Posted by: dianaiannarone | July 25, 2018

Traits of the Sociopath Victim


I haven’t done a blog on this topic in some time. I do however still coach people dealing with sociopaths and narcissists. I haven’t done a blog because I feel my content is available and no need to keep saying the same thing over and over. Today however, a specific situation caused me to read quite a bit about what is out there regarding two key aspects of these relationships:

  1. The traits of a target victim that these individuals seek and attempt to destroy.
  2. The traits of the individual victim after experiencing the abuse in these situations.

I found the information on the aftermath to be reasonably accurate, yet I found the depiction of who the target is to be considerably off base. So I felt the need to address it.

As always, this is simply my view. I am not a medical professional. I did however, write a book Me & My Shadow Move from Fear and Control to Love and Freedom depicting my life experiences in these types of relationships, and my pathway to releasing myself from being a repeated victim of these individuals. In addition, I have been coaching for 13 years and since 2008 a large segment of my client base are those that have come to me with their plight, which of course unsurprisingly mirrored mine. And these men and women who told me their stories needed guidance on how to, as I put it, Wake Up, Stand Up, Live Free.

Wake Up, in essence is facing reality. Stand Up, is beginning to no longer tolerate the intolerable, and Live Free, is finally having what I refer to as an internal locus of control.

Your Life-Your Terms.

It is possible to no longer be driven by the opinions and feelings of others and yet still have compassion and the ability to compromise.

Freedom comes when you simply commit to never betraying yourself again.

To effectively do this is conscious work.  To resolve this permanently requires that you:

Wake Up to how you’re operating from past hurts, Stand Up for your non-negotiable qualities and Live Free into your next reality.

Each of these individuals that came to me needing help, all resembled many of the traits I had. They were NOT shy, timid, self doubting, or lacking in confidence as some of the information out there suggests…none of these 100s upon 100s of individuals fell into those characteristics.

As a result I am quite convicted in my beliefs.

The stories I hear daily are so similar in that the manipulative tactics are predictable once you know how to recognize the patterns that these relationships ALWAYS hold. Always. Briefly into any conversation, people are stunned that I can know what happened next. I am not a rocket scientist. It is simply a matter of patterns of behavior. Their perpetrators’ proactive patterns, as well as their response patterns. And of course, we too who were the victims, have patterns that place us, and keep us in this cycle.

Until we Wake Up.

Life is not meant to be a struggle, and healing from harsh forces is a beautiful, 

gentle awakening to the one limiting core belief

the red thorn

that can be gently released 

(not extracted).

My Run Down of the Traits and the Downhill Progression of the Sociopath Victim

My focus here is not to define the sociopath. Instead it is to more clearly define the victim. I do have other blogs and videos that focus on the sociopath/narcissist traits based on my, and my applicable clients’ experiences.

This is a partial list of the traits that define a target of sociopathic abuse. This is who they are at the beginning:

High Self-Confidence
Successful at almost anything they passionately choose to do
Many Friends
Loved by family
Honest (often CAN’T Lie)
Strong values and ethics
Goal oriented
Forthright & Articulate

They also:

Want to help others (without being conscious of how it might be hurting themselves).

Believe in giving people second and third chances (sadly 200-3000).

Want to believe the promises of others. In fact, they get hooked into the dream of those promises.

Believe they can help the man or woman become the person they claim they wish to be.

Always seeking to self-improve, take ownership, & strive to do better and be better  (Which is why they are willing to believe something is their fault, that isn’t).

Believe words over and over even if the actions don’t line up, because they are hopeful, optimistic people and want to keep believing in those they believe they love.

In spite of all those wonderful traits, they have low self-esteem. Don’t get me wrong, these individuals of course have their broad set of flaws, not the least of which is they are attracted to sociopaths. It is just that this one, is by far what leads them to let abuse remain in their life: Low Self-Esteem.

Having been in this position myself, I would say I had no idea I didn’t have self-esteem. I was confusing it with self-confidence. We do not realize we are worthy of being loved just because we exist. That is a sign of low self-esteem. People with low self-esteem do not give their feelings the credence they deserve. They tend to sacrifice too much to please others, because they long for someone to complete them. Someone to fill the void they believe they have.

To get that love they long for, they think they have to DO for others…and because they have high self-confidence and strong stamina and endurance, they will not stop until they succeed, but instead they finally break.

And they are not used to failing and they don’t want to fail at the relationship, anymore than they want to fail at anything. However, THIS is their biggest desire. To make their relationship work. They lose themselves in the effort, they become invisible. They forget they exist.

What they don’t realize is that the reason why they fail, is their goal is impossible.

They are manipulated by their intimate partner (or boss, sibling, parent) into believing it is possible, and that promise of that happy life keeps them trying.

Their HOPE is actually the weapon used against them. Hope leads them to destruction…until they are shattered.

As the relationship progresses the strong person has deteriorated as follows:

Massive self-doubt
Losing their sense of purpose
Constantly confused
Doesn’t understand what went wrong
Largely accepts the blame
Feel they failed their partner
Sees no way to recover
Becomes paralyzed, frozen…unable to move past the present conditions
Unable to concentrate
Trouble reading
Trouble sleeping

They tell the truth, so it is incomprehensible that they are not being believed. Resulting in their constantly over explaining to try and express their true intentions, actions and so on, to the point of exhaustion.

Maybe it was my fault, I must have caused this, I should have responded or acted differently.

The more lost and confused they get from the constant contradictions and being told they are someone different than they are, the more the accusations begin to feel real.

They begin to think they are crazy.

They have trouble maintaining all the demands of everything they do because they are doing beyond their share, because they are carrying themselves, the family, often the financials/work/business, and exhaustion is taking over.

They begin to look for something to numb. Food, alcohol, drugs, television, anything to get a small escape from the blame, the belittling, the manipulation…until they can see it for what it is.

Which Sadly is at Breaking point…

A final moment that flips a switch and reality becomes clear.

Breaking point, is when they WAKE UP.

It places them in a tailspin.
Suddenly they are very fearful of their situation.
Like a tapestry, every piece of their lives that made no sense before, comes into clarity…it is too much to bear.

The tapestry gets larger and larger as information starts to come in that they can now piece together differently than before.

They try and step back and take it a piece at a time.

They suffer cognitive dissonance. Which is basically the impact of two radically opposing thoughts fighting for position. Neither of which they can accept.

Everything that they imagined their life to be is wrong, a lie, a deception, and what they now see as a contrasting reality is too much to bear.

It can’t be true.

It is true.

Over and over and over.

This struggle between what they intellectually are beginning to accept, yet emotionally are completely unwilling to, puts them in a tug-of -war so great it feels like their mind, body, and soul are being torn apart…their pain of not being able to reconcile this is an impossible burden.

And, no one they turn to understands. It is too out of reach, too outrageous to be true. Only someone who has been there has the capacity to understand, validate the reality, and help.

To accept that all their love, devotion, hard work, honesty, sincerity, and efforts were in fact to their partner, nothing more than a mind game, designed solely for the purpose of taking them down, destroying them in all aspects of life:

Spiritually, Financially, Emotionally, Physically and Mentally-is unthinkable.

And having been isolated slowly over time from their family, friends and many of those they love, leaving them now broken and often alone…for a time, there is still that pull to go back. Because their brain can’t get wrapped around the idea that anyone could do this.

Why would anyone do this?

They can’t wrap their thoughts around the fact that someone would even THINK to do this.

And that is because, THEY are not them.  YOU are not them.

You have compassion. You have empathy. You have strong values and ethics. And you want to make sense of it. You want the answer. You want the answer so badly you are in agony. Why would anyone do this?

Yet the only truthful answer is also unfathomable to you:

The answer is:

These individuals have no conscience.


No conscience. So any guilt or shame you thought they owned, it was a lie to get you in deeper.

To them, it is all a chess game.

Their goal?  To win. That is it.

You lose.

So what do you do now?

You continue to WAKE UP, then you STAND UP, and you will LIVE FREE.

And you will then have more strength, more wisdom, and be crystal clear on your worth and as you recover from being broken, you will pick up every single piece. Every one.

Now you will know your wholeness.

For the first time in your life, you will realize no one completes you.

You will never tolerate the intolerable again.

I really know. I have been there, and I also helped so many people arrive there. Don’t EVER give up finding your happiness, as that is the one way you give them the “you win” card.

In conclusion I am choosing to put an Excerpt from The Calm After the Storm Chapter of my book:

Me & My Shadow  Move from Fear and Control to Love and Freedom

Love and acceptance are what we have been striving for all along. We did so by trying to reel it in from the external, when all we needed to do was turn to ourselves. This is your time to give caring and compassion to yourself, so you will know what it feels like and recognize when you are receiving something to the contrary. And as you begin to love and accept yourself as you are, you will see you will receive an abundance of love and acceptance from others. You have always been the teacher of what you deserve. You are the magnet that brings just what you are asking for into your life.

You can do this. And if you would like, I can help.


  1. I want to thank you for your understanding of this particular aspect of psychology as well as your willingness to assist in the recovery of those who have fallen victim of Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths…
    I actually died dealing with mine just before new year’s of 2018… Since my coma of 2 1/2 weeks(where I was when my heart stopped) and my 2 1/2 month hospital stay, I am still recovering mentally and emotionally though my neurologist assured me after reviewing my last CT-SCAN(July 2018) that my physical injury(bisubdural hematoma)has resolved… I’m still in recovery as I work with my Sociopathic ex-girlfriend, and she has done much to prevent my progress, which I’m sure comes as no surprise to you…
    After watching a few minutes of a video of yours on YouTube, I could tell very quickly that you were quite familiar with the personality type that was my truly horrific experience. I am currently working on my escape and will be referring back to your videos&material to assist the facilitation of my recovery and healing from what I can only describe as the most horribly tragic experience of my life which was very close to ending… Traumatized by the events that were direct results of her manipulations, I developed what I think constitutes Stockholm syndrome amidst her continued manipulations which knew no bounds… This became apparent when she visited me in the hospital and proceeded to flirtatiously fraternize with my floor nurse that she apparently knew right in front of me as I was bound in 5150 restraints in my hospital bed… It continued after my release as I’m sure you could imagine and I feel that it’s time to make my escape… Id like to consult with you if possible to continue my recovery and healing from a surrealistic madness I never anticipated experiencing…

    Thank you for your time, consideration, familiarity with the subject, and willingness to help those who have personally experienced the unconscionable wrath of the narcissistic sociopath.

    • Sam, I am so sorry to hear about your situation and the depth of the suffering you have endured. I know it is horrible what we allow and we have to find our inner strength and strategy to get out of the situation and make sure we never get in one like that again! I thank you for your kind words. It is true someone has to experience this to get it! I would be glad to offer you a free consultation. The only time I have this week is tomorrow at 2:30 EST, or I could do next Tuesday at 1:00. I will need your contact phone number, unless you are out of the country, then we have to connect on Skype first. I am so glad it looks like you have made a full recovery. Now let’s set you free for good! You can email me your contact information at if that is easier.

  2. Reblogged this on diana iannarone and commented:

    Remember, as it is time to give Thanks to give yourself permission to be happy and free from any type of abuse or controls. Perhaps it is time to evaluate your life and decide if you can be happier and freer than you feel right now. I thought perhaps this blog I wrote some time ago might be a good reminder to evaluate your situation and if you need help reach out for a free phone/skype consultation.

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