The Effects of Living With a Sociopath

I’m sure there are as many different effects of life with a sociopath as there are people who have experienced life with a sociopath.  I can only speak to how my experience has effected me.  Some of the effects were so subtle and crept on me that I didn’t even realize it until it was way too late.

I’ve lost myself.  That’s as simply as I can put it.  So much time has been spent trying to figure out what the hell was going on that I lost focus of who I am.  A sociopath, or even a toxic person, is expert at trying to bring you down to their level.  By the time you realize that almost everything is a lie, a scheme, a con, you are so mired in the bullshit, it’s hard to wade through it to find an exit.  And they are relentless; they do NOT give up.

Then there is the financial piece.  Sociopaths know how to gain trust, steal right from under you, and they are expert at finding the vulnerable.  A single mom, an elderly family member, etc.  They love to get you into the position of not being able to easily leave.  They love to try to implicate you.  They love to try to “involve” you in their “business ideas”.  The list goes on and on.  By the time they get to you, by the time you figure out you need to run, they have “something on you”.  They try to gain your trust and get you talking about yourself for an entirely different reason than you think.  They gather information to use as emotional blackmail.  Their intention is NEVER intimacy, it is about their own gain in the end, ALWAYS.

I tried to leave quite a few times.  At this point, I feel like my reputation as a professional and as a worthy person have been shattered.  I don’t believe in myself, I don’t have the confidence I used to.  I don’t trust at all.  I’m angry, mostly at myself.  The crazy thing is, he uses all of these things to make it even worse.  It’s like an endless circle.

For instance, I have finally realized that if I’m cordial to him at all (we have children together so I have to have contact with him), he believes that it’s an invitation to implant himself in my life somehow again.  So, I talk to him curtly when I drop off the kids and, GUESS WHAT???  He says things like “I’m only trying to be friendly/nice/do what’s best for the kids/do the right thing/change”  You name it!  And GUESS WHAT else??  Who looks like the jerk in front of the kids??  This has become such a pattern, I dread any contact at all.

I don’t know how I’ll piece my life back together.  I have to try to hide details about my life, but he questions the kids endlessly, which means I’m not entirely open and honest with them sometimes.  Or, I have to wait until the last moment to tell them things.

Law enforcement, the legal “system”, attorneys, agencies…..anyone or any type of entity that I had faith in, that I always believed helped the “good people”…….that faith is gone.  I’ve tried to go the route that I thought was the right way and it’s only caused more pain and confusion.  No wonder this toxic sociopath continues to do what he does to hurt people and businesses.  He gets away with it over and over.

The effects of living with a sociopath reach long and far.  I have also had physical symptoms and illness due to my experience.  The stress of going through this for so long catches up to you.

I will add more to this and I would like to know what effects you have experienced from your own dealings with toxic people.

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19 Responses to The Effects of Living With a Sociopath

  1. Pat says:

    I have a 27 year old step-son who is a total nightmare. An example: I’ll call him “J”, left the house (he has never really left home) walking. “J” didn’t come back under later and he was totally drunk. Since “J” isn’t permitted to drink at the house (that’s a story in itself), the opportunity arose for him to get drunk. “J” was hitchhiking and some man picked him up. They then went to the strange man’s house where “J” got extremely drunk. When “J” came to the house he began cussing very loudly. I went out to the garage, where “J” and his Dad were talking, and requested that “J” stop cussing. “J” went into a rage and began using his fists on his Dad, cussing, and telling his Dad how much he hated him. I tried to stop “J” from beating on his 61 year old Dad and “J” shoved me back where I landed on the door to the kitchen and flew on into the kitchen. I called 911. Three police came to the house. EMT came to the house. My husband and I had to go to the magistrate an take out Involuntary Commitment papers. Well after this “J” came back to the house from the detox at the hospital and his Dad has let him stay. If you ask “J” why he beat his Dad, “J” will say that his Dad asked him to.

  2. missy says:

    hi, my husband of 16 years is a sociopath. i am trapped financially at the moment. he has destroyed any type of financial independence i have had. i trust no one. i use to have tons of friends, now i do not talk to anyone. i use to be full of life and energy and love life. now i have to take an antidepressant daily or i have suicidal thoughts. i tried to kill myself. even when i take my antidepressant there are still days when i can not get out of bed. due to depression i have a hard time showering and washing my hair or anything like that. my son and i bought a fridge and put it in my room so we could have some grocercies or my husband eats everything. i keep a jar of peanut butter in my room and take it to the kitchen when my son or i want some. one time i forgot and left the jar of peanut butter (half full) in the kitchen, and when i came back to get it it was empty. my husband said, oh i thought you left it in the kitchen because you no longer wanted it. he knew that was not true. i like a little whip cream on my coffee but if i leave it in the kitchen he eats it all and lies. he lies about everything, he cheats on me. he also has athletes foot and he will not treat it. nor will he not walk barefoot around the house. he says this is his house and he pays for it and he can do whatever he wants. my oldest son caught his foot fungus and had to wear slippers for a week. i like to sleep barefoot, so i have to wear shoes when i get up at night to use the bathroom. i also have to spray bleach in the bathtub everytime me, or my two sons uses the shower. 10 years ago he tried to put life insurance on me through state farm and held a loaded sks assault rifle at me a dozen times. one time he told me he thought i was an intruder, even thought i used my garage door opener, and pulled in our garage, in my car, and walked into our breezeway and he was sitting on the floor, in the dark with a loaded sks assault rifle at me. he said he thought i was an intruder. then he would also pretend like he was looking at his rifle but it was always loaded and pointed at me. he ruined my credit. he filed bankruptcy and some of his debtors sued me and he told me it wasn’ his problem, even though he already had an attorney. he also borrowed my birthday money one year and bought himself mcdonalds and pizza and told me he was not going to give me my birthday money back because i owed him for bills. i told him but you did not pay bills with it, you bought take out food for yourself. he gave me a dirty look and walked off. he keeps messing up our computer with “teen porn” i even found child porn once. and i freaked out and he told me i did it and tried to frame him. he treats me like a slave, i do everything. i have so many more stories. you know the drill. thanks

    • Peace247 says:

      Missy, I do know the drill, unfortunately. As far as the child porn stuff goes, that is something you can report to the police, even if he tries to blame you. Do you have any support system at all? Family, friends? How old are your sons? Keep reaching out……..you are right, it is not normal, and neither is he.

    • cathy says:

      Wow… You just described my ex and the father of my child to a T

      • Peace247 says:

        It’s scary when you realize what you are really dealing with huh? Does your child have a relationship with your ex-husband?

        • Tennismike says:

          Hi, I can identify with some of your issues. What I did to rid myself from my ex was to have the courage to pack up and leave and don’t go back. That’s something that you need to consider in my point of view. I know you have kids…take them with you. Contact family or friends that can host you for a while until you can get your head thinking normally again. Seek counsel for yourself and do what you need to do. If you don’t I believe you’re doing an injustice to yourself and your children.

          • Peace247 says:

            Tennismike ~ Thanks for reading and for your feedback, I appreciate it. I know it seems simple……..just pack up and leave, go stay with family, seek counsel, etc. However, it’s not realistic. I have a life, I have a job, my kids go to school and have friends, etc. I have no family or friends out of the area that I could just upend my whole life to go stay with for undetermined amount of time. And it would be a bigger injustice to put my kids through that. I think a lot of people in this situation have the same issues.

            You are right, it is definitely a form of abuse and it is extremely painful. I did what I thought was the “right” thing to do. I hired an attorney (at a detrimental expense and hardship) and went the “legal route”. I don’t know if I would recommend that to anyone unless there was an endless financial supply. It has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been through. There is very little that has to do with “the best interest of the children”, particularly if you are dealing with a sociopath who understands the legal system. Now, even if I did have a place to pack up the kids and run to, I wouldn’t be able to because I would be the one to “get in trouble”. It makes no sense and it creates a horrendous amount of stress on top of an already stressful situation.

    • Lisa says:

      Missy:
      I do not know where you live or if you have anyone near to help you but you have to get out. When I read about the gun I felt terrified for you. In South Florida, we have a not for profit group called “Aids to Victims of Domestic Abuse” (AVDA). If you escape to an organization like that, they will help you with everyone and provide you shelter and protection and help you get on your own two feet again. I know it will take lot of courage but – you are worth it and so are your children. God Bless you.

  3. Sandy says:

    I’m in a relationship with someone I think is a sociopath. I always knew something was wrong and I never had the guts to leave. I still don’t. I don’t have the guts to say I’m done. He doesn’t even stay in the same country. And even through a long distance relationship, the hold he has created on me in the two years that we spent together, has left such a huge hole. I keep sucking up to his whims and fancies. I’m almost scared. Of what, I don’t know. He cant do anything to me… He cant try to kill me. But its this guilt sort of feeling that I’m scared of… Something he’s put into me. With all his fake goodness and niceness. There’s so much deceit that I have started doubting myself. I don’t know if I’m the one who’s imagining all this… It’s a trap. And I’m stuck. Your article and entire website has opened my eyes wider than I ever wanted; and it’s now leaving me with a new fear – I know this is unhealthy for me, but I don’t know how to leave. Its a vicious cycle. If I do leave, I’ll be haunted for god knows how long with all these scary thoughts. My heart goes out to all the people who are in the same position that I am in and worse. I pray that we all get the strength to move on in our lives as confident individuals.

  4. lisa says:

    Well said. Could have written that myself… every single word of it. Would like to hear if anyone ever received relief through the legal system (especially with kids involved) and if so,
    how? My efforts fall on deaf ears in the judicial system… empowers the sociopath.

  5. Kris says:

    Sandy, you’re story is mine. I’ve been married to a man for 15 years who I’m just realizing is a sociopath…I think. Alcoholic anyway. I fell hook, line and sinker for all of the wonderful things he’s said about me over the years. I have left him but a fear I can’t name keeps me in contact with him. I’m partially dependant on him financially and my self esteem is destroyed and I’m terrified that I won’t be able to hold down a job. I have medical issues so it scares me to jump. I even have the promise of financial help from my family, a notice from my daughter that she can’t stand my pain any longer and if I don’t leave him, she’ll have to leave me….and I’m still afriad to leave!! I don’t get it. I don’t what the fear is. He recently went into alcohol rehab and I swear has most of the staff convinced that he’s a great guy. (Except his counselor I think). He has all his family convinced that me and my daughter are causing him horrible problems and that’s why he drinks. I am seeing a counselor and going to al-anon. Am putting this is God’s hands because I’m terrified to cut the ties totally. I’m afraid to be with him and afriad to not have him nearby. It’s sick.

    • karla says:

      I don’t know if he is. But for sure he is nothing like my first boyfriend. I fell in love the first week we met 4 years ago. He said he had a child with a crazy ex girfriend. Then I left my town and moved to his state. He was so happy and we were going to live together. He left me living alone, met me from mondays to Fridays in the afternoons sporadiccally..on the way to pick up the kid in the kinder. He would push me to have sex, saying he would get going if I did not agree. He got moodie and leave if I said no..or even go to the car to sleep. He got agressive when drunk or just neglected me. He ran off leaving me in a town miles away from home when I entered the restaurant to use the toilet. He hit me once. He pushed me to pay the bills when drunk. He locked me out at night. .He manipulated me with sweet talks. He did not move in with me because he lived with the mother of his child. He had me fooled and the deceptions and confusions drove me crazy. He turns off his phone if he hides. He hid the relationship with me to the ex vice versa. He had hit 2 of his exes..one time each. He used his ex’ s car and he picked me up in it. Telling her I was a stalking bitch when she got suspechous. He used her lap top for his work. His work was being an entrepreneur. He had no capital so his partners got the capital and he put the ideas. All went bancrupt. He got fired 2 times.Did not finish the univ. But still believes to be clever, more than most people. He wants children with me even though he cant pay child support for the one he already have. He pushes for kids. After a fight because he has beeb out of reach( more or less) for days the first thing he does is to make me tell him I love him. He tells me he loves me and how much he wants to marry me. Lately he has been totally away..letting the telationship to die..but still he tells me he loves me. He owe child support. He drinks every weekend. He doesnt do much to please others. He disappoints me, the Sister etc. He gives a promisse and breaks it…over and over. He stood me up several times in the beginning of the relationship. He doesnt go to important events unless it is for the daughter. For a while he did not see the daughter at all and it took him over 1 year to start a legal process to see her. The ex hates him.

      • karla says:

        I was the one running the relationship. I pulled it all. I got tired of being his secretary, advisor, shoulder to cry on, bank, mistress. He would be there for me if I needed to talk..so his kindness made me stay. Even though I always question how true that kindness was. He would say he did so much for our relation but in all hus examples I only see moves he got something out of. Like ” I drove you all the way to the cincert” then I analyze and remember he was scared another friend would give me a ride…plus I paid the gas. His father doesnt really seem to love him a lot and took him out of his will. After I met him I: lost contact with some friends( I feel ashamed and take distance) I got worse results at the univ. I feel more down. I dont trust people and can catch a lie quickly since I question peoples explanarions. I have verbally abused my boyfriend. I would never do it before but I have my heart all bitter and full of love/ hate. I eexplodee when thinking about the cheating and lies. I have seen a shrink without any luck. I just told him to get the f. Out of my life. I fight every day because of his way of loving and caring/ being normal in one conversation then he turns off his phone the rest of the day. Instead of apologizing at the end of the day he gives me an attitude and tells me things would have been dufferent as husband and wifes…so it is my fault for not accepting the proposals he comes with after every fight.

      • Peace247 says:

        Dear Karla,
        I’m sorry for what you are going through. I sincerely hope that you have come to understand there is very little chance this man will change. It sounds like you already know this in your heart. If you are in college, stick with it. Don’t let yourself deteriorate further for this person. Best of luck to you.

  6. kata says:

    You have to get out now!!!! My ex a psychopath put me and my kids through he’ll for 6years. I stopped showing him attention, psychopaths feed off it, and thankfully he met someone else and left. He has asked me to take him back a few times and I always say no even if he cries, he never cared about the Times I cried, I thought I wouldn’t manage financially which made me put up with far too much and he loved that he had that hold over me that he was earning the most money, however, I am managing and I am slowly healing. I am a million times happier as are my kids. I only wish that I had left him years ago as I am worried about the long term effects it has had on my kids. They have no empathy they enjoy seeing you hurt so don’t give them the satisfactory of winning anymore. They will find someone else. Believe me the longer you stay, when you finally find the courage to go you will be angry with yourself for not ending it sooner. We only have one life-long waste it on a psychopath who’s only aim is to destroy you. Stop giving them attention and they will move onto another victim. Once they have gone never let them back as you are now free and I love every day now he’s not here. Be strong well you have to be strong to put up with a psychopath so therefore you are strong enough to leave.

  7. Aubrie says:

    I lived with a sociopath for about a year I actually just got a PPO yesterday he was extremely charming and had everything I ever wanted but he put me down constantly he made me feel worthless he made me hate everyone, I used to love everyone. He made me quit my job made promises about being rich by his BUISNESS ideas it got to the point I couldn’t even ride my bike without feeling guilty, he was violent towards his dogs and made me feel lazy but I wasn’t allowed to do anything but basically sit in a chair, he was so cool to me that I feel like I’ll never love anyone again but I was always trying to talk to someone About my problems and nobody understood and eventually stopped listening to me and didn’t care cause I wasn’t fixing it but I didn’t know how or even what was wrong just that living that way wasn’t right and now I’m all messed up I’ll never be the same

  8. Pharos says:

    I have only just realised at the age of 65 that I grew up with a Father who is a psychopath, and that he damaged me badly.
    The effect on the growth of my nuclear personality has been so deep and destructive that effectively my potential has been wasted, and my life’s achievement minimised. He effectively ‘raped’ me psychologically by disparaging anything I said, thought or did, throughout my childhood, rejecting everything that was original and from me, even my taste in music was wrong. He destroyed my confidence and also that of my Mother. He was violent to me, and effectively convinced me that I was a “Dirty stupid ugly little bastard”, one phrase amongst many he often used in denigration, derision, disparagement and in the undermining my sense of self worth. This despite my coming first at school repeatedly, left me effectively in a permanent state of quandary about my abilities. Numerous fellow students have alluded to my abilities, saying what they would do if they had them. This is, if true, is a result of nature.
    The worst thing that has resulted from this abuse is that my body language has revealed to the world that I had low self esteem and worth, (‘sweat shirt message’), and this has allowed others to pick up on my condition and further exacerbate it; so I had derision from fellow apprentices in my teens as well, and so continued to doubt my abilities. At the age of about 29 a girlfriend paid for me to have my ability professionally measured at Career Analysts Ltd, and the results were that I have a very high I.Q., but of course any hope of a serious career had by that time been seriously affected; set back and compromised.
    I will illustrate his behaviour towards me with one particular example. When I was about 9 my Father commandeered me to get my money box from my bedroom, and said that we were to play a game of ‘Double or quits’. I did as I was told and he span coins repeatedly with a stake to which we both contributed equally. As luck would have it I ended up after about ten or so spins, (in about 1957), with £20 of his, which was over a week’s wages of his at that time, (I had had only about £3.50 in my money box). He announced “Double or quit”, and I said “Quit”. He was furious, and told me in a very aggressive and forceful manner to ‘carry on like a man’. My Mother said “But that is what the game is”. I complied with his instructions and then by chance lost all of my money. He gave me back only half of what I had originally had, about £1.75.
    This illustrates his attitude towards me well, completely immoral, dishonest and self serving, and to his own son.
    My adult life has been one in which my abilities have constantly been underestimated, and I have achieved little, my probably attracting psychopaths in my personal life also. One girlfriend bought a flat in ’83 on the basis that I would rebuild it, which I did, She then became a ‘Born again Christian’ and evicted me, my having over doubled its value, and she made me homeless in the process. I feel sure that the imprinting of my Father and the damage on my personality has made me susceptible to the exploits of other people, and I have enormous trouble trusting others. I am a good and moral person, and alone, and now getting old. I paid for 2 years of therapy in the 70s, which helped, and have sought psychological help in the last 20 years but my doctor says that the NHS cannot afford it. I have never had a family or earnt very much money, and many of my fellow workers have described me as having high abilities. In my first attempt at university in ’78 I, in a lecture, showed the lecturer that his theory was wrong in front of the class, which roared with laughter, and he went red and threw a book at me storming out of the room. Subsequently he tried to give me zero for work by asking for it to be handed in prematurely.
    The extent to which my symbiotic adaptation to my Father’s treatment have affected all areas of my life is not easy to exaggerate, and recently a friend told me that “Your Father has ruined your life for you”. My Father has most of the traits of a psychopath as listed numerously on the web, manipulative, projecting his faults onto others, a front of charm belying the real self etc. Recently, a year after serious floods, in a telephone conversation with him he casually added, “You alright with the flooding problems, have you bee affected?” Surely this should have been asked at the time of the floods by him contacting me.
    I consider suicide every week because now I am getting old, I face loneliness, disease, decay, and death. This is hard.
    My father had an affair in ’60 and my Mother and I separated from him. I have a stray cat which I love, that being as my late Mother said regarding my hurt when our cat was run over in ’63, the only stability in my life. She was an alcoholic and smoked herself to death in ’95. My schooling was ruined by the constant arguing and fighting and disjointed schooling. My Mother tried amidst fighting three times to stab my Father, and this whilst we lived at the Police College. Now I have my own house which although an expensive ball and chain, and average, is an Oasis to me, and with my own music studio, with which I intend to write about these things. I am terrified of the threat that having a relationship poses to my continued possession of my house.
    The psychopaths suck the life blood out of you, and in my Father’s case, he studied psychology in order to better know how to manipulate me.

  9. marko says:

    Sadly I can totally relate your experience with my life experience and years long marriage to my ex wife.
    She i s a Sociopath & Narcissistic personality Disordered Character.

    Her inconsiderate Guerrilla actions and tactics totally destroyed all most important aspects of my life:
    profession, finances and my social life.
    /
    Only years later into my marriage I discovered some of her previous statements to be a blatant lies I started to look carefully at the way she execute day to day operations…
    and more I looked more I got a grim picture of her Pathological character.

    (*Sadly at that time I didn’t know that those Conditions are incurable condition and I started to engage in lengthy discussions and tried to explain that what she is doing hurts me-financially or emotionally or that it is against best interest of our marriage or children or that it will lead us into problems (*but not her)(for her it was a fun or opportunity)….
    /
    so finally THIS UNINFORMED APPROACH lead ME into trouble
    because:
    more I ceased to be A SOFT TARGET
    more she realized that her tactics does’t work
    so logicaly she started to distance herself and children from me
    but applyed easy come-easy go tactics to push me back into submision…to warn me waht she will do if I continu to resist her exploits…
    BUT sadly I accepted her reunions /but at the same time I didn’t want to go back into “YES-man”position.
    but more I started to peruse her to stay together and try Therapy (we have 3 children together)
    As she realized that I definitely CHANGED…and “BLIND MAN” is NO more option WITH ME …more she started to portray me as a Problem at her socialite meetings: someone who troubles HER FREEDOM… (*in fact she entered a Faze of Puling out form this situation, as she realized that she is put under a pressure to provide 2-way give&receive Relationship)

    this is very important to understand
    for …VICTIMS of Sociopaths in the process of living together become totally financially destroyed-AT THIS FAZE OF DEVELOPMENT !!! PARADOXICALLY a VICTIM-!!! insist on staying with a AKA’Partner,
    they see their “AKA-Partner as a ONLY Help to rebuild them lives back… BECAUSE: They see they AKA-Partner almost as a emotional and financial BANK in which they invested years of work and love…

    Meanwhile a Sociopath-AKA-Partner through this Relationship significantly Finacially and Socillay empowered and totaly plundered Partner’s money, love, commitement, ad time to Fix her agendas.
    I did this above mentioned mistake, NOT UNDERSTANDING that Sociopath didn’t approach me or marriage in the first place to make give&receive relationship… BUT to take as much as she can
    and then run away with her booty and children.
    /
    Sadly
    some of the Advice given in this discussion can be easily Abused and used against totally innocent Man that are actually dealing with a Sociopathic or/& Narcissistic WOMAN that wants to Escape from a Marriage that is not anymore her Playground for exploitation and Manipulative Coercive Control.

    Sadly
    many sociopathic and narcissistic women will turn entire Life Stories upside down (*because they are enormously skilled Liars) and start exposing their life stories Exactly as they enter this *EXIT FAZE of AKA-Marriage withholding from public all information on her totally INCONSIDERATE and EXPLOITATIVE behaviors in the marriage-executed Behind the Closed Doors of Privacy.

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