You’ve been living in insanity. Your partner seems to randomly lash out or give you the silent treatment — and then says you’re to blame.
Your finances are in shambles, and you’re to blame for that, too — even if you’re the only one working. You’re positive that this person is cheating on you, but they insist that you’re paranoid and delusional.
Or, in a variation on a theme: You’re living with the distinct feeling that something is amiss, although you can’t quite figure out what it is.
You Google terms like “emotional abuse,” “signs of cheating,” or “love and deceit.” Eventually, you come across terms like “sociopath,” “narcissist,” and “personality disorder.”
Suddenly, everything makes sense. And other people are telling stories that sound just like yours.
You realize that you’re involved with a sociopath.
You’re horrified — this personality disorder sounds really, really bad and there’s no treatment for it.
But you’re also relieved because now you know you’re not crazy. It’s your partner.
So, what do you do with the information that your partner may be a sociopath?
First, here’s what not to do: Do not confront the sociopath!
Even though you want to say, “I know what you are!!!”
Even though you want to defend yourself and say, “It’s not me!!! It’s you!!!”
Don’t do it!
Now that you know what you’re dealing with, keep the information to yourself and carefully plan what you’re going to do next.
Here are 4 things you need to do when your find your partner is a sociopath.
1. Be wary of the sociopath’s reaction.
Sociopaths are all about power and control.
If you tell the person that you’ve figured out that everything they’ve told you is a lie, that everything they’ve done was manipulation, the sociopath will perceive a loss of power and control over you.
The sociopath will probably react in one of the following ways…
Love Bombing: They will turn on the charm or plead for another chance, causing you to doubt yourself and drawing you back into their web.
Rage: They will become infuriated and ratchet up the abuse.
Abandonment: They will abruptly leave, causing as much damage to you as possible on the way out.
Any of these reactions by the sociopath will probably make your situation more difficult.
So, even though you now know the truth, put on an act. Pretend that everything is the same, while you evaluate the extent of the sociopath’s deceit and exploitation.
Figure out how you’re going to extricate yourself from the involvement to best protect your safety, health, finances, and reputation.
2. Do not confide in the sociopath’s family.
Here’s something else you should not do: Do not confide in the sociopath’s family.
This disorder is highly genetic, so it’s quite possible that the sociopath’s parents, siblings, or other relatives also have the disorder. If so, they will side with the sociopath to help them keep control over you.
Or, the family may be clueless. Some family members — especially if they don’t see the sociopath very often — may have absolutely no idea what they’re really like.
If the sociopath starts playing the victim, they may buy the act and do everything they can to help the sociopath, not you.
Or, the family may have known all along that the sociopath was no good and wanted you to take the problem off of their hands.
They don’t want to deal with the disorder again, so they may sabotage your efforts to escape.
3. Be careful about talking to friends.
Do not relay your suspicions to any friends who are also the sociopath’s friends. Sociopaths engage in “impression management.”
Just as the sociopath was able to charm you for so long, they can charm other people. So, people who know the sociopath may have a hard time believing what you’re saying.
This is especially true if the sociopath has already launched a smear campaign against you.
Long before you have any clue what is going on, the sociopath may have started laying the groundwork to discredit you. They may have made up stories about your behavior or “confided” that you’re “mentally unstable.”
The sociopath may have subtly turned people against you. So, if you start talking about what has really been going on in your life, they are primed to disbelieve you.
In fact, you should also be careful about talking to your own friends.
The sociopath may contact them behind your back and convincingly express concern about you. They may ask where you are or what you are doing.
What the sociopath really wants is information. Your friends may fall for the scam — after all, you did — and tell the sociopath something that can jeopardize your escape plans.
4. Be aware that people just don’t understand.
Keep in mind that most people simply don’t understand what the words “sociopath” and “psychopath” mean. Most people think they are serial killers.
If you say you’re involved with a sociopath and that person doesn’t look like a killer, others may think you’re exaggerating.
So, even if you’re bursting to confront the sociopath and you want to tell the world that they are a lying, manipulative exploiter, it’s best to be very cautious about sharing the information.
Keep quiet, at least in the beginning, until you know whom you can really trust.
Originally published on YourTango