FAQ – Sociopath Abuse Recovery
1. Why me? Why did the sociopath pick me?
Sociopaths are predators. Sociopaths do not discriminate when it comes to whom they choose to victimize. Anyone with a conscience, the ability to be remorseful, to love and to empathize and feel deep shame is a potential victim. More often than not, the victims of sociopaths are highly educated and/or skilled, highly compassionate, highly successful and highly accountable. Depending on the resources a particular sociopath covets and desires, anyone with some form of asset is a potential target.
Each and every person that crosses a sociopath’s path is processed by the sociopath according to the following steps:
Assessment – “What does this person have that I want?”
Idolization – “If I praise this person, she/he will have no other choice but to feel obligated to give me what I want.
Devaluation – “I have what I want and now this person has the audacity to ask me for something in return? It’s time for the blaming and shaming. I answer to no one.”
Discard – “This person is dead to me. Next!”
Related CDN article: Identifying and protecting ourselves from sociopaths in our midst
2. How can the sociopath dismiss me and say I am “dead” to him/her when he/she once told me I was his/her soul mate and the one?
The most basic and simplistic answer is because the sociopath’s definition of love is not the same as yours. Love, to the sociopath, is not about patience and kindness or compassion. Love, to the sociopath, is about immediate and consistent compliance and control.
When the sociopath was grooming you, the sociopath was molding you into believing that being the sociopath’s mirror image is love. You were to think, act, dress and speak according to the sociopath’s idea of the perfect you…and the perfect him/her. In the beginning of the relationship, like any relationship, you were naturally drawn to always be together and to like and enjoy everything together. It’s how people get to know each other and build avenues of communication.
Avenues of communication are not what the sociopath envisions. Continued compliance and zero resistance is what the sociopath expects.
It’s why speaking logically with the sociopath got you nowhere fast, because once you exerted individual thought or slightly disagreed with the sociopath, your fantasy life was transformed into hell on earth. Your individuality and independence was a direct affront to the sociopath. Your lack of compliance led the sociopath to believe you didn’t love him. The pedestal on which the sociopath once placed you crumbled beneath you.
Instead of being the all good and perfect mate, you became the all bad and tainted mate in the eyes of the sociopath. This is called splitting. Sociopaths do it well.
Related post: “Splitting” and the Narcissistic Sociopath
3. After all of the hateful names and behaviors against me, why do I still love the sociopath?
Despite all of the logical reasons not to love the sociopath, regardless if you have or have not left the relationship, there are two physiological reasons you think you love this person:
a. Romantic love is an addiction.
b. Being blindsided and ambushed by deceit results in a betrayal bond that is difficult to break.
On her blog and in her book, Carnal Abuse by Deceit, Joyce M. Short briefly explains the chemical component responsible for these intense emotions and our inability to “just get over” the sociopath:
“The neurotransmitter, oxytocin, is released internally, within our brains, as the result of affection. And this chemical reaction cleaves us to our love interests. Romantic love is actually a form of addiction…Our brain manufactures chemicals to cleave us to a love interest. It’s natures way of providing nurture for our developing offspring. For some, these chemicals can be more intense than for others, depending on both our nature and our nurture. When betrayal is discovered, the brain can undergo “shock” in much the same way it reacts to physical pain.” (Taken from http://cadalert.blogspot.com/.)
And with shock comes trauma. The love you think you feel is your brain chemistry’s inability to keep up with the logic you see before you. You know the sociopath is no good for you, but you continue to feel this bond. This results in the cognitive dissonance that makes you feel stuck and desperate.
Related CDN article: Rape by fraud: What it means and why it matters
Related CDN article: Why Janay Rice and Other Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave
4. How do I know my ex is really a sociopath?
You will never know with certainty that your ex is a sociopath. No one in psychiatry or the neurosciences is able to provide a definitive answer as to whether this person or that person is or is not a sociopath/psychopath. Shoot, they can’t even agree on the terminology.
Listen and trust your gut moving forward, because what you can be certain of is yourself. If you can recognize your pain, suffering and your need to be free from the chaos and confusion that the toxic relationship inflicted, you can begin to shift your interest from trying to figure out your ex to trying to figure out yourself.
5. I am so angry. I can’t stop wishing my ex dead, and I said and did some really mean things toward the end of the relationship and even after the relationship ended. Could I be the sociopath?
In short, no. Just asking that question negates the possibility that you are a sociopath. Sociopaths can’t and don’t self-examine. If they are accused of being mean and nasty, it’s because someone else forced them to be mean and nasty. To a sociopath, they’re all good. Along with splitting others into one of two categories, all-good or all-bad, the sociopath splits himself/herself, too. And the sociopath always chooses the all-good category…of course!
As for your anger…
Feeling angry and worthless are valid and normal responses to trauma and abuse. As you begin to emerge from the fog and haze of the betrayal and trauma bond, you begin to realize more and more that you were abused, manipulated and controlled, and you don’t like it. Like everyone, you have an ego that wants to be protected and defended.
“How could the sociopath treat me like that?”
“How could the sociopath treat my child like that?”
“How could the sociopath treat my friends like that?”
But more importantly, you are feeling shame and blame for your part:
“How could I have allowed this to go on for so long?”
“Why was I so stupid?”
“Why did I keep going back?”
“I’m smarter than this!”
Ah, and you are smarter than being stuck in your anger. Feel the anger and process through it. Never be ashamed of the anger you’re feeling. Recovery begins when you accept the hard reality that you were victimized by a person who tried to convince you that you were worthless.
You are not worthless.
The sooner you believe this, the sooner you can start having comforting and self-soothing conversations that provide you with the internal support necessary to finally break the trauma bond and start building self-love, self-care, self-respect and self-awareness.
Related post: Emerging from the shadows of the sociopath
6. The sociopath seems so happy with his/her new romantic interest. Everyone keeps telling me they don’t change, but is it possible that MY sociopath changed?
The idiom “A leopard can’t change it’s spots” was most undoubtedly coined by someone traumatized/abused by a sociopath. That person, I imagine, stuck around (like we all did) hoping and hoping the sociopath would change. With great insight and a mountain of evidence, that person finally concluded, “This fella just hasn’t got a clue does he? He’s never gonna change.”
The sociopath you see walking around like a proud peacock is still the same delusional abuser with whom you were once involved. The same person who, without shame, guilt or remorse, stepped over your dying corpse only to begin a new relationship with an unsuspecting new victim.
The sociopath sees zero need to change. What you see is not change. It’s the same act, but you’re just viewing it as a bystander and not as the participant you were before.
If you think back to how your relationship first began with the sociopath, you start to remember how strained it always was and that those strains were never visible to the naked eyes of the bystanders. Bystanders were only subjected to the ideal, lovey-dovey BS the sociopath orchestrated. This was and continues to be very calculated on the part of the sociopath, because the sociopath operates from a place of jealousy and competition and believes others operate that way, too. Presenting himself/herself as happy, successful and completely enamoured with his/her new love will make others jealous of the sociopath, or so the sociopath thinks.
And you have fallen for the bait because you think the sociopath changed! Reel that back in, okay?
What you don’t see, now as the bystander, are the insidious jabs and devaluing the sociopath inflicts on the new victim. The subtle backhanded comments meant to make the new victim question his/her core values and beliefs. You remember how that worked, right?
If you must be a witness to the evolution of the sociopath’s latest toxic relationship, watch closely. The new victim’s hair color or clothing style will change. The sparkle in the victim’s eye will slowly fade. The victim may gain or lose weight. More than likely, the victim will pick up at least one bad habit or let one good habit that once defined the victim fall to the wayside. This happens gradually over time. It’s the nature of psychological, emotional and spiritual abuse and control.The activities they do together will make one think they are in complete sync and harmonious. It will appear like a perfect match and perfect union. Almost too good to be true!
Sounds familiar, right?
What you are witnessing is simply a continuation of the game the sociopath will forever play from victim to victim. Use your intuition and see the pattern of behavior for what it really means–the sociopath’s predatorial modus operandi is exactly the same; it has not changed. Therefore, the sociopath has not changed and never will.
Related post: The sociopath ADORED me so much at first. What happened?
7. Do I really need to go No Contact? I need answers. I need to talk to the sociopath. What harm is there in sending the sociopath a quick message?
No Contact isn’t easy to maintain.
In the early months of recovery, not only are you detoxing from the addiction of being totally dependent upon the sociopath for emotional validation and support, you are also going through the natural rumination and bargaining phase of grief.
And the grief is multi-layered! You are not only grieving the loss of a relationship, but you’re also grieving the loss of a fantasy you thought was real.
You want answers. You demand answers, dammit! So you erroneously think the sociopath will give them to you. You contemplate breaking No Contact.
Reaching out to the sociopath will inevitably harm you. The sociopath will do 1 of 4 things:
1. Ignore you, causing you to question yourself more. (Stonewaller)
2. Respond to you with hate and vile, causing you to question yourself more. (Persecutor)
3. Respond to you with feigned concern, telling you that you’re sick and need professional help, causing you to question yourself even more. (Savior Complex)
4. Respond to you with a weak apology and love bombing to suck you back in, causing you to question yourself more. (Pity Ploy)
All of these responses give the sociopath power and control over you. The sociopath feeds off of your desperation. Do you want to continue this merry-go-round? Or do you finally want to break free from the craziness?
Related post: The hateful and non-empathic sociopath: Detach now!
Related post: Being nasty back only backfires