- Know your enemy: Sociopaths manipulate, lie and scheme against you. They think nothing of spending 10 hours a day on the phone, or in person, telling anyone and everyone lie after lie about you. Your reputation may be in tatters by the time they are done. According to therapist Martha Stout in The Sociopath Next Door , sociopaths have no remorse. They do not feel sorrow when they destroy your life.
- Don't play the game: Once a sociopath targets you, the situation turns into a game for him or her. Your attempts to "fix" the situation with rational conversation is seen as weakness by the sociopath. She will feel she is winning and will amp up her efforts, even twisting your words and using them against you.
- Escape the insanity: I can't stress enough that you simply cannot win with a sociopath. A sociopath will never stop attacking your reputation in the most ruthless manner possible. The ONLY way to win is to get away from the sociopath. I know this from personal experience. I had to cut off every avenue of possible contact to escape the craziness created by a person who came into my life by chance.
- Take a witness: If you are in a situation where you must deal with the sociopath, such as someone in your family, or a co-worker, refuse to speak with the person unless you have a third party present. This way, you have a witness and your words and actions cannot be twisted and misconstrued. The Abuse Recovery site offers additional tips for dealing with a sociopath that you might find helpful.
- Don't let it get to you: A sociopath will tear down your innermost confidence in yourself bit by bit until you wonder if all the conflict is your fault. Take a step back and really reflect on the situation. Take responsibility for your own faults (we all have them), and lay the blame where it belongs for the rest.
While the average person spends a good portion of the day thinking about those she loves (children, husband, parents, friends), a sociopath doesn't have these emotional ties with anyone. Instead, she will spend all that time plotting to take you down and destroy you either literally or figuratively. Even removing yourself from the sphere of the sociopath's influence may only work for a while. You must remain consistent. Do not let the sociopath fool you a second time with his or her charm. Do not believe the person has changed. Most therapists agree that sociopaths cannot be treated effectively. Instead, take steps to protect yourself and your family. Consider drastic solutions like moving, changing jobs and making new friends. Remember that it is all a game to the sociopath. She or he does not care if you're hurt. The only goal they have is winning. The only way you can beat a sociopath is to get away from a sociopath. Accept the harsh realitySociopaths do not changePerhaps you've come to the conclusion that you are dealing with a sociopath. You've read the key symptoms and they describe this person perfectly. You've read the True Lovefraud stories, and you recognize the behaviors. So what do you do now?Accept the reality that a sociopath will never change. You cannot cure him with your love. You cannot change yourself and expect him to be satisfied. You cannot make him understand how you feel and how much he hurts you. He really doesn't care. (All of this applies to female sociopaths as well as male.) To a sociopath, you are just "supply." You are a source of money, sex, housing, business connections, or whatever else he is taking from you. Even though he says, "I love you," and "I'll never do it again," the words mean nothing. His sole objective is to keep the supply coming. So what do you do? Cut your losses and get out. If you're lucky, you're not married, you don't have children together, and you don't work together. You just walk away and never see the creep again. But many situations are more complicated than that. If you have to deal with divorce or child custody, expect it to be nasty. It's not that the sociopath actually cares about you or the kids. It's just that he or she wants to win, and make your life miserable in the process.Lovefraud provides more information on what to do if you're involved with a sociopath on the other pages of this section. Lovefraud also recommends the online support groups listed below. Although the members are not professional therapists, they have all been where you are—which is much more valuable than a therapist who doesn't get it. At the very least, they will help you to realize you are not alone. (Registration is required to participate.) "Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret."* Are sociopaths insane? Here's how Dr. Robert Hare, who uses the term "psychopaths," answers the question:
"Psychopaths do meet current legal and psychiatric standards for sanity. They understand the rules of society and the conventional meanings of right and wrong. They are capable of controlling their behavior, and they are aware of the potential consequences of their acts. Their problem is that this knowledge frequently fails to deter them from antisocial behavior. "In my opinion, psychopaths certainly know enough about what they are doing to be held accountable for their actions."* Why is it so critical for you to know about sociopaths? Because millions of sociopaths are living among us. Yes, many of them are criminals, locked up in jail. But far more are on the street, hurting people without breaking laws, operating in the gray areas between legal and illegal, or simply eluding the authorities. They can appear to be normal, but they pose a tremendous threat to us all.Sociopaths exhibit a range of behaviors. In fact, Dr. Hare diagnoses them according to their score on a scale. So just as you could describe someone's intelligence as ranging from smart to genius, you could describe a sociopath as somewhere between sleazy and serial killer. If you see sleazy, he or she may be on the low end of the scale, but they're still bad news.This web site is dedicated to informing you about sociopaths so you can protect yourself. Learn to spot the behaviors that might indicate someone is a sociopath. Once they are adults, sociopathic men and women do not change. They cannot be rehabilitated. The sooner you can get away from them, the better off you'll be.To really understand, up close and personal, how these predators worm their way into your life, read Love Fraud-How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan. Glib and superficial Psychopaths are often witty and articulate. They can be amusing and entertaining conversationalists, ready with a quick and clever comeback, and can tell unlikely but convincing stories that cast themselves in a good light. They can be very effective in presenting themselves well and are often very likable and charming. Typically, psychopaths attempt to appear experts in sociology, psychiatry, medicine, psychology, philosophy, poetry, literature, art or law. A signpost to this trait is often a smooth lack of concern at being found out that they are not. Egocentric and grandiose Psychopaths have a narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement. They see themselves as the center of the universe, as superior beings who are justified in living according to their own rules. Psychopaths are seldom embarrassed about their legal, financial or personal problems. Rather, they see them as temporary setbacks, the results of bad luck, unfaithful friends or an unfair and incompetent system. Psychopaths feel that their abilities will enable them to become anything they want to be. Given the right circumstances—opportunity, luck, willing victims—their grandiosity can pay off spectacularly. For example, the psychopathic entrepreneur "thinks big," but it's usually with someone else's money. Lack of remorse or guilt Psychopaths show a stunning lack of concern for the devastating effects their actions have on others. Often they are completely forthright about the matter, calmly stating that they have no sense of guilt, are not sorry for the pain and destruction they have caused, and that there is no reason for them to be concerned. Psychopaths' lack of remorse or guilt is associated with a remarkable ability to rationalize their behavior and to shrug off personal responsibility for actions that cause shock and disappointment to family, friends, associates and others who have played by the rules. Usually they have handy excuses for their behavior, and in some cases they deny that it happened at all. Lack of empathy The feelings of other people are of no concern to psychopaths. Psychopaths view people as little more than objects to be used for their own gratification. The weak and the vulnerable—whom they mock, rather than pity—are favorite targets.Psychopaths display a general lack of empathy. They are indifferent to the rights and suffering of family members and strangers alike. If they do maintain ties with their spouses or children it is only because they see their family members as possessions, much like their stereos or automobiles. Because of their inability to appreciate the feelings of others, some psychopaths are capable of behavior that normal people find not only horrific but baffling. For example, they can torture and mutilate their victims with about the same sense of concern that we feel when we carve a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. However, except in movies and books, very few psychopaths commit crimes of this sort. Their callousness typically emerges in less dramatic, though still devastating, ways: parasitically bleeding other people of their possessions, savings and dignity; aggressively doing and taking what they want; shamefully neglecting the physical and emotional welfare of their families; engaging in an unending series of casual, impersonal and trivial sexual relationships; and so forth. Deceitful and manipulative Lying, deceiving and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths. Given their glibness and the facility with which they lie, it is not surprising that psychopaths successfully cheat, bilk, defraud, con and manipulate people and have not the slightest compunction about doing so. They are often forthright in describing themselves as con men, hustlers or fraud artists. Their statements often reveal their belief that the world is made up of "givers and takers," predators and prey, and that it would be very foolish not to exploit the weaknesses of others. Some of their operations are elaborate and well thought out, whereas others are quite simple: stringing along several women at the same time, or convincing family members and friends that money is needed "to bail me out of a jam." Whatever the scheme, it is carried off in a cool, self-assured, brazen manner.