Dating a sociopath can harm your mental stability and well-being, so it would help to know if your partner exhibits sociopathic traits. To know if you’re dating one, here are some common characteristics most sociopaths share.
- Lacks empathy
- Manipulated intimate relationships
- Acts entitled
- Shows no remorse for their actions
A sociopath is a person diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). At first, sociopaths seem charming, but that doesn’t last. Eventually, they begin to exhibit antisocial behavior, which makes them disregard any type of authority, lack feelings or remorse, behave aggressively, and finally, enjoy controlling and manipulating others.
Symptoms of Antisocial-personality Disorder
The symptoms of Antisocial-Personality Disorder mimic a sociopath’s characteristics but also include:
- Lying or deceit to expose others
- Being cynical, insensitive, and disrespectful of people
- Extremely opinionated
- Frequently violate others’ rights with dishonesty and intimidation
- Lack of empathy
- Never considers negative consequences for their actions
- Disregard for what’s right and wrong
- Arrogance combined with a sense of superiority
- Frequent problems with the law and authority
- Poor (or abusive) relationships
- Hostility, agitation, and aggression
- Constantly irresponsible and frequently failing to meet financial or work obligations
Sociopathy Women vs. Men
Sociopathy is different from person to person. Gender may play a big role in which behaviors are more dominant. While both genders exhibit sociopathic behavior, women tend to show less aggressive behaviors and higher rates of irritability and mood.
On the other hand, men have more violent tendencies. Furthermore, women use more subtle ways to manipulate emotionally, while men are more overt and dominant regarding manipulation.
Indications You’re Dating a Sociopath
It’s common to use terms like sociopath when describing several bad dates with an individual many don’t like. While they may have aggressive and self-absorbed tendencies, there are additional signs to look for if you believe that you are dating a sociopath.
Here are unmistakable signs that you are dating a sociopath:
1). They Are a Pathological Liar
We’ve all lied at some point, which isn’t excusable, but a sociopath will lie about everything, especially if it gets them what they want.
Lies tear down trust in a relationship, so chronic lies erode trust even further. If you suspect you’re dating a sociopath, watch for the signs of being a pathological liar.
4 Common Signs of Pathological Liars
- 1. Lies that are not a result of some other medical or mental health condition
- 2. Lies that last from several years up to a lifetime
- 3. Overly complicated lies
- 4. Lies that are unrelated to your end goal
2). They Hate Following Rules
You may be attracted to the “bad boy” or “bad girl” at first, but someone who refuses to follow the rules may cause serious issues. Conduct like this can lead to criminal and violent behaviors down the road, and it’s possible you may get caught up in the process.
3). They’re Charming but in a Superficial Way
People enjoy being liked, but sociopaths use their magnetic behavior to lure people in to exploit and manipulate them. They’re usually described as “the life of the party,” but they use calculated actions and behaviors.
4). They Are Arrogant
While it’s OK to have high self-esteem, sociopaths take it to another level. Often, they are arrogant and have an exaggerated sense of self. They believe their ego is more important than anyone else’s feelings. Additionally, their pretentious behavior often comes off as superior to others.
5). They Demonstrate Impulsive Behavior
Sociopaths constantly change their minds whenever they please, regardless of who it affects. Because their emotions are often fleeting, they never stick to a plan.
They prefer not to plan ahead because they’d rather control their surroundings. Impulsive behavior allows them to have control since people can’t predict what they will do next.
6). They Move through Relationships Quickly
Sociopaths can trick you into thinking they’re planning a future with you, so you’ll put down your guard. However, speeding through the relationship is often motivated by their need to control people and situations.
They use tactics like this hoping it appears charming so you will fall deeply in love with them. Then, when they have you hooked, they’ll exploit and manipulate you.
7). They Never Consider the Consequences
Because they’re impulsive, sociopaths don’t think about potential consequences. They can try to pressure you to do an unsafe activity, claiming it’s spontaneous or charming, but trust us when we say the request comes with ulterior motives.
8). They’re Abusive
The primary emotion sociopaths feel is anger, so it’s standard for them to express it through the emotional abuse of their partner. In addition, they take pleasure in releasing their emotions using fear to dominate you.
9). They Give You the Guilt Trip
They use emotions to take advantage of you and unfairly manipulate you with guilt trips. They constantly use excuses to get what they want, plus they know you want to please and nurture them, so they find ways to take advantage of that. They’re like thieves, but instead of robbing you of material items, they rob you of your empathy.
10). They Won’t Change
They don’t care if they hurt someone or need to face the consequences for their actions because that’s not enough motivation they need to change.
Most people have an experience and then change and grow from it–not sociopaths. But, unfortunately, they will always continue to violate the rules and boundaries.
11). They Have No Empathy
One key trait of a sociopath is that they lack the capability to have empathy for anyone else. So even if they hurt someone’s feelings, they don’t empathize or even acknowledge the harm they caused.
12). They Don’t Keep Many Close Friends
While they may seem charming and irresistible, after being with them for some time, sociopaths always reveal their true selves.
One fact they expose is their lack of true close friendships. This is because they are so self-absorbed and exhibit such bad behavior they likely burn all bridges.
13). They Don’t Respect Boundaries
They cannot hear the word “no” and will not accept it. So instead, they attempt to mold you into who they think you should be and will push your limits until they break, causing them to get what they want.
14). They’re Unreliable
They tend to be full of themselves, so sociopaths are self-absorbed and will likely never show up for you when needed. They’ll forget about their commitments and don’t care when they do. As a result, they constantly flake out on promises and will most likely disappoint you and somehow find a way to blame it on you.
15). They’re Revenge-Seekers
Never cross a sociopath because they will find a way to punish you for it. They’re just as vindictive as they are charming, so if you’re on their wrong side, look out!
They’re more likely to hold on to grudges and seek ways to get payback. They’ll plot their revenge for weeks and even months.
16). They’re Never at Fault
Sociopaths constantly blame others for something they caused and then find a way to use your emotions against you. They never support your feelings but then turn around and invalidate and gaslight your emotions.
They regularly challenge and question you and will often become irritated if you don’t accept the entire responsibility for any conflict.
17). They Have Anger Issues
Everyone gets angry sometimes, but sociopaths have a history of violent fights and rage. They are typically on edge and easily get into arguments, which can turn into physical blows. They may also be physically, sexually, and emotionally abusive.
What Are the Impacts of Dating a Sociopath?
When dating a sociopath, each experience may vary. However, abuse of any sort is never justifiable. Dating a sociopath may have dire consequences on your mental stability and physical well-being. Some of the impacts of being dating a sociopath include:
- Lower self-esteem
- Mental illness development
- Work issues
- Short temper
- Anxiety / Depression / PTSD exacerbation
Unfortunately, having a happy, healthy relationship with a sociopath is impossible because of the changes in their behavior and mood swings.
Even if a sociopath isn’t abusive and violent today doesn’t mean that this behavior can’t occur in the future. Often, the best option for dealing with dating a sociopath is to walk away from the relationship.
Because the relationship is doing more harm than good, your health and wellness are being affected. It’s important to recognize your self-worth and to protect yourself, so if you are involved in any type of abuse, get help immediately.
Search for the support of a licensed therapist to help you determine an exit plan so you can safely leave the relationship.
Moving on after Dating a Sociopath
Thankfully, you’ve decided to leave your abusive relationship. Now what? Making the decision and then planning to walk away may seem scary and challenging.
For example, you may have joint accounts, which can be hard to separate. Trauma bonding is something that can also make moving on difficult.
Maybe you’ve been in the relationship for a while and have now become isolated from your friends and family and can’t contact them for support.
The important thing to understand is that you’re not alone. You are courageous for taking this first step to exiting your abusive relationship.
If you feel more comfortable, go individually, or if you prefer, couples therapy is always an option. However, if the relationship is abusive, seek help immediately, especially if you feel you are in danger.
You should not have to endure any type of abuse in a relationship. Additionally, you are not obligated to remain in the situation or to attempt to work it out. Abuse shouldn’t be tolerated, and a licensed therapist can help you through this.
How to Find a Good Therapist
One good way to find a therapist for this type of relationship is by searching an online directory. All licensed therapists are equipped to assist those who struggle with these specific issues.
Reading through the reviews and checking out bios help you understand a therapist’s particular practice and can give you a good idea of whether or not the experience is best for your situation. In addition, many therapists offer a free consultation either by phone or virtually.
Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem
Sometimes we can become involved in unhealthy relationships because we lack self-esteem. Unfortunately, the longer we stay in a bad relationship, the more our self-esteem plummets.
But you may say no one feels confident all the time, and you’d be correct. However, when low self-esteem becomes a long-term issue, it can harm our mental stability and day-to-day activities.
Here are some tips to improve your self-esteem:
Create positive relationships
If certain people tend to bring you down, spend less time with them. If you’d like to address the issue, tell them how you feel about what they said and how that made you feel.
Realize what you’re good at
Everyone has something they’re good at. Whether it’s singing, dancing, cooking, or writing, it comes easy, and you enjoy doing it.
You can be assertive and still respect other people’s needs and opinions. However, expect the same from them.
One idea is to look at those around you who are assertive and mimic what they do. It’s not about pretending to be someone you’re not. It’s about picking up tips and tricks from those you admire.
Learn to say “no”
Those with low self-esteem sometimes feel they need to say yes to others even when they don’t want to. This can result in resentful and angry feelings, leading to depression.
When you begin saying no, you’re setting boundaries. Typically, it doesn’t upset a relationship, but if it does, they don’t respect your limits, therefore, aren’t true friends anyway.
Give yourself a break
While it’s easy to excuse other people’s behavior, we tend to be hard on ourselves. So when we say give yourself a break, we mean to be gentle to yourself when you want to be self-critical.
For example, if you had a friend that was down on themselves, what would you say to cheer them up? We often give better advice to other people than we do to ourselves.
We all feel nervous and afraid to do things sometimes. However, those with healthy self-esteem don’t allow these feelings to keep them from attempting new things or taking on new challenges.
Try this; set yourself a goal. It may be joining a gym or taking a cooking class. As you achieve your goal, watch your self-esteem start to increase.
When we have low self-esteem, it means we’re sitting around comparing ourselves to others. So instead, keep your mind occupied by staying active. Go on a hike or volunteer. The trick is to keep yourself so busy you don’t have time to compare yourself to others.
Stay off social media
Social media makes it so easy to compare our lifestyles to others. Yet, often, when we look at these perfect images, we’re upset that it’s not our lives.
Newsflash; it isn’t theirs either. If you haven’t realized it yet, people put their best foot forward regarding social media. So that perfect body shot really isn’t so perfect. They just know how to use lighting to hide their imperfections.
Be a good friend
Sometimes our low self-esteem comes from the lack of true friendships we have in our lives. If you haven’t called your friends in a while, make a point to text and ask them out to lunch.
If you’d like to make new friends, put yourself out there by volunteering or joining a class. Start greeting people with a friendly smile.
Start eating a healthy diet
Low self-esteem can stem from our appearance, so if we’re unhappy with how we look, it affects how we feel about ourselves.
Studies indicate that what you eat gives you more energy to do physical activities like walking, running and tennis. Then, when we exercise more, we shape up and feel good. And think about it; while in that dance class, you may meet someone, which is another self-esteem booster.
Celebrate your victories
Congratulate yourself for a job well done on any achievement, big or little. Learn to appreciate that, yes, you are smart, and you can get the job done. Celebrate every single accomplishment because you deserve it.
You may be struggling with something new to you, but know that you aren’t alone. Many people are dealing with the same issues and have successfully gotten through it.
Talk to a therapist. They can chart out a path to navigate your way through the breakup. But, most importantly, never be ashamed of your situation. You’ve taken the proper steps, so now you need to follow through. Don’t worry; you’ve got this!