Sunday, November 18, 2012

You Might Be Married to a Sociopath If....

As you think back you cannot recall your partner ever accepting responsibility (i.e. broken relationships, jobs, financial hardship, or even a broken down car).

They tell you that you’ve ruined relationships. Upon demise of the relationship you contact old friends/family and they wonder what happened. Reality is distorted in an attempt to isolate. Isolation is key. They don’t want you to hear opposing messages; they want their voice the loudest.

If you are having a conversation and it is becoming increasingly apparent that you are right suddenly the conversation changes to something you’ve done wrong in the past. There is no admission on their part or backing down. This is impossible, we are flawed as humans; therefore, we become more and more frustrated, unable to comprehend or even understand the twisted thinking.  They will talk over you never listening much less validating; they change subjects quickly and the conversation escalates (i.e. They paint a wall red, you come home and ask “why did you paint the wall red?” they say they painted it blue though it is obviously red. They will say the wall is blue with such intensity and venom you finally give up).

They don’t need to have positive interactions just as long as you are interacting with them. They will pick a fight or antagonize just to get a reaction/response. Peter would drive me to work and say something destructive and critical just as we were pulling into the parking lot of my work, I would then be on the phone with him off and on all day trying to resolve the conflict of the morning. This happened regularly. Now that we are divorced I receive emails trying to push old buttons in an attempt to engage me, even now, 2.5 years later.

You are exhausted and depressed when you are with them.

You don’t feel happy when you are with them. Even on “date nights” I would more often end up crying or being at least upset by the end of the night than happy. Peter would, even on dates walk ahead of me, and me, looking and feeling very unloved, try to keep up in heels.

You avoid them and when you do manage to get away for even a short period of time you dread going back and even sometimes get physically ill when returning.

The only resolution to conflict is if you give in. If they are wrong the conflict could go on for years unless you give in, and only then; it’s frustrating because that’s not resolving anything. You give in to get the conflict over, falsely owning up and then that “false confession” is used against you in later conflict.

There will always be something wrong. I could take an email Peter wrote and address every point he brought up with documentation and he would find something else or counter what I had written. There is nothing you can say or do to influence a sociopath. If it seems they are absorbing something, it is manipulation, don't believe it.

This one is, in my opinion, necessary to think someone a sociopath: They are 100% the victim and can twist scenarios to such a degree that they become a false reality. They can punch you in the face and you apologize just to keep the peace.

You can’t recall the following statements: “you are making a good point,” “I’m sorry I hurt you, “what can I do to help you?” “you look great today,” “I’m so happy to be with you,” “you are such a good mother,” “why don’t you do something for yourself today.”

You will recall the following statements repeatedly: “you’ll never find anyone better than me,” “you’ll never find anyone that will put up with you the way I do,”  “I treat you better and am better than you will ever find,” “I take care of the house, I keep up your relationship up with the kids while you work all the time,” and maybe a unique one for me, “I am so much better looking for a man than you are for a women.”  

There is no intimacy in your relationship.

You do not feel loved or cherished; safe or secure. They feel more like an enemy.
As your children grow older they start to treat you like the sociopath. They slowly lose respect for you because they see you being contunually disrespected.
Judgmental and demanding to the point that you are continually walking on egg shells. For 20 years I didn’t feel like I sat down when in my own house. I was tense and edgy like I was standing all the time; always on guard and always being picked at and analyzed.

Long discussions critiquing anything from parenting, to your work, to the way you brush your teeth.

They tell you how you think and feel instead of asking. In fact, they don’t really ask questions at all because they think they know best.

There is no give and take only taking.

They threaten you if they see you might leave or are detaching emotionally. In my case, he threatened to take my children from me and expose my mental illness. The alcohol was only brought up as a problem after the divorce started; Peter actually used that systematically while interrogating me.

They seem empathetic so you reveal yourself, but it’s only to be used against you at a later time.

When you do have time to take stock of your own life you realize you’ve lost friends and are isolated. Your time is primarily spent pleasing them. They don’t like you spending time with anyone else.

Somehow birthdays, holidays and special events are ruined. They propagate some sort of drama. One Christmas Peter, who didn’t like his Brother Ben’s first wife (she was a strong female), confronted her about her being molested as a child (he thought she showed signs of this). For the rest of the holidays she did not come out of her room and the family and children were thrown into a very serious drama. Everyone believed Peter and turned against the wife; a short time later they divorced.

Events that highlight you, the victim, are sabotaged or end unless they are somehow highlighted with you. Peter was upset with me the day of my graduation for my doctorate so we had to leave early. There was not a celebration.

You can be in the depths of emotion and they look at you with a coldness that runs chills down your spine. They don’t have the ability to empathize.

There is emptiness behind their eyes. What they are saying often does not match the expression on their face and their eyes don’t show emotion except anger.

Their primary emotion is anger. Sometimes other emotions are misplaced because they are not really felt (i.e. They might be overly dramatic over something others might find to be of little importance).
                                                                  
Their emotion is displaced. Emotion is used as a tool for attention. It doesn’t matter if by doing this it lessens their respectability or natural shame, they will do anything to get attention or seek sympathy as a victim (i.e. They get overly emotional at a funeral when they don’t know the person; they see others getting attention and join in to the point of ridiculousness).

There is always something wrong.

Someone is always out to get them.

There is always drama and over exaggeration of scenarios. Everyone is talked about behind their backs. I would have to relay everything that was said at even events like a baby shower. Peter would decide when a friend of mine had wronged me and would then wage a campaign and ultimately I would lose their friendship.  

They don’t even realize that they look weird to most people. When you live your life without self-reflection or acceptance of another person’s perspective, thinking yourself better than anyone you interact with …you become displaced from the norm and just downright odd. Peter’s communications eventually emerged as “weird” to those involved in our divorce case. They just don’t see anything wrong with themselves so they perpetuate an enhanced, grandious sense of self.

When they do work, they always say they can run the business better. There is finally a confrontation or conflict so they have to leave the position or are fired. Peter was escorted to his car at one job, not even allowed a final interaction with his clients.

They don’t think about the future even if doing something in the present might hurt them in the future; It’s all about doing whatever they can to unsettle you right then. They don’t consider future finances only feeling good in that moment.

They cultivate some sort of dependency upon them. For me Peter wanted to always be involved with my work, he would then help me “draft emails” or tell me how to interact, he even started to “proof read” other materials I wrote. To justify my success during our divorce and to justify his underemployment, he said he spent all of his time propping me up and I could not have done it without him. I had needed him all along. That argument did not hold up; as I got farther away from him I became more successful bringing in more money than I ever had. Opportunities emerged with so much more time to think for myself.

They prefer you dead rather than alive. Sometimes they even state it.

They don’t build up they tear down.

You feel ashamed of yourself when you are with them.

27 comments:

  1. This sounds exactly like what I have experienced for 10 years. Thank you for sharing. I don't feel so alone.

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    1. I hope you are freeing yourself of the control and shame! Thanks for commenting.

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  2. I am currently divorcing and trying to co-parent with a sociopath. I supported him for the past 3 years while he refused to get a job and I still did all the things at home that a stay at home mom would even though he was there all day. Then when I finally filed for divorce he tried to portray me as mentally unstable, an alcoholic and him as an involved stay at home dad. Luckily both my girls and the judge so through him. Thanks for your post and keep reaching for the light, I promise its there!

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  3. I have often wondered what he did all day? Have you figured it out? I have suspected watching television....
    Do you have any suggestions about "co-parenting?" I'm so happy to hear your girls saw through him. At least I haven't lost my son. In emails responding to my blog I find it's about half and half in regard to cusotdy; a lot of sad stories about losing small children. I hope he will move on every day. If not for my son, I would never speak to him again.

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    1. Co-parenting with a sociopath is kind of an ironic term. Our family therapist suggested I read the Sociopath Next Door and Without Conscience just to get a better understanding of what I am dealing with. It is a careful dance for sure. I just make sure the kids are ok and have a cell phone so they can call me anytime when he starts acting crazy and I have to log every detail of mine and his interactions incase we have to go back to court. He already has a new victim (i mean girlfriend) so that has taken some of the focus off harrassing me. I just have to resign myself to the fact that the cost of leaving him is having to deal with his games for the next 8 years or until the girls finally have had enough and tell him they don't want to see him anymore--which could very well happen. Maybe I will write a book when I finally get it figured out!:)

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    2. My ex is so cunning he hides behind religion also so many people think he's this great Christian man. It makes me sick. We were married 20 years I filled for divorce after 17 ( it took that long). He stayed in our house through the divorce that way he didn't have to pay support. Then he stopped paying the mortgage because I wanted the house and of course I lost it. We have 5 children together and he turned my 2 boys against me. (Less child support he'd have to give me): he sound so much like Peter. I read the emails you posted its the same way Jeff talks to me. In fact I got that same sinking felling as I read it. I have so much anger my 3 girls are still with me but I fear it's only a matter of time till he tries to get in there heads. The truth is good Christian man don't dived their family's for money good Christian men want what's best for the kids they don't take away their home to get even. You see when Jeff got his divorce papers delivered I was rejecting him and that's not allowed he gets to reject me and because I turned the table I must pay.

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  4. I am still reading all of this with tears in my eyes. For the first time in 5 years since my divorce, I feel justified and that I am not alone! It amazes me how similar ALL of our stories are! My sociopath never worked more than a few months at a time (seasonally) and decided it would be best for him to be a "stay at home dad." Which was basically a license to watch internet porn and drink beer while neglecting our child all day. I worked full time until I was 9 months pregnant, applied for (and got) a promotion at work while I was on my maternity leave because we needed the money so badly. I went back to work after 6 weeks with a huge amount of conflicting new priorities (new baby, new job, new schedule working 2nd shift) and I would still come home every night and have to bathe and feed the baby, and clean the house and do the laundry. My paycheck went directly into his bank account because I was "bad with money" and he could manage it better. Then, during our year-long custody battle, he tried to use my career as a negative against me, saying that he was a devoted stay at home father who took care of our son for 4 years! When he saw that I was becoming more confident at work and gaining some self esteem, he would start calling me there and showing up, to make me look bad professionally and to try to ruin my relationships with my peers and managers. And it worked.

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  5. Now, we have joint legal custody. I have primary physical custody (my son lives and sleeps with me at home but his father can see him during the week and have him on the weekends at times). I was fighting for sole legal custody and lost because we could never prove that he was a danger to our son...even though he had threatened to hire a hit man to have me murdered...he didn't actually threaten our son, the judge said. How are the two not inter-connected??!! I finally "gave up" and agreed to joint legal custody...knowing that what he wants is control and no responsibility. So I am responsible for all decisions regarding schooling, medical, daycare...and he reserves the right to access all of those records at any time...in other words, he checks up on me and has a court ordered document saying he can do so whenever he wishes. I felt that by agreeing to that I was not harming my son...I did not realize that even now, 5 years later, he would have such a grasp of control over my life!

    He calls our son at night and grills him with questions about what we ate for dinner, when he last took a bath, how many hours he slept the night before...to the point that our son doesn't wish to talk to him anymore on the phone. I can't go on vacation with out him ruining it with constant calls and texts. He drives past our house a half a dozen times each day (my neighbors have even witnessed it) even though he does not even live in this town anymore and has no reason to be here, except to stalk me. When my son told him I was thinking of buying a home in a town about 5 miles from where we are now, he texted me and told me he would bring me to court to stop me if I tried to "uproot" our son and move him to a different town.

    It is ALL about control. And he is a man who has never been held accountable for any of his actions by anyone...until me. He is 43 years old and living with/being supported by his parents. He works seasonally, by choice, and collects unemployment from October thru April every year. I get $68/week in child support when he is working, and about $13/week when he is unemployed. I have to check mine and my child's credit history every week because he will try to open accounts in our names.

    Ugh. I don't know if my misery will EVER end. And I have to be "nice" and civil to him, for the sake of our son, who simply loves his father and craves that relationship with him, dysfunctional as it may be. I am ashamed of what I allowed my life to become. Ashamed of the way I treated and pushed away my friends. Ashamed of the fact that I still struggle daily with my low self image and am emotionally paralyzed by my time spent in his grasp. Nobody gets it...my friends say they understand but they feel I should be over it by now...and I look like a bitter ex-wife to them. It is so frustrating. I am so thankful that you are writing about your experiences. It is the most amazing feeling to know that I am NOT alone!

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    1. I hate that no one gets it. I have felt very alone. I'm so glad I found this blog.

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  6. And when you say things like he tried to have me killed people think you are exaggerating, but I know you are not. They are bloodless serial killers . Wicked to the core.

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  7. It just makes me want to scream. How frustrating to be with someone that has a non-existent relationship with anyone but himself! I lived it for a year and a half until I left and instituted a no contact policy. It's been difficult climbing out from that type of abusive situation but inspiring to see what I can survive. My sociopath was inert. A parasite manipulating each situation to come to the best fit scenario for himself. A master con-man, woman abuser, and chameleon. I hope & pray that anyone that encounters one of these people find guidance from someone who has experience with them.

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  8. I just left my boyfriend of 18 months. Constantly in a power struggle. There were times I felt he loved me, but it could have been fake. He was very responsible about paying rent..on time. Car payments.. his credit is awful..so is mine..so I didn't judge. Seemed very selfish..cheap most of the time. He was the breadwinner. Constantly lies, cheats (meeting on craigslist/other online forums) Always false promises. Insincere apologies. Sometimes thoughtful. Constantly disappeared after arguments/fits of rage. All of his friends/ acquaintances are losers, druggies, druggies, former druggies..none loyal to each other. Seemed to only care about his "stuff" more than anything. This last blowout, I confronted him about some online shank..told him I was done. He got up ran for the door..trying to say I always blame him for having girl in every state( typical response) he's a truck driver..once told me he could cheat and I would never find out! He underestimated me. A few days later..when he knew I was serious about ending it..he moved his stuff out, outer got in a shoving match..he threw me down. I called police, they arrested him.The judge told him to stay away. I didn't press charges, I just want him gone. He changed his #, as if I had intentions on contact..and haven't heard a word. Except him badmouthing me to everyone. Sound like a sociopath..and am I one of the lucky ones to get away too easily???

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  9. Oh yes, that sounds like a sociopath and you are lucky to have gotten away. Peter told every one he "was fed up with me and was done," and years later he still can't leave me alone and move on with his life. Consider yourself lucky that he left and has left you physically alone although the bad mouthing is very frustrating I know. They are relentless about getting sympathy and making us out to be the bad people.

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  10. hi my name is kandace and I have been in a relationship with a sociopath for 10 years. I just reciently discovered what a sociopath was. and he fits the bil to a t.

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  11. I recently broke it off with him for good 2 weeks ago. im so depressed and torn down. we have 4 kids togeather I have been through so much I could write a book.i have been in a mental instition 2 times over this nightmare. he has done everything imagined to me.he still harrases me and stalks me. he texts me horrible things and calls my family to say bad things about me.i have cought stds from him several times.my last pregnancy was hard for me he cheated lied laughed at me when I cryed brakes everything that means any thing to me.he always tells me its my fault he cheats,its my fault he dosnt have more money. everything that ever goes wrong is my fault.he stills continue to make up lies about me. I have no help with our children.its so many events that he has done I don't know where to start. all these years he made me beleave something was wrong with me.reading these stories gives me some kind of sanity

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  12. They do drive you to the edge of insanity! I'm so sorry, I wouldn't wish this on anyone....Find a small group of friends and/or family that will not budge from 100% loyalty to you. Talk to no one that still talks to him! This is a very vulnerable time for you. Start doing things for yourself to build back some self-esteem. Best wishes and please stay in touch!

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  13. http://sociopathwives.blogspot.com/

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  14. I am in a serious relationship with a sociopath. We are supposed to get married and we just had a baby. I am scared out of my mind. I discovered he is a sociopath about 6 months ago and I had decided I want to love him for him... even if it means being different. Well now I am crying all the time, I suffer from post pardum deppression and I am prescribed prozac as a result but even on my meds I cry nearly every day. He makes me feel like he loves me and we are so good together but it seems so fake because he turns around and hits on girls at work or makes me feel like dirt. I bought a house but it is in both our names, we arent married but we do have a 2 month old baby together.. I am 23 years old and I am so in love with him even though he hurts me and doesn't care. I am scared.

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  15. They are very charming and generally good looking. It will be very difficult because he will say and do whatever he needs to to keep you, but please leave. Look at your misery and what you will teach your child. Don't make my mistakes, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't regret staying so long. Best wishes!

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  16. 100% agree. Leave while you can. Just end the nightmare because it only gets worse. You have to cut off comunication and not let him manipulate you with his false heart-felt apologies and wooing. Its all just an act, even though it seems so convincing. They only ever care about 1 person. They will fake and they will be charming but ultimately is always only completely self-serving.
    Get away or you'll count the months and years wasted and look back and think, we had no real connection. There wasn't real closeness or fun. It was all bizarre and why did I believe his lies so long...

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  17. Wow, you just described my last 10yrs...

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  18. I want so badly to run w/our 3 young kids but he has me nailed down in every legal manner possible. I've begged for help for 3 years to the domestic violence shelter to no avail. now, he is trying to prove i'm "crazy and unfit" yet truly has no interest in being a father. I don't know how to get out, I am perpetually sick, exhausted, angry and far past my breaking point. what do I do!?!?!?!

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  19. wow your story is very similar to mine thank you for sharing

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  20. mamakat, you've got to pull yourself together for your kids' and own sake; otherwise, you are playing right into his hands. the court will use your emotional state against you, no matter how justified. you must be strong and adult and responsible and not let him get to you, as difficult as that is to do. this too shall pass. don't let his behavior affect how you present yourself. be the better parent, be the better person at all times.

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  21. I know first hand how hard this is mamakat and GretaJean is correct. ANY emotion will be used against you! Fake strong as best you can!! All the best!

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  22. Thank you for this blog!! I have been married to a sociopath for 22 years, It took me so long to admit and be honest to myself about how he treated me. The first time we separated he did so much to paint me as "crazy". He recorded me after he scared and tormented me and played the recording to our pastors to "show them how crazy I was", they wanted me to move out of our house so he could stay there with our two boys who didn't want anything to do with him. He had been abusive and horrible and they had caught him in so many lies. I refused to give in and finally put my foot down. He had used the church for so many years to control me. He constantly was able to make other people think how wonderful he was. I really thought I was going crazy so many times!! He is a retired police officer now and used the police department and his co-workers to convince me that I would never be believed and would lose custody of my children. He was trained to be a domestic violence instructor and knew how to talk to people to convince them that he wasn't abusive. Anyone in this position please stand up, don't pay any attention to friends or associates, the advice to sever all ties to friends that he has any relationship with is very good! I recommend it absolutely. He will control you in any way he can and will use every tool at his disposal. The damage to myself and my children from being with him for so long is amazing!! Please get help and do whatever you need to to get away!! The stories are all too familiar to me, the lack of empathy, the laughing at me and using anything against me when I did give any real intimacy to him. The constant belittling, He was the only one that mattered, my opinion never did. I could never work hard enough or be good enough for him. He always knew what was best for everyone and if you didn't listen and obey you were stupid and deserved what you got. It all is so familiar!!

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  23. I am so glad I found this article....I have a long story about being married to a sociopath, which, after many years of reflection includes being isolated from my good family and friends, isolated from the city to the country, lost all my jobs quickly after I married him due to stress at home, and most of all, the emergence of suppressed immune system and constant physical illness including HPB, and pre-diabetic symptoms. The doctor says stress and bring it on...and kill you. Many people don't understand if Im so bad off being married to him, and if Im so unhappy...why not leave? I would say since I have lived with my sociopathic husband for 7 years, one thing I have learned as a problem solver, IF YOUR PLAN DOESNT SOLVE THE PROBLEM DONT MOVE UNTIL YOU FIND A SOLUTION THAT DOES...here's where it gets complicated...my husband has already done SUCH A GREAT JOB of turning my own family against me already that I can already foresee the court system manipulation and lies with lawyers and judges...same as now...I might even get my kids taken away he's such a liar. So for now, since he works out of town a lot I have just chosen to stay knowing that LEAVING WONT CHANGE HIS CHARACTER OR HIS BEHAVIOR...I WILL STILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH HIM AS LONG AS WE HAVE THE CHILDREN (FOREVER). My plan has been to have the one person in my family still on my side (my brother) abreast to the situation and the prospect that he has an evil and possibly VERY dangerous side, as in the capacity to "flip out" or maybe poison me....I watch him very closely and took out a life insurance policy he knows nothing about so he doesn't have motivation to kill me on purpose (only my brother knows about the policy in case I die of natural causes) Also, since engaging him in ANY conversation is stressful and brings on physical illness and high blood pressure, I literally do not speak to him at all...when he comes home, I leave him with the kids and don't tell him where Im going. I try to interact with him as little as possible, if at all. I have one new friend after all these years I can vent to and she knows about my husband to, but HE WILL NEVER MEET HER AS EVERY PERSON I LET HIM MEET HE TURNS THEM AGAINST ME...so this new friend is a secret. I know it sounds crazy to most, but really if you divorce a sociopath you still have to deal with them and the stress doesn't go away, so for me and my situation the best thing to do is learn how to deal with stress in the home and take care of my self as much as possible, limit all non-essential communication and dealings, keep at least one close person informed of the situation in case things escalate or something worse....at least one person can look into it if you cant and have no one else...These are truly the most dangerous people on earth, like the devil walking among us.

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Thank you for your comment. Positive feedback and helping those that have experienced the same tragedies are what keeps me going.