Most people believe sociopaths are just the mass murders in our society; however, that is not the truth. Estimates say that 1 in 25 of humans are diagnosable with this disorder. Chances are you will cross paths or have already engaged in a relationship with a one.
Charmer. Con artist. Chameleon. Master Manipulator. These are just a few names by which you may have come to know a sociopath or psychopath, an individual that experiences little to no conscious guilt, empathy, shame or remorse and has an ongoing pattern of disregard for the rights and concern of others.
If you find yourself in a relationship with a sociopath you will know by the violations you are sustaining to your emotional and mental health, physical being, sexual integrity, and/or finances. The following guidelines will help you to deal with the sociopath, as well as other types of toxic and abusive personalities:
13 rules on dealing with a sociopath:
- Accept that some people truly have no conscience. If you have been in denial, it’s time to recognize you are being abused and violated and stop making excuses or accepting excuses for consistently bad behaviors.
- Go with your instincts or intuition vs. the implied role he has taken on. Sociopaths are excellent communicators. Don’t believe him.
- Give three strikes: First offense look at the claims, responsibilities, and promises made or implied and address any inconsistencies. Do not sweep them under the rug. Was it a simple mistake or recklessness? Second offense or neglect of responsibility: consider if you are placing yourself in physical, emotional, or financial risk. What is your personal cost to staying in this relationship? By the third strike, cut your losses!
- Be suspicious of those who don’t want you to question them and do question authority.
- Don’t confuse fear with respect. Know what R-E-S-P-E-C-T means to you and teach others how you want to be treated. BTW – Abusive individuals are not very teachable.
- Do not join the game. Don’t try to redeem them. Don’t try to get even. It only prolongs involvement and delays your recovery.
- Avoid and refuse any contact or communication with the abuser. Change jobs and residence if necessary.
- Don’t live in isolation. Sociopaths seek those who are isolated, insecure, and vulnerable. Be part of a caring community.
- Enlist support from family and friends, Human Resources, an attorney, therapist and/or the police. Join a support group such as Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy, Psychopath Free, etc.
- Document. Document. Document.
- Recognize the “Pity Play”, which is his weapon of choice to hook into your sentiments and compassion, enabling him to get away with murder. Genuine remorse or repentance is introspective, the individual wants to pay restitution and is willing to be held accountable. Don’t be so quick to give your time, money, home, car, or care. Make sure he isn’t putting you through a cycle of abuse, which includes a period of romance and good behavior before he acts out again.
- Never agree to help him conceal his true character. He will tell you not to tell anyone but don’t keep his secrets.
- Share your experience. It can help others not fall victim and can help you find purpose.
If you or a loved one has been in a relationship with a sociopath or a toxic individual, most likely you have experienced a loss of trust, a loss of sense of security and your self-worth. Working with a professional will expedite healing and recovery. It will help you to release the negative emotions lodged by this traumatic encounter and help you to embrace joy, peace, trust and intimacy.
From Love Trauma To Fearless Love: 7 Tango Steps for Breaking Free From Narcissists and Predators
Download the Free Excerpt: Lovetrauma.com.
Martha Stout, PhD; (2005) The Sociopath Next Door. NY: Broadway Books.