Are You a Sociopath’s Next Meal?
I do quite a bit of writing about sociopathy, physical abuse and the degradation of women in its many forms. I ask myself “why” upon occasion, and the answer is always the same. I want to leave the world a slightly better place than I found it. I can’t cure cancer or repair the environment; I won’t be reversing the climate change problem or even inventing a new way of computing (trust me, I tried it in the nineties and almost went bankrupt). What I can do is share stories, and write about life experiences; both personal and observational.
Perhaps it’s the nature of the professions I’ve chosen in my life, or maybe I’m a magnet, but I’ve had my fair share of contact with the supposed three percent of the population that exhibit signs of sociopathy or, as we now call it, Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).
When I worked in the non-profit world, I frequently encountered people just out of jail for various crimes, mostly drug-related and they frequently seemed to have a sexual predator component. It was the nature of the organization I was with. Our job was to find a place for people with disabilities to fit into the workforce. People with ASPD fit into that category… it’s considered a disability.
Then I went to work for the banking industry, need I say more? By and large they were decent people, but a few had the ability to reduce people’s lives, hopes, and dreams into numbers. Not the people working hard in the branches, working with customers face to face and wishing them a nice day. It was the people in the back offices – faceless people that issued rules and ultimatums without regard to their employees, or the impact it would have on the families their advertisements professed to support.
Eventually I found myself working in the wild and wacky world of stocks and bonds. One of the first people I met, a person that offered to train me in fact, told me point blank, “I make an incredible living doing this, and if you screw it up… they won’t find your body.” I believed him. Once again, ninety-seven percent of the people I deal with in this industry only want to help and serve. They are good, caring people that do the best damn job they are capable of… except that three percent….
I’ve even had to question the motives of clients in my career and found out the hard way that evil isn’t always illegal. I could share stories but I won’t… someday the names will be changed and placed in a novel: They’ll never know.
Why did I tell you all that? Because I’m about to share a theory with you that, as far as I know, has no scientific or medical research to back it up. It’s purely observational, and I’ve observed a lot. I have the advantage of not being a Psychologist or Therapist trying to help society understand that their patients are ill and deserve kindness, treatment, and understanding. I’m on the other side. I’m the one saying, “They very well may be sick, but that doesn’t mean you have to ruin your life while trying to understand them.”
Here’s the theory I want to float:
The human race is part of the animal kingdom. As part of that kingdom we are considered an apex predator, not because of our claws or teeth, nor our speed, strength, or endurance, but because of our minds and our ability to hunt.
Sociopaths are a step above the rest of humanity on the predator scale. Some would say they’re more like scavengers, hyenas or jackals looking to feed on the weak or the dead. I wouldn’t fully disagree, but even a hyena can kill a healthy animal if the circumstance are right. Even a lion will feed on a dead carcass if it’s hungry and has found an easy meal. The term ASPD refers to a spectrum of sociopathy instead of the kind you see on television crime shows. I think that’s important. Vast numbers of men/women aren’t mass murders yet fall on this particular sociopathy spectrum, and are therefore harmful to their partner’s, and society’s, physical and emotional health. And like the hyena, given the right circumstances and hungers, can become far more dangerous than they appear. Think “crimes of passion.” Most sane people, no matter how angry, aren’t going to murder or assault a person they love. It takes a special kind of brain to cross that line.
What separates most of the people on the ASPD spectrum from a leopard, an alligator, or a wolf? Most aren’t feeding on flesh. They are feeding off of emotional energy and the suffering of others. Like a vampire they are draining people’s souls of life, and elevating themselves on the backs of others. Some are violent and manipulate through punishment and pain. Many others are manipulative and degrade their prey until there is little life left for them to eat before moving on to a fresh meal. Even if their methods vary, they all have one thing in common: Their single focus is on how to make life better for themselves at the cost of others. They live to hunt, to feed, to dominate and elevate themselves over the depleted bodies, minds, and souls of their prey. At the end of the day, every interaction they experience with another human is put under the microscope of “how can that person help me get what I want?”
They are predators, scavengers, vampires of the soul. The gene has survived and thrived in the human race because “it works.” It makes them successful at the game of survival. Like cockroaches, mice, rats and opossums they know when to attack and when play dead. How to manipulate, lie, cheat, steal and move in for the metaphorical kill when necessary.
Here’s where the problem comes in, most aren’t “made” (although meth and a few other drugs can cause ASPD) they are born. There is no cure and no physical way to identify them (although many have what is termed “dead-eyes”or predatory stare). Many get misdiagnosed with terms like “bi-polar disorder” or clinical depressions (both are real legitimate things, but not ASPD). You can be in a relationship with one and not even know it until it’s too late to comprehend what has happened. They have gotten into your mind, eaten parts of your soul, and left you half dead lying on the savanna.
If that is the case, I have great sympathy for you and would like to remind you of all of the amazing resources that are available for people suffering from abuse. If you are in that situation, you need to acknowledge that you’ve been abused, emotionally if not physically, and seek help. It’s the only way you will ever be complete and whole. The only way your soul and mind will recover and get you back on track to a healthy life.
On my FBoM page, at the bottom, is a resource guide designed primarily for sexual assault and abuse survivors. Many of the links and organizations that are listed work with victims of emotional, spousal, or domestic abuse as well. Please download it and make a positive change in your life. The guide is free, many of the resources are free, and if even one person breaks the cycle and creates for themselves a full and happy life because of something I have shared… then we’ve both left the world in a slightly better place than we found it.
Below are a few books that might be helpful on your journey. I’ve included a new one in with the usual suspects by the author of the website Lovefraud.com. The site offers resources, education, and training for individuals and professionals on how to recognize and recover from relationships involving sociopaths.
Another site which appears useful for sussing out what you might be dealing with is this one: Flying Monkeys Denied.
Leave a comment or message me. Especially if you’re a survivor or in the helping professions – I’d love to know what you think about them.
We can make a small fee if you click one of the links. (Learn more). It’s one way we fund this site and what we do. Feel free to shop; items purchased are the same price they’d be anyway.
Like recycled books made from trees? Use the Powell’s box to search for a title or check my Powell’s bookshelf for other titles on this and related subjects.
As always… Peace Y’all!
EM Bosso Bookshelf at Powell’s: embosso.net Blog Mentions
The Sociopath Next Door: Who is the Devil You Know?
Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience… How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They’re more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others’ suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win… To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game.
Why Does He DO That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
In this groundbreaking bestseller, Lundy Bancroft—a counselor who specializes in working with abusive men—uses his knowledge about how abusers think to help women recognize when they are being controlled or devalued in a relationship, and to find ways to get free of abuse.
The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect us from Violence
In this extraordinary groundbreaking book, the nation’s leading expert on predicting violent behavior unlocks the puzzle of human violence and shows that, like every creature on earth, we have within us the ability to predict the harm others might do us and get out of its way. Contrary to popular myth, human violence almost always has a discernible motive and is preceded by clear warning signs.
Through dozens of compelling examples from his own career, Gavin de Becker teaches us how to read the signs, using our most basic but often most discounted survival skill – our intuition. The Gift of Fear is a remarkable, unique combination of practical guidance on leading a safer life and profound insight into human behavior.
Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry
Bestselling author Dr. Al Bernstein shows you how to recognize each vampire type–antisocial, histrionic, narcissists, obsessive-compulsives, paranoids–and deal with them effectively. He uses many examples from the latest news headlines, which will help you distinguish between the types and deepen your understanding of each one.
Red Flags of Love Fraud: 10 Signs You’re Dating a Sociopath
Is it love—or predation? “Red Flags of Love Fraud — 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath,” has the answers.
The author is Donna Andersen, who is also author of Lovefraud.com. Andersen coined the term “love fraud,” and defines it as “the intentional exploitation of an individual through manipulating emotions in a personal relationship.” The people who engage in love fraud, she says, are sociopaths.
No, a sociopath is not always a deranged serial killer—that’s media hype. These people are social predators, who live their lives by exploiting others. Three million to 12 million sociopaths live among us in America. Most are not in jail—they roam freely through all segments of society. They like company, and they really like sex, so sociopaths are always on the hunt for a hookup.
This book explains how sociopaths target and pursue romantic relationships, which are inevitably exploitative relationships. The information is based on more than 2,800 cases that Andersen has collected through Lovefraud.com, and on the results of two Internet surveys completed by Lovefraud readers who loved and lived with these human predators.
Also published on Medium.