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When you discover the appalling truth, do not confront the sociopath

You’ve felt like something was off about your romantic partner for a long time, but you could never quite figure out what it was. Then, suddenly and harshly, you learn the truth.

You discover that this person is cheating on you. Or forged your signature to open up credit cards. Or has kids you never knew about. Or is only pretending to go to work every day. Or is married to someone else.

However it happened, you learn that your partner is betraying you.

Your first instinct is to confront your partner and demand answers.

DON’T DO IT.

When you learn what is really going on, the best thing you can do is nothing, at least temporarily. Do not lash out. Instead, no matter how angry and hurt you are, pretend that nothing has changed.

Why? Because when sociopaths know the jig is up, they engage in all kinds of destructive behavior. They may:

  • Talk circles around you, convincing you that you are wrong
  • Wipe out joint checking accounts or steal any remaining assets
  • Destroy evidence you need, such as documents and computer files
  • Launch or intensify a smear campaign against you
  • Cry crocodile tears in an effort to appeal to your sympathy
  • Fly into a rage and destroy your property
  • Fabricate criminal charges, such as accusing you of domestic violence
  • Claim that you are insane and try to commit you to a mental institution
  • Engage in physical violence, injuring you, your children and/or your animals
  • Disappear, taking your money or property with them
  • Drop all pretense of being your sweet romantic partner, and turn blatantly miserable, cruel and vindictive

So do not react. What you need to do now is gather more information and think about your next move. It’s best to do this while the sociopath doesn’t know that you know the truth.

The bottom line is that if you’re involved with a sociopath, the only reasonable thing to do is extricate yourself from the relationship. But doing that safely, while protecting your assets, family and property, may require planning. You may need to:

  • Move your money into new bank accounts that the sociopath can’t access
  • Make plans to move out, preferably when the sociopath isn’t around
  • Go to the police and/or find a lawyer
  • Make copies of important documents, such as mortgages and deeds, health insurance info and credit card statements
  • Gradually move valuables to a safe location
  • Back up computers and hard drives
  • Line up friends or family members to help you

Learning the shocking truth of the sociopath’s behavior is a game-changer. You were always part of a game that the sociopath was playing, but you didn’t know it. Now you do.

Right now, you have an advantage — the sociopath doesn’t know that you know. Maintain that advantage as long as you can.


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5 Comments on "When you discover the appalling truth, do not confront the sociopath"

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I really believe this is the best way to handle the end of these horrible relationships. In one case I did exactly as described. I did not confront, but instead just mourned the loss of the relationship, as if it were a normal thing. I didn’t call him on the carpet, tell him that he was sick or hurt me. I just kept on letting him believe he was totally in control, and just went along with his story about why it was ending. In the end, though it was no less painful and depressing, I at least didn’t have to deal with a smear campaign, or any other such nonsense.

In another case I did speak up and told him exactly what I knew. He went on the defense, stalked me for nearly 5 years, and tried to get me fired from my work (he didn’t even work there). He posted on line that I was a sociopath, who was hooking up with men, online, for sex. Nightmare.

In the end they both went away, just one kicking and screaming. It is good to keep in mind that when the worst happens with these kinds of people the GOAL is to get away, stay away, and keep them away. It is the best chance for gaining your sanity, security, and happiness back.

Dear Donna,

Can’t emphasize the wisdom of your advice. Most battered women’s shelters advise the same (same advice to men leaving a sociopath woman). Would like to add putting a suit case UNDER THE BED containing your ESSENTIALS until you can get out.

These people can not be reasoned with, and these relationships can not be saved.

THE SOONER YOU REALIZE THAT, THE BETTER OFF YOU WILL BE.

Monica

Pointing out to him, that he was a bully, mean and hateful only got me in MORE hot water. So, I just kept my head down, worked on the farm and did my job as wife, mom. It took me YEARS to get to the point where I could begin to plan to leave. I stashed away cash to a friend who kept it in her deep freezer! I opened a secret bank account (without his name) to put moneys there. By then, 2 woman friends had come forward, offered me a place to stay; I began smuggling out personal property (I was sure he would destroy anything I left behind, and I was right) to a safe place. A nighttime cleaning job helped me get personal property out of the house. I moved out personal papers. On the last day, I took a family dog (he hated this dog) with me, and drove to my friend’s house. I called my family so they knew I was away. He was working temp jobs on weekends, so it was on a weekend when I left. No way, could I confront a 6’3″ 350# man, strong as a bull and tell him face to face I was leaving for good. Either a flood of crocodile tears or a volcanic rage would have been my answer; I didn’t want to take the chance of finding out. Terrified? Oh yes. I was SURE he would come after me and find me and kill me, later when I was alone and without company. I was terrified for weeks afterwards.

EXCELLENT article Donna!!!

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