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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.

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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  kerrylgray@gmail.com 
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 46-50, F 21 Responses May 12, 2011

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I just ended a friendship with one. It doesn't rip, it tears. No closure, no amicable ending, just mire hate, accusation and name-calling. Blessings and peace and strength to each person here and your families and friends affected by this individual. I hope to learn something and heal and your stories help me get through this. Thank you.

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 psychopathfree.com 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

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 friends...no family..crazy wives and ex girlfriend's....run 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 lifewithasociopath.net 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 understandwhattheyare.blogspot.com. 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

They are soul-suckers!!!

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.