My experience through life has been a pattern of choosing sociopaths, time and time again…then a seven year reprieve. Now I can add narcissist to my repertoire of knowledge. I think I pretty much grouped them together as if they were one in the same. Granted there is overlap…but from my perspective the game is played quite differently between a sociopath and a narcissist, which is how I managed to almost be deceived again, only this time I was aware and observant and allowed for the possibility that it was all a lie. THIS makes it much less painful, but painful nonetheless. This difference is measurable and can get you a bit off guard if you don’t consider the stark difference.
To me the biggest red flag for a sociopath is their incongruence and their meanness. What they say and do seldom matches and in some ways it is really obvious. We can see them do cruel things when they tout wanting to be a “better man,” or a “Godly man,” and we find ourselves questioning it, but having no understanding of cruelty because we ourselves would not be cruel…we choose to excuse away their appalling behavior-as we must just be confused. Things must be different than what we thought we heard, or saw, or experienced. They are happy to support the idea that we are confused. We believe there must be something wrong with us because we couldn’t bear to think someone we loved was this evil..and we do think we love them. As most know, they are indeed charismatic, or as I prefer to say, charming, and that is what charms us under their spell…literally. A spell that enables us to have mercy for them, sorrow for them, devote ourselves to them, we so want to save them from their suffering, after all they want to be better men or women as it were. Kind of a premise that I have the best of intentions but I always screw up…
Narcissist? Not precisely the same..
Although they are both charismatic, both really good at playing the victim, the poor person that has never been loved, or always been betrayed…who only longs for true love…there is what seems like a BIG VARIANCE…
The sociopath only has the goal of winning, as does the narcissist. The sociopath however, wins by controlling you. That is it…getting you to do what they want you to do, whether it has any big win in it or not for them. Controlling you is win enough. In fact they don’t even care if it hurts them (given they don’t have real feelings like you and I)…they only care it hurts you in the worst possible way. For example they can bring you to financial ruin by getting you to support them financially, sign loans, lend them money, invest in their “business” and then bankrupt you…which of course means you have nothing left to give them…but it was worth it to them, just to see you lose all that you have, because they could do it! It is the victory of control. They fake crisis and situations so you will run to their rescue…time after time…just to see you run. When you stop being controlled, you become boring to them and that MAY lead them to look for someone else. BUT sociopaths are not quick to let go, they are very persistent. In fact, in the early stages while they are trying to hook you, you feel so important, all the attention they bestow upon you…but once you are hooked, their behavior changes as you are hooked now, so they need not keep up the act, in fact they may begin to treat you like trash and you ask yourself, where is that person who loved me so? Nowhere. They didn’t exist in the first place…however, if they think you are leaving, then they fuel up the charm again, no one is leaving THEM. THEY decide when it is over…
Narcissists on the other hand does not wish to control you simply for their joy and pleasure like a sociopath, no, no, no…it is so they can LIVE. And it is not control, it is ATTENTION. They NEED the world to revolve around them. They NEED to be the most important thing in your life…and you must agree with them, support them, celebrate them OR you will be cast aside, be dead to them, discarded so quickly you won’t even know what happened! Yet, these creatures are so good at setting the trap that we will easily fall into, that we think to ourselves, they told me I needed to not cross this line and I did, this is all my fault!
They both blame us, but this too is different. With a sociopath, they have us feeling at fault, but we really don’t understand why we feel it is our fault. We hear them blaming us, but we are confused, we don’t understand…but with a narcissist, we see what we did wrong…we see how we failed.
A sociopath might over react to you speaking to someone of the opposite sex. You think, wow, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I was just talking. But they will claim to have seen far more than that, so you start to think, God, was I flirting? God I feel really stupid…these thoughts enter your mind if you are person asleep which is the term I use to represent our inability to see the truth of this manipulation. Their goal was simply to control you. To have you feel bad about yourself and start stiffening up your boundaries, walking more in line, all this for the joy of being controlled by this jerk.
A narcissist, talks about Love as if it is sacred and then lets you know right up front the boundaries that can never be crossed. You mustn’t insult them, as they would not insult you…or so they tell you. So you are on this tight rope hoping you never cross this CONDITION, they have put on their love. However, it is ill defined just enough so that they can choose to say you crossed that boundary whenever it suits them…and they do it pretty early on…WHY?
So they can see how devoted you are to begging for Mercy, saying how sorry you are and that you had no idea that would hurt and you have learned your lesson…and ask that they give you another chance…and they will indeed.
And as long as you spend all your days in worship of the nobility (ha ha ha) of this man or woman, you are in the most amazing beauty and wonder you can imagine. So it’s easy, you just have to exhaust yourself worshiping them, supporting them in whatever venture they have…tell them how talented, beautiful, amazing they are and believe in their outrageous dreams of being a super hero, world famous….the best there is and it is love forever!
Of course your life span will be pretty short giving up all that air!!!! No one can sustain this for long.
While you can be devoted, YOU feel so honored, so loved…and like you are the biggest priority. Well of course you are the priority, they are NOTHING without you…but unlike a sociopath, they can discard you without a second thought as long as they have someone else willing to blow more air in their lungs, stroke their breakable ego…then, one wrong move, and you are dead to them. They never look back…unless, they need air and can’t get it anywhere else.
When a narcissist feels you pulling away…he goes to those in the backup plan that have been waiting and being groomed to be up next…the harem if you will. And don’t worry there are plenty…all thinking they might have a shot at this charismatic lover who has been hurt so much before…
The sociopath only lets you go on their terms. Your pulling away makes them seek you more, because they will RARELY let you leave because YOU want to…at least not easily. YOU can escape a sociopath when he can’t control you anymore. When you release your fear…when you realize you are the POWER…you were chosen because you are powerful and confident, but YOU didn’t know it…that is how they leverage you. They get you to use your power for THEM…never applying it to you, until you WAKE UP! Then, it takes courage, but you have the power and intellect to escape them. You do.
Sadly, don’t we want to offer support, and praises to the people we Love? Don’t we want to support their dreams? Of course we do…so how do you make the distinction? Actually it is not that hard…
When they are calling you and constantly touching base, they are not loving you, they are hunting you.
A healthy relationship does not require your whereabouts be disclosed every moment and instead trusts.
When you see an incongruence between their words and actions, believe their actions every time.
If he/she holds you to a different standard than himself…RUN. For example they feel they can violate your privacy, check your phone messages email, ask for an accounting of each moment but it is made clear whether subtly or directly, you do NOT dare question their whereabouts or goings on-if you feel like you are under scrutiny…get out.
There is an expression by Dolly Parton “The first time some one shows you their true colors, believe them.”
When the mask falls off and their violent/aggressive/critical words and actions show…know that they can only hide that for a short period, who they are is who they are. Don’t be fooled by remorseful tears. If you would NEVER do what you just saw them do, know that is because it is cruelty…let them go before the hook is too deep.
They often want you to pursue them! This is because they only want someone that will give them everything they need. SO they don’t hunt, as much as choose. They choose you…lure you in, but then leave the rest up to you. If you don’t come through, they try the next person in waiting. If you do come through though, wow, you will get the love of a lifetime…for awhile anyway.
Pay close attention to ME, MY…I. WOW, those words are core to their vernacular!
Don’t get me wrong, they make you feel like you are everything to them, because you in fact ARE! They can’t breathe without the air you give them…pay attention though, when they are saying how important you are…do they really celebrate YOUR life, or what it gives to THEM!
They do this so well it is really hard to tell…just pull back some attention and watch as they back off, they are shopping for your replacement.
Then of course…you could be unfortunate enough to have someone who has traits of BOTH. Just know if you feel bad or wrong often, are praying for things to be like they used to be, or feeling like you are losing your mind…start thinking about getting out of the relationship! It doesn’t matter what the label is, narcissist or sociopath. What matters is we deserve healthy loving relationships and we must have the courage to move away from anything in contrast! Educate yourself.
Consider buying my book Me and My Shadow, Move from Fear and Control to Love and Freedom where I take you on my journey through pain to triumph.