This person’s behavior has baffled you — how can he lie so prolifically? How can she be so cold? How can anyone behave so horribly — and then act as if nothing happened?
So you went looking on the Internet for answers. You’ve plugged this person’s upsetting behavior into your favorite search engine and come across a list of traits — such as Lovefraud’s Key Symptoms of a Sociopath. Check, check, check — the person exhibits all or most of them.
So what do you do now?
The correct answer is to get the person out of your life as quickly as possible.
But some people don’t do that. Some people stay involved with the disordered individual. Here are reasons why — and why they’re bad ideas.
- I’ll get him (or her) to therapy
On Lovefraud, sociopathy is a general term for the Cluster B personality disorders — antisocial, narcissistic, borderline. These disorders define the way the person interacts with the world; they are ingrained into his or her identity.
Maybe treatment will be available in the future, but for now, once a sociopath is an adult, there is no rehabilitation. No drug or no therapy program has been proven to make any difference. In fact, there is research indicating that therapy makes sociopaths worse.
- I love this person, and love conquers all
It doesn’t matter how much you love, the sociopath is incapable of feeling love, and incapable of truly receiving your love. That is the core of the disorder — an inability to love.
But what about all the declarations of love this person spoke to you? It was playacting. Sociopaths say “I love you” because they know that if they speak those words, they get what they want. The sweet nothings really are — nothing.
- I can outsmart the sociopath
You very well may be smarter than the sociopath, but it’s unlikely that you can beat a sociopath at his or her own game.
The sociopath has no conscience and no remorse. This means the sociopath has no qualms about engaging in vicious, underhanded lies and attacks. The sociopath’s objective is to win, and he or she will play dirty — very, very dirty — in order to achieve that objective.
- The kids need their father (or mother)
If the father or mother is a sociopath — no, they don’t need this person. Remember, sociopaths are incapable of feeling love — and that includes love for their own children. Sociopaths are terrible parents. At the very least, they are disinterested. At worst, they are highly abusive, or they actively teach the kids to engage antisocial behavior.
If you can manage it, the best thing to do is get the sociopathic parent out of your life, and your kids’ lives as well. Sometimes, unfortunately, the sociopath won’t let this happen. In this case, do your best to keep contact to a minimum.
- I want my money back
The sociopath has drained your finances and put you into debt. He or she may have convinced you to invest everything you have into some sure-to-succeed business deal — except the deal failed. He or she is promising to pay everything back. It’s very possible that the sociopath has no intention of keeping that promise.
If the sociopath has no job, no money, no credit and no assets — well, any money you gave him or her could be gone. You may have to just write off your losses and move on.
- I know there’s good inside
No, there isn’t. All your life, you’ve heard cultural messages like “we’re all created equal” and “deep down, we’re all the same” — well, these bromides do not apply to everyone.
Sociopaths are empty suits, cardboard cutouts, automatons — use whatever term helps you understand that there really is nothing inside.
So, if you’ve realized that there’s a sociopath in your life, but you’re considering staying involved with this person for some of the above reasons, know that the longer you stay, the harder it’s going to be to get out. Please change your mind and leave as quickly as possible.