Once upon a time, years ago, when someone acted somewhat differently, or there was something odd about them but you could not quite put your finger on what it was, no one ever thought about mental disorders. Yet, I’ll bet a huge percentage of those 'different' people went undiagnosed and no one was any the wiser in that they actually had a psychopath or a sociopath in their midst, possibly lived next door to one, or might have had one (or two) in their own family. That was then - this is now.
I think now more than ever with mental disorders being discussed openly and with so many people being diagnosed each and every day with one or another disorder or syndrome - i.e., bipolar, paranoid schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and the list goes on and on…we are becoming acutely aware that there are many Psychopaths and Sociopaths living among us. Someone in our own family may have these traits; maybe someone you are dating, living with, was once considering marrying until they revealed that ‘other’ secret side of their dark selves to you. It’s also scary to realize - it could be any one of a number of people you know - maybe even have dealings with every day. Does this strike a familiar chord with you?
Yes, it’s scary - very scary, to know there are hundreds of thousands of people out there, all around us, who don’t have our best interests at heart, who don’t care what our best interests are, and could and would easily manipulate us and use us for their own selfish purposes. They wreak havoc on family relationships - especially if they are a loved one’s partner, husband, wife, significant other - they can wield such power and more often than not try to isolate the loved one so as to keep them in a vulnerable position and easier to manipulate. In short, they ‘prey’ on them, their vulnerabilities, in order to have and keep the upper hand in the relationship as well as the household in general. They crave control and domination. They take advantage. They want to call the shots. They are toxic - and dangerous. Dangerous can mean in a psychological way - as well as emotional and/or physical.
Mary Jo Buttofuoco, the wife of the infamous Joey Buttofuoco, was finally, after over twenty years, able to find the strength to extricate herself from her alleged either psychopathic or sociopathic husband. She has since written a New York Times' Best Selling Book, "Getting It Through My Thick Skull", which also contains a guideline, a list, of what to look for if you think you are involved with a psychopath or sociopath. And, she would know - as she says she lived with one for many years (before she got it 'through her thick skull',(as her Mother would say to her). The two men I know and have in mind make Joey look like a boy scout.
Make no mistake about it - we are talking here about insecure, usually emotionally bankrupt people, very often emotionally immature - who have no conscience whatsoever (sociopaths). Psychopaths usually can discern right from wrong but if the ‘wrong’ path would benefit them, they would take that path and damn the consequences. Be very careful with dealing with dangerous people such as these - they can be very vindictive, especially if they think they are losing a foothold with their (fill in the blank) spouse/partner/lover/friend, in short, victim.
I know several psychopaths/sociopaths. I have worked under some. I have had to live among one or two. I also know other individuals who are putting up with a lot of psychological abuse for what they think is - in the name of ‘love’. But, of course, there’s the ‘rub’. It’s not love - not when a relationship is so one-sided. People tend to get blinded or blindsided by someone they think they love - to them it feels like love, but it’s something insidious and ultimately damaging to their psychological health and well-being. It impacts their relationships with other people they have been close to, even their own parents. The several I have known personally tended to be very paranoid, insecure and constantly vigilant around their 'prey' or victim, if you will. They want their victim totally dependent on them. Pure Evil.
The ones I have been in personal contact with, were all men. They are, unfortunately, still alive and still taking advantage of people - and still ruthless, abusive, cunning and heartless.
They are very skilled at lying - they will lie about anything if it helps them in any way. Sometimes I think they'd rather lie than tell the truth - it makes them feel they are getting away with something. It is a way of life for them.
Since, according to the website, 'Lovefraud.com' posts that "Experts estimate that 1% to 4% of the population are Sociopaths" - that means "there may be anywhere between 3 million and 12 million Sociopaths in the United States - and 68 million to 272 million Sociopaths worldwide" - which also translates to mean that anyone reading this article must certainly know at least one Sociopath - and not even be aware of it! Sociopathic men and women cannot be rehabilitated. The website goes on to say Sociopaths can be serial killers and serial rapists. They blend in with society very well - they are entertaining and fun at parties. They 'appear' to be well-adjusted, intelligent, charming and likeable. The key word being 'appear' -- for Sociopaths it's all an illusion. They are masters at manipulation.
There are also some who live parasitic lifestyles - living off relatives, friends. Toxic. I know a sociopath (man) who doesn't want to work - and only takes temporary, mostly part-time jobs. He depends on hand-outs from relatives to get through life. He doesn't care that he's draining his parents and wife's relatives. He has the emotional maturity of an 8 or 10 year old. He never matured. He is bad news, a really bad apple. He's a true sociopath. Nothing matters to him but his own selfish pursuits. Imagine that a middle-aged man has to depend on his parents to bail him out financially time after time. He doesn't care that he has taken them to the cleaners. He shirks his duties as a parent and a husband, time and again. He is despicable. Yet his wife sticks by him - she is either in avoidance and denial or has the 'Stockholm syndrome' (described below - see Patty Hearst below) where she has meshed her identity with her 'captor' (husband) and has become acutely co-dependent on this sad excuse for a human being.
These types of unbalanced people have fundamental character flaws and will stop at almost nothing to keep their partner under their ‘spell’. They want to retain dominion over them - they are able to manipulate them to do things their way. Case in point - Patty Hearst. It was said of her that she developed what is called 'The Stockholm Syndrome' - or - Traumatic bonding.
I have witnessed the ongoing situation (described above) where the Sociopathic husband constantly hovers around his wife, listening to her conversations on the phone or with people who are visiting - he lurks behind the scenes in order to hear what is being said. He constantly seeks to keep his finger on the pulse of everything going on with his wife and within the household. Little by little, year after year, her partner has managed to keep her mostly tied down to the house (and therefore, him) with no car, no credit cards, no money - no freedom. Yet, he sends her out to work - half of the time she has to get rides as he leaves her with no car. More often than not, this parasite does not work. Because the sociopath's wife has become accustomed to this 'lack of' mentality, it has become the 'norm' to her.
It is quite stunning to realize how many little intricate details the husband makes it his business to be aware of both around the household and anything having to do with his partner - i.e., listening to her telephone messages - then deciding who will get a call back and which messages he will not give his wife.
Of course, there are many Psychopaths and Sociopaths who can also be physically abusive. But, in this particular article, I am referring to psychological abusers, not the physically violent types. That is to be the topic for a separate article. Please remember, 'forewarned is forearmed'. Experts in this field say - try never to be alone with a Sociopath. Always have a witness.
Here is some good information:
http://www.lovefraud.com - Very informative
I am quoting here from http://www.abusesanctuary.blogspot.com - "8 million people are 'psychopathic enough' to destroy other peoples' lives"...they also feature a book called "Women Who Love Psychopaths".
I have been looking for a site such as this regarding ‘traumatic bonding’. It is almost like the Stockholm Syndrome where people start to identify with their ‘captors’. They bond with them.
This is another website that you might find of interest
Until next time, I hope you will take a look at the above information - you may be able to help or save someone you know - someone you may love.