How do I identify a sociopath?

My experience with sociopathy is having been married to two sociopathic men. The first marriage was 20 years, the second 10 years. Of course, they had distinct (and intelligent) characteristics, but their underlying behaviors were similar, behaviors that I later learned are sociopathic. This is in hindsight, after therapy and much reading on the subject. I will never marry again, don’t date and am very cautious when making male friends. The emotional pain these men created in my life and my children’s lives was horrific. I am okay after years of healing through prayer, therapy, learning and forgiveness. But the permanent affect these sociopaths had on my children is terrible and something I grieve about.

The common denominators you should watch for; a disregard of promises made, of your time, your health, and your feelings (as well as those of your children). It’s a total lack of empathy and denial of accountability. It is effort to gaslight you, lying, affairs, or being secretly abusive to the children which they keep a secret for fear of upsetting you. They’re charming and fake about kindness in front of others, but behind closed doors they’re selfish, moody and mean. They manipulate you (for which I share accountability, but at the time I was so close to the situations and uneducated about sociopathy and narcissism).

Here is an example from my first sociopath when we were dating. In fact, it was our first date! He was 2 hours late without calling. Okay, there was no such thing as a cellphone back then, but there were payphones everywhere. He showed up without an apology, just an excuse that he started out on time but saw some loose horses on the road and had to stop and help them. I believed him because I thought “Why would someone lie about that?” And that described our dating and our marriage…lies about little things “Why would he lie about that? It must be the truth” and lies about big things “We just went out dancing and had a few drinks as a group after the meeting. There was nothing to it”. (He came home at 1 AM after a township meeting.) I was suspicious about the late meetings and told him so. And guess what? It stopped. But he would soon start some other behavior that was disrespectful to me and our family.

When our first child was born (this exemplifies narcissism and sociopathic personality traits), the labor was long, as many first births are. He sat next to me in a chair because people could see if he was being dutiful (important to the “image” of such people), but when we were alone, he actually complained that his butt was sore for sitting so long, he was tired and then he said my breath was bad! So he got into my hospital welcome kit and took out the Cepacol and told me I need to rinse my mouth with it. The smell of it made me ill and I said I couldn’t do it or I would vomit. He was holding the small bottle to my mouth, I was crying, and he commanded “drink it!” when the nurse came in. She was very annoyed (did not like him from the beginning of her shift), snapped at him to put the bottle down and to get out of the room and not to come back for a while. It almost sounds humorous now, but it sure wasn’t at the time. He wasn’t supportive, loving, excited about the baby coming….nothing. It was about HIM, like everything always was. I never received a warm hug from him unless other people were around and a warm hug would be appropriate.

Sociopaths do not love other people. Other people are there to love and admire THEM. Even their own children are a bother, little people to adore them and look up to them. But of course, the children don’t adore him/look up to him because the sociopathic father doesn’t know how to love, to create trust, or care to spend one-on-one time with them… or me. It’s all about him.

There are many examples I could relate, but it’s not necessary. Just know that if “something doesn’t seem right but you can’t put your finger on it”, or you feel disregarded, you want to get away from this person but there doesn’t seem to be a solid reason that you can prove, you stop expecting emotional support from the person, you are controlled financially for no good reason or being used for the money you earn….yep, you are probably with a sociopath. They are numerous and on the lookout for a really nice person like you.

I thought it would be selfish to get out because there was nothing blatant like drinking, gambling, physical abuse, or cheating that I knew about it (I found out after the divorces that both husbands had cheated on me at least twice). It is NOT SELFISH. Trust yourself, your intuition, your instincts. GET OUT. You deserve to be truly loved, respected and cared about. If you have children, they deserve to have a GOOD man in their lives. If they have a sociopathic father, the effects will be lifelong and will carry into their own relationships and families.

You will likely be attracted to another sociopath unless you know the signs, especially if you were raised by a narcissist or sociopath. Get help, and GET OUT. You’re worth it!

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