Sociopaths lack empathy. This is why they often target empathetic people by hiding who they truly are and manipulating them for their own self serving purposes. Let’s take a look at how sociopath relationships exploit the empaths.
The empath trap
Erin Parisi, a licensed mental health counselor, writes “While ‘sociopath’ is not a formal diagnosis, sociopaths typically have some (or all) of the characteristics of antisocial personality disorder and/or narcissistic personality disorder.”
Sociopaths trap empaths by pretending to be charming, innocent, loveable and insecure. They pretend to be broken and devastated and hook empathetic people by deceiving them. Empaths, believing, they can heal them, become easy targets for the psychopathic and narcissistic sociopaths. However, a relationship with a sociopath always ends with the empath being manipulated, broken, abused and exploited. Licensed clinical psychologist and author Seth Meyers, Psy.D. explains “The sociopath typically emotionally destroys those who are close to him or her.” He adds that empaths suffer in sociopath relationships because they are responsible individuals who have “actual human feelings that stem from a deep sense of social obligations to others, a moral anchor that is supposed to be part and parcel of having relationships.”
As the sociopath lacks empathy and emotions, the relationship quickly flips upside down from the empath giving attention to the sociopath, to the empath needing attention from them. Even before they realize anything, the empath loses their sense of self -worth and self-esteem to a person who completely lacks conscience.
Empaths are easy targets for sociopaths
Sociopaths often target the empath as they are highly perceptive, can empathize with others’ emotions, and express emotions in a healthy manner. Studies during the 1990s found a positive relationship between emotional intelligence and empathy. As empaths are highly compassionate, they are sensitive to the emotional problems of others. Jane McGregor and Tim McGregor, authors of The Empathy Trap, write that empaths have difficulty in understanding a lack of compassion in others. This is why they get trapped in sociopath relationships without realizing how it may affect them.
The authors explain “Very highly empathic people can find themselves helping others at the expense of their own needs.” They add “Problems arise for empaths, however, when there are apaths in the vicinity.” Sociopaths target empaths because they are their polar opposites and pose a big threat to their toxic existence. Weirdly enough, empaths are the greatest foes and the strongest attraction for sociopaths. The sensitivity and response of empaths provide a source of entertainment for the sociopaths, which they can abuse later.
Toxic attraction of sociopath relationships
What starts as a beautiful, loving relationship quickly turns into an abusive one. When they first meet, the sociopath shares their fabricated sob stories with the empath to make them feel sorry for the narcissistic psychopath. They tell how they were abused by their ex, how emotionally broken they are. How insecure and afraid they are of love and how unfulfilled and unhappy they have been until they found the empath. These sob stories are delivered in a way to make the empath fall in love with the sociopath, even if the empath doesn’t find them attractive to begin with.
Being naturally compassionate and caring, the empath feels a strong sense of empathy to help and heal the disguised sociopath. And so they move one step closer into the trap and lower themselves down to lift the sociopath. But this rarely ends the way they had envisioned. Initially, sociopath relationships appear perfect. The constant appreciations, attention, love bombing and the positive energy makes the empath feel happy that they are changing the life of the sociopath for the better. Eventually, the empath begins to mistake their kindness and compassion for them as love and becomes obsessed with healing the sociopath’s insecurity.
Read also: 7 Signs That You’re Dating A Sociopath