Do sociopaths miss their ex

Do sociopaths miss their ex DEFAULT

We all want to be loved, don't we? Well, no. There are people in the world who don't care about love. They don't even know what love is. But they do care about power and control. It's important to recognize the signs of a sociopath because you never know — you could be dating a sociopath.

The media would have us believe that all sociopaths are deranged serial killers. This isn't true. Sociopaths know exactly what they are doing, and most of them never kill anyone.

RELATED: If He Has These 7 Traits, Chances Are He's A Sociopath

But they are social predators who exploit just about everyone they meet. They have no heart, no conscience, and no remorse.

Unfortunately, I learned about sociopaths the hard way — by marrying one. My ex-husband took a quarter-million dollars from me, cheated with at least six women during our two-and-a-half-year relationship, fathered a child with one of them, and then, 10 days after I left him, married the mother of the child. It was the second time he committed bigamy. 

I know this now, but I didn't know it as it was happening. You see, the signs of a sociopath don't show themselves initially. At first, they don't act like jerks. My ex-husband presented himself to be a dynamic, successful entrepreneur who was head over heels in love with me. He wanted to be with me all the time, was always sending me e-mails and faxes, and told me I was the woman he'd been waiting for all his life. 

I now know that what he was doing is a typical sociopathic technique called love bombing.

Sociopaths engage in calculated seduction. While they're trying to hook you, they are extremely attentive. They shower you with flattery and what appears to be affection. But they have an agenda. You have something that they want — perhaps money, business connections or a place to live. A sociopath will keep pouring it on until they convince you to give it to them.

Sociopaths, it turns out, all operate from the same playbook. If your new romantic interest exhibits the following behaviors, be careful. One or two traits don't mean much, but if you see most or all of them, you might be dating a sociopath.

1. They have charisma and charm.

They're smooth talkers, always have an answer, never miss a beat. They seem to be very exciting.

2. They have an enormous ego.

They act like the smartest, richest or most successful people around. They may actually come out and tell you that.

RELATED: 12 Signs The Guy You're In Love With Is Actually A Sociopathic Monster

3. They're overly attentive.

They call, text, and e-mail constantly. They want to be with you every moment. They resent the time you spend with your family and friends.

4. They have a Jekyll and Hyde personality.

One minute they love you, the next minute they hate you. Their personality changes like flipping a switch.

5. They blame others.

Nothing is ever their fault. They always have an excuse. Someone else causes their problems.

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6. They always have lies and gaps in their story.

You ask questions and the answers are vague. They tell stupid lies. They tell outrageous lies. They lie when they'd be better off telling the truth. 

7. They give intense eye contact.

Call it the predatory stare. If you get a chill down your spine when they look at you, pay attention.

8. They move fast.

They quickly proclaim that you're their true love and soulmate. They want to move in together or get married quickly.

9. They pity play.

They appeal to your sympathy. They want you to feel sorry for their abusive childhood, psychotic ex, incurable disease or financial setbacks.

10. They have sexual magnetism.

If you feel intense attraction, if your physical relationship is unbelievable, it may be their excess testosterone.

RELATED: What Life As A Sociopath Is REALLY Like, According to Sociopaths

Donna Andersen is the author of Love Fraud: How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan. Learn more at

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.


By Cindy Holbrook for

As a divorce coach, it's something I hear often: a recently divorced woman will talk about her ex and scathingly describe him as a "sociopath" or a "narcissist." While it may bring her a sense of justification by labeling her ex, what does she really gain from playing the victim in her divorce? Many people, both men and women, experience a range of emotions when they are going through a divorce. They act out in ways that are not aligned with their innate personalities. They act this way out of revenge, anger and pain. And the act of name-calling may be a way to relieve these feelings.

So is your ex really a sociopath or a narcissist? Or is he just acting out? Many skilled divorce coaches agree that a person will take on these personality traits during stressful life changes and then revert back to normal once the stress is gone.

How do you know he's a sociopath? If he's a true sociopath, there would have been warning signs at the very beginning of your relationship. Sociopaths are masters at deception. For instance, he may have lied about his job, finances or family. He probably did not have close ties with too many people, as a sociopath is incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse.

A sociopath has little concern for another person's feelings, desires or needs. His main purpose is to get what he wants, regardless of how it may harm other people. He was probably very charming and charismatic, which is how a sociopath will win over the love and affection of his target -- you. He knew how to play the victim so that nothing was ever his fault and had a way of twisting it around so that you believed that it was somehow your fault. A sociopath continuously invents outrageous lies about his past experiences and other people. If your ex really is a sociopath, you'll see a history of his fabricated storytelling and wonder to yourself how you could have ever believed some of those absurd lies in the first place. So, if he doesn't fit the "sociopath" profile -- could he still be a narcissist?

How do you know he's a narcissist? If he's a narcissist, he's thoroughly satisfied with his own mental attributes as well as his physical appearance. Narcissists are very vain and selfish. He needs approval and praise from everyone around him and will be set off by the slightest criticism he receives. Much like a sociopath, he'll have no remorse over hurting people. Because he has no conscience, he may be quite successful in a business where cut-throat behavior is essential in order to get ahead.

A narcissist will find ways to punish those who reject him. He constantly seeks validation and recognition from others and will often put others down to inflate his own ego. He's addicted to the spotlight and has an insatiable need to be recognized for every single achievement. Because the narcissist needs constant reassurance, he's more likely to become very desperate during a divorce. He won't honor boundaries; he's willing to break laws and hurt others, regardless of the consequences.

So what's the difference between the two? A narcissist needs to be validated by others, and a sociopath doesn't. A sociopath will exploit others because he finds it amusing, while a narcissist only exploits those he believes is a threat. If you are dealing with a sociopath, stop playing his games. He enjoys pushing your buttons just for the fun of watching you squirm. If you are dealing with a narcissist, don't feed his ego and avoid falling prey to his traps.

Even if your ex is not really a sociopath or a narcissist, going through a divorce plays havoc on your emotions. The person who remains calm and collected usually has the upper-hand during divorce proceedings (not to mention, relationships in general). During this time of turmoil, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a skilled divorce coach. A professional can help you vent out your frustrations and make rational decisions.

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7 Phrases Sociopaths Are Likely To Use On The People They Love

Sociopaths are known for their lack of empathy. When they form relationships with others, they usually have a self-serving motivation for it. Spotting someone's sociopathic tendencies right away isn't easy. But according to experts, there some phrases sociopaths commonly use on the people they "love" to be aware of.

Despite what you would initially think, sociopaths can experience love. "However, it's not the same kind of love that a 'normal' person experiences," Dr. Darrel Turner, president of Turner Psychology, tells Bustle, "For the sociopath, the experience of love is much more shallow and less meaningful." They view relationships in "self-serving terms" so they're more likely to see their partner as a "trophy" rather than someone they love and are committed to.

More often than not, their partner will describe a relationship with them as "cold" or "distant." When a sociopath is in a relationship, they may use certain phrases that will help them to control or manipulate their partner.

"Sociopaths are innately manipulative, they cannot help themselves," Dr. Turner says. "In some cases this is deliberate on their part, but very often it is an unconscious act — almost a reflex. They can’t help but be destructive to their partners and in many instances they enjoy the challenge of ‘breaking’ the other person. The stronger and more independent that person is, the better." Basically, it can be a game for them.

Unfortunately, sociopaths can seem totally nice, charming, and "normal" at first, so it can make it difficult to spot the red flags. But according to experts, here are some common phrases sociopaths are likely to use on the people they "love."


"Nobody Gets Me Like You Do"

"It’s important to realize that they do 'feel' certain things but they are limited," Laney Zukerman, relationship coach and author, tells Bustle. They can feel basic emotions like pain, anger, sexual attraction, pleasure, and interest. However, these feelings are often "glib and fleeting," she says. So when a sociopath uses a phrase like, "Nobody gets me like you do," they may actually mean it. But don't read too much into it. There's usually no hidden meaning behind it, and it may be a low-key way of expressing emotions in their book.


"I've Never Felt This Way About Anyone Before"

Coming from anyone else, this line may seem like a sweet declaration of love. But coming from a sociopath, this is a phrase that may be used to further their agenda. "There is no real depth to their words," Zukerman says. However, they can be highly intelligent. They know what people like to hear, so they'll usually say things in the moment to get people on their side. According to her, "lying is like breathing." It makes them look good and gets them what they want in the moment.


"You're The Best"

"A sociopath's motive is power, control and dominance no matter what the cost," Zukerman says. Showering their target with compliments like "You're the best" or "You're the most beautiful person I've ever seen" is just one of their go-to manipulation tricks. "They'll often use charm to lure their targets and it works," she says. While this may be a sincere compliment coming from someone else, note if something doesn't feel right, or if the person is laying it on thick.


"You're Lucky To Have Me"

When a sociopath isn't buttering someone up with compliments, they'll turn on them by saying things that make the other feel less than. "No one is ever going to love you the way I do" or "I could do better" are just a couple of common phrases a sociopath will say, licensed clinical psychologist and author, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, PhD, tells Bustle. "Once they have satisfied their need, their tendency is to discard people, or simply show them no more warmth," she says.


"You Owe Me"

Sociopaths usually form relationships with people in order to get what they want like sex, money, or status. "They have little capacity for intimacy, mutuality and reciprocity in a close relationship," Dr. Durvasula says. So it's very common for them to keep score in their relationships.


"I Already Did This For You, What More Do You Want?"

Since sociopaths only put forth effort if there's something in it for them, they're quick to react in a negative way if their partner asks for something in return. "If not physical abuse, their relationships are frequently characterized by verbal and emotional abuse, frequent yelling, saying insulting or degrading things," Dr. Turner says. It's not uncommon for them to become a completely different person when they get angry. They turn on their partners fairly quickly, especially if they already took what they want from them or the relationship.


"I Don't Have Time For This"

Sociopaths are all about doing things that make themselves look good. Because of that, Zukerman says they'll use phrases that deflect responsibility away from them. To a sociopath, nothing they ever do is wrong.

Keep in mind, these phrases were given by experts who have studied and observed sociopathic tendencies through their work. If someone you know uses these phrases, it doesn't necessarily mean they're a sociopath. Again, it really depends on their motivation behind saying it, among other things. Nonetheless, it's always a good idea to have this information so you can be aware of the warning signs.

Why Do I Miss the Narcissist -- Sociopath Who Abused Me So Much?

If someone is friends with their exes, it could be a warning sign they're a psychopath — here's why

  • New research has shown that psychopaths are more likely to stay friends with their exes.
  • It's because they feel they can still get something out of the connection, even after the actual relationship has ended.
  • You can be friends with exes without them being psychopaths, but it is worth thinking about why they want to keep you around.

People tend to have strong opinions about whether you can stay friends with an ex or not. You may be optimistic about the situation, and are happy to become friends soon after a break up, or you may think that when you cut the cord it means goodbye forever.

It's not an exact science either way, but according to one study, a tendency to keep in contact with exes could be a sign of something sinister.

The research, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, found that how people relate to their ex partners could be a new test for psychopathy.

Generally, a psychopath is someone with dark triad personality traits — these encompass psychopathy, narcissism, sadism, and Machiavellianism.

Most of us fall on the spectrum somewhere, but what sets a psychopath apart is a complete lack of empathy. They don't have any sympathy for others, and everything they do is for their own gain or amusement.

The study, performed by researchers at Oakland University, looked at the personality traits of 861 subjects, as well as their relationship histories. They were asked about their current partners and whether they were friends with exes, then given a questionnaire to determine narcissistic and psychopathic qualities.

Overall, those with the most dark personality traits were more likely to report staying in contact with former lovers. This wouldn't be too alarming on its own, but it was the reasons they gave for the prolonged contact that was most worrying.

Having exes around provides opportunity for the psychopaths to still get access to certain resources, such as information, money, or sex.

Psychopaths are very charming, and hook their victims with great intensity. However, this also means it's hard to let them go. Psychopaths and narcissists tend to target very empathetic people, because they can mistreat them as much as they want without them leaving. By sporadically giving them hope, they can successfully string along multiple people at once.

By collecting bonds with ex partners that can't stay away, psychopaths reported their "strategic" motivations, such as the "practicality and the chance of hooking up."

"The thing about a [psychopaths] is they treat you or anybody as meat," Perpetua Neo, a doctor of psychology and expert in dark personality traits, told Business Insider.

"It's like how crocodiles store meat under a rock. Whenever they feel like it, they just take bites of this meat. Psychopaths and narcissists use people just like that, so if you're going to keep getting connected with them, that's when it exacerbates this trauma bond, and you find it very difficult to break away."

The study found the psychopaths reported picking friends with a similar agendas. This in turn helps them with keeping their victims around. Neo told Business Insider that friends help psychopaths spin their lies, and make their partners feel like the behaviour is normal.

"They say 'you've met all my friends, this is how we act,'" she said. This normalises the situation and can make partners hang around for even longer, because they start to think that's what a relationship is like.

This doesn't mean that if you're friends with an ex or two you are a psychopath. But if your ex does have a habit of collecting ex partners as "friends," you might want to re-examine their motivations, and distance yourself if anything makes you feel uneasy.


Miss ex their sociopaths do

5 Signs You Dated A Dangerous Sociopath (And Didn't Even Know It)

“The dangerous personalities among us harm us behind closed doors at home, at church, at school, and in the office, often preying in secrecy on the unsuspecting or the trusting and for the most part, no one finds out until its too late.” – Joe Navarro, Dangerous Personalities: An FBI Profiler Shows You How To Identify and Protect Yourself from Harmful People

The aftermath of being bamboozled by a sociopathic or narcissistic dating partner can leave even the most self-aware of victims confounded. That’s because sociopathic predators can fly under the radar for quite some time before we’ve had a chance to figure them out. By the time we have, they leave in their wake a trail of devastation and chaos. Their victims feel traumatized, terrorized, and depleted, and rightfully so.

This predator has not only destroyed the victim’s illusion of the partner they thought they knew, they’ve also (even if just momentarily) shattered their worldview. Trusting in someone we’ve invested in and having them betray us creates a trauma bond like no other. No longer do victims of sociopaths feel safe, lest another conniving predatorcomes along, dressed in sheep’s clothing.

Getting Involved With A Sociopath Can Be Dangerous

In the most extreme cases, getting involved with a sociopath unknowingly can be deadly.Seemingly “nice guy” Chris Watts, who some experts have called a psychopath, murdered his wife, her unborn child and their two children, dumping their bodies in oil wells with little to no remorse. He even had multiple affairs while she was pregnant and attempted to blame Shannan for the murders of their children before pleading guilty to all the murders. Much like Scott Peterson, who murdered his pregnant wife Laci Peterson and their unborn child, no one suspected him of being dangerous. To outsiders, Chris Watts appeared like a doting dad and husband.

This is why these types can be so dangerous. Although many sociopaths are not violent, some can escalate into violence if given the “right” circumstances in their distorted perspective. Both Chris Watts and Scott Peterson decided family annihilation was a more convenient route to escape their marriages than divorce.

Why? Because sociopaths and psychopaths seek ultimate dominance, power, and control over others. They believe they “own” their partners and see everyone as an extension of themselves. Every person is a piece of property to manipulate, con, provoke and destroy – nothing more. It is their skewed, conscienceless view of the rest of humanity that puts us at risk if we end up getting involved with such a type.

Yet even if a sociopath isn’t violent, the emotional and psychological harm they cause makes them dangerous if they are willing to abuse and exploit others for their own gain.

What Is A Sociopath?

“Sociopath” and “psychopath” are commonly used laymen’s terms for what the DSM-5 calls Antisocial Personality Disorder. It is said that while sociopaths are produced by their environment, psychopaths are born, rather than “made.” Yet whether you’re dealing with a sociopath or psychopath, they have many overlapping characteristics. Someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder may exhibit the following traits and behaviors:

  • A pattern of disregard and violation of the rights of others.
  • Failure to conform to social norms.
  • Irritability and aggressiveness.
  • Deceitfulness.
  • Impulsivity.
  • Reckless disregard for the safety of others and one’s own safety.
  • Consistent irresponsibility.
  • Lack of remorse.

Although Antisocial Personality Disorder cannot be diagnosed in anyone under the age of eighteen, usually someone with ASPD is diagnosed with Conduct Disorder by the age of fifteen – which means they might also have a troubling childhood history of these behaviors. As therapist Bill Eddy writes, “This could include behaviors such as: torturing or killing small animals or pets, stealing from family and strangers, fire-starting and a serious pattern of lying.”

To add to our understanding of the sociopath or psychopath, Dr. Robert Hare also lists these characteristics in his psychopathy checklist:

  • Glibness and superficial charm.
  • Pathological lying.
  • Parasitic lifestyle.
  • Cunning and manipulative.
  • Impulsivity.
  • Callousness and lack of empathy.
  • Shallow emotions.
  • Need for stimulation.
  • Shallow affect.
  • Irresponsibility.
  • Failure to take responsibility for their behavior.
  • Lack of realistic long-term goals.
  • Sexual promiscuity.
  • Prone to boredom.
  • Early behavioral problems or juvenile delinquency.
  • A number of short-term, marital relationships.
  • Criminal versatility.
  • Grandiose sense of self.

Here are five signs you dated a dangerous sociopath and may not have known it:

Sign #1: Initially, they are the most loving, affectionate, charming and “nicest” person you’ve ever known. Then, they “switch” and reveal themselves to be cruel, callous, contemptuous and conscienceless.

As survivor Maria tells me, “When we were just friends, I really thought of him as a nice guy. Then suddenly, when we are in a relationship, he became a monster and I didnt even recognize him anymore.”

The most dangerous sociopaths aren’t always the ones found in prison – they are the ones who can pass as very “nice” people, as pillars of their community, all while inflicting harm behind closed doors. They can turn on the charm and sweep you into a whirlwind romance; their charisma is magnetic and disarming.

This sudden “switch” of personality or character transplant when the sociopath’s goal has been achieved or thwarted (usually after a sufficient amount of investment from the victim) is very common among survivor stories. What once appeared to be a charming, sweet, seemingly loving and generous partner can transform into a person we don’t recognize when the mask has finally slipped.

This will appear like an abrupt and dramatic “change” (but in reality, it unmasks the true nature of who they are) in their character which cannot be explained by outside events.

You might bear witness to a cold, callous self when a sociopathic partner decides that they are no longer willing to pull out all the stops to impress you or keep you. For example, you might go on a few dates with a sociopathic partner who dotes on you, bonds with you, and shares their life stories with you. They make an effort to assure you that they’re looking for a long-term relationship. Yet, when you refuse to sleep with them on their timetable, they might go into a rage or abandon you in a cruel manner, acting as if you did not exist.

Or, you might be a few months in what you think is one of the most loving relationships of your life, when you’re suddenly and abruptly given the silent treatment. Then, your sociopathic partner may disappear for days without a word and return with no explanation. When you “dare” to call them out or ask them for a reason, they may stonewall you and discard you without a single word, or escalate into violence for “daring” to question them about their “devotion” to you.

These examples are not normal behavior: it indicates a person who acts without empathy, remorse and with high levels of deceitfulness – someone who is attempting to meet his or her agenda, whatever it may be, and does so without regard to the rights, emotions, or welfare of others. Those who misrepresent their intentions or character while punishing their victims for not catering to their needs are undoubtedly among some of the most conscienceless people on this planet.

Sign #2: They lead a double life and engage in pathological lying, despite grandstanding about a deceptive “moral” value system.

As I’ve discussed in a previous article, malignant narcissists, sociopaths,and psychopaths are pathological liars. They chronically lie as a way to maintain power and control over their victim’s reality as well as their choices. After all, if your partner is lying to you about sleeping with multiple people behind your back, you are unable to protect yourself both physically or emotionally. You might stay in the relationship without knowing the level of infidelity they’re committing or how much risk they’re putting you in.

Survivor Relle describes to me how the startlingduplicity of her sociopathic partner extended to his choice of an affair partner. She says, “I had no idea he was living a separate life after grooming and establishing a relationship with the very same young girl who got the job he believed he was entitled to. He told me he would destroy her life and her career. I had no idea the last six months with him was what is defined as the discard. It was pure hell on earth as he tried to destroy me to the point of suicide. I found out he was with this specific girl months after I escaped. She is in so much danger and she doesn’t have a clue.”

In the infamous case of Mary Jo Buttafuoco, her sociopathic husband was able to hide his chronic deception and affair even after his mistress decided to physically show up on Mary’s doorstep and shoot her in the head. Mary thankfully survived, and as she writes in her book, Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, And What Millions of People Involved With Sociopaths Need to Know:

“To the rest of the world, it might have looked obvious, but no one close to us believed for a minute that Joe had had an affair with her. His denials were extremely convincing; his arguments completely justifiable…

Joey was absolutely hysterical in his denials. It was a very persuasive portrayal of a wrongly accused man. Show me a statement! Play me a tape where I said that! They wont because they dont have one! They are making this up.

One of the most prominent and telling traits of many sociopaths is their fantastic ability to manipulate others and lie for profit, to avoid punishment, or seemingly just for fun. As someone who faced a firestorm of public anger, disapproval, and just plain incomprehension over the years from those who asked, How could she stay with him after that? all I can say is that if you havent ever been under a sociopaths spell, be grateful. They can charm the birds out of the trees and tell you black is white, and have you believing it.”

Another survivor, Lisa, relays to me how her sociopathic partner managed to grandstand moral values he did not possess in order to mask the true nature of his character:

“In the early part of our relationship he talked all of the time about integrity and his interest in Buddhism, it made me feel like I was getting involved with someone honest and gentle. What I actually had was a full-blown pathological liar that undercut me at every chance he had, constant belittling, gaslighting, and double standards. I was so convinced I had a great man in the beginning that I stayed for 3 years looking for that guy to come back. Turned out my guy that claimed ‘integrity’ and said he’d never cheat because it had happened to him prior and was ‘so painful’ had also been cheating on me with his 20 years younger employee.”

Sign #3: They have a shady relationship history which they attempt to cover up with projections, toxic triangulation, smear campaigns or pity ploys.

According to Dr. Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door, a sure sign you’re dealing with a sociopath is the use of the pity ploy after they’ve hurt you time and time again. Sociopaths know that preying on our sympathy and empathy as human beings is the quickest way to make us vulnerable to their manipulation and exploitation. After all, if we’re prone to feeling sorry for someone, we’re less likely to suspect they have unsavory motives. Feeling pity for a predator awakens in us the instinct to protect – not to detect or inspect the true nature of their crimes.

One of the ways sociopaths use the pity ploy is by depicting their relationship history as one littered by “crazy” exes. They may talk at length about how a “controlling and clingy” ex tried to micromanage them and was “obsessed” with them. Some abusers may talk about how their ex got a restraining order against them “for no reason.” Of course, they may leave out the part where they covertly abused their ex and drove them to emotional instability with their numerous betrayals and lies. Or, they might conveniently omit how they stalked and harassed their ex years after the breakup. If someone is preemptively striking by talking about their ex like this on a first or second date, be wary.

Most people who’ve actually been in toxic or abusive relationships are quite reserved about revealing this at such an early stage of dating (unless they’re raw and prone to oversharing), so this can be a huge red flag. And remember, err on the side of neutrality whenever you hear about someone’s “crazy” ex: even the most level-headed person can be driven over the edge after multiple provocations, so chances are, if they are calling their exes “crazy,” the person you’re dating probably drove them there.

Projection is another way they hide their nefarious deeds. A narcissistic sociopath is likely to talk about how they were cheated on as a sob story, all while they were ones doing the cheating. They may bemoan terrible things their ex-spouse did, only for you to discover that they are the ones who engage in these same behaviors. They may talk about numerous divorces all of which were the fault of their exes.

Chronic triangulation is also a common tell.If they aren’t smearing their exes as pathological, they might be idealizing their past relationship partners or others to make you jealous. They may still be leaving clues of their emotional unavailability, insatiable need for attention, and penchant for manipulation by manufacturing love triangles (known as triangulation).

Sociopaths are prone to introducing the threat of other romantic interests by talking excessively about those they are attracted to, those who admire them, or those they had intimate relationships with. They may go so far as to flirt with others in front of you to provoke your jealousy. It’s not uncommon for sociopathic and narcissistic people to boast about how people regularly “throw themselves” at them. They may stress how “loyal” yet “in-demand” they are to provoke their victims into competing for their attention. These are all ways to remind you that you can easily be replaced, at any time.

The shady nature of their commitments is revealing.Be wary if a dating partner tells you about having numerous short-term marriages, ahistory of long-distance relationships or a long-distance relationship they just can’t seem to let go of. Long-distance relationships are the perfect cover for both commitmentphobes and malignant narcissists. Long-distance relationships allow conniving predators to maintain a steady source of narcissistic supply from a primary partner who never “bores” them because they’re rarely around to ruin the fantasy of being the “ideal” man or woman. Meanwhile, the predator can engage in numerous affairs without the primary partner knowing.Or, the sociopathic predator may have an absence of long-term committed relationships aside from college and high school – that too can be a red flag of their inability and unwillingness to commit long-term.

Sign #4: A propensity for cruelty, provocation, and using your traumas against you.

Malignant narcissists gain pleasure from provoking others, toying with them, and inflicting pain; many on the higher end of the spectrum are sadistic in nature. If they possess elements of the Dark Triad (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy) they have the cognitive empathy to assess your weaknesses, and lack the affective empathy to truly care that they’re causing harm – in fact, they may even enjoy causing harm (Wai and Tiliopoulos, 2012).

A quick way to figure out if someone is sociopathic? Reveal a trauma, insecurity or vulnerability to them (even if it’s not true). A manipulator is always looking to collect information about you early on to use against you as ammunition later. For example, if you reveal that you have an insecurity about your weight, the sociopathic predator may reassure you of how beautiful you are, only to later scrutinize your body months later.

If you talk about a traumatic incident where an ex did something specifically to hurt you, lo and behold, don’t be surprised if this same predator pulls out all the stops to reenact the same exact trauma. The most sadistic of sociopaths will actually incorporate the exact, specific details from the traumatic incident into their actions to make you relive the experience, all over again. For them, this is a sadistic game, power play, and display of dominance, nothing more. You are nothing but a doll to play with, terrorize, and discard once they’re ready to move onto the next new shiny toy.

Sign #5: Hypersexuality, sexually coercive behavior, and a constant need for stimulation.

Dr. Robert Hare notes in his Psychopathy Checklist that psychopaths usually demonstrate sexual promiscuity and have a constant need for stimulation. Psychopathy is also a significant predictor of sexual violence (Kiehl and Hoffman, 2011). Psychopaths are also very prone to boredom, which causes them to always seek excitement outside of their significant relationships in ways that can be dangerous. Although not all sociopaths are alike, many do have a hypersexual side which is usually not revealed to their primary partner until it’s too late. They are notorious for having numerous affairs, living double lives, and having indiscriminate, risky sexual encounters with anyone and everyone regardless of their sexual orientation.

Malignant narcissists and sociopaths can also be sexually coercive. Because they do not have any regard for the rights of others and are excessively entitled, some pressure or even force their partners into sexual acts they are not comfortable with. They may also punish their unwilling partners by discarding or devaluing them if their victims try to put up sexual boundaries. They are not above crossing these sexual boundaries to get what they want.

Don’t Fall For The Trap: How To Protect Yourself

There are plenty of red flags which can clue you in on who you may be dealing with. However, there are times when you may feel at such ease with a predator that you give them the benefit of the doubt and do not get out until it’s too late. Victims can fall prey to sociopaths easily, especially if they are at a particularly vulnerable stage of their lives.

If you’ve been victimized, it is not your fault. Even the experts can be duped. Conscienceless manipulators are very good at what they do – that’s how they get away with their crimes for so long. However, there are measures you can take to protect yourself and hopefully reduce the amount of harm that can be done if you run into one of these toxic types.

Don’t date during vulnerable periods – or if you do, take things very slowly.Some victims may be feeling particularly lonely and longing for a relationship when they come into contact with this type of charismatic predator. When they do, they may mistake their love-bombing for actual love and disregard the warning signs more readily. Other victims may be grieving a loss or recovering from a traumatic event, which causes them to latch onto any perceived safety net that could help them during this difficult time. Sociopaths are always on the prowl for these vulnerabilities, because they provide the entryway for which they can morph into the “savior” you’ve always dreamed of and hook you.

When Shannan Watts met her husband and murderer, Chris Watts, she had been diagnosed with lupus and was experiencing one of the darkest periods in her life. She stated in one of her videos that Chris was the “best thing that ever happened to {her}.” When looking to fill a void of any sort, we can be very susceptible to what the sociopath appears to offer us: whether it be love, attention, support, validation, a stable family life, or all of the above. We are far more willing to overlook red flags when we have these voids or struggles in our lives.Thekey to protecting yourself is to take things very slowly, and if possible, not to date at all if you find yourself in such a vulnerable state.

Avoid dating if there are major issues in other aspects of your life or if you’re still wounded.Instead, find ways to fulfill yourself in healthy ways rather than giving into the urge of trying to seek a partner who will complete or “heal” you. Build your financial independence, get your own home, find a good social circle, work on your education, and pursue a career or passion that gives your life meaning outside of a partner; these will help ensure that you are never dependent on someone else to give you what you need in terms of basic needs. Grieving trauma or a loss is best done with a therapist, a healthy support system, and an appreciation for everything in your life, not just romantic relationships. This is not to say that accomplishing all of this will protect you from ever encountering a predator, but they will help you to leave and detach sooner if you realize who you’re dealing with is dangerous.

Don’t underestimate any red flags, especially at the beginning. Remember that people are likely to be on their “best behavior” during first dates, so take every grand romantic gesture and promises for the future with a grain of salt. At the same time, take every red flag very seriously – even if they appear to be small. If you get a sense that something is “off” about your new dating partner’s attitude, his or her propensity for rage, callous attitude or tone regardless of how nicely they present themselves, pay attention to them. It is these “tiny terrors” which we rationalize, minimize or deny that often escalate into horrific acts of cruelty later on.

Avoid excessive emotional or physical intimacy in the first few dates; don’t do more or disclose more than what you’re comfortable with. Remember, this is a stranger you do not know yet. If someone tries to fast-forward intimacy (either emotional or physical), let them know you’re interested in slowing down. If they withdraw or abruptly abandon you as a result, you have your answer: they were never interested in getting to know you. Partners who are truly interested in forming a real relationship know there is no rush in having sex or sharing personal stories – they know they will get there when a certain level of trust has already been established.

Trust actions over words, and patterns over singular actions. It’s common for sociopaths and malignant narcissists to boast about moral qualities they do not possess. They may disparage others who cheat and lie, all while committing the same acts themselves. They are very convincing. This level of deception takes a sort of conscienceless mastery. That’s why you must trust their behavioral patterns over time rather than their empty words or even a one-time action.

Sociopaths aren’t nicebecause they love you, like you or respect you; they are nice because they have an agenda. As Stout writes, “Being nice would not necessarily be conscience, either. For brief periods, any reasonably clever sociopath can act with saintlike niceness for his {or her} own manipulative purposes.”

Lovefraud Lessons: Do sociopaths return?

Sociopath World

  • Sours:

    Now discussing:

    Are Sociopaths Capable of Love?

    Sociopaths draw a bizarre amount of romantic attention, and many of them come from what seems like close, loving families. But it begs the question: Can sociopaths really love someone?

    What sociopathy is

    Sociopathy is actually the colloquial term for Antisocial Personality Disorder. “Those who suffer from this disorder often engage in self-­serving behaviors that are harmful to others,” Carla Marie Manly, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Santa Rosa, CA, tells Health. “These behaviors can include lying, manipulation, verbal and physical assaults, impulsivity, and deception. And these individuals often engage in actions that are illegal or bordering on illegality.”

    RELATED: Sociopath vs. Narcissist: What's the Difference?

    How sociopathy plays out in a relationship

    Not surprisingly, this doesn’t bode well for romantic relationships. “The key here is that these individuals violate social norms and expectations, which often results in negative consequences for the individual or those in proximity to the individual,” she adds. With a psychological makeup like that, it’s pretty clear that a sociopath isn’t capable of a normal loving relationship.

    “Sociopaths value themselves above others,” Susan Masterson, PhD, a psychologist based in Lexington, Kentucky, tells Health. “They don't bother to think outside the scope of what they want or need, and others' feelings are either secondary or a non-issue for them.” Considering that successful relationships are about compromise and intimacy, that kind of singular focus wouldn’t exactly make a sociopath a great partner.

    The cornerstone of an APD diagnosis is a self-serving ideology; sociopaths make their decisions based on their own needs and desires, and don’t think about how their actions affect others—including those they may be in a relationship with. “It’s these very personality characteristics that affect the individual’s ability to love on many levels,” says Manly. “True love is not egocentric and self-­serving, it requires a foundation of self­-confidence and awareness that allows for a deep love and respect of others.” People with APD don’t have the capacity for that, so true love isn’t possible for them.

    RELATED: What to Know About Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment

    Sociopaths can appear to be in love

    That’s not to say sociopaths, or people with APD, can’t seem to be in love. “A sociopath can be really good at faking feelings of love,” Darrel Turner, PhD, a forensic psychologist from Louisiana, tells Health. “It’s common when a sociopath enters into a relationship to behave very lovingly or otherwise affectionately toward their partner—at least at the beginning.”

    Sociopaths can be charismatic, charming, and flattering, and “someone with APD can seem to love others when it suits their end goal,” adds Manly. “But that ‘love’ will erode or disappear once the individual’s needs have been met.”

    And being in a relationship with someone who has APD wouldn’t be easy—although it might start off that way. “In nearly every case, a person who has sociopathy will become controlling, manipulative, and abusive in a personal relationship,” says Turner. “They’ll enjoy making the other person feel bad, ruining their self-esteem, demeaning them, and alienating them from their family and friends.” And since people with APD don’t feel remorse, they’re certainly not going to feel bad about what they’re doing to their partner.

    Whether someone is diagnosed with APD or not, if they’re only focused on satisfying their ownW desires (as a sociopath would be), that’s hardly a solid foundation for a relationship—no matter how charming they are. Sociopaths "are short-term thinkers, long-range plans for relationships are of no interest to them,” says Masterson. “They may tell you that's what they want, but it’s only to get something in the here and now.”

    RELATED: Narcissist Abuse Is the Scary New Kind of Emotional Abuse You Need to Know About


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