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The special problem of the “sort of” sociopath

We tend to speak of sociopaths versus non-sociopaths in pretty much either-or terms, despite recognizing that we fall along a spectrum of behaviors and attitudes that range from extremely unself-centered (even to self-sabotaging levels, reflecting poor self-esteem and weak self-protective defenses); to levels we would describe as dangerously exploitive (moving into the range of full-blown sociopathic personality, characterized by a troubling indifference to, and disregard of, others as separate human beings whose dignity deserves to be respected).

At bottom, as I have elsewhere written and stressed, the sociopath is a remorseless, chronic boundary violator; his regard for others’ dignity is minimal and shallow, if not missing. The function of his violating behaviors is to acquire something he wants with little, certainly no deep, regard for the damage he inflicts on others in his taking of it.

The sociopath knows that his behavior is “wrong” according to law and conventional standards of decency and, unless intellectually impaired, he knows “why” it is wrong from the same code of laws and standards.

He may be able to say, for instance, “It was wrong, or I know why it’s considered wrong, to have robbed that individual,” but he will rob him anyway, because he wanted the money and credit cards, and what he “wants” supersedes all codes of respect toward others.

Thus the damage he inflicts on others in taking what he wants is, at most, a secondary, non-ethical based consideration.

Just as importantly, if not more importantly, the sociopath’s understanding (intellectually) of the suffering he’s caused will leave him, unlike the non-sociopathic person, peculiarly (and tellingly) untroubled.

The sociopath, I can’t stress enough, is concerned with his gain, not others’ pain.

Now let me return to the point of this article. There are individuals with whom I work, not infrequently, whom I’d describe as, in some sense, “fall between the crack” personalities. These individuals have sociopathic tendencies. They are almost always chronically abusive one way or another.

Although they may not precisely meet every criterion of the textbook sociopath, still they exhibit, often (and historically) enough, the kinds of sociopathic abuses (and rationalizations of their abuses) that make them sociopathic enough to be avoided as assiduously as the full-blown sociopath.

Interestingly, these individuals can pose worse dangers than pure, unequivocal sociopaths for the very reason that it’s possible to find features of their personality that do not conform exactly to the textbook sociopath’s, leaving one dangerously more optimistic that her partner may be capable of the change and personal growth worth the wait, and suffering.

However, much more often than not, these individuals will lack this capability just as much as the clearcut sociopath lacks it. Yet their partners can find this especially hard to accept—that is, the virtual certainty that their sociopathically-inclined partner is as unlikely to make the kinds of critical reforms as the clearcut sociopath—because, in some respects, these “partial” sociopaths evidence certain capacities of sensitivity that encourage a seductive (but ultimately misguided) basis of hope?

Of whom am I speaking? I am speaking, for instance, of the individual willing to come to therapy. But you are much more likely to see this individual in a couples therapy situation than individual therapy (voluntarily). This is because in couples therapy he can more easily, craftily disavow his responsibility for the abuse he perpetrates than in individual therapy.

When you seek individual therapy, voluntarily, you are basically conceding that you are coming with some of your own issues to address that can’t so easily, entirely be pawned off on your partner. Certainly it’s possible for an individual to present himself in individual therapy, even voluntarily, on a purely manipulative basis, but this individual usually won’t stay in the therapy for more than several sessions and, moreover, he will quickly reveal signs of his flaky, dubious investment in the process.

So it’s quite rare to find a significantly sociopathically-impaired individual seeking individual therapy, sincerely, on his own. But I repeat: it’s quite common to meet these individuals in couples therapy, where they may also enjoy, on some level, the tension of the dynamic in the room—the challenge, in a sense, to compete for the vindication of their image and comparative innocence; to persuade the therapist of their partners’ craziness, or histrionics.

In short, the couples therapy environment can satisfy the sociopath’s tendency to gamesmanship, competition and manipulation. He can verbally flaunt his quickness, glibness, logic, gaslighting tendencies and, if he has them, his impressive analytic and persuasive powers; he can rise to the challenge of convincing the therapist who the really “whacked” party in the relationship is?

But let us not lose the thread of the article. We are speaking here not necessarily of the full-blown sociopath but the “partial” sociopath. And this, again, can complicate and, in some respects, worsen matters!

For the reason that, because he may not be a full-blown sociopath, he may be involved in the therapy with a “sort of—”perhaps a “partly genuine” wish—to  salvage the relationship, and not necessarily for entirely selfish, manipulative reasons.

And so this can be especially confusing to his partner, if not the therapist. Who is this man? If he is showing up regularly for couples sessions, seems on some levels to love his partner, is capable of producing, seemingly, some sincere insights and some accountability for his destructive behaviors (at least in the sessions), doesn’t this suggest a candidate for some real, substantive change, if not transformation?

But the answer most often is, NO. To repeat, the individual of whom I speak is almost always, in the final analysis, no more capable of changing than the textbook sociopath, only his more human side creates the teasing prospect that he can, indeed, produce this change, when he won’t, and can’t.

Why? Why can’t he? Why won’t he?

Because he has too much of the sociopath in him. What is too much? This is hard to quantify. At what point along the spectrum is he too far gone to make meaningful, worthwhile, reliable changes, even though he may retain some genuinely humane qualities?

For the answer to this question, tune in to my next article.

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

 



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337 Comments on "The special problem of the “sort of” sociopath"

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Dear Steve,

Thank you, THANK YOU for this great article! The “either/or” concept of “them” (the psychopath) versus “us” (non-psychopath) the “is or ain’t” attitude, like someone IS OR AIN’T pregnant, or IS OR AIN’T dead….the person isn’t “is or ain’t” a psychopath…there is a “little bit psychopathic” or a “lotta psychopathic” traits in an individual, but you are right, the person with a significant portion of psychopathic traits, though they might have a “redeeming feature” or two are still not going to be people we want a relationship with and they are NOT going to sincerely and effectively change what they ARE ON THE WHOLE….and that is as you so truly said is —“in the final analysis, no more capable of changing than the textbook sociopath, only his more human side creates the teasing prospect that he can, indeed, produce this change, when he won’t, and can’t. In the final analysis, no more capable of changing than the textbook sociopath, only his more human side creates the teasing prospect that he can, indeed, produce this change, when he won’t, and can’t.”

Narcissist~Sociopath one in the same..
Thanks for this article, we are or were in therapy, he walked out and I continue on alone. Your so very accurate.

Steve,
Thank you for this interesting article. Yours are always simple, that not simplistic, and quite interesting. Finally somebody points out the toxicity of these sort of psychopathic individuals. I find these ones more dangerous than the pure psychopaths because these ones hide their psychopathic traits among the few normal-human ones that they have. They appear more natural than the true psychos so it can take longer to realize their mean side is stronger than their good side and they’re as much a waste of time and energy as psychopaths are.
I’m certainly becoming very aware of these bugs since i met the two bugs of the empty, unexpressive eyes.
I’m becoming a total anti- bugs. I don’t know how i’ll end up….LOL

Steve ~ Thanks so much for this article! It makes the picture so much clearer.

It is so frustrating to mention the term psychopath and that people think of the cannibal with the muzzle. And i think that the idea that maybe is oneself who needs the muzzle crosses their minds. How much harm the cinema has done.

Dear Eva ~ That is the typical perception, to be sure. That is why education on the subject is so very important.

Kudos to Donna and Steve and all of the others that contribute here. There is such an amazing amount of information here, and a wonderful community of caring people.

Validating article. Can hardly wait for the following article. One disagreement though, although I think it’s only a tiny note considering your conclusion (which I agree with). I believe The not quite spath sincerely seeking counceling is ALWAYS doing it for selfish reasons; it comes down to THEIR way even if/when they don’t yet acknowledge it to themselves.

Dear Hope, it’s absolutely true Donna’s initiative and tenacity are exceptional, and also her good taste and common sense of surrounding herself by good professionals. It’s a pity there are few people like this concerning this tricky subject.
In Spanish language there’s not at all a site as good as this one. There are information, of course, but less. If i had not been able to understand English i suspect it would have taken me longer to understand what i was dealing with.
I suppose it’s understandable people hallucinate if one tells them of daily psychopaths when even having the problem oneself it’s not so easy to find out that the chaos one is surrounded by is due to a bug with an ugly and stigmatized name.

Interesting.

“And so this can be especially confusing to his partner, if not the therapist. Who is this man? If he is showing up regularly for couples sessions, seems on some levels to love his partner, is capable of producing, seemingly, some sincere insights and some accountability for his destructive behaviors (at least in the sessions), doesn’t this suggest a candidate for some real, substantive change, if not transformation?

But the answer most often is, NO. To repeat, the individual of whom I speak is almost always, in the final analysis, no more capable of changing than the textbook sociopath, only his more human side creates the teasing prospect that he can, indeed, produce this change, when he won’t, and can’t.”

For a time, my ex spath showed up for several sessions with his wife when the marriage was coming to an end, and then thereafter alone. The spaths DENIAL of their destructiveness is only half the picture here though, providing one is ever given to begin with. They enter therapy to FURTHER DESTROY and HARM their partners. That is the their motive ALWAYS, in no matter what disguise: HARM AND DESTRUCTION. If one keeps in mind the REASONS and MOTIVES for ANYTHING they do, one would be much better able to spot them. What a better place to witness a potentially hysterical reaction from a partner or a quizzical one from a therapist? lol!

When viewed from this perspective, it is easy to see why a spath would happily show his ass up to therapy! WOOT! For him it’s PARTY TIME!

We miss the boat if we stay focused on the reality that spaths are ultimately selfish (which they are), but not understand the deviancy on the WHOLE in that he does EVERYTHING, whether GOOD OR BAD with the intent to CAUSE PAIN AND TO DESTROY THE TARGET. This often is the ENTIRE reason behind the lies he tells in the BEGINNING of the relationshit during the love bombing phase disguised by his MANIPULATIONS. The lies are the webs he weaves to disguise his MALICIOUS, DEVIOUS and DESTRUCTIVE intent to cause PAIN.

LL

Steve

Great article and a really good point.

I spent Sooooo much time comparing checlists and trying to understand things (is there such a thing as Sociopath AND Schizoid?) and understand the degree.

My own therapist asked me the other day…..she asked “what matters more? how much good is in somebody, or how much evil?”

She realized that even the smallest amount of evil permeates everything.

Thanks Steve.

SK

LL – hellllllllllllo. Not seen you for a while. How’s it going?

I have to disagree that the sociopath is focused on his gain not other’s pain. My spath was most definitely focused on causing other’s pain. HE TOLD ME. several times, in a socipathic tell.

He was pretending to want revenge on my spath BIL and my spath sister, for turning him in to homeland security for drug running in his helicopter, (which he never did). None of that was even true, he was just trying to make me think this because he wanted me to be afraid for him.

His sociopathic tell was also a projection, “They are doing this to me because they are ENVIOUS. Envy is their motivation.” he said.
He continued, “I will make them pay, they will suffer, but before I make someone suffer, I like to make them really really happy. That way, when they suffer, the fall will be further from the top.” Again the truth from a spath, will be wrapped in a lie.
He then said, “I know exactly how I’ll make them happy. I will send them pictures of starving people from the auchwitz concentration camp because I KNOW that’s what makes them happy. They love to see others suffering. That’s what I’ll do before I make them pay for what they did to me.”
Again, he projected what makes him happy, on others. It makes him happy to see others suffering.

This is why sociopaths can’t be anthropomorphised. They do not think like we do and when you are trying to “win” against them, you will lose because they will PAY TO LOSE just to see you lose more. A normal person cannot fathom giving up valuable things just to see the look of pain on another person’s face, but for a spath, there’s nothing more valuable. It’s the craving of an addiction.

My spath had heard of a girl being drowned in a nearby river and her body was not recovered. He decided he would go search for it using his experimental gyrocopter to fly over the river. But he didn’t go alone. He invited his friend, BF, who btw, has a very expressive face. They spotted the corpse, then they went back and got a rubber raft, paddled out to it and fished it back. Police were called, media arrived, spath got some attention but requested that he not be named, so he could slither away.

When he got home, he told me what he had done. He did not describe the corpse, or the sadness, or the excitement or the fear or any of the other things that a normal person might. Instead my spath kept saying, “You should have seen BF’s face, you should have seen his face when we found the body, you should have seen him queeeeebing.” His voice was filled with glee about BF’s facial expression. He did everything he did just for a dose of intense emotional expression.

The difference between a narcissist and a spath is that the narc IS soley focused on himself and doesn’t care about you. But the spath is focused on YOU and the emotions you can supply him with. He is a full-fledged parasite.

Others’ pain IS a spath’s gain.

Candy,

LOL! Hellllllllllllllllllllllloooooooooooooo!! I’m good chica, just got a new puter. How are things in Candy world? I’m still trying to catch up on all the reading here! Great stuff!

LL

SKylar

Wow, what a story. What a sick sick person.

Sky,

I completely agree with the motives. To add to that post of brilliance of yours, they will use even the GOOD (manipulation) or the appearance of such to extract MORE pain for his pleasure.

Yes, yes, they ARE sadistic. Everything they do, EVERYTHING is for the purpose of destroying anyone on, or in his path.

His pleasure IS your pain! I noticed this in my spath’s reactions to me as well. He would purposely do things to HURT me, then wait for my reaction. There was NOTHING NORMAL in how he dealt with my “pain”. It was purely orgasmic for him to think he created the reaction and for the longest time got away with it.

BTW, in two days is the six month milestone for me 🙂

LL

Hey SK, yes he is really sick and slick too.
When he was telling me these things, he would watch my face closely. If he noticed any sign of disgust or disapproval he would quickly interject a story about how he saved a kitty, just yesterday, “because that’s the kind of man I AM!”
Dead serious, he would say these things.
So, do I believe that he saved the kitty? Most likely he did. He would never miss an opportunity to do a good deed where other could see it being done. The facade is a critical component of the parasite’s lure. You gotta buff it and polish it at every opportunity.

LL, we posted over each other. congratulations on almost 6 months!! ((hugs)). That’s a huge milestone, I know how far you’ve come, you have to celebrate.

SK

I think Sky’s spath is a really GOOD example as to just how deviant they really are. While there are spaths who were not quite so open about it, Sky figured it out, but I’m betting you that MOST are much like her spath, just well hidden. They aren’t going to outright tell you that they’re planning to kill, or that they even think about it. That’s part of the joy of duping people. Telling what the motive is would just spoil all the fun!

They are more deviant than you realize SK.

That’s why NC is so important. It’s for your safety. Literally.

Next time you want to pick up the phone if he calls you, think to yourself that all he wants is to TRIANGULATE you and sit back and watch YOU destroyed. The power YOU get is in saying NO WAY!

LL

Sky ~ Great post. I will be sharing it with my husband. Slowly, but surely, he is seeing the light about his ex SSV.

They really and truly are SICK, DISGUSTING CREATURES.

Sky,

this is is something you mention that is SO critical, I think and what has caused some of us to miss a spaths deviancy. The ‘nice” thing he does, his “good” deeds, which of course are done in public in front of many. Another tell if you will, but not unlike what is taught in abuser programs either.

The abuser if often unkind at home, but man of the community outside.

IN a spaths case though, no one is immune.

LL

LL – it gets really busy here these days. Like you I have trouble keeping up! Ox has been away for a while nursing a relative and is now reminiscing about her bulls in the garden!

nola has been struggling but seems to be finding work which is GOOD.

Hens is cheeky as ever:)

Sky is still showing us that there is always another angle to every spath.

All of the usual expert advice is flowing. I get my HIV results any day now. Work’s busy but good. I’m on a temp contract and the job application came today so I need to get it filled in this weekend.

So yeah, things are going ok thanx. I see you are 6 months spath free…………..Yipeeeeeeee time to party xxxxxxx

LL ~ you have it EXACTLY right. You could have been describing my husbands ex SSV. She is forever making herself “look good” in public. Volunteers at the school library, attends school functions etc.

Always provided with supply too. She is a hospice worker, and and emt. Listens to the police scanner endlessly. UGH

Candy girl- an HIV test? Shit. I’m really behind here!!! I hope that turns out okay for you!!!

Ah yes, Hens. I have another cute pic of my wiener I need to send. Hope his wieners are good

I did read that Oxy is providing assistance to a relative. I hope the duckies are okay! LOL!

Sky? Well, but of course. I learn so much from her.

candy that’s GREAT about the job!! Congrats!!! I hope it keeps you busy and spathy free!!

I’m starting work on my student loan appeal on the denied appeal today lol! I’ve been without a computer for a bit, but this new one is just the BOMB! Thanks for catching me up!

LL

H2h

Sad isn’t it? Because when you think of what’s truly behind all that “sacrifice” it has many, MANY shades of evil. It covers up the true deviancy that lies underneath and is the front that is used to cause more destruction and pain to everyone around them.

This makes me sad that it’s in hospice care as well, as I’ve done that work before. It takes BIG hearts to do it and a great deal of compassion as well, seems sad that a spath would use even that avenue to acquire a deviant cover. It’s not really supply H2H so much as it is just a cover. They could care less about any of those people they use as their cover to serve in order to live out their deviancies, often on those closest to them.

They can wear many masks. Spaths make me sick.

LL

LL – you’re welcome. Yeah, getting the test (amongst others) can’t be too careful. He was screwing anything and everything! I hear Duracell batteries are the BEST!!!!!They go on and on and on…….((((((chuckling)))))))
Good luck with the student loan. Take care:)

Candy

LOL!!!!! Gotcha! Please let us know about your test results. praying for a good outcome.

I have to deal with an STD everyday of my life now. NO BUENO!

I’m hoping for better for you!

((((((( CANDY )))))))

LL

LL ~ the hospice part is actually SSV trying to get in the good graces of financially well-off folks who are dying, but have no family to leave their money to. Also another ploy to make itself look like a kind, caring individual. Makes me wanna PUKE!!!

Candy ~ I will keep you in my prayers in the hope that your test is negative. Oh and another thing… we bought a shower massager. It says right on the package “you’ve never felt water like this!” They are NOT joking!!! Better than a vibrator, for a number of reasons, in my opinion. LOL

H2H!

LOL!!!! Yep, so true and probably cheaper than a vibrator too! Better than a spath any day of the week though!

About the hospice, yep, go figure. Always malicious intent. It’s amazing how those without conscience are those with the access to the most victims in professional services. It’s quite scary.

LL

H2H – “you’ve never felt water like this!” sounds like this comment ‘tickled your fancy’!!!

LL ~ BY FAR better than a spath. I was involved with one, but only briefly, when I was in my early 20’s. Of course, I had no idea that’s what it’s title was. I was very lucky, due to circumstances that separated us early in the “situation”. It was not able to cast the spell to get me hooked. Thank God!!!

I’ve always said that I had a whole flock of guardian angels protecting me when I was young and foolish. They brought me to this place, to help my wonderful husband in dealing with SSV and co-parenting their son.

Candy ~ LOL, definitely piqued my curiosity in the store… hmm, tickle, yeah I guess you COULD call it that !! LOL

H2H

Well, God bless you sweetheart!!! My stepmother was my guardian angel against my spath daddy. They eventually divorced and he nearly destroyed her, but she was the ONLY stable force in my life at all during those years, even though she often sided with spath daddy. Once she got out of the marriage though, she just grew and grew and is a fabulous person!

That’s a REALLY difficult thing to take on anyway, another person’s child, but when it’s a spath as a coparent. Oh WOW! I admire that about you!

That kid will never forget you if you can put up with it!

LL

LL ~ Thanks so much! It is trying indeed, and being here helps A LOT!!

Doing my best to learn as much as I can and share with my husband who is an absolute sweetheart. He was so very battered and bruised by SSV, literally and figuratively. My only hope is that we can bring the 16 yr old boy to adulthood without becoming a full-blown spath himself.

It sounds as if you were blessed to have a loving stepmother to protect you. Thank goodness she got away from that man too!!

Gotta go get ready for husband to come home from work.

God bless!!
H2H

Sky,

Okay, got to disagree with you a bit. YOUR psychopath is NOT THE IDENTICAL ONE WITH EVERY P, that is the point of Steve’s article I think….there are VARIATIONS and DEGREES…..it is not a case of “Is or ain’t” like either you IS OR AIN’T PREGNANT, no in between…..but you CAN be 1 day preg or 8 1/2 months preg (degree of preg) so a psychopath or not a psychopath isn’t IS OR AINT’ but can be a little bit P or a LOT P….if that makes sense….

SOME Ps I have known didn’t deliberately try to hurt others, but they hurt others and just either didn’t notice or didn’t care, but my P son—now that boy ENJOYS CAUSING OTHERS PAIN….and gets GLEE from it! My X BF P enjoys revenge, sometimes, but at other times, just doesn’t notice or care about pain caused by his behavior….and I’ve known other Ps who did what they want to do, and didn’t notice that what they did hurt others, and others that did notice, but just didn’t care….didn’t particularly enjoy hurting you, but if you were hurt….tuff! Eat the last piece of cake, knowing you hadn’t had any, but didn’t care because they felt entitled to it. Some would eat the last piece of cake and point out that they knew you wanted it…..some others would not eat it, but would smash it on the floor if they were too full to eat it, just to keep you from eating it.

My little darling P son would poison the cake and laugh while you seizured to death.

Ox,

I have to disagree with you on this.

If the intent is not purposeful to cause pain, then why all the lies from the get go?

When we discuss love bombing here, we also discuss the sociopaths LIES, which are present from the get go. This is INTENTIONAL and it causes PAIN when it’s revealed.

Perhaps there are degrees on the scale of psychopathy/sociopathy, but I do not agree in that it is NEVER intentional, because it is, as so many here can attest too.

LL

If i compare the two psychopaths i know enough my guess is that the “romantic” one is less malignant than my teacher.
The “romantic” one is more bon viveur, more interested in pleasure and pastimes. The teacher is more control freak, has less charming, is more openly aggressive and really enjoys torturing and feeling in control of others.
I observed the romantic one wanted fun and he would lie, manipulate, gastlight, whatever, but just in order to get his needs met, not because of pure sadism. Still, it’s true just this it’s not little dangerous.

LL, some psychopaths lie, but aren’t really AWARE that you are “hurt” by their lies….or even hurt by BEING lied to…because THEY would not be “hurt” the way you are hurt they can’t comprehend you being “hurt” or even really what “hurt” IS. Like Steve said, trying to teach a color blind person what “Red” is—or a tone deaf person what “tune” is—they are EMOTIONALLY “Deaf”/”blind”

So the PURPOSE of the lie isn’t to hurt, and they don’t even realize they HAVE HURT YOU….some of them…..OTHERS, seem to notice that you are “unhappy” (hurt) and they ENJOY seeing you unhappy/hurt/upset, like a situation where they have to have YOU LOSE, in order for THEM TO WIN…they ca’nt comprehend it seems to me that there can be a WIN/WIN situation….for them there has to be someone else lose for THEM to win. If that makes any sense.

I think the way Sky describes her X-P he was one that had to hurt others in order to “win”—and yours too sounds like a “hurt others in order to Win” kind of P—but not ALL of them are like that. Some just don’t CARE if you hurt even if they notice….and some are so dense and self centered they don’t even notice if you are hurting.

Like Dr. Robert Hare says, “you can teach them the words, but they cannot learn the tune.” So they can learn the word “love” but not have any idea that it is an active VERB and that certain ACTIONS go along with the word “love”—like nurturing and being nice to the person you love. LOL DUH!

Oxy,
My husband had that dog in the manger characteristic too. I think the reason he didn’t want me to have something that he DID NOT WANT for himself and would NOT COST him anything… was b/c he saw that as a LOSS for him b/c to him, if I got something I wanted, it meant I won. He deprived me not b/c he wanted it but b/c I could NOT be allowed to prevail, Not Ever. That particular characteristic is derived from envy.

Envy explained a lot. Made sense. Even his disloyalty to me, his wife, was to an extent similar to intense sibling rivalry. He was competing with me and I didn’t realize that was his game. But if you knew how his parents pitted their two boys against each other, it explained the envy and the pure hatred of his rival, that is ME who was the scapegoat that he gained approval from EVERYONE for “putting in my place”. I was the whipping boy for the one person he feared, his brother who knew childhood secrets that would destroy his precious community image.

Katy, that ENVY and therefore the need (as Dr. Leedom talks about the need) for CONTROL of others in some, if not all, psychopaths….and I agree with her on that. I think the first real head butting I got into with my P son was when he hit puberty and decided that he wanted CONTROL OVER ME, over the entire family for that matter….I saw it for a long time as “typical teenage stuff” —when in fact, it was MUCH MORE THAN THAT!

But ONLY in retrospect can I see that….at the time, it wasn’t easy to distinguish the difference between a “difficult” adolescence and a psychopathic one.

Ox,

I still disagree. The reality that P’s LOVE to watch your tortured reactions tells me that they ENJOY the pain they cause.

To say that they don’t know lying doesn’t hurt people isn’t logical. ALL P’s lie. My ex spath wasn’t nearly as “bad” or rather as high on the psychopathy scale as Sky’s on that we will agree,, as he wasn’t into trying to KILL me, but because they don’t KILL you physically, doesn’t mean they aren’t intentionally doing it emotionally/sexually/financially/psychologically. Soul murder.

They KNOW what they’re doing, thus the all the duping they do. All the cover up. All the masking. Saying they don’t care is TRUE!< but saying they don't KNOW that they're doing it, I don't believe is accurate. How many have asked their P's not to do the same behaviors that cause pain over and over and they CONTINUE to do it?

Do you really mean to say that when they love bomb and KNOW they're lying they don't really "know" that they're doing it and that their intention is not to cause pain but just to "win"?

I don't believe that. They lie from the first sentence and they know they're doing it. My spath KNEW he was doing it, and not only did he KNOW he was doing it, he ALSO DIDN"T CARE that he was doing it.

They aren't so stooooopid that they don't know that their lies will not cause pain. If you want to categorize it as "winning" it's the same thing. They know what they're doing and they're doing it to "win". Which causes pain. It's intentional.

You don't do anything with the mindset of winning and not know what you're doing to make it happen.

LL

Oxy, if we all agree that spath do what they do out of envy, then what part of that is not “intentional” ?

Envy is the desire to have the the quality, possession or attribute of someone else. Envy is most definitely focused on the person who has the possession. it isn’t focused on the quality, possesion or attribute, but instead it is focused on the person who has it. We have other words to describe desire for something that is not already the possesion of someone else. Envy, jealousy and covetousness are directed at the model holding the object. They a special forms of desire and they are destructive emotions.

Many of us have experienced schadenfreude. You expressed some of it yourself the other day with regard to your pedophile enemy who shot himself. I think we can agree, that you were pleased that he was no longer a threat and justice had been served through karma. That’s particularly satisfying. But as much as you felt that he should be punished, you didn’t go out and kill him yourself. You made that choice, and I’ll bet if you thought you would get away with it you still wouldn’t go kill him.

Envy is similar to schadenfraude because the envious spath wishes ill will on someone else, they wish for the person to lose so that they can win. It isn’t enough to share, or for the person to lose interest in the game. There HAS TO BE A LOSER, or the game is no fun. But the difference is that the envious spath actually goes out and makes it happen through cheating. So here is where the choice comes in. Any human being may feel envy, but the spath ACTS ON THAT ENVY. The feeling of envy is derived from a feeling that someone has more then he does. He just thinks that it isn’t fair. Life is only fair when HE has more. Life is only fair when others envy him. Schadenfraude is similar in that it is a feeling that someone got justice served on them and finally things are more fair.

You said, spaths know the words but don’t know the tune. true enough, but then you added that they don’t understand that actions go with love. SURE THEY DO. Mine did. he was so loving, took such good care of me, he was my freakin’ hero! He was always there for me and he was my Knight in shining armor. He could play the part. He knew the words and the actions. But he was a liar. Because he never felt the love. Consequently, he had to punish me as often as he rewarded me.

If you believe that there are sociopaths who are uncaring about the pain they cause, it’s because you are giving them the benefit of the doubt. That’s exactly what they want. They want to disguise themselves as inconsiderate jerks. The next step would be to say, “forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” And then we would have to, wouldn’t we?
It’s a slippery slope and I’m not going down it – again. I just spent 25 years sliding down that one. I learned my lesson.

Lastly, anyone here who remembers that moment, you know the moment when we extended our hand in love and compassion, willing to love with all of our goodness and then the shock of feeling a knife in your gut, KNOWS that the spath chose that moment because it caused the most pain. To be repaid for your goodness with evil is mind-blowing to a good person. The spaths all do this, it’s so much fun to watch the expressions on our faces.

skylar:

You said:

When he got home, he told me what he had done. He did not describe the corpse, or the sadness, or the excitement or the fear or any of the other things that a normal person might. Instead my spath kept saying, “You should have seen BF’s face, you should have seen his face when we found the body, you should have seen him queeeeebing.” His voice was filled with glee about BF’s facial expression. He did everything he did just for a dose of intense emotional expression.

Isn’t it that he couldn’t describe any of those things to you…the sadness, the excitement, etc. because he CAN’T and DIDN’T feel them? And then when he was saying you should have seen BF’s face, etc., he was saying that because he was seeing all those emotions on the other person’s face…HE couldn’t feel them; that is why he had to watch the other person to mirror what he SHOULD have been feeling.

Scary.

Sky

brilliant post. Absolutely brilliant.

And thought provoking. And I will think about it.

LL

Has anyone been following the Casey Anthony trial?
OMG, talk about sociopaths!

Wow EB92! I had never thought of that.
I was so disgusted by the thing that it never occured to me that he was trying to learn the facial expressions.

that might be one thing, but he also liked to take me to the movies. we would go to action /thriller type movies and he would say, “here, wrap your arms and legs on me so i can keep you warm.” During this time, for the last 15 years or so, we were no longer intimate. There was no romance, it was platonic and friendly. But now I understand why he did that. At the movies he liked to feel my body’s reactions when I jumped or startled. weird.

tobe,

I sure wish I could! Is court tv still in existence? I’ve only been getting bits and pieces here and there, but through the filters, it’s clear she’s spath.

How sad.

LL

Yep, he was trying to see WHEN you would jump and WHAT had just happened to make you do it.

I just cannot imagine going through life like that. They all have to be absolutely miserable!!!

eb

but that’s just it. They aren’t miserable when they’re getting a rise out of you. it’s what they live for.

You’re miserable. They’re rewarded.

LL

Its on HLN. I record it. I’m so into it…like reading a book that I can’t put down. Then Joy Behar talks about it.
She threw her own family under the bus now! Blaming it on them….omg!
Her lies, blank expressions, fake crying…(no tears) …are unbelievable.
I just hope they can find enough evidence to keep her in jail for the rest of her life.
Its also a shame that these lawyers fabricated the whole lying story…and they are making so much money on the case…and Florida taxpayers are being raped for millions over this!
It is so interesting to watch.

EB92,
you’re right again! you won’t believe me but I had not really thought of it that way. I just thought he was having me for dessert. Someone else, I forget who, mentioned that their spath always jumped a second after everyone else did at the movies.

LL:

You are right! They are so glib! I hate them all.

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