The Aftermath Of Victimization By A Psychopathic Individual

Let me first clarify that a sociopath is just a less scary way of saying psychopath. What we think of as being a psychopath is in the extreme case. This is what happens to the unsuspecting victims of a psychopathic personality.  Here is a list of characteristics. Characteristics of a Psychopath
 
superficial charm
self-centered & self-important
need for stimulation & prone to boredom
deceptive behavior & lying
conning & manipulative
little remorse or guilt
shallow emotional response
callous with a lack of empathy
living off others or predatory attitude
poor self-control
promiscuous sexual behavior
early behavioral problems
lack of realistic long term goals
impulsive lifestyle
irresponsible behavior
blaming others for their actions
short term relationships
juvenile delinquency
breaking parole or probation
varied criminal activity
 
 
by Linda S. Hartoonian and Liane J. Leedom, M.D.

Psychopathic individuals take the lives of their victims, at least figuratively, sometimes literally. The aftermath of victimization by a psychopathic individual often impacts every sphere of a person’s life. Victims are harmed psychologically, emotionally, physically, financially, and socially.  The devastation can be far reaching.  Since victimization by psychopathic romantic partners and spouses often occurs in early and middle adulthood, victims may lose the most productive years of their lives. Children who grow up coping with a psychopathic parent may experience developmental harm that is life-long.
In one recent survey>[i] of women who reported involvement with individuals with psychopathic features, they reported the following harm:
Percent Reporting

Type of Harm

95

Emotional

85

Psychological

71

Financial

67

Career

51

Sexual

51

Physical

26

Other

 
There are five sources for the information found in this resource including the above survey. The first is our experience talking with victims and reading their stories on our site. The other four are written sources listed at the end of this resource>[ii]. Because the people reportedly characterized by psychopathic traits in prior studies have not all been tested with a clinically valid measure of psychopathy, we must caution readers that all of our knowledge in this area is preliminary, and some of this knowledge is likely to change as more and better studies are conducted.  Our experience with victims has taught us that adult men are victimized too, even though there is not as much written information about that victimization.
Psychological and Emotional Harm
By psychological and emotional harm, we mean effects on the way victims think and feel.  In many cases, it appears that the most devastating psychological effects of long-term relationships with psychopathic individuals are due to the impact of deception.
Life with a psychopathic individual is characterized by outright lies, slight omissions, and clever manipulations.  It can be devastating for victims to discover that almost none of what they viewed as facts actually were.  Often, upon learning the truths which are part of the psychopath’s actual reality, the victim experiences great pain and disbelief.
It is not unusual for the victims of psychopaths to question their sanity and self worth.  This is often exacerbated by the psychopathic individual looking the victim in the eye and denying that events they both experienced together happened.
Psychopathic individuals may even try to convince victims that it is they who are “crazy.”  This is so common, that victims talking on the internet have adopted the term “gas lighting” to refer to this practice. The term gas lighting comes from the 1944 movie Gaslight, in which a romantic swindler tries to convince his new wife she is insane by lowering the gas fueled lights in their home.  She realizes the lighting is different, but he tells her it is fine and that there is no change (as part of his attempt to make her think she is crazy).  Due to deception, manipulation and “gas lighting,” many victims are left with damage to their sense of basic trust in other people. Some struggle with emotional intimacy for years afterwards.
Generally, psychopathic individuals are out to service their own short term agendas.  Concern for others in their lives is often non-existent.  This lack of concern for others extends even to the immediate family including, children, spouses, parents, and siblings.  However, it is not always apparent or clearly understood by those watching it happen or experiencing it.
Once an individual is no longer of use to the psychopath, it is common for that person to be discarded.  This may result in the victim experiencing feelings of disbelief, anger, disposability, worthlessness, and hopelessness.  Outright anguish may surface once the psychopath’s true colors begin to show.
It is rare that victims actually recognize what is happening to them until it is too late.  Because of this, many victims never fully understand the full complexity of the situation.  Frequently, they are so entangled in the web of confusion the psychopath has managed to spin, that seeing the psychopath for what he or she is, rather than how he or she portrays himself, may be quite difficult.
A psychologist in writing a psychopath’s evaluation described how difficult it is to comprehend and reconcile the reality of the psychopath with his positive presentation (or persona). The psychologist reported that, following an evaluation of a parent with psychopathic features, she had had difficulty reconciling the positive persona superficially presented by the psychopath with the contradictory facts she had gathered during the forensic evaluation. If trained forensic mental health professionals have trouble reconciling the positive persona with the psychopath’s actual nature, it is no wonder that family members, especially children, usually have trouble doing so.
It is likely that the psychopath has spent so much time manipulating the victim’s reality that the victim cannot always distinguish fact from fiction.  However, there tends to be an underlying sense that much is wrong.  Things may seem very “off,” leaving a pervasive feeling of uneasiness that is often unexplainable.  If no specifics can be pinpointed, and victims’ descriptions of their feelings are vague, they may begin to feel and appear less credible, even to themselves.
Victims also tend to experience a knowledge or sense that they are being bullied or pursued for a purpose  that does not really matter to the psychopath.  The goal may be to achieve something material in nature or may be to achieve control over  a person, such as a child, who is important to the victim.   The psychopath may simply feel entitled to “ownership rights.”  Yet the victim is usually aware that the psychopath does not really care about what they are trying to gain.  In fact, in reality, the psychopath’s acquisition of the “object” may actually be a detriment in the long term.  Rather, the true goal may be simply to “win”  against the victim.  Once attained, the psychopath often loses interest in their new acquisition.  The victim may also live in fear that any of the psychopath’s achievements or certain alliances may result in harm.  The end result is anxiety about the future and emotional turmoil within the victim.  Victims often feel battered, ganged up on and drained, with an inability to function normally.
All the harm we have mentioned thus far is from covert abuse. Psychopathic individuals also may openly psychologically abuse their victims by denigrating and terrorizing them. In emphasizing covert abuse here, we do not mean to under-emphasize the impact of overt abuse, which is itself extremely damaging. We have focused on covert abuse because there is less information available on these forms of abuse that may be less common or more specific to psychopathic individuals. We hope to provide more information about emotional abuse and psychopathy on this website over time. For now, we simply note that emotional abuse can be extremely harmful to victims. Sadly, some victims attempt suicide as a result of hopelessness, helplessness and the belief there is no way out. Some victims have reported to us that psychopaths have actually encouraged them to take their own lives or have indicated that they would put them through so much turmoil that their only recourse would be suicide.
Physical Effects and Medical Illness
Victims’ realizations and actual trouble caused by psychopathic individuals can cause tremendous stress which can harm a person’s well-being.  In most cases, the psychopath’s abuse is calculated and exact.  Yet, it tends to be delivered with “precise ambiguity.”  The abuse is often sporadic, but reccurring over time.  In spite of the fact that the abuse is repeated, the victim cannot predict when it is likely to occur.  The psychopath has the ability to present what appears to be a very loving and caring persona.  As a result, victims sometimes feel they were wrong about their feelings and that they misinterpreted the abuse or its meaning.  Just as the victim comes to terms with and justifies the mistreatment, further abuse is delivered.
Since victims are left not knowing what to expect, this produces unpredictable and uncontrollable stress that has the potential to wear on victims and impact their physical, as well as mental health. The potential for added physical complications exists because victims are often in weakened states, leaving their bodies less able to defend against disease.
In short, the combined stress of the struggle presented by daily living and extreme emotional or physical abuse or both, weakens the body as well as stresses the mind.  Such stress, generally speaking, is linked to medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus. Stress is also linked to psychological conditions such as major depression and PTSD. Victims may try to cope with stress by abusing prescription medication, drinking alcohol and or smoking. This may increase risk for health problems associated with these substances. Victims may also cope by eating “comfort food” in large amounts and are therefore at heightened risk for developing obesity. Their participation in preventive health measures like exercise and medical office visits also may decrease; developing health problems therefore go undiscovered.
Psychopathic individuals may also directly harm their partners with violence or by exposing them to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, HPV, and herpes.  The psychopathic individual may or may not have direct knowledge of what they are doing when infecting others with STD’s.  While some may not be aware that they carry a certain disease, others may simply not care enough to take the precautions necessary to inhibit the spread of it.
Financial and Social Harm
The aftermath of psychopathy affects more than the mind and body.  The weak impulse control of psychopathic individuals is especially pronounced where finances are concerned.  The values that most people place on financial security, obligations, and commitments, often mean nothing to psychopathic individuals.
Psychopathy is characterized by moral bankruptcy that often leads to financial bankruptcy for the affected individual, family members and associates.  As previously mentioned, psychopathic individuals often have no concern for anyone or anything not servicing their agendas or promoting their short-term personal gain.  With little ability to plan for the future or accurately assess the potential consequences of their actions, they often leave trails of destruction that encompass more than their victims’ health.
Psychopathic individuals tend to want what they want when they want it; and they feel entitled, relentlessly insisting that others in their lives capitulate to support their wantonness.
Families and spouses of psychopaths are often left picking up the pieces of their financial shortcomings.  Psychopathic individuals have been known to let homes foreclose, simply because they felt it was time to move on or, even worse, specifically so that their victims had no place to live.  Children are often left without the support they need to grow and thrive.  Although not an absolute, often, psychopathic individuals do not work consistently and are let go from many jobs.  This may also add to victims’ financial devastation.
Similarly, a relationship with a psychopathic individual may negatively impact a person’s work status.  If psychopathic individuals feel threatened or simply wish to destroy a victim financially or as it relates to their career, they usually will do so without hesitation.
It is likely that countless jobs have been lost and careers ended by ambitious and cruel psychopaths.  They may manipulate superiors to believe that a victim is incompetent, or worse, render the victim incompetent through manipulations, conspiracy, or scheming which create either self-doubt or exhaustion>[iii].
Lastly, the social devastation psychopaths leave in their wake is also cause for concern.  In some cases, social devastation follows from loss of financial status.  But largely, social destruction is personal.  Individuals with psychopathic traits may attempt to ruin the lives of their victims through the use of social aggression.  For example, it is common for psychopathic individuals to lie about their victims or portray them unfavorably in gossip, so as to damage their reputations.    The line between those they like and those they do not like is very clear, but often unstable over time.
Relationships among family and friends are irreparably harmed without a second thought.  Like “gas lighting” this practice is so common that there is a name for it. Victims refer to this process as the psychopath’s “smear campaign>[iv].” There are numerous examples of this “smear campaign” in the stories victims have left on our forum.
Summary
To the extent that psychopathic individuals have no functioning conscience, they harm others without empathy or remorse.  Psychopathic individuals seem to blaze through life at high speed, resembling a sports car that has no steering and no brakes. The fact that their harmful actions result from choices they make, tends to make the things they do seem even more unbelievable and reprehensible.  In our experience, most people severely affected with psychopathy inflict some form of harm on nearly everyone they know. The harm is psychological, emotional, physical, financial and social. While education and knowledge can be powerful tools for the survivor, the aftermath of psychopathy can last a lifetime. 
totallytea totallytea
51-55, F
20 Responses Apr 28, 2011

I'm on the rebound from the wrath of my sociopath ex! Wiped out financially and emotionally drained, his true colors emerged after I was injured in a motorcycle accident. Sitting at a stop light, I was rear ended. Unable to work, I lost my premarital home (he had sucked all the equity out of it, purchased a new home shortly after forging our divorce papers). I had no knowledge of the divorce as he had held me prisoner and isolated me for 5 years. Due to statute of limitation laws on which he was coached, I was tossed to the curb with no recourse at the end of my jail sentence. With my current home in foreclosure, he promised to take me back to "his" home. The day the bank took my keys, he looked at me while popping peanuts in his lying mouth... Not a care in the world, no remorse... And just told me everything was my fault. He then told me I would have to wait to move back in with him. I am impatient, as always and that too is my fault. The following week he had moved his newest victim to "his" house. Worst mistake of her life. But there's nothing that can be done other than move on and don't look back. I'm so much better than him, his lies, his scams and his ******. I lost 18 years of my life. Time can't be replaced, but thankfully I have my health, good friends, wonderful family and the strength to financially rebuild! Be strong. There are so many victims of these emotional terrorists. Internal scars can be the most difficult to heal.

ttle when there was no battle , I had custody.....but three weeks later I get court papers him requesting to change the custody and he was able to change it....how does one protect the children when no one wants to believe you and it is so covert that no one sees what he does, the kids see it but again, they are also confused by it, they love him and search for his love yet he does it in spurts....they alre realising that this man is incapable of loving them which devastates them I know I was devastated when someone told me he never loved me....I can't cope with life anymore, can't trust anyone, panic all the time, fear I will be manipulated, don't trust that I can make a good judgement call etc....I am seen as the problem and every time I try to get help, it backfires as no one sees me as credible, more like crazy, mental, and being depressed, anxious all the time only supports what he is telling people, I feel I fell into his trap without realizing I did, this is the most devastating and it has taken me years of therapy to get to this point, and only slowly am I healing from this form of abuse....but hope that one day, I can put this behind me and live again not in fear and anxiety but that is only to be seen as the years continue....I fear the world right now and cant trust anyone and I am isolating myself now as I can't cope with much anymore...thank you for your research and helping understand the seriousness of this type of abuse many don't understand,,,,, I am on long term disability and even they don't understand and now I am fighting to get supported and help while healing with this type of abuse and yet no one is there to help you.....you are alone....how sad....

I don't know the answers. I hope that one day soon you are able to put this behind you and move on with your life. The more we know the better we can protect ourselves from this type of personality. I wish you the best in your recovery. Stay strong and informed. Knowledge is power. xoxo

wow that is so much info

and startltingly revealing

thnks

I was married to a sociopath for 40 yrs. He recently died and suddenly I was hit with the reality that my whole marriage was just lies and deception. Smoke and mirrors is all it was. He insisted I stay at home and raise the children. He alone controlled the finances. Most time we were behind in everything from rent to dental payments. As the years went by he became more aggressive and dominating. He ran his own business and I never knew really where he was. (he was a truck driver) When I went out he would call me constantly to see where I was. I misinterpreted his calls as caring, because his excuse was that he missed me. Then in January 2014 he died and all the lies and women came out of the woodwork. He left me penniless with overdrawn bank accounts and rent and utilities in arrears. If it weren't for God and my now grown children I don't know where I'd be. Emotionally, I'm a wreck. Will I ever trust another man? I doubt it. He was so oppressive to me that the last few years I didn't want to live. But as soon as he died, I suddenly felt free! And now I want to live, even though I feel so totally confused about my whole past with him. The person I loved and trusted didn't really exist. All that was real was the marriage licence and my children.

I'm so sorry. I hope things get better for you. At least you are finally free. I have faith that you will be able to work through this and find happiness. hugs

Thank you. It's hard for most people to understand what people go through with these kinds of people. Thank you again for your understanding and compassion. God bless you.

Thank you for this much-needed information. I now understand that I was married to a psychopath and he did things to me that I can see were part of his mental illness .. Thank god he discarded me and set me free! I will heal and come out the other side a profoundly changed woman .. Thank you again

Thanks for sharing, so much info here!

I really thought I was the only one living this hell... it really helps to know that I am not alone. Dealing with this for almost three years now and I am only 21, I am very eager to get past this low point in my life. No one truly understands. I dont know if Ill ever be the same happy girl I once was.

I truly hope that you can regain yourself. I am also struggling to become "me" again. I married my sociopath when I was 20. He died this January past. I turned 60 yrs. old 12 days after he died. We have to become healthy again, other wise they win.

I am one month into the no contact phase, and was just told by my therapist that I have been victimized by a psychopath for the last 2 yes. I'm lost, greatful I started research and stumbled on this site. Thank you.

I'm glad you are seeking therapy. It is very important to understand that these personalities don't know what love is. They just use you and move on like it's nothing. It is a very devastating experience. Sorry you are going through this.

accept the consequences and be free of him. It will be much better in the long run.

Please be strong. It's so easy to be fooled by a psychopath. Like me, you were probably very honest and trusting. They are masters of deception. They can make us believe almost anything they want. The only good thing for me is that mine died. Please be strong and resist all contact. My prayers are with you.

this is soo very helpful!! thank you!! I have just left a relationship with such a person and am struggling with the aftermath...

what would you suggest as a means of "help" with this? I talk to friends and my mom, and research it on the web, but I am wondering what else could help... my friends know what the ex was, but they dont understand the shape I am in now... any help would be greatly appreciated..

I wish the was some magic dust that could take it all away, but there isn't. Talk to a counselor. It will help you to understand what you were dealing with and how to move on from here.

I am a little late in reading this, but I am in a similar situation as you. The cost of a sociopath as stated above is very high, and I'd like to add that the cost, financially and emotionally in particular are born by wider circles - family, friends, community. My friends and family bore quite a bit of the cost of my experience both in the amount of time they have spent helping me, to the amount of money my family has provided to help me.

But 2 years later, I am still devastated and mentally unhealthy. I am still unable to work, to function, to trust anything. However, I have found a number of resources that have been helpful- and the first and foremost is a competent counselor. I have also attended a partial inpatient program for trauma in Washington, DC. Most of us in the program had chronic PTSD but there are some recovering from single event traumas. This was helpful during the most horrific point after my experience, when I was suicidal.

I also attended a DBT course. One of the common reasons why some of us are able to date a sociopath is prior trauma that taught us to ignore our feelings. For those of us doing it our entire lives, we don’t listen to our inner gut feelings, if we even hear them. Overriding our feelings is how we survived as children, so in all honesty, I rarely knew how I felt at any given time. I actually heard a lot of warning bells inside me when I met the sociopath, but I ignored them. I didn’t even trust that they meant anything. DBT taught me to recognize my feelings, and that they are valid. I thought they were totally invalid - it never occurred to me that they were something I ought to listen to. So I found DBT extremely helpful.

Lastly, reading blogs and learning about what I had gotten myself into was useful. I don’t think it’s a cure, but it helped me to read other people’s experiences to know that I wasn’t alone. One of the things to understand is that they are really, really good at what they do because they have been practicing their entire lives trying to pass as human. They’ve learned how to mimic emotions normal people have, and they’ve learned the vocabulary. They have spent a life time learning how to manipulate others. It doesn’t mean we are dumb or bad that we fell for it. We are dealing with masters. What it does mean though, is that we didn’t listen to our internal signals. Reading blogs and comments on blogs helped me understand this.

I wish you the best.

ok ty

2 More Responses

Hi,

I really appreciate the articles you have posted - one thing though, they're really hard to read because of the formatting. If it could be fixed it would help immensely!

Ditto. <p> doesn't always work. It's better to use <br> to put breaks between paragraphs. If you are using a blog content manager, double click the return button after your paragraphs. It would help SO much in reading your really valuable information if the formatting could be fixed!

God have mercy on me..... :-(

I have only just realised at the age of 65 that I grew up with a Father who is a psychopath, and that he damaged me badly.
The effect on the growth of my nuclear personality has been so deep and destructive that effectively my potential has been wasted, and my life’s achievement minimised. He effectively ‘raped’ me psychologically by disparaging anything I said, thought or did, throughout my childhood, rejecting everything that was original and from me, even my taste in music was wrong. He destroyed my confidence and also that of my Mother. He was violent to me, and effectively convinced me that I was a “Dirty stupid ugly little bastard”, one phrase amongst many he often used in denigration, derision, disparagement and in the undermining my sense of self worth. This despite my coming first at school repeatedly, left me effectively in a permanent state of quandary about my abilities. Numerous fellow students have alluded to my abilities, saying what they would do if they had them. This is, if true, is a result of nature.
The worst thing that has resulted from this abuse is that my body language has revealed to the world that I had low self esteem and worth, (‘sweat shirt message’), and this has allowed others to pick up on my condition and further exacerbate it; so I had derision from fellow apprentices in my teens as well, and so continued to doubt my abilities. At the age of about 29 a girlfriend paid for me to have my ability professionally measured at Career Analysts Ltd, and the results were that I have a very high I.Q., but of course any hope of a serious career had by that time been seriously affected; set back and compromised.
I will illustrate his behaviour towards me with one particular example. When I was about 9 my Father commandeered me to get my money box from my bedroom, and said that we were to play a game of ‘Double or quits’. I did as I was told and he span coins repeatedly with a stake to which we both contributed equally. As luck would have it I ended up after about ten or so spins, (in about 1957), with £20 of his, which was over a week’s wages of his at that time, (I had had only about £3.50 in my money box). He announced “Double or quit”, and I said “Quit”. He was furious, and told me in a very aggressive and forceful manner to ‘carry on like a man’. My Mother said “But that is what the game is”. I complied with his instructions and then by chance lost all of my money. He gave me back only half of what I had originally had, about £1.75.
This illustrates his attitude towards me well, completely immoral, dishonest and self serving, and to his own son.
My adult life has been one in which my abilities have constantly been underestimated, and I have achieved little, my probably attracting psychopaths in my personal life also. One girlfriend bought a flat in ’83 on the basis that I would rebuild it, which I did, She then became a ‘Born again Christian’ and evicted me, my having over doubled its value, and she made me homeless in the process. I feel sure that the imprinting of my Father and the damage on my personality has made me susceptible to the exploits of other people, and I have enormous trouble trusting others. I am a good and moral person, and alone, and now getting old. I paid for 2 years of therapy in the 70s, which helped, and have sought psychological help in the last 20 years but my doctor says that the NHS cannot afford it. I have never had a family or earnt very much money, and many of my fellow workers have described me as having high abilities. In my first attempt at university in ’78 I, in a lecture, showed the lecturer that his theory was wrong in front of the class, which roared with laughter, and he went red and threw a book at me storming out of the room. Subsequently he tried to give me zero for work by asking for it to be handed in prematurely.
The extent to which my symbiotic adaptation to my Father’s treatment have affected all areas of my life is not easy to exaggerate, and recently a friend told me that “Your Father has ruined your life for you”. My Father has most of the traits of a psychopath as listed numerously on the web, manipulative, projecting his faults onto others, a front of charm belying the real self etc. Recently, a year after serious floods, in a telephone conversation with him he casually added, “You alright with the flooding problems, have you bee affected?” Surely this should have been asked at the time of the floods by him contacting me.
I consider suicide every week because now I am getting old, I face loneliness, disease, decay, and death. This is hard.
My father had an affair in ’60 and my Mother and I separated from him. I have a stray cat which I love, that being as my late Mother said regarding my hurt when our cat was run over in ’63, the only stability in my life. She was an alcoholic and smoked herself to death in ’95. My schooling was ruined by the constant arguing and fighting and disjointed schooling. My Mother tried amidst fighting three times to stab my Father, and this whilst we lived at the Police College. Now I have my own house which although an expensive ball and chain, and average, is an Oasis to me, and with my own music studio, with which I intend to write about these things. I am terrified of the threat that having a relationship poses to my continued possession of my house.
The psychopaths suck the life blood out of you, and in my Father’s case, he studied psychology in order to better know how to manipulate me., and I am in no doubt that I could have achieved much more in life without having him as a handicap.

Thank you, whoever you are, I wish the best for you and everone here aswell. It is very sad at the core, around that are bands of many many different and opposing emotions and feelings all at once. I feel like a 10000000000 piece jigsaw puzzle...

Thank you for your comment, advice, understanding, and xoxo to you aswell... I am no longer living with him, I finally received, finally accepted, the one of many offers of counseling. However, not to put down in any way the counseling I received, it is so beyond that due to all of the mental issues involved, I knew from the very beginning he was a dangerous personality, had severe issues, also, I myself had just left a relationship that had many problems aswell, so myself had some issues. I am waiting for psychiatric help currently. Even still, I do not believe I can ever be understood completely, I am actually quite paranoid and wary of anyone because I am not very trusting. I also mentioned in my original comment/post that I feel I through him may have developed certain sociopathic tendencies myself... I have, since all of my time with him, become manipulative, an incredible liar, only to protect him, resolve issues/being questioned by family about the relationship, etc. I know of sociopathy (and other disorders he claims to have) through books, internet, speaking to someone who apparently has much experience in this, for a short time, brief conversations, my best came from Martha Stouts book The Sociopath Next Door, I read that years ago. I am aware of the by nature/by nurture idea/explanation, and I in my mind, believe it is, in him, by nurture, traumas he has been through many many years ago that lead to his current very disturbed, at the least, state. I also believe this has lead to my own current state, PTSD, severe anxiety, and, as I said, feel I myself have developed something similar or sociopathic in myself. All as I said to protect him and make outside parties out of it. Tremendous damage has been done to me, yet I continue, in spite of knowing all I know, to feel bonded, melded, into him mentally. I do hope for some help I receive to help, but I know, believe, it will never be completely understood. Everyone who has commented/posted here I relate to and wish peace to all... I would love to be who I was before, same time, I am not even sure who that was...

I understand and I wish you the best.

I understand your feelings. I protected my sociopath husband. Made excuses for him to my family. Always tried to stand by him. He always said we were meant for each other. I believed him until he died and everything came crashing down around me . I couldn't understand what was happening. What I always perceived as truth wasn't. I started doing research and talking to professional people only to discover that the man who was my whole world was a sociopath. And he was also the center of 4 other women's lives as well. I'm devastated, but struggling to become whole again. you aren't like your sociopath. I believe that if you were then nothing would bother you. God bless.

These stories and comments hit home and out of the ballpark for me. I understand, but remain in denial, rationalize, have, over years and years. It is I believe true torture to be a good person who becomes virtually nothing after such a long and savage at the least rape of the mind. This will take me many years to recover, may never. I almost feel as though through his sickness and influence upon me, I have developed something similar...horrible.

There are some support groups. The problem is that most victims have no idea they are in such a horrible situation until it's too late. By that time there is so much damage emotionally that recovery might take years at best. Realizing it can be the hardest part. Finding others in the same situation can be a very difficult thing to do. Support is essential to keeping your sanity and not letting yourself be destroyed. Please seek some sort of help. It will help keep you grounded and restore some sort of normalcy to your life. You are not crazy! I promise. xoxo

I have recently come out of a relationship with a psychopath/sociopath. He is a textbook example and his manipulation of me and subsequent boredom leading to discarding me without any conscience or feeling whatsoever have identified him to be a very dangerous and clever example of this type of person. He initially targetted me as I was a perfect victim (it should not be underestimated how carefully they choose the person) on an internet dating site. He was living in Australia, I was in the UK, nevertheless it did not deter him and he flew to see me and declared his love for me after a few days. He proceeded to keep in touch on the internet and became incredibly controlling and invasive in my life. Many many telephone calls, emails, texts and skype calls for hours and hours everyday so he was a part of my life and my childrens. He would become angry if he couldnt contact me when he wanted at any time of the day or night insisting my phone should be near me wherever I was. He controlled what I ate, my exercising my appearance every detail of me and my past and my life he needed and demanded to know. His interest began to fade once he had me completely in his power and declaring my love for him, he actually told me he could 'make me fall in love with him' he believed he could do that with anyone. He was incredibly narcissistic in his personality, competitive in endurance sports and in business. Very insecure and incredibly needy and lonely, at times like a child and other times dismissive and arrogant and superior. He would call less and less and then after I had visited him for a month and returned home he had cooled so much I decided to check back on the dating site we had met on. I eventually found his profile pretending he was much younger. When I confronted him with this discovery he was initially argumentative saying I was as guilty as he because I was looking on the dating site as well. I said that was nonsense as I didnt have my profile posted on it. Once this attempt at transference of guilt and blame didnt work he intially was very apologetic and then became angry and said he no longer wanted a relationship with me. This was when he had been asking me to move my children abroad and also my sick mother to live with him overseas. He then cut me off completely. No communication nothing. He told me that 'WE needed to deal with MY pain in a civilised way' I just needed to 'get over it' and be friends. He was very keen for us to remain friends. I refused and after doing some research found that there had been two other girls that he had done a very similar thing to both of them. One girl had been hysterical when she realized she had been used and discarded by him. He comes out with the line 'I love you but I am not IN love with you' well if that is the case why were you talking of moving my children to schools and checking out arrangements for me to live with you? Clearly he never loved me or any of these girls at all, it was all just a ruse to use, manipulate and then discard the person. No conscience or remorse at all just angry and turning everything on me telling me to stop being bitter and just accept it was over. Didnt care about my mother having a stroke with the stress and my children being upset thinking they were moving to a new country. No interest was shown he didn't even comment on it and said he didnt have the time to listen to this as he had important things to attend to with his business. I was left traumatised and have had to see a Psychologist to recover from the manipulation of this man. He used me like a toy and discarded me and also my children and my mother without a shred of remorse or guilt for all the lies, deceit and hurt he has caused. A very dangerous man who had had a deeply disturbed childhood and was neglected by a depressive mother and a workaholic father who was in denial about his wife's depression. A textbook Psychopath/Sociopath! You decide.

I'm sorry this happened to you. I am trying to raise awareness of these people so there are less victims. By sharing your story, you have helped. Thank you.

Sounds just like my late husband. Text book case Psychopath/Sociopath. I was kept in the dark about everything. After he died I discovered that the lies he told me were nothing compared to the lies he told the other women. The world is so much better without him.

amazing and true desc<x>ription. Being a victim of a psychopath means that one's life is gone, only a miracle can save it. The damage they do is indeed terrible. I wish such people should be jailed for life term or handed over to death squads for being shot in the head, lest they would be playing with the lives of other people as if human beings are toys in their hands.<br />
My sympathies go to all those affected by it, no matter where ever live, what language they speak , what religion they believe in, I pray to God to please protect all the innocent people from vicious predators.

arguably a psychopath and a sociopath do have differences but do exhibit the same behaviors. <br />
Research suggests that, “psychopaths are a stable proportion of any population, can be from any segment of society, may constitute a distinct taxonomical class forged by frequency-dependent natural selection, and that the muting of the social emotions is the proximate mechanism that enable psychopaths to pursue their self-centered goals without felling the pangs of guilt. Sociopaths are more the products of adverse environmental experiences that affect autonomic nervous system and neurological development that may lead to physiological responses similar to those of psychopaths. Antisocial personality disorder is a legal/clinical label that may be applied to both psychopaths and sociopaths” <br />
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Nice article.

Thank you for clarifing that for me.

I recognise every dimension described in this article. I am undergoing therapy to deal with the altered thought patterns and the feelings they engender. I feel pychologically imprisioned by my experiences, which have left me prone to illness. I have a hard time trying to explain what happened to me to some friends and colleagues: they view me as odd and as someone to be kept at arms length, though thankfully my close friends were witnesses to some of the overt abuse and they have remained loyal and supportive.<br />
<br />
I started to take classes in psychology in order to better understand my plight, and in writing a paper on I identified exactly the phenomenon described by the authors. Their reference to early and middle adulthood reflects the terminology used in Daniel Levinson's theory of adult development and my progress through his 'eras' or stages has indeed been hampered by my involvement with someone who displayed all of the characteristics included here.

I would love to have you post your paper or anything else you might be willing to share.

me too! This post was helpful and well written. Please share more if you can. I was planning to write a blog immediately about everything, and have realized I really can't yet, and may not be able to write about it for another year or so. I started shuddering after the 6th or 7th paragraph above and I can't read the rest of it right now; it's too painful. But if I make it through this period and I do heal at all, I'll write my story, and if/ when you can, please do - I believe it may be both healing and helpful.

Wow that is such a well explained piece you have written. I kept having to avert my eyes - no kidding - I am still accepting it and God knows the "others" like family members, etc. don't take it seriously. I have experienced every single thing you describe. Overt harm. Covert harm. I'll be back when I have the strength to keep reading. Thank you.

I can't take credit for this. It is an article I found and reposted to raise awareness of people who think they might be in this situation. I have been researching it for many years now. The best advice is to remove yourself from the situation. If I can help in any way feel free to contact me.

I just got out of a relationship with a psychopathic personality. I am devastated. Emotionally destroyed. One of the most difficult things to deal with right now is that I still have feelings for them. Cut all contact so perhaps it will start to fade and I can do some healing. I cannot tell you how much I can sympathize with you. These people are harsh and vicious and will stop at nothing to satisfy themselves. I was totally out of my element with this one.