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Dealing with Narcissists & Sociopaths – The people in your life

This is about you who are dealing with a sociopath; as a partner, friend, coworker or colleague. If you are weighing options regarding your relationship with them; sticking around, leaving, distancing, etc. Counseling on Demand can help you make those choices. Our counselors and therapists can support the emotions that you have been and are currently experiencing. We can also help you prepare for the consequences of those decisions down the road.

First, there is a connection between narcissism and sociopathy. William Manson (in Dissident Voice) extrapolates from the American Psychiatric Association standard handbook (known as DSM, 4th edition, 1994), as follows; In his definitive chapter on “Personality Disorders” in The Harvard Guide to Psychiatry, John G. Gunderson noted that the narcissistic syndrome “overlaps considerably with the interpersonal style of anti-social personality—so much so that narcissistic individuals are sometimes considered ‘white-collar psychopaths’  Herein we at Counseling on Demand are describing the psychopathy aspect of the continuum.

“People hear the word sociopath and it conjures up images of Charles Manson, Bernie Madoff, serial killers, hucksters and con artists. Yes, these individuals are sociopaths, but they’re extreme and obvious ones. Most sociopaths don’t reach such notoriety. Even so, sociopathy is far more common than we like to think. Many people live next door to or with sociopaths, work in the adjacent cubicle or pray in the pew next to them without ever realizing it until they’re victimized or somehow exploited by these creatures.

Sociopaths who have cultivated a conventional appearance are more dangerous and do more damage because they practice and get away with their predations under the radar.
There are degrees of sociopathy. There are subtle forms of sociopathy and, if you’re a woman, even socially acceptable forms of sociopathy. Many sociopaths wear masks of normalcy when in public and terrorize their nearest and dearest behind closed doors; often with the assistance of Family Court and law enforcement. They target their intimate partners and family members and anyone else who gets close enough to see behind their masks.

Quoting Psychologists Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare, “Sociopaths have Jekyll and Hyde personalities and can be superficially charming or they disguise themselves as helpless victims. Underneath, they seem to have contempt for their victim’s feelings and believe their victims deserve to be hurt, taken advantage of and exploited. They have no empathy or very selective or feigned empathy. They lie, cheat, manipulate, and/or verbally and/or physically intimidate others to get their way or to “win.” The ends justify the means. They may refuse to recognize that others have rights and believe they’re entitled to violate the rights of others. People are targets or opportunities for exploitation; not friends, but rather victims and accomplices who later become victims.
Sociopaths often have a gross and exaggerated sense of entitlement. They seem incapable of true love relationships and often confuse love with ability to control and exploit someone. They are unable to form healthy attachments with others.

Sociopaths seem to be able to lie very easily. They often believe their own lies and may even be able to pass a polygraph. They seem to lack the capacity for remorse or guilt. When sociopaths seem to be expressing positive feelings it is typically because they are mimicking others to appear socially and psychologically normal. Warm and loving behavior may be a manipulation in order to be better able to exploit their victims. For example, they pull you close to be able to get a better swing at you – emotionally or physically.
Sociopaths blame others for their bad behaviors and do not take personal responsibility for their actions. Sociopaths lack boundaries and do not care how their behavior affects others. They may become enraged and/or desperate when their victims try to enforce boundaries on their abusive behaviors. They have difficulty maintaining friendships, and, is it any wonder given how they treat others?

They typically end relationships and/or try destroying former friends who have seen behind their masks”.
Some may have a history of childhood emotional and behavioral disturbances while others do not. Some sociopathic individuals come from otherwise healthy and loving families.
They have a history of breaking promises yet become enraged and vengeful if they believe someone has broken a promise to them.

Sociopaths are ungrateful and contemptuous of people who try to help and understand them. Sociopaths typically do not trust others. They can be authoritarian, paranoid and secretive.
Sociopaths often try to control every aspect of their victims’ lives. They can be pretty territorial about their victims, which their victims often confuse with love and jealousy. It’s not about love. You’re their half-dead mouse and they don’t want any other predators messing with “their property.” A good example of this is when a woman becomes unhinged when her ex begins dating or gets remarried.

Lastly, and I think this characteristic will resonate with many of you, sociopaths have an emotional need to justify their crimes and demand that their victims show them gratitude, love and respect. In other words:

Sociopaths expect that their victims show gratitude for being victimized by them”. (Dr. Tara J. Palmatier)
For the sociopath, therapy rarely works. Oftentimes, they do not believe anything is wrong with them. If they acknowledge a problem, they usually blame others for it. Or, if they are formally diagnosed with a mental illness or other personality disorder, they may use their diagnosis to absolve themselves of their abusive behaviors.

This is where Counseling on Demand comes in. You need not go through this alone. We are here for you, not the sociopath in your life. With our support, you can get through these times.
We can help. You needn’t leave your favorite/private place; home, work- anywhere you choose (even several different places as needed). Nor must you wait for an appointment. We are there 24/7.

You can begin in 24 hours or less.
You may contact us now. Your first consultation is free.
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I am the Founder and CEO of Counseling On Demand with a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with over 25 years of experience in helping Individuals, Couples, Adolescents, and Families who struggle with a wide variety of Life's Challenges. I thus have developed an Array of Effective Counseling Tools and Evidenced-Based Interventions to help you towards Your Road to Better Mental Health and Wellness. You are Never Alone...I look forward to meeting with you or your family member soon!