You are understandably upset. Justifiably angry.
Yet when you confront the perpetrator, not only does the sociopath deny, deny, deny, he or she says it never happened, you imagined it all, and you’re paranoid. In fact, you’re losing your mind! You should be committed!
You are so confused that you think the sociopath may be right. Are you losing your mind?
How does this happen? How does the sociopath lie, manipulate and deceive, yet you feel like you’re the one going crazy?
The root of the problem is that when this person came into your life, you didn’t know about sociopaths. Therefore, you are vulnerable to the sociopath’s plot.
So here’s what happens.
Step 1: The sociopath convinces you that it’s love!
You meet and the sociopath sweeps you off your feet in a whirlwind romance. Or, you meet and don’t like the sociopath, but he or she is so persistent that you finally decide to give the person a chance.
Either way, you interpret the sociopath’s behavior to mean that he or she is smitten with you. Because who would be so attentive, or keep trying to see you, if they weren’t head over heels crazy for you?
It must be love!
According to your understanding of life, people who are in love are kind to each other. They want the best for their partners and never intentionally hurt their beloved.
Since the sociopath is proclaiming undying love, that’s what you expect.
Step 2: The sociopath lies about almost everything, but you don’t know it
You don’t realize that the caring behavior is a charade, and that all the sweet nothings that come out of his or her mouth are just that — nothing.
In fact, you don’t realize that just about everything the sociopath says is a lie.
After all, the sociopath looks deep into your eyes, convincing you of his or her sincerity.
You know that some of what you’re told is true. But you don’t know that sociopaths are experts at mixing enough truth with their lies so that the entire story sounds like the truth.
Yes, sometimes the story doesn’t make sense at first. But the sociopath explains away the discrepancies, and the explanations are always so plausible.
And then there are the times that the story is totally outrageous. But it has to be true, because no one would ever make up such a tale.
You certainly would never say such things if they weren’t true, and you can’t imagine that anyone would. Who would have the nerve to make those claims if the events hadn’t really happened?
Sociopaths will do it — but you don’t know that.
Step 3: The sociopath intentionally makes you doubt your perceptions
The sociopath’s objective is power and control over you. That means the sociopath wants to control your mind.
One way to do that is to make you doubt your perceptions. It’s called “gaslighting.”
According to Wikipedia:
Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity. Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.
The term comes from the 1944 film, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman as Paula.
In the movie, the sociopathic villain intentionally hides things, and then says Paula took or moved them. He has a violent outburst and then denies that it happened, saying Paula imagined it. He keeps this up through the entire movie, until Paula thinks she is insane.
Sociopaths actually do this.
One Lovefraud reader recounted how the sociopath kept moving her keys, and then criticized her for losing them. Many sociopaths make promises, and then blatantly deny that the words were spoken.
They are adamant. Vociferous. Indignant.
You would never intentionally move things just to confuse people. You might break a promise, but you would never deny that you made it.
So you wonder — did you really lose the keys again? Did you imagine what was said?
Step 4: The sociopath insists that you have mental problems
The sociopath proclaims true love, lies fluently without you realizing it, and then intentionally tries to make you doubt your perceptions.
While the sociopath lies and denies, he or she continually professes love for you.
In your mind, and in your way of life, love is about being caring and supportive. It’s about trust. You would never dream of blatantly lying to someone you love, or intentionally treating them badly.
So you must have misunderstood. You must have imagined it. The only rational explanation is that you are losing your mind.
That’s what the sociopath tells you. Consistently. Repeatedly.
“That never happened. You imagined it.”
“Why are you so paranoid? You should go to counseling.”
“I’m really getting concerned about you. You seem to be losing your grip on reality.”
Learning the real truth
Eventually, somehow, you learn the truth: The sociopath has been lying all along. About everything.
This truth is devastating. Earth-shattering.
You didn’t know that there were human beings who look and seem normal, but who have no heart, no conscience and no remorse.
Before you know about sociopaths, you may have had a tendency to see people as you are, and interpret the actions of others in terms of how you would behave.
You had no idea that there are humans living among us who operate under a totally different set of rules. Or, make that no rules.
Once you learn about sociopaths, you realize that your perceptions were correct all along. Contrary to what the sociopath so forcefully stated, you are not crazy.
Red Flags of Love Fraud
Protect yourself. To learn the early warning signs of sociopathic behavior, read Red Flags of Love Fraud: 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath.