For months I operated on the fear of getting sucked back in by liars and even worse…sociopaths. It got so bad that the least little deviation someone took from acting like, what I considered, normal, I would immediately label them Sociopath.
It didn’t take long before I was surrounded by Sociopaths!
HOW HAD THAT HAPPENED?!
Hmmmm…Wait a minute.
That’s when I had to step back a bit from the judgey-table and turn the observant eye on myself.
I was talking on the phone with one of my friends and told her “Yeah, after a few months it seemed like everyone I knew was a sociopath and I was the only sane person left.” She laughed and replied “Well, there are so few of us left in the world!” Even though we were both making a joke out of a serious affliction, her observation held more truth than fiction.
A sociopath is someone that has no conscious and no empathy. They have big egos, but very few of the demonstrative emotions. They are charming, but they do not like attachments and they do not follow the rules. Cold, calculating and centered on whatever brings them the most pleasure is about all they really care about. Right when you think you might, mean something to them; they discard you like yesterday’s garbage.
I wasn’t completely surrounded by sociopaths, but I had gotten much better at picking them out of a crowd. While not every one of them was a full-fledged sociopath, there was something about them that did not click with me on a human level. Therefore having lack of a better category, I was lumping them altogether with the Sociopaths.
In reality, the reason there were so many sociopathic personalities in my life at that time was because that was what I drew to me. Those were some of the qualities I looked for in a friend. They latched onto me because I was also what they looked for in a friend, someone they could charm, groom and then abuse.
I was fortunate enough to also draw people to me that were just like me, they were also surrounded by and attracted to sociopaths.
That was my saving grace.
Until you’ve been in the clutches of one sociopath, you really have no idea what I’m talking about. And unless you’ve been in the midst of a group of them, all acting in some form of unison, then you really have no idea what I’m talking about. They can spin you around so violently that you become a blubbering, suicidal puddle.
There is such a thing as a Sociopathic Duo. This is two sociopathic personalities that realize who they are and know exactly what they’re doing and have agreed to support each other’s lies.
Kind of like the Two Musk-a-psychos.
A group of them, whether behaving a certain way in agreement, or just being their sociopathic selves, and after the same ultimate goal, can be lethal to a person that has no idea what’s happening, or how to get out of it.
Kind of like a Flash Gaslight Mob.
The best defense is to trust your gut and to keep talking to people that understand what you’re going through. Keep your distance from anyone that you can prove has lied to you or has abused you. Refuse to have any further dialogue with them in private. Don’t take their calls and don’t answer their emails. All they’re looking for is more kindling to keep the fire going underneath the cauldron they’re trying to cook your ass in.
There is nothing you can say to them to make them stop what they’re doing.
Remember, they are crazy makers and you cannot control them.
You have no control over how they twist your words, deflect the blame, or set out to attack and demean you. You just have to get through it and let it happen. The only comforting advice I can give you about making it to the other side alive, is that the attack never lasts long. They tend to move on to the next victim easily and quickly.
For years I kept the sociopathic personalities in my life close to me because I was so afraid of what they’d do to me if I let them go. That was a pretty sick way of managing that kind of relationship and has the smell of codependency to it. But that’s where you end up if you keep a friend out of fear of what they’ll do to you or say about you behind your back, if you cut them off.
Here’s something you don’t realize at the time.
It doesn’t matter what they try to do to you once you get rid of them. It doesn’t matter what they say about you behind your back once you get rid of them either.
Do you want to know why?
It doesn’t matter because what they do to you while you still support the friendship is much worse and more powerful than anything they can do to you when they no longer have access to you. As for the gossip and lies they will spread after you walk away from them; they’re already saying those things about you now, so what’s the difference?
Another thing you should always keep in mind is that the most diabolical sociopaths also have disciples. That was something that continued to stall my progress for years when I was trying to get away from them. I never understood the disciple part of the psychosis.
A disciple is someone that has been groomed by the sociopath to support him throughout his fantasy life of lies. They may not believe everything he says, but they will go down fighting for his right to be able to continue his reign of terror because that’s all they know how to do. Usually a disciple is someone with low self-esteem that the sociopath can stoke up with compliments or admiration. They are close to the sociopath, not in a caring way, but in a needy way.
When one of the sociopath’s long term friends came to me with concern and asked what was wrong and if they could help, I would jump right back on the Crazy Train. I would completely fall for the offer to help me understand why my sociopathic friend was treating me so badly. What more could I ask for than someone that was close to him and could help me fix it? I didn’t know I was jumping on the Crazy Train, but I was boarding it with one of the sociopath’s best weapons, a true believer, an emissary, a Judas.
A disciple will listen to every complaint you have. They’ll offer up some advice and heartfelt comfort and draw you back in by promising that it will all work out.
Everything you’ve told them is twisted and shared with the sociopath and he/she will use it against you! “Do you know how crazy you sound Madeline? No one believes all that crap you’re saying about me. Everyone is talking about you behind your back and they all think you’re nuts!”
The concerned mutual friend, the disciple, is now your worst enemy and they have joined the crusade to discredit and malign your reputation. They have set appointments to speak to your friends and they will bring you down for even thinking about crucifying their idol, the sociopath.
So beware of the concerned friend if they are not someone you know and are friends with the sociopath. If one of their friends comes to you with an offer to listen and to help, do yourself a favor and resist the urge to confide in someone that doesn’t have your best interest at heart at all.
- When someone is overly nice and solicitous and suddenly turns the tables and starts abusing you, they are most likely a sociopath. Don’t stick around and try to fix the friendship. Cut off all contact.
- When you start feeling like you’re surrounded by sociopaths, take a step back and relax enough to see the truth of how you have always chosen friendships. It is possible you are surrounded by them and that’s no one’s fault, but your own. Make a plan to clean up your act and learn how to choose healthy and empowering relationships. Then clean out the sociopaths and cut off all contact.
- If a friend of the sociopath goes out of their way to contact you and offers help and concern, smile at them and say “Not today.” and then cut off all contact with the sociopath’s disciple.
- There will be fall out. Expect it and have a plan to ride it out. Know that it won’t last long and pay attention to how your own friends react to it and handle it with you. Eventually you’ll know who your true friends are and who you should probably cut off all contact with.
When you become enlightened and educated in the ways of the sociopath, you will see these traits and behaviors in many of the people you already associate with. Be kind to yourself and tread lightly until you are ready to make the next move.
That is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life and I was terrified the first few times I had to exclude someone for abusing me, when I had always called them friend. But I promise you that the feeling of liberation and relief you will come to recognize once this toxic person is no longer a part of your life is totally worth it and you deserve to feel it.
Catch a sociopath by the toe!
Eeny, meanie, miney…mo!
You can find this and many other entries about living with and recovering from narcissistic abuse in my book, Life After the Narcissist written by Katy Shultz. Available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and all fine retailers.