Dating a socipopath and Maslows Hierarchy of Needs


According to Maslow each human being has a hierarchy of needs. We all need these basic needs to be fulfilled to feel whole as human beings. These needs make us feel secure. When a component is missing, we search for these missing qualities in our lives.

You will see from the diagram above, that some of these needs are more important than others. If you think about when you first met the sociopath in your life – what did they offer to fulfil for you?

Primary Needs – Physiological Needs

If you look at the bottom tier, you will see the basics that every single human needs. These are our basic needs that need to be fulfilled. Denying any one of these needs is the worst kind of abuse.

  • Air
  • Water
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter (your home)

Feeling Safe and Secure

The next thing that a human needs is to feel safe. We need to feel safe in our environment and know that we will not come to harm.

  • Personal safety (to know that we will not come to physical harm)
  • Financial security (to know that we can pay bills,  that will enable us to cover our basic needs highlighted above)
  • To have good health
  • A safety net to rely on (external support networks, not feeling isolated)

Feel Loved and a Sense of Belonging

The other thing that humans need is to feel loved and a sense of belonging. This means to be treated without judgement as an equal by others. To  be treated with respect. To be loved for who you truly are.

Esteem to be valued by others

It is important for everyone to feel a sense of self esteem. To feel good about yourself. To feel that you make a valuable contribution to both yourself and those around you. To know that you are valued.

You also need to feel a sense of belonging. To feel that you belong where you are. That you ‘fit in’ both in your environment and with those people around you. You need to feel confident in both yourself, and in those people around you. You need to feel that you are ‘good enough’.

Self Actualisation

We all have dreams. It is important that we can have goals and to feel that we are successful in either reaching those goals,, or encouraged and supported to work towards them.  Rewarded and encouraged when we do. To be allowed personal expression. To follow our hearts desires, to be allowed freedom of will, to both follow dreams, and sometimes to make mistakes without excess judgement. We all have dreams. When someone is abused they can lose sight of their own personal dreams, and instead their sole energy becomes dependent on keeping the abuser happy.

To be happy and fulfilled you need your own goals, dreams and life plan. To work in co-operation with others, but also to be allowed to work independently to follow your own life plan. If this need is not fulfilled you will feel lost, disorientated, and could ultimately feel depressed.

Why the sociopath disorientates your senses and you are left feeling empty and bereft

It is hoped that if you have read this far in the post, it is self explanatory. The sociopath attacks your basic needs as a human being. The sociopath exploits your weaknesses and your emotions. To control and manipulate you. This is why when they have left your life you feel a sense of loss. Your basic needs have been exploited.

Your senses are disorientated as the sociopath is the master illusionist. The sociopath offers to give you all of the things that you might feel are missing in the Maslow Hierarchy of needs, they might even do this for a while – and then slowly they take those things away. Or they remove themselves. Which creates a dependency on the sociopath. You believe in your mind that you need this person to feel ‘whole’

The truth is that you can fulfil these needs for yourself. The sociopath was a cheap mind shot player. Playing with your needs and wants. By accurately listening to what you felt was missing in your life – and offering with ‘words’ not ‘actions’ you feel that those needs are fulfilled.

It is all an illusion. The truth is that only YOU can make YOU happy. Only you have that ability to fulfil the space in you. Only you should do this. Do not rely on someone else to fulfil this need within you.

There is nothing wrong with having a space in your life that needs to be fulfilled. But do not expect anyone else to fill that space. You have to ability to do this for yourself. In fact you should do this for yourself. When you have done this for yourself, then and only then are you in the right frame of mind for a new relationship.

Love yourself – you are worth it.

Words © Sept 2013


50 thoughts on “Dating a socipopath and Maslows Hierarchy of Needs”

  1. You don’t need to be with someone to be loved. Everybody feels like they have to have another significant other for the sake of approval or to feel good enough. But the truth is that you have to learn to love yourself before anyone else can.

  2. What a great post.. So very true. I had been a little disoriented for a while there, but now I am in touch with reality again. Im thinking of getting in touch with an old boyfriend,ee lived togetner for a year. Heard hes asmi. About me and hes not a spath (thank God)… I think I will persue him. I was happy and so was he. Im gonna give it a shot and reach for the stars….peace an love…:) and its wondetful to have Pos back in the swi.g of things…yayyyyyy 😉

  3. Pos. I’ve learned that our parents are the first ones responsible for all our levels of needs. As an infant they provide the basics and should provide protection, acceptance. Help us develop our self esteem. Feel valued and loved and find our self awareness actualization. Unfortunately for me my P stepped in my life because my parents barely provided the basic level. There was abuse so safety and security did not exist for me from my parents therefore real love and acceptance didn’t either. Although they are so twisted they believe providing the basics demonstrates love. It doesn’t. Those are obligations. Anyway as adults we say not to depend on others and to love ourselves but we should remember if our parents didn’t take us thru the hierarchy we were never able to obtain these needs and know not how to do so by ourselves wo some work or guidance by others like friends or counselors. It makes us vulnerable prey for predators.

    1. I think when your parents fail to provide the basic level Judah – then you are more at risk of meeting a sociopath and them infiltrating your life. Offering to provide that fairy tale magic that you feel is missing within you. When realistically – this is all that all human beings deserve. I think that parental and lack of parental love – and that ‘gap’ can really leave some people vulnerable to meeting an abuser. Thank you for your honest comment.

    2. I agree strongly. My father was an abuser (though he was always sweet with me and my brothers) and my mom’s a narcissist. Since his death I became a doormath for guys. I depend on her for everything, I don’t have the strenght to build my own life and, since I’m unemployed, I’m forced to live with her.
      Most of the guys I’ve had something with where manipulators, narcissists and/or abusers.

    3. I totally agree!!…our subconscious leads us to be attracted to those people that treat us like how our parents treated us…so we have to almost re-parent ourselves and become “healthier” in order to be attracted to healthy individuals

  4. Funny. I was just journaling about why I can’t love & focus on me. My sociopath knew that my existance is based on taking care of others. I took care of him & his son.

    I’m happy & I’m getting stronger everyday. I don’t regret the day I walked away from him.

  5. Excellent information! We need to remember these points. To be conned and brainwashed, believing we “needed” the spath is sickening. Keep moving forward. I am doing great thanks to you Positivagirl 🙂

  6. Doh !! smacks self on forehead……..I am very familiar with Maslow through the work that I do and NEVER thought to actually apply it to my shitty, horrible life.

    That’s it now, I’m done, he has had enough of my life, thoughts, time, money and love and pardon my language but he can just go fuck himself now…….
    I am sick of waking up thinking about it, I am sick of feeling like I want to cry….all day, every day.
    I am going to print a lovely big copy of the hierarchy of need and remind myself which bits I can now do SO much better for myself… more worrying about money, I don’t have much but at least I know where it has gone. No more worrying and wandering where dickface is or what he is doing, no more days of sulking or controlling behavior……..stacks of wardrobe space, clean tidy home, happy children, no one to make me feel guilty for seeing my friends, time to do exactly as I please including watching anything I like on TV and making plans for my future that I can make happen and HE cannot stop. no more fears of debt collectors or lies or secrets or watching him walk about my home with his beloved phone stuck to his guilty, sweaty palm, hiding all those lies and women. No one to ever say again “I’ll do it, sort it, see to it” and then never actually do or sort anything ever.
    when I put it like that what the hell would I want to cry for, the person I love and miss just didn’t exist did he? I might as well cry that santa’s not real (sorry if that’s news to you….don’t want to cause more pain lol)

    horrible, pathetic damaged little man……be gone

    1. HI all, I have a question tho it doesn’t necessarily relate to this particular post. I have been 12 days NC and frankly it hasn’t been that awful. At times yes, but I have kept myself busy and focused on why I needed to move forward in my life. But – I got an email from my ex last night, he is coming back to the city we live in to pack his things because he accepted a job back home where he is from (i.e. very very far away from me – score!). He wants to go to lunch before he goes. I really don’t know what to do. I haven’t seen him since May, and during our last exchange via text 12 days ago he was vile to me. I am not sure if seeing him to say goodbye is the closure I will need, because I will most likely never ever see him again – or, if I have mentally given myself the closure I need and there isn’t a reason to potentially open any wounds again. I am torn. Part of me knows he does not deserve a response from me or to see me, and his email wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy, it was immature and he of course gave a half-assed apology for what he’s done. But the other part of me wants to see him one last time, say goodbye, and move on. Also, selfishly, I want to look amazing and waltz in there and make him have an awesome last vision of me and what he gave up (even if its just visual and on the surface because as we know soc’s don’t have much more depth than that). Has anyone else been in this situation and any advice on what is really the best route to take?

      1. Hi Rsav, my experience has been that whenever I broke NC it definitely set me back a step or two in the healing process. It created more anxiety than it was worth. What makes it worse is that I now know that the Spath enjoyed seeing and or hearing my prolonged anguish over him. I too thought that it would help me with closure, but it really did just the opposite. Ask yourself this. Do I really need more crazy drama in my life?

        Peace ~

      2. Please Do not give him a chance to suck you back in to his games. You have come so far. No matter how wonderful you look it won’t phase him. They keep dozens of women as back up and don’t care about any of them. People are just a free lunch for them. Please do continue to take care of YOU! Be careful.

      3. Hi, please please do not go backward! Having no contact and not tapping into his games is the only ONLY way forward. You will be set back immensely and undo any good work and healing youve done so far even if that healing only consists to date of dispelling just one illusion about him. (its a start).
        I can fully relate to your reasons for being torn and definiately wanting to waltz in looking fabulous (yes this was my fantasy too in the early days!) but please the momentarily gain you may get for this will not make up for the pain you will INEVITABLY go through later. For the infiltration of your mind and thought processes i would say that 12 days is not healing and not closure, it is merely the beginining of the “dizzying, crazymaking, whirrligigging , mayhem” to start come to a standstill where you can even begin to make sense of the violation you have suffered. You are greatly human for saying what youve said and wondering what youve wondered and wanting him to see the dazzler he left, but believe me YOU CANNOT MASSAGE A STONE into feeling anything other than “whats in it for me”, and believe me whats in it for him will certainly not be good for you in the long run! Also he is playing a game and wants the power to call the shots. You tell him No or better still say nothing at all, as in the famous words of the ronan keating song, “YOU SAY IT BEST WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL”!
        Lots of love and luck and healing to you friend.

      4. It really wont be worth it, they always find a way to slight you. They always find the smallest thing to zing you with and make themselves feel on top again. It’s what they do, at times without even saying a word. Like others have said, don’t do it. Its like saving your house from burning down and then dropping a lit match as you go out to celebrate.
        Try thinking of all the things that fit these people and their view of others and how he views you… Contempt is a big one, do you really want to try and impress someone who has contempt for you? Passive Aggressive.. Contempt is the major ingredient for passive aggressiveness. Fool, they see us all as fools, as if we’re so stupid, we’ll never figure it out, we’ll always be a step behind, they can live double lives right in front of our eyes and we’ll never know because we’re all emotional dummies… Thats how they view Empaths… why would you try and impress someone that sees you and thinks of you like that? Stick to no contact, keep working on yourself and improving, reconnect to your inner joy that was ripped out and run over, and maintain control over your thoughts… you’ll make it..

      5. Don’t go! I fell into the exact same trap! Just one catch up for breakfast and he had a job and an apartment far away. Now he’s back in my flat and business and things are worse than ever!

      1. I just read these posts and right now Im crying. They donnt care how beautiful you look. If a dirty street girl got on the bus they would flirt with her to. We were on the bus and kept trying to get her attention I couldnt believe it, with them anything goes. Ive seen some of the othet women most of them were lowlifes like him. Then thet was one who worked in a bank Not prettier than me at all. I got so tired of trying to figure it out. And today is one month No Contact (once again).

  7. very interesting observation and one which fits with where i am at in my recovery and healing from spath. my story may be unusual in that i was a professional carer who was groomed by a spathic user of services and lost everything because of it. Boundaries exist for very good reasons and myself being a very upstanding clean living resposible and ethical person, was devastated to find myself at the end of the spathic relationship broken,spiritually and morally violated, my perceptions of everything ” pixalated” almost beyond recognition to the point where i believed i needed my abuser to survive and worse still, wondering how on earth a person like me could have crossed a line that never in a million years would have believed i could. I had a string of professional qualifications and was a very “aware” person but my vulnerability lay in my naivety in personal relationships and my deep seated need for personal validation, love and affirmation which my own personal abusive background never provided. In other words, i was very well developed in the area of academia but emotionally was working at a very primitive level never having had my needs met for security approval and validation.

    Ibelieve the spath could smell my vulnerability in this area like a pig can smell truffles and looking back I can see all of the manipulations and the premeditated way he “lovebombed” me and framed everything in terms of spiritual destiny………………..we were meant to be, we were soulmates etc……..and slowly pushed and pushed the boundary line. I was complicit in my own abuse in this way because my basic needs were not met in childhood and my thirst to have this need quenched was so great that coupled with the tune of the spathic “pied piper”, i danced mesmerizingly to his tune blindly, as if i didnt have a choice and found myself almost broken beyond repair once his cycle of “idealise, devalue, discard” was played out. This would never have happened in my adult life in my childhood needs were met. love and affection are vital to human beings and the absence of such can definately leave you game for sociopathic predators later on. When he had used me all up he laughed and was victorious in my desolation and complete losses. He admitted he had done this with a previous professional and their life was in bits too. He was like rumpelstiltskin, jumping with joy at the hurt he had caused me after admitting using me like a pawn in a game.

    so yes positivagirl, you are right in your thinking on maslows hierarchy and the importance of early needs being met early for a healthy progression in adult safe relationships. I WANT TO SAY A HUGE THANKS TO YOU FOR YOUR AWARENESS AND YOUR COMMITTMENT TO HELPING PROMOTE AWARENESS AND EDUCTAION IN THIS. VITAL YET POORLY UNDERSTOOD AREA OF RELATION DYNAMICS. you have helped me and countless others like me heal.

    I know form my reseach that other professionals have suffered in this way from sociopathic service users and would love to hear more of their stories if you or any one else knows of any. As for my ex sociopath im afraid i have a huge amount of compassion for him and probably shouldnt, but i really see him as just a damaged child too who was denied and deprived etc in childhood. I dont blame or judge both him or myself. i seek only understanding to break the cycle for a better human race. Keep up the good work and good luck and much healing to all using this site.

    1. Hi Daisy – thanks for your comment. It didn’t happen to me – with service users. But I had known of people in my field where it did happen (areas of drugs/alcohol, probation, criminal justice etc). I liked the way that you put it how they can smell it – like a pig to truffles. Has this impacted your career indefinitely? Or do you think that you can repair it? …. maybe life is no going to take you on a different journey work wise?

      1. Hi, thank you for your reply. My work colleagues have given so much support and understanding as it was so incongrous to my character, they knew my home circumstances and my relational history and could understand how things transpired the way they did,so despite losing my job they rallied round when i felt my world was a bottomless black pit of fear and insecurity. my self esteem and sense of judgement in everything was so impaired but the colleagues around me helped me see that in our job, working with dangerous manipulative damaged people, it can happen to anyone, particularly as id had little experience of adult relationships having had only one partner all my life. The decision from my professional organisation is still outstanding and I have been trying to provide some education to them and anyone who will listen about how sociopathy impacts in relationships in any sphere of life. So ive yet to see if my career is impacted indefinately but I feel I cannot just sit quietly and plead “guilty” in that sense. Of course i accept responsibility for crossing a boundary i should not have done and would never seek to justify it, but people need to see the wider context and if I dont open my mouth and explain, then I am denying them (that is people in positions of power) some education and awareness of human dynamics that they need to understand.
        I sincerely believe everything in life happens for a reason and to a bigger plan and i have a strong faith in a higher power. I experienced an insight into domestic violence within this relationship and will now concentrate my efforts on womens issues and abuse within relationships and have started to make inroads. meeting the spath may be the biggest gift in my life and im certainly not going to lay down and die. I could not control his manipulation and abuse while it was going on but i can certainly see a whole new dimension now he is out of my life and feel it is my duty to pass this on and dedicate myselt to helping others who are stuck.
        apologies for my long replies! I feel like i am coming out of a long dark painful tunnel and i am keen to shout out who “I am” with a sense of relief and liberation!.

        I have to say also that you have been instrumental in my recovery………….God bless you x

      2. Do you know what the secret is Daisy – to forgive yourself!!! That is all that you have to do. Everybody makes mistakes. You know all about professional boundaries – but just as people were sucked in, lied and deceived in a relationship – they can also do that to you in work – I have never wanted to cross that line – as work to me was always work. But i did have a LOT comments like ‘if you were not my worker you would be a good friend of mine’ I had to pull back – others would deliberately try to cross boundaries to test the effect and the level of control. I am glad that you are starting to find some peace. I hope that you get to the point of forgiving YOU soon!!… 🙂

    2. Daisy ~ your eloquently written story touched my heart. Although i did not meet the Spath on a professional level, I can relate as I too had somewhat of a difficult childhood. My Mom experienced several tragedies during her life and although she tried and I know that she loved me, she always was a little distant and cold. I too craved attention and love and as soon as I turned 18 I married my high school sweetheart who ended up bring emotionally abusive. I stayed in the marriage for 34 years and only had the courage to leave when I was sniffed out like a truffle by a charismatic pig ( I love your analogy :!).

      Pos is absolutely right ~ we need to love and forgive ourselves. It has been 15 months since I was left devastated by the pig and I still struggle everyday. There are a couple of things that are helping me through the healing process and they are NC ( 3 months) and this blog.

      God speed in your healing process Daisy ~ I wish you love and peace.

      1. Hi Mimi, and thankyou!
        You seem to have good insight into what happened to you. and which led where, and why etc and thats a great preventative tool to have in understanding the dynamic, in case it just starts to pan out again in another relationship. By having that insight you can look at the pattern and know where it might lead before heading off down the same road and thats a good thing so dont forget to include it in your many lists of assets ( Im sure youve got lots even if at times life is a struggle) which we all must accrue to prevent a “reenactment of the same battle, with some one else”
        The problem in all of this of course (and was in my case) is that although you can see where it leads and have insight etc, the emotional need for bonding, belonging and being affirmed by someone is as strong i believe as the need for food and water and that can overide any previous sense and learning which youve acquired.
        I knew the dynamic in my lengthy marriage but chose to continue with the emotional poverty of it because it was the only “love” id I too knew what happened and what led where and why etc, and even why i stayed, but what did I do………..OH NO! I fell headline, hookline and sinker, blind deaf and dumb into the adulation and attention and idealisation that the spath gave me believing i had found what had evaded me all my life. I was so magnetized to it, that decisions seemed taken out of my hands. (it was a maslow need and it was gonna be met though with hindsight, It was definately out of the frying pan and into the fire for me.) From then on i just seemed to fall into it, only just now knowing ( with retrospective scrutiny) that the path to my destiny with him was well oiled and “pre-greased” by his manipulations , charms and premeditated “lure” that because of my vulnerability, he knew I just had to respond to, regardless of who or what position or place i was in. So my default position according to maslows hierarchy was to flip to getting my baser needs met regardless of how much insight and awareness i thought i had! B ut of course Now that we both have had the ultimate “education” of a sociopathic relationship surely we are better equipped than we ever were before so that next time around it just aint happening…RIGHT!! that is one special tool to have in preventing another catastrophe(cos thats what my experience was) for me such a light bulb has gone on!………. we are talking megawatts! Also dont be fooled by my overconfident banter and newly found strength because i too have ached for his return, cried and ached again. .deluded myself to his issues and torments and his emotional cruelty, lied to myself that “hey, it wasnt that bad” overlooked lots of things i shouldnt………….ALL SO I COULD FEEL THE “LOVE” AGAIN!
        Ive now realised that the only true, sincere lasting dependable love im getting is the one i have to nurture by myself and for myself. I have learned to be my own parent by going inside and responding to the child within. Giving myself little emotional ” strokes” and reminding myself about all the nice bits of me and caring for myself in little ways like now, tucked in bed with a nice soft duvet and a warm drink with cosy low lamps and my lovely books around me and all my little things in “my space”containing my “energy” and which give me an identity and say who “I am”, instead of having to rely on someone else to define me with their energies and their choices and their things. And when ive got this right who knows i may meet someone with healthy safe ways of relating who knows where we both end and start and not see ourselves as some enmeshed dysfunctional boundary entwined unit that is controlled and dominated by the sociopathic ball bearing thad skews everything in his favour!
        Im really sorry you are still having rough days and i dont underestimate the pain I know you must feel but I just know you are on the right path with going nc as that really provides the clarity you need to survive when trying to unmuddy the contaminated waters. If ever you reminisce as i know i did about the “good times” please take your heart back to the terror and pain he caused you and dont forget it for now as i believe this can be your greatest teacher and a strong ally in helping you through and every day you dont see your spath if a further day in the right direction. I bet if you look you may see more “tools” in your box that you ever thought you had.

        good luck friend! god bless.

    3. Sometimes I don’t think people take into account…. How difficult it can be to get out of an abusive relationship (of any kind, but since we’re talking about this particular kind). You can have all the honest realizations in the world. You can tell yourself someone is using you and you accept that. You can tell yourself it is time to leave. However, if what we have said in other articles is true for so many – meaning you are left financially distraught and incapable and a total and complete mess… With what money would you move out to be on your own to heal? If you have lost all your friends and family, to whom would you turn? As much as I have truly enjoyed reading these articles for various reasons, I have to say, there really aren’t enough written discussing what to do when you can’t just get up and walk away.

      1. I wrote you a message on how the sociopath plays the great guy E…. the answer is NO CONTACT – set it up. Stick to it. Please dont be afraid to be alone. As you WILL be alone for the rest of your life if you keep him around. I have written a lot about why it is difficult to escape. There are many people here (me included) who have returned time and time again as they turn on the charm – or we think that they are all that we have left (as they engineered that) – I have written a lot of posts about it. Let me know if you get stuck – the answer IS no contact. The posts for these can be found in the healing and recovery section – how to do it, how to stick to it, and what to do when you feel such pain you want them back and are desperate to break no contact.

      2. Dear E,
        you seem in a really bad place right now but there really is a better option for you! I dont expect you to believe this and i understand why you cant at the minute (thats because i was in a place like you) The reason I joined this blog is that i could relate to every word written. we are your friends and we know what we are talking about and positivagirl is sooo right and correct, NO CONTACT!! I guess you feel you have lost everybody around you and thats the way it will stay while you still have the sociopath in your life. you have even lost yourself! The mental rewards you gain by stopping the abusive every decreasing circle outweigh any confusion,fear, insecurity etc etc that came with screaming NO MORE push the pathological away and reclaim yourself. I dont mean reclaiming your mind as this will take time, but reclaim your body, your space, your right to BE FREE FROM PAIN and if walking away leaves you a desolate empty shell full of fear and insecurity, then join the club, this wonderful warm club where we all know how you feel. Then you can draw on the many resources which are there for you and which will help you with your identity and building your internal riches, even if that is simply pride in standing up to the biggest monster you ever faced. Though you feel you are left with nothing.The biggest, richest, most essential important thing you can ever have is control over your own body and mind. Maybe your not ready yet, maybe you have to suffer further fear and pain and “locked in” syndrome that being with a sociopath gives, but believe us all when we say we know where you are right now and if what we say doesnt inspire you to take the painful risk at present please know that we will be there when you need us and you ARE NEVER ALONE! when i got out of my pathological relationship I was such a zombified shell of my self that i didnt care if i lived or died as long as i breathed clean NON SOCIOPATHIC air!

        god bless friend x

  8. This “Maslow’s Hierarchy” of needs makes a lot of sense. It is clear in my childhood, I had missed a lot of the steps, especially, Love and belonging”. My mom died when I was 5, my dad when I was 13, they were both alcoholics. I was in two children’s homes. So, I understand myself better now, and also my feelings………..and why I’m so empty with the SP gone….but, he’s not worth putting up with, the lies, games, are unacceptable, and I choose to let him go……I deserve better! Hopefully, I will meet up with a normal person, and not one that is an empty shell with a partial brain, and no heart, no conscience, no shame, remorse or guilt………..its too bad, I wasted a whole year, but I did gain an education on Sociopaths, which puts me on guard now looking for red flags on others. I do not want to make this mistake again….

  9. I’m familiar with Maslow as it was one theory studied during my liberal arts education in college. I’ve always told people I’ve been in relationship with that there were tools missing from my toolbox. I believe my parents felt their responsibility to me as a child was to account for the first two tiers, on the rest, I was on my own, sink or swim. Because the inter-relationship between my parents wasn’t as healthy as they think it was, I’ve learned much by watching and being around other people. I also read alot, pray, and have my own ideals about who I’d like to be and at least some awareness of where I’m falling short. It’s a process.

  10. Yes, this makes perfect sense and I can easily see how one who grew up without one of these blocks would end up with a spath. But, I want to point out that I was going through a hard time at the time the spath entered my life (good timing huh?) I needed to be loved and to be belonged….as well as needed to feel secure. My spath often blamed his mom for not being there for him growing up (she lost his younger brother to cancer) and he rebelled getting into a lot of trouble and by the time he was 16, had a rap sheet longer than most adults. He had a wiered relationship with his mom.

    Now that it’s been almost a year that I haven’t dated (new mom and I needed-still need-time to get over what he put me through), I am scared shitless of getting involved with another one. I would have never thought in a million years he was a spath (granted, I was not half as educated about them and their ways then as I am now) at the beginning. The thing with mine is he had SOME traits through out the relationship, but was never abusive towards me. It wasn’t until the end that his mask came off and I finally saw the real him. I guess I learned to always trust my gut. My gut knew the whole time that something wasn’t quite right, but I could never put my finger on it. Unfortunately, I’m stubborn and needed solid proof…..I pray I never go through this again.

    Is it socially acceptable to ask potential dates straight-up, “Have you ever been diagnosed by either a professional or someone else with having an anti-social personality disorder?” LOL, just kidding….kinda….

    1. HI Lenore,
      I understand your situation of “never have thought in a million years that he was a spath”. Mine was also not outwardly abusive until the end, but my gut was screaming at me for the whole 20 months (as well as the little put downs, double sided compliments, manipulation, gas lighting, etc etc etc). It’s been just over three months since his horrific discard when all my worst fears came true. When i met him, i was going through some tough decisions at 40 (as i was then) i had started IVF on my own and had no idea how i would hold my very demanding job and bring up a child alone. However, i was independent happy and had some good friends, albeit with some childhood issues and low self esteem. And then he came along and showed me all those things that i was missing… financial security, support, love, belonging and I lapped it up. But as quickly as he gave it all to me, he was even quicker in taking it all away. So horribly and completely like i was a pair of old running shoes that he threw away and replaced.

      My ex ex boyfriend (from 10 years ago) i think now may also have had an APD and that is why i thought it was me in this relationship that was just being insecure and untrusting because of my past with him (ex ex) cheating on me and fully emotionally abusing me. So i ignored my gut and blamed it on my past… my ex was very quick to agree with me and blame it all on me too. As it turned out, it felt the same as my ex ex because it was the same as my ex ex. My gut was right.

      My truth that came from this is to go into a relationship trusting my gut – always trust your gut! But also to put up healthy boundaries, and to give, but not to the point of giving everything. Also to take things slow. That is how you can be sure… the only way. We all should be cautious. We know what is out there. BUt there are also very healthy giving men out there too. Taking the time to get to know someone over a few years is the only way to be sure. because in that time, your gut and healthy boundaries will ALWAYS let you know the truth.

      I am now back to doing IVF on my own. However now i have no money (lost it all in the relationship), no friends and a very broken heart. But i am strong enough. and he is not worth my loosing my dream of having a child. i am almost 42.
      Good luck with the dating scene. I am sure it will all come together.

      1. IID-I’m sorry you had to experience a spath while going through a major life change. It’s wierd how they know when you are weak. I had started dating mine, then about 4 weeks later found out I was pregnant by someone else. He told me all the right things (he had my back, would be there for me and the baby). And I blamed my “insecurity” (my gut) on pregnancy hormones. I fell fast and hard for him despite my gut, and I hate that I gave myself to him completely, all while he was out skeeming to get other women. I hate how he was able to fool me. But you’re right, next time I will take it slow and since I had to learn the hard way, I will not give my love so freely.

        I pray that you are successful with IVF. I know it’s hard doing it on your own, but as a single mother I can say: IT’S SOOO WORTH IT!!!! You will not regret it! And you do have friends, we’re just all on-line 🙂

    1. The female sociopath doesn’t need to overtly say they will give you what you need.

      Overt versus covert.

      Its the illusion of need that the sociopath plays on. Even if they don’t give the overt indication they know what makes you tick and play on the need in order to get what they want be that physical or ego related.

      Think of it like playing poker with someone who knows your hand.

      The female sociopath is extremely needy. At all levels of the triangle. There is no weightings in a female sociopath. Their needs are entirely dictated day to day and what they can get at all times.

      This skews their behaviour.

      They also view rules as obstacles that can be circumvented no matter the cost to others. Usually rules are there to protect themselves over everyone else.

      Empathic people view this as rules to protect others. Equally.

      The sociopath doesn’t see the triangle like everyone else. Since theyre predatory and opportunistic.

      Meaning different tiers in conflict and flux constantly.

  11. Sorry, I don’t understand and it’s hard to explain. Yes, I can be 100% complete on my own, but shared experiences make life richer somehow and its that that we miss. It’s that part that allows us to let someone in, and it should lead to higher levels of needs being fulfilled. Mutual support helping self actualisation…challenging you to grow, learn and become what you fully can. Now it seems to me that a sociopath robs you of this dream, this chance, this right, and the hole in our soul when they leave is what causes the problems for us mainly due to the intensity of their selfishly taken connection. They leave nothing, not even a dream…and thats what takes time.

  12. Outstanding post! This is the whole truth and nothing but the truth! The love you have for yourself has always been there, but was beaten down either emotionally/ mentally or physically by the spath.. Never getting a chance to recouperate because of their constant presence. Now that mine has been gone for 3 months and NC I can breathe and coming back into being me, the friendly, kind happy person I always was! Please stay strong and have faith. This site is truly a blessing and has helped me through many hard times with all the encouragement and support.
    God Bless, xxxxxoooo

  13. Yes exactly! I was married to a narcissist for 10 years, had just rebuilt my life and came back to myself again when I started dating the sociopath. In the interim I had taken “time out” from men, and although not wanting to be on my own for life, I wasnt exactly desperate. I work with the sociopath so I thought there was a bit of security in the fact we were kind of friends first. I didnt want to be a bitter ex wife who has trust issues with men, and for this I think I gave the sociopath way more leverage than he should have got. My head was always screwed on, and alarm bells rang plenty of times but he always convinced me that the fault was mine or I was being paranoid, or silly or I just hated men and thats why I “start arguments”. He confused me little by little over time until I didnt know my head from my tail. He once told me when he was drunk that I was stupid for going out with him, that he’s an asshole and had I not copped on to him? He actually laughed at me and said I must have a few brain cells missing to go out with someone like him. I thought he was just insecure, as he could be quite jealous and paranoid. I went out of my way all the time then to prove how much I did love him and care for him. This just ultimately gave him more control over me. Nothing I did was good enough. And nothing he did was ever his fault.He always had a different set of rules for himself than what he expected from me. My feelings didnt matter in our relationship, it was all about him. While he came and left as he pleased and got fed and watered in the mean time.

    My point is, I didnt exactly have a desperate need to be with someone, but I knew I didnt want to grow old on my own, who does? I think thats a natural need for anyone to want and its not necessarily a vunerability. I was straight with my sociopath from the beginning, and thought he was with me aswell. It was the same pattern for 3 years with him. He’d lead me up the garden path, me thinking all was well, then when we were getting closer to the “front door”, he’d slam it in my face, and back down the garden path we’d go to repeat the pattern. 5 steps forward, 10 steps back every time.

    It was only when there was a steady period for while did I get suspicious! as it was out of character for him. So I checked his phone and saw messages from different girls. though suggestive, werent 100% proof of cheating. I also found out he gambled a substantial amount of money. While telling me he was broke. Two friends in my work are psychology professionals so I confided in them. He found out I told them (whom I know wouldnt tell anyone) and he went absolutely crazy. Started this ridiculous campaign in his head, that came out in text messages to me, so bizarre and dilusional that they are not even worth repeating. Im scared of the repurcusions in work. Because Ive realised now that I was used this whole time and all he cares about is keeping up this “mask”. Not about me. And although I finished it with him last week, I didnt really realise the extent of his capabilities until I read this website and saw all the uncanny similiarities.

    I dont know whether to start talking to people about what he is like before he starts talking, because I know he will, or just to wait and see and hope that he doesnt. If I wait, it might be too late. It sounds childish, but Ive put up with enough smearing from my ex husband in the past, Im so afraid of whats to come in my workplace with the sociopath. He already came in to work today with new clothes, smiling, joking etc “a new man”. My two friends in work dont think i should say anything to anyone and said they will put people straight if they hear anything. But I know how clever and manipulative he is, and Im not sure my friends fully understand the extent of him. No-one does unless its done to you.

    Ive thought about going to a therapist, as I just dont understand how I didnt see all those warning flags flying in my face all those times! I thought he was the broken one and I was the stable one. To realise how much I have been played is so hard to accept.

    I think the difference between a sociopath and a narcissist is that the sociopath will play slow and painful games and always has an agenda. They enjoy seeing their games play out and play people off each other in their ploy for control. But they enjoy the game more. its emotional abuse. The narcissist wants control as he feels he’s entitled to it and is always “right” and loves attention, but he does have the ability for small pouts of empathy if you are subordinate to him.He is more emotionally neglectfull than emotionally abusive with head games.

    Would I be right in this positivagirl? and any advice for my workplace?

    Thank you so much for this webiste…it keeps me going! xx

    1. Hi well in regard to the workplace situation. The sociopath will be paranoid that you will blow his cover. I would advise to say nothing. Be the bigger person and rise above it, otherwise the sociopath will make you out to be the crazy one and the bitter estranged ex who cant get over it (you see how he went crazy when you talked to friends who were psychologists about it)…. sociopaths hate people knowing the truth about them.

      Yes you are right it is emotional abuse. Absolutely. I would play it by ear and say nothing – if you do you start the game – and the sociopath will likely play that game bigger and better.

      He might just move onto someone else (that is your best bet) sociopaths don’t always go on ruining campaigns and I think they do if they think that there is a risk of you revealing them – they see it that they have a right to protect themselves. (even if to do so they lie) that is another reason why it is best to say nothing. As people gossip and talk to others – chinese whispers – then it gets back to the sociopath who will blow it out of all proportion and want to destroy you to protect himself.

      Does that make sense at all? Sometimes it is better to be the bigger person. He (might) do nothing against you at all.. if he is ready to move on and doesnt feel that you are a threat to him.

    2. OMG… Can’t believe there is done one out there with a very similar story…. We will get through it xx I’m not going to let him beat me down anymore. It stops now. At 11:50am on the 25th of October 2013
      You will be you again 🙂
      I will be me again 🙂

      1. You will be ok Josephine. It is so hard, but now you know. It wasn’t your fault. Our only fault was being human and we must remember that. Don’t ruminate on it, think of ways to show how things were wrong to the sociopath. It doesn’t matter to them. In this case the phrase, “the best revenge is living well” is a good one I think.

  14. how could I have prevented this?? I did hold back, I was aware, but I was blind at the same time? I’m a smart woman… I don’t understand how I was duped… Why did I keep making excuses? I’d been on my own for 10yrs and was quite content so I thought. Healthy social life, I was celibate and thought i was in a good place in every aspect of my life… I wasn’t looking for anything. He pursued me like a bull at a red rag… But I don’t think I really have him any ammo… I keep playing the very early days over in my head, reading the emails again… Smiling at some, happy tears at others… Even tho I know it was all a charade now… I begged him to not screw with my head and heart… Maybe that was it :”( OMG OMG OMG made the flag didn’t I??? OMG :”(
    How can I ever possibly trust another man again?? I knew this man a decade BEFORE… I attended his first marriage with his best man… Another reason I tried to not fall for him…. I thought we were friends… I trusted him before he did what he did… He knew that… I don’t understand why he had to go to the extremes he did… I just don’t understand…. :”(

    1. Hi Josephine, it isn’t that you are stupid. It happened to me. I am a fairly intelligent educated woman. It happened not because I was stupid – but because they were better at hiding their true self, than I was at looking for it.

      I trusted without question. I had no reason not to. I ignored red flags. I trusted someone else ultimately more than I trusted myself. I think that these things are more important than your stupidity – they are just very good at hiding, lying and being deceptive. And if, like me you hadn’t experienced this before you wouldn’t have expected it, or looked out for it.

    2. Knowing someone as an acquaintance isn’t the same as “knowing” them. I remember one of my soc’s friends saying she had known him since he was a child. I suspected a “relationship”. She told me, “No, I can’t imagine how a relationship would be with him; it would be crazy so, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that. But, it’s hard not to love him, right?” She got all the good stuff. I felt like she was a priority over me when he called her from a store we were at and asked if she wanted him to bring her back carryout. Ugh. He was a much better friend than he was a boyfriend.

  15. I am 37 now, the previous 9 years, 6 as friends and lovers, 3 of me being her enemy, being tortured. Taking her to court for access, breaches of access and constant fear. Even knowing she is not like all women and having very many close female friends. Seeing how other women, and some men, automatically side with her, how corrupt and full of misandry the system is … and even society. I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust a woman with my emotions like that again. Society really presumes the worst of men, especially in relation to love and family.

    Of course I had noticed this before, but not how deep it went. This is what made me, as part of that naivety, be so vulnerable. But of course men and women in love with someone else are letting themselves be completely vulnerable. This is part of the massive pain when the sociopath turns on you.

    It is like the six “good” years were nothing, and in many ways they weren’t. She never loved me and I completely loved her, even when were were not romantically involved there was still deep love and to see that all exposed for what it really was…. for it to be used to try and crush me. All made so much worse because of how much I love my son and seeing him love her, knowing she doesn’t love him… it is heart breaking.

    She hopefully will not expose herself for what she is to him. But when friends say, trying to be comforting, that he will see her for what she is when he is older, it makes me so fearful. How can I take comfort in that. My beautiful happy little boy thinking this about his mother? It seems I try and protect him from that more than she does, all she cares about is having me to blame! What good is that to our son?

    I need to just be there for him. I can’t allow anything else happen to confuse or hurt him. He has been through too much already.

    1. You seem like a very compassionate, intelligent man and very caring father. It would be a shame for us empathetic women to loose one such as yourself. I am sure that there is someone out there, right for you and with this experience, you will be sure to be able to separate the shit from the true hearted 🙂

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