What I Learned from Dating a Sociopath

A sociopath is a person that lacks empathy and manipulates people into doing whatever they please. That definition alone isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. I feel like you really have to experience engaging with a sociopath in an intimate way to have a deeper understanding on how they operate. As an empath—someone who is basically the polar opposite of a sociopath—I am bait to manipulators. After my two and a half year relation with my ex went to complete hell, I learned a lot of things not only about sociopathy, but about myself:

  1. Understand Your Weaknesses as an Empath
    1. Let me iterate (quite aggressively) that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an empath. In my opinion, empaths have the ability to read people on a deeper level than most people can. When we say we can “feel” your pain, it’s not an exaggeration, but that is one of our main weaknesses. We tend to tire ourselves with other people’s burdens when we don’t have to. Standing up for ourselves becomes a source of anxiety when it should come naturally. Nice people don’t finish last because they’re nice, they finish last because they let the fear of being perceived as mean interfere with their own self-worth.  Don’t let people convince you that who you are is defective, but have enough self-awareness to address your weaknesses.
  2. Be Wary of Too Much Charm
    1. My ex can charm anyone; he’s funny, he’s smart, and happens to have a six pack (who knows if that’s still true). Our similarities were uncanny—too uncanny. When a sociopath takes particular interest in you, they make it their mission to gain as much intel on you as possible. While this may come across as a sudden deep interest in you, recognize that intimate details can easily be used against you. Sociopaths will always operate from a place of self-interest; to them, we are simply pawns in their game.
  3. Insecurities are Loud
    1. I wasn’t the most confident chick in high school. While I was very aware of that, I didn’t realize how apparent it might have been to men, my ex in particular. Looking back, it makes sense that he took a particular interest in me, because I essentially had a target on my back. I had no sense of self, I cherished his validation of me because it was the only time I ever felt it within myself. You could argue that it’s pretty common to be insecure in your teen years, but this followed me well into my early twenties. Be mindful of what you say around guys of interest: refrain from saying things like “I’m surprised he’d take interest in me,” “I can’t screw this up with him, what if he’ll find someone else?” When you’re wearing your insecurities so loud, you’re making yourself bait for a sociopath, and manipulative people in genera. Challenge your insecurities, or change them, if it’s healthier for you. This is your one life, don’t dedicate it to someone else’s wishes.
  4. Sociopaths are Pathological Liars
    1. My ex lied like it was his first language. Looking back, it was ridiculous what he would lie about. At the time, I believed everything he told me, like the sucker I was; however, when I reflect on certain moments, a lot of his lies didn’t add up. Keep a mental note of everything that you’re being told, and notice inconsistencies. Never not confront a sociopath on their lies. I know this may sound odd, but sociopaths are so exceptional at manipulation that they can have you doubting yourself. I wasted so much time arguing with my ex and racking my brain around his ludicrous lies. He lied about little things and would blatantly make up scenarios just to see my reaction. My emotions were a game to him, and trust me, you don’t want to put yourself through that kind of psychological trauma. Sociopaths are experts at spinning the narrative to make you look like the bad guy, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll believe it. e
  5. You Can’t Beat Them at Their Own Game
    1. If there’s from this blog post I want you to understand, never forget this: you cannot beat a sociopath at their own game. You know how my ex and I eventually ended? It was on a Facebook post. My ex was going through a very difficult situation at the time, and he always seemed to want his space. After two weeks of not seeing him or hearing from him, I see him post about having a new girlfriend. I was devastated, confused, and pissed. I replayed the last couple months of our relationship, trying to figure out where I went wrong. I wasn’t the issue, but I didn’t understand that at the time. When he did finally reach out to me, he acted as if nothing had happened—he was actually asking if I wanted to hang out with him. He was very callous about the whole thing: “I wanted you until I didn’t. I don’t understand what’s so hurtful about that.” I’m not gonna lie, that still kinda messes with me a little bit, but he truly didn’t understand how I was hurt. He couldn’t understand. This is why I say you can’t beat a sociopath at their own game; sociopaths literally lack the compartment in their brain that produces feelings of empathy or remorse. In the beginning, all I wanted was to hurt him back. I wanted him to suffer as badly as I did, and it took a while until I was able to finally release that need for revenge. Ironically, as soon as I stopped trying to seek revenge was when I got it. About a year after our last conversation, he had messaged me, asking to “finally” be friends again. I didn’t respond and haven’t heard from him since. The only “revenge” you can give to a sociopath is simply moving on with your life. Don’t waste energy trying to be something that you aren’t and on someone who isn’t worth it.

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