Are You Dating A Sociopath? Recognize The Warning Signs

I did not write this, but I thought it was easy to understand and might help people in this situation.

dating a Sociopath by Kerry L. Gray

Is there something wrong with your guy? Does he lie, cheat, steal, commit fraud, use people then discard them, have fits of rage, seem self-centered or have no conscience? Do you feel like something is wrong with him, but you are not sure what it is? It sometimes seems like his brain just does not work right and he does outrageous things. Beware! You might be dating a sociopath. What are the warning signs? What should you do?

Sociopaths are sneaky and will worm their way into your life, despite your misgivings from the beginning. Something about this man is not quite right. You can't put your finger on it, and you hesitate, but you get sucked into him anyway. These men are often charming and can put on an act that wins your sympathy and devotion. If you have issues of low self-esteem, they instinctively know how to approach you and suck you in. If you are lonely and needy you are a big targetfor the man with a sociopathic personality disorder. He makes you feel special and important. He convinces you they he has been misunderstood all his life, and you are the only one who understands him now. You feel validated and needed by this man, and he sucks you in deeper and deeper over time.

Your first warning was your gut instinct, and that was the time to run away and leave this relationship behind. Unfortunately, you didn't, and now you are stuck in the hell that is a relationship with a sociopath. We all need to pay attention to the red flags, warning signs, gut instincts, and Dr. Phil! We can learn to recognize the sociopath and never get sucked into him again.

The words sociopathic, psychopathic, and antisocial personality all mean the same thing and are a true mental illness, a psychosis. The three terms are interchangeable and have only different areas of focus such as socialization or criminal behavior. We will use the word sociopath because it is the most recognizable. Psychopaths are equated with serial murderers, and antisocial is equated with dysfunction. The sociopath is sometimes charming and usually looks and acts normal enough to fool us. All three terms carry the same meaning: a disorder of the personality.

The most important thing to know is that a sociopath has a brain that does not work right. In fact, he is missing a part of his brain. More specifically, he is missing one of the building blocksof his personality. This is important to understand because it explains the seriousness of this disorder and why it cannot be treated or fixed or cured.

The part of his brain that is missing shapes his conscience, and because it is missing, he does not have one. The sociopath does not feel guilt, remorse or shame like the rest of us feel when we do something bad or wrong. He is not capable of feeling guilt or shame because he is missing that piece of his personality. It also means he does not have the boundaries, restraints on his behavior or impulse control that the rest of us do so he will do things that are outrageous, things that normal personalities would never consider doing.

The bad news for you is that this personality disorder cannot be fixed. You cannot fix him, and he cannot fix himself. No therapy or drug can fix this personality disorder because a part of his brain is missing. With long-term therapy some of the symptoms might be lessened, or the sociopath might learn to live more productively in society, but it cannot be fixed. This is why the most important piece of advice for the person involved with a sociopath is to leave. Get him out of your life. Run, don't walk, away from him and never, ever go back.

A good comparison, something to help you understand the medical implications of this disorder, is to compare it to a disease of the eye. Diseases and disorders of the eye can be treated, like glaucoma, astigmatism, nearsightedness, etc., with medicine, eyeglasses, or laser surgery. Color blindness, however, can NOT be treated, because the person is missing the color cones and rods in the eye. A doctor cannot fix what is not there to begin with. This is why the sociopath, with a part of his personality missing, cannot be fixed. No doctor or therapist can put back what wasn't there to begin with, and the sociopath is missing an actual building block of his personality, deep within his brain.

This explains why you sometimes feel like his brain just doesn't work right. He lies, uses you, manipulates, bleeds you dry, rages, begs forgiveness, and then does it all over again without any guilt, remorse or shame. Are you the one who is crazy, you ask yourself? No. His brain really does not work right. Understanding and accepting this fact will help you leave the sociopath and make your life right again with normal men and healthy relationships.

The beginning charm you feel with the sociopath does not last long, because he is putting on a false face to reel you in. He is charming, seems sincere and earnest, makes you feel needed and important, and seems like the real thing, but only in the beginning. Other early warning signs that might alert you to this personality disorder are: lack of friends (he has none); lack of family (he burned them all out and used them up); a history of failed relationships (the other party always wronged him); being secretive (especially about money and his past); acting defensive when questioned about his whereabouts, work, money, or how he spends his time (he is already hiding things from you); criminal history or committing fraud without being charged (his family/friends will often not press charges); underachiever at work (frequently changing jobs); irresponsible spending (he will be spending your money, too, soon!) - ..and many other signs, most of which you recognize, but might still be in denial about. Many innocent, trusting women at this point of the relationship think their guy is still an okay guy, he just has some problems that she can surely fix with unconditional love, devotion and support. Beware; if you are at this point, you are in very deep.

By the time this relationship explodes, the sociopath will have done many, many things that leave you bewildered and exhausted. The more supportive you are the worse he treats you. The more understanding you are the more irritable and ugly he gets. This man, your relationship and life are crumbling around you and you still are not even sure why. You are spent, worn out, depressed, anxious, sad, scared, and don't know how to fix it. You can't fix it or him. You can only get out and save yourself; that is the truth that I know you don't want to hear, but it is the truth. You must get out. It is your only option for survival. This personality disorder, in this man you probably love, cannot be fixed.

There are three main things that define the sociopath. They are pathological lying, fits of rage, and being completely self-centered. The hallmark, defining feature that sociopaths have that connects these three things is an astonishing lack of guilt, remorse and shame despite the heartbreak and hardships they cause to others. This man does not feel guilty. He is not ashamed, and he is not remorseful or sorry for what he has done to you or others. He is not sorry for all the pain, disruption and turmoil he has caused for both you and himself. He lacks the brain to be able to feel these emotions, and you cannot make him sorry. He might learn to say he is sorry, because he has been rewarded for saying those words in the past, but he cannot feel it.

Pathological lying about all things, big and small, is the first feature of a sociopath. This man will lie about the most ridiculous things, even when he doesn't have to and even when he might not want to: he just does. These lies are bewildering because they seem so ridiculous and unnecessary, and they are frightening because of what they stand for: a personality disorder that cannot be fixed. When your man does this, call it what it is: pathological lying.

Fits of rage, the second symptom, often happen when the sociopath is crossed, challenged or questioned. He can't stand it, and he will take it out on you. He might stomp around and yell, or get violent. Either way, you learn quickly not to question him; in fact, you had better be completely supportive all of the time or he might suddenly turn into a raging person you feel like you don't know. Before this article you did not know who he was, but now you do. A sociopath with fits of rage.

The third feature is a self-centeredness or devotion to self unlike any you have ever seen. This man sees the world from his eyes only, will always makes sure he gets 'his' first, and is constantly plotting against the world who plots against him (in his mind). This feature will allow the sociopath to discard you without a second glance when you no longer suit his needs. He only functions around his needs and wants. He has an overwhelming sense of self that does not allow room for others. This is why you feel so 'stepped on' by the sociopath; you were not only stepped on, you were run over!

The hallmark feature that ties these three broad characteristics together is an amazing lack of guilt, remorse or shame for their actions; a complete lack of conscience, and lack of boundaries that prevents healthy people from doing what the sociopath will do easily and without hesitation over and over again! This feature is astonishing when you see it; you can't quite believe someone is capable of acting the way they do. It overwhelms those involved with the sociopath; it is so hard to comprehend that someone could even do one of these things, much less accomplish the long list of lies and fraud accompanies the sociopath throughout his lifetime.

These are just the broadest definitions of a sociopath. Following are a few of the many characteristics that a sociopath might have: not learning from experience or punishment, emotional immaturity with lack of ability to form relationships, lack of impulse control, lack of morals, and no sense of responsibility. Sociopaths can be reckless, impulsive, substance abusers, financial disasters, and can commit fraud, lie, and abandon loved ones without the blink of an eye. They can be aggressive, are usually irritable, and do not plan ahead nor do they have a life plan or achieve any goals. They stay this way for years despite consequences that are disastrous. They simply discard relationships and move to the next one. They cannot be fixed, not by you, not by me, not by a therapist or doctor, and not by themselves. They seldom even admit they have a problem.

Mental illness is classified into two types: neuroses and psychoses. All of us are neurotic to some degree, and we know we are. That is one important clue. We know we have shortcomings and we work on our problems because personal growth is important to us. The person with an illness classified as a psychosis such as the sociopath can seldom admit he has a problem and will never overcome his illness. He will spend his life lying, cheating, extorting, raging and manipulating, or worse, without guilt, remorse or shame.

This mental disorder cannot be fixed. Medication or therapy might lessen the symptoms, but it cannot be fixed, that is a fact, and these men will ruin your life if you stay.

I know you don't want to hear it, but this is the truth. You must leave the sociopath behind, turn your back on him, and get him out of your life. Easier said than done.

My own story is posted here on      . Posting it gave me some relief; perhaps I can save other girls from this serial dater who has spent his life conning other women, a man who robbed me of thousands of dollars and part of my soul. Realizing that this was, in fact, a form of abuse has helped me. Even though he didn't hit me, he lived a secret, double life, and for that two years, that was abuse of my trust and my life. I have made use of therapies used for battered women to begin to heal.

I am also taking him to court, making him accountable, and am probably the first person in his whole life to ever hold him accountable for all the money, my trust, my love, and the part of me that this sociopath took.

It is always more fun to read other women's stories than a clinical analysis of the why and how. If you have a story you want to share, email it to me at 
I might write a book and share all our stories. Maybe we can spare some other nice girls our fate: falling in love with a sociopath. 
totallytea totallytea
51-55, F
28 Responses May 12, 2011

I am the author of this article and I am humbled and grateful to read all these comments. All of you contribute to healing others with your stories. My email is the same for those who want to write. I am your biggest fan because you shared your stories. Thank you. Kerry Gray.

Kerry you have been my inspiration and my rock for many years. Thank you for having the courage to share your story and experiences. I am still waiting for your book. I have started one of my own. This article that you wrote was one of the first things I read when I started my research on psychopaths and it described exactly what I was going through and helped me understand that I was not alone. I shared it to help others like us. Thank you!

My boyfriend of 5 years clearly was a sociopath, I spotted all the signs but didn't know until recently those signs were of a sociopath. I thought he was a troubled person who had a bad upbringing and a horrible ex girlfriend so he was secretive, afraid to commit and a liar because of that and selfish and cold to protect himself. Everytime he blamed me for his behaviour I listened and made an effort to change and showed only love and kindness and tried to understand him and believed him and forgave him when he hurt me as he seemed so remorseful and scared of losing me but after 5 years when the same patterns same excuses and even the same words of remorse finally made me realise it was all false and I challenged it, he would just disappear for weeks in the hope I would just drop it and he would reappear as if nothing had happened and if I dared mention it again he would tell me how much it was hurting him to not drop it as he had punished himself and hated what he had done and didn't want to be reminded. Final straw was my brother got Cancer and he couldn't even pretend to care then weeks later said he felt I didn't want him around but he wanted to be and blamed me. Being kind and trusting he saw as a weakness in me to use but I would rather be used than a user!!

Someone else here posted something I was going to. Here is a link to the post. Very good information. Please read.

My ex told me he loved me within a week of meeting me, I was lost. Red flag. He'd tell Me about how he saw me having his kids and being his wife and etc. He was very charming and kind to outsiders including me. He seemed very off when he talked to me about his ex and how he couldn't trust her. He completely discarded her & it was shocking because they'd been together for two years. Anyways he always wanted to see me, the first time we hung-out he came on me very strongly in a high sexual manner I told him that this was wrong and I was the wrong girl he was frustrated but he respected it. He sat and talked about his troubled childhood and his absent father. He seemed understanding
Of it though but it made me wanna be by his side even more. Anyways the insecurities kicked in he didn't want me talking to any boys so he didn't talk to any girls. He would talk about how he didn't trust his friends and he would talk about females he'd see to me in a negative way basically flaunting me and making me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. I started becoming possessive and too attached to him only because his actions made me like that. I didn't even know who I was anymore I was living for him and our relationship it seemed so much like a marriage. Anyways when he left off for college i became very clingy and insecure. Only because I didn't understand long distance and I missed him. He tried telling me how we'd be fine and how I was doing too much. Later on he started calling me crazy, and how we needed to take a break. And how stressful I was, etc. during that phase I lost it I was so hurt and confused and I couldn't handle it so it made me wanna talk to him more and he'd get even more frustrated. He distanced himself more and more from
Me and would give me late phone calls and only text me once a day which left me puzzled and curious. He was playing hot then cold. Finally one day I called him and he just told
Me he didn't want a relationship. After that I begged pleaded fed his ego. He wanted nothing of me. A week later he is in the arms of another woman posting the picture. He completely cut cords from
Me and moved on very quickly. Within month 2 of our breakup his ex contacted me and told me that she knew how I felt. Here's where it kicks in. When we were both telling eachother our relationships with him
Beginning to end they were EXACTLY alike. It was so strange...we couldn't believe what we were hearing. Getting to know her I knew she hadn't have done none of the things he told me about her. I was in shock. She had told me she had contacted his ex previous to her and he did the same thing to her. That he had just left her and stopped talking to her. Now with this new woman, I can only imagine what he is saying about me to her.....anyways. What exactly is his boy? I don't consider this a man because a real man couldn't do these types of

People were also warning me about him too in the beginning. Any poor judgement on him he would lash out, complete outrage.

Actually, sociopathy, psychopathy, and antisocial personality disorder are not the same thing and thus these terms are not interchangeable. They may be similar, but each have distinct differences which dramatically alter the true psyche. The DSM-V will states this and the diagnostic guidelines within should be adhered to.

Will state*

he laughs at people getting shot, should i be worried?????? :O

I'm in a bit of a quandary as I'm not sure if the man I am with is in fact a sociopath though he exhibits many qualities of one. He was quick to move in the relationship and would praise me and call me his hero for being so supportive of his work ( he's a fashion photographer). He called me his soulmate. When I started questioning some things about his job that made me uncomfortable it completely changed the dynamic of the relationship and he became constantly irratable, angry, accusatory and at times violent. He has a bit of an ego at times though he never sees it and says it's just to further his career which has been non existent and he has been living with me and not contributing to rent or expenses. He's told me all these stories of how hard his life was, his struggle with alcohol and substances and how he overcame them, how he helped all these people and that he's always the one that people turn to when they are in trouble but I can only count two people in his life that are close friends, everyone else are aquaintances by association. He has a huge problem with authority, has gotten in trouble quite a bit with the law- only minor offenses ( mostly traffic violations) and has a very loose morality. He has the tendency to think his views are right and objective and that more people should think that way and he likes to stir up controversy where he can. He loves psychology and often I feel like I'm being analyzed by him and he like to point out ways that I can better myself - which ends up feeling like he wants me to better myself for his sake. We get into explosive fights because he loses his temper which are brought on by his own fears from my initial insecurities about his job at the beginning of the relationship. He left two weeks ago telling me he just needs time to chill and blames all of it on me without understanding how his actions have effected things. He still hangs on telling me it's just time to cool down and calling me crazy when I am just looking for resolution to this whole mess. I do feel like I am going crazy lately because I love him very much and I feel like he is only taking his own needs into account and waiting for me to praise and beg him to come home. I don't know what to do at this point or the kind of person that I am dealing with. Very frustrated and confused.

Sadly, he sounds like one to me

I agree. He sounds like a sociopath. Way too many characteristics to ignore. For more info try

I was in a relationship with one for a year and a half and he cheated on me the entire time. He told me that he justified it in his head so it "wasn't wrong" and that I didn't need to know about it because it wasn't wrong. When I had suspicions about it he would scream at me until I cried and say I was obsessed with the girl he was cheating with because I was always bringing her up. I would feel bad and apologize but the suspicions never went away and I would just hold them in until the next time when he would yell at me all over again. When I finally found out about him cheating and confronted him, he told me that he wished that I still didn't know because it wasn't that big of a deal. After I broke up with him he started dating someone new 1 week later. He was so dependent on me and could never be alone. He still tried to get me back even though he was already dating someone else, showing that the cheating cycle will never end

I "heart" this because I was there from MY innocence of 17 until many many years later even after our divorce was legal and I had custody my child, in 2000.Still he was cruel, malicious and bullied me and terrorized us that he would take her away from me. Until the second court when my daughter was 10 ( believe she was 9 or ten, don't recall they year, I block baaaad stuff out) whereby the judge reaffirmed the custody order, yes I am a good parent. And told his lawyer that " the idea that you think you client can get custody of the child IS ABSURD!"THAT MOMENT WAS SO VINDICATING (validating and affirming) I CAN'T EXLPAIN IN WORDS.The *horrors* more or less stopped with that , however, he still haunted us from time to time. It is a fate I do not wish on my worst enemy, to be with this kind of SOULLESS being.

A great site for victims is Lots of great stories and advice.

When you are *in it* you feel sooo crazy and all of your sense of reality is so skewed.... cause it is *all your fault* ...It is wonderful to open the eyes of women the victims that they are NOT at fault and to regain some perspective and POWER :D and self esteem :)

Another good one is Eloise, Loving a Sociopath by Catherine Lockwood. It's apparently a case study of a true story.

I just ordered the book. After reading the first chapter I am certain this is a must read for everyone here! Thank you for your suggestion!

No worries :)

Wow!!!! You just saved my life!!! Thank you for giving me the strength and awareness of waking up and seeing what's really going on!!! Unbelievable!

More people need to be aware of this type of personality. I'm glad it helped you. That is my whole goal here.

I have been researching online intensely for the last 3 weeks about sociopaths and this article was the only one that really hit it on the nail for me to convince me to really make dire choices in my life to change because apparently he will NEVER change no matter how long or hard I try. It's important for me to realize that & that there really is no hope. I feel sorry for his tormented soul..I really did love him. I'm so torn that is was all a facade and web of lies. I'm walking on quicksand with him but will pull through because The Lord is my ROCK. Thanks for this article!!!

Thank You. I'm in tears. Tears for myself for what I've been through, tears for losing my self esteem, tears for you...He would call himself a sociopath but I thought he was just not interested in some things. And like you said, the closer we got, the more irritable he became. He'd leave holes in the wall to remind himself (and me?) of how angry he got. I've been on eggshells for years and unable to put it into words. thank you so much. I knew I was being manipulated, I just stumbled on my own words every time I tried to explain it; he blamed me for so many things. I ended it last week after he said something so flippant and rude, mean and insensitive. All week I've been thinking 'what kind of person says stuff like this?' so hurtful and patronizing.

Bullshit. A real socio would make you feel like a princess and nothing less. You wouldn't recognize a real socios lies. His/her feelings would feel so real and surreal at the same time, so you wouldn't even understand what the meaning of mimic feelings means at all. /MR.T

You are so wrong there. Sociopaths believe that, but that isn't how it is. They might fool you in the beginning, but eventually you can see right through them. Some are better than others but in the end we know.

The part that really sticks out to me is that they do not feel guilt or remorse. A lot of people are jerks but I believe that those who feel guilt and remorse compared to those who don't is the biggest factor

Thanks to all these helpful articles, I picked up on the fact that my ex was a sociopath before I fell in too deep. Got out ASAP. It was a real eye opener that such personalities exist: but now I keep too much of a look out for similar traits in others. Stay strong. Nobody can break your spirit unless you give them permission to. Remember there is good out there.

I met mine on a dating website. Told me that he was seperated and his wife had mental health issues. From day one he wined and dined me and treated me like a queen. Two months in found out he was always married. Stayed with him because i felt so in love. Told constant lies and when id call him out he'd deflect or tell me i was crazy. He went from worshiping me one week to dumping me the next...over and over. Made promises he never met and to this day he checks in with compliments to keep me on a leash. The relationship wrecked me to my core. If you meet a man who has no family..crazy wives and ex girlfriend' for the hills asap. There is a reason they have nobody.....

My sociopath found me via facebook and told me within two weeks that he loved me ..... came 5,000 miles from England to Denver to see me and turned on me when I started asking questions about his relationships with men. I was called a maggot, **** and every other British slang he could .... he teaches children music at Stowe and I fear for that school

I am the wife of a sociopath bordering psychopath. I have a world of experience and am currently writing a book about my life with him. I have a website I just started where I have forums for support, education etc. I hope you'll stop by there too and check it out for more information on a life with sociopath or psychopath. I'm also dedicating the last chapter of my book to short stories of people who have a sociopath in their life and how it's affecting them and need submissions if anyone is interested.

This is a wonderful article on the warning signs of dating a sociopath who specifically has darker intentions, but I'll admit it's a little insulting as it represents the minority of our community. Reading this for me, here seeking help in my relationship because I am a sociopath, is a little rough. Sociopaths don't have the emotional capacity that empaths generally do, and we have a very difficult time understanding some of the more complex emotions. We feel things like happiness, loss, I think we get aggravated sometimes, we aren't just machines bent on ruining lives. I don't mean to be rude in this [I'm not really sure how this sounds to be honest] but to clearly define how I feel, I feel like I believe you would if I used a racial generalization and pointed out the warning signs of dating a ______ian or a _______inese. Races aren't inherently good or evil, neither are people with disorders. My sociopathy has been a struggling point in quite a few areas of my life, but to assume that I just must be some monster sounds a lot like what the nazis did to the homosexuals. Please, just be a little more considerate of who could be reading, as I said I don't mean to be rude in saying this, I just felt that someone should really mention it. Thank you for reading my reply, and thank you for your intention of steering people away from harm. I do appreciate that quite a bit

very well said, Sir.

I wish you all the best.

I seem to have a history of relationships with sociopaths. First my husband and when I was unable to fix him I took on a far more difficult subject-who I have finally let go after he cost me 1/2 million dollars and recently caused the death of my dog due his recklessness and irresponsible behavior. He has never taken responsibility or apologized for the tragedy

Amazing article. I am actually the spouse of a victim. The relationship has recently separated due to the damage. I would appreciate any insight or reading on how to support?? a person who is in this type of relationship. It has taken a once happy caring beautiful person to depths of anxiety and uncertainty. In a sense, by seperating and leaving our home, she has chosen to stay in this personal/business relationship fully aware of what is happening. I love this person who has been my wife of 20 years and our relationship wasn't perfect but this has ruined my best friend. Thank you mm

Wrong with your guy? How about wrong with your significant other. The only reason men are diagnosed with this more often is because being a golddigger is seen as normal for women. Women who are sociopaths tend to give the general population of women a bad image. Men don't tend to think....was she a sociopath, they tend to think....all women are like that. But then how many manhaters are doing the same basing a stereotype of men on the sociopathic men they have dealt with?

Wow - it is as if we dated same monster. I have so much empathy for u. Please read my story under blog I went to hell and back and wonder at times if I will ever normalize.
All the best to you. No one understands unless they experience one of these aliens.

I am experiencing the after-math of the socio/psychopath. This woman has thrown me in jail and is still driving my car around. I didn't realized people like her existed. An insect under human skin. This is one of my beginning steps of the healing process. I am sending thoughts, love, and prayers to those who have survived this. It will get better. I will not give anyone permission to take my soul or part of it.

Good for you! I'm glad you are on the road to recovery.

Been there..still recovering after 6 years

We have a lot in common! Why did we succumb to them? How did you let go?

I didn't write this. I felt it was informative and that is my whole reason for this group, to raise awareness of this type of person.

I too was married to a woman who can only be called a sociopath. support groups such as Al-Anon have been helpful.

hello Kerry, i hear what you say! i am a man that could not understand my lady, we are separated now, I still love her! 15 yrs, but very scared to go get her back!

Don't do it! If she is a sociopath, the best thing for you to do is let her go! Move on before it's to late or she decides you are of no more use to her. The only one that will get hurt is you. Read some of the other stories written here by professionals in the field. Join a support group and seek counseling to help you understand. Good luck to you.

where do you find a support group?

I wish I had all the answers. Talk to a counselor. Maybe they can recommend someone to help.