Reply To: Married to high functioning sociopath
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You found one needle in a haystack. Maybe lovefraud wasn’t a bad place to look.
You are right that not all people with sociopathic characteristics are out to hurt because empathy impairment and lack of moral compass can manifest in a variety of ways depending on the individual sociopath. A sociopath does not feel the same about or experience relationships the way normal people do but they can be symbiotic, commensal, or parasitic.
You could categorize them generally by which of these they tend to prefer. The high functioning or minimally destructive sociopaths probably prefer symbiotic or commensal arrangements with people. By symbiotic I mean the sociopath may benefit their relationship partner such that their partner or relationship keep adding value to their own lives. Commensals benefit from their partners without helping or hurting them for the most part. However, these sociopaths aren’t necessarily benign.
The parasitic types (common on lovefraud) prefer to use up and discard their partners when they run out of resources. They never need to give back what they take because they snag new hosts when the old ones are drained.
You are also right that no sociopath is easy to live with. No sociopath is going to value your feelings or sentiments whether they abuse or not. Even the ones that don’t set out to hurt you don’t care when they do and won’t stop hurtful behavior just because you’re hurt (they may be motivated to stop for reasons that have nothing to do with your feelings). The relationship will never be equal.
“Anyone else out there able to still love and live with their sociopathic spouse?”
Whether they can depends what they can reasonably tolerate (never tolerate any kind of abuse because it only gets worse). I recommend you read George K. Simon’s books Character Disturbance, In Sheep’s Clothing, The Judas Syndrome… all of them actually. They should help you understand what you’re dealing with so you can decide what to do next. He wrote these books for people in your situation.