Love can be described as one of the greatest mysteries of the world. Love can be utterly consuming. Love can be complicated. Love can be messy.
When it comes to love, we’ve all had our fair share of bumps in the road – petty arguments, finger pointing, fighting and squabbling once the honeymoon phase has worn off. Whilst arguing and moments of frustration are natural and normal, there is a vast difference between fighting and gas-lighting. No one likes the idea of waking up and realising they’ve been dating a sociopath, but slippery and manipulative behaviour makes it very easy for you to fall into their trap.
You may have seen some red flags pop up over the years, but generally ignored them because you thought you were overreacting, as many do. But once you learn to see the traits of a true sociopath, it becomes almost impossible to continue falling for their lies.
So the next time you’re out on a date, chilling at home, or getting to know each other a bit more, here are the main warning signs to look out for:
This is a big one. A lot of people have the ability to be charming and smooth-talking, but a sociopath takes it to a whole new, sinister level.
They know exactly what to say, and how to say it to get you to believe that they are the most perfect person you’ve ever met. They somehow never seem to be stuck for words, and always have incredibly engaging, unbelievable stories to tell. Most of which turn out to be completely untrue, or heavily exaggerated.
They’ve somehow mastered the art of making everyone around them believe that they know what they’re talking about, and they know how to flatter you right off your feet.
You soon find yourself feeling a true connection to them, as they’re very good at becoming the exact person that they think you want. Suddenly they have the same taste in TV shows as you, their favourite song is your favourite song, they actually feel the same way you do about politics, and they want to sit and listen to you talk about your dreams and deepest inner fears all night.
The sociopath has the impressive ability to shape shift and morph into the ideal mate, at the drop of a hat. All through manipulative charisma and fake empathy.
Beware anyone who is too charming to be true. They usually are.
We all have egos, and a healthy amount of bravado and competitiveness is normal, but a sociopath legitimately believes that they are God’s gift to man kind.
A lot of sociopaths are extreme narcissists, and so they think that those around them should be completely enamoured with how they conduct themselves and their wealth of knowledge. Most of the time their huge ego is completely unjustified.
A lot of the time their over-inflated ego makes them more interested in talking about themselves or bragging about their accomplishments, than truly finding out anything genuine about you. This bravado is often accompanied by a massive sense of entitlement, where they feel they deserve special treatment, compliments or praise due to being superior to others.
Sociopaths rarely think of themselves as on the same level as others, and will regularly try to prove how much more intelligent, insightful, or interesting they are compared to anyone else.
Once a sociopath thinks that they have you figured out they tend to move incredibly quickly with bold, sweeping romantic gestures, or by showering you in gifts and compliments. They may tell you that they love you after only a few weeks of being together, joke about having kids someday, or even want to introduce you to their parents right away. They’ll be planning your first romantic getaway to Paris after only a month of being together, or sending you flowers to work everyday, or calling you late at night just to hear the sound of your voice.
A lot of normal relationships also involve this kind of behaviour, and sometimes people do genuinely find someone they have an instant connection with that makes things move a bit faster than normal. The only difference is that with a sociopath, the loving, caring, complimentary act only lasts for so long, until they know they have you hooked and then their actions slowly start to change.
They’ll begin doing petty things like stoking jealousy in you by flirting with a colleague, telling you that they’re not in the wrong for being two hours late to a date, or insinuating that you’re lucky they put up with you. They start to make you feel as if you need them more than they need you, with subtle cutting remarks, passive aggressive sentiments and underhand comments about your relationship.
It’s a common manipulative method to control you and make you depend on them so that they know they can act however they like without the fear of you leaving.
A sociopath relishes in being able to claim that nothing is ever their fault. They never seem to want to apologise and will instead find ways of making any arguments, disagreements, or broken promises the fault of someone else.
If you’re upset with the way they have acted then it becomes your fault for reacting badly to their actions and perceiving their words incorrectly. If they didn’t get a promotion at work, it’s because their boss has a vendetta against them. If you didn’t get to spend much time with them during the week it’s because you should’ve cut back on seeing your friends and family to make time for them. And in serious cases, if they’re caught cheating it’s your fault for not satisfying them or being a better partner. It is a lot easier from them to pass the buck on to someone else, rather than recognise a flaw they may have and take steps to change their behaviour.
Even in the rare circumstances that you do find them apologising for something, it’ll either be said in a sarcastic way or won’t be a genuine apology. The easiest way to find out if their apology is genuine is to see if they repeat the same mistake later that week, or sometimes even later that day, and then wonder why you’re upset with them.
Lack of guilt or genuine remorse is a classic trait of a fully fledged sociopath.
In the beginning stages of a relationship with a sociopath their behaviour is incredibly spontaneous, adventurous and romantically random. They go with the flow, are always up for new adventures, and never seem to let anything phase them for too long.
But after a while this all starts to dissolve into something much more erratic and immature. They can’t ever seem to be on time, they’re always changing their mind or playing devil’s advocate, and eventually they stop following through on promises. Their plans are suddenly a fleeting mess of ideas and impulsive decisions. This is because sociopaths are always looking for something bigger, better, and newer to stimulate them.
They tend to lose focus very quickly, give up easily on projects, and don’t like committing to solid goals. This is because they’re always on the look out for something else that excites them or sharpens their narcissistic tendencies. Some of this behaviour is reckless and borderline self-destructive, leading to mood swings or confrontation when they are challenged.
Unwilling to learn from past mistakes, they soon find it easier to falls back on the manipulative behaviour they know works, rather than choose to better themselves.
Some people are more adept at showing emotion in a relationship than others, but a sociopath finds it almost impossible to display any kind of empathy, and often has never really experienced romantic love.
Truly loving another person requires compromise and selflessness – two things that sociopaths struggle with. As they are more concerned with their own fulfilment and success, they tend to not be able to put someone else’s needs above their own, and lack the emotional depth needed to communicate how they feel.
Sociopaths don’t tend to be open about how they are feeling, and so instead lie or tell you things they think you want to hear in order to get what they need. This maintains a level of control over the relationship, as it keeps you feeling secure and keeps the ball in their court to end things whenever it suits them. They tend to end relationships swiftly and soon after move on to another target to keep their ego satisfied.
They also don’t seem to understand the consequences of hurting someone’s feelings, as their needs are more important that seeing something from someone else’s perspective.