10 Signs That You Are Dating A Sociopath

We all want to be loved, don’t we?

Well, no. There are people in the world who don’t care about love. They don’t even know what love is. But they do care about power, control and sex.

These people are called sociopaths. The media would have us believe that a sociopath is a deranged serial killer. This isn’t true. Sociopaths know exactly what they are doing, and most of them never kill anyone. But they are social predators, who exploit just about everyone they meet. They have no heart, no conscience and no remorse.

To meet them, however, you’d never know it. They’re fun. Charming. The life of the party. They sweep us off our feet. They specialize in the whirlwind romance. Unfortunately, sooner or later, the whirlwind turns on us.

You’d think that at our age, we’ve already seen everything and met every type of person. But it’s possible that we’ve never before been targeted by a sociopath. If we find ourselves widowed or divorced after a long marriage, however, it could happen. All of a sudden, after many years as half of a couple, we’re on our own—perhaps with a home, a business, an inheritance, and a big, fat retirement account.

We are ripe to be plucked. And believe me, because of my website, Lovefraud.com, I’ve heard some truly heartbreaking stories of newly single women who have given all their assets to beaus who appeared out of nowhere. I’ve been contacted by the adult children of these women, who are positive that the guy is a con artist, but Mom is in love and won’t listen.

We’re especially vulnerable if we’ve had a good marriage. We naturally assume that the next man we meet will be as considerate and reliable as our husband was. It could be a very dangerous assumption.

If your new romantic interest exhibits all or most of the following behaviors, be careful. He might be a sociopath with a hidden agenda—taking you for all you’re worth.

1. Charisma and charm. They’re smooth talkers, always have an answer, never miss a beat. They seem to be very exciting.

2. Enormous ego. They act like the smartest, richest or most successful people around. They may actually come out and tell you that.

3. Overly attentive. They call, text and e-mail constantly. They want to be with you every moment. They resent time you spend with your family and friends.

4. Jekyll and Hyde personality. One minute they love you; the next minute they hate you. Their personality changes like flipping a switch.

5. Blame others. Nothing is ever their fault. They always have an excuse. Someone else causes their problems.

6. Lies and gaps in the story. You ask questions, and the answers are vague. They tell stupid lies. They tell outrageous lies. They lie when they’d make out better telling the truth.

7. Intense eye contact. Call it the predatory stare. If you get a chill down your spine when they look at you, pay attention.

8. Move fast. They quickly proclaim that you’re their true love and soul mate. They want to move in together or get married quickly.

9. Pity play. They appeal to your sympathy. They want you to feel sorry for their abusive childhood, psychotic ex, incurable disease or financial setbacks.

10. Sexual magnetism. If you feel intense attraction, if your physical relationship is unbelievable, it may be their excess testosterone.

Donna Andersen is the author of Love Fraud—How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan. She is also the author of Lovefraud.com, a website that teaches people how to recognize and recover from sociopaths.

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Comments

  1. I have a friend who dated someone like this. I remember he’d tell lies about what he had done (work wise). Another friend and I started putting two and two together and figured out if he had done everything he said he did, he’d be 90 years old. We tried to warn our friend but she was blinded by his charm. About a year later he tried to take her to the cleaners, but fortunately did it in such a fashion (forged checks), he got caught. We also found out he was “wanted” in another state. Scary!
    Barbara Swafford´s last blog post ..You Heard It Here First

    • @Barbara – ugh, got shivers reading your comment. Thank goodness your friend was not swallowed up entirely in his web of lies. I like the comment you left on Facebook about saving men from grief too. There are certainly sociopathic women as well. There is a well documented case here in Ottawa about a man being being frauded out of every penny by his girlfriend.

  2. makko88 says:

    best way to deal with one is to READ ABOUT THE SYMPTOMS….. once you’ve got them pegged …. REMOVE YOURSELF FROM WHATEVER SITUATION brought you together in the first place. If this isn’t possible ….YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST NEVER GIVE THEM THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT ….AND VEIW EVERYTHING WITH A CRITIC’S EYE. They will try to turn this on you and accuse you of being paranoid // non trusting // pessimistic …. STAY THE COURSE. Soon, they’ll leave you …… once they sense you can’t be played.

    • @makko – ‘once they sense you can’t be played’ they will leave you. That is the bottom line. Making sure you are very sure of yourself such that you can’t be played. If are not willing to give anyone who drains your energy, sociopaths or not, they will move on.

  3. I just got out of a relationship with a man who I now know was a sociopath. He swept me off my feet, told me he loved me in 3 weeks, gave me the key to his house after 1 month, told me I was the last woman he ever wanted to make love to, etc etc. He would make me wonderful dinners, have me wine waiting when I arrived at his house, have bubble baths drawn…you get the picture. Then after about 3 months..things began to change. No more dinners, no more bubble baths. I actually began doing things for him…bringing him dinner, cooking, etc. Then he started withholding sex…if I wanted sex, he’d say “you’ll just have to wait until another day”. Sometimes he wouldn’t even let me kiss him. I saw a few red flags at first: 1) He hated his ex (the mother of his child)..he spoke terrible things about her…she was just this terrible person who messed around on him with his best friend. 2) he had no male friends except for a couple neighbors, but they would just invite him to play cards…they didn’t go out or anything. 3) all of his friends were women and he kept in touch with them often. 4) he would raise his voice a lot…but hadn’t started the yelling phase yet.
    Then it got to where if I asked him a question about anything negative that he may have done…he would start yelling and say I argue too much, etc. I had only asked a question. Then one night his anger became unrealistic…I told him my car door hit his truck and he said I put a 6 inch scratch in it…in a place no where near where my car door was. It was uncontrollable screaming and anger…that is when I knew things were not right. The next day I left my key and took my things. However it took me another month to actually break free because he had a way of making me think all of this was MY fault, when in fact none of it was. No one can understand just how they manipulate you…until you have been through it yourself. It is scary. I am a smart, nice looking, successful woman…so how could I have fallen for this?

    • Helen – quite simple. We all want to be treated like we are special. That is how we are sucked in. Then they keep us there by preying on our fears that we are not special. But you got out, and you got out because you ARE smart and successful. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. I’m beginning to think I am a victim as well. I started dating my boyfriend about 4 1/2 years ago. Things weren’t right from the start but, I’m a forgiving person and tried to see the good in him. It started off when he got mad at me for going out with my girlfriends, he told me people were talking about me-so I stopped( I wasn’t doing anything wrong). Then he would go out all night, then I’d ask what he’d been up to and it was always so vague or he’d get mad at me for asking. After college, I gained some weight, he told me I needed to “tighten up” ( even though he started dating me at that size) funny thing is he was actually my first boyfriend that was over weight (but it didn’t bother me). So, I continued to preformed like his puppet and lost 50 lbs in six months(I did want to lose the wieght anyway, but his little comment sent me over the top) There were issues with other girls, I’d even bet money that he cheated on me. But, I just stayed with him because at this point I didn’t want to be alone. He has met my family twice in 4 and a half years, he always has excuses. He has jumped from job to job and we I just recently moved with him to the town he grew up in(so he could take over the family business), I thought finally some stability…wrong. I didn’t have a job when we moved, but he promised me that everything would work out. I was out of work for a month, found something part time and then two part time jobs. All the while he is telling me that I am lazy and that I don’t have a real job. We live in a small town 3,500 ppl, the closest city of more than 50,000 is 2 and 1/2 hours away. It has been about 8 months, now he hates working for the family(big surprise) and wants to move and do who knows what(he has switched careers and or moved once ever 2-3 years for over 10 years). Ugh I could go on! But, I’ve had enough of this rollercoaster ride, I decieded today I’m jumping off! I’m not trying to sound full of myself but I am a good looking girl with a great personality and I have finally realized I deserve better :) Thank you to all of you for your comments, it’s helped me realize I’m not alone.

    • Lindsay – wow, Lindsay, you are most definitely not alone. And this comment “I’m not trying to sound full of myself but I am a good looking girl with a great personality and I have finally realized I deserve better’ is NOT someone who sounds full of herself. It is a comment from a woman who is realizing she embodies Silver & Grace’s 4 key words Fun, Sexy, Intelligent, Real! This is a huge step you are taking. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to join the Silver & Grace community through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/silverandgrace . You will find tons of Fun, Sexy, Intelligent and Real women who have been through what you have and come out gloriously on the other side. And if you find you need any other support during this incredible journey you are about to embark on, you can contact me here: http://silverandgrace.com/contact . You go, girl!

  5. There’s a statistic I keep reading that says 7% of the population are sociopaths. That can’t be all men, so the percentage of men is even lower if that number is accurate. Yet there are a lot of websites with a lot of women who have been ‘fooled’ by ‘sociopaths’. Many of these women are likely out of balance in the other direction. They are too emotional and because the romance didn’t last after the ‘sociopath’ figured out the necessary amount of emotion to maintain their female partners needs. The result is the male withdrawal from the relationship. While I feel bad for people who were ‘taken’ financially by actual terrible people, I would caution lumping anyone who doesn’t meet your emotional needs into the category of sociopath.

    • Patrick – hi there :) Donna is very careful to explain that a sociopath has a personality disorder, as does a narcissist. They are not a healthy person who doesn’t meet your emotional needs. They have characteristics clearly defined in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Donna also provides research on female sociopaths and provides advice to men on how to recognize them. Donna is also very honest about her own state when she met her husband, in that she knows she was emotionally out of balance making her an easy target. We all have to take responsibility for our own emotional and spiritual health. I agree with you that labeling someone a sociopath because the relationship didn’t work is not the right thing to do. It is ‘excuse making’. However, this predator (male and female) does exist and we (male and female) need to be informed on their existence.

  6. Hi Eliza. I appreciate that she’s careful to explain it as a disorder, but does it help or hurt to publish an article like this? I mean the way these symptoms are phrased, they’re a bit interpreted aren’t they? All of these things can exist exclusively without the same diagnosis and I realize it says that if all of them are present, look out! Wouldn’t all of these symptoms have to exhibit themselves rather quickly to be of any real value? If you are at the point that you realize they all exist, it’s too late. What if they’ve only been dating a few weeks, but 3 or 4 of the 10 symptoms have appeared and the partner finds this website. Wouldn’t a list like this just reinforce doubt and fear even if the the remaining symptoms never manifest? Why would it take a formal diagnosis from an ‘authoritative’ group to convince a partner that they should leave? If the mere presence of some these behaviors isn’t enough to get you out the door, then perhaps no amount of information can protect you from the ills of the world. My questions are rhetorical and hopefully for the benefit of the article reader. Ignorance is sometimes bliss.

    • Patrick – I boil down to “If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right. Leave.” If you are looking up on a website to see if the person in your life is a sociopath, then I don’t care if they are or not. Get out! This relationship is not for you … for whatever reason. Which means I think we are saying the same thing :)

  7. I realized soon enough that the man I had met online was indeed a sociopath. I even sent him an email telling him exactly what I thought he was, and the only response I got from him was, “not even close.” I was on his facebook for awhile and had noticed quite a few women coming and going on his friend’s list and it led me to believe these are victims of his that probably don’t even realize what they’re dealing with and are probably hooked on this man. I decided to send these women a link to a website listing the signs of dealing with a sociopath. I probably sent the message to 4 people, and only 1 replied. I didn’t mention his name, I just simply stated I wanted to share information with them. I realize most people would think its weird to receive such a message, but if I could help at least one person, that alone would be worth the effort. But the response I received was not good. This woman was in complete denial when she realized who I was talking about and pretty much thought I was crazy for even thinking such a thing. I don’t understand how people cannot see through these types of people when all the obvious signs are there.

    • Lori – we see what we want to see. I would say that what makes a woman a victim of a sociopath also makes them blind to the man being a sociopath. In the beginning of the relationship he makes them feel very special and they are craving this external validation. Donna and I come at this from two different angles. As a ‘been there done that’ victim of a sociopath she works passionately to provide warning signs. As an intuitive mentor, I work passionately to guide women to find validation within themselves such that they are not even on a sociopaths radar. Between the two of us hopefully fewer women will fall victim to this type of predator. Thank you for sharing your story.

  8. These are older posts, but I just read and felt I had to join in. I ended a 12month relationship with a great lady…until I started figuring things out. She is beautiful and very good at telling a man what he needs to hear and doing all the things that would flatter a man as well. She pumped up my ego by telling me how gorgeous I was, how smart, how great..etc. She also cooked for me, went totally out of her way for me and would always be available at my service. Sex was amazing. She was incredibly attentive and willing always..anywhere. All was great and exciting. She has children and I was very attached to them. I took them everywhere. I had fallen for her. The problems began when I talked about my exwife, who is very attractive and thin. We talked about her because I wanted her to know that I have a good relationship with my ex. We have a daughter together. She on the other hand HATES her ex.

    I began to see signs of anger that are extreme. She hated her ex so much that she would make no effort to speak to him. He was a jerk but there were occasions when he would try to do things right for their three children. She would have nothing of it. I then saw her act the same way for a friend of her family who had always gone out of his way to be sure to pick up her kids and school, take them home…and alleviate her single mom transportation issues. (he and his wife would help) She got angry with him one day and completely shut him out. She deleted him on FB, would not return his calls, etc. I asked her one day, “Why so much hatred?” She only responded that he was an A-Hole. I told her that she should call him because after years of helping her and being her friend…all he was asking is “What happened?” ” are we not friends anymore?” She never answered him and always wore this amazingly scare scowl.

    She was obsessive with me. She would also stare at me for long periods of time. She was so beautiful that I didn’t take it as a scary thing. It was just uncomfortable. I would ask her to stop, she wouldn’t.

    In the end, I felt like I was hurting her feelings alot. She would NEVER tell me I was or that she was inscure about her weight. As for me…I didn’t care about her weight. She wasn’t obese. She was curvy and I loved it.

    When I told her that we had serious issues to talk about, she flipped out and asked if I was in love with her…I told her I loved her, but needed to go over reasons I was concerned…She cussed me out and told me not to contact her again. She then blocked my phone calls, emails and FB. AS well as all the friends she had met through me and did not allow for my daughter to speak to her daughter again. (They had become very close) I tried over four months to contact her…a total of 5 times. When she finally emailed me, she said that I was (a ton of expletives) and that I was the worst thing to happen in her life. I made her feel bad about herself and that she now had a boyfriend…a REAL man and was happy. (All of this less than one month after we broke up!)

    I found out after four months of being apart that she had been “talking” to four other men while we were together and had posed for a magazine…and gotten paid by a photographer that she swore that she wasn’t in contact with. All kinds of crazy things were later found out.

    I had felt soooo guilty for not loving her the same and how things ended, and that I never had a chance to talk to her face to face. It took me four months to get over it and start dating again…

    But then I read up on sociopaths. I saw many of the same symptoms in her that I read above. It was scary. She had cut me and my daughter out of her and her kids lives forever…and I think it’s crazy. She never gave me a chance to at least try to rekindle the relationship (before I knew of all the other stuff) and got my daughter involved in drama. The kids did not deserve that. One last thing…she threatened me with a restraining order if I ever tried to contact her again…LOL..That was a funny one. But like I said…she was scary when she needed to be…and I’m glad I found out before it was too late.

    So beware out there. The classic sociopath is smooth and beautiful in many ways. Remember to ask questions and if something seems out of place….it usually is.

    I do miss the good times we had…but am WAY too afraid of the crazy stuff that could have happened to ever speak to her again.

    I move on…and so should you!

    M.

    • Mike – wow! Thank you for sharing all that. And I love having a man’s perspective. There are just as many sociopathic women as men. I have a question for you. Most women in bad relationships (of any kind) suspect in their gut almost from day 1 that something is not right, but we are notorious for not listening to our gut. Did you suspect things were not right, before it became obvious they weren’t?

  9. I have recently realized that an old bf and friend with whom i’ve been conversing via email for 3 years is one. He was extremely charming at first. I look back and see now how he trained me to only converse about certain things by refusing to respond to other things. He was glib, so i never got the idea I was annoying him. I called it easy going. What I am wondering now is…if I assumed he had feelings because it’s all I can imagine from my own experience, how has he figured out how to play to my weaknesses? He made me feel like he needed me to talk to. He seemed to appreciate me for being smart and funny. He made me feel smart and funny and desirable for a long time. I enjoyed that and it did make me feel less fond of other people in my life who didn’t “bring that out” in me. HA!

    It ended when i caught him with his &^%* in the cookie jar a second time. ( does she have a right to know? I think yes, I wish someone had told me but then I’m supposed to just let this all go. I would dearly love someone of his acquaintance to validate my opinion) He did what i now know is called stonewalling in responding to me about it, making increasingly inappropriate responses. All my doubts and anger about all the evasions etc flooded out and I stopped caring if I ever heard from him again, thankfully, and just wrote exactly what I wanted to…no regard, for the first time ever, for what he would think of it. (Rereading that …I have to admit that I must have been manipulative back.) That ended in him, I assume finally giving up on me also, saying the single meanest thing he ever could have said. Eye opening!! A few days later I googled sociopath, finally admitting to myself how much he had lied…and some/ most of it needless. There they were…the very words that define him.

    NOW…my closest friends who i have shared this epiphany with, although all very disapproving of him for a long time, just won’t believe it. It’s like it bothers their conscience too much to think he doesn’t have one…or I have become more crazy seeming even that I feel right now. I replay things assessing them for signs, and over and over come up with the same conclusion. So that leaves me feeling, as you can imagine, tremendously alone. Not only have I lost a companion, for whatever he was worth, but also some degree of attachment to my old social circle and perhaps, now and suddenly, even my nearest and dearest. I am hoping to find some understanding and advice here from people willing to see these guys/women for what they really are.

    • Melissa – interesting, and often heart breaking, how when we let a romantic relationship go we have to let quite a few friend relationships go. But you know what I have found? They truly aren’t the people you want in your life after all.

  10. I think I was married to a sociopath for nine years and all together for 11 years, it was the toughest thing I have been through. The mind games that man played. The lies he told and keep telling and still is telling. We have a son together my fear is that my son will be like his father. I really dont want my son visiting his father but it is court ordered and I dont know how to show that he is a socoiopath. He is everything on that list. It is scary.

    He made me feel like it was all my fault. but he has a way of doing that. When I put my foot down and stopped taking his BS. he became distant and withdrawn he did not want anything to do with me except sex.

    I talked about divorce for a long time in our marriage and he always seem to smooth things over. Until he said it. I want a divorce,. so I divorced him. (lucky me) he stayed friendly for two years after the divorce. We were still having sex. Until he found a girlfriend and thats when I stopped all sex with him. When I refused him he went crazy on me, he stoppe helping with my son the extra stuff not the court oreded suff. Until this day he tries to make my life hard.

    what advise do you have for me.

  11. Wendy N Charli says:

    Omg, this is a profile of my ex, can't believe it

  12. Kimberly Bishop says:

    Wow…my ex to a T!! Kind of scary that i could get sucked in like that! Lesson learned…by the grace of God i escaped unscathed…mostly!! Definetly do not want any other relationships!!

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