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Why don’t people get it about sociopaths/psychopaths?

Two weeks ago I started a series on the treatment of sociopathy/psychopathy. That series was interrupted by the need to discuss the case of the con man who kidnapped his daughter. Now it looks like he also may be implicated in the disappearance of a California couple. The con man, like many in his profession has had a number of different identities. Before I go back to talking about treatment, I want to discuss con artists and the nature of sociopathy/psychopathy again.

Donna and I had the good fortune to speak with Dr. Robert Hare this week. I wanted to talk with him about the fact that there is not much in the scientific literature linking psychopathy to con artistry. In that conversation, he said something very profound that deserves repeating. Since I can’t quote him exactly, I’ll give you the gist of it.

According to Dr. Hare, people saw the movie A Beautiful Mind and they “got it” about schizophrenia. People saw the movie Rain Man and they “got it” about Autism. Thousands of movies have been made about psychopaths/sociopaths and people still don’t “get it.”

We did not go into a detailed analysis of why people don’t “get it” about sociopaths/psychopaths but I will here because until you “get it” about the disorder, you cannot “get it” about treatment for the disorder.

This week I received a letter from a woman who is struggling to “get it.” We receive at least one letter a week that reads like that woman’s so she is not alone. The letter reads something like, “The father of my child is in Jail for assault. He is a pathological liar so I can’t believe anything he says. He also has cheated on me repeatedly. He has conned me out of all my money and now I have to declare bankruptcy. I don’t think he is a sociopath because he has remorse. Is there any hope for him and for us?”

Now if you read these letters as an outsider you get it! But the people who write them are really struggling with what they themselves are saying. They are struggling to make sense out of two conflicting points of view. The first point of view is that there is “good in all people” and that all people need a “family to love.” Just like the many people who say the con man from last week who goes by the alias Rockefeller, “loved” his daughter. People saw him caring for his daughter and assumed love motives. They interacted with him and he was charming and funny. One lady said “He had a lot to offer as a person.” People think that when they interact with someone who is “charming” and “caring” and they then like or feel affection toward the person, the charmer feels likewise. Sadly this is not always the case.

The second point of view is that there are some people who lack love motivation completely or are severely deficient in it. The psychological consequence of not having love motivation is not known by many people. If you understand what happens when love motivation is missing or lacking, you will “get it” about sociopaths/psychopaths. When love motivation is lacking, a person does not stop wanting to be around people! Everyone thinks that just because an individual wants to be around people and seems to enjoy affection, the wanting proves that person is a loving human being. People think that all unloving individuals just want to be alone. That assumption is wrong and is deadly.

In most cases, when love motivation is lacking or missing, the person retains his/her desire for social contact. Since love motivation is not at the root of social desire, something else is. When love motivation is lacking, power or dominance motivation takes its place. Also remember that sexual motivation keeps people social as well.

When con artists take care of people, it is about power motivation. When con artists go to parties and meet people, hob knobbing with the rich and famous, it is about power motivation. When con artists steal $250,000 only to squander the entire sum in 6 months, the theft wasn’t about money it was about the power of the get over.

So, if you look at the situation with the preconceived notion that all people are motivated by the same human motives you can’t possibly “get it.” I challenge you today give up on your preconceived notions about human motivation. Instead come to understand that there are three human social motives, love, power and sex. Thankfully, 90 percent of everybody has a personality organized primarily around love motivation.

The problem is that a sizable percentage of people (perhaps 10-15 per cent) have a personality that is organized around gratifying their need for power rather than their need for love. These people are not loners! They are even more social than loving humans. If you are motivated by the need for love and intimacy, your need can be satisfied by one spouse, other family members and a few friends. If you are motivated primarily by the need for power, then you won’t be satisfied until you rule the world!

Just like the need for love has its associated behaviors, so too does the need for power. Care taking can be part of both motives. The need for power is also accompanied by controlling and aggressive behavior. The degree of control and aggression shown in a relationship is a sign of the amount of power motivation that is behind that relationship.

If you think about it you already know I am right. There is a saying, ”If you love someone set him free. If he comes back to you he’s yours, if not he never was.” A sociopath/psychopath can never set anyone free because he/she can’t love. Sociopaths/psychopaths can only own or possess. Of course a sociopath/psychopath is going to cry when alone or if someone abandons him/her. The sociopath/psychopath just lost all of his/her power. That is very upsetting you know!

Now that I have beat that to death, please understand that love motivation can either be deficient or absent. Therefore power motivation can either be somewhat excessive or the only motivating force in a person’s life. Excessive power motivation makes people emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and physically sick. It also makes them evil.


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165 Comments on "Why don’t people get it about sociopaths/psychopaths?"

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Thanks for your words of wisdom and as always they are food for thought and inspiration!

Dr Hare is one of my favorite authors! Love his books and hope he will write more on this subject…

The hardest part of my experience is that question!

Did the mother of our children love them?

It sadden me to think she didn’t but here is why I believe she couldn’t…

Whenever we make people into objects (possessions) we dehumanize them. We put them into nice organized boxes so that we can use them and control them when we need too. And when we are done with “that toy” we put them right back into the box were they belong. Also control has it’s own form of “dehumanization”. Like a toy we wind up and allow some freedom. If the toy is good we love it but if it is bad we punish it. Until we are done playing with it and then we again put it in the box then back again on a shelf until we are ready to play with it again. Our toys (object) has no right of their own for they are to serve us for our pleasure and enjoyment. When my ex P chooses to make her children a object for her concerns and needs she dehumanized them and then emotionally detached from them. You see our children (and me as well) had no right to our own autonomy! If we didn’t do all we could for her we became useless object (toys) which allow her to detach from us for disappointing her! Don’t you see how she had the right to throw away all her toys that didn’t work anymore! How she had the right to find new toys that would work for her! That she has a entitlement to be happy and safe. Surly you must see that? You see objects have no rights! Objects have no dreams of their own and objects are never never to fail their owners! For if they “don’t work” what good are they????

I think pride has a lot to do with it. People like to think that they are sharp enough to detect a con artist when they encounter one. They think they can detect a liar. They are sure that they would never get suckered. Not them.

But of course, everyone is vulnerable. Those of us who had personal relationships with sociopaths, and those who study them, know this from bitter experience.

As more and more of us speak out, and as the subject of sociopathy/psychopathy becomes more mainstream, perhaps the public perception will change. Each one of our stories becomes another ray of light.

I know that, before my experience, I took a lot of pride in my intelligence and in my career (which, ironically, called for me to be quite skeptical of what I was told). I still am proud of my intellect and accomplishments, but now I know that my core humanity makes me no match at all for one who chooses to be inhuman.

My opinion is when someone says that they don’t think that their partner is a sociopath/psychopath because the partner show feelings, I think it is in part, due to judgement. I know I was taught to not judge anyone and putting a label on someone is doing just that, judging someone. I was taught that is wrong and if I judge someone, be prepared to be judged back. I hope that makes sense.

I also have wondered in my case, maybe my ex was like that only when he was with me. Maybe I really wasn’t good enough, tall enough, pretty enough. Maybe if I would have been more compassionate. He would tell me his ex-wife was beautiful, gorgeous but at b**** and he would tell me this quite a bit, like I had to mesure up. I am not beautiful, or gorgeous, I have been told I am cute as a button and pretty. No comparison. I am just fine with being cute or pretty.

I have heard him say how much he loved his ex-wife, how he cared deeply for an ex-girlfriend and wanted to get back with her (even tho he stole from her). I have heard how he is happy in his new relationship. But he had called me several times to tell ME that he is miserable. He played mind games with me, but there was still that part of me that wondered if it was me who was the one who was missing something. Yes, I know today that it is wrong. He was the one with the problems.

But, I can see where women can sometimes turn their thinking around and wonder if it is THEM with the problem and not put a label on their man. I believe our thinking gets distorted especially when the P’s DO show us remorse, feelings, and at times compassion. It causes us great confusion. But again, the P’s are great actors and we want to see them as great people that we have fallen in love with.

Whether my ex is a P or not, he was still lethal for me. I was very unhealthy when I was with him. He lied, cheated, stole, conived and ripped me apart and he KNEW he was doing it because it showed on me and he would still come back and continue to do it over and over to the point that at one time I also contemplated “making it all stop”.

Do I judge him today? No, in my opinion, he is a psychopath, he is what he is and I had nothing to do with that. But it took me a long time to get to that point and to stop telling myself that I was soley to blame.

As far as judgement..we use it every day: there’s a dog; there’s a car; there’s a psychopath if we know how to spot them.

Just like orinthologists see more birds than the average joe, doesn’t mean they are imagining them.

What fooled me- was the emotions not representing the emotion. The very point of this essay. Here’s an example: I once thought my psycho was just jealous and scared b/c he acted insane when I spoke to other people.

Well….it was just that I wasn’t cowered by his intimidation not to, that they spoke to me and not only him. He did not desire a better friendship with me. Psycho acted out these emotions I think of as bizarre Picasso paintings ( a huge psycho by the way…read: Life with Picasso)…it’s a face, but the nose is where the ear is, but upside down. Psycho had emotions he just used them arbitrarily and in normal people’s mind misapplied them. But not for him, control, power and sex drove him…so his behavior makes perfect sense.

To “get them” you have to think- as the essay states- their motivator. It ain’t love. In a rage, my psycho said he loved no females. He had two ex-wives and a daughter. He also played word games in notes. This note implies he loves his children only, BUT he has a daughter. So he was- as he wanted me to believe- negating his negative statements (there were more in this psycho treatise extrordinaire) but in reality, in truth, past his grammar games ( think gas lighting) he told the truth. inadvertently ( because recall they project): he loves no one. Same note he said he is not defensive, he on the offense.

A normal person may read …oh he says he’s not defensive…he not over-sensitive…..NO, he said he attacks.

Dr. Leedom,

This is one of the best posts–but then I think I say that EVERY time! LOL

In the thread about how we THINK we can detect a lie from the truth more often than now, we are scientifically shown that that is NOT THE CASE, but it is COMFORTING to me to believe that I CAN detect lies from truth. Because to believe I only have a 50:50 or less chance of detecting lies would leave me feeling vulnerable, and I don’t like to feel vulnerable.

“There’s good in everyone” is a COMFORTING thought, and “I wouldn’t be suckered like that other person who was conned” is also a COMFORTING thought. The nasty articles that were written about Sandra Boss and that she couldn’t possibly have REALLY been fooled, I think is from those people projecting their own fears of being fooled onto her.

How SCARY the world would be if we (humans) couldn’t believe that there is SOME good in everyone if we could only find it and that only the RARE person is totally psychopathic, the serial killer, etc.

I can walk with almost 100% safety from animals in the woods surrounding my home. There may be the occasional poison snake, but if I wear boots I can walk there with absolute confidence that I will not be attacked or killed by some animal predator. I feel safe walking there. I seldom carry a gun when I go into the woods around my home.

If I get into my car and start off down the road, however, my pistol is under my car seat. WHY? Because I am more afraid in my car traveling off my property than I am in the woods alone. Three times my little pistol has saved my life, even witout a shot being fired, because I would have used it to save my life. Am I “paranoid”? I think I am more “cautious” but others might label me “paranoid” and travel freely across the nation without any fear at all, without much if any caution. But my experiences have shown me that I should be CAUTIOUS, that there ARE people who would harm me if conditions were favorable to them.

Maybe it is more comforting to those people who are less cautious than I am (or less paranoid if that is your choice of words) to believe that they are SAFE from human predation no matter where they are (except maybe some “bad neighborhoods” that they avoid). I don’t live in terror, but at the same time, I don’t live in a fantasy land where all people are good at heart.

I have a wonderful friend who believes totally that “all people are good at heart” and I firmly believe that even though this woman has been married to and abused by one P, and recently married another one (though having been warned by her best friend, by me, and others) it is still too SCARY for her to believe that there are people who are truly EVIL. She will always be a victim until she believes the thing she fears so much; that there are truly evil people in this world.

Holywatersalt,

I think we fill in the blank and make excuses based on our life experience and what we think we know about being human.

Like you said, he was acting crazy and you thought he was just jealous and scared. Perhaps that even bonded you to him more because you felt bad for him and maybe a little flattered that he was “jealous and scared” of losing you.

Keep in mind… I am saying this because I filled in the blanks all the time. I had to have some explanation for Bad Man’s behavior so I came up with things that made sense to me. I didn’t even know I was doing it.

We do this all the time in life. We see something and we interpret it based on our experiences so far. That’s why we see so much more now… because we KNOW more about what is possible.

Anyway, I am not singleing you out here. I am resonating with what you said and talking to myself… :o)

all sociopaths play games. i dont know why i continue to think that maybe my x was’nt a sociopath? why i think maybe he might wake up to his mess of himself? maybe me having this thinking is why ive ended up back with him many times. he called today to say hi, and i dont know why i even picked up. he has a history of lying with me. it makes me sick, that he has a car with one girl. he has something else with me.

hope everyone has a good weekend

DEar Blondie,

Getting away from the thinking that they might “be fixable” or that they “might change” is difficult when you talk to them at all. That is why NO CONTACT helps us to get our heads on straight because we are no longer listening to their LIES and letting those lies FUEL OUR HOPES….we realize finally that THERE IS NO HOPE. A liar is a liar is a liar is a psychopath. A psychopath is a liar.

My suggestion is to NO CONTACT HIM…no phone calls. Just don’t pick up. That puts YOU back in control of yourself.

Great, interesting and determined essay, Dr. Leedom..

You are so right on target and succinct in stating that psychos are NOT motivated by love. That’s the message that the general public needs to confront and accept as reality.

It’s such a harsh and bleak reality but it is what it is.

I’ve learned that my gravest mistake in dating men is that I repeatedly project my qualities, my values, my principles onto them. Which is not a very safe and smart thing to do, I know that now.

I’m going to strive to alter that particular life long patterned thinking and seek to see them with eyes of clarity and truth.

I know that this ist the spot to write down what im feeling tonight, but i just need some comfort from everyone on this site, bc i think most people will understand how im feeling. Tonight i went out to a casual dinner nothing serious, with an old guy friend that i do work with but have’nt hung out with alone since being with the ex. i know him very well, he is a great guy. i just wanted to go to dinner and get out of the house. i felt so out of place. so paranoid. it was the first time since my x that ive been out with a guy that wasnt my x. two long months. i know it doest seem like a long time. i felt odd. im not used to being without my x. i felt like someone was going to see me and tell my x. i dont know why i care but i do. is all this normal? ive never felt like this before with any other guy ive ever dated. this relationship has really changed me. all for the better, but i do noticed changes in me. i felt so out of my comfort zone. i guess this is all about adjusting to this new life.

This is definitely the page to send to friends and family who don’t get it. Thank you Dr. Leedom.

I hear and read about the S/P social motive of power quite a bit, but really need to understand the motive of sex much better. I understand that sex can be the power, but what if it’s not? What if the S. could care less if he gained power, control or coned someone. What if the S. just had poor impulse control and had to have the sexual gratification. Is it then “just” sex addiction?

Dear all,
I am so greatful to have found about this side. This is my first post, and I am not a native English speaker. I broke up with my P-friend end of this April 08 after 7 months, but I found out that I have been around P and S all of my life (my father is a “garden”-P and my Mom is a worldclass N). All of a sudden all my distorted feelings during my childhood and my “inability” to find a boyfriend in my teens and my huge ability to be “too kind” and “be the one to steel horses with” and to be “used” make sense to me. Thanks alot!
I kept reading alot almost every day in the last two months, and your comments on the various aspects were VERY helpful.
I just want to make a comment on the “why they do not get it”. When I first found out about psychopaths (my sister who is a divorce lawyer and who got conned by two P and has a child with one of them, told me to look up “Psychopath” in the Google), I read on a German page that EVERYONE wants to be A LITTLE like a Psychopath and that they are envied, as normal people get in troubles by their remorse and guilt psychopaths are lacking, trying to be even a bit like a psychopath. Think not about Hannibal Lecter but of James Bond for instance. A world class psychopath who goes effortless from one beautiful woman to the next woman, who all can’t wait to be at his complete disposition and do whatever he wants, and when one is trying to put on pressure he just leaves her and moves to the next. AND EVERY MAN wants to be A BIT like him, and I know many colleagues who rehearse lines of certain scenes of the various James Bond Films to impress women. Another example: Don Juan initially was invented by the Spanish Inquisition as a very bad example of a miserable man who does evil in his life behaving or being a psychopath, and who is finishing in hell. It was one of the greatest disasters in “advertisment and indoctrination” as everybody envied HIM and had NO PITY with the poor women. Mozart wrote one of his finest operas about him. The best paintings by Picasso are also his mistresses he used and discarded, and HE stayed young and invigorated until he died over 90 years old. No pity with the women who became famous because of HIM. His last paintings were rude paintings about copulating couples. When we were seeing them at age 10 with my Granddad, a very wise man, he just said “Girls, these are Picassos “Would like to’s”. Unfortunately there is nothing new under the sun, and the only hope is that the 10 commands, especially rule number two Love thy next as you love yourself will rule, or there will be some Kant’s cathegoric imperative in life, or that at least people are taught in school about self esteem and ANY KIND of abuse and about the true forces in life.
I wish all a very relaxing weekend! Libelle

Dear Libelle,

Thank you for that wonderful and insightful post. YOu have hit on a good point about the James Bond thing and how most men want to be a “little bit like him.” I hadn’t ever thought about that, but you are SO right. Also about Don Juan. Thank you ver much, and welcome here.

Dr. Leedom,

I saw an interview last night with John Edwards and his interview came across as very sincere….except, I did think that he was lying about the payments his friend made to that woman. It is of course possible that this man was acting without the knowledge or consent of Edwards.

You are very right in your assessment that people in power have sexual excitement. I read somewhere years ago, I don’t remember where, that power and wealth makes any man “attractive” to women. With politics, where there are constantly women around such men, it is “bound to happen” unless a man is very vigilent about his behavior.

I think Edwards at least gave a “very convincing” interview, but at the same time, my P-son could convince you that black is white and very much APPEAR repentent in such a situation. I hope for his sake and for his wife’s that Edwards is simply a human being with a moral compass that just got temporarily misdirected and that he has truly been sorry for what happened, not just “sorry for getting caught.”

PS: What does sort of make me “wonder” about Edwards though is his ARROGANCE in thinking that this affair would NOT be discovered when he ran for the presidential nomination.

There is a past record of many many candidates being shot out of the nomination potential by past or current affairs, so WHY was he arrogant and ambitious enough to think that HE would be able to skate through the process without being found out—was it the fact this woman was being paid $15,000 a month to keep quiet and he thought she would not want to speak up and lose that amount of money?

It is just disappointing to me that many of our political people seem to have lost moral compass whether or not they are Ps.

Dr. Leedom:

Thank you for the continued explaniation.

I am 48 years old, and after 20 years, began dating again three years ago. To my knowledge, I have never had a personal relationship with an S /P until now. I have walked away and had no contact with this S for a short time, but I am too curious (needy-?) and keep playing with his fire. The more I “get it”, the easier it is for me to see who he is. I am the director of a social service program that serves approx. 1500 clients at one time. Many of my peers don’t “get it” and this has kept me too embarassed to tell my story anywhere. Thank you again for this outlet.

This S/P is 44, moested by an uncle as a child, confused sexual relationships as a teen, very charasmatic and smart, flunked out of college, kicked out of the Air Force, developed an addiction to crack in his 20’s, never married, 3 children by two women, abortions, std’s, 300+ assorted types of women by the time he was 35. Today, clean from drugs and alcohol for 15 years. This is his life accomplishment and speaks and guides others now. Still, no job or female relationship for longer than two years (except a couple of long time sex buddies) and none of these were committed relationships. Still, struggeling financially and emotionally (he displays this very well) but always seems to have women very interested in him and vise-versa. I have always wondered if his primary addiction is sex, and because he hasn’t tackled that as he did the drugs, this is why his life is so messed up.

Blondie:

I had not read your post when I wrote mine last night and it seemed like you may have needed someone to talk to. I don’t know the nature of the call you took from your x yesterday, but it may have caused your inability to just focus on your conversation with your friend and have a nice time. Missing him may have made you feel guilty for going out w/o him. Keep going out with friends so you find yourself again!

I’m sure you have already analyzed this to death by now. You know Ox has her skillet in hand if we keep up the contact with these men.

thanks lib. yeah im back to NO Contact. I Honesty dont have any wanting of talking to him. i want him gone, so far gone. i never want him to email me, call me or anything. he has a new girl, nothing new. i wish i would of never dated him, but i cant go back in time. all he does is play games. he is one person to my ears on the phone or email, and another person behind my back. playing it off like i ruin the relationship. when really all he did was play with my heart and use me. he never ever had feelings for me, and he never ever cared about anyones well being or feelings over himself.

Way to go Blondie! I can’t wait for the day that I can say that out loud, with complete faith in myself.

Sobriety can be an act, an act just like piety or fidelity. I don’t doubt he’s sober, but he’s, as Lib said, channeled his addiction. Smart psychos stay out of jail, and get what they want within the limits of the law.

Multible abortions? That’s deviant, total disregard for human ife …couple with reckless disregard for his sexual partners with STDs…in my book this guy is just another incurable con.

I think it’s gotta be harder to tackle sex addiction than drugs and alcohol in some ways. With drugs and alcohol you can set a black/white boundary, “just say no”. But with food, sex, things like that, you have to completely rethink how you deal with them as you can’t or shouldn’t kick them totally out of your life.

But even if you can retrain yourself to have good boundaries.. how the heck do you redefine what you think is sexy? My ex-cheater bf is mad at me right now, because he says he doesn’t USE women to get anything out of them. But that’s not correct. He enjoys playing with them and manipulating them.

He does things like the following to try and form connections between them. I used to refer to it as his “network” or his “harem”. He does things like shuffle his relationships around, one will be his mistress one month and one he will downgrade to “friend”, then he’ll switch her to friend with benefits, he plays them all like he’s trying to keep a lot of plates spinning at once, the only time he panics is when he’s about to lose one, but then he’ll usually cut that one loose and go right on manipulating the others. He especially loves it when they fight over him, he just sits back and tries to hid his childish glee.

he thinks all this is a big turn on, and I know what he really wants but can’t ask for is a real harem that lives with him and all know about each other, treat him like master and compete for his sexual favor.

“Thousands of movies have been made about psychopaths/sociopaths and people still don’t “get it.”

On a more personal level I believe why most people (yes I was one of them too) don’t “get it” is because it mean facing the truth in ourselves and them. And when we do come to this point it will hurt like hell.

Don’t “get it”

I don’t understand? She/he tell me they loves me so much. So why do they have to be so dishonesty to me/us all the time?

“get it”

If one is a pathological liar they need to lie like a alcoholic needs to drink! My ex P told me lies that didn’t make any sense? I mean (told myself) why in God’s name did she lie about that when the truth would have been so much easier?

Don’t “get it”

Why does he/she tell me I am a bad person all the time and then turns around and tell me how special I am?

“get it”

People who suffer from a Personality Disorder carry around a lot of insecurities. They don’t deal with their own insecurities (emotional responsibility) so they “project” them to love ones to carry it for them! When they are “nice” it is mostly to get something from you or feel it is time to “throw you a bone”.

Of course this go on and on with other examples but the reason we sometimes don’t get it is because we lack the knowledge to understand and still other times it is just denial. Then still other times both. Really who wants to believe that the person we love so much can’t and/or will never be able to love us back?

I had to struggle with these concepts for so long because I “didn’t want to get it”!

Yes I did have to look at myself really hard and it hurt’s like hell. I know why, I know how it happened with the X. I was talking to a friend about people just not getting it. He said my X would say “That’s who I am, what’s the problem?” And I knew who he was from the first day. He was down on his luck and needed a helping hand. I would of done that for him regardless of his personality defect. It was him that took it to the next level – that is what I resent. He had no reason to become my illusion, I was willing to help him. He didn’t have to pretend to be in love with me.

I think most people believe that when you are dealing with another person, you believe they are like yourself (water finds it’s own level theory). If you are moralistic and ethical, you believe the attraction is due to similarities and that the person has your same qualities. As the relationship progresses (depending on what type of relationship it is [platonic versus emotional] and the anti-social personality slips up, most people want to believe they just had a bad day or some other excuse they make for a person. If the relationship is physical, you don’t want to believe the partner you’ve chosen to care about, is off in any way because it is the most intimate of relationships.

If this is your first experience with an anti-social personality, that’s when the rationalization comes in to play. If you’re experienced with what an anti-social personality is about. It’s easier for you to cut yourself loose from the relationship. You are still hurt and in pain, but your intellect guides the way out as you shake your head in disbelief that another one latched on to you. I don’t believe we choose them. I do believe they size us up (know that we are decent and loving) and make the move on us, or are purposely in the right place at the right time to meet us. Yes, there are times when it is a chance meeting (I’m not eliminating that fact). I don’t believe however, we are choosing them.

I remember my first recognized anti-social relationship. When he left, he left abruptly … leaving a note explaining he was sorry it wouldn’t work (also a post it note, I wonder if the person who wrote that episode of Sex in the City, knows me … or do they all leave post it notes? (LOL) I remember thinking, “wini” you’ve been through breakups before, get a grip, it will only take a few months for you to mourn the loss of what you thought this person was, then move on. That’s when I realized, yes, we have all experienced breakups in our lives before this one, so get a grip, pull yourself together and make this transition of getting out of the relationship as quick as possible.

I think the older you get, the more of these personalities you meet. I don’t believe older people don’t acknowledge they exist … I believe older people don’t want to waste time thinking about them. There lives are too precious to waste on the likes of them. Then their is the spiritual belief that everyone is God’s child, so do not judge etc.

As for Edwards admitting his affair. I believe like Oxy said, that he’s upset over being caught. It would take many more years for a Narcissist to comprehend why he stepped out of his marriage. So to admit his mistakes, I don’t buy it. Not right now. In about 10-20 years of intense therapy, I’d tend to lean towards he might have learned something. But, once self centered and self absorbed … well lets just say he makes a pretty parrot.

Peace.

Henry.. that’s what hurts so much for me too. I would have been glad to be his friend, to help in whatever way I could.. he didn’t have to pretend to love me. He didn’t have to pull my heart out of hiding, get me out of my shell, just to devastate me.

As for these politicians, I have no opinion anymore. We live in a society where anything goes, yet we still expect our politicians to shine like the sun. Why shouldn’t they be just as human as the next guy?

I also feel that most people “don’t get it” about psychopaths.

Even though most people I know have been sympathetic and supportive, I know that they can’t understand why I can’t get over this relationship like I did when previous relationships ended. I find it nearly impossible to convey to them the extent of the deceit and betrayal and the nature of the beast who violated my life. I’ve stopped trying to explain – it’s just too tiring. I feel like I have to justify why I’m so devastated and I hate feeling like that. I shouldn’t have to justify to anyone why the ex-P affected me as profoundly as he did.

At least this site is one place where people GET it.

I do think that one of the reasons why people “don’t get it” is because they would have to acknowledge that this could happen to them too. As long as they don’t get it they can comfort themselves with the thought that they wouldn’t be “caught out” like we were. Also, I think it must be too frightening a thought to acknowledge the influence and power that a psychopath can wield.

Well, we may have been “caught out” by these monsters but one thing’s for sure…we’re brave enough to stare the monster in the face and say its name. That’s more than many are able to do.

i think the reason the majority of people dont get it is simply that these creatures are science fiction to them….most of us are brought up to be kind and considerate to others…do unto others….so most of us try our best to do this…we all slip up at times and feel guilty if we do and then apologize or feel bad and try to do better……..these creatures look just like us, so the majority of the world feels that they ARE just like us…..something went wrong somewhere…nature/ nurture or both….they were either born with no conscience or developed that as a result of whatever… but they are still dangerous to those of us who feel…

because they have no ability to FEEL….bad, guilty love…all the things that keep society intact and from self destructing…{.read that respect others and their boundaries.)they are dangerous

i wasnt born understanding calculus…i had to be exposed to it over and over and study it and read it and talk about it and ask questions about it…because i never knew such a thing existed….it started out looking like regular math and statistics and logic and geometry and i tried to deal with it as such…but it was a totally other entity……..only being exposed to it revealed it to me as something totally unlike what it looked like….when i stopped fighting the fact that it wasnt like all the other math, then i finally GOT it…..i kept trying to mold it into what i knew…it just cant be done EVER>>……these beings are the same…..and only when you encounter one will you understand the pain they inflict……
i think our friends and loved ones want us to get over it because they dont know what else to do for us….they hate to see us suffer, but cant validate the unknown until they have felt it..

All of us here have had to retrain our very thoughts, our habits of perception, our minds. I know I had to.

I had to tell myself, over and over and over and over again, that everything I had believed about human nature was wrong. That a smile doesn’t necessarily mean happiness. A frown doesn’t necessarily mean unhappiness. Words are meaningless when it comes to a sociopath. Facial expressions are meaningless. Tone of voice is meaningless. Every indicator that instinct told me to heed could be faked. Great, sobbing rushes of tears could be faked. Out-of-control anger could be faked. Certainly tenderness and concern could be easily faked. Every human interaction can be, and was, faked.

Everything that seems real could be a fraud. We know this. How can someone “get it” who hasn’t been where we’ve been? I guess they really can’t.

Our words can help others understand intellectually. I wouldn’t wish the experience of loving a sociopath on anyone, even my worst enemy.

NWV—

GREAT Analogy!!! Calculus!!! You are so right! It sometimes takes multiple “remedial” classes to get it through the heads of some of us “slow learners”—I kept trying to put square pegs (Ps) into round holes (normal people) and it just didn’t work. I even tried hammers, but that didn’t work either! LOL

lol

I think one of the reasons we grieve so hard and rage so mightily is because over time, we enter into a kind of non-verbal contract with the S. We forgive so much, we try so hard, we invest so much of ourselves into loving this (at times) barely lovable person. It’s very crushing to find out that all of our giving didn’t endear us to them one bit, and that they have no gratitude for it. And the fact that they will end up alone at the end of their miserable lives doesn’t sway them at all. They take our hearts, our lives, our money, our days, and years and decades, and make them as nothing. Somehow, they INVALIDATE us.

Psychopathy is the art of illusion and a clever psychopath can be whatever they need to be at any given time. It isn’t like schizophrenia or autism because the signs of those two conditions are obvious to all.
To be able to see through a P you need to have absolute proof emotionally of their deceit and betrayal which is only something the victim can know. To everyone else, they can wriggle and lie their way out of trouble because society has been programmed to give the benefit of the doubt and judgment of their behaviour is clouded by the emotional baggage/ reaction of the observer.
Swallow

I read this somewhere in another thread about Optical Illusion’s; auto stereograms and Sociopath’s. [ This is the purpose of frequent pity-ploy’s. It is emotionally impossible to simultaneously ‘pity’ yet suspect ‘deceit’. Your mind can only do one or the other.] This is part of the [crazy making] he caused me. He lied through his tear’s………

Kat, Swallow, and Henry, you all three have such valid points.

On the part of “pity” though—they WANT pity, oh, do they want pity, but they will NOT GIVE PITY TO ANYONE. If you try to get them to “pity” you, to quit hurting you, to stop the attack, they have less “respect” for you than if you had stood up for yourself and buck slapped them in the chops!

I think once they have beaten you to the ground, and you are totally conqueored, they then dispise you for being so “weak.”

Kind of like kicking the horse when he has collapsed from fatigue and yelling “get up, get up, you lazy beast!” No matter how heavy the wagon you have pulled, or how long you pulled it while they rode in the seat, cracking the whip, they only want you to DO MORE. They have no pity for the poor “horse” that has broken down trying to pull their wagon without feed or water or kindness at all—you are no good to them any more, so they just kick you and walk off. Most of the time they don’t even have the courtesy to put you out of your misery that THEY created.

Odette,

Maybe one of the steps of healing is letting go of others “getting it.” Lately, I ask myself why I want people to get it? Why do I want to tell my story to people?

I think mainly, I want to be recognized for how much progress I have made. My life doesn’t look like much at the moment and so, perhaps if someone understood what I went through, they would better understand where I am today.

I think it’s my ego that is working.

So, I am letting it go for people to understand. Instead, I hold on to this knowledge and I wait for opportunities to use it. Since there are more Sociopath and pathological people out there than we previously realized, opportunities do present themselves from time to time.

I don’t know if there is a way to educate the masses. It would be nice if we knew about these things before, but we didn’t. Maybe each of us has a angel job to do. I believe we are all angels for someone. Our angel job will come to use when we least expect it but we will have the right things to say.. because we understand and we KNOW.

Maybe. It’s just my theory. And it makes me feel better if my nightmare was not for nothing.

:o)

It’s 2 in the morning so no one can here me anyway. Me and Whitney are having a pity party. That woman can sing!~!! All this talk about why they do this and that and their wiring is messed up and their transmitter’s don’t fire right. Gentic’s or inviroment. I have been thinking and trying to acknowledge his (P) pain. He has to be scared and frightened and confused. We take on their pain, on top of all the other bs they give us to carry. Your right Oxy, he never gave me one ounce of pity. But it sadden’s me that he will alway’s be this way. I don’t see him ever changing. And their was nothing about him to love. So the down side is I loved someone that was unloveable. And I am not sure I was in love. I just didn’t know what he was. It was more like an encounter of the 7th Kind, all of them demon’s in one.

Aloha,
I think you have made a great point.
I seem to have been almost obsessed with wanting people to ‘get it’ and understand what happened to me. Up until I read your last post I’ve never really asked myself why? I suspect that it is to do with ego and dare I say it wanting sympathy. Having never been able to recoup anything else from the relationship I suppose it is what I’ve been clinging to.
I’ll need to sit down and really think about this. Thanks for your insight, it has made me aware of something I haven’t really faced up to before.
Swallow

Dear Aloha

Wise words indeed…I think you’ve hit on something very important.

Deep down I still blame myself for falling into his trap. I’m angry at myself for allowing him to use me, just as I’m angry at myself for allowing my brother to use me for so many years. I’m horrified that two people I trusted completely saw me only as a means to an end. I am struggling to maintain faith in my own judgement. So I think that I seek external affirmation that I’m not a complete idiot, that it wasn’t all my fault.

On a positive note…and this is for Oxy too…my attorney told me today that she confirmed the arrangements for me to get my possessions back from his wife. That’s one thing sorted out! I am busy preparing the information my attorney needs to proceed against my brother and the papers should be presented by next week. I feel better knowing that I have someone fighting in my corner and that I’m not just letting him get away with this.

Thanks again to all of you who keep me going with your words of wisdom and support.

yes aloha…i think it may be an important part of the healing….definitely a new idea along those lines

odette im so happy…once that is over you can move forward much quicker…i had to go thru something similar and a female atty used to dealing with these jerks took a strong stance and stopped the nonsense….i had 2 other male attys before her who got nowhere…they just didnt get it

but of course they didnt mind taking my money…this lady took one third the money they did,was very conscious about not asking for too much and solved the problem…the other 2 guys made fun of her that she thought she could make the problem go away….well she did…..

Dear Swallow. You are absolutely right. My father was a Narcissist and my mother schizophrenic and I can tell you that there is a world of difference between them and how they behave. Yes the schizophrenic person can be manipulative, but the context is different, and whilst the schizophrenic can be manipulating because they have taken a dislike to someone, the sociopath has a well constructed history of manipulating successive partners to con and encouraging attachment in another to hurt or con them (or both).

Dear Kat, Yes, that was THE bottom of the barrel for me, realising that all the energy and care I had invested in him and the relationship, didnt count for anything at all. It was the one relationship where I really put myself into it and it was the worst one – and boy did I feel a fool. It has taught me about making assumptions about what to expect back. You never really KNOW someone, until you REALLY KNOW THEM.

Aloha hits the nail on the head again!!! Good observation, Aloha, and you are SO RIGHT, I think that wanting others to “get it” is a sort of validation that we “aren’t crazy.”

I can remember how VALIDATED and uplifted I felt when the Sheriff “got it”—-and how stomped I feel when someone doesn’t “get it.”

Yes, we ARE angels to someone, and we have certainly had angels there for us (you “Peeps,” as Janie says, are some of my angels!)

Dear dear Henry, I have had a few of those parties myself at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and sometimes clear til day light! (((hugs))))

Henry,
I would like to respond to your late night post. (I am so afraid of responding on here cuz I don’t want to-Once again, look like an ass). When I was with the P, I never once told him that I loved him. I held back. To this day, I cannot honestly say if I loved him or not. (tho I know I had deep feelings for him). I don’t know. Maybe I was lonely, maybe I was in lust, maybe I was just so damn tired of being a single parent going to friend’s houses and being the only single, never been married person there, standing in the corner by myself, maybe at the time I was just as sick as he was. (I absolutely am not saying you are sick in anyway). What I do know is that he was/is selfish and did not give a “crap” (am trying to be respectful here) about me. He saw someone who had something he needed. A place to crash, someone who had a good job (money) and someone who was ripe for the picking. But, there comes a point where you know you are a good person, just trying to pay bills, find someone to love, someone who loves you back, that does not make us “less than” it makes us more (which is something they can never say).

Oxy,

I noted to my Dad once, “I have the knack for pointing out the obvious but one thing I have noticed is.. people don’t like that.” He laughed. I love my Dad. He does the same thing in his AA meetings and they call it _____isms. (The blank is his name….. which is our last name.)

Anyway, my thoughts above are true.. for me.

I have recieved some validation.. here at LF and on Craigslist. This was a big part of my healing. Most if not all of my friends don’t get it but that’s okay. I have always wanted to be deeply understood.. which was, incidentally, a BIG FAT HOOK with BM. He did seem to understand me more than anyone else. He even said, “I was just like you when I was your age so I understand you.” We were both Aries. Aries are young at heart, naive, judgemental, opinionated but well meaning.. blah blah.

Anyway, I think we all should consider how much energy and reliving of the nightmare it takes to try to get people to get it. I just can’t go there anymore. Basically, I tell people, “I had a stalker.” They know what that is. It’s really oversimplifying but it works. And, when I say that, it doesn’t give away any of my power like it does when I talk about being with an abuser. Once you admit to being abused… instant drop of respect (5 to 10 notches) from the listening party. I understand now that they just don’t understand.

And I understand that it’s okay. We have eachother at LF. That works for me.

If I remain committed to having all my friends and relations understand, then I am giving more time to the Bad Man. There was a time when it was way too traumatic to relive and review these moments. I think I mentioned that in my first essay for LF in October 2007. I guess I have come a long way since then.

Anyway, I am committed that we all heal and we all learn and that we all find joy again.

It might sound silly but think about this… we now can appreciate something new about life.. we can appreciate that we are no longer being abused. Before this happened, it probably never crossed our minds but now we have a new awareness. We know what it’s like to be abused, manipulated, lied to. Sometimes when I read here at LF, I pause for a moment and think about the women out there this moment, and this moment, and this moment.. that don’t know how to get out, don’t have access to this information.. don’t understand what is happening to them. I was that woman three+ years ago.

Today, I am not that woman. And I deeply appreciate this.

Aloha………XO

Aloha, you are so right on!!!!

It is funny too, I think you and I have more in common than one might think—we both were screaming going down the road ALONE in our cars! LOL Like mad women on the highway, and also I too use the “I had a stalker” line—it does work and you are so right on about if you say “I was abused” your “stock” nose dives, but if you say “I had a stalker” they can relate to that and not put your stock in the pits.

And really, what is the difference between “abuser” and “stalker”? NONE, because that is what they do to us, they stalk us like PREY is stalked by a PREDATOR.

You are also right about the ENERGY it takes to try to help people “get it” and at THIS point, it isn’t important to me for others to “get it” because I have VALIDATED myself now, but at the time it was important because I NEEDED VALIDATION from outside of myself. At least my son D ALWAYS got it and did validate me, and the sheriff validated me, and for a long time that was about all with this last episode.

With my bio-father, I did get some validation eventually, but only from people who actually knew him personally, but even 40 years late was better than never getting validation. LOL

I’m not sure WHY we (as people) seem to NEED that validation of our “reality.” I see evidence of it in myself in several subtle ways. If I am “hot” or “cold” I will ask others in the room if they are “hot” or “cold” before I adjust the thermostat. When I was first starting off on the boundary setting with some friends a few months back, I had to get “validation” from my son D before I felt comfortable setting those boundaries and enforcing them. MY FEELINGS about it were that I did not want to “appear unreasonable” in setting those boundaries. He agreed that my boundaries were reasonable and needed to be done. But, I ask myself now, what if he had NOT validated them? Would I have still set them if he hadn’t agreed I was “right.” How would my feelings have changed about setting them?

Now, a few months later, my “training wheels” have sort of come off about setting boundaries and I no longer “consult” with him for validation before I do something, though I usually tell him afterwards if it effects him in any way.

I guess it is sort of like I am finally validating my own reality, trusting more in my own judgment, and that I don’t feel that needyness about what I am doing being “right.”

We may not be able to convince others about P’s but there is one priceless gift we all have in common. When someone else we know plummetts to earth after the realisation that they have been conned, abused and manipulated, one of us will be there to pick them up.
We are all healers because of what we have suffered.
Swallow

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