What I’ve been learning from meeting a sociopath
This has been an interesting week. As always, learning new things, but the most important lesson this week was something I had thought I’d learned before: stay away from certain people. But as so often, repetition makes the master, and this is a lesson so important that I don’t mind learning it again and again.. Sadly, the people I’m dealing with are of a kind that easily lure and trick you into believing they have your best interest at heart, while all they care about is themselves: psycho- & sociopaths.
A few years ago, I invested in a small start-up and eventually joined them. Little did I know that they charming and charismatic owner and founder was a full blown psychopath (not in the crime novel way though!), but in the DSM-5 sort of way. It was not the first time I crossed paths with someone like this. My first experience with such an individual was a few years earlier, when my ex found a new boyfriend: super nice, yet something was off. We soon discovered why: he was a sociopath and didn’t care about anything but his own satisfaction, his own good, and he didn’t give a shit about my ex. The “I love you’s” were all about free room and board, and the “I’ll never cheat you’s” were just for show, and even in the face of proof of his infidelity he denied it. It was the first time I’d met a sociopath, and I found it hard to deal with. I decided to stay as far away from his sort as I possibly could.
Until I met that man. No sociopath, his social skills were so much better, and his manipulation more subtle, and I fell for them, not suspecting anything until it was too late. As soon as he had my money, as soon as he had access to my brain and had me working for him, that’s when he changed, and I got to meet the real monster that he is: yelling, abusive, and interested in one opinion only: his. I cut my losses and got out. Luckily, he’d been careless with the legal aspects of my investment and with the help of my lawyers I also got my money back.
I swore there and then to never get myself in this sort of situation again, yet here I am, again. This week I’ve had two sleepless nights due to a sociopath’s path I crossed. As with my ex boyfriend’s partner, she’s all about “me, me, me”. I read this interesting article last night, with the warning signs of a sociopath, and it was a difficult read. But here are some of the telltale signs according to the article:
- they’re charming
- they’re more spontaneous and intense
- incapable of feeling guilt, shame or remorse
- outrageous lies about their experiences
- want to dominate others and “win” at all cost
- tend to be highly intelligent
- incapable of love
- speak poetically, master wordsmiths
- never apologize
- delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth
The trouble is, that once you’re in the fangs of such an individual, there’s little you can do except get out. It’s either them or you, and for the sake of your own mental sanity, I would suggest you leave. I will. Because I only have this one life to live. I want to write my books, I want to meet my readers, I want to spend time with my family, my son, live a good life. It is, after all, the only one I have. I can’t afford to waste time engaging in power struggles with people suffering from such severe personality disorders, no matter the label. I look at the list above and realize, with hindsight’s crystal clear twenty-twenty vision, that all ten signs were there, more or less from the beginning. That hurts, because the first one you meet is 1, 2, 6 and 8. You’re unaware that it’s also 4 and 10, masking the rest. Once you do, it’s too late and you’re at their mercy, and when you’re pummeled with 3, 5,7 & 9 it’s usually too late.
On the surface, given the above, you’d think that sociopaths and psychopaths are similar, and yes they are. To learn more about how they are different, both from a DSM-5 perspective, but also in their behavior, read this interesting article from Psychology Today, but in short, psychopaths are born this way (“nature”), sociopaths can “thank” nurture…
This week’s lesson is simple: it’s not worth it. These people damage you severely and the sooner you get out, the better off you are, in the short, and in the long run. If only that “once burned, twice shy” had worked for me; but sociopaths and psychopaths are different, and now I’ve suffered from one each. I can only hope the lesson sticks this time. Sadly, given their charm, it’s easy to fall for them, and by nature, I am a rather trusting individual. Unfortunately, there is risk that I will be re-learning this again at some point in the future.
Now let me ask you this, have you similar experiences? From your relationships? Work place? Community service? It would be interesting to hear, because I do understand that these people cause a lot of suffering, and they do not get the help they need, leaving nothing but scorched relationships in their wake…
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Have a great and sane weekend!
Hans M Hirschi