By January 21, 2016 72 Comments Read More →

Why No Contact With A Sociopath Is So Important

Don't Feed The Animals

Healing from a relationship with a sociopath is hard, often brutally hard. Don’t add to that by being hard on yourself if your own path is filled with dark days and setbacks–even setbacks you may have caused by diverting from a path of “no contact.” We are human. We are imperfect. Seek support from those who understand and will not judge. It’s okay. All we can ever do in life is to move forward.

No Contact/No Emotion

Yet, as soon as possible, no contact with a sociopath is important. If no contact isn’t possible for legal, custody or other reasons, keeping the contact minimal and totally devoid of emotion is critical.

Why? Because sociopaths feed on emotion. I just finished reading a book published by a self-proclaimed sociopath, and he described it as needing “fuel.” Just as we all need oxygen to breathe, food to eat, and shelter to keep us at a comfortable temperature, sociopaths need to trigger emotions in others because sociopaths are fueled by controlling others. Your emotion (just knowing you will react emotionally even if the sociopath cannot witness it) is evidence of that control. They are truly emotional vampires.

Our Emotion is Like a Drug to The Sociopath—It Fuels Them

That’s one of the reasons sociopaths strive for continued contact with former victims. Just as the sociopath is like a drug to you (you know the relationship is toxic, yet you crave it anyway), the fuel your emotional reaction provides for the sociopath (positive or negative) is like a drug to the sociopath. To get it, they need people in their lives–they need you. At first, during the love-bombing stage, the emotion they created in you is positive and that’s fuel for them, too. But as your feelings naturally evolve from giddy, over-the-moon being in love to more mature love, it’s not enough to keep the sociopath fueled. At this stage, they purposely trigger negative emotions and ruminations in you to create the fuel they crave.

Yes, They are Setting You Up

Why was he so nasty to me this morning? Was she really flirting with my best friend? Was I really being inconsiderate by going out with friends after work? And so it goes. Their subtle and sometimes not so subtle behavior triggers a reaction in you. That reaction fuels them, as it is testament to their power and control.

Will the sociopath ever admit to doing this. Heck no, because if you realize you are no more than a puppet to them, then you might leave and the puppet master would be without his/her primary source of fuel, fun, and satisfaction. Why ruin a good thing? To keep the game going, there has to be “deniability” and they put the onus on you–you really are too sensitive, you didn’t understand, you can’t take a joke, you really were flirting, etc. See where this is going? In the end the only conclusion is that you really are a horrible, incompetent, neurotic, fill-in-the-blank, person.

Please Don’t Feed the Animals!

If you live in the country, you’ve probably learned not to put food out for wild animals, because they’ll just keep coming back for more. A sociopath is the same way. Provide him or her with fuel, and the sociopath will keep coming back for more. For your health and sanity, you cannot feed their hunger for your emotional reaction. Just like a wild raccoon that once found a tasty tidbit in your backyard, a sociopath will keep revisiting a potential fuel source. Again, please don’t feed the animals. You want them to stop coming around. They are dangerous—they bite and carry diseases.

Don’t Make the Sociopath Addicted to Your Emotional Pain.

As discussed in my post last week and in my book, intermittent reinforcement (i.e., random acts) of love and attention by the sociopath is part of what makes you “addicted” to the relationship with the sociopath. I’m guessing that probably works in reverse.

If we are inconsistent–contact, no contact…. contact, no contact, no contact, contact etc.–with the sociopath, aren’t we training the sociopath to be addicted to us as a source of something that fuels them–emotional pain? You don’t want this.

Perhaps I’m over simplifying it, but there may be the only two ways out once a sociopath considers you a great source of fuel for them. Either:

  • you go “no contact/no emotion,” knowing you will be tested, and the tests will be both brutal frontal attacks as well as sneaky Trojan-horse attempts, and you endure without reacting until the sociopath is convinced there is no more fuel/emotion to be extracted from you, or
  • The sociopath drains you so profoundly that you become so depressed that you are no longer capable of emotion. At that point you are discarded, as you are no longer a useful source of fuel to the sociopath.

Neither road is easy, but if those are really your only two choices isn’t the first option a whole lot better? I don’t mean to be harsh, but perhaps framing it this way will help us stay on the no contact/no emotion path no matter what.

My own sad tale of unwittingly investing almost twenty years of my life into a relationship with a sociopath and sometimes diverting from the best path, is chronicled in my book Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned (available via Amazon.com). It is a cautionary tale of how much one’s life can be train wrecked and one’s soul can be depleted. As I don’t get a “do over,” hopefully some of my painful lessons can help others impacted by these masked vultures.

Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.

Posted in: O.N. Ward

72 Comments on "Why No Contact With A Sociopath Is So Important"

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  1. NoLongerShocked says:

    Could you tell me which book that is, please? The one where they need ‘fuel’? Fallon? Vaknin? Or someone else? I’ve just about come out of the obsessional thinking phase (touch wood) and am trying to figure out what the heck’s going on.

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    • O.N.Ward says:

      Hi NoLongerShocked–

      Ironically,the book is called “Fuel” by H.G.Tudor (a pen name, I assume). Oddly, even after reading almost everything I could find and process on the topic of sociopaths/psychopaths, thinking back on all the psychology I’d studied and even reading some new sources, I was still unclear why my ex kept seeking me out to attack me verbally, emotionally, psychologically, financially. Clearly he enjoyed playing with me as a cat with a cornered mouse. (All this is chronicled in my book if you want more detail and a reminder that you are not alone.)

      Still, I felt like I did not have a fully satisfying explanation of his behavior. When I read “Fuel,” I felt like one last needed piece of the puzzle finally clicked into place. Hurting me really does feel good to him, it fuels him. Hence, he needs to keep doing it.Sick, but true. My job is to have that fuel dry up so he stops looking to me as a source. That’s why no contact and/or no emotion is so important.

      Wishing you strength, support and clarity.
      You are not alone.

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      • AnnettePK says:

        I tried to show no emotion, to use the greyrock technique http://www.lovefraud.com/2012/02/10/the-gray-rock-method-of-dealing-with-psychopaths/, to be boring, but my ex psychopath always succeeded in pushing my buttons. I had to have no contact as it was the only way to starve the spath.

        I struggled to understand the psychopath’s motives behind seeking me out to engage in negative interactions. I asked him several times, “If I’m so horrible, why don’t you hang out with people you like?” I eventually labelled him a sadist, and I recognize that some people just enjoy harming others which is what evil is. They fuel their own feelings of power and control through knowing that they are the source of someone’s suffering. A good man feels power and control and satisfaction by using his strength and abilities to make others feel better.

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      • NoLongerShocked says:

        @ O.N.Ward Thank you! I’ve never heard of that book before. I’ve looked at a lot of P websites (sooo much information to take in) and always been puzzled what Ps get out of a ‘relationship’ beyond the normal parasitic money, time, s*x whatever. I’ve heard of one P wanting to be connected to ‘power’. I’ve read that Ps want our life and liveliness because they themselves are actually empty inside. I can see that they want control and that our messed-up emotions are an INDICATOR of that control. I’ve read that they’re psychic vampires, and that they might not be connected to their souls (or even not HAVE souls, as apparently Cleckley came close to suggesting, though I don’t think I’ve got to that point in the ‘Mask of Sanity’ yet.) And yet others say they’re just normal people with a brain disorder.

        WHY do they want control? The grandiosity, presumably, which ties in with other thoughts (not read it from Hare or anyone reputable yet though) that developmentally they’re stuck at a baby / infant stage in some respects, so wanting control would somehow be part of that. And the boredom, of course, which gives them something to do. But why should they get ‘satisfaction’ out of CONTROL? Why not get ‘satisfaction’ (which they never get anyway) from painting flowers? Or programming, something super-rational?

        And then there’s my own experience of life, and my own body, where I feel energy flowing round it and sometimes (as a nearly-empath) ‘feel’ the people around me. Where the heck does all that fit in? WHAT is it that P’s are after? Is it stirring up our emotions so that they get to feed on our energies, since different emotions have different energies and they (somehow) don’t feel theirs EVEN THOUGH they have organs which in Chinese Medicine and presumably in other systems are said to generate these emotions?

        And what about the obsessive thinking afterwards? That is WEIRD. Are we psychically connected to them and giving them our energy?

        So much to learn still! Little snippets, little clues and thoughts and angles …

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  2. constance247 says:

    Due to my professional background I am use to recording and keeping files. One thing helps me remember who my SP boyfriend truly is reading through old text messages and chat sessions between him and I.
    It’s funny how in one sentence he claims he loves me and just me and noone else but me…two text messages later he is call me a C_ _ _ _,
    B _ _ _ _, and fake ass whore. I remember when he first started calling me these names it hurt my feelings. After hearing them over and over I became accustomed to it. I didn’t allow his words to hurt me because I am none of those things. Reading between the lines of his messages just tells me he is fake and heartless.
    I once loved him and it hurts me that I was suckered. However, he is the sucker now because my love has faded away and the poor soul will never know what real love is. I do not have any sympathy for the being
    ( I refuse to call him a MAN the only real man I will ever know is my DAD r.i.p.) he will get what he reaps.
    No contact and getting stronger one day at a time. Have a blessed day.

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    • AnnettePK says:

      You loved the fake person he presented himself to be. You are a good person and capable of love, and you take that attribute with you when you leave him. You can give your love to someone who deserves it and who appreciates you and loves you.

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  3. Rewind says:

    I can’t believe I have been no contact/contact for over 6 years. Six years! How many times does it take getting burned before I learn.

    I don’t see him any more, but still get the occasional text…crumbs. I recently saw him at an event and politely said hello and was delighted to see that he had gained weight and looked quite unruly.

    As we all do with these types, I feel really hard for him. He was exciting, unpredictable, handsome and sexual. But he was also without empathy, a liar, a womanizer, a drinker, a porn addict, thousands of masks, and hurtful to so many women.

    And I still sometimes get the urge to contact him. And yes, I am still friends with him on fb. And it still makes me sick when I see that he continues to abuse unknowing women.

    Yet, I haven’t physically been with him for almost a year. And I rarely see him publically, and don’t get as many crumbs. So I am making strides.

    I am an intelligent woman and it still totally amazes me that this man had the power that he did over me. Unbelievable.

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    • constance247 says:

      It’s okay for you to feel the way you do. Keep in mind he is heartless and is not capable of loving you are anyone. If it helps the next time you see him try and see thru his fake charm and see him for what he really is… a manipulator has to trap a person to love him and when that person loves him unconditionally he uses and abuses. Remember all the times he said “I love you”, then think about all the times he showed you he loved you. I am sure you can’t recall to many times he actually showed you. Try and think about your sex life with this man, was it satisfying for you or was it satisfying for him. Think about all the times he pretended to be Mr. Nice guy in front of a crowd and behind close doors he put you down and degraded you. A sociopath only cares about themselves he/she wants power and will play any game to win.
      You have to give “love” to receive love. Something sociopaths are not capable of doing.
      Thank God for Lovefraud and all the information on the internet, without it I would be a basket case. Standing back up after the fall is what I am doing.
      Take Care

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    • AnnettePK says:

      It’s good that you’ve avoided being in his physical presence. You have probably experienced significant improvement in your life and how you feel. You might consider having no contact with him at all, including FB and other cyber contact. It may complete your recovery and you may find yourself feeling even better. It may be very difficult at first, but it could be the key to freeing yourself completely from him.

      I am a professional, intelligent, somewhat ‘street wise,’ and was widowed 10 years prior from a marriage to a very good man. I never would have believed that someone so pathetic, evil, vile, abusive, perverse, etc. could have gotten my attention much less the power he had over me. My son said I was a “puppet on a string” to the psychopath. In retrospect, my ex spath used hypnotic techniques to literally cast a spell on me. It took a relatively long time to come to my senses and cost me a lot of physical, spiritual, emotional, financial, damage to me and my minor son.

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  4. zonna says:

    thank you everyone for being so open. I have gained more knowledge and strength and hope in the last few days on this website and especially this articles thread that has helped me so much. I feel very strong and know I’m doing the right thing! Thank you!!!

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  5. Caitlyn says:

    Annette: funny how they can attend church like they are not really the evil sociopaths that they are. That really bothers me. I even felt like God was punishing me and blessing the sociopath because he’s getting married. I’ve never been married and want to one day. This is the sociopaths 3rd marriage and I often wonder why?

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    • AnnettePK says:

      I met my ex psychopath in church. They use Christianity as a cover and a prop to manipulate others into thinking they are good kind altruistic people.
      I believe that this is Satan’s world for now (1 Corinthians 4:4), and God allows Christians to be tested, but not beyond what we can successfully overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13).

      God advises us to discern others by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). Having 2 failed marriages is not evidence of good fruits of one’s life.

      In my experience, spaths just fake marriage – they don’t appreciate the institution, they don’t care about the well being of their spouse; they just use marriage to manipulate people, for impressions management and to exploit their spouse for things they want.

      You made a good decision not to waste any more time with your ex spath; you will likely marry someone who appreciates you, and who is honest and has good character.

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      • Bev says:

        Because the spaths make it happen, not God.

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        • Caitlyn says:

          Bev: You’re right.They make it happen by manipulation and it really is out of God’s control. With all the mental anguish he put me through though I would often wonder if God was punishing me but the way a sociopath behaves is not God’s work at all.

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          • AnnettePK says:

            Another view is that God allows things to happen for His overall eternal purpose, even when He has the power to intervene.

          • Bev says:

            Cheers 🙂

          • Caitlyn says:

            Annette: Another good point you have made in that God allows certain things to happen even when its in his power to intervene. Thanks. I know I need to do a lot more reading bout these spaths. I had cognitive dissonance a few weeks ago which is why I broke no contact because I was just hoping he wasn’t a spath but he really is!!!! I will never break NC again!!!!

      • Caitlyn says:

        Annette: Thanks for that information. It has given me something to think about. I do know (after all the snooping I did after finding out about the current fiancé’) that his last marriage was from 1998-2011 During that time in 2004 he had a child with another woman. I remember when I was with him I asked him what happened with this marriage and he said oh she didn’t like me being gone all the time (he was a truck driver), she cheated on me and we just grew apart. I also checked out this woman’s Facebook page recently and she does not give herself off as a loose woman or a cheater. No pics with different guys. Now since I was so “googly eyed” over him at the time I believed what he said about her. BUT now I see what he said was all a lie. I don’t believe she cheated on him but we see he cheated on her by the 2004 child he made with someone else. Also she married another truck driver last year so obviously she has no problem with someone being gone all the time. The posts she made on Facebook during the end of that marriage were pitiful she posted things like “why are things the way they are.I thought marriage was supposed to last forever” “the only good thing out of 12 years is my daughter” doesn’t that sound like a hurt woman vs a woman who cheated? I honestly think he left her for another woman (he lived with another woman while he was separated from his wife who was carrying his child!!!) and that woman he lived with well he left her for the current fiance’ and he was seeing me and god knows who else during his time with the current fiancé…sound s like a messy life huh? I’m dizzy just typing.

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        • AnnettePK says:

          It sounds like you have a clear picture of who he is now. It’s wrong and harmful what he did to you and his other victims. You’re a good person who probably sincerely loved the man he said he was, which was a lie. No one deserves to be abused in that way. It is what evil is.

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