Suppose you realize that you’re in an unhealthy romantic relationship. Or, your instincts are telling you that the person in hot pursuit of you is bad news. How do you end the involvement?
When you’re romantically involved with reasonably normal individuals, you usually try to spare their feelings. You don’t come out and say that they’re boring, or needy, or oafish, even if that’s what you feel. You make up excuses. You tell them that you’re getting back with an old boyfriend or girlfriend, even if that’s a lie. You say you’re just not ready for a relationship right now, even if that’s also a lie.
In essence, when breaking up with an okay person who just isn’t your type, you try to let them down easy.
This is precisely the wrong approach when breaking up with a sociopath.
Red Flags of Lovefraud
Perhaps this hot new lover has swept into your life, showered you with attention and affection, and is promising a wonderful future. Initially, you are swept off your feet, head over heels excited.
But, because you’re a Lovefraud reader, you eventually recognize this person’s inordinate attention as love bombing. You look for the other Red Flags of Love Fraud, and you see them.
In the meantime, your instincts have been trying to get your attention. You’ve been ignoring them, but you no longer can. You’ve seen the mask slip. There was a flicker of rage, or manipulation, or cold indifference. And this person is slowly trying to control you, under the guise of concern for your welfare, or wanting to be with you every moment of every day.
You finally admit to yourself that this is a bad situation, and you need to end it.
What do you do?
The following advice applies if you’re in a relationship that does not include complications such as kids, property or massive amounts of money.
Tell the person ONE TIME that you do not want any involvement with him or her. Make your decision very clear.
I have no romantic interest in you whatsoever.
I am certain I never will.
Put your attention elsewhere, because that’s what I’m going to do.
Do not contact me ever again.
Yes, it’s brutal. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings. Remember, if you’re dealing with a sociopath, he or she doesn’t really have any. You want to make it very clear that you want nothing to do with this person.
By the way, yes, you can send the rejection statement via text or email. It’s safer for you, because if you’re not physically there, the person does not have the opportunity to manipulate you.
After you tell the person ONE TIME that you do not want an involvement, you have no further contact with this individual.
- You do not talk on the phone.
- You do not send texts or emails.
- You certainly do not see the individual in person.
- You do not visit their Facebook page.
Some sociopaths will immediately start a campaign to win you back. They’ll call, text and email incessantly. DO NOT RESPOND.
If the person sends you 50 text messages, and after the 51st text message, you reply saying, “Leave me alone,” you have taught the person that it takes 50 text messages to get a response from you. So they start sending messages again.
There are several approaches to avoiding messages from the sociopath. You can block calls and text messages on your phone, or change your phone number. You can block emails or change your email address. The downside of these approaches is that the sociopath knows he or she is being blocked, and will try to circumvent your efforts.
Gavin DeBecker suggests another approach. He advises you to keep the phone number that the sociopath knows, but get another line. Give the new number to the people who you want to have it. The sociopath keeps calling, but the calls go to voice mail, which you never check. The benefit of this approach is that the sociopath believes the calls are going through, and you are ignoring them.
If the sociopath has been violent towards you, you need to be extra cautious. The most dangerous time for anyone in a violent relationship if right when you leave. The abuser will be angry about losing control over you and may strike out.
If the sociopath has not been violent towards you, but you know he or she has been violent towards other people, animals or property, you should still be cautious. Any history of violence is an indication that the violence could be turned towards you.
Therefore, use extra caution when ending the involvement with someone who is violent. If you are living together, leave when the person is not home. Ask your family and friends for support. You may need to contact police.
When you tell them that the involvement is over, some sociopaths will leave you alone — for awhile. Then, after weeks, months or even years, they return.
They admit that they were wrong in the relationship. They tell you that they’ve been to therapy, or to church. They say you were the best thing that ever happened to them, and they want to try again.
Do not fall for it. Sooner or later, you’ll see the same controlling or abusive behavior as before — except it will be worse. And you, having taken them back, will have less emotional strength to throw them out again.
Dumping the sociopath
This is the basic outline for dumping the sociopath. It may need to be modified based on your situation — it’s more difficult, for example, if you and your ex-partner work together. (In that case, you may need to look for a new job.)
Here are the key points:
- Tell the person ONE TIME that you want no involvement.
- Then, have NO CONTACT with the person.
Remember, No Contact is vital. It ends your involvement, and enables you to recover.