How To Take Your Power Back And Look Good Doing It: Solving the Sociopath
The story is typical: the sociopath was married yet claimed he was not. The sociopath falsely claimed he had cancer, so he could travel with impunity between the people he strung along. He was charming; he ingratiated himself to the entire family and their circle of friends. If anyone in the family questioned his behavior or came close to connecting the dots on his rampant deceit, the sociopath would become outraged and shift blame onto his intended victim. He spouted poisonous lies every time he opened his mouth. And, of course, it’s a “given” that the sociopath had no remorse for the trail of human destruction he left in his wake and actually enjoyed knowing his activities were twisting a knife that would leave permanent scars.
Not only have I heard this story before, but I also have a couple to tell myself ! Even without knowing their personal situations, I could recite chapter and verse how these people got caught up in the web that the sociopath weaves so well. I also know the anguish and deep-seated feelings of pain and betrayal that one goes through when the whole house of cards finally collapses and realization that the person who claimed to love you the most is as toxic as a meltdown at a nuclear reactor.
It is not my intention to give a lot of exposure to the sociopaths in our brief time together. There is a lot of great information available these days about their profile and how to spot them. One of the best out there is the Martha Stout, PhD book: The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus The Rest Of Us. What I want to do is focus instead on how to go about picking up the pieces after the sociopath bomb has exploded in your life. There are many different “types” of sociopath, but I am going to focus on recovery from the love, or romantic sociopath predator relationship. Here are a few simple but extremely powerful tips I learned the hard way. I feel compelled to share these with you if for no other reason than to equalize the playing field.
Number One: The sociopath predators love tearing your world and especially your self-esteem to shreds. They revel in the knowledge that they are destroying you in ways that can be undetectable. The most crucial thing to bear in mind when taking your life and power back from these insidious, conscienceless forces of destruction is don’t beat yourself up! The sociopath predator has already done a professional job of just that. You are the only person with a conscience and functional moral compass in this equation. You are the sole force of integrity and honesty in this mix. You have suffered enough! You have to stop the madness and not continue to forge a path through self-inflicted brutality. You are probably bludgeoning yourself with questions like: “How could I have not seen this coming?” Answer: You would have if you didn’t have a conscience as well. The rest of us don’t think in such deliberately distorted and diseased ways. Question: “Shouldn’t I have connected the dots earlier and trusted in my inner knowing?” Answer: This experience is how you are learning to do just that. Do you blame a child for not knowing how to walk straight out of the womb? Of course not. This experience has solidified the ethereal process of trusting in your gut instinct – your feeling/knowing. This is your right of passage in becoming an expert at sensing, knowing and trusting in the red flags as they appear in the field of reality from this time forward. Now you know when something does not feel right or look right in a way that no one is going to be able to talk you out of. The gift, amidst all of this rubble, is that you now have an embodied galvanized self-corrective guidance system you can trust in and rely on.
Your job from here on out is to end the reign of hostility in your life. That includes the self-inflicted variety as well. There is no reason to continue hurting yourself and picking up where the sociopath left off after that predator has been ousted. Sociopaths, by nature, have no conscious. But they know you do, and they are masters at using yours against you. The biggest pitfall left to extricate yourself from is that of shame. There is nothing a sociopath predator loves more than to know you are crumbling under the strain of shame, guilt and self-loathing for violations they committed. In the name of growing beyond that ever-constricting snare, I want to share a great acronym for shame I recently came across at www.lovefraud.com/blog/2012/01/06/letters-to-lovefraud-to-the-liar-named-shame/: Self Hatred Accepting My Enslavement. Shame is a physiological/emotional booby trap the sociopath predator leaves behind. Don’t step in it; do not deploy it. Defuse, dismantle and discard it.
Number Two: You have to make your mind like Teflon when the habit to re-visit and re-live the details of all the lies, cheating and manipulations resurfaces in your memory. Let that ugly energy slide right off of you. Nothing sticks because you are too busy refocusing on your new life – meeting new, wonderful and caring people. You have cleaned up your relationship space. You now have room to invite in and bond with like-minded people of integrity and compassion.
Deny the sociopath predator any further power in your life. Every time you shrink back in fear that you can no longer trust people, you give your power away to the sociopath predator yet again. You have to choose that they no longer get a say in the quality of your life. They no longer get to influence the potential of how free and expansive your experience of life can be. This is the time to take to heart the Satchel Page quote, “Work like you don’t need the money. Dance like no one is watching. Love like you have never been hurt.” This is how you take back your power, your life and your peace of mind!
Every time you slip back into that noxious quagmire of reflection on the bondage of pain, stop! Instead, focus on what you do want. Focus on the life you came here to live, not the existence you wish to grow beyond. Focus on the loving caring relationships you do have, be it your animal companion, friends, or even your sense of humor. Don’t succumb to the sociopath’s will; the best revenge is living well. You have to take your mind back and make it your best friend and not your second worst enemy. You have made it through the graduate class in learning how to trust in yourself. Now is the time to go out and live the life you just paid a very hefty price for.
Number Three: For those of you who feel that spirituality still has something viable and life sustaining to offer, please consider this: many, many people have died and returned to tell about the experience – commonly know as an NDE (near death experience). The consistent element in these personal accounts is what is referred to as the life review. When a person dies, they see their life in a review. But it is not like watching your life like one would view a movie. In the life review you relive your life from the viewpoint of those around you. And, you not only see your life events, you feel them too. For example, if you were a schoolyard bully, in your life review you would now feel what it was like to be on the receiving end of your violence.
What could you ever could do to a sociopath predator that is worse than turning the tables and having them now suffer through the pain and misery they so joyously delivered into your life? They will ultimately get away with nothing. They will be tortured and tormented to the same exacting degree that you were, without escape, without reprieve, without exception. You do not have to do anything but get on with your new life. No need to soil your own hands, just focus on the good and life-sustaining opportunities you have for growth and personal happiness.
Number Four: Remember, this all about you moving forward as a wiser more aware person as a result of graduating from this relationship. Leave the bitterness behind. It will not serve you in creating a life worth living. The only thing that matters now is loving and nurturing yourself through the grief and the shock. The greater the new and improved version of your life is, the happier and more resilient you are. And, the more powerless and meaningless the sociopath predator will become.
Keep focusing on what you do want. When the habit to look back sneaks up on you, keep your eye on the prize: keep putting one emotional foot in front of the other and commit yourself to moving forward. No one will be able to talk you out of your power again. You now recognize the inner alarm of deception whether or not you can actually put your finger on what exactly seems wrong.
The Universe at large will take care of educating the sociopath predator. It is no longer your problem. Just create the best possible life review for yourself that is humanly and Divinely possible. There is a new life that awaits you. Find it, live it, celebrate it, claim it. You deserve it!
Vaishali is the author of Wisdom Rising and You Are What You Love . She is a columnist for the The Huffington Post and an international health & wellness speaker who has appeared on The Dr. Oz Radio Show and Oprah.com. Vaishali learned to transform her life holistically, from the threat of two terminal disease diagnoses, domestic abuse and financial devastation, completely recovered, she shares her wisdom @ www.purplev.com/mediakit or email firstname.lastname@example.org