When we picture a sociopath in our head, we often conjure up dangerous people like Ted Bundy or the Silence of the Lamb character Hanibal Lector.
But sociopathy—or antisocial personality disorder (ASP)—exists on a spectrum, and certainly not all sociopaths are killers.
And of the estimated 3.8% of Americans that meet the condition’s diagnostic criteria, most are men. Odds are long then that you might’ve fallen for a sociopath. But if you did, what are the feasons you fell for a psychopath?
In the below excerpt from a 2023 article by neuropsycholgist Rhonda Freeman, she sets out some of the reasons you may’ve fallen for either a male or a female sociopath:
“Five Harsh Reasons You (Accidentally) Fell In Love With A Psychopath
1. Individuals with strong elements of this condition tend to move fast and intensely in the early stages of their relationships
It can feel like you’re getting everything you ever wanted, but really the psychopath just knows all the right things to say.
2. Most spouses and mates were unaware a personality disorder was present because many with psychopathy can hide the darkest components
It is not uncommon for a woman or man involved in such a relationship to report their mate was socially attractive and fun in the beginning.
3. Society’s perception of what psychopathy is can easily cloud one’s ability to recognize that they are intimately involved in one of these relationships
Many with psychopathy are nothing like what we might imagine (i.e., the socially awkward loner, disengaged from society, plotting to do harm, emitting darkness). In actuality, they often have attractive traits that we tend to think would exclude the presence of psychopathology.
4. To understand psychopathy is to recognize that the condition is not only on a spectrum but that the symptoms include both dark (negative) and positive character elements
Some with this condition are extremely talented and have admirable accomplishments (i.e., corporation owners, politicians, law enforcement professionals, and entertainers). However, the intimate relationships of individuals with psychopathy often disintegrate due to problems associated with the functioning of their brains.
Certain antisocial behavior patterns will be demonstrated involuntarily. Their partners are often exposed to deception, aggression, arrogance, dominance, manipulation, gaslighting, and a lack of compassion or understanding.
5. Their true character is often only fully revealed after their target has bonded
For some, this can be a period of several months before these darker characteristics begin to dominate their interactions.
…Detecting personality disorders in others can be complicated. It is, of course, easier for a specialist, but for a woman or man without a background of this magnitude, making sense of what they are experiencing and observing in their partner is challenging, to say the least.
Psychopathy expert Dr. Robert Hare disclosed that spotting a psychopath is tough at times, even for him. It is much more important for an individual who finds themselves in this position to focus on how they are made to feel in the relationship, rather than labeling the symptom profile.
It is rare that a person would view someone who is confident, charming, entertaining, “speaks her mind,” and financially successful as disordered. But this is precisely the case for many with psychopathy.
Intact cognition (i.e., thinking) does not necessarily mean emotional and psychological functioning will be intact as well. Therefore, a person can be accomplished, with indicators of high intelligence, yet, demonstrate symptoms of psychopathy.
How? This is because brain regions that manage cognition are often different from the areas that regulate and generate emotions and personality.
Although psychopathy is not a disorder associated with thought, we often find that there are thought patterns and beliefs that reflect the brain’s faulty access to intact emotional regions. For example, it is not uncommon to hear viewpoints laced with hate, anger, [and] the desire to oppress others… and an inability to relate to the reasoning of someone who relied on both emotional and cognitive processing to arrive at a decision.
Reasons you fell for a psychopath
Would you add (or subtract) any reasons why someone fell for a psychopath?
So, maybe you’d drop that they’re the the dark, brooding, lost-soul type. If so, see my blog regarding a test for Dark Triad traits.
Or, you might add that you rarely, if ever, fight and that you feel you’re both almost the same person.as Jen Waite suggests.To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.