A few years ago I dated a man who said that he loved me.

But hundreds of unanswered phone calls and dates that only I showed up for made that hard to believe. Still I knew that if I was patient and loved him hard enough that he would eventually change.

It took a phone call from the wife that he conveniently forgot to mention to make me realize that that probably wasn’t going to happen.

Many experiences (and a master’s degree) later, I’ve come to understand that my former lover, and those like him, are sociopaths: a unique breed of individual that is incapable of empathy or any other proper connection to other human beings.

Now when you think of the term “sociopath,” it might conjure up images of the lone stranger who gets off by dismembering people in his backyard. While this may be true, the term isn’t reserved for only felons and serial killers.

This is because the sociopath’s desire doesn’t have to be murder. Sometimes it’s money. Sometimes it’s sex. Sometimes it’s control. And while many people have these same aspirations, what makes a sociopath a sociopath is that they are more than willing to hurt someone to get what they want. So if your feelings or your well-being have to be sacrificed in order for them to achieve that need, that’s exactly what will have to happen.

They’re the man who sleeps with his partner just for her paycheck; the boyfriend that has sex with his girl’s sister, or even the husband that has managed to keep a secret, second family on the side. Most heartbreaking are the partners who think they can love or pray these individuals into being better people. But unfortunately, that’s simply not possible. Because unlike most people who suffer from some sort of mental disorder, sociopaths are perfectly happy being just the way they are. It’s the people that they come across who are miserable. So the only way to ensure that you’re not hurt by a sociopath is simple: stay away.

And what are the criteria for a diagnosable sociopath?

1. Unlawful Behavior
Sociopaths are arrogant creatures who often think they can operate above the law. Because of this, they may repeatedly perform criminal acts. However, because they are usually crafty and highly intelligent, they rarely get caught.

2. Deceitfulness
Lying! But not the random or compulsive variety. Sociopaths lie for a purpose, which usually includes some type of financial, sexual, or political gain. Lies may be grandiose in nature and are told as a vehicle of control.

3. Impulsivity
Sociopaths act on instinct and without thoroughly planning ahead. They may enter relationships quickly and passionately, but lose interest just as fast.

4. Aggressiveness
Sociopaths are usually easily irritated and may be prone to repeated physical fights.

5. Reckless Disregard
Sociopaths are likely to partake in risky, thrill seeking behaviors as they constantly need to be stimulated. In the context of relationships, this includes highly promiscuous sexual behavior usually without protection.

6. Irresponsibility
You know that person that can’t seem to hold down a job? Not because they’re lazy, but because they just don’t want to work? They may just be a sociopath that thinks they’re too good for a regular nine to five.

7. Lack of Remorse
Sociopaths don’t feel bad about anything. This includes not returning your calls or sleeping with your best friend. And to add insult to injury, sociopaths will come up with reasons to rationalize their messed up behavior. Her friend wanted me and what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. Right?

Bottom line is a sociopath has one concern: himself. And while they know their behavior is devastating to those around them, they’re charming enough to make sure that there are always people in their lives to take advantage of.

You just have to make sure you’re not one of them.

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  • steven

    You just sound like your still hurt from him. And creature is a harsh word :)

  • Renee Dolo

    Me and my sociopath just broke up after three years! Over dinner Sundsy he told me that while he appreciated the fact that I stood by him through five medical procedures, have a nice personality, intelligent, and pretty that he wasn’t going to marry me because I’m not terribly domestic! He forgets that I’ve offered to cook for him and each time he turned me down (since his ex-wife of twenty years still cooks for him). I’ve also washed dishes and performed some other minor chores for him. He says that I’m too mushy for him but yet he claims to be an emotional person himself (although I have yet to see it). He says that he wants to marry a woman for whom he has a fantasy love and then in the next breath he says that people don’t always marry for love (he said that after I asked if he had that kind of love for me). I realized that he was never going to stop lying or cheating so I dumped him. Women love this man and think he’s the best thing since sliced bread!

    • Jessica

      I feel your pain, and I know from my own personal experience, you can NEVER change these men, because they don’t even think they have a problem, you do, , you are not perfect enough for them, I worked out 2 hours a day, 7 days a week, cooked for him and gave him full body professional massage for 5 years, he had the nerve to tell me, he got “tired of it… and he wants to be able to date super models.. what an idiot!! These men will never grasp the TRUE meaning of love, ot be human, people change and grow.. If you find yourself always apologizing for just being yourself, then RUN, like hell away from this toxic, life sucking vampire,, and know that he will treat the next “victim” woman the same exact way…I do take pleasure in knowing this B– will never be happy and I have since moved on to a real loving man that adores me.. I hope you can do the same, and do get counseling, it does help….always be yourself and look for a man who will want you the way you are now, and not put you down..all my best to you,

    • Kelley

      Holy smokes. Been there, done that.
      I dated mine for three years, also. It was six months before he told me he had a wife. Then made sure I felt sorry for the “fact” that he was only staying there until their last kid graduated high school.
      Right on schedule, divorce papers were filed. Then he started telling me how we were gonna have a life together and do all sorts of great things.
      Well, two weeks before the divorce was finalized he started telling me that he shouldn’t jump from one commitment right into another one. I thought we were already IN a commitment.
      Needless to say, he’s run off, but still emails me trying to make me feel like the split was MY fault and I caused his divorce.
      Yeah, I know, I shoulda left while he was still married. Mr. Charming had me in his web and there was no escape.

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