Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following email froma reader who posts as “emotionallyraped.” She previously wrote the blog post “Highly Sensitive People are perfect targets for sociopaths.”
Obviously, anyone with a conscience is a potential victim for the sociopath.
Among people with a conscience, I would say a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) would be the easiest to detect, right?
So, if HSP’s are more easily spotted among the population with conscience, then would you agree that HSP’s are likely a sociopath’s most common target?
Assuming you agree, would it not make sense that socios would be experts at feigning the emotions and actions of Highly Sensitive People, since they have more experience with HSP’s?
While I originally set out to provide sociopathic red flags for any new encounter with a stranger, it dawned on me … a lot of the red flags could possibly describe myself or my HSP friends.
As an HSP myself, I have often wondered why my kindness and sincerity have been questioned and mistrusted.
Now I understand.
Growing up, I cried a lot. Much more emotional than anyone I knew. Was keenly observant to details and able to pick up on people’s moods and body language cues. Thoughtful and accommodating. I could feel other people’s pain so deeply. I was the one always trying to keep peace in a group. Feeding the homeless and dancing with the sweaty awkward teenage boy at the high school dance. Lol. I avoided confrontation at all costs. Tried to make people happy at the expense of my own happiness or convenience. I was an open book and honest to a fault. I would share personal information freely. People tended to want to confide in me, because of my genuine interest and caring way.
I always believed that there was good in everyone … that is to say, until I met my sociopath.
A sociopath will initially portray himself as possessing many of these HSP qualities. But these qualities only last as long as it takes to hook a victim.
The difference between HSP behaviour and sociopathic behavior will be authenticity.
Sociopaths initially seem to be the nicest people, but you will be able to see their inconsistencies, if you look for them.
Because sociopaths are only faking emotion or selfless deeds, their outward display may conflict with the situation at hand. They may display too much or too little emotion.
Beware of excessive flattery or compliments without proportionate cause.
Ask yourself if the person complimenting you has actually witnessed your good traits, to warrant the compliment. Are they going overboard?
Beware the person who stares intensely into your eyes for longer than average.
Sociopaths know looking into someone’s eyes hastens a connection, but often they don’t know when to stop which can cause an uneasy feeling that we must listen to and trust.
Beware the one who opens up with their life story, far too soon, in a first meeting.
Sociopaths want their target to feel sorry for them. False tales of suffering and fake tears elicit pity. Better still, the physical contact from a sympathy hug gets them on a fast track to forming a bond.
Watch for “unnatural” quick shifts between emotions. A cry that stops abruptly with a topic change or a smile that turns to a blank expression too quickly.
Beware the one who tries to align similarities between your life and theirs’, in order to claim that your meeting is fate or destiny.
Beware the one who offers good deeds with an “unnatural” eagerness to help.
Consider that a sociopath may promise a complete stranger a wildly generous favour to seem like a ‘great person,’ usually in front of an audience. They may follow through, to gain trust, or it may simply be an empty promise.
Also consider that they may relay some convoluted story, which prompts you to lend them a few dollars because of your trusting nature. If they pay you back it’s to instill trust, for a bigger pay off in the future. If they don’t pay you back, they’ve figured out that they cannot use you any further.
*Please note: Sociopaths do not discriminate. Male, female, poor, rich, beautiful, ugly … all that matters is whether they can get something from you or not.
My sociopath seemed like such a nice friendly guy who obviously had a few hard knocks in life. The first time we met, we interacted with great ease and comfort. Within an hour, he had shared that his health was poor and that he was in town to see specialists for his heart condition.
He said he lived in town where he owned a roofing company. He shared that his common-law wife and two children had died in a car accident. He shared that he had been adopted and sexually abused and was at a point in his life where he was willing to finally deal with his issues. He began to cry at times. My heart obviously went out to him. I eventually did reach out, to hug this stranger, out of compassion. He kept saying how he felt so comfortable with me. That he never connected so quickly with anyone. He looked intensely at me as he thanked me for listening and changing his outlook on life. He praised me for my insight. He alluded to the fact that fate must’ve brought us together.
That day accelerated quickly into a seven-month relationship, that ended when sociopath revealed his true self and robbed me of all money, possessions and self.
I believe that because I am HSP, my sociopathic encounter almost killed me. It changed the core of me and set me off kilter. I was no longer myself. I would cry indiscriminately in less than appropriate places. My encounter with a sociopath became my identity. I would share my story with whoever would listen, simply to try and make sense of what had happened, to get feedback and to try and heal myself. But nobody ever understood.
Sociopaths are crazy making. I can say that I was probably crazy for a few years after the sociopath. Nothing was as I thought it was. Everything about the world was the exact opposite of what I had always believed.
I lost my identity, my self.
So while I was once a classic HSP, a sociopath was able to successfully fool me, forcing all of HSP’s wonderful qualities to be internalized and protected.
I think the experience may have made me somewhat narcissistic, myself.
I’m beginning to look at the sociopathic experience as a blessing now. It opened my eyes. It made me wise and it forced me to focus on myself. I am getting myself well so that I can be a healthy, proud, new and improved, empowered HSP … with boundaries!
I hope my tips help at least one person from going through what inevitably follows the initial red flags.