By | January 12, 2007 587 Comments

“Would somebody please tell me why he did this!”

“Would somebody please tell me why he did this?” is one of the most common questions victims of sociopaths have. Three weeks ago I introduced the idea that the Inner Triangle can help each of us understand the individual sociopath that infected our lives. The Inner Triangle is formed by three qualities that develop in concert during childhood. These three qualities are Ability to Love, Impulse Control and Moral Reasoning. Last week I discussed the concept of Ability to Love. Lack of Ability to Love defines those with sociopathy. No less important however, is the lack of Impulse Control, also universally found in people with this disorder.

What is Impulse Control?

I’m sure many of you noticed that sociopaths have a lot of energy. Their minds come up with many plans and ideas. This energy would be a good thing if the sociopath could direct it toward positive goals. Sadly, however, the abundant energy sociopaths have leads them to pursue goals that damage others. The reason is poor impulse control. Sociopaths are unable to control the many impulses that come from their basic drives and emotions.

This poor impulse control causes sociopaths to be vulnerable to addictions of all kinds. Once these addictions are established, they are particularly resistant to treatment. Many have noted that the impulses sociopaths have are especially destructive. For example, sociopaths are often sexually driven. They may also be greedily driven to obtain possessions. However, the impulse to have power over others is the central defining impulse of sociopathy. Sociopaths expend most of their energy trying to gratify impulses related to having power and influence over others.

The desire for power

The desire for power has been very difficult for researchers to study. The reason is that unlike our other desires, there is no feeling associated with it. Think about it—when you want food, you are hungry. When you want affection, you are lonely. When you want entertainment, you are bored. When you want sex you’re”¦. The point is, how do you know when you want power? Researchers have established that this motive is completely beyond our conscious awareness!

Victims high in empathy do not recognize sociopaths

One of the main reasons why victims high in empathy do not recognize sociopaths is that the desire for power is non-conscious. People high in empathy make use of their knowledge of their own emotions to interpret the emotions of others. Can you see then why people who rely on empathy in interactions with others completely miss sociopaths? An empathetic person correctly observes that sociopaths enjoy the company of others. He/she then self-references his/her own feelings of affection with regard to enjoying other people. The victim is fooled into interpreting power motivations as affection-related motivations.

Power motivated people are high in testosterone

The power motive is directly related to testosterone levels in both men and women. This is likely also responsible for the hypersexual behavior seen in sociopaths. The relationship between testosterone and the desire for power is so strong that testosterone predicts dominance behavior better than psychological tests.

Many studies have shown that sociopaths do have higher testosterone levels both during adolescence and adulthood. This higher testosterone of male sociopaths may also make them more attractive to women. Women unconsciously sense male characteristics that indicate high testosterone and are attracted to these qualities.

Medications that “help” sociopaths

Medications that reduce overall energy and block driven behavior reduce problematic behavior in sociopaths. The medications that do this are called antipsychotic medications. They are also used to treat schizophrenia. The most commonly used anti-psychotic for adolescent and adult sociopaths is Risperdal. In the past, we used Thorazine for this purpose.

You may also wonder if castration works. Eliminating testosterone through either surgical or chemical castration does help some. However, removing testosterone does not restore Ability to Love and so does not really treat the underlying disorder.

Why me?

It is my hope that providing you with knowledge about this disorder will help you answer for yourself the “Why me?” question and will help you stop the self blame. We all can benefit from considering our own Ability to Love, Impulse Control and Moral Reasoning. The best thing for victims is to come out of this experience wiser and better.

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Anger directed inward is depression. Anger directed outward is not. I like the castration idea 🙂 Thanks for this helpful post!

will be okay

OMG… After reading this I now realize my X was probably diagnosed. I caught him cheating b/c he said he was “going to take a sleeping pill, and would be out cold all night” after the 3rd ‘sleeping pill’ in 5 weeks, I went past his house, he was gone.. busted & the saga began. We are both in EMS, so earlier I had asked him what type of sleeping pill & he said “well it’s not actually a sleeping pill, but they make me tired” when I asked the name he said Risperdal!!! That combined with the look his mom gave me when we met, makes me think.. He probably has been diagnosed!!

Also he is addicted to Pain Killers, Pornography, & masterbation. He drinks alot of wine and is probably seriously into.. Internet seduction & phone sex.

Great Post!!.. As usual!!


Concerning the high testosterone levels… I think when one is devoid of true human emotion, the result is that their behavior more closely resembles animals. That raw animal behavior would result in a higher sexual “need”. Plus, each (emotionless) sexual conquest registers as a “win” for them.

In dealing with the sociopath in our lives, I’ve noticed that his need to win is so strong that the man thinks nothing of using children in his efforts. I’m sure, however, that these children will grow up to despise him someday, when they are mature enough to understand how they were used as pawns.

It is profoundly amazing how he has been able to bring others into his fold, including lawyers, Judges, and counselors.

Someday, I’d love to write a book on his exploits; it would amaze even those who read this excellent site. But, it will have to wait… the story has not ended yet. My hope is that the children involved will, on their own, understand his behavior and chose not to have a relationship with him.

Victims high in empathy do not recognize sociopaths

This is an EXCELLENT EXCELLENT Point, Dr. Leedom. Can’t be made often enough or strongly enough, since the most empathetic victims blame themselves far too much.

Healing Heart

Ah, here it is! – information about Testosterone and Sociopathy in an old archive. Very interesting. This is a great article. There are some real treasures in the archives


HH: Thanks for bringing this article back. I’d missed it. When Dr. Leedom wrote it, I was in bed with a catastrophic month-long flu, still living with the S/P and wondering why I was terrified of what he was going to do next.

I had no label for him, but I finally knew I could never trust him to “do the right thing.” Whatever he did, it would create more chaos and expense and disaster, but he’d always put on such a pretty face, like “See what wonderful thing I did to help you?” Like a demonic child running a brigade of bulldozers through the freshly planted fields, saying, “See how hard I worked? Isn’t it wonderful?” and then “Why don’t you appreciate me!”


Very helpful blog article by Dr. Liane!

I’m not sure where to post this link, so I’ll put it here since it offers info that parallels what Dr. Liane said in her post above. These are good blog articles with helpful info which we probably already know. It’s always good to review some things in an organized presentation!

Healing Heart

Eyeofthestorm – I just read those blog articles. Chilling. It describes, precisely how the relationship played out between me and my ex S.

It’s just so hard to believe that it was all an act. He was so “loving” in the beginning. He wanted to be with me all the time…he seemed to find so much joy in just being with me. That seems like an awful lot of effort to fake.

But in the end he seemed to hate me. Truly seemed to despite me – he would look at me and speak to me with such loathing. It was so hard to make any sense of. Baffling.

And then after I threw him out, he started to love me again. And as I did “NC” he became more and more desperately in love with me. I was perfect again. I was his “dreamgirl” and “perfect partner.”

I never took him back. My feeling was that the new idealization was very thin, and wouldn’t have lasted a week. He described it as such profound love, but I has wised up by then, and it really felt paper thin. Even thinner than that.

But boy did I fall hard for it in the beginning. This is all so crazy. My God.

If one of these guys read one of these blogs would they recognize themselves?

It’s just all so frightening. Makes me shudder.


Why would these guys read these blogs? Could they make use of the information to manipulate us better? Would the blogs make them feel better about themselves? I think reading the blogs would be too much like work, plus there’s all that negative stuff about them. They’re perfect, remember?

HH: He didn’t “start to love” you after you threw him out. He missed the control of having you as a possession. Do you remember the “dog in a manger” story? The dog that can’t eat the hay, but won’t let the horse have any? It’s about control. He knew how to reel you in through seduction the first (second, third?) time, so why wouldn’t it work again? Good thing you saw through it.

Healing Heart

No, it would be too much work to read these blogs – but I wonder if they were sitting in the waiting room of the dentist’s office, and picked up a magazine with an article about sociopath’s….would they read it and have an “ah-ha!” moment, or would they not see themselves in it? Is their sense of reality so distorted that they could read a description of an S/P which fit them exactly – but not see it?



I have seen the scenario you describe play out many times in many marriages and relationships….a loving and close to perfect beginning eventually leading to the opposite extreme and ending with the S hating his victim.

In addition to all the books and articles available about S/P types, I have found reading a lot about narcissism and verbal abuse very helpful.

HH, I have read your posts on other threads about having a rough week with strong memories being prominent in your mind. Personally, I think a year is yesterday in terms of understanding all the complexities both in terms of the other and within ourselves. What Dr. Liane says in her post above is what makes us such vulnerable targets and what makes it so hard to heal because we must completely change the way we see things (the S and his tactics), and that is hard for us because it is not our natural way of being in the world or of understanding relationships.

Dr. Liane also talks about self-referencing feelings so we are overwhelmed with anguish and deep heartbreak when we must face and accept that the feelings were not mutual but rather an empty act for some purpose we cannot even begn to comprehend and that makes no sense to us.

We thrash about in our minds trying to piece together words and actions in a way that might appear reasonable and understandable, but the effort only leads to the inevitable conclusion that the whole thing was a lovefraud and we must deal with our pain, learn our lesson, and move on with our lives using the experience to create something better for ourselves for those who will come into our lives.

Ultimately, we experience a transition in our understanding and in the way we take care of ourselves. I think there will always be a twinge of hurt when certain memories are triggered, but they cease to be distracting and excruciating, and they don’t resonate in a way that is so consuming.

Healing Heart

Thank you, EyeofTheStorm. Yes, It has been almost a year since I threw him out of the house, but only 5-6 months with sustained NC (my end – he kept finding ways to get through until a month ago when I shut down every possible avenue). And it really on feels like three months that I have started doing the real work. And only the last two weeks where I have been really facing the full reality.

It’s like the movie of our relationship is getting replayed, but this time I am REALLY seeing it – whereas the first time I slept through it, or had dark sunglasses on, or whatever….

Everything you say makes alot of sense, and you have said it very eloquently, thank you. You sound like a calm, soothing, voice of reasoning. Reading your words was actually calming. Thank you.

This has been a tough week. But I actually feel a lot better today than I did a few days ago.

I look forward to the time when the memories are far less potent.

And, Eyeofthestorm – thank you for following my posts and my story. I love the way people do that here (and I do it, too!). It’s so wonderful to “be seen.”


HH: The S/P was well versed in sales tactics: human potential sorts of manipulations. He loved his library of books on that sort of manipulation. He wanted to take me to a Tony Robbins weekend so we could both “walk on coals together.” I thought that was bizarre and scary — and it was! I’m sure it was about seeing how far he could manipulate me into doing something that could be painful and even debilitating.

I know that at one point he was being evaluated for custody purposes and he was worried that he might “fail” the psych evaluation. I had no idea at the time why that might be so. I thought he might be dealing with PTSD from his time as a Navy SEAL. Oh, wait, he didn’t claim that — that was the rest of you guys! — this guy had served on a nuclear submarine!


Eye: I like the way you’ve said it, but I don’t think the S/P “hates” at the end. I think it’s just the way their story runs. Just like they didn’t really “love” at the beginning. These are words we use to describe their behaviors that LOOK like “love” and “hate.”



Did you go to the Tony Robbins weekend? What did you think of Tony Robbins? I always had big ???? in my mind about him and his approach. He seemed like a con artist salesman to me. Walking on coals! Not me! Nice, simple, reliable, predictable people don’t want to do things like that! Not my idea of adventure!



I see what you are saying. The “hate” and nasty stuff at the end was probably there at the beginning too; they couldn’t let it show because it would not work as a very effective hook! Cheap cover ups wear thin fast and people always revert to their true nature.


Eye: He got “front row seats for us,” all I had to do was come up with $1000 — half price!!!! As if I even had a weekend to get away from the fires he was continually setting. The S/P was always latching onto the next guru and next vague, hard-to-prove wellness technique, and next expert in some dubious field as a way to influence more people and impress them with his (pseudo)knowledge. I actually have or had a strong aversion to things he would promote, because he never promoted anything from a sincere desire to help. It was always a tool to manipulate. If I’ve adopted anything he ever talked about, it is in SPITE of his promotion, not BECAUSE of it.

When I speak here about the Sedona Method, or EMDR, or neurofeedback, or meditation, or cognitive behavioral therapy, or anything else, I’ve experienced results on my own even in my most extreme and desperate circumstances. I know others may not find the same results, so I don’t care whether other people like my suggestions or find them helpful in the end — I just share what has worked for me. I admit, though, that I have probably a permanent resistance to any 12-step program because of the way the S/P used it.


No, we didn’t go to the Tony Robbins weekend.

Healing Heart

My ex-S was an enormous fan of vague, hard-to-prove, wellness techniques! He’d buy some wild new-age book or find a new guru, swami, whatever, and learn just enough to talk about his new wellness in terms that sounded somewhat informed….and then he dropped it (D & D) and found a new spiritual path. God forbid he follow through and do some real work. Of course in the first few months of our relationship he embraced my spirituality….he had finally found what he was always looking for! Because of ME! I was so wonderful! YAY ME!!!!! Gosh was I happy to help him with his spirituality! He and I connect so well! I’m “loved” and valued, and respected, and finally I have found my true love! I will be happy!

now dim the lights and cue the ominous music……

How bout the Jaws soundtrack?


HH: Was he also Native American? (I mean absolutely no offense to any ethnic group whatsoever. I have tremendous respect for the Native American spiritual paths. I really object to pseudo-shaman who will use ANY excuse to dupe trusting souls, including blaspheming the Native American ways.)

Healing Heart

No, ex, S was not Native American – standard American white mutt mix. Though he told me that he had been told by a psychic (dime store) that he was a Native American Warrior in past life. I wonder if that’s true. I think it’s more likely he was a barnacle.

I actually work with a shaman on my own spiritual path. But she’s the real deal – she studied for many years with Alberto Villaldo (familiar?) and made many pilgrimmages to south america. It’s not Native American shamanism, but not too dissimilar (I’ve book-studied Native American shamanism, not actually worked with it). I have found that shamanic ways to be so beautiful, and I love the way they are earth centered, and woman-centered. They really resonate with me in a way that Catholicism (faith of my family) never did. And it’s so positive and strength-based.


yea, right, the whole freakin’ warrior thing. my ex thought he was julius cesar or hannibal or some other great warrior in a previous life. he fancied himself the g-d king of the world. he has to win every battle, every contest, every game at ANY cost! i have watched him play sports and literally cheat, then get in anyone’s face who challenged him. i used to think that was hot! OMFG! once he was battling in a dance competition (he was a top-notch hip-hop dancer) and when he realized he was losing he just smacked the guy and walked away.
he’s known to have a temper, so nobody challenged him. what a major a-hole. wow. it’s good to reminisce like this. what on earth was i thinking?? my father was a s/p … none of us could ever be good enough, do enough … we were always walking on eggshells. i guess i was still trying as hard as i can to be good enough, pretty enough, loyal enough, blah blah blah.
what dispicable things they all are.


A Navy SEAL from Atlantis, perhaps?


rune: i’m sure that would work !


Native American warrior to Navy Seal. What next? X-Man?


Matt: He’s my Ex-Man for sure!

Ox Drover

This is a great article….kind of goes along with how my P-son became a FULL FLEDGED P at puberty. He had a full beard by the time a lot of kids were still “little kids.” Hummmm? Something to think about.

Great article!!!


Dr. Leedom…could we not say if you want power you are feeling envious? How is the desire for control beyond conscious control? I would be interested to hear more about that. This was a very interesting post. Just reread it.


It IS an interesting post.
My personal take is the “infant theory“.

I’ve seen it happen with my P-sister and I’m sure it’s what is going on with my exP.

My P-sister controlled my P-parents since she was born.
She would cry and my mom would come and hit the rest of us. As she got older, she would – out of the blue – scream, “mom, hit Skylar!!” My mom wouldn’t even question what we had done to her. She just came up and smacked us.
Finally, my P-sister was sleeping on the couch and she said it in her sleep, “mom, hit Skylar.” I looked at my mom and said, “see, I told you, she just says it out of habit!” My P-mother finally ALMOST believed me.

Well, as she grew up, she learned that she could wield power by proxy if she could influence the authority figures. So in 9th grade, her first boyfriend was a senior. In college, it was her teacher. In her first job, it was her boss. Now she married a cop. It really can’t get more obvious than that.

I point all this out to my stupid P-parents, and they acknowledge it, but they can’t wrap their brains around the fact that they are personally responsible for reinforcing the thinking that perverted her P-brain.

In the case of my exP, I believe he learned that controlling others meant survival. His life was dog eat dog.

So, my point is that I think their lust for power is a form of anxiety. The infant needs to know it will be fed and clothed to survive. Anything else is frightening.

a very interesting article that addresses how to deal w/a narcissist.


Here’s a great site referenced on one of these older blogs. I like this part, which they attribute to Dr. Hare:
The victimization goes far beyond trying to take advantage of someone on a date or during a simple business transaction. The victimization is predatory in nature; it often leads to severe financial, physical or emotional harm for the individual. Healthy, real relationships are built on mutual respect and trust; they are based on sharing honest thoughts and feelings. The mistaken belief that the psychopathic bond has any of these characteristics is the reason it is so successful” (in fooling victims)

Yes, there is a hidden motive, lies, misrepresentations….and all predatory in nature. It is actually frightening when it really sinks in.


Thank you, I just read this although I have seen that site before (and love it). This is what we were talking about in the other post too I believe.


Parasites! Most parasites in nature do not vitimize the host merely feed off it. The human kind will do the same feeding off what they consider weekness at our expence! But some regard the encounter as a life draining , bleed out experience! to Bleed out is to , take every drop! Draining the life out of the victim till there is no more blood to suck out of us!

To them the end justifies the means!

Like our govt. To kill a few 1000 or million justifies the profit of the war machine!


Rune and Healing Heart,

Yes, guys do read these blogs but unfotunately they tend to lead so onesidely towards only to men being the perpetrators and women as victims.

I think it’s more that men are ashamed to talk about being manipulated by a female sociopath and seek help.

I have been in an abusive married for 10 years to someone who fits the bill to a tee.

I am always to blame for anything and everything. I used to try to stand up more myself but it would escalate out of control and being the man, she would play the victim card. I love my children dearly and am very active in their lives daily with scholl, coaching sports etc that I could not phantom missing out on a minute of watching them grow and instilling solid values in them.

So now, I quietly accept blame, apologize quickly and get out of the way. Ignore hurtful comments, keep my feelings to myself knowing that if they are shared they will be used to manipulate and push my buttons.

This is the first I’ve actually shared this with anyone – being anonymous makes it easier but god help me (and the noise the kids woulds have to hear) if she read this post.

So, sorry ladies, you don’t have a monopoly here. I do get benefit from the blogs, I just have to fill in “her” where it says him.

kim frederick

I’m glad you’re here Applebill. You are one more voice for all of us, but also a voice for the somewhat smaller male percentage that comes here for support. It was nice to hear from you, and I hope we will again.

Ox Drover

Dear AppleBill,

You are NOT alone, meaning that there ARE other men out there who do as you do and “placate” the BEAST they are married to for the sake of being in the lives of their children.

My own paternal grandfather did that with my P grandmother.

I applaud you for loving your children, and you have my utmost sympathy for your own predicament in your marriage made in hell.

I also am glad you are here and I hope that you can find solace and comfort here. this is a good lplace and while we (most of the posters) ARE women, there are people from all walks of life, people of both sexes, people of several sexual orientations, and religious…so whatever your “catagory” you will fit in with this group of very empathetic and understanding and accepting people. We are NOT “man bashers” though sometimes it might seem that way.

Some of the men who have been here (but are not regular posters now) such as James, have raised their kids single handedly after their P left them with the kids—you should be so lucky, but most times the Ps seem to use the kids as WEAPONs against their mates. Male or female Ps.

Keep your faith in yourself and stay around here, we will be “there” for you and believe me when i say WE DO GET IT. Also, KNOWLEDGE=POWER and even if you don’t think you can successfully get away from her right now because of your kids, you can learn about HER and about yourself and hone your own strengths and hopefully that will make life easier for you to endure at this point. God bless you and I thank Him that your kids have such a caring father.


Thank you – I actually did not expect to get a positive response from anyone.


This is an excellent place for you to be. I hope that you do feel welcome and that you feel free to share your experience.

I think you are right that men are less likely to want to “talk” and share out loud these types of abuse in relationships but it is very important to do so. It is important to all of us here and for the general population to recognize that these toxic people come in all shapes and sizes.

Raising your children under such circumstances can be very difficult. I hope that you are able to gather some helpful information here.

Ox Drover

Dear AppleBill,

I hope you WILL stay around here. What I suggest to people who are “new” here is to go back through ALL the old archived articles and read just the articles to familiarize yourself with the WONDERFUL resources here about how to know about the Ps, and also to learn about YOURself and how to help yourself.

ALSO for those that have children with the psychopaths, I suggest that you look to the left and find the blog roll and go to Dr. Leedom’s blog about “raising the at-risk child” which is a child with at least one psychopathic or personality disordered [parent and how to help these children to develop an empathetic and caring personality and how to give them what they need so that they will grow up to be fully functioning people in their own right.

A parent raising a child WITH a parent like this is under a double bind in taking care of themselves AND taking care of the child. It is obvious to me that YOU ARE COMMITTED to being there for your children, regardless of whatever sacrifices you must make yourself (like staying married to that woman) so this speaks so well for YOUR love of your children and your sense of responsibility.

At the same time, I also realize that YOU need all the support that you can find, and KNOWLEDGE=POWER and the more you know the better you will be able to function and survive what must be a difficult situation at best! God bless you and the obvious tremendous love and connection you have to your children. I am so glad you are here! Please accept a big cyber ((((hug))) from an old woman, the child of a psychopath, the daughter of an enabling woman, and also the parent of a psychopathic child (now an adult in prison)

There are lots of great folks here who have been where you are, who know the dedication to being a parent, and the pain of dealing with a psychopath in one form or another (parent, spouse, or child). Knowledge and support are here!!! This place has been a life saver and a sanity saver for many of us.

I am one of the “long time” bloggers here, over two years, and one of the most verbose as well—but I stay here because the road toward healing is so much smoother with people who UNDERSTAND!!! God bless you and your children is my prayer !!!!


“People high in empathy make use of their knowledge of their own emotions to interpret the emotions of others. Can you see then why people who rely on empathy in interactions with others completely miss sociopaths? An empathetic person correctly observes that sociopaths enjoy the company of others. He/she then self-references his/her own feelings of affection with regard to enjoying other people.”

one of my MAIN functions was interpreting ‘his’ latest meltdown; coaxing out his ‘secrets’ and telling important significant others those secrets. this was amazing to me. i told 2 – HAHA, to other manifestations of the spath. I told one because i thought it would save his life – i am not kidding here – i told his bf that the reason the boy wouldn’t continue with the deprogramming (please don’t ask) was that ‘his’ secret about both of their father’s having molested him would come to the surface and the bf would never look at him the same……….

i shook writing that email. SHOOK. I have never taken responsibility for another’s life like that. that there was someone there to care for him was of utmost importance – and it couldn’t be me in the primary care giver role………he just kept DYYYING.

she ‘made him, she killed him, she resurrected him, and now she has moved him on’ to another dupe.

she is a twisted F8ck.


Re: telling secrets – i did this TWICE – told the ‘big’ one. the last one, I said, you are on your own with this one’. All the lies were about child abuse and incest. welcome to the game!


“People high in empathy make use of their knowledge of their own emotions to interpret the emotions of others. Can you see then why people who rely on empathy in interactions with others completely miss sociopaths? An empathetic person correctly observes that sociopaths enjoy the company of others. He/she then self-references his/her own feelings of affection with regard to enjoying other people”

I don’t know that assuming everyone thinks the same way as you do is empathy. I always though of empathy more as reading others’ emotions and intentions. As someone with a past autism dx(and current ocd, but that is neither here nor there), I went through a few steps learning to interact with others:

1)(age 11 and under) Get treated poorly. Blame the other person without learning how to socialize or stand up for myself. Assume that if I want something, everyone else wants(or at least should want) it as well. Also assume that others can read my mind and know what I want without my having to communicate it. Quite painful and useless for everyone involved. I was also being victimized through my mom’s relationship with a P during the last few years of this time. General depression/helplessness.

2)(12-13) Look for behavioral signs of whether people are interested in you. Basically, why would they want to be nice to you? They won’t, unless they want something from you. I first learned to gain positive attention by offering something they wanted – copying homework for example. If someone acts nice without asking for something in return, be extremely suspicious. Started to stand up for myself, but had poorly controlled anger outbursts(threatening my brother with a steak knife over a minor argument, getting into mild physical fights at school, for example). I would feel very remorseful after the fact but little/nothing at the time. But, it got me further than allowing others to hurt me did – If I fought back, they stopped wanting to hurt me.

(14-17) Find other “weird” people who I can associate with without having to worry too much about their intentions. I still don’t get much from facial expressions, but I learn, through trial and error, how most people respond to a given situation(for example, people will be loyal if you fight for them, angry if you gossip about them, etc.). Better emotional control.

(18+) About standing up for myself mostly. Realizing that some family members maybe are not good social role models because they lack friends, even more than me, and may be a bit on the spectrum themselves. Develop and trust an inner gut feeling. To this day, most of my friends have some kind of dx(mostly add, ld, depression, and bipolar). Use the internet to run background checks on people when I’m bored and have some privacy.

I still don’t read faces that well. Do I have empathy? I can get by, hold down a job, etc. I do think that at this point in life I’m less vulnerable than most to P’s because a) I know about them by dealing with one very young and b) I tend to compensate for my difficulty in reading people’s facial expressions by observing their behavior. I don’t attempt to determine sincerity by nonverbal body language, but rather by considering whether the person has been honest in the past and by whether their statement is plausible/can be corroborated.

Ox Drover

Dear Sweet cynic,

Empathy is different from “sympathy” I think in that if you are sympathetic to someone who has a loss, say the loss of a dear pet,, you feel FOR them, you know they feel bad and you are sorry that they feel badly. Empathy though I think is more KNOWING how it feels to lose something/someone very valuable and you can pretty well approximate their grief at losing their very beloved pet. You almost take on their sadness and sorrow.

You also, if you are empathetic, think that a person who ACTS sad really is sad. Psychopaths are from fair to excellent at ACTING sad or any other emotion like “loving” but they do not FEEL that emotion, they simply have learned how people who “love” act. Some Ps are better actors than others, but none of them can FEEL connectedness and love so they may say words that indicate “love” but then BEHIND your back say those same words to others, because their whole lives are really “stage plays” not authentic lives. They just don’t “get it” emotionally.

Reading faciall expressions can be helpful in determining what truth is in their words, or it may not be if the person is a pretty good liar. But putting together a combination of behavior (like saying “I love you” but then hitting you) shows that SOMETHING doesn’t mesh together—words vs actions.

WE get clues from everything in our environment and those clues will form a picture if we put them together and look honestly at the picture they form.

Past behavior and honesty in general are GOOD indicators of future behavior.

Learning these things about someone may be easy, or they may try to hide past patterns of behavior (lie about having been in jail etc) but my personal “dead line” is lying and dishonesty of ANY kind to ANY one that I know about and any past history of arrests, or ANY lie. By keeping myself to close friends who are NOT dishonest in any way, NOT liars or law breakers, not substance abusers, etc. I weed out most if not all of the TOXIC people from my life.



So, let’s say of 2 people: One has never been burglarized and the other has. Both would sympathize, but only one would empathize, with burglary victims? The other would have to do their best to approximate how it feels?


Also – Would a P’s empathy stage be approximately what I described in my 11 and under stage, only with the understanding that others do not read their minds and with a vastly superior ability to lie and con people?


this is a really good analogy of the P triangle and how it works. I can relate to it so much. I dont know if it has been posted here before but good reading.


Thanks knowledgeempowers. I’ve read plenty, but supplements are always good…


Its only one page, so not long reading, just takes a few minutes and does explain a lot about how they work. I found this so long ago and knew this was happening, but still played the P’s sick game for so long. A year ago a friend told me he was a P and that is when I started researching, still took me a year to finally give up on it.


I think this topic also addresses “blame” of any kind for the spath’s “condition.” Whether it is genetic, or learned behavior, the spath’s choices are just that: their choices.

As far as choosing empathetic source targets, think about it for just a minute…pity is one of the strongest lures that the spath employs. Why pity? An empathetic source target actually feels the emotions of others, rather that simply acknowledging those emotions through the nod of sympathy. To cause another person to FEEL pity provides the spath with what they construe as a bona fide excuse for their choices.

Spath: My mom and dad went through a nasty divorce. The new step-parent didn’t understand me and tried to turn me against my parent. They forced me to get a job, and then kicked me out when they got tired of me. It was horrible.

Source target: You poor thing, that must have been terrible.

Spath: It was terrible and I’m so angry at my parent for ruining our family! My other parent never would have done that to me.

Source target: Well, that’s okay. I can be your family since you don’t have one of your own.

Spath: Really? Will you help me?

Source target: Of course, I’ll do whatever I can because I love you and care about you.

What this scenario says is that the empathetic source target has no reason to disbelieve what the spath is claiming. Because the source target literally FEELS the pain that the spath is describing, they endeavor to help ease that pain by trusting the spath and the door swings wide for the spath to wander into the source target’s emotional world and begin picking and choosing specific triggers to obtain whatever it is that they want, be it money, sex, power, control, etc.

There is nobody to “blame.” Bad divorce, dysfunctional childhood, bullying, etc., may be a factor in how a human being develops, but they cannot be used as excuses to deliberately lie, cheat, steal, and damage. Nearly every human being can point to some aspect of their childhood and define it as dysfunctional, but the larger majority of these people do not develop into spaths, BY CHOICE. Spath behavior is intentional, deliberate, and cunning. There is no remorse, no accountability, no conscience, and no way to force an spath to develop “normal” human attributes associated with cause/effect/consequences of personal choices. They merely point to their childhoods, ex-spouse, etc,. and say, “See that? That’s why I’m like I am!” And the empathetic source target buys it.

Just my two cents.


GREAT POST!!! SPot on!!

The spath always ‘asked’ for my help….this is the suckin…..
I kept cards from flowers etc….they always said things like….
To my pain in my ass~
Please help me get better……

NOw…tellme….what woman (aside from me at the time) would think that endearing and get drawn in?

Oh….he was being cute.

Again Buttons…..Great post….it was my velcro to the spath….

I FELT his pain…..

I’m very cautious of FEELING others rather than offering the simple nod these days…..
Once I FEEL…..I turn it off.


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