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

  1. Hi Oxy

    I didn’t know about your story about the visitor from Australia. Yikes. Sorry that happened to you.

    Your upbringing and mine sound so familiar. My mother was raging and always blaming me (it was because of something I did, or didn’t do). Anyway it sure makes for a dysfunctional adult.

    I see my spath now for what he is. I’ve told him he’s a spath, and I’ve called him spathy to his face. It helps me to have the language to talk about this.

    More importantly I’m trying to put myself on equal footing with people. Not lesser than. Not better than. But vulnerable, equal, reciprocating. I’m trying so hard. I keep finding myself either doing too much – rescuing/over managing people…..or doing too little (subjecting myself to my spath again). It is a long hard road.


  2. Hi Athena,
    Nice to “see” you.
    It feels like a juggling act doesn’t it? I’m having the same problem with boundaries. I don’t want to come across as rude and I want to give people a chance but OMG, the spaths are everywhere.

    I just “met” another one. He had an ad on craigslist that he is looking for a place to rent. Without going into too much detail… I called him and he waited a week to call back. Said he was spending time with his kids and wanted to keep focused on them. That was the first red flag.

    But anyway, that was last wednesday and he said he would try to come out to see the property on Sunday (today). I told him I’d give him the address before he came out.

    Well, he called back and kept me on the phone over an hour… HUGE RED FLAG.

    But I couldn’t always understand him, because the voice quality on the phone was bad. So it was hard to interrupt him to take my leave. Then the calls kept dropping and he kept calling back. Over and over and over.

    Finally I told him to text me instead since the connection was so bad. So he did. Repeatedly.

    Then the next day, same thing. He called me to “chat” several times and then kept texting. On Friday, again he called me a few times. Texted me with details of his day. I told him not to call me again until he was leaving his house on Sunday. Saturday night, he called again. This time he said he would keep it short, he just needed the address.

    I told him the place was rented. He hung up without a word.

    Then he called back. Repeatedly. I didn’t answer and I don’t have voice mail. So he texted me all night.

    Last text was at 5AM.


    This isn’t the first time this has happened when I try to rent this place.
    The first time was a woman who insisted I let her live for free and she would sell my things to pay her rent…? wtf?
    The second time, a narcissistic old man and his wife wanted the place. But he would wait a week to respond to my emails, yet, whenever he emailed me, he expected me to reply instantly or he would whine.
    I realize now that he was trying to establish dominance. This is the advice that is commonly given by pickup artists on their despicable dating sites. He became very insulting when I said I wasn’t going to rent to him.

    Another time a man kept calling me demanding that I rent to him and HE kept increasing the amount of rent he’d pay. That was over 2 years ago and he emailed me again just the other day. Probably hoping I’d forgotten his raging when I said no. I almost had.

    I’m getting the feeling that people must see me as very meek or weak and they think they can bully me.

    I’ve never even met this guy.

  3. Sky, I had rental property for many years and believe me, there is no story crazeeeeee enough I wouldn’t believe it….I swear the scams people will try to pull on you…I could “write a book” on renters and scammers that rented or tried to. NEVER AGAIN!!!! Oh, my goodness….what a mess. LOL Yep sounds about right…what did the TEXTS say? Just curious. LOL

    Athena, yea, it is an ongoing process in the learning not to enable and learning not to be taken advantage of either. To have boundaries and to not allow yourself to get caught up in the pity ploy or in the enabling…it is very difficult for me, and I can’t say to this day that I’m 100% successful, but I KEEP WORKING O N IT. Learning each day. I think it is like being an alcoholic, and taking it one day at a time…not trying to reach some spot where we feel we are “completely” healed. I think healing is a journey just like being sober is.

  4. Hello everyone,
    I really enjoyed this article Skylar. I agree with Oxy; not everyone should or can be labelled psychopathic etc. but if someone oversteps the mark, crosses the boundaries that you have put into place then they are potentially toxic. For me, it all comes back to seeing good in everyone. I strive hard these days NOT to listen to that small voice of doubt. That is what got me into the whole, awful mess in the first place.
    I heard a quote from a politician today on the radio. He was talking about what makes us human. I scribbled it down;
    “The things that make us human are not common to everyone.”

    • Hi Strongawoman,
      Oh I can soooo relate to seeing good in everyone.
      I interviewed another potential renter. He was soooo nice. Jovial and all about being positive and paying it forward.

      Just a quick internet search revealed that he didn’t give me his real name and he’s got a list of court cases as long as my arm.

      dang. I kinda liked him. ๐Ÿ™

      • Hi Skylar,
        How irritating he turned out to be a big, fat con! These “types” always seem to portray themselves in such a favourable light, don’t they? As someone said further up the thread, we just take so much at face value. I don’t want to be negative, but is it time to teach our children that they shouldn’t see the good in everyone? My whole childhood and early adulthood I battled with my instincts and the way I was brought up…..turn the other cheek, believe in the fundamental goodness of your fellow man. Sheesh, not any more lol.

    • Strongawoman, definitely great to “see” you! And, the quote is, indeed, succinct and so very profound.

      My “thing” is not so much recognizing spaths as identifying TOXIC people – people whose actions or behaviors are likely to be toxic to me, personally. There was a time when everyone was a potential spath/ppath – oh, yes, you bet!

      A good friend of mine who earned a degree in psychology has had numerous experiences with very disordered people, and she gives a tremendous amount of energy in defining these peopel who are toxic to her. Even with her own family members, one sibling was defined as a full-blown psychopath, and the other she determined to be a “malignant narcissist.” Well, it doesn’t really matter what the assessment is. The siblings are bad news – they’re “bad people.”

      Sky, I’m sorry that another potential tenant has turned out to be toxic! JEEPERS!!!!! Have you considered hiring a property manager? I hired a realtor that was familiar with rentals, and let her handle all of the headaches, a long while back. I chose this option because I didn’t want to deal with showing the property, securing the lease, collecting rent, following up with potential non-payments, evictions, etc. It was just too much for me to deal with. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Oh Truthy, you’re not called Truthspeak for nothing. Basically, you’re saying we don’t need to get bogged down with labels. My friendship circle has diminished considerably in the past few years and some family members have surprised me recently by their actions. I don’t know what is happening to me! lol. Seriously though, I find myself taking a huge step back from toxic people; strangers or otherwise. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Strongawoman, I chose the “Truthspeak” ID because of my own personal aspirations to learn and practice truth, even when it was uncomfortable, painful, or unpleasant. For me, I’ve come to terms with the concept of “acceptance” in that manner – I can’t bargain or re-negotiate facts into things that are more comfortable, less painful, or pleasant, most of the time. So…….there it is.

          Nothing is “happening TO” you, other than you’re putting into practice those lessons learned. The hand that’s burned is more likely to remind the heart and mind that a glowing element on an oven is HOT and causes pain! LOL!!! I think that’s why emerging from experiences with toxic people is so damaging, or has been, for me. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that some people that I loved and cared about really never loved or cared about me, back. And, this goes back to how I was raised – no matter WHAT, I was always expected to “forgive, and forget” whatever experience had been harmful to me.

          So…….it’s a “GOOD THING” for you to be examining your associations and relationships, Strongawoman! And, doesn’t it FEEL empowering?! That you actually have the innate right to choose whom you will and will not allow into your life? What a wonderful and empowering feeling that truly is. TOWANDA!

          • Thanks for the Towanda, Truthy and yes, it feels good to be in the driving seat for a change. Someone who I counted as a true friend has just been added so the inner circle is dwindling even more. Stupid thing is that when I met her, through work, I “knew” she was false. This was pre spath days and because I had to work with her, I also went against my gut and trusted her as a friend. The old “there’s good in everyone” feeling…..indoctrination….had reared its head and set me up for a big fall with her. I am getting better at acting on my gut, my impulses but still struggle with blaming myself for being taken in and not believing what my own intuition was telling me. That’s my next target; to care less about what it says about me and reach that heady place that is indifference.

    • Truthy,
      I had thought of hiring a rental company. Still, I’m glad I investigated him because they might not have caught this man’s alias. The only reason I found it is because I became very friendly with him and he told me various things about himself, which I was able to investigate online. This lead me to a different name, which I then searched and verified with a picture. Then the county court records revealed restraining orders and warrants.

      There are no restraining orders or warrants on his alias.

      • Sky………just……….wow. Yeah…I see what you’re saying, here, and it’s a pain in the azz, but a property manager might not have taken the TIME to become better acquainted with a potential tenant and, therefore, suspicious enough to do some background investigation.

        Have you ever considered going into the field of private investigation?! You’re SO adept with research and your experiences with spaths could really come in handy. Just saying…… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Sky, out of curiosity, were you tempted to let the possible tenant “know” what you had discovered about him, by any chance? I’ve thought about this and tried putting myself into your situation, and I believe I would have let something out, like his legal name, or something else. I don’t know, but I believe that I might have done that.

      • Truthy,
        I have not actually gotten back to him.
        The plan had been to ask him to sign a release so I could run a credit report and a background check. But then I just started googling some things he told me about.

        So I can’t decide what to tell him. I thought about emailing him the release and asking him for $50 to run a back ground check. Just to see his response. If he refuses…I’m off the hook.

        He doesn’t seem dangerous to me. But I know that he is someone who hates women –from the stories he writes on his facebook page. He says they’re only fictional short stories with a slightly morbid edge. In each story his wife dies and he collects on the life insurance policy.

  5. Wow, Strongawoman, that is a good quote! LOL I’ll have to remember that! Glad to “see” you…enjoy your posts, you always have something good to say. Don’t be a stranger!

    • Hi Oxy,
      Yes I liked it too….. so simple yet so profound!
      Thank you for your kind words. Life has been a little crazy lately but I like to check in here every so often. Keeps the cogs oiled!!

  6. Sky I had a potential renter who was wanted by the FBI….he showed up in a starched and ironed white business shirt, and driving a nice car (which turned out belonged to his girlfriend that he was abusing) and sat and talked to me for quite some time…I can’t remember all the details now because it is 20 odd years ago but I have no doubt that he was a dangerous man, I called the cops in the nearest town where he was living with the girlfriend. I heard from her that he was arrested and that there was a federal warrant out on him.

    It never fails to pay to INVESTIGATE people who are new in your life or who you have a business or personal relationship with. Those folks I got to salvage my old mobile home I needed torn down, turned out to have serious police records…the son is back in prison now. He was robbing folks all around the neighborhood…the dad had a long ago arrest and mug shot but I never could find out WHAT it was for, only that he had mug shots on the internet, and the woman was selling her food stamps for cash….they are out of my life now, and I did get the trailer scrapped and gone, but you know…it PAYS to know who you are dealing with for sure. I think you are VERY WISE to be so “paranoid” because JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE PARANOID DOESN’T MEAN SOMEONE ISN’T OUT TO GET YOU. LOL

    I didn’t check Hamilton’s background and if I had he would have turned up “dirty” from the get go…but at the time I was still in deep depression and PTSD from my husband’s accidental death and from caring for my dying step father for 18 months, so I don’t fault myself too badly for not checking him out better. I beat myself up for months (years?) for not finding out what he was before he had infiltrated my home.

    • Oxy,
      They can be very charming and make you forget all about doing the background check.

      It really boils down to how vulnerable you are going to be in the potential relationship. If this person is going to be involved in your life or your property, then by all means check them out. Otherwise, I respect their privacy and don’t bother to find out anything, no matter how easy it would be to google the heck out of them.

      Yesterday, I met a man whose story was soooo crazeeee (poison, murder, incest) I’m the only person who even consider believing him. I might just write an article about it. Still, I’m not interested in delving further into his life or his story so I doubt I’ll be googling him. I don’t need more crazeeeeee in my life. I’ve got plenty.

  7. Yea, you’ve got me for a friend…and that’s pretty CRAZEEEEE LOL Seriously though, it really is a good thing to know who and waht you are renting your property to, or who you are intimately associating with. I have had more problems for NOT doing background on someone than I have when I did check.

    I really do not want to be taken again so I will tend to over check rather than undercheck. Better to be “safe than sorry”

    • Oxy, I already know your crazee story, so I won’t have to do a background check on you! ๐Ÿ˜†

      This man I was referring to, was not a potential tenant. He was just at the store. He looked like he’d been through the ringer. Just like I did when I first escaped. Clothes all disheveled and hair sticking out like I’d stuck my finger in a light socket.

      He told me his mom had poisoned him with anthrax and had taunted him about how horrible his death would be. But I don’t think she did. I think she only made him believe that because it was driving him crazy with anxiety. I think she used something else to poison him with.

  8. Another reason to believe it was NOT anthrax is that he would be dead if she used that, and where would she get it? The disease spores are highly controlled, though it does occur in nature, which is why we vaccinate our cattle against it, but unless she was some kind of chemist she couldn’t have found it in nature.

    Sounds to me like the poor many may have been more Skitz or possibly any number of chronic medical conditions that would make him so paranoid. Some times people like that are just not in touch with reality and become paranoid or “voices” talk to them.

    Then there are folks like us whose stories are just as “wild” but ARE true…and you know when I went to my therapist the first time and he did this two hour intake with me crying and saying “the whole world is out to kill me including my family” he suspected that possibly I was Skitz or paranoid delusional and nicely asked me to bring in proof of what I was saying. At that point I LAUGHED, and told him “You think I’m a paranoid nut job?” LOL he sort of smiled and then the next week I took my son and all my documents to him so he would KNOW that my Jerry springer show-style lilfe was truly REAL.

  9. Joyce,
    according to him, he had found the evidence.
    But I think she planted fake evidence.
    When my spath was pulling his last con, he wanted me to believe that homeland security was after him. He planted lots of evidence, including a business card from a homeland security agent. Spath knows I’m really good at finding people, so he knew I would google the name and find out that it was the name of a real agent, Dan.

    I found out a lot about Dan. He lived in San Diego for a while but lives closer to me now. But that doesn’t mean that Dan was investigating the spath. All it means is that Dan’s card was being used as a “prop”. Either the card was stolen or Dan was in on the con. I vote for the latter. Spath had various misogynists in law enforcement in his pocket. That is spath’s greatest talent, to smell out corrupt individuals and use them toward his own ends.

    What this taught me is that spaths don’t always tell you lies, sometimes they set you up with props so you come to the false conclusion on your own.

  10. Yea, I can see the planting “stuff”—-Hamilton did that quite often—and convinced me that someone was “out too get me” but I didn’t know just who…sure when you are paranoid, you will look for “evidence” and they plant something to send you off on a wild goose chase. Oh, well..live and learn.

    From all you have told me and the NTSB records I have seen to back up what you say about him, I can tell you right now that I think he ENJOYED THE GAMES and “getting away with” things…just as Patrick enjoys the games of cat and mouse..but both of them aren’t content to just play and “win” the games, they must also brag about them and have an “audience” “appreciate” their performance. It seems like somehow it isn’t satisfying or real unless someone says “wow, you are sure smart”

    Doesn’t mean they aren’t really smart, just that they have to have confirmation of it. That adrenaline rush is a powerful “high” and I think they are addicted to it.

    There are lots of legitimate ways to get that adrenaline high, from riding bulls and motorcycles, to playing sports…or you can rob banks and kill folks…the rush is the same, it is just that some folks some how get hooked on the ILLEGAL and IMMORAL ways of getting their rush.

    Just like those 3 kids in Oklahoma that shot the Aussie Baseball player because they were BORED.

    I saw a news article today about the kids playing “Knockout” by punching strangers in the head to see if they can knock them out cold in one punch. This one kid decided to use a stun gun on his victim…but the victim had a concealed carry permit and SHOT (but not killed) the punk…if more people carried maybe some of these punks wouldn’t be so ready to attack folks.

    • OxD, I believe that violence has always been a part of human history, from prehistoric times up through the present days. But, what I’m seeing today is what appears to be an actual encouragement to remove empathy from humanity. Through television programming to video game entertainment, blood, guts, murder, and mayhem is the order of the day – true connections to humanity are being destroyed, deliberately, IMHO.

      I forget what the topic was that I was discussing with a friend, lately, but I told her that I sometimes felt that I was living in the final days of Caligula’s reign as Emperor of the Roman Empire. The messages are so confused, today. On the one hand, we’re railing against bullying and, on the other hand, the ability of children who feel the need to stand up for themselves is taken away from them because THEY will be the “bad person” if they spin around and slap the cr*p out of the person who just shoved them into the lockers in the hallway. We’re telling our children to use common sense about s-e-x, and the entertainment industries are vomiting the most objectifying s-e-x-ual content upon children in films, music, and video games. We tell our children that “violence is bad,” and video documentation of every manner of violence against humanity is available at the stroke of a few keys on a computer.

      Honestly, I recollect the days when my folks used to say that teenagers were out of control, and I honestly didn’t understand what they meant. Wow…….today, I’m SO grateful that I’m not trying to raise a child in this current culture. I would be very tempted to live on a farm, Amish-style, with no outside contact……eugh…..

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