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By | July 7, 2011 73 Comments

When amoral characters just aren’t sociopaths

You can sit with a sociopath and know he’s a sociopath, and sit with someone who perpetrates the behaviors of the sociopath, even as comfortably as the sociopath does, and yet know he’s not a sociopath. How? How can you know?

Is it something intuitive?  I address this from a clinical perspective, not a personal or intimate one. But still, I find it somewhat interesting to feel, or recognize, this distinction, and maybe you’ll find it more relevant than I imagine.

Of course, the history says a lot. Whenever you are dealing with someone who is raising his kids with some real love, holding down a job, paying his bills, not abusing his spouse and maintaining a history (past and present) of friendships, these are indicators that whatever else he is up to, he is probably not a sociopath.

And so, strangely enough, in sitting with an individual who is perpetrating “dubious” behaviors, and is doing so perhaps even as a lifestyle versus, say, as a sudden, temporary departure from his normal self —strangely enough, in sitting with such a person, one sometimes gets the sense if this individual, in his essence, is “clean,” or “dirty?” Meaning, is his dubious behavior reflective of a corrupt essence, or does it somehow feel divorced from his essence?

Depending on the answer, one’s experience of the individual can be dramatically, significantly different and diagnostically very telling.

If this sounds simplistic, even untenable, I understand; and yet I’ve found it to be–for me, at least–a rather reliable experiential factor in ruling-out sociopathy.

I’ve worked with individuals who have done, or are doing, some pretty rotten, disturbing things, yet who clearly are not sociopaths, whereas I’ve also worked with individuals whose behavioral resumes may favorably compare to the former individuals’, yet who clearly are sociopathic.

Now what do I mean by “clean?” Of course, I don’t mean it in a physical sense. I mean that the individual transmits a certain authenticity, a certain genuineness that the sociopath doesn’t. He also possesses what I’d describe, very importantly, as a willingness and capacity to be known. Further, he possesses the capacity to really own his suspect actions: he does not deny them; is less likely than the sociopath to rationalize them; and is less likely to blame others for the liberties he takes with them.

He may, or may not, feel guilt for what he does that he knows is wrong from an ethical (if not legal) standpoint; and it’s often the case that if he doesn’t feel guilt he won’t pretend that he does; and yet, unlike the sociopath, he may feel genuinely uncomfortable with his lack of guilt.

He may say something like, “I know I should feel guilty about this, but I don’t. I really don’t. Sometimes I wonder, is there something wrong with me?” And he will say and mean this sincerely.

Conversely, there is something, as we know, very slippery about the sociopath—slippery in the way he discusses, or evades, responsibility for his behaviors. The sociopath’s emotional superficiality becomes evident in the office fairly soon; and, for that reason, one grows bored with him, soon.

If he doesn’t feign guilt or regret for his actions—that is, even if he admits to feeling no guilt, notably he is neither uncomfortable with, nor curious about, his lack of guilt. (In contrast, as I suggested, the guiltless non-sociopath tends to be somewhat more struck by, and curious about, his guiltlessness.)

The sociopath, I can’t stress enough, is not someone you can get to know. This is a subtle, very revealing experience. Something obstructs the process of getting to know him. First of all, he does not make himself knowable in a genuine sense.  He is not engagable at a deep enough, and genuine enough level, to be “known.”

It is surely also true that something else, something perhaps more elemental, obstructs here: the sociopath is gapingly missing personal substance. And personal substance is required to be known.

There is emptiness there, which nothing can fill. At best the smoother sociopath can disguise this massive deficit with superficially entertaining, diverting qualities. But in the clinical setting, these disguises are less effective, their effect shorter-term.

He can’t hide for long the fact that he can’t make himself known; or that, at bottom, there is so little of him to know. If he weren’t so sociopathic, he’d feel ashamed of this, mortified.

Of course if he felt that shame, that mortification, he wouldn’t be a sociopath.

(This article is copyrighted © 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 attitudes and behaviors discussed.)

 


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Ox Drover

Dear Steve,

Your article is somewhat confusing (unlike most of your articles) and I am left wondering if this “feeling” you get is in a professional/clinical venue or in a more social venue?

I have read that about 25% of professionals will sort of have the “hair stand up on the back of their necks” (to use a phrase indicating emotional unrest or subconscious fear response) in the presence of a psychopath.

I wish I could say I got an inclination that there was something “off” in someone the first time or two I met them, but Generally I can’t say as I do. I generally now recognize a “love bomb” as something to make my “P-dar” go “ding dong” and other small indications that there might be a predator on the loose, but in general I don’t have such insight without observing several different behaviors.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Steve said: ‘He also possesses what I’d describe, very importantly, as a willingness and capacity to be known.’ And here i am thinking my dad is just a narcissist. Energetically ‘cloaked’ is the word others have used about him. eek.

Steve – It seems to me that you may be describing a criminal who is obviously doing bad things, but yet is not a sociopath.

The issue with sociopaths is that there is nothing inside – that’s why you can’t know them!

skylar

Steve,
I completely understand what you are saying. I’ve experienced the distinction – but I still say that they are BOTH sociopaths, with different levels of awareness about their sociopathy.

My exspath was of they type that you describe as unknowable. Unknowable because there is nothing there but pure evil. As remarkable and talented and charming as he is, he has the emotional depth of an infant – an angry, evil infant.

But there are other types of sociopaths. Slightly more complex because of their awareness, they are still predictable because the root of their compulsion to harm others is the same: envy and a feeling of needing to cheat because they have been cheated.

I’m learning that one can’t judge a sociopath by what traits they have, as much as what they don’t have: a moral compass, a sense of values beyond wealth and power, a sense of responsibility. This is because we are all capable of having evil impulses, especially when we feel we’ve been wronged. It’s the moral sensibilities which put the brakes on those behaviors. People lacking those brakes, have no limits and the sociopath is proud of having no limits.

That’s why they sometimes have a willingness and capacity to be known, they aren’t ashamed of what they are. The only reason they will hide it sometimes is because it benefits them in their con.

Maybe the 2nd type is more likely to be considered a malignant narcissist, like Sam Vaknin. But the distinction is just a matter of degree of evil.

Ox Drover

I’ve reread this article and answered (in the re-reading) some of my own questions about it…but generated more questions in the process.

How can you tell, Steve, when an “apology” is genuine, how can you distinguish real remorse from fake remorse? While I get Hare’s “they know the words but not the music” part of distinguishing the real from the false, SOME OF THE TIME, some of them are quite good at using the RIGHT WORDS at the right time, especially if they are not under a great deal of stress. Bill Clinton is an excellent example of being able to twist reality and truth 99.999% of the time. He came by the name of “slick Willy” very honestly.

Ox Drover

Donna, And Skylar, we all three posted over each other. LOL

the sisterhood

As with everything in life, there is a spectrum. There is no clear black and white from where a narcissist ends and a sociopath begins. There are degrees to everthing. What this article sounds like is a slightly less volitale sociopath vs. a sociopath that is at the more evil end of the spectrum. They are both, most likely, sociopaths. Or perhaps one is a malignant narcissist while the other is a sociopath. At this point it is just semantics. They are both dangerous to the soul and one needs to be careful in dealiing with either.

I’m personally at a point where all the labels are only getting me more frustrated in understanding my experience. I seem to be the only one who sees my ex for what he is. So, is he a sociopath/narcissist if I am the only one to acknowledge it. If it is only my truth we are dealing with here, is it still relevant? At this stage of my healing, I don’t know. All I do know is that I am glad to be rid of him and fully on the path to healing.

My truth is really all I’m left with in the end. And that has to be enough. It just simply has to be.

Ox Drover

Dear Sisterhood,

Welcome to LF, and yes, to VALIDATING YOUR TRUTH….and your truth IS VALID, even if only you validate it.

It took me a long time to realize that I could validate my own truth, and like Columbus who was the only man in the world at that time that thought the world was ROUND, it did NOT change the shape of the world that he was the ONLY man who believed that.

Truth is truth…even if you are the only one to believe it. So Towanda for you Sister!!!! YOUR TRUTH IS VALID. YOU ARE VALID. That’s all you need to know. Welcome to Love Fraud.

the sisterhood

Thank you, Ox Drover.

I’m starting to spiritually understand it all now. What a difficult journey it has been, though. I’m tired right now. But I do know freedom from this pain is in me already. I just have to dig a little deeper for it to be fully realized.

Thanks, again.

KatyDid

I am not so sure about this opinion. My husband was immoral. It was not until he came to decision time that he crossed the line into sociopathy. That’s what I think about these type defined as immoral… they just haven’t crossed that line. B/c once they do, they WILL NOT (chose NOT) to pull back.

When I was a kid, I stole candy. Actually I stole a lot of candy. Why did I stop? Didn’t want to do it anymore. Made me feel bad. I WANTED to pull back. My conscience kicked in.

So I was IMMORAL, I crossed the line. THEN, while immoral, I chose to reverse myself. The difference is that once immorals cross the line, they don’t reverse.

I believe they are just unevolved spaths. Once they EVOLVE or cross that line… how many IMMORALS people of the caliber we were in relationship with do all of you think chose to reverse BACK??

FightAnotherDay

Whether Steve is absolutely correct or not, what I gained from this article is that when meeting some one, you should TRY to get to KNOW them deeply. I am very out-going, and like many of us victims I was more concerned about being liked by my (unknown) P than what he had to offer me.
Like Steve says, “the smoother sociopath can disguise this massive deficit with superficially entertaining, diverting qualities.” I was distracted by my P’s humor, stories, tall-tales, and pity ploys.
I of course was always “waxing”, telling my P my dreams, my ethics, my tastes.
The P didn’t share, but rather, as we know, used my openness to become my perfect match.

Thank you Steve.

Constantine

Well, I have to say that I’m not terribly impressed by a “guiltless person who is curious about their guiltlessness” – as though they deserve some kind of special pat on the back for that! In other words, a mere intellectual curiosity about feeling “guiltlessness” and lack of remorse is hardly a reason to put someone into the “nonsociopathic” category! In fact, I have a hard time picturing how someone who is TRULY guiltless (in regards to “dubious” or abusive behaviours) could be anything but that! (With the proviso, of course, that we need to further define what we mean by “abusive” and “dubious”, etc.)

Indeed, when you have a person who is both amoral and guiltless, I think I would put the predominant emphasis on that, and look scornfully on all the other stuff that as just so much in the way of “The Mask of Sanity.”

Now, that’s not to say that all abusive and immoral people are sociopaths – this much goes without saying. But “amoral” is quite a different thing from “immoral”, and a person who feels no qualms whatsoever about being amoral (rather than being simply or occasionally immoral) and abusive, well – bingo! – that’s when I think you’ve got the real item.

Redwald

One thing I enjoyed about this article, Steve, was when I got to this line:

The sociopath, I can’t stress enough, is not someone you can get to know.

When I read that, what occurred to me immediately was “Maybe there’s nothing there TO know!”

Then, in your very next paragraph, that’s exactly what you said, more or less!

Redwald

There are different reasons why people do bad things. Some people do bad things because their obsessions, or fears, or the rage they’re carrying, or the circumstances they find themselves in, simply overwhelm their conscience. Sometimes they feel they “had no alternative” to doing whatever they did, but very often they’re able to rationalize to themselves why they do it, and overcome their conscience in that way. Many of these people are redeemable.

The psychopath on the other hand has no “conscience” to overwhelm in the first place!

Redwald

As with everything in life, there is a spectrum. There is no clear black and white from where a narcissist ends and a sociopath begins.

Yes indeed. It’s not possible to fit people neatly into mutually exclusive pigeonholes. Another problem can be failing to recognize the multidimensional nature of personality disorders… or of humans in general, come to that! For instance, I’ve heard some people claim that narcissism is just a stage on the way to psychopathy. So in their minds, not all narcissists are psychopaths (which is perfectly true), but they claim that “all psychopaths are narcissists.” I don’t put much stock in that latter claim myself. Some psychopaths certainly are narcissists (Sam Vaknin is a proven example), but as far as I can see, a number of psychopaths are weak in the traits that characterize narcissism, like the desperation to feed their ego at all costs. So I tend to regard narcissism as a somewhat independent trait. Some psychopaths are markedly narcissistic as well, that’s all. You’ll just have to decide for yourself what particular collection of traits your ex had. Meanwhile, it’s enough to know he was toxic to you.

Ox Drover

Redwald,

I agree with your above post….most psychopaths are to some extent Narcissistic, but so are WE….my P son and my P sperm donor are OVER THE TOP NARCISSISTIC as well as psychopathic in every dimension, and most people I know who are VERY narcissistic are definitely toxic, and not good friends, but they might actually not be psychopaths….and again, we have to look at WHICH DEFINITION we use for “psychopath”—the points we are making HERE for OUR PURPOSES OF AVOIDING TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS–is fairly loose. We are not professionals doing a research project that we intend to publish in the AMA Journal or the Lancet but looking instead at ways to recognize the common, garden variety person who is TOXIC in respect to a relationship.

We can learn about “poison snakes” without being experts in the DNA of some very rare cobra found only under dead palm trees in some obscure part of India. LOL

dancingnancies

Steve, bang on! I always enjoy your articles because you have the gift of being able to articulate ideas very well. You’re right. Empty shells.

“…personal substance is required to be known.

Yes.. the authenticity of a person, regardless of whether the person is a saint or not- comes through if they are not a psychopath. The psychopath however, is always stealing the bits and pieces of others that make them unique ( Read : Mirroring ) and present them in a overembellished facade- they don’t understand what makes others unique and valuable, they just see that they have to “appear” a certain way in order to fulfill their selfish motives. The facade is often so layed on “so thick”-some may, unaware that they are dealing with a sociopath, dismiss this as a idiosyncratic or behavioral quirk- when in reality it’s because it is NOT GENUINE! And when one becomes aware of this, it all becomes so clear. Countless Ah-Ha! moments ensue.

curious_browser

This seems idiosyncratic to me. If the patient meets the DSM-IV-TR criteria for antisocial personality disorder, they have antisocial personality disorder. If they meet the threshold of 30/40 on the PCL-R, they’re diagnosable with PCL-R psychopathy. Likewise, if they meet the ICD-10 criteria for dissocial personality disorder, they could be diagnosed with that.

This authenticity you’re describing sounds like a relative lack of the shallow affect that defines the prototypic psychopath, but this is only one item of twenty on the PCL-R. Theoretically, it may be useful to divide antisocial personalities on characteristics like this as Joseph T. Lykken does. A primary psychopath will be emotionally deficient: fearless, callous, guiltless, shallow, lacking in anxiety. A secondary psychopath may possess neurotic conflict. Lykken defines sociopaths as persistent criminals/antisocials whose behavior may be attributable to environment/upbringing than innate temperament, so a sociopath may not have the emotional shallowness of the primary psychopath.

Ox Drover

Dear curious browser,

There are so many “divisions” of personality disorders now that it is sort of like a “color chart” for shades of paint….We have of course the “primary colors” and all the shades in between, so when is “blue, blue?” and when is blue NOT blue? Actually there is I believe a definition in terms of light rays, but for our purposes of buying paint….I think too many definitions is worse than none….because now, there are so many names for different “shades of blue” that no one agrees on when blue is blue or actually what blue is, or how you figure out what blue is.

There needs to be some consistency not further division of “blue.” IMHO.

KatyDid

Oxy,
I posted a response b/c while I respect Steve Becker, I didn’t quite see his point. Rather, I disagreed. But I wasn’t able to express exactly why. With respect to Dr Steve, a liar who is able to look at himself from the third person perspective and expressing awareness that they feel no guilt is NOT a marker that shows genuine discomfort. Rather I think Dr Steves decribes a TRANSITORY phase.

Your response to curious browser captures my thought so much better than what I wrote. Right on. Oxy. Splitting hairs is not helpful. Let’s call it what it is. BLUE is blue.

I also realized that I misread immoral vs amoral, as another poster observed the word and yes, I believe anyone who is AMORAL, without morals, (synonymous to with out a conscience) is by inherent definition, spath.

(In a small irony, I used to tell my husband, “The sky is BLUE.” as an arguement to him that degrees of wrong doesn’t change that wrong is wrong.)

Katy

Ox Drover

Katy, on the subject of amoral vs. immoral.

I think that children are born without a morality….and that what is MORAL VS. IMMORAL is a trained thing in children by the culture and the parents. What is moral in one culture is immoral in another.

For example, the men who drove the planes into the Twin Towers were doing what THEY considered MORAL. WE considered
it IMMORAL.

A person who has NO morals, no right or wrong ideas is A-moral, the prefex A meaning “Without” so an act done by a person who is Amoral may be the same as a person who does it but has a moral and does it immorally (against what they think is right) If that makes any sense.

I do think though that dividing and sub-dividing and sub-sub-dividing the definitions of personality disorders is counter productive to understanding them rather than understanding.

Stealing is an immoral act in our society. Yet, if a man steals because he is STARVING is it still “immoral”? In the old testement the Bible made a difference between a man who stole for greed and one who stole for need. They were both considered WRONG but one was punished a great deal more harshly than the other.

Louise

All I know is the spaths never have just one disorder. They all have multiple, overlapping disorders in my opinion.

Ox Drover

Louise, it is very common that psychopaths also have ADHD and/or Bi-polar as well as psychopathy….interestingly enough, more of them are LEFT HANDED than average as well. My P son is left handed and his Trojan Horse psychopath is left handed as well, also ADHD and Bi-Polar (alll professionally diagnosed). My P son could be bi-polar and me not know it, he seems manic at times, but I have not been around him enough to know or to see enough symptoms to make a diagnosis. I would say though that he is NOT ADHD as it did not show up before he was 17 when he last lived in my house.

behind_blue_eyes

Wow. If I had to say one thing about my x-spath is that he did not want to be “known,” even to the point where he was reluctant to tell me exactly where he lived.

Now, this was a while ago, but my gut memory is that he actually told me he lived one town away from his real town.

I am almost sure of this and the reason why I would have remembered is that end of my Subway line is the name as his town. I know I would have remembered that.

candy

Blue – looks like you just had a ‘aha’ moment. Funny how these things pop up in our heads. Mine did a similar thing. It was only later, like you, that it ‘came’ to me. It seems like our brains block the info for some reason. But then it comes to us and we think YES I remember.

curious_browser

KatyDid, Ox Drover,

In terms of avoiding bad people, yes, a granular understanding of personality disorders isn’t really necessary. Avoid people who lie, cheat, and harm others regardless of any diagnoses they may or may not have.

For scientific research and treatment, these theoretical distinctions do matter. Some of the personality disorders have nothing to do with what’s discussed on this site; for example, someone with an avoidant personality disorder is more likely to avoid you and is quite inhibited. Someone with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may be annoying to others, but their meticulous following of rules and procedures generally means they won’t be involved in the kinds of antisocial behaviors discussed here.

Within antisocial/dissocial personality disorder itself, it is useful to subdivide along theoretical and empirical lines. Someone whose psychopathy is rooted in a callous/unemotional and instrumentally aggressive disposition may have a different treatment than a psychopathy rooted in ADHD/impulsivity and emotional dysregulation/reactive aggression. Likewise, someone whose antisocial behavior and attitudes are primarily owed to temperament is different from the kid who grew up in the ghetto and had to join a gang to avoid being stabbed to death on the way to school.

behind_blue_eyes

Candy;

I have had several regarding the x-spath but its the ones like these that really hit home. Again, I compare him to those I have dated after him. Good and bad, they wanted to be known. I wanted my x-spath to know me.

He even said that he “needed to be more open.”

I aslo have a brilliant idea to get some closure that I have never had…

Louise

Oxy:

Thank you. I think my X spath had to have ADHD. He could never sit in one spot for long; always on the move…probably why he can’t watch a movie; can’t sit still that long. Interesting about the left handedness. Hmmmm, something to ponder.

candy

Ok Blue what’s your brilliant secret?

KatyDid

Thanks Curious Browser, That’s very helpful. I have a highly developed need to put order or reason to what I read. I now understand better and appreciate that you shared your insight.

behind_blue_eyes

Candy;

When I was still in counseling, my therapist never really allowed me to talk about the x-spath, as he not only felt that I should concentrate on moving on, but there were other issues I needed to deal with. Since at the time i did not realize I was had encountered a sociopathy, I was somewhat embarrassed to even mention I still had recurring thoughts.

Thus, other than here, I was never able to explain to anyone my experience. But here, it comes out in dribs and drabs. For about a year, I have felt that maybe if I had a couple of sessions with a professional who not only understands sociopaths but has an interest in them, I might get the closure I am seeking. Somebody to validate my experience.

I think I have found that professional and he is only a short train ride away.

Ox Drover

Curious, I agree for reasons of research there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration….but I think that many times people like most of the bloggers here should stick to learning about the “primary colors” rather than trying to learn the “2,489”* shades of “blue” that are possible. (*that’s a made up number for demonstration purposes, don’t try this at home.)LOL

Thanks for your interesting posts.

Louise

BBE:

Good for you!! I am so happy to hear that!!

candy

Blue – I think you are right. We need to talk. We need to get it out but sometimes we don’t know what we need to get out (if that makes any sense)

I’m 9 months out of the realationshit and I still get the ‘aha’ moments so don’t be too hard on yourself.

Good luck with the new therapist.

behind_blue_eyes

Candy;

Thanks. I really don’t need therapy more than a couple sessions to put it all out there. Because of his subtle “pity play” I always have had lingering empathy towards him, also since he was not physically violent or financially abusive towards me. Just this manipulation and lies, all psychological…

candy

Blue – it’s all mind games. I had one hour of therapy. Yes it helped. She was very good and ‘got’ it.

I also had a lot of info from his ex which helped me to understand exactly how he ticks and what he did to me.

LF has been invaluable, it’s hard to explain what a lifesaver this site has been.

I sincerely hope you get the help and closure you are seeking.

behind_blue_eyes

Candy;

Probably take 3-4 hours for me 🙁

slimone

Great posts all.

I was struck, once again, by the idea of spaths being unknowable. I totally agree with this, and it is my absolute experience.

It is also a ‘feeling’, not just an experience. And I think I understand some of what Steve may be getting at.

When I look/feel back on the spaths that I knew more ‘intimately’ there was this tickly/niggling feeling in my gut of ALWAYS wanting more: to be let in, to be allowed to ‘enter’, as it were, their minds and hearts. AND that feeling NEVER went away. I believe that was THE point of ultimate frustration and sadness/depression for me. It also made me feel like an insecure junky!

One of the ‘men’ I was with said to me, ‘You know, I am giving you what SO many of my women have asked me for’. What he meant was hanging out at his house, ‘playing house’. Sleeping in his bed, cooking breakfast, calling me his girlfriend, having a few things at each other’s places. But something about it felt contrived. I kept wracking it up to a lack of experience and fierce individuality on his part. And for a short while I felt some possibility there. Like when you are young and first dabble at really being a couple.

However he could never do anything more than ‘play’ at something. And it wasn’t just playing house, it was playing-at-being- a-person-who-can-be-known. For me I felt that inability in him, and the boredom of superficial relating and NOT being able to actually get close, and it depressed the crap out of me. And it frustrated me because no matter how I tried, there was basically just the same level of relating every SINGLE moment. Over and over and over.

And I wouldn’t just feel disconnected from an authentic experience of them either. If I stayed too long I ultimately felt cut off from my OWN self-knowing. Of course this cutting off from myself, maybe, was that I was living a lie, with them, and trying to make it real. That is totally soul killing. It is painfully self-destructive. Because I had to DENY my own feelings and responses, my own SELF, in order to stay in the presence of these men (and women). I figure I did this for complex reasons, not the least of which is they seemed to posses something that might make what was ‘wrong’ right.

Perhaps with Steve’s experience as a therapist he has come to recognize this sometimes rather subtle experience and it’s accompanying feeling. Maybe not being emotionally invested can afford one the opportunity to feel some subtlties, that are otherwise difficult to hold on to and examine.

For me it took ‘getting close’, too close, and being personally adrift and out of touch with me, before I could separate and ‘see’ what I had ‘felt’ all along.

skylar

Slim,
You did a great job describing a certain type of spath. And I know it wasn’t easy. I’m particularly struck by how his avoidance of being real (all spaths avoid reality by telling lies), made you become less authentic yourself. It’s a spot on observation of the damage that the people of the lie do to us when we are exposed to them. I’m not sure that any psychological hygiene exists which can really protect us from that kind of psychological warfare.

My spath was slightly different. He was unknowable because he was so shallow, that there was nothing to know except the banality of evil.

But he had me fooled. I guess I was too young at 17 to know the difference between a real person and a facade. As I grew older, he just seemed like an old habit that I no longer questioned. He seemed real enough, even complex in some ways. It takes maturity to understand when we are seeing a lack of maturity.

That alone is an excellent reason to avoid marriage/bonding until you know YOURSELF.

Ana

Sky,
Remember the two words you came up with to describe the spath? I know the last one was MALICE, but for the life of me can’t remember the first word. Can ya tell me? Thanks.

Ox Drover

Great post Slim

skylar

Ana, hmmm…
I never remember what I’ve said…
it might have been malicious intent.
or predatory malice or intentional malice.

The legal term is malice aforethought. It should have been used liberally in the Casey trial.

KatyDid

I don’t know skylar’s words but indifferent malice works for me. She was indifferent, she didn’t do the behavior to make sure it DID NOT happen. It’s not like a kid running in front of a car. Casey Anthony did not do diligent care for her daughter Kaylee. AND AFTERWARD WAS MALICIOUS AFTERCARE, nothing to honor or respect or cherish that dearest child.

skylar

Katy,
the word malice rules out indifference:
desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness.

That’s why I used that specific word. It must be a DESIRE to cause harm. I’m not applying to Caley’s murder, though it is possible, since Casey has many spath traits, but I don’t know for a fact that she intended to kill her. The malice was in her treatment of her whether or not she intended to murder her. She did want to be rid of her and likely chloroformed her to knock her out and keep her quiet.

I do use malice for most spath behavior though because they always intend to get high from feeding on our emotions.

the sisterhood

I guess what I can take away from this discussion is that, for me, it was so important to have a label for what I had been dealing with. I locked up my experience with my ex for 12 years. I held onto some sort of fantasy about the relationship. I moved on, I thought, but I was still lying to myself about it all. I got married to a great guy and continued on with my life until one day all the crap I had avoided came bubbling up to the surface and I had to deal with it. Call it divine intervention, but I found myself in a therapist’s office two and a half years ago being given information that I had never heard of before. This new thing called personality disorders.

So here I am 14 years after my devastating relationship with my ex and I am still dealing with the pain of that experience. In so many ways I wish I had been given this information way back when. But, for reasons that have yet to be revealed, I am just figuring all this out now.

My husband is so extremely supportive and I have a truly blessed life, but there is such a deep and sorrowful wound from the humiliation and rejection of what turned out to be a mirage all along. I think I am still in shock that I never really had anything authentic with my ex. I don’t care who you are, when you discover this simple fact, it is soul crushing. The sweetness you once felt for this person is immediately ripped from you. Your innocence is stolen.

Having learned about Narcissism and Sociopathy has helped me not only understand my experience with my ex, but has also enlightened me on my experiences with my parents. They are perhaps why I wound up falling madly in love with a disordered person to begin with.

With all the hues on the color wheel, I have to just accept the fact that I will most likely never know what type of spath/narcissist my ex is. But I suppose it doesn’t really matter. All I know is that I was taken severely advatage of and manipulated in ways that I am still discovering today. The fallout of this emotionally abusive relationship has been far reaching. I am sad and still heartbroken. But I am finding my way out. I am grateful for this spiritual growth and hopeful that it will continue.

the sisterhood

Oh, and he is left handed. LOL

Ox Drover

Dear Sister,

Congratulations on finding a supportive and loving man after the P, many times people go right back into another disordered relationshit and jump from the frying pan into the fire! Glad you at least didn’t do that. Yes, your wounds are real and far reaching, but as you “peel the onion” and get to tthe core of the matter, you will heal, and find strengths you didn’t know you had.

It is a spiritual as well as an emotional, mental and physical journey. In the end, though, I think we emerge better than before. Stronger than before. God bless.

Louise

Slimone:

Thank you so much for that post. I felt so much like that with my X spath. I even asked him to “not shut me out.” I felt like you…I couldn’t penetrate his heart or mind and I wanted to so desperately. When I asked him to not shut me out (this was when something very serious had happened at work and he could have been fired, but he wasn’t), he promised he wouldn’t. He did. It was within about a week that he dumped me. So I totally get that feeling like always wanting more; wanting to get close to him and I couldn’t; he wouldn’t allow it. I think that was part of the addiction…like you said…it made you feel like an insecure junky! It was a horrible experience.

behind_blue_eyes

Louise;

Initially, I wanted to try a friendship relationship with my x-spath. That all changed when I found the first online profile. Depending upon how his profile was set, he may or may not have known I found it. However, my profile name was so distinct that if he set his to not browse anonymously, then he knows I left a track.

Either way, the simple fact is he shut me out. Not even a lame attempt at an explanation. I like to think that I shut him out, but the reality is he did that to me.

If he had responded after my last email to him, I would have replied…

Ox Drover

BBE, quote: I like to think that I **shit** him out, but the reality is he did that to me.

Was that a TYPO or on purpose??? LOL.

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