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.