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. It is up to me to move on from the trauma, and if I have stuck to the past, the sociopath is going to win. No matter what, I have to be strong and fight through all the pain I went through. Their advice might have been well-intentioned, but honestly, it did not help me. At all.
It is absolutely important and necessary to be introspective and learn everything we can about how sociopaths think and function. Additionally, we also need to learn everything 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 important to try and make sense of what happened to us, so that we can construct a strong and healthy base for healing, and ultimately move on from all the pain and mental pressure. For many victims out there, the first thought that comes to their mind after being betrayed is WHY? And from this ‘Why’ crops up several other questions:
Why did the sociopath subject us to so much lying?
Why did the sociopath give us false hope, that they loved us and then discarded us in the next second?
Why did they put up an act of caring about us, when in reality they never did?
Why did they keep things going with us as they pursued other “relationships”?
Why did they change all of a sudden?
Why do they make us feel that we are the ones with the problems, and we are the culprits?
And the list goes on…
We can find the answers to all these 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 intellectually understand 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:
Sociopathy lies on a spectrum.
Sociopaths cannot be easily identified. As a matter of fact, it is extremely difficult and sometimes confusing to understand who is an actual sociopath. So much so that, at times professionals like psychologists and psychiatrists are also fooled. Additionally, certain people showcase more sociopathic traits than others, which is why sociopathy lies on a spectrum. While some sociopaths are more open about their narcissism, some are more secretive about it. That is just one of the many differences and examples. This is why several terms have been used to describe people who display atypical personality traits, including narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths. Furthermore, what fuels the confusion is that researchers, therapists, and psychologists do not agree regarding which term sought to be used or what their definitions should be. In spite of this discrepancy, fact remains the same- a person who shows any kind of sociopathic traits is in truth, toxic and should be avoided at every cost.
Sociopaths have no conscience whatsoever.
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. But, they do not care, and not even for a second. Sociopaths feel no guilt or remorse at all, and that is what makes them dangerous to be around. This lack of conscience makes them step on the feelings, rights, and safety of others. They have zero limits and scarily capable of anything and everything. In short, it is a recipe for unending perversion and cruelty.
Sociopaths have an extremely finite range of human emotions.
Sociopaths seldom feel any kind of emotions, making them nothing short of empty shells. They experience “shallow” feelings, which means that virtually all of their emotions are fleeting if they have them at all. They seem to feel rage and envy in full force, which fuels aggressive behavior in many of them. However, any rages they display are surprisingly short-lived.
Due to this shortcoming, they fail to connect with other people on an emotional level and develop stable and meaningful relationships. Empathy, compassion, sympathy-all these emotions are alien to them. They only get meaningless and short-lived thrills out of things like food or sex and are also experts at manipulating, dominating and betraying other people. Most ominously, this emotional deficiency means that they are unable to love.
This leads to emptiness and the hollow feeling that makes them chronically bored. The boredom is almost painful for them, and they will do anything to alleviate it. This builds a tendency in them, to act recklessly and impulsively. This is why, it is very common for sociopaths to become addicted to drugs, sex, and alcohol.