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How sociopaths intentionally mess with your mind

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I talk to a lot of people who are, or have been, involved with sociopaths. Time and time again they tell me, “I feel like I’m losing my mind.”

This is exactly how sociopaths want you to feel. Why? Because if you are confused and unsure of yourself, you are more pliable. You are easier to control, and what sociopaths want is to control you.

So how do they mess with your mind?

Lies from hello to goodbye

First of all, they lie.

Now, this may not sound all that terrible, because we all lie from time to time. But normal people lie to get out of trouble or spare someone’s feelings. Sociopaths lie because they have an agenda.

The lying starts at the very beginning of your involvement. How? Sociopaths misrepresent their reasons for even talking to you. They begin their interactions with you as colleagues, friends, neighbors, or if you meet through a dating site, as potential romantic partners. They do not identify themselves as predators who are looking to exploit you.

Think about how damaging this is. You are under the impression that you are building a friendship, work relationship or romance. Sociopaths, unbeknownst to you, view you as a target. So even if you are moving forward slowly, you are behaving according to one set of rules, and the sociopaths have a different set of rules — or no rules at all.

The entire foundation of your involvement with the sociopaths is a deception — and they keep the deception going from beginning to end.

Catching the lies

Sooner or later, you probably catch some of the lies. When you question the sociopaths, they completely deny whatever you discovered, become enraged that you even questioned them, and turn things around so that it’s all your fault.

All of this is designed to make you doubt yourself.

The sociopaths act hurt, indignant or righteous — saying something like, “I would never do that.” You are floored by the intensity of the denials.

This leads to cognitive dissonance — discomfort caused by holding two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas or values at the same time. The psychological theory is that humans strive for internal consistency, so one or the other of the contradictory beliefs has to go.

Here’s what happens:

  1. You discover discrepancies in the sociopaths’ stories.
  2. The sociopaths vehemently deny your observation; in fact, they accuse you of disloyalty or paranoia for even questioning them.
  3. You believe that you and the sociopaths are on the same page about the nature of your involvement — you don’t realize that their agenda is to exploit you.
  4. Your observation does not match the sociopaths’ strenuous denials. You believe your involvement with the sociopath is authentic, so the only way you can resolve the cognitive dissonance is to accept that you must be wrong.
  5. That means you aren’t perceiving life correctly, which means you’re losing your mind.

Telling you that you’re crazy

This pattern repeats time and time again. You discover a lie, and the sociopaths cover it with another lie. You say the sociopaths broke a promise, and they deny that the promise was ever made. As you become more and more frustrated and upset, the sociopaths start talking about your “mental state.”

At first they may express gentle concern about your “forgetfulness” or “paranoia.” They may suggest that you seek counseling. If you buy the idea that they are right and you are losing it, and actually take steps to “get help,” well, to the sociopaths, this is all they need to go in for the kill.

They tell you, your family, your friends and your employer that you are mentally unstable. They may drag you to a psychiatrist and convince the doctor to give you drugs. They may try to get you involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility.

You, constantly being told that you’re unbalanced, crazy or in the early stages of dementia, start to believe it.

How to escape and recover

Here’s how to recover yourself: Learn the characteristics and tactics of sociopaths — Lovefraud has plenty of articles that will help you.

This will help you to understand what happened:

  1. You were targeted
  2. The sociopath took advantage of you very human characteristics, such as trust and empathy.
  3. Your perceptions were right all along.

You are not losing your mind. If you feel disoriented, you are having a normal reaction to being involved with a sociopath. Your entire involvement was based on deception from the get-go, and the sociopaths’ mind games were intentional.

 



31 Comments on "How sociopaths intentionally mess with your mind"

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  1. slimone says:

    mzpris15,

    I understand. I was on here for YEARS. I read, blogged, and soaked in every bit of learning I could. It is really hard for anyone who hasn’t been the victim of one of these types to understand how we are so affected by them, to the core. They think we should just ‘brush it off’ and move on. They mean well, but just don’t get it.

    This website and the wonderful people here save my life. And I mean that. It is a powerful place of support and healing.

    Just keep remembering what he really is, that he cannot change, and that what you think is going on in his life is not really what it seems. He is doing, with someone else, just what he did with you. Try to hold onto that. The pain only gets better with time and distance.

    Hugs….slim



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  2. Stargazer says:

    Yep. I did the same thing all those years ago. I thought perhaps he had some ability to love because he had a small child and “appeared” to love her. I thought because he wouldn’t leave me alone after he discarded me in a very bizarre way (no show – no call), that he must care for me in some way. I tried to find any justification for his behaviors – all the 25 voicemails professing his love, stalking me at an expo and following me around….all these things MUST mean that deep down he still loves me. Facing the truth – that it was all a game to him, all about power and control – hurt like hell, but it set me free to walk away and start healing. After I walked away, I was afraid of him. I lived in fear that he would do something dangerous like come to my house and attack me. He had never shown any violence around me and had never raised his voice. But I could see the type of game he was playing was very sinister, so I didn’t know what he was capable of.

    mzpris15, the holidays will be over soon enough and all the melancholy that so many of us feel around this time. It will pass – it is not permanent. In the meantime, it’s normal to be in a lot of pain right now. You need to just let it be. Allow yourself to go through it. You won’t recover until you do. You must believe us when we say you will be okay. The most important thing is to stay away from him. If you get lonely and start missing him, come here and write. Because if you contact him again, you will regret it.



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