Sunday, October 27, 2013

Understanding How Sociopaths Think: Why It is Good to Ask Why

Understanding How Sociopaths Think: Why It is Good to Ask Why

So often during this recovery process, I have been told by others—those who have been targeted by sociopaths and those who have not—that it does not matter why the sociopath did what he did. Focus on you, they said. Figure out why you were vulnerable and what kind of behavior patterns you need to change. It does not matter why the sociopath lied to/cheated on/manipulated you, they said. Focus on YOU! Although they meant well, their words did not help me.

It is absolutely important and necessary to be introspective and learn everything we can about ourselves as we try to crawl our way out of the darkness. However, that kind of self-discovery can and should wait. Before that (and along with it), it is necessary to make sense out of what has happened to us so that we can build a foundation for the work we need to do on ourselves. And for many of us, immediately after we realize we have been deceived and betrayed, the burning thought in our minds is…WHY??? Why did the sociopaths lie so much? Why did they work so hard to convince us that they loved us, only to discard us so callously? Why did they spend so much time with us, if they never, ever cared for us? Whydid they keep things going with us as they pursued other “relationships”? Why did they suddenly turn into completely different people? Why do they make us feel like we are going crazy? And the list goes on and on… 

We can find the answers to these WHY questions by understanding how, exactly, sociopaths operate. By “understanding,” I do not mean that we can or should emotionally understand their behavior or excuse it in ANY way. I mean that we can and should intellectuallyunderstand their behavior because, by doing so, we find new wisdom and we take back our power! Below, I summarize the main concepts I learned about the sociopathic mind from various experts in the field:


Sociopaths lack a conscience 
Sociopaths know the intellectual difference between right and wrong. They understand society’s expectations. They understand what moral behavior is supposed to look like. They even understand that actions have consequences. The problem is, they do not care. They do not feel remorse or guilt. They have no inner compass to guide them, and so they do exactly what they want at any given moment. This lack of conscience means that it does not matter to them if they trample on the rights, feelings, or safety of others. It means that they have no limits and are therefore capable of anything; it is a recipe for endless cruelty and depravity. 

Sociopaths feel a limited range of human emotions
Sociopaths are emotionally crippled. They feel anger, rage, and envy in full force, which fuels aggressive behavior in many of them. But the rest of their emotions are shallow and fleeting. Because of this disability, sociopaths are unable to truly connect with other people. They are unable to have real empathy for others, because they cannot relate to emotional pain. And, most ominously, they are unable to love. This emotional defect also means that they must spend their entire lives watching others and learning to imitate behaviors that they are unable to engage in naturally; in this way, they become demented chameleons. They are pathetic and empty, and this makes them chronically bored. The boredom is almost painful for them, and they will do anything to alleviate it. This contributes to their tendency to act impulsively and recklessly. And ultimately, they will do anything and everything to get rid of their boredom because, having no conscience and no empathy, they do not care who gets hurt in the process. 

Sociopaths view everything in life—including relationships—as games to be won
Sociopaths have an insatiable need to win. This desire to win is so strong that they sometimes will take themselves down in the process of becoming the “winner.” Because they are unable to build real relationships, they view their interactions with others as games. Other people are simply pawns to be played. And because they have no conscience, they make up their own unethical rules for those “games.” They use tactics like mirroring, deception, projection, gaslighting, pity plays, and other forms of emotional and physical abuse to idealize, manipulate, confuse, and intimidate others, all in the name of “winning.”

Sociopaths live to exploit others
The ultimate purpose of every sociopath's life is to do whatever it takes to get what he or she wants at that moment. Since they do not understand love, they view other people as objects to be obtained, used, and then discarded. And so in all their interactions with others, they follow a particular pattern—idealize, devalue, and discard—over and over and over again. They are constantly scoping out potential targets and assessing them as sources of supply; they might want money, a place to live, sex, a cloak of normalcy, or a short-term thrill. They often throw people away suddenly and brutally, ignore them for days, months, or even years, and then contact them again as if no time has passed and all is well. Their desires change unexpectedly and abruptly, and nothing stops them from pursuing those desires in any way they can. 

Sociopaths believe they are superior beings
Sociopaths see nothing wrong with using people and then throwing them away. They feel completely justified in lying, cheating, stealing, and manipulating others. In fact, not only do they see nothing wrong with their behavior, they actually believe that they are incredibly superior to other people! Every time they are able to con their targets, they view that as evidence of the targets’ weakness. And, they do not suffer from low self-esteem or insecurities (although they often pretend to “feel” that way in order to manipulate others). On the contrary, they are egotistical and arrogant. And this makes it impossible for them to benefit from therapy, and it makes it impossible for them to change. Why should they change, when they believe they are already better than everyone else? This, I believe, is the main reason why there is no cure for sociopathy. 


Although it is very difficult to wrap our brains around such a foreign and disturbing way of looking at the world, doing so can help us protect ourselves. I have discovered that all I have learned about sociopathic behavior has helped me put the pieces together of a terrible puzzle, and although it is horrific to see the completed picture, it has also empowered me and enabled me to trust in the truth of my own experience. I hope that it will do the same for you. It is okay to ask why!

For further reading on the topic, please follow this link:

https://www.psychopathfree.com/bookshelf.php?tabid=125

This article was originally published in forum thread: Understanding How Sociopaths Think: Why It is Good to Ask Why started by HealingJourney View original post

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