The one question that is often asked when you find out that the person you are in love with is a sociopath, is:
“Can a sociopath change?”
The short answer is NO.
It is important that we get the short answer of No, out of the way as quickly as possible. No they cannot change. Currently there is no cure or therapy for sociopathy that has been found to work effectively. In fact, therapy, couples counselling etc, can make things worse, as the sociopath learns to sharpen their tools to manipulate. It can make them more manipulative. If the sociopath is begging for another chance, and promising that he will change, he is, quite simply, lying.
The reason why they cannot change, is because they lack conscience. Which means that they feel no guilt, no remorse or shame for their actions. Not only this, but because of this, they are unable to learn from past experiences. A sociopath is unable to make future realistic plans in life, and is not goal orientated or focused.
- Lack of conscience
- Lack of genuine feelings
- Inability to feel remorse or shame for past actions
- Unable to learn from past experiences
- Lack of life plan and inability to make target focused goals to create a life plan
A sociopath might feign sorrow or apologies. And you, as the victim, after all of the hurt and pain you have been through, might feel relieved. This is what you have wanted to hear. You just want anormal relationship, with someone who doesn’t lie, cheat, betray and use you.
You reason that if a person feels sorrow for their actions, that they will learn that they have hurt you and will not repeat those actions again? This is reasonable thought when making judgement about somebody who thinks with an ordinary mind. But it is not reasonable thought when making judgement about a sociopath. A sociopath does not, and cannot feel genuine sorrow (Unless it is sorrow for himself).
They might feel sorry that they have done something which has reduced their source for supply, or that they have lost someone out of their life which is useful to them. But once they have regained your trust, and got their source of supply back, the acting ‘sorrowful’ will be gone.
A sociopath is unable to experience empathy, which means that a sociopath has an inability to feel how anybody else feels apart from himself.
Emotions that he expresses are those that he has learnt from other people, they are not genuine feelings or emotions. Remember that the sociopath is a chameleon, he is quite able to be whatever anybody wants him to be, if it serves his purpose.
Whatever he is doing or saying, to convince you that he has changed, and is now sorry, is simply an ‘act’. He will act out what he thinks that you want to hear. There is nothing genuine about it. And as soon as trust with you is won, he will return to the same person doing the same actions as he did before.
The longer that you stay with it, the more repetitive the behaviour will become. This is because they cannot change. They are manipulative and conning. They love to dupe and deceive you, as they have little else of value in their lives. It gives them a rush of endorphins to do so.
What might be genuine, is that they do not want to lose you out of their life. But this would not be because of love, it would be because you have further supply that they wish to use you for. Quite simply, you are useful to them.
If you are in love with a sociopath, and hoping that he will one day change, and that things will get better, you are simply wasting your life. Any change will be temporary. It is an act that the sociopath will find it impossible to keep up.
Whatever it is that he/she has been doing, lying, cheating, stealing, the sociopath will soon (no matter what false promises are made) return to the same pattern of behaviour.
There is unfortunately no hope that this person will change, because they will not and they cannot. You could waste years of your life ‘waiting’. The best outcome that you could wish for, is for you to love unconditionally no matter what they are doing. But this wouldn’t be a good outcome for you, as you would be denying your own needs.
At what point was the sociopath thinking about YOUR needs, YOUR welfare? ….. see? Never at any point. He was always thinking about himself and what he could get from you. Is this all that you are worth? Someone to be used? Now focus this love, onto You! You deserve it…
A sociopath is Wordsworth at words, false words, empty promises. But he isn’t too great at action and following up those words. Which leads to constant disappointment, let down and heartache. So learn to trust you. Learn to take care of yourself. Learn self love. Learn to love the inner you. Because truly, the secret of true happiness lies within.
Words © datingasociopath.com
46 thoughts on “Can the sociopath change?”
That’s the saddest thing I’ve read. I don’t mean for me, because I know there is hope for recovery for me. I will get over this and he won’t be part of my life. But simply as a human being I find it so sad to think there is no hope for another human being. That said, thanks for writing it because it was the big question in my mind.
I agree with you Cate…
Very sad to think that there is ‘no hope’ for another human being…
However, it’s a damn good thing to know that the ‘hopeless’ exist & how deceptive they can be.
More a general comment: I agree that based on the experiences and subsequent typical severe end of the socio spectrum, change is not going to happen. However, the criteria (keep in mind the above post utilizes criteria for psychopath based on Hare’s checklist, in addition to the DSM IV so you have incorporated behavioral and personality traits) needed to diagnose sociopaths is not based on having ALL the behavioral patterns and/or traits for diagnostic purposes. I am working on myself. I believe that I can choose to make better, less toxic choices regarding my actions and words toward other people. I have a stable, successful career, so I do not lead a nomadic existence. I do not learn from my mistakes well at all…probably because I do not really view them that way in the first place. At the same time, not all socios go running around 24/7 causing chaos and mayhem. We do other things too. Manipulating others and causing hell is a choice…at least for some socios, I suppose. Take the career sociopath, for example…CEO’s, government. Are they running around repeating mistakes, getting into trouble and going to jails/prisons, and losing their jobs? Nope.
I understand how you feel, but I was married to one for 37 years, and I NEED to feel that only God can make that determination. I can never be around him again, but I still try to give it over to God. If you’re religious, consider that God has the power to change anyone or forgive anyone he wants. Take care.
this is the saddest thing i have ever heard as well.. That discribes my daughter toa a t.. Now I dont know what to do. She is my child and I am hurt beyond words. There has to be something I can do.. Please any more info…
Hi Leslie, its a tough one when it is your own child. How old is she?
BIRTH CONTROL is said to re wire a females brain it could go bad. but its already bad so why not try it? break their brains down and induce hard therapy. im pretty sure im a sociopath but it could be the one im dateing telling me i am lol…. any way just set your laws and fallow those emotionless make them think your one of them hahaha>
That made absolutely no sense
You just wrote about my husband. I have two children, a stay at home mom for ten years now and this has been so hard. We are in therapy and even what you said about therapy is the truth. I have even called him a chameleon so many times. He has everyone fooled, no one believes me except a couple close friends but even him trying to isolate me from my family. I have no one to even turn to for help since he has covered all his bases. He is a wonderful actor. I’m not sure where to start.. To even get free. I catch him taking pictures of dirty laundry, dishes to hacking my emails, hiding my phone, video recording me and listening to my phone calls now.. to even get really sick from his cooking sometimes. I keep thinking this isn’t real!!! I’m exhausted. I’m scared that he will ruine me, take away my kids, only because he so believable and calm. Just keeps telling everyone to get me help. I say help with what??? Dealing with a man that does all this to me and keeps leaving for weeks at a time with no connection and tells everyone he needed a break from his crazy controlling women. I honestly feel like I want him to just abandon us and do us a favor. Yuck! I’m so overwhelmed! Where to go from here.. Just not sure..
Thank you.. This has helped me out so much.
You need to get out as fast as you can busymom. It will not change, it could get even worse. If you are not financially able to pick up and go, start putting money aside and go for the big break. Do it for you and your children.
Good advice. Thank you Nancy.
Nancy great advice for busy mom – but more important – don’t spend too long saving cash. Get enough for a few days. Start calling shelters if you have too. You can live in a car with your kids and still feel better when not under the rule of an abusive person. the home and comforts are simply another type of cage created by your capture.
You just described my ex. We’ve been apart now for 2 years. I had to formulate a sophisticated escape plan that took a few years. My children (now mostly adults) have BENEFITED from the fact that I left and everyone is living in harmony now, though we are still very much healing. I would be happy to talk with you if you need/want. You have to be brave and strong. You can reclaim your life. Sincerely, Terry
I was reading your post and I have to respond for one very distinct reason – that he tries to isolate you. You ARE isolated and what few friends or family that may believe you, do simply harbor doubts – because I’m sure he’s that good at what he does. You said your a stay at home mom. Think back – was he SOOOO supportive of that decision? Bragging rights supportive – even if it meant he had to work harder and longer. There is ALWAYS an angle to what a manipulative or sociopathic personality does. If he encouraged you to stay home – it was to isolate you financially and from the influence of co-workers. If you were encouraged to get a career – then you would harbor the blame for any family difficulties with the kids … “well you chose a career over your kids!!” or “Well, so I LET you stay home with the kids – I had to work soooo much and the stress led me to what I did! (Drugs, cheating, alcohol, physical or emotional abuse etc) This happened because I sacrificed for you and the kids!” Your post already examples the long-term abuse and psychological stress he puts on you every day.
Want freedom – start with some very simple basics. First – keep a detailed log of times, dates, and occurrences of mental and / or physical abuse. This will be useful for court and be as sneaky as you can. He must NEVER know of this log. He will use it against you using the information in any way to serve his OWN agenda. Second – go to marital counseling BUT be aware – he WILL successfully manipulate 95% of the counselors. SO – try to talk to the counselor prior to marital counseling and see if the psychiatrist (has to be a Dr.) will perform the proper psychological tests to see if he has a distinct psychological pattern that rings true for a sociopath. Be sure to check the Dr.’s credentials fully. Third – find yourself a personal counselor – independent of him for support – you will need it. Trust me, I’m still in the same boat as you and 20 months of separation with a pending divorce has had only limited solace for me. Finally – this is the best piece of information I could give you – he will NEVER Abandon you – so stop hoping. He maintains control by his presence and maintains a different type of control by his absence. He leaves – but the money is with him – right? … But you have the bills. He leaves you for a period of time – but the kids are with you right? And of course – its YOUR fault.
Let’s play devil’s advocate. Let’s pretend you are a crazy and controlling wife who makes his life hell. Then ask the few people closest to you to ponder one point (and for you to ponder as you question your very sanity…right?)…If you are so horrid – then why does he come back? Now, he will say for the sake of the kids, because he loves you – feels sorry for you – name your martyr excuse – BUT if something is SO broken – there is always one common denominator – the 2 of you. In other words – each party brings strengths and weaknesses to a relationship – so if he places the blame solely on you – then its an example of an apparent lack of true honesty. That’s not the tell-take either. If a sociopath or manipulative person sees that there is a shadow of a doubt among opinions that cares – he will then “throw a bone” and admit a very small, warped truth of responsibility to reset the manipulation clock. Very much so like a drunk driver who says they drank 2 beers when they drank a case. See the example?
I have a bad back that resulted in 4 surgeries just to alleviate a minor amount of pain. My ex RELISHED in the “poor husband who cares for broken wife” song to the whole world – but would get high and smoke crack in front of my kids while I was under the knife. If his cooking makes you sick – strongly consider what he is feeding you. Nothing is more awesome than a man who cares or mourns for his ill or – even worse – dead wife. I’m not trying to make you paranoid – but something to consider.
Thank you for your wonderful comment Christine. Really helpful.
@Busymom Was he like that in the beginning of yalls relationship, before yall got married? And what about the beginning of yalls marriage?
Wish this wasn’t true but it is, it’s very sad for everyone involved.
Yes it is and they just go on victimizing one after another. Sick bastards and NO I don’t feel guilty for thinking this way.
It is heartbreaking and empowering all at the same time to read this. I am going through a break of after leaving my partner of two years. Just recently I have learned she is a sociopath and that has answered so many questions for me.
I so desperately want her to change and be the person I fell in love with, but I fell in love with an empty shell.
Hi Sarah, I think that this is the toughest thing of all to cope with.
1. That there is never any change
2. The pain that the person never felt genuine love for you. At least not in the way that you deserve to be loved.
You know that the person that you fell in love with (if she is a sociopath) is a mirror image of you – of all that is good within you. That is still there – inside of you!
i had the same thing wiwth my ex. she is a sociopath i fell in love with her but her actions and behaviors were too much to handle .. i was always positive that i can change her but unfortunetly i couldnt ! she thought i was the bad man for leaving her but deep inside i am the one who wanted her and loved her .. she always use to say to me do this and do this so u can change me with time but i felt i was being used and i didnt have the trust that she will .. it has been a month now since we broke up and to be honest i was waiting for her to make up her mind and feel the love i have for her but looks like she is living her life normally and doesnt care about the experience we had together
That’s just beautiful!
“You know that the person that you fell in love with (if she is a sociopath) is a mirror image of you – of all that is good within you. That is still there – inside of you!”
I created an account here just to tell you that. Thank you!
I like that…the good stuff in him is a mirror image of me. That makes me feel a little better and brought tears to my eyes!
I was married to a path for 16 years, 3 kids. I finally left (even the state). He has another victim (long list). I just wonder, can paths reach the bottom and simply have to settle down? He married his last victim recently (2 kids with her). He simply had no choice since everybody around realized what he did in his life(elaborate lies, cheating, etc. typical sociopath). He again blinded her with promises telling her smoothly how she is changing him. In a meantime she is 20 years younger. I wonder if he simply had to do that (no money, no friends etc) or perhaps he really had enough and settle down?
What are your thoughts?
I find this ironic that just today, I was thinking if my ex husband will ever get better. I felt so sad for him because I truly loved him. I was the most authentic that I could be in the marriage. Shoot I even sang in front of him. Ha! I, like many before me, gave my all to our relationship. I kept telling myself that its gonna get better. Then he told me that he didn’t know if he wanted to be married anymore, after 13 months. Talk about a shock to my whole system. After many, many more lies, heartache, drama, worry and stress, I filed for divorce. We’ve been divorced a month now and it was the biggest favor he ever did for me. I do wish the best for him, but my mental health is more important to me than his. I feel sorrow more for all the other women that will fall for his charming, nonsensical, childish ways. I wish I could help them some how. Is there a way that I could help without breaking no contact and stalking him to see who he’s talking to? Just seems like too much drama to even try to help his next victim. Besides, if someone would’ve told me that he may be a socio, I wouldn’t have listened, kept my blinders on and endured because I “loved” him. Well, I know I can take care of myself and live in the now.
i just established no contact with my husband. god don’t stalk him. if you are anything like me seeing what i’ve seen when i finally investigated what he was doing online, all the women he was cheating on me with online, pretending he was single… my god it was heartbreaking. if you are out i suggest staying out. don’t put yourself through seeing him talk to other women. they will find out soon enough themselves. protect yourself, remind yourself that you don’t owe him or other women anything, and that the best thing for you would be to never see hear or deal with what he’s doing ever again. find a good man who can actually love like i did! 🙂 i’ve never been happier or safer since leaving my husband and falling in love with a kind man with real emotions. the only way to get over a sociopath is to pretend he doesn’t exist anymore. because really, the man you thought you fell in love with doesn’t exist. he was a character someone was playing. the person you will be stalking will be a whole different person to attract whomever he’s focused on in the moment.
Very well said. +1
PLEASE remain strong. This will be the most difficult challenge you have faced in your life. It does not end in divorce. I can honestly say that I could not have fallen harder than my ex – pain in the heart … life. In time, I hate to say this – you will understand you cannot save others. His same charms and deceptions will be stronger than any truth you can give to a new lover of your ex. The lies and deception of a sociopath creates is beyond the understanding of a typical – although exhausted mind. You an contact me at any time. Good luck my dear :). I wish I could believe in God and say that God will watch over you – but I will wish for you – strength, passion, and an eye to see what is in front of you. May the universe guide you – perhaps it is now. 🙂 LOVE … Christine 🙂
And to give you a little more of depth into my personal background – I am an ex Police Officer and half way through my master in Mental Health Counseling. The literature is scary about sociopaths – but only understandable when you experience it.
I just hope that my ex new wife will see the truth soon. She has 3 kids and she is young. I don’t want her to “waste” her life. He is very, very clever and she desperately wants to believe him.
Do you think that for sure one day she will have enough and admit the truth to herself?
It really depends MMZ, some people stay for decades. Some sociopaths ‘try’ to behave. Really its easier to get into a relationship with a sociopath than it is to get out.
Thank you. I myself was with my ex for 15 years despite all the signs and warnings. And the new wife is very naive and easy to manipulate. But even if it takes decades sooner or later one had enough. Paths cannot “behave” too long, don’t you think?
No they do tend to relapse, and repeat cycles of behaviour. Usually this is when they are about to lose control. Or if they think they are losing control, that is when they switch. Something goes off in their brain and that is it, it all goes irrational. I think that always happens. No matter who the sociopath is. The patterns will always repeat.
Thank you Positivagirl. This Website brings me back on track if i have any doubts. It helps soooo much!
I hope my ex’s next victim will run away when she admits the truth. I tried to tell her, even show her the proof. She chose to be blind (like I was). Did not want to even loook at the solid proof. The most vicious manipulation is religion. When my ex realised his next wife saw all the lies etc. to the point he cannot deny he simply said that God is changing him now. He changed religion and manager to fool the pastor to help him to convinsed his new wife and get new friends (his old ones were burned with his lies). Sick
This is Sad, and furthers my Heartbreak knowing that the love of “MY” life, Never “really existed”, and that I never really mattered to her. I overcome with despair with the realization that She will not get better. The last five years of my life have been traumatic for me, because in my Case I was drawn in by the Lies of a woman who is Still married to a Self described Psycho-Path, and Abuser, who is even more deranged than her, and furthermore the information that I have uncovered could cost me my life. It involves the online porn industry, prostitution,escorting, and human traffiking, at the highest levels, and their network includes corrupt law enforcement, judges and some type of connection to the BTK killer…(yes, that one). I know I need help to get my life back on track….its affected me nearly to the point of suicide.
Hi Dave welcome to the site. Do you have anyone to support you? It sounds as if you have and are experiencing a lot of trauma.
My brother sent me this link to help me recognize who/what my wife is all about. She doesn’t lie all that much (that I know of) but the rest describes her pretty well.
It took me a year to realize what was going on with a loser guy I was dating if you even call that dating more like a psychological game. He finally broke me down, I lost myself, happiness, kindness, good nature, self respect just so he could turn around and leave. It was the best thing but I feel very broken. He sent me a picture a few months later of him and some girl he “fell in love with” and we all know they are encapable of loving anything. He even hit a cat he liked with a frying pan and killed him. He has all they symptoms to t “T” of a sociopath. I am happy to say that I am receiving counseling, doing things that improve myself (gym, meetup groups, not getting involved with anyone for a relationship) Slowly getting better each day and have learned a lot. I also am not perfect I am understanding my own borderline personality disorder which really came out while with this guy. I think that was the only thing that I can focus on wellness…..
Ugh that he had the nerve to send you a photo of him and his new partner? …. like ‘look at me’ and ‘I am better than you are’ and ‘see this was all your problem, as I am ok’
Or something like that.
I am pleased that you are doing counselling and hope that you find it supportive and can undo damage caused by their manipulation and craziness.
I agree with all that you say you are doing to heal and recover, that sounds like a good healthy list of things to do.
One day at a time….
Yes, if you have BPD, its one of the worst combinations to go with a sociopath. As they struggle to control your emotions, if your emotions do not stand still.
I was diagnosed 17 years ago and thought I was fine but this relationship brought it full circle to place where I need to address it all over again. I am really not a hateful person but I keep the thought in my head that “I really hope he dies” only because I keep back peddling because I am so hurt and vulnerable . The only real way he will go away. The pic was stadged and so hurtful cuz I really thought we could be friends.
I understand winds.
It feels like it is deliberate, intentional to hurt you.
Really it is deliberate and intentional to GET A REACTION from you, rather than hurt you.
This is all. When you try to see it the way that it is meant, it doesn’t take away the pain, but it does go some way towards it……
They are always looking for a reaction, any kind of reaction any kind of attention…..
How you feel isn’t important to them, as long as they get a reaction from you.
So…. even if you feel this way about him, try not to give him the satisfaction of your reaction, good or bad, positive or negative. don’t give him what he wants.
OMG the best piece of advise. I want you to know that that helps a lot.
I fully agree with positivagirl, Windsong. Life is a stage with them. And it is all about the reaction, it’s like resetting the trap by triggering our emotions. Mine kept up a smear campaign until she made the mistake of using my exact words and my sentence structure from other posts. I noticed and posted the question about plagiarism in WordPress forums. Suddenly, no more garbage. Socs are only as smart as a shark. They feed and move, feed and move, they will stop coming to a place where there is no supply. Don’t let ANYBODY degrade your endeavors at a better life. Keep plugging along and consider the “degrading” as a compliment and respite. They use it as a tool to hurt us, you can make that severance permanent.
I still find it difficult to forget what my ex did and not rant on, but my bottom line is, she is out of our children’s life and mine. That is the best thing for the rest of us. But, I do wish her Godspeed to whatever hell she makes for herself. Cheers to you and keep up the self respect and love.
Yes, the sooner we heal and take our power back the better for us. In those moments we are suffering there are forums support groups call centers to reach out. It does get better in time, space, and when new friends coming into our lives. Healing first is the answer.
I am a sociopath, and this isn’t necessarily true, once I found a partner, they became a focus. I strove to find her out, and learn her, and try to understand her. Yes it is almost impossible, but I had a real work there, I did very good in understanding her feelings and trying to think on how to help it. I worked with all of the strength in my being to understand, and I always reasoned it down to three potentials for every feeling she had, I documented them, and then I asked her what she meant out of the three possibles. She thought I had severe Asperger’s which isn’t true but I never corrected her. She confirmed and enjoyed how much I was trying to understand. But she lost interest and left me, this broke a heart I didn’t know I had and now I am back to normal, no feeling, only lying. Do not doubt the damage one can inflict on a sociopath that wants to be normal.
I think that we are all human and we may not be perfect we may not always do the right thing we are curious I think that some of us have the capacity to change if we really want to if we have a goal if someone believes in us every time someone leaves me it breaks I just go back to my old behavior. No, we don’t always win, when people degrade me for what I am it reminds me of my troubled childhood I don’t think my parents fully understand the hell I’ve went through before I came to them… My mom still believes in me, my dad doesn’t, but my mom still does even though I don’t always treat her right and I hate myself that I can’t feel guilt for what I do even though it can be a powerful weapon I’ve won so many conflicts with it. It’s a cycle you know, we do bad things people abandon us so we go back to doing bad things. I’m trying to change and I feel like I’ve made some progress. You cannot know what truly goes on in our minds until you are one of us but that can never happen. Maybe most of us can’t change because that’s what works for us because that’s what we are best at doing. But I think that if we truly want to change have someone close to us who believes in us I think we can change maybe not fully but I think we can.
We might be monsters… but we also have the ability to change if we truly want to.
I hope that who ever reads this takes it to heart… we are not dangerous unless you give us the ability to be dangerous