldest was living with me, I made every desperate attempt to get SOMEONE to frigging HEAR me about his behaviors. I was in Juvenile Court with him on numerous occasions and the Judge treated ME as if I had been the perpetrator! I tried to speak to the Judge to explain what I had tried to accomplish, and the next case was called.

It’s not only parents in denial, but it’s also a complete Legal System that simply does NOT recognize spathy as being the basis of 99.9% of ALL convicts. They just don’t get it. The Legal System does not recognize spathic behaviors in cases of divorce, either. “No Fault” needs to be abolished and each case should be heard and decided upon based upon behaviors, choices, and documented facts. There is a distinct lack of accountability and recognition, here…..on every level.

And, OxD, I agree that some changes are desperately needed and A Societal Movement started to address this devastating disorder.

My current anger is a result of my divorce issues that will soon be “resolved.” What a crock of sh*t THAT is!!! I’ve posted about nightmares, anxiety, agoraphobic reactions, etc., and I’m angry that these issues are a result of one more sociopathic exposure. Perhaps, being angry is preferable to being “sad?” I dunno at this point.

Hugs

Trtuhspeak/buttons, I remember your name and you posting, thanks for refreshing my memory of your story. It really is difficult to keep them all straight. I’m glad you are back here though.

You are so right the “system” needs to be changed and I agree 110% with you. I’m sorry you didn’t get any more help than you did. Witty is in the same boat as well. There was some poster here who came here with a 12 year old she was afraid of, and she hasn’t posted in a long time. I wonder about some of these people when they “drop off” the board and stop posting….have they given up? what happened to them?

I hope that your younger son can finally come to see what his brother is. My two other sons, my adopted and my biological son, have both finally come to see what Patrick is and have cut ties with him…unfortunately though my biological son is not living up to the standard of honesty that I require in people I deal with so I am essentially NC with him as well. (that was another painful kettle of fish) but I am coming finally to resolution with that as well.

Angry is OK so if that is what floats your boat right now, go for it! It is all part of the process. Keep on reading and learning and venting as necessary. You will get through this one as well! (((hugs))) and God bless.

When my son was pretty young, maybe 6 or 7, we went to an ice cream parlor near us for supper one night.

The place was staffed by teens and they were all consumed with what looked like a really nice kid sitting there very distressed and heartbroken. He was in tears.

His parents had locked him out of the house and he had nowhere to go that night. From what I gathered, the parents were drinking and drugging or something like that.

I was sorely tempted to take him home with me, but I didn’t know the circumstances and with my son being that young, I wasn’t going to risk anything.

I said a lot of prayers for him. I honestly didn’t know what else to do or how to help.

I was temping at a lawfirm at the time. One of our attorneys specialized in CHINS (Children in Need of Services.) I asked him what I could have done. He said that a lot of kids have parents who do that to them.

Those kids are known as “Castaway Kids.” It’s the parents who are screwed up and they think it’s nothing to throw the kids out or lock them out of the house. It’s the parents’ version of “tough love” (ha, ha.)

The attorney said if I ever encounter a situation like that again, to call the police and they would call DYCF. They would have protected the kid from spending the night on the street.

I have never forgotten that poor kid. Every time I drive past the ice cream parlor, I think of him and wonder how things turned out for him. I hope one of the teens working there came up with some sort of solution.

G1S or, he could have been a budding psychopath coming up with a SOB STORY to get his friends to feel sorry for him. That’s the thing, you never know. My son has scammed his friends and their parents into believing that I threw him out for NOOOOOO reason and he needed rescuing…..so you never know. The attorney’s advice was good. That’s the problem with being a “helper type” you get scammed by the psychopaths because you want to help….been there and done that…GOT A CLOSET FULL OF TEE SHIRTS. Give me a sob story and I’m first on the block to volunteer to be their victim, to help them out. and worse yet, to then expect them to fend for themselves and get a job….I’m so unreasonable….but am trying to learn better.

I realized that was a possibility, which is why I didn’t offer to take him home.

In this particular case, he came across as genuinely scared. Terrified would be a closer description. Of course, that could have been due to his parents finally calling him on his stuff.

I thought that there might have been more than just the two options – stay out of it or take him home. I’m glad the attorney gave me a third.

G1S,

When I caught Patrick roaming the streets one night (not a first offense) in the ensuring discussion he karate kicked a couple of my ribs in and took off, I called the cops and reported him as a run away (that saved my bacon in Florida when he stole a motorcycle while on the run) anyway, he convinced one of his friends parents that he was an abused child (he was 5’7″ and muscled up) by his single mother…someone how they got him a ticket to Arkansas and he convinced my egg donor to take him in. she was mad at me for moving to Dallas anyway so against my will she took the little darling in.

I did not speak to him or her for over a year during this time. She put him in a private school, bought him a car, and he used the car to start a “steal it to order” business…when the cops got on to him but didn’t quite have enough evidence to arrest him, he decided he wanted to come home and live with me again. In the meantime I had married my long time friend (20+ years) and we were planning on moving to Florida.

This is just another one of those things that I “pretended never happened” with my egg donor. The last time I brought it up to her she said “Oh, your daddy wanted to give him another chance” (lip quivering here) which I know IS A BALD FACED LIE—it was her, not my step dad. Daddy was “oh to” Patrick long before any of the rest of us were. He didn’t make a big point of it, because he was smart enough to know that there are just some things you have to learn for yourself…and about Patrick was one of those things.

I remember when Daddy was dying, I had begged Patrick to write daddy a letter of apology for a gun he stole from him back when he lived with egg donor and Daddy when he was a teenager, (which he had always DENIED DENIED DENIED) and he wrote this letter that blamed the theft on his friend Steve, but said he SHOULD have told on Steve so he was really at fault and he was sorry….Daddy read the letter and made a SPITTING SOUND as he threw it on the ground. I watched Daddy do this and I wanted to DIE with SHAME that Patrick wouldn’t at least own up to the theft…of course the shame was PATRICK’S NOT MINE, but none-the-less I FELT the shame for my son’s refusal to even tell the truth to his dying grandfather. To this day it makes tears come to my eyes to think about what a piece of shit my son is….how my daddy loved him so much and he repaided him with thieving and lies.

Oxy ~ you know what is astounding to me is that while we know each other’s “main stories”, there are dozens and dozens of these little “side stories” just buried somewhere in our memories, waiting to be told. Oh, yes, there are plenty that, when remembered, still bring tears to our eyes.

My daughter stole from my Dad, also. Sad part is if she had asked, he would have given her anything she wanted. Under oath, in court, she stated the money she stole was an inheritance from her Grandfather. Thing is, he was still alive.

During the 5 years she was NC, my Dad died. I did not notify her because my Dad made me promise I wouldn’t. She was livid when she found out years later. Not to mention he was in a nursing home for 4 out of those 5 years and she never bothered to check to see how he was.

Sad, very sad

Yea, Milo, I know what you are saying…I will never ever forget that SPITTING sound as he flung the letter to the wind…we were sitting on the back porch when he read it. I picked it up and read it and I wanted to DIE on the spot…just have the earth swallow me.

I had begged Patrick to tell him he was sorry…I knew Patrick had stolen the gun, but I told him, “Please, even if it is a lie and you didn’t take the gun, ADMIT IT and say you are sorry, just to give him some peace”—Nah, he couldn’t do that. LOL I realize what I did now was wrong…to tell Patrick to say “sorry’ when we both knew he wouldn’t mean it. LOL But I was so devastated by daddy’s death I jsut wanted him to be at peace about Patrick. Actually, I think he had come to accept what Patrick was many years before that and come to peace with his disappointment.

I love that her testifying it was her inheritance when he was not dead. LOL Under oath yet! LOL ROTFLMAO

Made me think of another one my egg donor pulled on me, back when we were actually on “good terms” and my dad’s sister died. She had been very close to me when I was a kid and actually was the reason I went into nursing…and when her memorial service (family only) was held, egg donor didn’t tell me about it until it was over. She said “well, I didn’t think you’d be interested in coming” and I was livid, and I said to her “well, you could have let ME decide that” I realize now it was just a snipe but at the time I didn’t think she did it “on purpose” but I realize now she did it “on purpose.” Just like she “read my mind” and knew I would “throw a fit” when I found out she loaned the Trojan horse the money to buy a truck so that made it OK to lie to me. LOL

Yea, lots of side stories…endless side stories. But yet, all the same. Lies and more lies to cover up the lies.

I have a few for you.

My P sister stole. When she was a teen, she bragged to me how she’d take a $10 or $20 bill from my mother to buy something, like milk, and “forget” to return the change to my mother.

One exasperating day, this “too nice to tattle on anybody” sister told my mother was the P had said she was doing.

My mother got that Cheshire cat sneering smile on her face and said, “Oh, what’s the big deal? She can keep the change.” This is when $20 was a lot of money and milk cost less than $1. That was a lot of change she was keeping.

However, my mother insisted that I count back every penny of change due her, if I had run an errand for her, saying that’s what her mother did, made her accountable for every cent. (I wonder if my grandmother knew what she was dealing with?) And she would do it in a humiliating manner, making sure that she watched while I put it back in her wallet.

When my P sister attacked us, in part because she found out that my mother had been loaning money to me to help me keep my house and pay for health insurance, she initially told me that I was cutting into her inheritance.

I am sure that they conferred with an attorney on this one, because they changed the loan to I stole the money from my mother or somehow swindled it out of her.

My P sister then told me that was all the money that I would ever get from my mother, “That IS your inheritance.” Even then I knew how preposterous that statement was since it wasn’t her money and my mother still isn’t dead.

Finally, my brother, who also borrowed money from my parents to get his businesses off the ground, was required to pay back everything. I know this because my mother told me how much it amazed him that he kept his word and paid back every cent.

My father had also helped my brother out with one of his businesses by giving him a lead that led to one of the biggest contracts that my brother had ever gotten.

However, my brother treated my father like garbage. Lots of dumb reasons why. I believe the underlying reason, based on things that my brother said, was he was angry that my father didn’t stand up to my mother. He thought my father let my mother walk all over him. My father wasn’t a “real man” in my brother’s eyes.

The last time that I saw my father alive, we got to talking about my brother. He hadn’t been to visit my father even though he lived about an hour away. I, on the other hand, had managed to travel from RI to Florida to see my father. I said something about how I was sad that my brother hadn’t seen my father when he lived so close.

Now here’s a man, bedridden, and barely able to move. I got such a look filled with contempt (probably the only time in my life I ever saw that in my father.) He looked me right in the eye and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of him.” I had no idea what that could mean.

Three or four days before my father died, about two months later, and we knew he could any day, my brother finally shows up to visit my father.

He walks in to see him and wasn’t with him even five minutes when my father’s tube became clogged and needed to be drain. My brother left the room so the nurse could take care of my father. That was the last time they ever saw each other alive.

It’s what happened next that is interesting.

I spoke with the nurse on the day that my father died. I had asked her if any of my siblings had been present. No, they hadn’t.

She told me about my brother and then added, in amazement, “I asked your father if he wanted your brother to go back in to see him after I finished cleaning his tube. Your father shook his head no – fiercely. He didn’t want to see your brother at all. Your brother left.”

I laughed. My father showed my brother all right – on his deathbed.

Change “escort” to “flight attendant” and this could be my x-spath: home made porn videos, multiple liaisons, lack of empathy, acting as if nothing happened…

While I have no direct evidence of his being paid for sex, and he was too old anyway, I do have some indirect evidence he was involved in the “sex industry” at some point.

In addition, there was some indirect evidence he may have been arrested for a sex crime too.

G1S, The only money I ever borrowed from my egg donor was for the private school for my kids while I was in college, and I repaid it with INTEREST at 10% which is the maximum amount allowed at that time in Arkansas, calculated to the penny.

I learned the hard way from my previous in-laws that “favors” come with strings attached….and I did not want to be “beholden” to my egg donor. This infuriated her after my husband died and my step dad died…when she offered to give me money and I said “no thank you” she looked at me and said “you wouldn’t take it if you needed it would you?” I told her “nope, I wouldn’t” SHE KNEW WHY because in my red-neck culture you never accept favors from people you don’t know well AND trust. (or are blood related to, so actually, she saw my refusal to take money from her as an insult. and actually I guess I was because I didn’t trust her and I still dont.) I do not owe her a dime and I am glad. Didn’t keep her from telling people I TRIED to take her money though.

Money is a HUGE control issue in my family.

Even my son’s therapist picked up that my mother is into bribes.

It was a big leap of faith to break my dependence on my mother’s help. I had had cancer, an infant, was abandoned by the father, and was fired for being pregnant.

On top of that, the chemo killed my ovaries and I literally went from delivering a baby (induced so they could start the chemo) to a chemically-induced menopause.

I was very grateful for their help and I honestly thought so much had been healed between us. Then, the P caught wind of what was happening…

My credit rating took a major hit, but I paid off my car and I am current on my mortgage. I consider it a blessing in disguise that I was forced to learn how to manage money and live on a budget. I was floundering in life before then.

My son has learned as well. I explain money to him now. We talk about money, sex, politics, and Ps. How many mothers can say that?

G1S, I think that is a great thing and I think every mother should talk to all her kids about those things!

Yea, money is a big control leash, and “help” that has strings attached where you become “beholden” to the psychopath….of course if they borrow money they have no problem with not repaying a loan, but they expect you to repay in BLOOD.

I knew from past experience that I couldn’t trust her so I dodged that bullet years ago.

It feels really, really good knowing that nobody has that knife to my throat anymore.

G1S, money was a priority in nearly every spath encounter that I’ve experienced.

The first exspath was focused upon money, sex, and domestic violence/abuse.

The second exspath was in it strictly for the money. He “had” to perform sex (albiet very poorly), but it was ALL about money.

The female ex-con spath is all about money – it’s all that she can talk about. VERY obsessive about money and “things.”

Former would-be business partner was also ALL about money and took as much as he could get away with by any means he could find.

Others have demonstrated a lust for money, as well. And, when I say “lust,” I mean that it’s more powerful to them than sex. Sex is just a deviant sideline for them – another tool of control.

I become VERY uncomfortable when people begin talking about money. I typically like to change the subject.

Brightest blessings

OxD, money IS a leash. The female spath ex-con once offered to “LOAN” money to me when I was in a serious situation. I flatly refused the offer and told her that “Loaning money can ruin a friendship.” This was before I ever learned that she had “borrowed” a sum of money from someone that she believed was very wealthy and NEVER repaid it – not even a token payment of good faith.

Everyone should speak to their children about guarding their assets. The discussion should be frank, truthful, and involve personal accountability/responsibility. And, speaking truthfully about other aspects of life is vital, as well – especially, about predatory people.

Divorced from Gaslighter

My ex did NOT have a savings account at the time we married, even though he was making a very good income. He NEVER accumulated any savings, not even in a pension plan, until the very end of our marriage when he started putting together a “war chest” to pay attorney fees AND to start a new life in Europe.

He was raised by “Depression babies” who lived well but budgeted carefully. In other words, he grew up wearing very nice clothes, eating beautiful meals (his mother was rotten with kids, but a good cook) and living in a nice house in a beautiful neighborhood. There was no particular reason for him to end up with “money issues,” and his sister grew up to be just like his parents — living well, but always within a careful budget.

My ex had attitudes toward money that simply were not consistent with the upbringing that he had had. He was only capable of accumulating money immediately in advance of putting together some huge scam. Otherwise, he lived beyond his means and had a devastating level of debt, and sucked up all of the money that I ever earned to meet the minimum monthly payments of his credit cards and the rent on the apartment that we could NOT afford. We had completely different lifestyles: he was “upwardly mobile” because he needed to appear successful for his business life, while I wore clothes that were 10 years old and out of style, and took the bus to my miserable job (he had a brand new Mercedes.)

What I am wondering is if ANYBODY on this board has dealt with an S or P who was completely different. In other words, is there a substantial subset of S/Ps who have pension plans and little or no debt, and a paid-off house with a picket fence?

Divorced from gaslighter…I never knew of one that had any money unless they had recently taken it from a victim. They all to my knowledge live at or above their income level. Many of them are totally worthless as workers, and mooch off others, steal, con, etc. but seldom if ever accumulate anything.

I have heard of a few though, who are professionals, physicians. politicians, and lawyers who actually are wealthy from their professions but I never knew any intimately.

I almost laughed when I read about your psychopath driving his expensive car while you took the bus…I had a friend whose husband drove by her as she walked the kids to school and then walked on to her job, where he went to eat breakfast at a local hang out while she couldn’t afford to even take a lunch.

Yea, they have to appear “successful” even if it is on borrowed or stolen money but they care less what their wives or kids live on.

Divorced from Gaslighter:

Oh, yes! My spath has a six figure income job, a pension plan (works for a huge company that still offers a pension plan), a Mercedes and an $800,000 house (not paid off) and all that goes with it. MAYBE he’s just extremely narcissistic, but he also does have spath characteristics. Sometimes I think these ones are even more so psychotic!

Divorced from Gaslighter

Louise and Ox Drover: I have also heard of “successful” sociopaths, many of them in professional roles of various kinds. But I wonder how many of these could survive any sort of audit? In other words, are they still living beyond their legitimate income and supplementing their income with insurance and Medicaid fraud (doctors & dentists), insider dealing (attorneys & CPAs), rakeoffs, kickbacks, etc., for the elite businessmen?

In other words, are many of the sociopaths who APPEAR successful, even over a longer period of time, really just small-scale Bernie Madoffs? Or are there a significant number who confine their sociopathy to human relationships, while living a life of financial probity?

Louise: Does your ex tend to live at the limit of his financial ability? In other words, you can be overspending and still APPEAR to making money hand over fist. Lots of people live in houses and drive cars that have payments that are right at the edge of what they can come up with each month. And sometimes the pension plan is “untouchable,” which is the only reason that they haven’t touched it.

Many people in my husband’s line of work envied his apparent success. He took exotic vacations, wore expensive clothes, etc., and he very deliberately led people to believe that he was earning a lot more than he actually did.

Even his own parents, who lived nearby, had NO IDEA what his true financial situation was. In fact, I didn’t know myself, as he had even more credit cards than I knew about, and the ones that I knew about were killing us.

Something to ponder, the Springsteen Song “Candy’s Room”:

In Candy’s room there are pictures of her heroes on the wall
but to get to Candy’s room you gotta walk the darkness of Candy’s hall
Strangers from the city call my baby’s number and they bring her toys
When I come knocking she smiles pretty she knows I wanna be Candy’s boy
There’s a sadness hidden in that pretty face
A sadness all her own from which no man can keep Candy safe

We kiss, my heart’s rushes to my brain
The blood rushes in my veins fire rushes towards the sky
We go driving driving deep into the night
I go driving deep into the light in Candy’s eyes

She says baby if you wanna be wild
you got a lot to learn, close your eyes
Let them melt, let them fire, let them burn
Cause in the darkness there’ll be hidden worlds that shine
When I hold Candy close she makes these hidden worlds mine

She has fancy clothes and diamond rings
She has men who give her anything she wants but they don’t see
That what she wants is me,
oh and I want her so
I’ll never let her go, no no no
She knows that I’d give
all that I got to give
All that I want all that I live
to make Candy mine
Tonight

Divorced from Gaslighter and Oxy,
I think we actually DO know some spaths who live within their limits. My parents and Oxy’s eggdonor.

I know you say she’s not a spath. Likely you believe that because she IS so financially responsible. This is the twist. My parents are also financially responsible. They are very proud of that. It’s part of the mask.

It could be that spaths who were the products of the depression are very different than the ones who were born after. It’s like they say, that generation knows the value of a dollar. BUT THAT’S ALL THEY VALUE.

It doesn’t make them any less shallow as human beings. Oh yes and my good sister also has a husband who is extremely abusive emotionally. He’s a very frugal man and an executive.

Maybe we can’t call them psychopaths because these people don’t tell outrageous lies out of the blue and for no reason. Maybe they aren’t sexually promiscuous (or maybe they are).

So just because someone is frugal doesn’t make them healthy people to be around.

I think it boils down to values. Spaths value nothing, not even the money they steal from you before they flush it down the toilet. Other toxic people only value money and material possessions. Healthy people value other healthy people who nourish their souls.

Oh almost forgot my uncle. Born in 1934. He killed his first wife with cancer. He cheated on her constantly. He’s working on a second one.

Divorced from Gaslighter:

Of course! I am sure that everything he is making is going right back out. And the pension plan can’t be touched until he actually retires and that’s a long time from now…haha!

Oxy

I think the way to think about it is that money is a weapon to manipulate people. It’s simply a tool. Spaths use money like anything else. To deceive, to hurt, to get the victim to do this or that.

My spath was a very very wealthy man. Millions in the bank.
He worked in a high end executive office. He bought his clothes for work for like $20 on ebay, and he bought the rest of his clothes at goodwill for under a dollar. He was super frugal, never spent a time, and lived off his wife (and then, ex-wife). His car is 15 years old.

He banked every penny.

It was a way to screw over his wife and to be “superior” to all those foolish people out there who live normally (eat normal food, bought normal clothes, paid their fair share).

SPATH.

My P sister is a successful P. She had her McMansion built for her and it was all paid for before they moved in.

She’s been earning six figures for years. She has bragged to me about her stock holdings.

She is the only person that I have ever heard of who even thought to put in an annual cost-of-living increase in the child support payments that her first ex had to pay for their daughter.

We used to laugh at her when she was about 10 or 12 because she only dressed in dark grays and navy blues and somber, no-nonsense type of outfits. She looked like a banker. She dropped that as the years went on.

She did tell me once, when she was little, that she was saving her money for a rainy day. She thought that was meant literally-she couldn’t spend her money if the sun was out. I laughed and told her what it meant. How many kids think about saving their money? Don’t most kids want to spend it as soon as they get some?

My S mother is successful with money, too. She got very nice and friendly with a relative who ended up leaving her house to my mother and father. My S mother told my cousin’s mother that making that woman my P sister’s godmother was the best thing that they ever did.

Truth, I’m sorry to hear that listening to money talk makes you so uncomfortable. That is sad.

Divorced from Gaslighter

I’ve known various people who probably rate the “toxic narcissist” label who were financially responsible. My own father probably fell into that category.

He was CHEAP with other members of the family, while treating himself better, but he always paid the bills on time, and was very proud of having accumulated the money to put his kids through college, etc. He had a foul temper, and was very sarcastic, and never forgot any sort of slight, but he held a steady job his entire adult life, never got in trouble with the law, was as truthful as most people, and he genuinely admired and respected my mother, probably realizing that most other women would have dumped him.

My father, for all his many faults, had a conscience as well as a personal moral code.

I think it must be VERY rare for someone to be ripping off their own family financially and emotionally and yet dotting every i and crossing every t in their professional life. A big part of what the sociopath does to other people is for the PLEASURE that they get in wrecking the lives of others. Somebody who cheats their way through life out of pure selfishness and narcissistic entitlement is NOT a sociopath, IMO.

It’s very hard to draw the line, as everybody behaves selfishly some of the time, and lots of crazy or rotten people have lots of different behavior patterns. But when you think about it, pathological levels of frugality (including hoarding) are often linked to FEAR, while one of the markers for the sociopath is that they are often thrill-seekers who like to live life on the edge. They lack a normal level of fear, and seem unable to plan for the future.

Divorced from Gaslighter:

I was sitting at a bar one evening with the spath when he told me just out of the blue, “I am a thrill seeker.” He revealed so many spath type behaviors. I did hear it, I really did, but I just didn’t heed it. I was too crazy in “love” to bother…UGGHH.

How would you classify stingy people? The Mr. Scrouges of the world?

How are you defining “success” because when you look at the Wall Street and financial crises, a lot of people involved with that would be considered “successful.” They were making 7 and 8 figures a year.

Would they/did they screw their families financially?

My P sister screwed me financially. She made sure that my mother wrote me out of her will.

Divorced from Gaslighter

G1S: A lot of stingy people come from a background where there was never “enough.” After a childhood history of scanty food, or periodic apartment evictions (and loss of all possessions), etc., they want stability more than anything else, and they associate money in the bank with stability.

Some stingy people eventually get to a point at which they feel financially secure enough to start spending a little more money, but some don’t.

Either extreme (miser vs. spendthrift) is bad, but having had up close and personal experience with both types, I have to say that the spendthrift is more frustrating by far. At least with a miser you can usually negotiate come kind of your money/my money type of arrangement. A spendthrift takes it all.

Also, if you are married to a miser for 30 or 40 years and he drops dead or divorces you, there is a decent possibility that you will get some sort of inheritance or financial settlement. After 30 or 40 years with a spendthrift, there will be a negative net worth. The only thing to split up will be the debts. And if the spendthrift dies, you will have to declare bankruptcy, and the whole spendthrift house of cards will collapse — the house and cars and your whole lifestyle will be over the day the income stops rolling in, because cash flow was the only thing that made your lifestyle possible. ZERO savings of any kind.

After my first child was born, it was like pulling teeth to get my husband to purchase a term life insurance policy, even though he was a “financial planner” by trade. What a laugh! When I saw how CHEAP it was (he was young, healthy, and a nonsmoker) I was astonished. He resented paying any money at all toward a policy that would only pay off if he died. We were deeply in debt, and if he had died while he was the only earner, and the children were tiny, I would have been in very deep trouble.

My idea of a successful person would be anyone with an income that is 10 to 20% or more higher than their outgo, who does not mooch off of anybody else. It is not just a matter of having a high income. You can make a fairly modest amount of money and live well if you are careful.

Divorced from Gaslighter:

Right on! 🙂

You know, I’ve been givign some THOUGHT to the concept of financially “responsible” psychopaths. My husband used to be the private pilot for several (not at the same time) very famous and very wealthy men…several of these men, I would qualify as VERY high in psychopathic traits…but they ran their businesses well and were wealthy. They cheated on their wives, drank like fish, cheated in business if they could get by with it..etc.they might not have been Charlie Manson but they were more like “Bernie Madoff” They were “trailer trash with money” actually. Several of them were movie star/singers and others were business moguls. And one was Richard Nixon. (I guess I can mention him by name since he got outed and left office)LOL

Dear Divorced from Gaslighter,

In answer to your question about sociopaths being able to save, yes they can.

Mine was an executive and we saved and didn’t spend more than our means. So we had a good amount of savings when we divorced.

When I met him, his house was in foreclosure and he had lost a business. I think it was something shady. Anyway, I believe he can’t manage money, I did the bill paying, but he didn’t spend extravagantly.

This didn’t make him any less dangerous, by the way. He liked the cover of being ‘every man’. That way he seemed so humble. He didn’t have outward grandiously. He was crazy smart and sneaky as hell. Every thing he did was controlled, he didn’t even burp or pass gas because he had to be in control at all times.

The only slip of his mask was a small smirk when he pulled the wool over someones eyes or manipulated someone. My therapist called the control thing and smirk, convertly aggressive and sociopathic behavior.

So yes, they can save money and make money. But they do get outed at some point by the people they’ve abused and that usually means loss of their executive position. They will manipulate until the day they die and as long as someone buys into their crap, they think they’re a winner.

After all the crap mine has pulled, he asked me out for coffee tomorrow, like nothing happened. “Hi, hope all is well with you Hopeforjoy, do you want to visit over coffee?”

Let’s see, you tried to institutionalize me, sexually abused our daughter, I have PTSD from emotional abuse and fearing for my life, I’m still not sure if he is abusing our son, and you want to have a freaking cup of coffee?

Dense idiots. They’re like the village idiot emotionally.

I digress, sociopaths run the gambit when it comes to being savers, most are moochers though.

Oxy,

Some do make and save money, but I don’t think it lasts. They all seem to have a downward slide at some point and never fully recover. In my humble opinion.

On a side note, I saw a bumper sticker last week that said “TOWANDA!” There was a guy driving the car, go figure. It was really neat to see that sticker and made me smile.

WOW, Hope4, if I find a bumper sticker like that I will buy it and proudly put it on my truck. I have one now that says “My border collie is smarter than your honor student” LOL I miss my doggies.

Last summer when son d brought home the little “house hound dog” I really didn’t want another dog, especially in the house, but it would be terrible around here now without her since Bud is gone. she is so funny.

How are you doing girlfriend? Have missed you!!!

Oxy,

I miss you too! I’m doing so well. I am grateful for all the good things in my life and I’m trying to get more involved with life and activities.

Son broke down sobbing on Sunday night, a lot of things came out when he was upset and I’m glad he finally started feeling instead of avoiding. He said that he couldn’t believe his dad would hurt anyone, he was crying so much when he said it.

This is a good sign actually, he probably knows that there is something wrong with dad but can’t get himself beyond that point. Cognitive dissonance.

Daughter is accepted to the college she wanted to go to and half of it is paid because she got an honor scholarship. I’m so proud of her!

She thinks she may be gay and I wonder if it’s because she doesn’t trust heterosexual men anymore. She knows herself and I have faith that she will find her way no matter what path she takes.

I am so glad to have the bad man out of my life. He asked me to coffee tomorrow, what an ignorant jerk.

The struggles seem manageable and I’ve been seeing a therapist who actually gets it. Gosh it’s nice.

How are things with you? You seem very peaceful and content. Your posts are so wise and I love your contributions.

I would love to visit with you when daughter goes to college, have a girls weekend sort of thing:)

I hope that you post here as long as you are able because your advice in invaluable.

Divorced from Gaslighter

Hopeforjoy: My ex was capable of MAKING money, and he always paid bills on time and was very proud of his stellar credit rating. (If you have a wallet full of credit cards, charge stuff all the time, but make every monthly payment in full and on time, your credit rating will be MUCH higher than that of a person who has one credit card and uses it infrequently and then pays the bill off in full within a month.)

His problem was that he refused any kind of budget. He was of the opinion that the solution to big bills was to increase your income, NOT to try to scrimp and save. His refusal to budget had the practical result that my wages were sucked into the credit card payments, either directly or indirectly. I was free to save money in a savings account, and watch my savings grow, but at some point there would be an “emergency” and he would withdraw the money without telling me, and use it to pay down some of his credit cards.

Nobody who knew him would have guessed that his personal finances were as out of control as they were. That’s why I wondered if other people on this board had had experiences with people who were full-blown sociopaths BUT had a genuine ability to manage money carefully OVER THE LONG TERM.

The classic sociopathic pattern seems to be that of always seeking something for nothing. My ex told me over and over that my goals of financial stability, good schools for the kids, and a nice house were going to be met, but FIRST we had to reach his personal goal of X, Y, or Z. My goals were always postponed, his goals were always the goals that were actually being achieved.

Even after our divorce, he was making a ton of money, and paying almost nothing for child support, yet he accumulated nothing.

Divorced from Gaslighter

Hopeforjoy: I did the weight loss program online (free) at settingcaptivesfree.com, and the same website has other free programs for people trying to quit smoking, or give up pornography or alcohol, and there is at least one program there that is for people struggling with sexual issues. It is very definitely a Christian program, so if your daughter is not open to that, then just ignore this suggestion, but the weight loss program did help me with some food issues.

How old is your son?

Divorced from GL,

My son is 16 years old. My daughter is 18. She wouldn’t be open to that because she isn’t Christian. She is a good soul though and I know she’ll find her way. She went through a lot with her unhealthy father and has no contact with him now.

Divorced from GL.

I was watching Dr. Drew tonight and he talked a little about food issues and childhood trauma. He wished more was talked about the trauma that so many experience as children.

Hopeforjoy:

I loved your post at 10:24PM, May 1.

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