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Actions speak louder than words… or do they?

This week two people contacted me, both adult daughters of sociopaths. In one case her father and in the other case her mother has psychopathic personality traits. Interestingly, both disordered parents claim to be “Christian” and the theme of our discussions was the disparity between what the parent says and what they do. Both women shared the belief that this disconnect between words and action is particularly damaging to children. I agree with this assertion because I have also seen it in other cases.

Why would the disconnect between words and actions be so damaging to children?

Consciousness develops gradually during childhood. Consciousness means connecting words, thoughts and feelings to what is happening in reality. Many children naturally idealize their parents and so are inclined to believe the version of reality their parents present in words. But what if the words and reality don’t in fact match? Consider the following example a father wrote to his daughter from prison. Keep in mind this father is a repeat offender who has defrauded and ruined many including family members:

I have a lot of time to sit here and ponder the course of my life. I know I have wronged the family, and for that I am truly sorry. I have been so selfish and stubborn… I haven’t seen or talked to you in well over a year and I can’t help but wonder the rippling effect that sends into the demonic realm. I hope all is well. I love you with the perfect love of the Father.

This is a perfect example of the way a sociopath communicates. His agenda isn’t apparent until the third to the last sentence. His agenda is to manipulate her into having contact with him. But unless you are aware of how a person with psychopathic personality traits operates, you wouldn’t necessarily get that. He starts out stating a fact, he has unlimited time in prison to think. Then it’s progressively out of reality from there. He also connects her failure to contact him with something demonic, suggesting that things might not “be well.” He concludes by proclaiming he has “perfect love.”

I have been chatting with the recipient of this letter for some time and can tell you the father, in addition to ruining her mother’s life was extremely verbally abusive. A parent who abuses while saying, “I love you with the perfect love of the Father,” inflicts wounds that are hard to heal. How can a child make any sense of this experience?

Dissociation- dealing with the disconnect

The different parts of our brains that perform different functions are functionally connected. Experiences we have during childhood but also throughout our lives, determine the functional connectivity of our brains. When reality doesn’t make sense our brains automatically compensate to create a coherent whole. So for example, a child whose parent abuses and says “I love you” may deny the abuse or blame it on themselves. Children whose parents, and adults whose partners continually do one thing while speaking the opposite experience a form of hypnosis. In this hypnotic state they only focus attention on the parts of reality that support the version of reality given to them by the sociopath. (If you have a lot of time read my story and see how this happened to me with disastrous consequences.) But what are the consequences of a childhood or adulthood habit of self-hypnosis? We don’t really know the full answer to that question.

How to heal

The first step in healing is realizing what happened to you and understanding that self-hypnosis or dissociation doesn’t mean you are crazy. It is a functional response to differing inputs. The next step is to fight the hypnosis. Stop having contact with the sociopath. If you do have to have communication, do not listen to the words, try to keep present in your mind the real actions of the sociopath. Tell yourself, “actions speak louder than words.”

Lingering questions

If you have experienced the disconnect between words and actions, I discuss here, you are undoubtedly asking yourself, “Do they do this on purpose?” or “Do they know what they are doing?” The answer is some do and some don’t. The ones that know what they are doing are perhaps more evil and the ones who don’t know what they are doing are perhaps more affected with psychopathy. No matter what, the sociopath makes a choice about what he/she does.



115 Comments on "Actions speak louder than words… or do they?"

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  1. Cashaw30 – Welcome to Lovefraud, although I am truly sorry about the circumstances that brought you to this website. I hope you find much information here that can help you understand what happened and recover from the terrible acts inflicted upon you.

    NotWhatHeSaidOfMe – thank you so much for the warm welcome to Cashaw30. I echo everything you said.



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  2. Stargazer says:

    Dear cashaw30: I was not planning to hang out here much, but I saw your story and I feel compelled to respond because our stories are so similar, both raised with naricissistic mothers and sociopathic fathers (in my case, a stepfather). I am running off to Zumba class, and will respond in length later. I am 51 and have had a few years more of healing than you, so I hope I can give you some hope for your future as you read this post.

    First, the fact that you are reaching out (which was the hardest part for me) is a sign that you are well on your way to healing. I want you to know that the way you feel now is NOT who you truly are and not how you are going to feel later. You can recover and experience more joy and peace than you ever believed possible. But you need a road map. My path has been very unconventional, and it is not for everyone. But I have discovered some key components to recovery that seem to be necessary for all of us. I will talk about them when I get back. I will just say now that when I was 37, I was in a great deal of pain. I had not yet met the sociopath who caused me to end up here. That happened when I was 48. So you are very young, and you have your whole life ahead of you. The people here will help, but there will be some work and realizations you will come upon yourself.

    I just wanted to pop in and give you some hope and some reason to smile a little on the inside. I wish someone had done this for me when I was struggling as you are. I did not know of anyone who had been through what I’d been through, and wasn’t on the internet in those days.

    I will come back and write more later.

    Sherri



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  3. Stargazer says:

    Oops – I misspoke. I will be 54 next week! I don’t know why 51 popped out!



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  4. star_al says:

    Thanks to you both for sharing and I would like you to know that I am the same. My parents are evil, same with my brother. Every friend I had in school was psychopathic. The dissonance became my identity; people said I was so calm. I was totally out of it, not present. My speech became slow, I couldn’t stay awake and I had severe depression. I’ve never been well.

    I feel for people in hopeless 3rd world countries. I know what it’s like to not have one resource, being under complete control of this cult. I realised at some point that they were not going to respect me, so I decided I would trick them. I was doing it subconsciously. I became the epitome of everything they said they believed in. I stuck to their rule book to a tee, I took onboard their comments that I was negative and cold, and I turned my trauma around. So while still unhealthy, I became their image of perfection. I turned their tactics around on them. If they criticised me, I would say they just weren’t trying hard enough to be positive, and everything was ok. If they falsely accused me, I no longer got angry, but stared calmly at them and said, “well I didn’t mean it like that. I’m very sorry, I just wanted us to get along.” If they tried to twist words, I would repeat it back, then change the subject, like “have you ever noticed what a funny sounding word that is?” Make a joke, lighten it up. Somehow it seemed to work.

    It got to the point where they had no ammunition. And you know what happened? They just thought, “fuck this, let’s destroy her.” They knew there was a checkmate, and they had lost all of their games – I was too smart. But by that point I had a job that made me famous in my city, I had power, money and my health was better. They couldn’t get me. In hindsight, I realised I should have walked away before turning this game around. But it was the satisfaction of using their tactics to get ahead and create a good reputation. I’m sure a lot of people ask them what happened to their daughter.

    I’ve had many psychopath boyfriends since as I didn’t know what it was. They were all cruxes to deal with the loneliness. Having a high-profile and high achieving job actually makes things harder. Difficult to make friends, plus when I have to do work writing about crimes and abuse, I have the regression.

    I think all of us in healing need to avoid judging ourselves and setting limits for recovery that are too quick and too high. Embrace the part of you that has been abused because it’s a signal to you of what your values are. You value boundaries, happiness, health and respect. The pain tells you someone else did not. They are gone now, but you still have those values.

    Our families are broken and we are devastated. But we cannot take responsibility for them. I know all the tricks, they’ll say anything to get you back in the web. But I guess the things that helped me was that I was always challenging people on what they said and I was always rebellious. When I hold them to account on their words, they make some excuse.

    We did not ask for this, and so we have to congratulate ourselves. No matter the age (I’m nearly 30 and thought I’d be married by now, but I’ve learned how messed up everyone is and so try to not fret and judge), there is always time. No matter what they did, it wasn’t the full story of what was going on at the time. You still did things you loved and got involved in things you love. I recommend doing those. Keep telling the damaged part you didn’t deserve it. Remind yourself of how strong you are, because you are away now. Don’t try to fix it, they messed up and it’s over.

    The world is quite a harsh place and I’ve found healing difficult because three therapists have been psychopaths too. Life doesn’t work out as in books and movies. But I’m going to rest as much as I need and keep going.

    XX



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    • 4Light2shine says:

      Star_al, I just wanted to say a quick hello and to thank you for sharing your comments with everyone here. I have read your posts before. Your experiences and your understanding because of the depth of inescapable involvement you had I would say is quite unique. I’ve noticed that many here are late 40’s before opening our eyes and understanding what is actually happening around us. You are well ahead of the curve. It’s encouraging to hear from someone who overcame incredible odds to survive that level of entanglements. You have so much time left ahead of you to repurpose your life, to build a life with genuine positivity as opposed to the empty projections that spaths use to label you as negative or too sensitive. I know that one too well. Take care.



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    • Pi4u says:

      We sound like we have had similar struggles, not exactly. My mother is the psychopath or malignant narcissist, i’m just now coming to terms with this, Honestly I thought two weeks ago that psychopaths where all serial killer types. My sister committed suicide about 7 years ago she fully internalized the things that happened to us as children, like the article said denying the abuse and neglect or blaming herself for it. I always said I survived because I wasn’t as loving, I wasn’t as soft as my beautiful sister. Around 12 is when I too accepted that continually trying to love and forgive my mom wasn’t working, and I started to fight back. That fight, never internalizing her crazy, is why I survived. Oh but life can be a bitch when Satan doesn’t get in one way he sure will try another, but God is bigger than anything that the world can offer. “In this world you will have tribulations, but fret not for I have overcome the world.” Good scripture.
      The whole idea of sociopathy and narcissism the concept of a lack of empathy, is so incomprehensible for me, although I’m working to relinquish that part that does not wish to comprehend the implications of it, and I know I will.
      I too have been successful in my life, although God’s put me in this place of stagnation so that I can gro. I just wanted to write that I appreciate you, what you have done and how you have used it. I appreciate your story, and will pray for you, and that as your universe changes, you will be drawn to safer and safer places. I too had a few dysfunctional relationships as a cause of my internal hardships and upbringing, but since I’ve conquered so many other issues from my childhood – this last one the issue of allowing myself to be loved will happen soon enough, both of us have great hope!

      Love
      T



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  5. jenna23 says:

    The night my ex spath raped me and pulled my hair out he said as I tried to leave his house (which he wouldn’t let me), he said ‘I love you I don’t want you to leave ‘. He said it several times and still wouldn’t let me leave. Actions and words don’t add up



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