The sociopath’s predatory stare, revisited

I was recently asked to comment on the sociopath’s “predatory stare,” and my first thought was to play it down somewhat. Not all sociopaths have this stare, or else it would be pretty easy to bust them for the “look.”

On the other hand there’s a form of the “predatory stare” that I want to remark on briefly in this short article that signals my return to the blog, again, on a more regular basis. It is really the “predatory stare,” but masked as the “romantic stare.”

Again, not all sociopaths deploy the “romantic stare,” let’s not kid ourselves. But some do.  I’ve worked with many woman (and a few men) who can attest to it, and I’m sure many of you have had experience with it.

What is it? And what is its purpose?

It is an intense stare, a stare of very intense concentration the sociopath fixes on you, whose effect is at once unsettling and stimulating. It isn’t meant so much to be experienced as a “stare” as much as, well, an “experience.”

The sociopath wants you to experience him as experiencing you as the sole concern and interest in his universe. He is transmitting to you what he wants you to experience as his voracious interest in, and concentration on, you.

As I said, one is likely to experience this as both disconcerting and seductive. Why? Well, we are not used to experiencing ourselves as so totally captivating to another. So it’s a somewhat heady, exciting feeling to experience ourselves as engendering, seemingly, such a romantically hypnotic effect on another.

It is safe to say that the sociopath is in his grooming, seductive mode here.  The imperturbability and fixity of his gaze is as if communicating, “I am totally into you. Totally. I can’t even take my eyes off you, that’s how totally into you I am.

“Even though what I’m doing, in truth, is a form of my manipulating and controlling you, yet I want you to experience this as a case of your controlling me!

“I want to you to experience me as so enthralled with you, with the magical effect your beauty, voice, face, style has on me, that it’s as if I literally can’t take my voracious, probing eyes off you!

“And so, as I gaze at you with this intense, almost unblinking, laser-like attentiveness, I want you to experience me as helpless to do otherwise. That’s how powerfully, helplessly attracted I want you to experience me as!”

I italicize “as if” because many sociopaths, as we know, are“as if” personalities—often acutely focused on creating the right “effects” to support the perceptions of themselves they’re seeking to establish.

Now this doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful and don’t deserve to be looked at with genuine admiration, maybe even awe. But when that gaze is unbroken, sustained for too long, to the extent that you are feeling uncomfortable with, even if a bit excited by, its intense, probing scrutiny, take heed.

He may be staring into the face a very beautiful woman; you may be staring into the face of a sociopath.

(This article is copyrighted © 2011 by Steve Becker, LCSW. My use of male gender pronouns is strictly for convenience’s sake and not to suggest that females aren’t capable of the attitudes and behaviors discussed.)



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144 Comments on "The sociopath’s predatory stare, revisited"

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I do see and believe it is an addiction, one that they themselves created in us to keep us trapped. I do not believe that it is an addiction to drama and excitement. It’s an addiction to the love chemicals and hormones we were tricked into producing. Once the education takes place and NC severs the bond, the chemicals start to SLOWLY leave and then (for me) the really painful part happens……….you see the entire relationshi* clearly, for what it actually is/ was, which is NOTHING but a lie, an illusion, a trap, a trick. Even the good memories are horrific, more so than the bad for me, because they are all BS!! All part of the game. The only thing real about the POS is that he is a POS.
Yes, I am attracted to bad boys……I believe there is something they do to me at a level that is very primal. I actually can’t imagine finding a man who will stimulate my sex drive and be safe for me emotionally. I HATE that! He pretended to be both…….actually in the beginning he was so sexually docile I wasn’t THAT attracted to him……part of the trap.

I know it’s an addiction due to the chemicals and hormones. I just meant that the drama and excitement goes along with it…that is part of the addiction…it has to be. There wouldn’t be an addiction from the chemicals, etc. in the first place if there wasn’t drama and excitement, yeah?

SER……no, the drama and excitement is not what created the chemicals. It’s the whole bonding process, the brain chemicals that help create the glue that helps to hold people together. Mother’s and babys have it. The Spath creates the illusion of something that becomes real for the victim in this way but not for him. Chemistry Happens!

Yeah, but why does the chemistry happen?? It sure doesn’t happen in a BORING relationship. OK…

SER, sure it does! Togetherness creates the brain chemicals and hormones that foster bonding. It’s not the drama…..just the togetherness. That’s why they want to be with you and touch you and gaze into your eyes right from the get go. It causes you to go into a oxytocin trance!
Even normal healthy relationships have this affect, without the drama, manipulation, deception, etc, etc, etc….

dorothy2…well, for me personally, it does not happen with “good” guys. Just like you said, you are only sexually attracted to the bad boys. Same.

SER, I here ya. Honestly, I think it’s apples and oranges because there are SO many other elements involved when you are involved with a socio-ppath that it is more intense? The trauma they inflict, the isolation, etc…..the aftermath/ withdrawal is just a different animal. For me it has been anyhow because he hooked me in a very old old primal wounded place. he pretended to be all that and a bag of chips to me emotionally and turned out to be a dirty diaper.
And it’s different for everyone even in it’s sameness.

dorothy2…yes, it is all very damaging no matter which way we slice it…unfortunately. Very unfortunate. I am telling myself now that it was only a dream and never happened. Perhaps that will help me get over it.

It seems and feels like a dream……SO Sureal. That tells you something in and of it’s self.

Dorothy, I can relate to your being attracted to unavailable men. I am looking at this pattern right now as I am out there dating. I believe it is in fact possible to break the pattern. It is an energetic pattern stored in our body, and it is fueled by repressed emotion. There are forms of energy work that can help break destructive patterns and addictions. Again, the work is very freeing, but it’s also very painful, and it takes some courage and willingness to face the pain that fuels the addiction. I recently had a Cellular Release session, and it has been helpful, though I walked around feeling like total crap for a few days before the feelings started to surface. Since this small amount of work, I have found myself less attracted to a guy I’ve been dating who hasn’t been giving me the attention I want. In the past, I would become clingy and obsessive, trying to figure out what I did wrong to scare him off. Today, I can recognize him as “unavailable” and know that it has nothing to do with me. I can then downgrade him to the proper distance to where he cannot hurt me. That may mean a friendship only. Or it may mean no contact at all. I haven’t decided in the case of this last one. He is not a sociopath – just not available to me in the way I want from a man.

I have been sociopath-free for 5 years now. But my dating struggles are still very relevant to these discussions.

My situation was very complex Stargazer, much more than I can put into words. It was in some way kind of atypical but had a LOT of the typical elements mixed in. On my side, in this one way, I shot a hole in the bottom of my own boat: I was drinking heavily when the two of us entangled. I’m sober for two years and i’m not attracted to unavailable men nor attracted to available men. I don’t date…..of course i’m in no condition TO date after this whole mess but I just do my thing, live my life, etc……….
When I say I’m attracted to bad boys, I mean sexually. Unfortunately, I haven’t met too many reformed bad boys! LOL! THAT is what would be the solution. For not I seek nothing from no one.
Interesting, my bio mom was a bad boyaholic. I’d bet my bottom dollar my bio father was a bad boy.

THE STARE OF THE MASTER SEDUCER…..how many woman can he get to have sex with this week?……..all too well known in my case.

He would walk into a room with that intense stare beaming in on all women there….

In his case, he was so sexed up all the time and so therefore turned on all the time, he would stare as if he wanted to take the woman right there…..

On one of our dates: We left the restaurant and he stopped and looked into the air and said “I could have had her”…..referring to our server, a young girl….I saw him staring at her…but inside his brain he was seducing her all the while “listening” to me….sick

He would stare at couples in restaurants. I found out he was into threesomes, group sex and sex sites to find sex partners into anything and everything imaginable…sex clubs….

He would sit in restaurants and if a third person joined a couple, he would point it out and say that it was a threesome getting ready to join up together….

He was so casual about the sex he had in threesomes that he told me stories how he would meet up with a couple and go bowling together, then go have sex…..Why I didn’t run away is because he said how he had put away that life and wanted a pure relationship….

So that stare is all about power, sex, control…..and they don’t change. That is who they are….and whatever you find out about them is only the tip of the iceburg…trust me…



All I can say is Ewwwww, Your story makes the “Stare” even more disgusting than it already was to me. I’m still so naive that, until now, I could only relate the stare to an aggressive “come on”. Now, the image of this predator is burned into my brain. I will be MUCH more aware and cautious now. Thank you for the info,


Ewwwww is right…In the beginning, as the article by Steve above states, I thought it was for he and I. That it was a special charisma all for us….little did I know it was for all women he met or just saw anywhere.

That stare was not special….it was not a love stare for me….it wasn’t the look of love….it was a hard, intense, and meant to seduce sexually…

And upon realizing this fact and knowing it was for all women, I was disgusted too and will never forget it….

Yes, his stare is burned into my brain as well and I sure am very aware and cautious of “that stare”…glad to share if it helps…..

So glad to be free…..
Vision I see a woman free, happy, and in real love…

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