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Sociopaths, words and sharing

Old time psychoanalysts connect a young child’s desire to share experiences with caregivers to the development of a healthy personality. The idea that any pleasure is better if we share it starts shortly after the first birthday. That is also the time language starts to develop. Words then become a way to share experiences. Healthy people use words to share their feelings, interests and desires. A little child who has just learned to walk will bring her toy over to dad to share it. She is delighted when he makes some comment about it. We take for granted that everyone has this desire to share and take mutual delight.

As I write this I am sharing with you truths I have found deeply meaningful, so you are getting a part of me when you read what I write. If you read the many posts I have written you can get to know me to a certain degree. But what if my writing was not a reflection of anything I personally care about. What if I wrote only to cause some sort of reaction in you? I am not capable of that kind of writing because it is only my desire to share what I think is interesting and compelling that at all motivates me to write. If nothing interesting happens to me I find I have nothing to share and nothing to write. For me the sharing is everything, I wouldn’t write without it. After reading a new book, I thought about sharing this week and realized that if I didn’t want to share, I wouldn’t communicate at all. I like teaching at the university because for me teaching is a form of sharing and I feel affection for the students.

It has been nearly 6 years since I said goodbye to a sociopath, but I am just now coming to grips with many aspects of the disorder. This week I understood on an emotional level this idea of sharing through verbal communication.

Regarding psychopaths, Elizabeth Howell wrote in The Dissociative Mind page 251:

Used instrumentally, words do not share the self or communicate with the other, but function as triggers to effect targeted behavior in another person. Even when the psychopath uses words imbued with a highly symbolic meaning, such as religious words or words evoking trust, he is not operating in the realm of symbolic thought (because his/her words are not functioning to symbolize any inner feelings). Thus psychopaths may appear or seem to be involved with symbols, as others are, but they are using their knowledge of others’(use of words) …and manipulating through them.”

Rather than for sharing, a sociopath uses words instrumentally or for effect. His or her words have no real relationship to anything on the inside… truly remarkable if you ask me; a reality that completely blows me away when I think about it even after all these years.

Howell further writes:

Unimpeded by any concern for the other or considerations of conscience, the psychopath uses language in a manner that can be highly effective in achieving the desired ends. And to the degree that instrumental behavior is effective it will be repeated.

As I consider what Howell wrote I am reminded of the card Gem’s father wrote to her for her 18th birthday (see last week’s blog). The card was purely instrumental, designed to have an effect on the reader.

Consider the profound implications of the instrumental use of language. You will likely come to two conclusions regarding what your sociopath says. First you always have to wonder what the sociopath is trying to achieve with his words because it ain’t sharing. Second you realize that no real communication is possible.

If you are stuck in life with a sociopath or are trying to decide if a continued relationship is possible please consider that every word that comes from the sociopath is instrumental. The sociopath has never shared herself with you. The sociopath has never really shared a pleasure with you. Even the sex was not about sharing. The sex was about the sociopath’s pleasure and his or her prowess as a lover.



102 Comments on "Sociopaths, words and sharing"

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  1. Matt says:

    blondie:

    Any chance she can send you an email so you can see the address? If he’s using your name in any manner, this could give you some ammo.



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  2. pb says:

    Words and sharing? HA! I love the games of semantics they get into:

    Oct 6th/08 my N showed up to spend the night. He wanted to “escape” his life and we had agreed to be non-exclusive (he had no reason to lie anymore). He was sporting a shiner and I asked him about it. He said he’d been at a BBQ and was just being a “nice guy” and this womans soon-to-be ex showed up, “misunderstood things” and punched him a few times.

    We’d had a lovely evening and were just falling asleep.
    At nearly 11 pm, his cel phone rang, and kept ringing, but we don’t have reception at my place. He got up and began to put his clothes on. I was shocked and asked who was on the phone.
    “A woman. I have to go. I have to go scream and yell and tell her to F-off. This is crazy!”
    “Is this the same woman you got the shiner from?” I asked.
    “No, I don’t even know her and I haven’t had sex with her.”
    “Well, if she doesn’t matter, then why don’t you use my land line to call her?”
    “No, I have to go.”
    I was thoroughly choked that he was leaving my bed for another woman who supposedly meant nothing to him. I told him that it was only my business because he was leaving to go deal with her. “She’s butting in on my time.”
    We talked an hour later and I asked him again about the woman and the shiner. He again denied it was her.
    I quickly did the math and said, “Well, that means you have 5-6 of us on the go!”
    “Yeah, and I don’t care about any of them. They’re all over the top”, and “I don’t know why these women are falling for me when I’m just trying to be a nice guy!” He denied any involvement with any of them.
    I said, “Women don’t just fall in love without anything happening.” He denied encouraging them at all. He was the victim.
    I can’t believe I actually thanked him for being “honest” with me.
    I again asked about the woman on the phone (he called her a phone stalker, “She’s having troubles”, and said that she’d been keeping him up for a week). He said that he wanted to be sitting in front of me when he explained, “So you’ll know I’m telling the truth. I wanna be looking you in the eyes. You’ll laugh when I tell you.”
    “I didn’t know when you were lying before. Why should it be any different now?” I laughed at him.
    “Was I looking you in the face or just telling you?”
    I noted his “angle” in that question – how he works or justifies things.
    “Both” I said, “You lied to me about her sister while looking straight at me.”

    Meanwhile, I had been doing homework on his computer one night and he had left his email open…There was an email titled, “Affadavit” in his mailbox. I figured he was up to something to do with me or our legal stuff and had a look.
    N showed up at her house, served her husband with divorce papers, at 2 am!, and then told the man he was going upstairs to spend the night in HIS house, with HIS wife…Yup! He got punched alright – rightfully so too. Knowing how he minimizes his actions; I can only imagine the real story.

    Weeks later, he said he had received a call from his hairdresser (the “phone stalker” who also happens to be his ex-lovers sister) asking him to serve divorce papers to her husband, which he said he did at 10 pm (What happened to the BBQ? What about 2 am?), and that that was when he got punched. I didn’t tell him I’d seen the affadavit.

    I was onto him and had counted his Cialis weekly for a six-week period. He was using enough Cialis to get laid more than every other day for the entire time.

    Finally, on Nov 21, after smelling someone elses perfume on “my” robe at his place, I nailed him on the Cialis. He admitted that he had been having sex with phone stalker/hairdresser and waved a couple of condoms around saying he uses them with her (this is how it all started in the first place – he refused to use condoms with me and was denying he was having sex with anyone else. It would’ve been a non-issue had he put a lid on it).

    Two weeks later, I knew she had been there, but the two condoms were still in the drawer. He wasn’t using them at all. He’d said he was “selective” as if STD’s only go for certain types of people.

    It turns out, N had called his ex-lover and according to her he demanded she “come over now or I’ll find someone else”. She said “No” and he took off to her sisters place – “the phone stalker”, and the brawl ensued.

    Exactly what freaking part of this was I ever going to “laugh” at or find funny – besides him? That’s what amazes me.
    You have to pay way too much attention with these guys. It’s a full-time job just keeping on top of their lies.
    Luckily I have it all on tape. It’s not illegal to record yourself in conversation with someone; it may not be admissable in court, but I have it all just in case any more of these women call again to yell at me about the way I treated him.



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  3. pb says:

    …Oh, and I’m supposed to “laugh” at his thinking it’s okay to lie as long as he’s not looking me in the eyes!
    Sure! That’s a “nice guy”?…He’s morally corrupt and bankrupt.
    Like I said in another posting, his church will probably spontaneously combust if he – soul-less evil incarnate he is, ever walks into it again.



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