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:
- You discover discrepancies in the sociopaths’ stories.
- The sociopaths vehemently deny your observation; in fact, they accuse you of disloyalty or paranoia for even questioning them.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- You were targeted
- The sociopath took advantage of you very human characteristics, such as trust and empathy.
- 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.