Splitting and the Narcissistic Sociopath

Have you been riding an emotional rollercoaster because you don’t understand why your partner seems to oscillate daily (and sometimes hourly) between loving you completely and hating you with every bone and nasty word that comes out of his body?

This is called “splitting” and is one of the hallmark traits of a pathologically disturbed mind.

The sociopath divides or “splits” everything we say or do into two categories, each with simple criteria. (The criteria is simple, because the pathologically disturbed person is so simple it’s a shame we spent so many wasted hours, days, weeks and months trying to figure out him/her.)

Category A: All-Good

Everything you do that the sociopath asked you to do is all-good. You are all-good when you do these things. When you do these things you are the best thing that happened to him, the one, his soul mate, the best mother and lover he could ever ask for. As long as the things you do were his idea and directed by him, you are all-good.

Even if you do things that you know aren’t ethically good, the sociopath will still think you’re good because he’s doing those things, too.

The way he makes fun of his best friend’s girlfriend behind her back or invites them to go out to dinner just so he can talk about how “screwed-up” they are later is all-good. If you participate in this all-good behavior, you are all-good, too.

When we are perceived as all-good, the sociopath will be happy with himself and SEEM happy with us. He’ll laugh and smile and reach for hugs and give you kisses. Even if the all-good act you committed was actually, kind of morally bad, the sociopath will treat you as if you were a goddess worthy of admiration and praise.

Outwardly, you like it because you enjoy seeing people happy with themselves and with you.

Internally, you are becoming a bit confused and struggling with understanding how something so bad can be perceived as so good. After all, your momma didn’t raise you that way!

Category B: All-Bad

Everything you do that the sociopath did not know about prior to you doing or had explicitly forbade you from doing in the first place is all-bad. You are all-bad when you do these things. When you do these things you are a cheating whore, a bad mother, a hateful wife or girlfriend, and someone who doesn’t deserve respect. If you do anything that was not his idea in the first place, you are all-bad.

Even if you do things that you know are ethically good, the sociopath will still think you’re bad because you’re doing something, thinking something, or desiring something that doesn’t involve him.

When you take calls from a friend who is going through a divorce or a rough patch and just needs a shoulder to cry on and a voice of understanding is all-bad. When you participate in this all-bad behavior, you are all-bad, too.

When we are perceived as all-bad, the sociopath will be very, very angry with us. He will rage and pound and stomp and shout. He will throw lamps in your direction. He will lift his laptop over his knee and crack it in two. He will call you a whore and your mother a bad mother and your sisters poor excuses for family members. Even if the all-bad act is actually accepted as morally good by the rest of society, you are evil, hateful, and a disgusting excuse for a human. 

Outwardly, you agree your behavior was all-bad because it hurt the sociopath and why would you want to cause a person who you love to be so hurt and upset?

Internally, you are becoming a bit confused and struggling with understanding how something so good can be perceived as so bad. After all, your momma didn’t raise you that way, either!

It’s very important to always remember that whenever you share something with the narcissistic sociopath, you are instantly judged as either all-good or all-bad. These judgments are instinctual to the sociopath and require very little thought on his part. It’s either about him (good), or it’s not about him (bad).

Crazy-making: When all-good and all-bad collide simultaneously

You come home and start a conversation, “I was thinking about you today…”

But before you can even finish telling the sociopath what you were thinking, he jumps in and interrupts with, “Oh, you are so sweet, Baby. I was thinking about you, too.”

He then spends many minutes showering you with kisses and smothering you with hugs. Even though you hated being interrupted, you enjoy the attention. Humans love attention.

Finally, you are able to continue with your previous thought and say, “I was thinking it would be better to cut our trip from 10 days to 5 days. I think I’ll miss my son too much if we…”

Again, he interrupts you, this time screaming, “You ungrateful whore! You’re always crying about spending time with your son. What about spending time with me, you fucking whore?!?”

In an instant, the loving attention becomes hateful abuse. You spend the rest of the next few hours dodging more insults, crying for him to be reasonable, and wishing you were anywhere else but there.

This is your crazy-making relationship with a narcissistic sociopath (or with any person afflicted with a pathological Cluster B personality disorder). Does it make any sense that a person can love you so, so much one minute and then despise everything about you the next?

Healthy people are not equipped to handle this and shouldn’t be expected to handle this. The longer a healthy person remains in relationship like this, the more he/she is harmed and the more he/she compromises his/her core values, beliefs and ability to love themselves and others.

Relationships like this cause hidden, internal confusion for the victim. This internal confusion resembles the outward chaos of the physical and verbal battles.  Even when the victim is alone, he/she battles inwardly to end the conflict. On one side, the sociopath is telling the victim to do this because it’s good. On the other side, the victim’s conscience is telling her don’t do this because it’s bad.

Which side should we listen to? We all know. We should leave this person.

You speak to yourself, “But I can’t abandon a person; that goes against my moral code.”

You answer yourself, “But the sociopath is forcing you to go against your moral code every day.”

We are left with a choice: choose the sociopath or choose ourselves. If there is ever a time to be selfish, it’s now.

Choose you. Is that such a tough thing to do? You matter more. Namste!

(image source: SlamEVIL)

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Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo

Mindfulness Coach at Love. Life. Om. Mindfulness
Paula is a passionate and innovative author, educator, and mindfulness coach.
Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo
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