It's vital to learn how to detect a sociopath before you become a victim. Many people believe that they would never be caught but unless they understand sociopathy, this belief is very dangerous because it means they are not on the look out for sociopaths, nor do they know what the symptoms of a sociopath are.
If you knew that your new friend was a sociopath, you'd run a mile! So sociopaths learn how to hide in society and can appear friendly, charming, helpful and intelligent at first glance.
In fact, they can seem to be the perfect friend, co-worker, teacher, business partner, or whatever. But let this be your first clue. If something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
A sociopath is often very good at reading people and they will quickly size up their target in terms of their wants, fears, likes and needs. They then present themselves as the ideal partner to their victim. They pretend to have the same likes and interests as the target. They offer the target what the target needs. They make the target feel cared for, wanted, special, unique, safe, even loved. The target is led through a range of very strong emotions… which means that rational thinking goes out the window.
This is very often how the sociopath makes friends with the target. And it all happens very fast, much faster than a normal healthy relationship.
This wave of emotions means that the target doesn't even listen to family and friends when these people criticize the sociopath. The family and/or friends are not subjected to the manipulations of the sociopath and often detect a sociopath when the target is unable to.
So pay attention to your family and friends when they warn you about newcomers. I know it's a very difficult thing to do because you may be so enamored with this amazing person in your life, but this is why it's important to understand sociopaths…
Once the sociopath has love bombed the target into a compliant, unquestioning heap, then the controlling behavior and the abusive stuff starts to come out.
Initially, the victim will justify whatever happens, to himself or others, by saying things like, "You don't know him (or her) like I do. If you got to know them better, you'd understand." Or "(S)he is really a good person, they are just having an off moment."
If you find yourself saying these things, pay attention. If you want to detect a sociopath, these are the not so subtle signs that you have one right in front of you.
A frequent occurrence is such situations is the isolation of the victim. The victim thinks that friends and family have drifted off and will often blame others for deserting them. Often the victim will end up in arguments with friends and family about the sociopath (whether an an intimate relationship or in a cult setting). The sociopath is only too happy to join in the criticism of friends and family.
The people around the target can see the person changing as a result of the relationship but get to the point where they can no longer do anything about it. They cannot convince the victim that the sociopath is changing them, arguing seems to make it worse, and the relationship begins to break down.
What is actually going on is that the sociopath is systematically isolating the victim from anyone who can help the victim understand what is actually going on.
Other things to help you detect a sociopath are lies, inconsistencies and incongruities.
Sociopaths are expert liars. They lie as easily as they breathe. And if caught out in a lie, they will just make up some more!
If they do confess to lying, it is simply to make friends with the victim again and gain their trust. Then it's back to the lies again very quickly.
One of the most reliable ways to detect a sociopath is to watch for the inconsistencies between what is said and what is done. This can, however, be very difficult for the victim to detect. A sociopath may promise all sorts of things, claim to be all types of things and say all manner of things. But their actions are typically at odds with their words.
Although reliable it may also be difficult for the target to recognize this pattern, because the sociopath will have redefined things. For example, the target is not allowed to criticize the sociopath but the sociopath is very critical of the target. The sociopath claims that he is not criticizing, he is only pointing out how things actually are. Or the sociopath who insists on knowing where the target is at all times and the target has to report back everything. This is actually very, very controlling, but the sociopathic, controlling husband claims that he cares very much for the target and feels responsible for her and is only looking out for her. What he says is not aligned with what he is doing but the target may not easily recognize the discrepancy because their ability to think rationally has been distorted.
This leads into the next big pattern if you want to detect a sociopath. The manipulator will have one set of rules for himself or for herself, and another set for the target. The target has to answer the phone immediately but the sociopath rarely does. The target has to account for all money spent but the sociopath does not have to.
In fact, sociopaths have an ability to spend huge amounts of money and it is very common that no-one can figure out where it has gone. Remember money is often very important to the sociopath as an expression of power and so they like to have control of this, too.
Sociopaths play by their own rules and feel no obligation to stick to the rules of society. This means that they cannot be trusted at all, and giving them the benefit of the doubt can be disastrous. Many of then will even flout court orders, believing themselves to be beyond the law. After all, they consider themselves to be superior to others, so why should they be limited by such things as rules?! This is a significant indicator if you want to detect a sociopath.
They will be very quick to point out to their targets, though, when and where the rules should be applied in order to keep the targets under control. For example, the sociopath who lies continually who catches the victim out in a small lie (often told by the victim to actually protect themselves from the wrath of the sociopath!) and then uses this against the victim on a regular basis. "You are a liar! You lied to me about that thing… now I expect the truth from you!"
The sociopath also likes to control the behavior of people around them. They make will make all sorts of comments about a person's hair and clothes, for example, in order to influence these things. They may say all sorts of downright cruel things or repeated 'subtle' remarks in order to get what they want. "If only you lost a few pounds, you would have the ideal figure…" This may not seem like much, but for the listener to hear this frequently, with the bombardment of mental abuse about other things, too, the effect is cumulative and has devastating effects.
Likewise the sociopath may control the sleep patterns of the victim. For example, in cults, members are often kept up late at night and not allowed to sleep. In intimate relationships, the sociopathic woman has the man get up at night if the children wake because she insists that she needs her rest. Either way, a lack of sleep means that the victim is even more defenseless against the control and manipulation of the sociopath.
And the sociopath will also keep you busy physically, doing little jobs. Going to the bank, going to the post office, bringing this here and that there, keeping the house clean, doing dishes. It is often amazing how little a sociopath contributes to the upkeep of a house. And all the time, the target believes they are making their own decisions.
Another important aspect to being able to detect a sociopath is to notice if you have to ask permission for things. Initially you discuss big things with your partner but eventually it turns out that you are asking for permission for most things.
Do you ever find yourself thinking that you are not going to do something because he or she will get mad? Or do you postpone asking for something because you recognize that he or she is not in the right mood to be asked? These are subtle ways in which you have been trained to check first with the sociopath before doing things. In other words, you are asking permission!
Sociopaths train their targets to reveal everything to them. They need to know what a person is thinking and feeling in order to continue with the mind control. After some time, the target often realizes that revealing so much information gets them into trouble and they begin to withhold information from their partner. If you are deliberately keeping lots of information from someone, including not even revealing pleasant moments because you know that the manipulator will make you feel bad about it, then you are on the path to detecting a sociopath.
And it's common symptom of a sociopath that they will use things against you over and over again. You are expected to forgive and forget the nasty things a sociopath does, but the sociopath never allows you to forget your supposed errors or mistakes and will not be shy about bringing them up again and again when they want to make you feel bad.
If your own opinions and ideas are ridiculed on a regular basis, and only those of the other person are considered valid or worthwhile, then you are in a bad situation. Sociopaths do not allow dissenting opinions and may spend hours 'discussing' or just outright criticizing their victims in order to influence their thinking and beliefs.
And, of course, your wants and needs come a distant second to those of the control freak. Initially in the relationship, before you detect a sociopath, you are happy to put this new and amazing person first in your life. You feel happy to do things to make them feel happy and to show them that you really like them, too. But at some stage you realize that they are not returning the favor. It's always about what they want, where they want to go, who they want to spend time with, how they want to spend the finances, and so on. When you stand up for yourself, they make life so unpleasant that it becomes easier to just give in and avoid that argument.
At some stage the victim realizes that the person they are with is not the person that they met originally. But by this time, its too late to do much about it. The victim believes that the manipulator is basically a good person, because that belief has been installed with very strong influence techniques. And it tends to override a lot of what is actually going on in reality. The victim justifies to themselves (and even to others) the maltreatment they are exposed to, because they believe that this person loves them and they have the idea that they can help the manipulator to change.
These ideas typically make it very difficult for the victim to recognize the antisocial personality disorder symptoms and detect a sociopath. Coming to terms with the fact that the manipulator does not actually love them, that this person does not have emotions like normal people, that the person they are with is actually a cruel and heartless monster, is very difficult for the target. It takes months of study and learning to be able to accept that level of deception, lies, fraud and betrayal.
It is very common that the victim of a sociopath does not recognize how much guilt and fear that is being used against them by the sociopath.
They become afraid to challenge the sociopath, afraid to ask for what they want and afraid to voice their opinions. They often say that they are afraid of what the sociopath may do, but when asked what specifically they think he or she might do, there is no answer. The fear becomes so generalized that it is often paralyzing for the target.
Sociopaths often make their targets feel guilty for a whole range of things, including family, friends, one's personality, hobbies, likes, dislikes, behaviors, habits and even events in the world that have nothing to do with the target!
They are masters of distortion and will twist the facts and invent connections between things to generally make the victim feel bad and responsible for things even when there is no logic to it.
If you do detect a sociopath, or you even think you may be in a relationship with a sociopath, it's vital to do something about it. Learn about mind control and sociopathy and find an expert to help you get out of the relationship. Every day you stay in the relationship is a day of your life stolen away from you. Let's look as some steps to take to deal with the situation...
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