How many times are sociopaths created by abuse or neglect?

I was in the pub earlier today, and got talking to an 8 year old girl in the garden. I had noticed a woman in the pub, who was more than drunk, she could barely stand up. This woman was with a man, who appeared to be sober.

The little girl told me how she hated smoking that her dad smoked. So when I saw the little girl go to the woman who was drunk, I presumed that she was also with her father (who appeared sober).

I watched as the woman tried to put the little girls coat on, but could barely keep herself straight to do so. It was too late, when the little girl led the woman out of the pub. It was one of those situations, where you want to intervene, but don’t know how. Had I been in a working situation, I might have reported to social services. I guess the sober man wasn’t her father as he stayed behind in the pub.

It was horrible to witness. I imagined how the little girl would likely go home, her mother would crash on the sofa and fall asleep, while the little girl took care of herself – and probably wondered when she would eat dinner?

I said to the person that I was with – if that child has to go through that on a regular basis, I could see how she would switch off emotions to ‘cope’.

It was after this had happened, that I saw a comment on here, from a sociopath who said ‘abuse creates sociopaths’. I wondered just how true this is?

I also know that it is quite common for victims to question themselves after a relationship with a sociopath. I know that I did. But this is often because while in the relationship you have to learn to switch off to survive.  I know that during that time I became hard. I had to, or I wouldn’t have survived, I felt like I was in a constant battle, and always on ‘alert’ what would happen next?

I wondered if this had happened in childhood, or at an important developmental point in life, would this cause sociopathy?  Can we become temporarily sociopathic ourselves, simply to survive in the relationship? Shutting down emotions, to protect ourselves?

Also, I guess I just feel bad, as I didn’t intervene in a situation that involved a little girl.


91 thoughts on “How many times are sociopaths created by abuse or neglect?”

  1. GREAT ARTICLE, provides worthwhile examples to consider. I appreciate what you are doing with these posts and the knowledge you are sharing. Please continue to enlighten us. Thanks so much!

      1. I really believe I had some of the traits as a kid. Mom was very distant and cold. Jealous if dad was nice to me. Painful. I shut things off which then built up into anxiety. I was very alone. I went to a hurtful place down the street to get away from her. That says it all. I’m good now. It was situational socio traits I think Iay have had. Survival.

  2. Hi Pos,
    I think the ‘sociopath’ is born or bred with either toxic backgrounds or the ‘golden child’ that is exalted & thereby feels entitled to take whatever they want. Perhaps that us why they ae different but, the behavior re patterning & predictability is similar.
    Some are more astute & covert, I believe these are the ‘more evolved’of the species & each time they ‘hone’ their skills to greater advantage. I read a comment somewhere that a target was a psycholigist & the Soc had ‘used’ her to become a bigger & better ‘socialised sociopath’. Others that are less controlled are more likely to let the mask slip more readily.
    I have seen children disassociate in abusive situations to cope & survive etc…some may develope into disoredered minds themselves or the complete opposite.
    I don’t think we will ever know but, I have seen children with every emotional support be less empathic etc…than those without any support.
    Its sad when you see children having to parent their parent but, it happens a lot. Siblings often bring up their younger siblings which is a deprivation of childhood but, I have witnessed this endlessly & I think we have all seen it.
    At least you spoke with the child, it may have been the nicest interaction she had. That’s a good thing so, take care of those you can & just hope for all the others that a kind person will smile their way, who know’s it may just make that difference in empathy & compassion in their life.
    Love & Light 🙂
    PR xoxo

    1. I think you are quite on track regarding the nature v nurture ideas for sociopaths. Research (and perhaps common sense lol) on genetics seems to indicate a stronger correlation for sociopathic traits that can become true sociopathy. So given the unfortunate genes and environment, in addition to every single in between factor and the infant/toddler’s internal coping threshold, disaster often strikes. There seems to be some bizarre online debate (pretty much only among the sociopaths themselves) regarding sociopaths and psychopaths. The debate basically seems to claim that psychopaths are “born that way” and sociopaths “become that way but are not born that way.” Both heredity and environment seem to play a large role. Anyway, I thought your post was rather insightful.

      1. Thank you Susette. I think that there is a lot that is ‘not known’ …. as most of the research cases are people in prison (and therefore not really reflective of the numbers as a whole) the research could be skewed. I think that there are enough victims who disclose about childhood, repeatedly – that there must be something in it? There is a psychiatrist who did research into it (Bob someone) I will have to find his links…. and he thought that a lot of the time it was related to trauma. (this was on a programme on Ch4 in UK – ‘how to spot a psychopath’ interestingly on the same programme, was a man who was a researcher, a professional and a psychologist, who tested high on the psychopathy tests and I think (unsure can’t remember) the pattern showed in his brain too. However, as his childhood was stable, he appeared to develop to have a normal, functioning successful adulthood where he wasn’t destroying other people.

      2. To positiveagirl, I cannot seem to reply under your reply so I’m just leaving it here:) Anyway, yes I think abuse/traumas play a key role…how could they not. I also read about that neuropsychologist who did brain images on psychopaths! What are the chances, really!

    2. @PR, and all,
      I have been diagnosed with PTSD that stems from 2 summers of sexual abuse that my sister and I are survivors of. Because of that I learned how to “put on a new face” to meet the world. One of the things that can happen to children who suffer from repeated trauma is their core persona” does not get fully developed, that’s where putting on a face to meet different situations comes from. Sociopaths do not have a core being either. In no way however, did I ever “assess” other people to determine what face to put on. Until I got help in therapy, I truly did not know any better. I went into long term therapy because my masks began slipping and I had no core to reel them in. I am now working on integrating those aspects into a core being.

      That PTSD was exacerbated by my experiences doing search, rescue, and recovery in the military. There are times when I have an extremely hard time even talking to people. I have no words and feel completely numb. None of those symptoms reflect a need to manipulate or destroy the people around me. There are definitely times when I have to fight extreme rage, but again, that is not because of boredom or not getting my way. Its because I’m over-reacting to an aversive toxic person or situation that I now just walk away from so I can process my feelings without doing anything irrational. I have had trouble in relationships because of this, and have a times shutdown my feelings get too hairy. But none of things have with objectifying other people and wanting to dominate them for pleasure.

      The good news is that I’ve been in long term therapy and am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and learning how to embrace . I know longer need the masks because I am a complete person. I firs had to take a long painful walk back to that space in time and take the hand of the child that was me and walk him out of the woods to safety.

      I hope this makes some sense. I just wanted to share my experience in hopes that it illustrates the difference between the givers and the takers when it comes to trauma and what that can do to a person’s psyche

      1. Thank you for sharing this Broken UC, this reflects the experiences that I have been through. I think for me, because I had lived for 40 years not this way, I really noticed the change in me afterwards.

        So good that you are in therapy and on the mend.

        Also, thank you for sharing your experiences,as what you describe is what I have experienced also. Especially so as there were expectations for me to be who i had been for 40 years.

        The same as you, I never deliberately hurt anyone else. Almost certainly didn’t manipulate anyone else. If I did rage it was as a result of either being hurt, or pure frustration.

        Its also interesting (to me) that you talk about yours being caused in childhood. Maybe there is a connection, but not as strong as i thought?

        I have never wanted to dominate anyone else, although I probably have more forcefully stood my ground since 2010. But that was because I felt so vulnerable, never to hurt anyone else.

        It helps me, that someone else can sort of understand what I am trying to say. Thank you.

      2. Wow Broken UC 🙂

        Thanks for sharing that with us, I also had the similar experience in childhood & had to go back to that ‘little girl’ that was never protected & then went on to having to ‘wear a mask’ just to cope etc…
        I was betrayed by a trusted family member from the earliest recollection of 3 years old until around 7 yrs when he realized that I was becoming aware that his behavior was inappropriate 😦
        I then went on to ‘protect’ him from exposure as I knew I didn’t know how to voice what had happened.
        I neither understood my own sexuality nor the ramifications that would stem from it for all of my life.
        I now know that this betrayal was perpetuated throughout my life.
        I also realized during therapy that I never felt protected by my family thereby I went looking for it.
        I actually remember thinking is a really awful moment that my Soc reminded me of my initial abuser in many many ways.

        Like you, I have undergone years of therapy & had to take an ‘Un Journey’ through my life to walk as a whole person without the need to hide anymore what happened.
        I have endured years of having to ‘protect’ my abuser but, have no need to ‘out’ him now.
        I have watched ‘Karma’ take care of him for me.

        Last year & the whole Sociopath experience finally made me take that awful road trip back through my life & stop letting it dictate & define me & I am proud that I have survived.
        I hope you are proud of yourself & that others subjected to abuse are proud that, they haven’t gone onto repeat the abuse onto others as some do. I guess, I would rather abuse myself than ever do that to another & maybe that’s the difference between us & them?

        Continued rebuilding & Love & Light 🙂

        PR xoxo

      3. Pr – for me, if I was your counsellor I would repeat this paragraph back to you…. and ask you to explore this

        I also realized during therapy that I never felt protected by my family thereby I went looking for it.
        I actually remember thinking is a really awful moment that my Soc reminded me of my initial abuser in many many ways.

        Obviously, i am not…. but it lept out at me…. and I think it is quite key for you. Particularly the first sentence of that paragraph.

      4. Hi Pos,

        Oh I did do just that as you know I did the gestalt therapy 🙂
        Don’t worry, I was just explaining it but, I have dealt with it many times now & finally breathed out & ‘let it go’.
        I was just reflecting & sharing as I think it all helps & being here on this wonderful sight helped me gain that clarity. 🙂

        Love you PR xoxo

      5. I think so too. By sharing experiences, there will always be someone – who will be enlightened, and feel relieved that you have been there too. And you get it.

        That is why I think that people should say what they believe – as there will always be someone who can relate. That moment, when you find someone who understands – can be a real breakthrough to helping you to understand your own situation.

      6. Yes, your own truth does set you free 🙂
        Facing ourselves & our own truth & patterns & predictability is a major lesson & ‘getting it’ finally is crucial to really knowing how you got here!

        PR xoxo

      7. You know Pos, if I had spoken out against my original abuser, I would have blown a whole generation of good people to smithereens!
        I became the protector of many & whilst that’s not a position I would wish on anyone, I understand why so much goes undetected & projected back onto ourselves or others.
        Abuse lays the foundation to perpetuate further abuse either against ourselves or unto others.
        I am always saddened to hear about it but, luckily I am fortunate that I don’t live in a culture that allows it so, I am grateful everyday for my own blessings 🙂

      8. P.S. POS

        I realized after my Gestalt (recommended by you 🙂
        That the Socio was yet another messenger sent to release me from the internal pain of the abuse cycle.
        I had to walk through the fire to come out & finally take that journey back to the beginning of my life.
        Metal is forged in fire & as children we are the ‘molten liquid’ & if not protected properly we may be forged damaged.
        The awareness is that you can ‘go back’ into the fire & reforge yourself:) & be stronger ‘metal’ & useful to yourself.

        That’s my belief & hopefully makes sense?

        PR x

  3. I think that girl would grow to be a caretaker, but not without problems. But, not likely a sociopath. My experience with a sociopath is that she is cunning, narcissistic, spoiled and selfish. I think kids that are spoiled and the only child or youngest child in the house are most likely under the right circumstance to have the traits of a sociopath, which does not mean they are complete sociopaths. I think a child that never learns comfort and how to give up and give of themselves learn this behavior. I don’t think it’s the abuse you think, like that of being beat or verbally abused. Although that may create a different kind of sociopath. My experience has been with a person who always believes her actions are justified no matter how small the insult, mistake or poorly framed comment. Anything was an opportunity for her to plan revenge and I think she likes it and I think she likes that nobody can figure out what she’s doing. And because she doesn’t break any specific law, she’s never accountable for her actions. I’ve never met such a devious, lying snake before

    1. Hi HL,
      I’ve met those women & yes, they can be just as cruel & sadistic as any the act covertly.
      I have ovserved these in the workplace & in families & they are very dangerous & manipulative & always emasculating!
      I hate seeing any person belittled or dominated, male or female.
      I hope you are okay & healing from this type of abuse. Abuse is abuse & we can lable people Soc’s/Narc’s/disordered minds etc…but, at the end if the day, if any person doesn’t treat others with respect/dignity/integrity & allow them to grow then, in my books that’s abuse.
      Emotional/Spiritual/Physical abuses should never be accepted or tolerated.
      We all have the right to be treated as we deserve & accepted as individuals & our right to life.
      We are no more or no lesser value than anyone else on this planet.
      Possession is not acceptable ever, nor is objectification or the stealing or taking of anothers ‘rights’.
      We are not for anothers amusement or games or time wasting drama’s!
      We have this life & we should all be entitled to live it freely without harming others. If only that were the case but, as long as we strive for greater awareness, maybe it’s possible if not for us, then others.
      Write & talk & support as it truly is spreading the word than helps!

      Love & Light 😃
      PR xoxo

  4. Hi friend, yes I sometimes fear that i dissociate a bit, cut off from emotions at times & i feel numb sometimes, since breaking up with the Ex. When i was with him, felt on eggshells & edgy, drained. Today i did a course on domestic violence & some stuff hit close to home & conversely i felt teary, emotional. but its a relief i felt like crying, felt sad, i’m still human, emotional. Happy he hasnt damaged me after all. I got a nasty sms from him recently, saying my facebook pge was hipocracy, that he was blocking me soon. Well i beat him to it & blocked him. I’d unfriended him ages ago. I did sms back saying Dont contact me again, past is past, goodbye. I dont know why he had to sms me? why not just block me on facebook anyway. Guess its still control tactic?, Maybe he wanted me to have the new phone no, as sms’d me from different no. I deleted msg & mine. Its weird how they still try to hang on. I wondering if he’s going to do smear campaign on fb. well i dont care, i cant’ see his posts or vice versa anyway.
    He didnt do smear campaign before, he just kept away from my town & my friends. I have no worries of him trying to poach or gossip to my friends, or colouring their views of me etc. Thank God he never has done that.
    I hope everyone is keeping strong, blessings, love & light to you all, 🙂 xx Hope u are well Pos & P.R & others here 🙂

      1. Hello again, this phone Idk. My spath told me his sister raised him, which told me no nurrturing from mom, parents were alcoholics. Its true, some are that way from childhood. But his parents worked, always had food, clothing, the necessities in life, just not the nurturing aspect of it. So I agree with that 100%. Peace an love 🙂

      2. I suggest watching the Jeffrey Dahmer documentary. It clearly shows his relationship with his father seems a bit bizarre. His father is way to affectionate and forgiving and that may have been part of the problem. I watched this and saw his father hugging and kissing him and at the same time saw something in Dahmer that gave me the sense that he had his father conned. A parent who does not give their children appropriate responsibility for their actions can create a monster!

    1. You have to know the difference between a sociopath and a jilted or immature partner. A sociopath would likely not stop until they feel they have won over you. This often means destroying you somehow, whether it be financially, socially, morally (attacking faith) or as a parent. If you didn’t marry this person, you can easily move on. When married to one and have children, it’s very difficult to cut ties, especially when nobody will believe the outrageous stories, because they just have not experienced it. If you’re a man, you are automatically deserving of a sociopathic woman’s actions, because they play the scorned woman card and everyone, even myself believes it. People just don’t believe a man can be emotionally abused by a woman and so women are given a free pass on their behavior until they actually stab or shoot a man. And even then, society wants to hear that he beat her or verbally abused her and gave her a reason. It’s as if there are only perfect, good women and evil, murderous women and nothing in between. Men however are simply considered to be domineering, physically and sexually abusive by default and everything is considered to be a man’s fault. It becomes very difficult to explain behavior and convey that a man may be codependent or have reasons of his own to stay in a bad relationship. Like fear of the system, fear of loss of the children, financial loss and more. This fear is then reinforced by bad marriage counselors that really don’t do a damn thing. I don’t suggest marriage counseling to anyone and haven’t met a couple that it has helped!

  5. My ex’s father kicked his mom (who had been abused from the start) out of the home because she was depressed & did not allow her to come see her kids. My ex was around 13. My ex is now on his 5th marriage & has psychologically abused our daughter by alienating her from her family, even her paternal grandmother/his mom, who he has been indoctrinated to blame. He destroys lives, including his own. I have no doubt it’s because of his dad kicking out his mom & then saying she abandoned them. She had to survive, but her kids have all been full of hate & my ex is full of lies and a fake life where he is psychologically cruel to innocent people, including my daughter.

  6. Tnx for this its a very interesting subject
    Lately i discover a lot about sociopaths or narcists since i,m in therapy for having a narcist father…

    I think its a world wide sickness that is caused by war by abuse in big terms.
    People abused for generations and narcists or sociopaths created.
    If the chain of abuse in family lines will not be broken by healing,
    generations will follow with destructive behaviour ..

    Its a big tragedy and we are all born with a loving heart we are born with emotions..
    I think if there has been a lot of abuse in the famaly line it could be that a person is born with the memory in its DNA.
    Maybe the survival maganism is made to remember what the generations have been through and are born with switching off emotion like personality…

    Its good to know what the cause is.
    But most important is to forgive
    let go of anger
    So we can heal our selves!

    Be in your love awareness
    give yourself the love you deserve!
    And there for we can be lovingfull tho our family and friends

    i hope a better world can be created that way
    for the sake of healing this planet

    We need to heal ourselves in the hope this world can be healed from abuse and violence..

    1. Hi ES 🙂

      I agree, forgiveness is the key to our survival. Forgive those incapable of treating us as we rightly deserve & mainly forgive ourselves for,allowing it for whatever reason.
      Self value & self awareness are crucial but, many get undermined whilst growing up & therein lies many peoples problems.
      Accepting dysfunction as functional etc…
      Interestingly, I saw an interview with a Soc that said that he felt Sociopaths helped in times of war as, they had no empathy or compassion for the enemy. I nearly fell off my chair!
      Imagine that without the excessive need to conquer & dominate there would be no wars in the first place! Says a lot for the megalomaniac’s & the Sociopathic traits that drive them in their insanity. All for control & ultimate power!
      The fact that they actually believe their own delusion is very scary indeed.

      Keep the faith & work hard to not let these deluded mind gamer’s keep you from wholehearted love & self belief 🙂

      Love & Light To All 🙂
      PR xoxo

      1. I don’t think sociopaths have necessarily been abused. Since I’ve been studying this website, I realized that my sister may be a socio. There was no abuse in my family. Of four children, she is the only one.

      2. HI Natalie,

        They are not all abuse victims as mine wasn’t. He was the ‘golden child’ & has a pathology of self confidence, self centredness, self validating & self conviction of their entitlement…Narcissistic probably fits the bill?

        PR x

      3. Very interesting,
        i am happy that on this website there is a lot of research done.
        I wish in the medical world there was more know about sociopaths en better help for famillie members or maybe even good medication.

        I think the people around the sociopath needs better help or protection especially children since i know what it is to grow up with a father being a sociopath.
        looks like my sister got it too not sure it could be also damage like we all have..
        love to all Es

      4. What i allways wonder since i discovered about sociopaths and since that subject got my interest..
        What was first?

        Sociopaths? or abuse
        Cause it is very cleare that cause of abuse sociopaths are created

        Can a human being be born as a sociopath?

        Or is it passed through by a bad childhood cause by parents who are damaged too?

        Does anyone know?

        Thanks for any reply on this question
        Love Es

      5. According to research, psychopaths are born. There are different schools of thought (depending if you ask a psychologist or a psychiatrist), some say that psychopaths and sociopaths are one and the same. Just a different name. Others say that psychopaths are born that way and sociopaths are made that way.

        I have never read anything that is definitive. Everyone seems to have their own personal views. Psychopaths born that way and sociopaths made that way – makes sense to me personally.

      6. Thank you positiva well that makes sense to me if psychopaths are born that way they make sociopaths..
        Its scare and still makes me think many times if i have to deal with a sociopath its sometimes hard to deal with the fact that the person you loved was a sociopath.Still i am very happy that i can say now

        I think personally there are too many sociopaths ruling country,s and big compagnies destroying earth cause of only hunting for more money.
        I wish this sickness could be recognised not to give those people such a big responsibility.

      7. @Es
        While positiva has replied to your comment, I’d like to input a tiny bit.
        I do believe a lack of empathy can be born into someone, or created. I have found, through personal experience, that there’s a general rule that is usually followed – if you are born one, you’re a narcissistic sociopath. If you’re a created one, you’re a sadistic sociopath. That’s what I’ve concluded, anyway.

        That being said, no one is born with empathy, it is a learnt trait. So technically, we’re all born sociopaths. The ones who had a normal functioning childhood didn’t have the ability to learn empathy, and the created ones had every ability to, yet were not in a very empathetic environment, and the time for being able to learn empathy has passed, their brains have fully developed without empathy, so there is no room.
        That being said, just like any abnormality, you can be a mix. For example, I’d say I’d be about 3/4 created, 1/4 born >.>

    2. Hi Es,
      There is now medical proof the Psychopaths etc…show on MRI that certain parts of the brain that show empathy/compassion/conscience aren’t indicated. Some are born & some bred but, rest assured not all are abused as the ‘golden child’ in a family can grow to expect that they get anything they want & are always the favorite in the family. These ones show a sense of entitlement & grandiose sense of self.

      PR x

  7. My ex spath had an alcoholic mum and a dad who was always working hard to establish his business. This left him and his older sister trying to cope with their mum, and the awful destruction of seeing a loved one fall apart through drinking. He has all the main traits of a spath, and I’m trying to build my life after the pain and discard which he put me through. Even though I’m still a wreck, 5 months on I feel sorry for him. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want him in my life ever again, but part of me wants to reach out and say ” I know, I understand.”

      1. Six months ago, I didn’t know what a sociopath even was. I’m learning so much, thanks to your wonderful site, and helpful heartfelt advice. I wish I could give my ex a hug and make him ‘feel’ it’s so so sad. His mum died alone, an alcoholic and had a mental breakdown. It all makes so much sense, explains why he’s the way he is.

      2. Hi Pos,

        My father was an alcoholic (high functioning) so, were my Grand Father’s on both sides. The women were all co-dependent but, more from being trapped into a world with little financial support for single mothers & basically not having anywhere else to go & be safe etc…
        I was left unprotected & therefore found myself a target for predators so, I don’t know what’s worse, being objectified as a victim or target or the ‘flip side’ of becoming a Soc/Narc to survive it all.
        I obviously chose the victim/target but, can see the need for survival in other cultures/situations creating the Soc/Narc mentality.
        Kill or be killed, is the history of man throughout time but, it is now more covert as the game rules have changed somewhat.
        Domestic violence has always been around & many suffer & it’s usually all about control & power & narcissism from the abuser to the victim.
        I also believe that alcohol & drugs when mixed with personality defects is like putting a match to tinderbox or dynamite!
        Alcohol just blurs the lines even more & creates the downward spiral to continue.
        My Mum always says, ‘what you think when your sober comes out when your drunk!’
        My Soc tried to get me drunk but, I never drank much around him!
        I knew to never let my guard down from those words above!
        I never wanted to give him more control so, something intuitive remained thank god 🙂
        I hate being controlled by any substance & had I known I was being covertly controlled by my Soc/Narc, i would have never gotten involved.
        We all now the ‘addiction’ post but, I never realized just how addictive people can be in these circumstances.
        I knew about co-dependency but, my Soc made me independent & dependent simultaneously! I felt like I had my own mind but, didn’t!

        I have it back now but, just reflecting as a point of discussion 🙂
        I am actually reveling in independent thought & it’s so freeing 🙂

        Keep going everyone because, the reward is yourself & your own self knowledge & it’s truly amazing 🙂

        PR xoxo

  8. My sociopathic ex also came from an abusive background being raised by the alcoholic, physically and mentally abusive parents who adopted him. I have never quite figured out whether the abuse I suffered at his hands was the result of his upbringing and not knowing better or a personality disorder. All I know is he never apologised after assaulting me. Instead I would get a 2hr lecture on what a horrible person i was, how badly I treated him and how he deserved better. He definitely sits well in list of socpath behaviours.

  9. After all the research and the learning about socio- and psychopathy these last few months, I am not so sure that this little girl will necessarily grow up into a sociopath, unless she has the neurological wiring of a sociopath by birth. She may well develop sociopathic traits as coping mechanism.
    I would be much more concerned that this little girl will grow up to be the victim of sociopathic relationships, as she may well spend much of her life looking for love and nurturing in all the wrong places, from the wrong sort of people, people not able to give her that.

  10. With my ex, his mum as well as being an alcoholic had mental health problems. He never said what they were, but I often think now that maybe she had sociopathic traits which he inherited.

  11. It’s a good question, and either way it should make clear how important it is to raise kids properly. I think that little girl could just as easily become a codependent partner in her adult life, having learned that her self worth comes from taking care of her drunk mother, and perhaps dad is gone from the sounds of it. Sometimes I think we are two sides of the same coin, which is why we get caught in the trap of feeling so connected to the SP. Fortunately we can “unlearn” the codependent behavior though. The “instinct” probably remains part of us forever though.

    It is hard to intervene when you don’t know their names or where they live. Hopefully their neighbours or other family or school will step in soon.

  12. I dont necessarily agree. Sure sociopaths can be made but I truley believe the majority are just born like that.

    1. combination environment+genetic…in some cases I do believe some are born that way…each person has a threshold for stress tolerance too that influences the ability to cope/adapt with trauma and/or abuse…how one interprets their experiences and how that interpretation subsequently helps shape them into who they become…some people will turn out far better than others, that is for sure

  13. I just want to emphasise that in no way is the dissociation/numbness many of us feel in response to trauma ‘temporarily sociopathic’. Nor are the boundaries that we build to protect ourselves. Main reason being, none of that causes us to lose empathy with others. Sociopaths are not ’emotionless’, although they love to portray themselves as being that way – all logic like a Vulcan. No-one who has witnessed a sociopathic rage, for example, would doubt that. And hatred – I’m not capable of feeling a hatred that would see me wreck my own life by stalking someone for two years to the point of being imprisoned twice. Oh, they feel emotion – just never empathy. Whatever state I found myself in whilst with and after leaving him, I NEVER lost my empathy, and I don’t think others do either.

    1. Not true. I had severe ptsd from a major trauma. I absolutely lost emotional connection to people and empathy. It made my work with homeless people really difficult. I couldn’t connect. Yes when triggered I would rage and I had never been like that in my life before. I did help to wreck my own life. So I am sorry, it might not have happened to you, but I experienced it. My brain was frozen in trauma for years. I didn’t lie, or manipulate anyone (I wasn’t capable of that) but I did almost certainly lack empathy. So here is one person. I was diagnosed severe chronic ptsd. I had prior to that event worked with homeless people for decades and had empathy for everybody ( even those who hurt me) when my brain was in trauma/triggered I had no concept of appropriate social boundaries.

      1. Hi Pos,

        I have also seen depression cause a lack of empathy & emotion in a person. They just exist but, are not connected until they are helped back with therapy & meds, time etc…. they go into shutdown as you know 😦
        I still think Soc’s are very conscious but without a conscience whereas we have both but our conscious gets interfered with due to our emotions & empathy which the Soc uses against us.
        We have empathy, they have pathy.
        We have conscience, they have none etc…
        We have love, they have lust & all the seven sins to play with!

      2. Pos, your rage came from feeling threatened & out of control by incredibly demanding circumstances 😦
        When things have gotten out of control in my life I have raged & I am not an aggressive person at all but, when push comes to shove, I do raise up & come out fighting! Others will shut down.
        It’s normal but, cannot be sustained as the brain ‘shuts’ you down for survival as you cannot safely maintain that hyper vigilant episode.
        You either slip over into deep depression or worse still, have a major psychotic episode which can severely affect your brain & your physical well being.
        I have witnessed this first hand in two people very close to me.
        It’s such a shame & behind both these peoples downfalls, laid a Soc/Narc personality just chipping away at their mind systematically breaking them down.
        I think behind a lot of peoples downfalls are Soc’s/Narc people & institutions.
        That opens an even bigger debate so, we must hang onto our own minds & perceptions. They are ours & ours alone & we must not let anyone use us against ourselves if we can avoid it.
        Greater awareness & being allowed to express our uniqueness is crucial.
        We are all individuals finding our way but, with similar core values & care & compassion, we are an army of people against the victimization/objectification & traumatisation of others!

        Love PR xoxo

    2. It is rather silly that many (at least posts online from sociopaths) WANT to portray this evil persona that is robotic and emotionless. I have read blogs where the content is mainly from sociopaths, and it seems more often than not that they emulate the exact criteria that they also declare is bias and misconstrued!

      1. Yes I agree, but I do think that there are varying degrees, and some are at the ‘evil’ end of the spectrum. Some are very very sick in the mind. I have dated at least one of those types.

      2. @positiveagirl, yes on the spectrum there are degrees…I will not object that some simply enjoy everything dark and fit the criteria to the extreme, full end.

  14. Having experienced severe PTSD myself, and NOT having lost my ability to empathize, I can only conclude that we are all different in our genetical and constitutional make up and our life experiences as well as the coping mechanisms we learned and adopted.
    I was fortunate that I received support, understanding, and then medical and mental health support very quickly after my trauma.
    I do believe that sociopathic traits cover a wide spectrum from narcissism, to sociopathy to downright psychopathy, I do believe that “normal” people can, and will, adopt sociopathic traits as a coping mechanism as a result of traumatic experiences, or as a result of childhood neglect. What makes the hard wired sociopath and psychopath different is that s(he) simply does not have the ability to be empathetic, ever. They don’t temporarily lose it, they just don’t have it, period.

    I believe my “ex” to be quite high on the psychopathy scale, way beyond plain old narcissism, and very likely beyond sociopathy. Perhaps this is why he prides himself to be able to “always enjoy a sound sleep”, despite the fact that he hurts people deeply, again, and again and again. (He has now done it to two other women since he broke up with me 5 months ago). To him, a lack of conscience appears to be the equivalent of a good conscience, hence he is not losing sleep over any of it.
    This is why he is able to simply move on from relationship to relationship without hesitating. This is why he is unable to grasp that doing the same thing over, and over with the same destructive outcome, is the definition of insanity. Anyone more healthy would at some point along the line stop to think and examine….

    1. Emotional disconnection and lack of empathy is common for someone with severe ptsd. How could you emotionally connect to someone else? I had no concept of the outside world for 3 years. Mine was caused as a trauma where I thought I was going to die. My child did die. I was drugged to cope for 3 days. Leaving me with no voice. Another 3 days with a dead child who went to the fridge at night. Something happened to my brain during that week. I know difference as I had worked in that job for 7 years before the trauma. I changed, shifted. I just couldn’t connect emotionally as for empathy…. I couldn’t take on anyone else’s issues. As you say there are varying degrees. Emotional numbing, emotional disconnection and lack of empathy are traits with severe chronic ptsd. I couldn’t get help for 15 months. During which time I was abused. It was only seeing that therapist emdr which pulled me out of the most severe of trauma (and I got out of the really abusive relationship) My brain was literally frozen In shock. It has been researched that different people respond to trauma differently. You are right about support. I didn’t get any for 14 months, instead I was abused (much of which I can’t remember) …. Which isn’t surprising. I was already traumatised. I recall a client coming to see me… And thinking I don’t get it what is the drama? I never thought like that before. When I started to get empathy back, (not all the time it can go if I am really triggered) it was like warmth, sunshine, light, I just felt love and compassion. Getting this back was one of the most joyful experiences of my life. Just being able to ‘feel’ (this wasn’t until October 2013) it felt like all emotions were hitting me at once and overwhelming. Most of the time I felt nothing at all. Just felt emotionally numb. Unless triggered and panicked. Do a Google search, it’s pretty common to have lack of empathy with severe ptsd. And this is from someone that worked all my life with homeless people. I had to have empathy it was essential in the work that I did 😦

      1. I don’t know. We all are different, our trauma is different. All I can say is that I did not disconnect or lose empathy. I have to add that I did not work in a helping profession at the time.
        There is a saying about “putting the oxygen mask on ourselves” before helping others. I think this is a very valid issue to consider.
        I have moved on, I have learned that my therapist is not perfect, but she sure does try the best she can and she really cares about me. My family cares about me. My few good friends care about me (I am learning to choose more wisely)
        I asked my EMDR therapist, she thinks that loss of empathy is a situational occurence, a self protective mechanism… and that while it may occur with PTSD, the opposite is just as common. In many cases, trauma is a wake up call to engage our empathy.

      2. Wow positiveagirl, that is a terrible, horrendous ordeal you went through! Disassociation is consistent for some people with PTSD (as it is part of the potential criteria diagnostically, if applicable). In a dissociative state, a person is not really in their typical reality plane, so it makes sense that the feeling of empathy would be rather absent. I also know that the term “lack of empathy” or concept of lacking in empathy is SO misunderstood and the majority of people will naturally have their own definition or meaning for what empathy really is. I know that sociopaths can intellectually place themselves in another’s situation (cognitive empathy). The difference though, lies with the emotional connectivity where typical people hear bad horrible news and they “feel” bad/horrible “with the other person.” It is this emotional energy/connection that we sociopaths lack, at least to a “normal” degree of emotional intelligence.

      3. I never wanted to harm anyone else, but when going through this, I just felt emotionally ‘numb’ I didn’t feel anything at all. That was quite difficult, especially because of the type of work I was employed to do. It still can happen now if I am triggered. It’s not nice.

  15. I know that my ex-SP definitely endured abuse at the hands of his father, and witnessed his mother almost being killed several times. So, yes, abuse creates an environment which is conducive to develope sociopathic tendancies, HOWEVER … There are a LOT of people who endure abuse as children and don’t end up as sociopaths.

    I feel for the child who endured the abuse, but I don’t feel for the adult who makes the choice every day to treat others as their subhuman pawns. The way you treat others IS a conscious choice, and as hard as life is, I don’t excuse anyone based on their background. Without getting into it, my childhood was far from ideal, but I think in many ways it has made me more compassionate.

    To have momentary or temporary lapses, or develope PTSD, due to emotionally distressing situations is entirely different that the systematic grooming of potential victims and the cold-hearted (and often vicious) manipulation and control that is the sociopathic trademark.

    1. My ex Narc had PTSD at some time in his past, during his parents marital troubles, they had a brief separation. He’s still a Narc & i dont know if PTSD is still there. The report he showed me said it was a past thing. He is very controlling, manipulative, charming & the life of the party, Centre of attention when he meets strangers or aquaintences, or his parents. He got very negative, critical of me every time we reconciled in rship for only 1-2wks, the signs came out, the mask began to slip, the volatile, control, social isolation began, bad temper outbursts. He has a controlling but nice on the surface, father. Who used to ring him 4x a day when my ex was renovating a house for his now 80yr old father, in Dec 2013 & Jan this yr. So that says something. His mother has history of taking Valium secretly for 10 yrs, has a nervous disposition, I noticed, when i first met her. Parents had history of throwing plates at each other & Father left her alone much of time when she reared my ex & his brother & sister, while father was workaholic running factories he’d bought, doing building, shop fitting, renovating work & he built 3 family homes in his free time. Later on the father also built & renovated churches after he became born again christian. But was angry, rages towards my ex when my ex was a young boy, teen & as a young man, well according to what my ex told me.
      My ex’s mother in her younger years, was a Chaplin at Alfred Hosp in Melb & ran her own Christian Worship meetings at their Toorak home for years. Sociopath seem to have complex family histories, pasts. Blessings, love & light to all.

      1. To D’fly & everyone,

        This quote sums up a lot for me 🙂

        “It is living in sensation that makes man material, and after some time he becomes ignorant of the spirit.”
        ― Hazrat Inayat Khan

        I believe that the Soc/Narc or whatever you want to label them, are purely sensationalists at everything, feelings, actions, words etc…
        they never connect to their spirit as they are unable to truly go beyond the sensations that they live for…power & sex…..unremarkable existence really!

        We feel it & not just sense it, we breath it, taste it & love it…Life 🙂

        PR xoxo

  16. Interesting point made on the becoming temporarily sociopathic to survive in an abusive situation. My childhood involved some very traumatic years added on top of an emotional, mental and sometimes physically abusive mother who did not nurture me in anyway at all. Between the two I was left to basically raise myself emotionally and also raise myself as on becoming a women. I developed BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) My mother I need to mention has slight schizophrenia which for some reason was part of my upbringing in the sense of she became her other personality with me. My three other siblings did not receive the switch as I did nor do they remember two different Moms. As I became an adult with a career and a family of my own my BPD drifted away until I ended up in an highly abusive relationship with a sociopath. It was at the point where, what I call the Hero to Monster , happened that my symptoms from BPD appeared again such as the cutting. I stayed in the relationship for another 3 years. During the three years I became severely BPD on the side of sociopathic myself. I became mean, manipulative, vulgar towards him during his verbal attacks on me (this replaced the cutting as a coping mechanism) and I found myself lacking emotion for anyone but my grandchild and children. I didnt realize this until I read this blog. I now see it was for survival within me while he was killing my spirit and soul. The two things that had been stolen from me as a child and fought for so hard all my life to get back and maintain. I recently left him for good but stil get sucked back in at times with the same ending result of his verbal attacks towards my entire being. This I know will never end unless I can cut him out of my life 100%. Which I beat myself up over contstantly why cant I get rid of him if I KNOW how it ends. Maybe because I do not know anything diferent. That twisted as it is it is my familiar. Meaning I had no nurturing as a child but an abusive mother verbally and mentally. Did I accept that as my nurturing to feel at least something?? Is the sociopath and his abuse actually becoming my comfort zone because it represents what I accepted as my nurturing from my mother? Hmmm. If so it is deeply sad and I am going to have to get a lot more therapy!!

    1. LiveTrue,
      . I jst finished reading your post, it truly saddenned me but you are not alone and therapy will heal you. You will find light at the end of yor rainbow. Peace an love 💕

      1. @boopsiekisses
        May I ask what you mean by you had no idea the extent of this disorder?

  17. I don’t believe you to be sociopathic at all. I certainly can’t comment about the cutting, past trying to relieve the anxiety and pain within for want of being loved and valued, to which you’re deserving, but sociopaths tend to bring this out in a person like your self more often than not. Abuse from your mother, however, isn’t an actual factor in this case.

    Abuse takes many forms; such as an alcoholic mother turning her daughter on to alcohol and drugs. What’s more, a sociopath tend to be made more so from a parent with the same condition; thus, they tend to get neglected in that they don’t relate to the child on a nurturing, empathetic level. It’s more like two sisters than a mother and daughter relationship. Therefore, the child tends to learn from a perspective where empathy is simply absent, leaving the child having developed a sober personality based upon something very much other than. Just my condensed, two am opinion.

  18. Yes. I attributed my ex’s inability to feel appropriate emotions and act appropriately in a social setting to his long periods of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse as a child, but that does not give you a free pass to make choices that hurt others even if you do not feel the impact from the action. He rationalized cheating to me early in our relationship (because he was doing it) and said that it only matters if you are religious and believe in God, its not wrong otherwise. He made things up, on a daily basis, to make it easy for him to act on his impulses and to neglect me, and others, without feeling anything.

    I guarantee that the long term abuse he went through as a child directly impacted his ability to form normal human relationships as an adult, so he had to become a cunning, manipulative liar to get what he needed in life.

  19. I still can’t look at facebook or another postings! How long is this going to take before I stop getting rattled? Then I get all upset at the bull that the cowad/soc said!!!

    1. Antoniette,

      It will as long as it takes you. Everyone’s different. I personally left facebook a few weeks ago. Would you believe I have no more chest pains, tremors, feeling my nerves are shot, thinking too much of him etc. ALL of these things are GONE. That website was feeding my misery. That is not a road to recovery. It’s a road to stay STUCK. I hope you consider closing your account, and any other accounts that hook you. I swear I’m recovering much better now. Please try it. Xo

      1. HI all, Yes blocking Facebook pge from ex is empowering or actually leaving it , yes all good. As i have good friends on Fb my self, I just blocked him & i am wary of 3 of his aquaintences on it.I can leave them out of my posts if i wish. What made my ex move on at last is that i reconnected with an earlier ex (healthy kind man, has autism), who is dating me, he put our rship on facebook, well i was a bit wary at 1st of publicising our association & somehow my ex saw it even after i blocked him frm my pge. It’s made my ex back off, out of my life. So it has worked for me. I don’t care if he is gossiping about or criticizing me on his fb pge, i can’t see it anyway. What u don’t know doesn’t hurt you? I didnt intend on going into a Rship so soon after breaking the cycle with the Narc, but my other ex rang me & we met up with mutual friends a few times & we said we both felt lonely & only rekindling a close friendship. He actually said i want to get back with you to stop your ex from coming back to you, i’m protecting you that way. Very sweet of him. I do believe God put him back in my life to stop my ex from trying to sweet talk me back, down the track. As that used to happen before.(7 x) As my anger, good judgement about my ex would wear off, or i would get curious about him (addiction, cravings) down the track. No Contact is the Best, its Empowering & we or God/Faith are in control of our lives, Not Them. Blessings, light & love to all.

  20. I am offering my book, Entangled by Natalie Monroe for free on kindle tomorrow, May 4th. I’d appreciate any discussion that comes out of it, since everything in the book supports the information offered on this site about sociopaths. I’m still trying to deal with all the crazy stuff I’ve been through and this website is my lifeline.

    Thank You

    1. I wish this book was available in hard copy, ie paper back edition, as i don’t have an ipad/kindle to read it on. But it sounds fascinating, insightful. Maybe i can read it at a friend’s hse 1 day hopefully 🙂

      1. It is available in hard copy. Can be bought on amazon or ordered through any bookstore. Thank You for the interest.

  21. I was in a relationship with an sociopath for 2 year, with her cheating on me 2 times and now the final one.,… It started Once with My best Friend in the next room when i was takng a nap. This was 6month into our relationship. Foolishly i chose to believe her over my best friend of 20years…over someone I knew for 6months. I was heads over heel for her. She said my friend led her on and I believe her. Everything was fine for awhile after I forgave her.
    Fastfoward to 6month later. One time we had a huge argument and she threw the phone I brought her toward me..she left and thought it was broken, but yet she didn’t realize it wasdidn’t. But sheonly still working but it was logged in on to her face book account…only did I realized she was flirting with handful of guys and inviting them over…I don’t need to go in to details about that…during the next three days I was seeing her talking dirty to multiple guys…I was devastated… Eventually I confronted her with the proof and she finally broke down and admitted she was diagnosed as class a sociopath…she begged for forgiveness telling me sob story about her dysfunctional childhood…and like a blind man in love gave her a last chance.
    She then offer me her fbook password and told me i can monitor it and only did i realized she had unbelievable amount of admirers or groupies if u want to called it..she got three different guys believe she had a imaginary baby with each and one of them after a random previous encounters which was before i had met her, so i gave her the benefit of the doubt and still forgave her.
    Her story to these unknownly guys were so convincing it was so crazy, they brought it…anyhow she ceased contact with them…she had made so many internet friends fall in love with her that it was unbelievable…but she told me, your the only person that knows who iam. And that she will change for me. She told me everything you would need to know about a sociopath. How she couldn’t control herself from surfing on craiglist sexual encounter she would respond to those ads and only tease those gullible guys and make them fall in love with her, sometimes meeting them, most she didnt. But she told me she get a thrill and satisfication controlling these strangers heart and played with them….she shared everything to me, how she think …how easily bored she would get…I didn’t know what a sociopath was at the time. But after she told me I went online and did a research and it was scary…she fits the description to the t…
    But yet I still gave her a chance. Why? Maybe I was so intrigued… I thought I might be the first person to change a sociopath… Lying to myself she admitted to me, so maybe a sociopath finally let guard down because she truly loved me? She was a mirror of me. She made me feel so good about myself…she molded herself to whatever emotional needs I have. She says I love you at the perfect
    Time at the right moment each and everyday when we are together. I loved her to death. I never thought I can love someone so deep. She made me feel so good about myself that I overlooked this again…but I told her if I ever catch u again its over for sure.
    Who am I kidding…1year later, which was two days ago. I caught her again…red handed….theyre was so much inconsistency even before this day which she destroyed my heart again. But this is the third strike….i need to be strong. I have to be. That is why i pass thru this blog and decide to share my story. I need support to get away from this unhealthy emotional cycle of relationship…i blocked her number, but im still scared she will call me thru private and yet i will succumb to her powers….god help me. I know i can get out of this relationship or is it illusion…alive. Wish me luck everyone.

    1. Hi Jimmy 🙂

      Stay No Contact, you deserve so much better.
      If you stay in the game then, expect more of the same 😦

      Please, do yourself the greatest favour & free yourself fully.
      Good Luck always & remember, you get to choose, you are in control.
      What would you tell a friend in your situation to do, be your own best friend & love yourself enough to end the cycle.

      Love & Light 🙂
      PR xoxo

    2. Good luck Jimmy, very sorry that you wound up with a bad one. I hope this blog helps you as much as it has helped me and others.

  22. my therapist who helped me leave — and end the relationship with — my abusive husband wrote a paper on the connection between women DV victims being abusive mothers. She made a presentation to Child Protective services on this.

    1. Hi there, i want to share my view of this topic. My ex sociopath gf was adopted at birth along with her sisters….was bouncing around in foster care till the age of 9…she told me she grew up in multiple foster homes defending her sister from sexual abuse. At the age of 9 her paternal mom reclaimed her and sister from foster home. She often talked about her mother beating them with extension wire when she was with her mom. At the age of 12 she was gang raped…after that she says totally blocked out all emotions and changed for the worst. She was sent away to boarding school specializing in anger issues. One time she was bullied by a girl at school and blacked out and used a chair to whack her unconsicious. Another time she pushed the unsuspecting girl down a stairwell. After that incident no one dared to mess or approach her. She had a world of hate built inside her…all this have been happenening since childhood….now you think i might be biased. But no im not…cause i can only take her words and story at face face value…but imo if i went thru what this person had went thru since childhood, i might hate the world and become what she has become. A egoistic, cunning , no conscience and everything is about me person. So yeah i do think a persons social surrounding makes who they are. But no its not an excuse and i dont think everyone that went thru hardships from young age turns into a sociopath, but it definately makes it likely.


      1. HI Jimmy, I do understand what you mean. But…. Do you have verification that all of this is true? Sociopaths can tell elaborate stories that set your eyes on stalks as you think wow you went through all of that…. It’s only later you learn they really didn’t. Or at least not all of it.

    2. Ok thanks. Understood now. I mean yes I give her the benefit of the doubt on her words and story often because of the victim card, I agree. But sometime I don’t understand why I still and use to put up with her lies when I know for a fact it’s a in front of my face lies. I’m still in semi denial she’s not as bad as a person she is. Smh

      1. Hi Alterlts, it’s part denial but, the other part is you care.
        We all look for the best in other’s & hope they will change/reform etc…eventually you see the truth & that hurts just as much as the lie.

        Love & Light 🙂
        PR xoxo

      2. Thanks, and actually i broke up with her 6months already after 2 years, but lately we’ve been texting and talking again as friends. I know its bad news….

  23. Yes i actually spoke to her few close family members and no i dont believe everything. But the adoption, foster and rape thing im sure….maybe few words are twisted. But i do have some proof. And in no way im condoing who she is despite what she went thru….

    1. No I know u are not condoning. I am just warning that they are compulsive liars. Love to play victim for attention. I didn’t want you to get sucked In as that is what they do.

      1. So right Pos 🙂
        At the end of the day it is how they treat you & not why etc…
        It’s how they make you feel regardless of their past. If they use the excuse to abuse because, they were abused it, does not make it right. Abuse is abuse no matter how it comes packaged!
        Sob stories, past abuse does not mean the ‘end justifies the meanie’s’!
        Keep up the great work 🙂
        PR xoxo

    2. The thing is you could get sucked in to her stories and then later hear that so much was lies. They do it to get attention. To also test you, how kind and caring are you? (How far will you go for her) and how much can she manipulate you. Remember with socipaths life is … A game.

  24. Stumbled across this blog, and now I’m glued to it!
    In short, my step-daughter was a victim of Munchausen at the hands of her mother for 13 years (her whole life), at which point the mother lost custody. I believe her mother is a sociopath as well as a narcissit, which in turn has raised her daughter to behave with the very same manners, plus I’m sure it’s her way of coping with the abuse by her mother since birth.
    She has been in weekly counselling for over 1-1/2 yrs now (since custody change), with little to no improvement. She lies, lies, lies. True being that if her mouth is open, it’s a lie. And she steals! Anything and everything. Within the house and from family, and out of the house and at school. To which she now has a juvie record for theft.
    My question is this, how do I relate to her and deal with her?
    I abhor lying and stealing, which is all she does, so I honestly never want to be around her. Yes she was abused and it’s unfortunate that it happened, but I refuse to play her games and be victimized by her in my own home. For the most part, I just keep the peace and leave the room.
    Any advice for consequences? She cherishes nothing, and nothing matters to her, which in turn makes consequences pointless as she just doesn’t care.

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