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5 reasons why you can hook up with multiple sociopaths

 

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lovefraud recently received the following inquiry from a reader whom we’ll call “Leslie-Marie.”

Is it not uncommon for people to have several relationships with sociopaths and/or narcissists throughout their life?

I am wondering if you would do a write up on this topic as I find it so difficult to explain to others. They look at me in such disbelief, as if I’m making it up. It would be nice to have something to back me up. I can count 7 at least that I am certain of and have been closely involved with…

Would you also consider explaining how this cycle can continue on what is it about us that attracts them or why we are attracted to them?

Donna Andersen responds

Yes, Leslie-Marie, it is certainly possible to find yourself in relationships with multiple sociopaths. Here’s why:

  1. Millions of them live among us

All of us are surrounded by sociopaths. Depending on which official estimates you look at, people with antisocial, narcissistic or borderline personality disorders, or psychopathy, make up 12% to 16% of the population. In the United States, that’s 38 million to 51 million people.

Now, these are only the people who are disordered enough to be clinically diagnosed. There are also people who have some disordered traits, but not all of them. Believe me, you do not want to be involved with them either.

I’ve never heard an estimate of how many people may be moderately disordered, but it’s probably at least the same as the number who are fully disordered. That may mean that 76 million to 102 million people in the U.S. are moderately or fully disordered.

Disordered people are everywhere — in all demographic groups and all walks of life. We are all going to run across them.

  1. You may cross paths with high numbers of sociopaths

Sociopaths are absolutely everywhere. But I can think of some situations in which there may be a higher concentration of sociopaths than usual. If you deal with these situations, you may come across them more often.

Criminals. This is obvious. Almost all criminals meet the criteria for antisocial personality disorder (This is one of the problems with the diagnostic criteria — many experts say they are too broad.) I hope this isn’t the case, but if you have criminals, drug dealers or gang members in your life, you are likely encounter a lot of sociopaths.

Stockbrokers and money managers. Dr. Robert Hare, author of Without Conscience, once said that if he ran out of psychopaths to study in prison, he’d look for them at the stock exchange. Psychopaths love taking big risks with other people’s money. In fact, one researcher believes that the global financial collapse of 2008 was caused by psychopathic money managers taking extreme risks.

Corporate executives. Dr. Hare believes that about 1% of the general population meets his definition of a psychopath. But he conducted research among corporate executives, and discovered that 3.5% of them met the criteria. That means there are 3.5 times as many sociopaths in corporate offices than there are on the streets.

Online hookups. I said that 12% to 16% of the population is disordered. That includes the population of the Internet. Sociopaths love the Internet. They search for targets 24/7, they pretend to be whomever they want, they can look for hookups all over the world. In one Lovefraud survey, 23% of people said they met the sociopath online. It was the most common way that people met sociopaths.

  1. You didn’t fully recover from previous sociopathic partners

To answer your question about how the cycle continues, betrayal by a sociopath leaves deep emotional wounds. You are hurt, angry, disappointed, ashamed, and grieving. At least you should be, but perhaps you didn’t allow yourself to feel the depths of your pain. Instead, you picked yourself up, dusted yourself off, and got out there again.

What happens? The negative energy from previous betrayals may still be inside you, festering. Sociopaths have radar for this pain. They home in on it, and promise to make your pain go away. You fall for it. The relationship is good for a while — but then it all goes bad, and you feel worse than ever.

This is why it is so important to fully recover from betrayals, even if it means you stop dating for a while. You really need to take time to heal. When you do, you can attract much healthier romantic partners.

  1. Growing up around disordered people

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to about their disordered partners who realized that they got involved with someone who was just like their mother, father or someone else from their childhood.

The fact is that if you endured any kind of abuse as a child, even emotional or psychological abuse, it makes you more susceptible to sociopaths later on in life. When you’re a child, you don’t have the tools to deal with the pain, anger, disappointment, shame and grief inflicted upon you by adults. So you bottle it up inside. Again, sociopaths sense your vulnerability and use it to hook you.

  1. You know what sociopaths look like

Leslie-Marie, I’m willing to bet that the people who look at you with such disbelief have also been involved with sociopaths.

Now that I know what a personality disorder is, I can definitely say I dated at least two disordered men before my sociopathic husband. The first was a garden-variety con man who took several thousand dollars from me.

The second may have had borderline personality disorder. He was doting, until I told him I didn’t want to be involved with a gambler. He turned on me with such ferocity that I was stunned. Then he did the crying routine, telling me how he really didn’t mean it. Looking back, it was classic abusive behavior.

So Leslie-Marie, the difference between you and your friends may simply be that you know what a sociopath looks like and they don’t. I hope they take the time to educate themselves. It could save them a lot of heartache.

 



15 Comments on "5 reasons why you can hook up with multiple sociopaths"

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  1. bulletproof says:

    Thank you Donna,

    I’m on my own now, fully independent and in control of my own destiny. I can’t say I could trust anyone until I have worked out why all my close relationships with men were so damaging.

    My mother and father are personality disordered and it is there I was groomed to gravitiate towards and tolerate abuse, other people from loving families would not. I was hard wired to ‘expect’ psychopathic people in my life and they came. For me each relationship was worse than the last, which was akin to the universe screaming at me to wake up.

    On my own now, independent and fully in charge of my own destiny (I’m not even lonely because to live in peace is such a blessing) I first went no contact with my psychopathic ex who robbed me of my ‘inheritance’ and then finally I went no contact with my family of origin because I suddenly woke up to the fact my mother and father are personality disordered and extremely dangerous to be around. The ‘inheritance’ was much more than money it was a predisposition to ‘expect’ abuse and tolerate it using denial (that is how I survived as a child)

    it’s ironic that every penny given to me by my personality disordered father was stolen by a psychopath. My ‘own’ money was never touched, and to this day I earn my own income and do okay.

    I grew up in a mixed message environment, where lies were truth and the truth were lies. Gaslighting was normal experience and I was given the silent treatment as punishment constantly. So much so I got used to being ignored and fell into a low grade sadness and confusion and today at another level desperately trying to make sense of my life and who I am.



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  2. Remembertoforget says:

    Leslie Marie,
    During my healing process I realized I had been in a relationship or dated at least 5 of these types and had numerous of these friends over the years. My mother is disordered as well. I have taken inventory and cleaned house. My life is better than ever now.
    It wasn’t cake to get to this point, but it was worth it.
    I can pick up on the signs like a detector these days!



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    • regretfullymine says:

      Here, I had thought I had had only 1 psychopath..a long term marriage to 1; having read, digested books, articles and websites like LoveFraud..I’ve been involved with several..MY family (funny how things I grew up with, I came to see in my husband!), my marriage of many years, 3 sons (who’ve turned out to be a LOT like their father), a contractor who worked on a house I bought, and ripped me off for a LOT of money); oh yes..I’ve had to learn how to deal with controllers, manipulators; my ‘radar’ is getting stronger all the time!



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  3. Linette says:

    I have been involved with with at least one and married to 2. ALL of these things apply to me Donna. Thank you for posting this. Sometimes I feel so stupid and damaged. People treat you weird when you have been married multiple times thinking there is something wrong with YOU. I try not to let it get to me but it’s hard. If you were to try to tell them they were sociopaths they would never believe you. They think you are making excuses. I just stopped trying. Only my husband now who is NOT a sociopath does and a few friends of mine who have seen what has happened. Thank God for them and for you.



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  4. jlartin says:

    HI,
    Another risk factor for involvement with personality disordered partners
    This can be benign, as when a single mother who is otherwise pretty tuned in is overwhelmed, or when there is a very large family, or a culture of child raising in which as long as the basics-food, shelter, etc. are covered, the parents don’t really tune into their kids.



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  5. Delores says:

    Several other professions that attract psychopaths are: doctors, lawyers, judges and politicians. These careers allow them to use their power over others in many ways.

    And I think the main reasons we are targeted by psychopaths and fall for it is that we are kind, trusting, honest people and we find it hard to believe that other people are not the same as we are.

    One of the worst things about realizing that we have been used by a disordered person is the loss of faith in the kindness of all mankind. From that day on we know without a doubt that evil exists.



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    • jm_short says:

      Delores-

      I agree with you 100%. Sociopaths look for people who will trust. That’s the most important characteristic of a target….. a trusting soul. And we’re all born with the DNA to be trusting or not.

      It’s not ’til we’ve either been badly harmed by a sociopath, or been harmed by several sociopaths that we begin to understand the impacts of our nature. And the fact that we experienced prior negative behavior in our developmental years could make us think of bad actions as normal. While it probably won’t draw us to a sociopath, it will enable them to get away with their cr*p a bit longer than otherwise possible.

      One more career I’d add to your list, law enforcement…. big time! Nothing makes someone feel more superior than a uniform, badge and gun to wield over victims.

      Joyce



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    • spellbreaker says:

      Amen Delores! “from that day on we know without a doubt that evil exists”. We truly do live on a planet of spiritual warfare and had an encounter of the worst kind with a sociopath. If evil were easily recognized, it would help. But, instead, they breed confusion by always incorporating the LIE.



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    • bulletproof says:

      Hi Delores
      I still find this fact bewildering, how smart emotionally healthy people end up in relationship to a psychopath. I can only put it down to being hard wired by our own up bringing NOT to notice the subtle signs of an unloving being. I loved my parents, they did not love me back….so I started on the wrong foot, in love with people who treated me badly and ‘put up’ with me. How then am I supposed to see the signs? well law of attraction will bring the very thing we need to learn…what love is NOT Psychopaths brutally wake us up to the fact we are not loved, not cared about …get over it! when you eventually get it and attract a loving person, that is when the lesson has been learnt and you can breathe?
      I have not yet attracted that loving person…and trust is but a battered shell of it’s former self. Even the world at large is reflecting a very evil face (Isis) Letting bad people into the country is exactly the same thing as having faith in the kindness of all mankind only to find evil exists…too late



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      • jm_short says:

        bulletproof-

        Actually, it’s your physical “hard-wiring” that keeps you from seeing the signs. Mother Nature has endowed us all with brain chemistry that attracts us and keeps us hooked. Affection stirs the neuropeptides in your brain and blurs the image you’re seeing.

        The butterflies in your stomach when you’re attracted to someone is a physical phenomenon. In the future, you need to recognize and resist the urges propelling you to attach until you’ve conducted serious due diligence into their character.

        While I’m a fan of therapy and believe a good therapist can help us overcome the depression that accompanies separation, we often feel we’re doomed from our up-bringing as a result. Dwelling on our emotional history when the real culprit is physical is not only a waste of money, but makes people feel unnecessarily hopeless.

        Your parents created your genes. Your genes created your brain chemistry. Recognize how the chemical affects of attraction make you feel so you can deal with reality instead of the “high” of love that could very well be false. http://bit.ly/29LzfIS



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  6. Infinity says:

    Well said, Donna. My mother is a narcissist with Bipolar and my sister a sociopath (and a nasty, anti-social, passive aggressive one at that) . Every man I dated, married or engaged was disordered. Lately I’ve been specializing in Borderline. And indeed, my friends ask what is wrong with ME! Lol. I know now, through a brain Retraining course I am taking in the attempt to cure a physical illness of immune dysfunction, I was left with a fear. I fear conflict and the anger of others, as the result of getting beaten every day by my mother. Indeed, I say if you have a sociopath in your family it’s almost a guarantee you will marry/engage/date a sociopath!



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  7. Fitzo says:

    I agree with everything you said Donna. I used to wonder why I was a magnet for disordered people and then I finally realised my mother is a narcissist and everything fell into place. My brother never understood the problems I had with my mother but I now realise he is the golden child, so how could he? He is also a lot like her, so I can’t even get any sympathy or understanding from my own family. It makes for a very isolated experience.
    I know for sure I’ve had relationships with at least two sociopaths, a borderline and a narcissist. People who have never had experiences with these people mistakenly believe they would spot them easily and therefore there’s something wrong with you (me). However I believe there is another reason we are drawn back to these people and that is the intensity they create. When they’re love bombing you, you feel like they’re your soul mate. THE ONE you’ve been waiting for. In my own experience when I meet ordinary, genuine nice guys, I miss that intensity and excitement. And we know that personality disordered people are often extremely good lovers. Nice guys just seem very routine by comparison. I’ve met some really lovely men, but I can’t seem to fall in love with them. Consequently I’ve decided it’s much easier and way less stressful to be on my own. I’ve lived with anxiety, depression and insomnia for most of my life and the best way for me to manage it is sadly to stay single. My mother still causes me lots of grief even though she is nearly 92. If I’d realised who and what she was years ago I’d have cut her out of my life but it’s just too late now. She has no idea how difficult she is, not only to me but many others. I keep my contact with her to a minimum, but think I’ll only really be free when she’s gone.



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  8. becomingstrong says:

    It does seem that we repeat the cycle of abuse. I for one married a certified narcissist and am trying to divorce a full on psychopath. I am determined never to repeat my mistake of getting involved with these types. I did saw a documentary yesterday which was discussing nation building. One of things that resonated with me was the discussion of using methods such as tearing down the occupied nation’s people’s value system. Making these occupied people feel inferior as way to conquer them. Isn’t that what sps do? Tear us down make us feel less than human. On a positive note and taking my power back I’ve enlisted the attorney general’s office of my state to file suit against my spath for arrearages owed me. He thought I pay my attorney to take him to court-nope. Within 2 days of receiving a letter from the AG stating their intention of filing suit which include suspension of his licenses, attorney’s fees and interest he paid me what he owes in back support. Welcome to rest of your life asshole.



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  9. becomingstrong says:

    Sorry abt typos I’m typing on my phone and can see three lines at a time.



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