Do sociopaths realise that they are sociopaths?


Do sociopaths realise that they are sociopaths?

A question that I had in my email today, was asking ‘do sociopaths realise that they are a sociopath?’


All people are obviously human beings. That is what we have in common. A diagnosis of a personality disorder is only that. It is a label, given by professionals in the psychiatric field, for a person that displays common traits of behaviour.

A sociopath will probably be aware that they are different. They are observant, and watch other peoples interactions, that they later mimic.  A sociopath couldn’t know that he or she was a sociopath, unless they had seen the  DSM checklist criteria, that outlines what a sociopath is. They might realise that they are different. They will probably know that they see things differently to most other people. But unless they have seen that checklist or received a formal diagnosis, there is no way that they could apply a label to themselves, if they didn’t know what that label was.

If they knew, would they be able to change?

When I was first dating the last person in my life, I don’t think that he knew. In fact, before we split, I yelled at him

What is wrong with you?

He simply yelled back

I don’t know!!

I don’t believe that he did either. Afterwards, we were friends for a considerable time. Almost a year. We saw each other every day. He understood what a sociopath was, and he agreed that it was an accurate description of what he had been doing, and why.

I think from that point on, he did try to manage his behaviour. There was a slight improvement. However, the fundamental traits, and patterns of behaviour repeated. Despite that he knew, and he also knew that I knew too. But those character traits repeated. Over and over, the same thing.

So no. There was no difference, fundamentally in his behaviour. I started writing my blog. Which broke down the behaviour. He read what I wrote. Things would go ok, for a short while. But then there would be burn out, and the same pattern of behaviour repeated itself.

Compulsive pathological lying

A sociopath finds it easier to lie, than they find it to tell the truth. If you are an honest person, you would think and act the reverse. You find it uncomfortable to tell a lie, and should feel a sense of relief when telling the truth.

The sociopath is reverse in behaviour to this. As he finds it more difficult to tell the truth than tell a lie, he quickly reverts to lies, manipulation and deceit, after a short period of time.

The  sociopath has poor impulse control, and finds it difficult, not to cease an opportunity. He also has a lack of empathy, guilt remorse or shame. So does not feel guilty if he is lying to you. Even if he knows by previous events how much his lies have hurt you, there will be no change over a period of time. He cannot, and does not feel sorry for hurting you. If he says that he does, he is lying. He might feel sorry that he is about to lose  source of supply, if you are still valuable to him. But that is all.

The way to look at this,and to understand would be to imagine that you (as an honest person) were asked to live your life, and to spend most of most of your time, lying cheating, conning, using manipulation and deceit to use  others. Can you visualise this? How long do you think that you would be able to keep up being dishonest, and compulsively lying? How uncomfortable would this make you feel? Could you keep this up for a long period of time, day after day?

If you have an imagination, like me, you would be able to see how difficult this would be to keep up for any length of time. You also, would revert back to your default setting of being honest, as this is how you feel comfortable behaving.

This is what the sociopath does in reverse. Being aware of sociopathic behaviour, and wanting to change (as some do, after hitting bottom numerous times in their life) or at least for a while. There might be an impulse to change. But it wouldn’t last long. Normally, they would have a motive to do this, only when they are losing source for supply and haven’t found another source for supply elsewhere.

Lack of long term goals

The sociopath lives in the moment, and finds it difficult to make long term goals, to plan for the future. He tends to  be

  • Impulsive
  • Immature
  • Lives in the moment
  • Doesn’t particularly think (or care) about long term consequences of actions

As he doesn’t think too far ahead, and doesn’t think about consequences of actions, he repeats the same behaviour over and over again.

Why does he promise to change repeatedly if he can’t?

There are two reasons why he would promise to change

  • If he feels that source for supply is coming to an end, and he hasn’t sourced additional supply elsewhere
  • He might put on a new mask, and really believe that this time, he can do it and make that change

But as already discussed, this is difficult to do. The sociopath often finds it difficult being honest. If you look back into the sociopaths history, he likely had a difficult childhood, and lived in a home where he witnessed dishonesty. A child needs for proper growth and development, a safe environment. A child learns most from the examples set by his parents. By observation. Observing interaction between both parents. A child learns from example.

If in childhood the child learned that it was normal and part of every day life to lie, this becomes ingrained into their personality. A child might be forced to lie to

  • Cover for what is really going on in the home to friends/family/teachers
  • Protect the parents
  • Cover for one or both parents actions
  • Might witness parents living a lie (in terms of infidelity of one or both parents, or if parents had a substance addiction problem)

As adults, we are comfortable (usually) with what we defined as ‘home’ in childhood. This is where we often learn our defence mechanisms. We learn, what part of us is acceptable to display to the world. How we should behave and  how we should act.

The sociopaths behaviour, is therefore so ingrained within his personality, it is difficult to ever make change. How can you make someone care about something that they really do not care about? You cannot give someone a range of emotions that they do not have.

Even if the sociopath were to discover that they were a sociopath, they still wouldn’t really change as

  • They feel more comfortable with the lie than telling the truth
  • They receive dupers delight from conning and being deceptive
  • Dishonesty was likely learned as far back as childhood
  • They repeat patterns of behaviour, as they have poor impulse control and find it difficult to resist temptation
  • They don’t feel bad about lying and cheating, as they have a lack of empathy, guilt remorse or shame
  • They are immature, and selfish, thinking only about themselves, they cannot put the needs of others first
  • They have a lack of long term goals and lack ability to plan for the future
  • When things go wrong, they simply put on a new mask of charisma, and adapt to the new situation. Again, this is for their own benefit (despite if they say that it is for yours)
  • Others are simply tools to be used for source of supply. which means that partners can be easily replaced. As long as the new victim can offer source of supply
  • They have a grandiose sense of self and entitlement

So if the  sociopath acknowledges that he is a sociopath,and will change…

This might be an initial desire on his part. To keep current source of supply, but the  sociopath will not be able to sustain this change. You would be asking that person to be different to who they really are.

If the sociopath has moved onto someone new, the  same pattern of behaviour will repeat again, just with somebody new. There will be a trail of disaster in the future, just as there was in the past.

Once you know, it is like discovering that santa isn’t real. Do you next Christmas believe in Santa, because you wanted it to be true, and it was a nice feeling? ….

Words ©

89 thoughts on “Do sociopaths realise that they are sociopaths?”

  1. Mine seemed to know – he compared himself proudly to sociopaths on TV. He really doesn’t want to change. And yes, he had a very tough childhood. Trauma begets trauma, a sad fact of humanity. Check out Malcom Hollick and Christine Connelly’s book “Hope for humanity”… I haven’t finished, and hope the last chapter offers hope, because the rest doesn’t!! Oh, and I introduced him to NonViolent Communication, which is a scary thing, its like giving a bomb to a terrorist. he can be that much more convincing in his lies now. I apologise to his future victims!!

    1. So not to bring negativity to this discussion but how about both people taking responsibility for things going south in the relationship. I personally believe it makes 2 people to have a successful relationship and 2 people to make a relationship fail. It’s easier to point out what the other person did throughout the relationship and how it contributed to the failure of the relationships. Everyone has flaws some people aren’t aware of them and some are but I agree that if they are aware of their flaws and are unwilling to correct or improve them in anyway it’s because they’re comfortable with them. The majority of people don’t like change since it requires constant work and the process can be painful since the person is going against there natural instinct. I personally believe diagnosising or labeling a person for a failed relationship or a current bad/unhealthy relationship is immature to say the least. It shows lack of accountability on the persons part. I’m sure we could also come up with several labels and many diagnoses for the lack of accountability a person takes ownership of with there behaviors that contributed to the end/unhealthy relationship. It the easy way out to place the blame on the other persons actions and come up with labels/diagnosises when I expect most of us aren’t doctors posting on here. So we lack not just the medical background but also the personal experience of knowing the person and the situation. The person telling his/her point of view of why things went south are usually biased due to the emotional nature of relationships which is normal. But unfortunately it doesn’t give us a clear and accurate picture of what the other person she/he may or may not have. That’s just my opinion I do respect and appreciate your blog/opinion on this.

      Thanks I appreciate the blog and for the people who took the time to read this.

      1. Robert – you clearly haven’t dated a sociopath. How can it be someone elses fault, if the sociopath feigns to be NORMAL? If they are deliberately deluded, lied to, manipulated and scammed? How is it that persons fault? If when they try to leave the sociopath threatens and harasses them? No. it isn’t the victims fault.

      2. No, it is simply impossible to make a relationship with a sociopath work. No matter how hard you try- for them it is never enough, they are constantly lifting the bar higher and higher…no matter how empathetic and giving you are for them it is never enough. I almost lost myself because I thought there was something wrong with me when in fact the real problem was the emptyness inside him.

      3. You make a good point Robert… if only sociopaths cared to listen, because the sociopath will entirely 100% blame the victim for the relationship failing. So you’re right, it takes 2 to tango: now tell that to a sociopath, and good luck to you on that one.

    2. I like the points you make. It seems every website listing the qualities of a sociopath are written by angry girlfriends who seem to date “sociopaths” on a regular basis. I never see articles written by people diagnosed as a sociopath, but by those who try to label them as “monsters” because they think differently. I feel I see the world as a textbook sociopath but don’t possess these antagonistic traits. I don’t constantly go about trying to deceive and trick those around me, but I also find it impossible to find meaningful relationships, feel remorse, find happiness, control my impulses, or find a problem with things like stealing. People need to realize that a “sociopath” isn’t a real thing, just a collective amount of traits. There is no true “sociopath” but people like this author like to go about saying how we are these demons who cannot live a normal life. Instead, I like to think that I am unburdened by the meaningless weights of morality.

      1. I was in the relationship while I was writing this website Connor. So hardly an angry girlfrield. This post was written in 2013. We finally split in 2015. He moved out of my city 2016. He read my work, as did many other sociopaths. It was recording the behaviour at the time, as it happened. So, I disagree with your comment. It does not make logical sense. This particular post ‘do they realise they are sociopaths?’ I think is accurate. I don’t think you do, unless you have a reason to know. I think you can become so entrenched within the lie, that you can believe the lie. I am not a person who paints anyone as a demon. Although the behaviour could certainly be deemed that way. Yes there is a true sociopath, as the patterns repeat, over and over. I know of no other group, aside from Psycho/Sociopaths who repeat identical patterning of behaviour. Perhaps if you do not identify with it, you are not a sociopath.

      2. There are sociopaths and based on your description of self you may want to examine literature on schizoid personality

      3. Amen. I view it similarly. Why in the world would I want the weight of a conscience and caring about what others think while making decisions on a day to day basis? Instead, I can come up with rational and practical solutions, ones that work in the long run. I feel sorry for those that care too much about what others think and let that rule their lives; they are not truly living.

  2. Wow! The Santa analogy really says it all. Every single day is a struggle right now to accept that the magic, hope and belief that I had in our love was just an illusion. I think it’s so easy to hold onto all the good memories although I could list probably a hundred instances that weren’t so good. Santa was a fun fantasy but even he was someone you never got to see or at least the REAL one. Seems kinda sick now to let our children believe in that and have them see all the fake santas at Christmas and yet they never get to see the “real” Santa. Imagination is a gift but it’s almost like the SP plays on that. It is there that we create our dreams and ideas and use hope and love to fuel them to become our reality. My ex SP I think knows that he is one. He has desperately tried and I have seen some improvement BUT it only occurs if I go away. He makes all these great leaps only to run back to me and say look look come back to me I’m doing better. It takes about the two month mark MAX for it all to fall apart and old patterns are back. I went thru this cycle for 6 years. Iam just now realizing that I had a false hope that NEVER has the potential to be real. The santas we see in the mall will never turn into “the real” Santa. It is truly one of the people in the world that we must accept we cannot change and nothing else can change them either not even themselves.

    1. Hi Amy, yes this was one of the most difficult things for me to come to terms with. Accepting that the person that I was in love with wasn’t real. Or at least not as I perceived him to be. So I had to let that go. It was hard…. there was a constant desire to want that santa figure back. I was so confused. This is caused the fog of confusion…. it doesn’t last forever though.

    2. Ya… I can change…I had letters promising…books highlighted…songs sung on my voicemail….and terrible results every time. Then I realized that me going away caused the promises because it fed in him a desire to win…not to change but to win me back…once won he was rapidly bored…plus then he knew where I was all the time. When I left he had to get control back – not me….

      1. This is a good description of a sociopath , I’m with one just now , but just got rid again it’s every 3 weeks tbh now I’m able for him so dosent affect me too much as play him at his own game , but ye your so right when he begs and you give in he gets very bored , but tbh I’m bored with him now so I just take him back listen to his shit and take his wages and throw him back out , the weird thing is he’ll come back for more and move all the stuff sometimes twice a week everything 2 wardrobes 40 pairs shoes 2 car journeys , but he’ll never admit he’s in wrong so 😂😂. how exhausting and he works 12 hrs a day as a currys driver wee weirdos play them at their own game

    3. I just stumbled upon this article and your response Amy. I’ve posted on other links on here many times since I found positivagirl’s wonderful articles via a HuffPost link back early last Summer. It has been such a struggle to let him/this go, especially with the recent holidaze. And on that note, how you say how cruel it is to mislead children about santa and the whole cultural expectations of the season. In a way, though, I think it’s okay when we are little to have that fantasy. I don’t think it would matter much that we learn it’s all a lie because we mature and start figuring out about how much in life is not what it seems in cartoons and immature thoughts as we process things in our little minds! As a child of the 70’s, I became increasingly anti-gift and a hardy little anti-consumerist as a teen ( my mom would get mad because I wouldn’t tell her what I “asked Santa” for!). But in my mind I knew it was all about just the special magic of the season, for better or worse some years, and the food- seeing family and all the decorations. Even if I was anti-gift, I still liked putting the lights on the house, driving around looking at other’s efforts, etc. So no, I don’t think it so bad that santa and xmas have to go. We soon grow up don’t we?

      I had so many thoughts last night, after a promising chat on a new dating website I joined just before the new year. But I only grew to miss my spath because I know how hard it is for me to “get in” to meeting new people, now not trusting what they say, wondering what their vices and problems are. I actually did progress to a phone call, and we talked for an hour, both of us realizing that we both had been recently hurt, still panging for a love that actually only existed in our minds. It was still nice, though, to talk to someone new and know that we all can share our stories, not only about failed conquests, but just what makes us tick. It seemed like me and my spathe hit it off really good at first, then not a few days later, I dropped him because I just “wasn’t feeling it”.I suppose that was my first intuition that something wasn’t right! But he came back into my life repeatedly, as the article says, because he sensed he had lost his source ( companionship, friendship and sex). I fell for him deeply, even despite all the put downs, the awful garbage that he brought to the table! How is it that we allow this to happen, even knowing better. I can remember telling coworkers the first year of my dealings with him and even they would say “Run”! Yet, here I am, so many years later, feeling discarded once more.

      So I spent the night not being able to sleep very good, thoughts of him creeping into my dreams and my waking hours. Of course even today upon waking I think about all of it. I try to get on the dating website and browse, but find myself poo-pooing everyone on it because of this or that! I hate to sit there and judge just from someone’s profile or picture, making broad assumptions that probably are way off. I know it won’t be a magic bullet to start dating again, it may take a long time or I may have a fling. Would that take away my obsession? Who knows, I don’t know what to expect from life at this point. But one point I was thinking after positvagirl’s New Years blog- that maybe just setting little goals here and there is the only option. Sure we all have fantasies about what we will do someday, but I think someday is here for many of us.
      Sometimes the thought of all the changes that are to come seem daunting. But I know it won’t happen all at once, and I can still procrastinate a little longer!

      One of the thought I have in my head I had earlier, before I read this poignant reminder of the blissful unawareness of spaths is that I wanted to give him credit this time for not ‘playing the game’ after his xmas attempts via texts/email to lure me into it again. Maybe, after the contact we had he knew he just couldn’t do this to me anymore because he knows I am a sweet heart and how much he had hurt me with his new affair, not to mention everything else he’s done to hurt.
      But now I think not, he has his new source, and while he would love it if I would just play around with him while this new one unfolds ( the other source lives, from what he says ( a lie?) in another city. I know now that he had no intention of giving up on this new source, even telling me to my face that he makes “him laugh” and it is thrilling. I don’t get it, he’s only good at making you feel anxiety, anger, or disgust, and now he gets someone new to make up for his BS? Not fair. But, I wonder how long this will last and what the future holds for my spath. As the article says, I don’t think it will be a happy ending, why or how could he change that much for someone else? He’s in constant turmoil with life; friends, family, work, etc.
      It doesn’t seem plausible that he will succeed this time. And like he’s said many times before, “relationships are too much work, and maybe he’s just better being out there as a lone batter”. Whatever- people like him I think MUST have the drama that comes with focusing on the victims that fall for them. Like Dracula ( another fantasy of childhood),
      they have to suck the life force to continue on. So that thought scares me, because I know my vampire might return, and soon. I’ve made it a whole month before, but recently only managed a couple weeks no contact. He’s dropped in before, and the real scary thing is that I fear to NOT have him show up again! How sick is that? Okay, I will focus on myself. I make a pledge to do that for myself. I was thinking how like the blog says: No matter what your story is, nobody can take what’s happened away from you. I can choose to dwell on it or try to distance myself from it. I try and try at the latter, but I’ll be damned if it gets harder some days not to muddle through it once more! What’s up with that? If this was anybody else I would HATE them and be done. Yet, here I sit, pouring my soul out to that first class jerk. GOD

    4. wow sounds the same as my ex spath, it took 6 wks for me to feel drained, stifled by him, & him creating drama fights, brought up my ex’s etc as fuel for arguments drama. then after 6-8 wks he would contact again, having had a break apart & there would be improvement, he would try to be less controllg etc.Old patterns return, cycle merry go round. some friends cant understand why i returned to him, but it is the addiction from their controlling, mind games, the etheric cord connection needs to be broken. As feelings emotions, love invested by us in them. He cant see he shows sociopath traits & was insulted when i suggested it or mental illness, something wrong. all he admits is he gets mentally tired. we split up again, i want to get over him & move on for good, dont want to lose any more friends lol. He never ripped me off with money or anything, always paid his way & mostly paid for me, food etc. He will come into money a fortune soon he will probably try to find a new more compatible gf. i will do things for myself, socialise more, its good to watch tv do wat i like now. He showed me a psychological report it says no psychosis but can they fake results, pull wool over eyes? his ex wife wrote on her documents that he may pull wool over psychologists eyes. he showed me court docs & had ex wifes history of their rship o it. she confirmed his outbursts of temper, unpredictable, anger, said he was physically violent. he wasnt physicall violent 2 me but had kicked furniture, on occasion.

      1. They can totally pull the wool over the courts or a mental health persons eyes. Mine told me more than once, and even put down in writing, “The more intelligent the person, the more of a challenge it is to manipulate and control them. I get high off of it.”

        HE KNEW.. precisely what he is/was doing. He likes it. Mine is even in the behavioral health industry. Talk about “knowledge is power”.

    5. Wow, I can SO relate. It hurts so much to invest in a relationship for 3 1/2 years, as I did, just to find out that it was all a lie. They will never change! Every time he talked me into going back he could never get past that 2 month mark either without going right back to how he was before I left. I finally left for good and to get back at me (because SP’s win at all cost) he manipulated my very very insecure best friend of thirty five years into sleeping with him. Once I found out about the two of them and he realized he got what he wanted, which was to hurt me and ruin a friendship he was on to his next victim.

  3. To Positiveagirl:

    What, if anything in particular besides the Santa analogy, did you do/read/see/hear that helped you to realize that your sociopathic ex wasn’t the person you initially believed him to be? As you’ve discussed (and, as everyone here has experienced), after a falling out, the sociopath returns to you on his best behavior. This reaffirms the original image you had of him. Over time, this is what is so confusing. What can I do to help myself understand that the person I met and fell in love with NEVER EXISTED? Maybe my brain and emotions are just extra stubborn, because it’s been 2 years since it ended and I still idealize the original fake image. I just discovered your website last night, and it’s already been so helpful just to see that I’m not alone in this. What can I do?

  4. My ex won’t find new supply. Maybe he can’t. He abused me for 14 years so he hasn’t had to charm much in years. Now it appears that he is unable to keep up the act long enough to lure in a new victim. He tries with me but thankfully his urge to abuse comes out within hours of him trying. It keeps me away. But now he is stalking me.

      1. My ex put a spy app on my phone and knew my every move. He could read all my texts, emails, FB and see any pictures on my cell phone. He was arrested for stalking and harassment. I thank God for this every day because I believe someone was watching out for me. As sad as it is, I know he would have convinced me to go back had he not been arrested and a no contact order in place.

  5. I am confused. I have realized that my husband has been emotionally abusive, but I think it is more than that. When he thinks he is expressing emotions to me, he has a wide eyed stare and an almost expressionless face. It’s surreal. I just wonder if I am jumping to a conclusion, but in actuality I’m scared to admit that something is majorly wrong. I also have 2 kids to worry about and I’m not in a good position to divorce, financially. I have no where to go to, and cannot support myself on my own. I have suffered from depression for years, with very pronounced lows. Major depression. When I get depressed, I want nothing to do with him. It is then when I am at my lowest that he gives himself the “okay” to let loose on me. Very mean comments and actions. This last time, I really felt like he was very angry at me, and it seemed like he was disappointed and I did not get any type of support. Actually the exact opposite. We have been separated for over 2 months, and I have agreed to live together again because he says he will change and be the husband I want him to be. I am going into this with a watchful eye, we will see how long this man will stick with his “changes”. I’m not going to open my heart again to him, I can sit here and honestly say that I don’t love him. I’m giving it another shot though. We have been together for 16 years and married for 12. We got together in high school and have been together ever since.

    1. Hi Chrystal, welcome to the site. Is he manipulative and deceptive? Is he a compulsive pathological liar? Is he very charming and charismatic? Does he threaten you if you don’t do what he wants you to? Does he have complete control over your life? Does he falsely accuse you of things that you haven’t done? Do you feel like a pawn in a game of chess? …. this is how it is being with a sociopath. They are VERY charming…. appear to be very nice…. can’t do enough to help you. Yet behind your back they are destroying every aspect of you and your life.

  6. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that my SO is a sociopath. He fits many of the traits listed here, including immaturity and inability to make long-term plans, including securing a job. I’ve been attributing this to being spoilt rotten by his parents. He also cheated on me at the beginning of our relationship. He’s selfish at times and doesn’t seem to be able to put himself in others’ shoes (and has recognized it himself). He’s smart and manipulative, and his few friends all seem to have some sort of use to him. In return, he hates being “manipulated” in the slightest way, e.g. if I ask him to come cuddle with me to “trick” him into sleeping earlier.

    However, he does seem to experience emotions. He loves watching shows and movies, and very often would cry at a particularly sad or happy scene. He would even turn to me when I’m not crying and ask if I have no heart!

    I’m in denial right now because I’ve been so happy with him over the last few years. He’s done many things for me and changed my life for the better. Should I leave him just because he matches a list on the Internet?

    1. Hi Loretta, no I don’t think that anybody should leave a relationship because their partner matches a list on the internet. The biggest thing with sociopaths is the lack of guilt, remorse or shame. They have no conscience. Are compulsive pathological liars. Will ruin you and turn your world upside down. They lie about pretty much everything. Accuse you constantly of things you have not done (that they have done)Have total domination and control over your life, while retaining privacy of their own.

    2. You shouldn’t leave him because of a list on the internet, but for the injustices you have listed.
      He cheated on you.
      He has manipulated you.
      He is selfish.
      He does contribute financially ( I assume as he can’t hold down a job. And if he’s anything like my social path he may try to fool with lavish gifts, but can’t pay rent so in the end you are buying yourself lavish gifts.)

      In the end do you really want to be with someone you have to constantly protect yourself from?

  7. How do they retain such privacy?? It’s the thing u struggled with– how he never really gave me any of himself– on any level– it’s mind boggling?! I get the mirroring & incapable of love or remorse– but it still baffles me that there is positively no transparency — or is the transparency that there is nothing there– you look right through them like glass — thinking there must be something, somewhere– it’s the trippiest part of the whole ordeal– I want to make sure I get it so I don’t make same mistake– EL

    1. The way that they do it is by focusing on YOUR needs. So in your mind he is doing nothing wrong. They retain privacy by lying keeping their life private. Compartmentalising their lives. Always excuses. It’s all part of a clever mind trick. Why? Cos they want to know all about you so they can ruin you If they wish but don’t want you to know about them …. Its all about control.

    2. I asked questions about his life all the time, realizing we were in a one-way relationship. Positiva is right, in that it didn’t make the difference. He would blame me for why he couldn’t trust me to tell me things. The irony is ridiculous when you consider it was him who got my car impounded for going on a drug run; him who was still married claiming single status; him who scr@wed his ex-wife, claiming that was over, etc., etc. Apparently, persistent deflection is an art I don’t have the patience for. No wonder they are bored all the time since this is what they have to spend their energy on?

    3. In my experience the “mirroring” is just that. They don’t have (or do not want to look at) their own self-identity. They have to “mirror” what they think they should in order to continue to “feed” off of you.

      I had a guy, who was a previous roommate of my SO. He wrote to me on FB after we changed our relationship status. It went into my general messages, so I didn’t see it on my account until months later. He warned me. And he was spot on.. right down to the “or worse” which happened physically the 2nd time I went to leave.

      The guy stated that “he” (the SO) was an emotional vampire. It is the GODS truth.

  8. I always knew something was off, but never having dealt with this type of person, I wasn’t able to pinpoint it. I thought he was just a major azzhole, and that deep inside he had to feel SOMETHING. As I read and do more research, it’s very clear that there should be a picture of my man next to the definition of sociopath in the dictionary. He does nothing to hide it, at least not towards me. Every fiber of his being has sociopath written all over it. I’m trying to use ask the valuable resources I have come across as validation of reality, yet still fund myself wanting to be with him. It’s been a week since I broke it off, after three years together we have things going on where we must still interact. I know that not everyone is a sociopath and that one day I will be able to feel joy again, not having him mess up anything that is supposed to be about me or make me feel special ( birthday, holidays, etc.) He’s all I’ve known for a long time ( just friends for two years before a three year relationship.) I constantly call him out on his behaviors, has no effect. He is an extremely difficult person to deal with. Last night I did not sleep well, actually dreamt of him, woke up in a moment of weakness and actually invited him over. He declined, then didn’t reply to my next text (control). Im I’m not a stupid woman, I’m actually a trained professional in the field of substance abuse. I’m very aware of what and who he is yet still accept the bs. I need help, for real!!! I want to shake this dude, but then I don’t. Me, as a caring, sincere human being, still wants to hold on to hope.

    1. He’s controlling you, please don’t do it, cease all contact and keep safe, at least till he moves on to his next source, its all the true what they say.. it only gets worse, I did the same, its so confusing,does your head in, the dreams,the yearning for them when you NO THEIR NO GOOD…life is so much better without them.xo

  9. He bought me a car, it’s in his name. I know it’s only a matter of time before he takes it from me to think he’s making my life miserable. I could never act too happy even when I got the car, because if he saw me too happy he’d find a way to mess it up. I’ve expressed that to him, he agreed that it’s messed up that I feel that way, but that’s reality. My grown kids no longer like him or want him around because he’s so bad at covering up his SP traits, and they are very prevelant is his personality. As mentioned, he’s great at maintaining superficial relationships, and people actually think he’s a decent guy, even tho he’s disrespectful towards everyone. He lives for the dupers delight, all day every day. He acts like someone died and made him boss in every situation. I’m actually seeing a therapist, which was his idea after a break up last year, he followed through for a brief period, did no work, then stopped going. Any feeling i express to him is invalidated and unacknowledged. Hes even blatantly said, “I’m not here to think about your feelings.” Yet calls me his future wife. Thank God I have my therapist as an outlet, because what family and friends wants to hear about the bullsh#t which is my life. Ughhhhh I hope I can find the strength, self esteem and love for myself to shake this guy.

    1. Hi susan, I am sorry that I have taken so long to allow your posts through. Welcome to the site. I have quite a few comments to go through, but welcome I hope that you get support here.

  10. Well, I wanted to share my latest round with my spathe! Pos, and everyone reading, I had my ex send me email in which he stated he was missing me. I replied with a coy “thinking of you etc” and he sent text making casual convo ( I think a trait?). Anyway, I didn’t respond.

    A week later he sends a long “heart felt” ( remember, they have no hearts) emial in which he says everything I have wanted to hear. From treating me so badly during my mom’s death, to being selfish and abhorant, blah blah. Ok- here’s the run down. I read email thinking “OMG- this is what I wanted to hear for ages” but I withdraw. Something clicks. I think, dont’ respond, this is in the wee hours mind you, and I sleep on it.
    Next day I call my sis. I tell her the story, I wait for it, I tell her how I want to send a sweet reply, blah blah. My sis? She blasts me with the “Skin bracer slap” and says Dude! After all he’s put you thru? Don’t give him time of day! Don’t respond, no nut-huh, hell no…NO! ” I was like, so much thanks- I reference this website and thank her so much for stopping me.
    NO PEOPLE, do NOT engage with these creeps. After a couple minutes of being sucked into the “oh they are sweet after all” you go back to how many times are they going to sucker is into engaging? I am glad he’s in my past. Yes we had good times Yes he was a great lover Yes I miss what I THOUGHT was him.
    It’s over- he is an illusion. I don’t want it. It ain’t worth the heart ache.
    And thank GOD for Positiva, this site, and everyone sharing in this pain.
    And thank GOD for bis sisters that know the right thing to say!
    Right on!

    1. Good on you, I did it too, that’s right, you have to totally block them, forever, don’t get sucked in to their heart felt messages txts, I’m in same boat as you, its been 6 months now and life is great, becos he’s not in it,I just wish I realised how good and better life would be without him years ago..

  11. As I read through all the comments, and the article as well, I see the same complaints that my wife has with me, to varying degrees. Am I a sociopath? I have all the power and all the control. I, according to her, have ruined her life. I do not have a criminal record but that isn’t to say I have never committed a crime or few, just that I never got caught. When we were early in our relationship we separated. While we were separated I had a fling with another female, just superficial, and when my SO and I decided to get back together I told her about it. But to me I wasn’t cheating, to her I was. This is my second marriage. I have a difficult time being a lone wolf and have always bounced from relationship to relationship because I feel incomplete while alone. I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse and may have PTSD. I have difficulty feeling other people’s feelings and honestly could care less about any other human. But I am very fond of my wife and kids, though she claims I could careless. It really irks me that I behave this way but do not see it. I don’t know what I should do, should I divorce her so that she can move on and become a human again? Do I stay and continue to try to change even though my resolve is low? How do I explain to my kids that I am a broken human and have a personality disorder, that I care about them and that is why I can’t be around them?

    Any help is appreciated.

    1. Hey Daniel…. believe me if you were a sociopath, you wouldn’t be thinking about her needs… all you would be thinking if your own needs were met. Sociopaths are about the self. What is in it for them – always. If you don’t think this way unlikely you are a sociopath?

    2. Also it is common to feel emotionally numb due to ptsd. It is normal not to have empathy with ptsd. Yes there are a lot of correlations, the difference is you are thinking of your wifes feelings above your own. Sociopaths do not do that, they are incapable of doing that, as they are the best in the world (according to them) 🙂

  12. It’s nice to read everyone’s comments on dealing with a SP. My ex is a SP and it has been one ugly road. I have so much to say but have no one to talk to about what I go through with her. I refreshing to read others victims stories because I can relate all to well. And I still have to deal with her because we have children together so it’s hard to just stop having communication with her. The children live with me. I wish I could just leave and have no contact with her. Sometimes I miss her and feel sorry for her. But I don’t want to get sucked back into her lies.

    1. The best way forward Jimmy, no matter how hard it is…. is to not get emotionally involved. Don’t listen to things about her life, and only discuss your children, never your life and never display emotion, as sadly she would only manipulate it 😦

    2. I wish I seen this website 20 yrs ago,when my hell started, 20 years of beleiving him his lies but deep down my gut was screaming at me to RUN,the times I did run he always got me back.. BUT NOW I’m free, hang in there everyone, It all makes sense now ..I hav done it,I’m free,yes he still txts, call etc,( which i never answer or reply,not out of revenge but out of Im over you,I worked it out, I no longer am in that confused head battle or even want him back) he even turned up at work yesday but I could feel the shift between us,I think he did too, I feel nothing for him,he can no longer control me,he can see this source has finished, I hav my power back, my sanity,my soul,tho it needed lots of TLC ,after 20 years I have ME back,I feel FREE,alive, oh don’t worry I no he’ll try,of course, he’s a sp but it’s me that’s changed, I’ve finally got to that point where it just didn’t matter to me what he does, says, the anger etc..I’ve changed , and his games,lies, all of it just doesn’t work on me anymore..Its not been an over night realisation but a slow process of sticking to my guns because I wanted a better, diff life,I wanted MY life ,knowing and realising he was a SP was a BIG help, for 20 years he did my head in, for 20 years I was so CONFUSED ,why does he hurt me but says he loves me, why cant i break free, And the biggy, WHY do i stay with this man when I NO HE IS BAD for me, why do i keep going back,My SP ticked all the boxes, and he is very dangerous,drugs jail violent abusive criminal record ,ex- pro boxer, sex maniac controlling possesive charismatic handsome con man charming, it goes on..I can relate to every single one of you,I read all yr letters and I just see ME,That was ME, I feel for you all,I really do,it’s a horrible place to be, in a relationship with a SP, But please hang in there,Don’t let them make you beleive its you and all in your head,its not, get out ,NOW, it won’t change,cut all contact, even if they get abusive threaten anger etc, it will pass ,then they’ll try a different tactic and send gifts cards beg ,remind you of all the good times,sex etc etc ,Stick to yr GUNS,,don’t answer don’t contact them,totallt cut them,But You HAVE to be at that point where you hav Had Enough,no more.its over..I got a new job, made new freinds, new hobbies, starting doing things that made me happy,I started laughing again, He HATED IT, gee yude think hed be happy for me, no way, hes a sp…always will be.. But I finally realised that’s his crap, And I don’t want him in MY life anymore..I changed, I found ME again.and I think I finally chose me over him..hugs to you all,xxx

  13. thank you so much for that!!
    It describes mine exactly!
    …like, he WANTS to be “that guy”, and he convinces himself that he can be, and he doesn’t really get bothered at all by the damage he does to others every time he tries and fails… and that is what makes him so dangerous.

  14. I’m out of the tunnel after 4.5y of the longest and the most scariest roller coaster of my life…I started getting off that ride over a year and a half ago, and for the last two months I can say that I’m free, completely free – once I realized that I’m the only one to stop the madness, I did it step by step, analyzing every situation and ‘feeling my feelings’

    I came to understand that the only way for me to regain my life is to get off that roller coaster….this site helped me find many answers in regards to his behavior, the answers that I could never get from him;
    I thought that the last time he came back, it will be different, because he was trying so hard to change all these things that bothered me before….he was able to put up with that mask for maybe 4 weeks; the difference this time around was me and my inner change that occurred – I started finally loving and respecting myself, set up my boundaries and stood by them; the socio/psychopath retreated – they knew when we had have enough and when they can’t get an ounce from us anymore…

    However, now I’m researching, reading, trying to understand what was wrong with me so that I put up this long with the kind of behavior that I would never advise anyone else to put up with?!
    How big my black hole had to be, how much my longing for love and understanding so that I connected with a lie?

    and I’m finding these answers in my childhood and all the mess that happened back then; also I’m finding my inner peace with all that had happened and I don’t really think I would be able to do that if this roller coaster didn’t happen; sometimes in life we must face such an enormous challenges in order to move on and find ourselves

    1. Well done to you for setting yourself free!! Long may you continue to celebrate live and the freedom that you have without anyone else trying to destroy it for you.

      1. Positivegirl, I want your opinion on this too – ‘my’ sociopath never ever said one bad word behind my back; indeed, I heard from many people that he’s always praising me; I also never talked bad about him to anyone who knows him (we’re engaged in some same social circles);
        now I see that he’s planning another offensive to get me back into his game and I know that this time I’ll just remain completely silent, no responses from me

        my question to you is why he never went on with this last stage of talking bad about me and trying to ruin my reputation? He did for everyone else around him before

  15. Reality hits you when you stop giving them what they want…which is a reaction. You stop showing them that what they do hurts u anymore. And thats when you start to notice that they only put on performances. They’ll explode or even put a sad face trying to lure you back in. And when you don’t…they move on from it like nothing. Its like you see their face say…dam that didnt work..oh well. Maybe ill try again another time. They really are machines. They pretend to feel things to toy with you. Their only goal is to be admired….and to take. NOthing else. They don’t want love. They actually despise it. It disgusts them. It is unnatural to them. They’ll lie ofcourse to convince you otherwise.

  16. Question: how did you find out about the magnitude of lies? Did he confess? My husband has always been an exaggerator, and has had a habit of lying to me about little things..I became intrigued and as I monitored for more ‘little’ lies, I started to uncover much bigger ones… And completely bizarre sex filled tales to people I would never come in contact with. This is what caused me to start to see what he hid so well for so long. And I have flashbacks to things he told me years ago that I now figure where complete fabrications. And his reaction to my questions with rage or deflection mixed with physical intimidation speaks volumes. So I know, just don’t have the details…

    Did third parties ever come forward? Or did you contact any third parties and would you recommend?

  17. I’m a diagnosed psychopath (antisocial, marked high on MMPI). Yes, I have taken pride before in knowing that I can get anyone to fall in love with me, and that I can enter any job and make it to the top very quickly. But I also take pride in the fact that I’ve stayed in a romantic relationship now for almost 4 years, which is a milestone for me! (I’m almost 30). I also take pride in the fact that I have stayed friends with one person for going on 20 years. I even moved away a year ago and tried to start all over, but came back and picked up where I left off. And I know it may sound crazy to you “normal” people, but that was a big deal to me. I had to put my whole life back together and make it even better. I still have the strong desire to just cut off all ties and live completely by myself (I would be perfectly happy like this!), but I fight to keep up appearances every day. To the point where I have to take a few days to myself every once in a while because I literally tire of acting and making everyone happy, and I long for and relish in solitude. So yea, we may not be “normal,” but I know I sure do try – despite people around me knowing what’s “wrong” with me. And it may be horrible to say this, but I find it a blessing many times to not feel regret or hurt over something, seriously it looks like it sucks.

    1. I don’t understand why you work so hard to ‘make people happy’ I guess this is the way for you to hide…. in full view of everyone..

      My psycho ex also loved to make people happy on the surface while causing destruction behind the scenes.

      1. Honestly, I don’t care what people think about me unless it directly affects me. I make people in my personal circle and in my career believe who I want them to believe I am, and I build off of that. To the people I chose to have in my life, I am an angel, social butterfly and a make a great contribution to society. When I’m done needing someone in my life, they disappear. (No, I don’t kill them, they just stop being in my choice of people in my social circle. It’s fun, I actually find it numerous. I love finding new people to charm as challenges – I pride myself in the fact that I can make anyone absolutely adore me. And that helps me get to any position or status I want.

    2. I haven’t been officially diagnosed yet, but I appear to fit the key traits of a sociopath, though I realize that a self-diagnosis is less than useless for mental illnesses. I am 18, and entering college, for contextualization.

      Thank you… psychopath… for your input, I think this is the first piece of writing that accurately conveyed my feelings (or apparent lack thereof) about being sociopathic. Where you can just kinda “feel” what people want out of you, and their reasoning for it. The complete and utter exhaustion of pretending on such a vast time-frame. The lack of hurt has personally helped me a few times, with utterly horrifying results for “normal” people. The first, chronologically, was when a close family friend died of colon cancer, I remember hugging my crying mother, trying to console her, and not feeling a thing on the day of his funeral. the second time was when my grandfather died, I was hanging out with friends at the time, and I got a call, so I stepped outside, and was confronted with the news, so I headed back in, and continued laughing and having fun with my friends, like nothing had ever happened.

      I just found out recently that I might be a sociopath, so I’ve been sublimating the related traits, and have apparently convinced myself that I am my own mask, all the feelings I pretend to have, I can actually feel, until I no longer have need of them. and that seems to be the most convincing way to fake emotions

      1. Hi there. It is tiresome and downright frustrating at times “keeping up appearances.” But as long as someone is needed in your life, or you’re trying to appear as a certain someone, it is mandatory. I find myself looking forward to deaths of close friends and family, not just because of the attention of everyone giving you condolences, but also because I can swope in as the “hero” every time and be the better person by rising above all the drama, offering help with no limit or desire for pay back. I have established a strong role as “the family heart” in these situations. However, it’s easy to keep them at distance with them all being out of town. I’ve been acting out emotions my whole life, practice makes perfect. Just show a little, that’s all it takes. You can pull off the lack of it later as “shock.”

    1. I find psychos humorous. Why is that? I find the behaviour fascinating. You don’t really have the ability to hurt me. Annoy me maybe. But not hurt me. I feel sorry for you tbh. Has to be boring mirroring people and faking emotions. Always having to move on. So much drama all the time. I wouldn’t trade places. Although am sure you think you are superior to me. I still wouldn’t trade places with you and not have emotions. That must be empty living.

  18. I’m going to be completely honest with you because this is anonymous so I have nothing to hide. There are pros and cons to my state of mind. Some call it a “disorder” or a “abnormality.” I view myself as having a more developed brain in the sense that I can control my emotions and how I want to display them. I cannot imagine the suffering of being enslaved by emotions and letting other people have the power to hurt me with their actions. That is a horrible way to live! Also, another pro is the fact that I sleep beautifully at night with absolutely no remorse, knowing that I am living life to the fullest with no regrets! On the con side of the matter though, I exhaust myself of acting sometimes. And I tire so easily of people. For example, if I’m having a dinner party I’m ready for them to leave half way through, but at that point I’m stuck being nice and playing the perfect hostess. (Which I’m well known for). I often just want to move away and cut all my ties, but I stop myself from doing with the small handful in my life that I love. Yes, I used the word love, because I love to the best of my ability. But thank god I will never feel heart break!!!

  19. Oh and I would never trade places with a “normal” person ever !!! You keep your emotions all to yourself please. I live a very happy and fulfilling life.

  20. Well of course he acted to fit in. But he probably felt the same about being happy not having to deal with emotions.

  21. Let me ask you this … Have you ever had your heart broken? Or someone close to you die? You wouldn’t have given anything for that pain to go away during that time?

    1. Gosh no. …. grieving is part of saying goodbye. It’s part of the connection. Yes of course it hurt so much I wanted to take my heart out put in a cupboard. Given choice would I have not felt… no way… you see feeling that pain is where we spiritually grow. It gives us depth of character..

  22. So you admit that you wanted to take your heart out and put it in a cupboard, but then you said feeling that pain gave you spiritual growth. You’re contradicting yourself.

    And yes, I’ve actually been through some past life regression and was told I’m an older soul. It’s an interesting theory.

  23. Not sure if my reply went through, so I apologize if this is a double. So you admit that you wanted to put your heart in a cupboard, but then you said you feel that pain gave you spiritual growth. You’re contradicting yourself.

    Also, I’ve done some past life regression and was told I’m an old soul. I find it an interesting concept.

  24. No I don’t. I find my spiritual growth in other ways. For instance, I like biking, hiking, camping, rock climbing etc. Those are all ways that I relate with nature and find solace in solitude. Pain is not a good thing unless it’s controlled, emotion weakens and spirituality can be extremely hypocritical if done in the wrong way. Just my opinion…

  25. Don’t you have other ways you can cope and gain spirituality? I’m sure you can think of some other ways…

  26. Thank you for being able to open my eyes after being lied to and manipulated for over a year and a half. I am at the early stages of finally changing my number and trying to move in with my life. Very difficult. I’m so sad and mad at myself for not seeing this sooner. There were so many red flags I chose to ignore because I truly wanted to believe he was the guy that I wanted him to be. Having a difficult time but I refuse to allow anyone to break my spirit. Even someone line this. I love hard have a love for life and God I am nice kind and respect others. I am 50 years old going through a divorce. I am a personal trainer have run marathons and have used my gym workouts as an outlet. He took total advantage of all that I was and dissected me on every level. I feel pretty broken and I know that there have been others throughout our relationship. And I know now he is on to his next victim. I can only thanks god for protecting me and allowing me to finally get the courage to really see him. My heart hurts really bad but I know that when you experience real pain and are being reborn what lies in the other side of this heartache and pain is going to be so powerful and extraordinary. I thank you for allowing me to vent

  27. Hi… I have been in and out of a relationship with a sociopath for 10 years. He literally is exactly text book sociopath. He is the Prince Charming sweeping you off your feet making you fall right into his trap- then he can only hold up that facade for so long and the real him emerges. It’s a roller coaster ride- Restraining orders, nonsense.. and when he thinks your slipping he’s absolutely loving you like crazy and the fantasy resumes.. you want to believe him but he really is just a pathological liar. He’s so good at lying, the lies just roll off his tongue- with such ease, it’s crazy.. and like a jack ass I fall back into the trap. I want to believe their is goodness in him but now know there is none.. just nothing..he is empty – died t know what love is.. control, emotional abuse, yes.. love.. No! I have recently exited the relationship and it’s hard because the fantasy of what he painted was beautiful but not true..

    1. Hi Harriet, I think it is not helpful for you to think that there is no goodness. I found it better to believe that he did have some goodness, but that this was not enough for me. For behind the ‘good’ was the bad which far outweighed, and undid all of the good that was ever done. I had to understand the destruction that was and always would be caused. That there would never be any change. Always there would be further destruction and loss. Even if he was good, guaranteed, he would see this as a pass for brownie points to be destructive again. Always the destruction was worse than any good. Even when there was good, this was often manipulative to get what he wanted. Then one day, when they want nothing from you, they don’t even act anymore. The good is a reflection of you, to give you what he thought you wanted. Only like you say, he couldn’t keep it up for any length of time. Then BANG you are back around the cycle, again and again and again. The only way to break that cycle, was to walk away.

      Horrible though isn’t it? As the good that they present, is the part that you miss. When you realise that usually that was for their own agenda, everytime he opened his mouth was likely a lie – what is the point? It is then that you realise that what you thought you had, you really didn’t.

      You can’t change them. 10 years is a long time. Even if the relationship was normal, it would still be a long time. This takes healing. I hope you have good support around you – expect him to pop back up, with false empty promises, that he might keep -for a while. But then the cycle repeats again, but – you know this if you have been there for 10 years. I expect you went around this cycle many many times. It is exhausting, also devastating that you gave so much of your life to someone, who was always playing a game. But – know that playing the game is all he knows, and all he is capable of. It will never get any better. If you don’t want him, he will quickly move onto someone else and try to throw this at you, to make you jealous, and show how he is a ‘changed man’…. but, don’t fall for that either, again, it is simply him playing the game.

  28. I have a sister who I have recently realised is a sociopath. It’s taken me years of feeling something is ‘not quite right’ about her. I’ve been put in situations where I’ve been hurt and she somehow comes to my rescue. I’ve realised now that she has cleverly orchestrated and manipulated these situations. I’ve always found myself saying give her the ‘benefit of the doubt’ and feeling it’s me who is too sensitive.
    After one recent falling out where I was desperately hurt over a situation she had again caused ( behind the scenes) I ended up getting very upset and outspoken, then somehow apologising to her after the guilt she made me feel. My friends were so angry with her and annoyed with me for apologising. They felt her actions were terrible and it was a deal breaker situation.
    Reading up on sociopaths with the lack of empathy, constant competition, manipulation of situations and lies now makes so much sense. I feel such relief that this hasn’t been my fault. This is ALL her.
    I’m very sensitive and empathetic by nature and she has exploited this privately and publicly.
    She is still in our family and my parents refuse to believe what she is for fear of losing their grandchildren which I do understand. I’ve taken a huge step back and I’m only attending family gatherings a handful of times a year if she’s there. The need to protect myself and my family now is paramount and if that means seeing my parents less, than sadly so be it.
    I wish anyone going through any situation linked to a sociopathic type personality the strength to protect themselves, change the dynamics by understanding what they are and understand their motives.
    Failing that, limit contact or walk
    away as soon as you can.

  29. To those saying that only angry ex-girlfriends write on this topic:
    The ex-girlfriends are the ones who are seeking to commiserate with each other after suffering through periods of anguish like this. It is naive (or ignorant) to believe that sociopaths have any desire to take part in conversations such as these.

    To the person claiming to have the tendencies associated to sociopaths but doesn’t believe they have all of the same qualities as those that were mentioned here:
    If you really are a sociopath (which i find highly unlikely), then good news: you are a functional sociopath. Like a functional drug addict, there is still a disorder which is causing you issues in your life, but you are able to continue living and survive without succumbing to the mental illness that is present.

    My opinion is that if you are arguing with this post, you likely have never been exposed to the actions of a sociopath before or you are deluding yourself for reasons known only to you. I can only assume that the angry posts are from wannabe sociopaths who are trying to play a part to fill some psychological need. But, respectfully, I would sooner assume that you were an angst-filled teenager than a sociopath.

    Quit turning this post into something it is not.

    To the author:
    Childhood neglect, especially during the first one to three years of life, seem to be a deciding factor in developing this disorder. However, there are many others who did not suffer a traumatizing childhood who genetically lack the ability to feel these emotions. I’m sorry for your experience but I’m glad that you were able to walk away from the cycle.

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