“What exactly is the Sociopathic Style?”
The Sociopathic Style is a dysfunctional relationship style that operates and thrives in the Power (Victim/Rescuer/Perpetrator) Triangle.
Although, we use the terms sociopath and psychopath as a shorthand description, we know we are not equipped to make that assessment. We do evaluate the relationship style and we help those who actively participate in the Power Triangle realize that, even as a victim, they are engaging in that style of relating.
The key to recovery is the desire and willingness to change our own relationship patterns that block us from having healthy relationships.
Any time a person points a blaming finger at someone else, he is participating in the Sociopathic Style. It doesn’t matter which role (victim, rescuer or perpetrator) they are operating from. The power dynamic is all the same and is driven by the innate desire to control other people’s feelings, emotions, behavior and actions.
The energetic dynamic of the Sociopathic Style has an under-current of energy that pushes and pulls. At times it is hardly noticeable and other times it is very assertive. There is rarely a neutral position. The person who is committed to this relationship style cannot hold positive, neutral, harmonious energy for very long.
Within a few short weeks of harmony, the one who is most committed to the sociopathic relationship style will do something to shake things up. He might push his mate’s boundaries, bring someone into the relationship that is seen as a threat, or speak of things that upset the victim. He might criticize and judge until the victim retaliates.
Then, he begins to devalue her. He may call her jealous, insecure, crazy and any number of things. In essence, this stage is necessary because the perpetrator is projecting his deepest hidden insecurities onto her. This is a great moment for the perpetrator in more ways than one. First, he feels powerful and alive, but the truth from a spiritual standpoint is that this is the most opportune moment to see himself clearly and to make the change from a fear- to love-based relationship. Typically, someone committed to the Sociopathic Style does not see his own destructive patterns, which usually emerge within the first 3-6 months of an intimate relationship.
The degree of narcissism in the victim determines how easily she can see the manipulation. If red flags are going up everywhere and she ignores them, then there is a high level of narcissism running in her as well, and she herself is operating in the Sociopathic Style and probably has for many years, attracting the same type of men again and again.
Until we find the “virus” that is running within our subconscious mind, we will continue to override our intuition and sacrifice our happiness for something our ego sees in that person. Although our intuition tells us that there is something wrong, we give in to our ego-based belief system that this person is healing us emotionally, psychologically, financially and/or spiritually. The truth is that no one can do this for us; they can only enhance what is already present in us and if it’s a high level of narcissism, then that will be exacerbated and we will get pulled out of integrity. If we are centered, stable and healthy, we are much less likely to get involved or stay in the sociopathic dynamics.
“What do you mean when you say someone is pathological?”
It means that some people are unable to see their role in the relationship dynamic. It is always the other person’s fault. They do not make amends for their mistakes, abuse or unkind behavior. There is a severe lack of empathy present and no authentic apologies are made, unless they gain from it in some way. In that case, they may come across apologetic but go right back to what they were doing prior to their “apology.” They are pathological liars. It is very, very difficult for them to tell the truth, even when caught in a red-handed lie and there is evidence. In a victim role, the person is pathological in that they are removed from their intuition and feelings so much so that they rely on the perpetrator to tell them what their reality is or should be. They severely lack validation from their partner and over time, completely lose themselves in the relationship. Their power is taken away slowly and usually very meticulously; and eventually find themselves in a deep depression. The saddest part of this process is that the victim blames herself and thinks she is going crazy, which is also emphasized by the perpetrator.
“Do Sociopaths visit your website?”
Sometimes I do receive email from diagnosed sociopaths, but the majority of visitors are victims who are suffering deeply on some level. They’ve received advice from a friend, family member, or therapist. They are told that they are dealing with a sociopath, psychopath or narcissist. It doesn’t quite sink in because they may not have studied abnormal psychology or they believe that the word sociopath means serial killer. But something begins to resonate and they research the term. Once they find our website, they read the sociopathic traits and subsequently realize what they’ve been dealing with. They do research, read everything they can get their hands and oftentimes, they end up with PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), depression and anxiety. It’s a life-altering experience to see this side of humanity and to know that we have participated in the sociopathic dynamic. I don’t always agree with therapists who make knee-jerk assessments that the victim has been with a sociopath, especially when they have not met the other person they’re assessing. I am not sure why so many therapists jump to those conclusions, but I suppose it’s a good place for the patient to begin processing the relationship dynamic, and to educate themselves and begin the inward journey.
“How beneficial is it to know about the Sociopathic Style?”
Light cannot exist without darkness. Darkness is within us all; we are human. Anyone who vehemently denies that aspect of themselves is lacking spiritual knowledge of self, and is missing the opportunity to expand their consciousness. When we clearly see our participation in a dysfunctional relationship process, admitting that we were controlling, manipulative, hurtful, judgmental, self-righteous, and so forth we have a profound opportunity to grow spiritually — to open our hearts even more. (Although, building a wall around our heart seems justifiable). We need both the light and dark to make amazing quantum leaps into a more fulfilling life. And some of us need a sociopathic experience that shakes us out of spiritual complacency. I also think this relationship dynamic presents a good opportunity to learn about fear-based belief systems that are very outdated and running in our subconscious minds. If we don’t have good tools, we will get sucked into destructive relationships again and again. Most of us are pulled into the Sociopathic Style from time to time and in varying degrees. The key is to recognize it when we begin the cycle. If it hurts enough, we will change without requesting someone else change for us. That doesn’t mean we have to stay with someone who is committed to the Sociopathic Style of relating. It means that we accept them for who they are and we love ourselves enough to leave and heal from the harmful dynamic. In other words, the lesson is over. We don’t need to learn from a painful relationship and we choose not to engage in the power triangle anymore, in any of the positions. We are no longer victims, rescuers or perpetrators. We choose healthy, loving supportive relationships. We feel safe and we learn to trust again.
“How did you become involved in this work?”
It’s a long and interesting story how I became involved in this work. To be as brief as possible, it began with my family of origin and later escalated during the breakup of my marriage, at the age of 40, when I finally sought therapy for the fist time. I was told by my therapist that my ex-husband was probably a psychopath, so I searched the term online and found Dr. Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist. Every trait applied to my ex- at the time, and I immediately began to suffer from PTSD. I found myself experiencing “The Dark Night of the Soul” and it was the beginning of a wonderful journey inward. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was in that dark place where I found immense healing and purpose in life.
“What are some of the solutions?”
- Being honest with oneself and others.
- Putting the fear-based ego to sleep.
- Making amends to those we have harmed.
- To treat others with love and compassion.
- Developing a closer relationship with the divine.
- To practice meditation and prayer on a daily basis.
- To forgive the past actions of others, knowing that people can and do change.
- And, if they can’t or won’t change to accept that without hating or judging them.
- Giving up trying to control another person in any way.
- Loving oneself enough to leave a harmful relationship.