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Psychopath or Sociopath? What’s in a Name? — 113 Comments

  1. Sky ~

    I think they call it the school of hard knocks!!!!! You have to experience it before you can accept the teachings. It’s kind of like the old – not knowing what “hot” really means until you touch the stove.

    Hi Truthy – nice to “see” you too.

  2. Sometimes, Milo, we get THIRD DEGREE BURNS the first time we touch the stove….and then it is sort of too late…we just have to make sure we LEARN THE LESSON THE FIRST TIME so we dont’ get burned again.

    • Erik, there is a “Chat Room” option, above, if it’s something immediate. I’m “online,” at the moment. Otherwise, I’m sure that there’s an option to send Sky an email via the blog site.

  3. All issues regarding logging in should be resolved right now. (I had the same issue too). I would also like to inform readers that our administrator Skylar, for personal reasons, is not at liberty to answer or attend to personal requests.

  4. I think the distinction of sadistic is useful. I had a stepfather who was a sociopath. I did not experience his primary motivation as sadistic, although he could certainly be when inflamed. But, he did not take delight in our pain and confusion as a rule. Rather he saw our pain and confusion as a measure of how well he was doing, as he was deliberately causing these responses in us. In fact, he sought sessions with a psychiatrist with the hope of learning to be more effective at making my mother believe she was crazy. He was exquisitely scientific in his approach, and I often thought that our messy and emotional pain was irritating to him because it clouded his objective assessment of his effect on us.

    I am now dealing with a what I believe to be a sociopath who is my child’s father. He is intensely sadistic, and very much enjoys inflicting pain. Where my stepfather generally felt “cold” to me, this guy feels “hot” – he wants to inflame every situation, he wants constant intensity. He knows exactly what he is doing, and wants the feedback of seeing and relishing the emotional pain he causes. It is a primary motivation for him.

    • Hi Veramadera, I hope you are gray rocking the abuser and refusing to feed him his supply of emotional expressions.

      I think that some spaths are aware of their sadism and some are not. My own ex-spath was aware. I know this because, in retrospect, I remember some comments he made. For example, in a moment of projection, he said, “It’s not GOOD for you to enjoy other people’s suffering so much.” He was accusing me of emotionally torturing him when, in fact, he was the one torturing me. Another time, he was doing freelance work filming news for local TV stations and he said, “I hope people don’t think I do this because I enjoy seeing people in car accidents suffering.” WTF? Who would think that? He was very aware that he felt better when others were suffering, even when he wasn’t the cause of it. And he did like filming it so he could watch it over and over.

      It’s been my observation that the abusive person is trying to “slime” his victim with his own “emotions”. They aren’t actually aware that this is what they are doing, because they can’t “feel” their emotions. They experience their emotions as discomforts which can be made to feel better when they make US feel worse. In their minds, they have rationalized some reason for their behavior. In their minds, the victim “deserves” to pay. Often times, the abuser’s behavior is a reflection of how they’ve rationalized.

      For example, your stepfather felt a need to exert power over your family but he rationalized that he was abusing you in the name of “scientific research”. So he treated you like lab rats. But you know what? It made him feel better to know that he could. It made him feel in control.

      Your child’s father, similarly, found that he could create emotional responses in you by acting out his rage. In my mind, that is still a power trip. He just uses a different method and a different rationalization.

      My ex-spath could be very “hot” and filled with rage, but in the end, I realized that he was only acting. He really feels nothing. His rages were just meant to control the victim and make us cower. Everyone did cower when he raged, so it worked. In truth, he was actually very cold.

      I believe that there are some people who aren’t aware that they are torturing/manipulating others in order to make themselves feel better. When they rage they justify themselves with their rationalizations. I think these people are usually labeled borderline or narcissists or histrionics — something other than sociopaths.

      Maybe it has to do with our definitions of pleasure and sadism. We could say that when the abuser numbs their own pain by inflicting pain on others, that is sadism regardless of whether they are aware of it or not. Others might disagree. They might use the words schadenfreude, or envy to more accurately describe the process.

      I don’t know if this is helpful to you but I knew an abuser who is infamous for his rages. Everyone close to him knows how he can be. One day, I realized that he was acting that way for two reasons: one, he is a jerk, and two, he was hungry. I pointed this out to him and he learned how to control some of his rages by controlling his blood sugar. He is still a murderous jerk but he hides it better when he’s not hungry. 😛

      As you pointed out, it can be helpful to observe the abuser’s triggers in order to avoid getting caught in the abuse.

    • Veramadera, greetings and welcome to 180rule.com.

      What a spath’s motivation might be is always murky. If I were to sum up the motivation, or what they “get” out of inflicting the damages, it would be this statement: they intend to ***WIN*** at all costs. Whether it’s a financial “win,” or a s-exual conquest, or the destruction of a target’s spirituality, the list can go on forever.

      With regard to the father of your children, Skylar pointed out “grey rock” method to manage all interactions with him. Children are not human beings with fragile psyches in the World Of Spaths. Children are simply tools that have no more importance than a disposable lighter (quite literally), and if we can maintain the “grey rock” technique and appear as boring and lifeless as possible when communicating with them, they will lose interest because they are not getting that FEED of control after they have clearly damaged their targets. This COULD translate through to the children, as well, though that might take some time – children are “The-Most-Perfect-Of-Targets” in the World Of Spaths because they are obligated to “trust” the adults in their lives. The more that we appear bored, the more that we need to be proactive with our children and tell them that they’re wonderful, that they are precious, that they are smart, and that they deserve to grow up and “Be Somebody.”

      If a parent is a spath, it is an unfortunate inevitability that they will deliberately use the children in an attempt to create drama/trauma for the main target (the OTHER parent). So, accepting that no amount of “Why did you DO that to them?” or demanding that they behave as conscientious parents is going to cause them to do so will be most beneficial, in the long run, even though their actions will cause us dreadful distress, in private – we must learn the art of Not Reacting, and it’s no easy task. Spaths literally thrive on other people’s reactions – the more dramatic, the more “yummy” that feed is to them. This also is true for the reactions of children – the more dramatic the reaction is from a child (theirs or someone else’s child), the more satisfying it is, for the moment. It might also be a very good idea to consult a counseling therapist that specializes in trauma about this, as well.

      Good luck to you and your children.

    • Welcome veramadera, I think you are right, some psychopaths are “hot” and others “cold” or they can be hot in one situation and cold in another, but the bottom line is that they are calculating and viscious. I’m sorry that your child’s father is a psychopath because that means that you must deal with him for a while. It also means that he will have influence on your child.

      How old is your child?

      Dr. Liane Leedom had a child by a psychopath and she has worked very hard to instill a conscience and empathy into her son, because unfortunately, some of the traits of a psychopath tend to be inherited. My own father was a psychopath, and his mother and grandfather before him. I’m not a psychopath, but I gave birth to a terrible one, who though he was brought up in love, concern and caring became a stone cold killer who I hope is in prison for life.

      Genetics ALONE are not the cause of a person being a psychopath, and not all psychopaths are stone cold killers like my son, just like “tall or short” is not a measurement like five ft. three is, “psychopath” has levels of evil in them.

      Be careful in dealing with the child’s father though that he does not become violent. Love your child and show hiim/her that they are loved and pray for the best. Accept what you cannot change, and change what you can and learn the difference. God bless

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