A recent Reddit thread asked for people to be courageous. Redditors were welcomed to share their past experiences with a former or current partner diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder, a "sociopath," as common language would call such a person.
The stories were harrowing. It was common to hear that relationship lasting multiple years still ended with the victim feeling that they never really knew the other person.
They explained what a perceptive warp those relationships were for them, feeling confused the whole time, though somehow convinced of normalcy all the while.
But most of the anecdotes were shared by people removed from the situation. The dust settled, they were able to look clear-eyed at how it all went down.
"I had a friend who married one. He changed 100% the night they got married. He went from a nice normal guy to super cold. He moved her out of state, got her pregnant, and had 2 other families on the side... she finally got out of it."
"F***ed her up for a long time."
An Unexplained Pull
"A friend of mine dated a diagnosed sociopath, and she said it was frustrating because there wasn't any logic behind her attraction to him. She realized he was not good to her, but she couldn't stop going back to him."
"She described him as both the best and worst thing in her life when she was with him."
"Yes, I dated a narcissistic sociopath. It was terrible, and left permanent scars. It took time but I realize now that everything was a lie. Well, his name was correct - but what he thought, felt, did, his plans and his history - I know none of those things. He is a complete stranger and I never knew him at all."
"I'm doing fine now, although once in a while I stop and shake my head because I feel so goddam dumb."
A Mechanical Analogy
"Was married to one for 4 years. Definitely would not repeat. The level of delusion is unreal-- and trying to get him to understand someone else's pain, trying to get him to see how his actions were f***ed up-- was like trying to force a colorblind person to differentiate red and green."
"His vast lack of empathy was unyielding. Not even his therapist could make progress, and requested to meet with me for help in getting through to him. He truly lives in a fictional world where he can do no wrong, and it's f***ing terrifying."
"I moved a thousand miles away first chance I got."
A Scathing Denunciation of Empathy
"He was a classic, into animal torture and stuff like that."
"The way he got to talk endlessly about animal torture was by pretending he felt bad for it and looking for sympathy. 'I can't believe I did [x] and [y], I feel so bad' - he kept mentioning it so much. He thought it was funny when me or the baby had pain."
"At one point he told me that it was so long ago, that by now I should also think it was funny that he had gotten my blood and pieces of my flesh on him."
"He said that me having empathy was proof that I was mentally ill, because 'empathy doesn't exist. You just learn in your teens that there's consequences for being bad to other people.' "
"He also said that 'nobody cares about women. They're like steak in the supermarket' and that when he saw a woman in the streets, he thought about assaulting them."
"He is incredibly charismatic and the police said that I made a false report. He is still harassing me through the legal system."
"My first boyfriend told me on our first date that he was a sociopath and said, 'I don't feel anything but I sure know I like you,' and because I was naïve I completely fell for it."
"Cue being manipulated into things before I was ready, telling him I struggled with my relationship with food and body image only to be told I was 'flabby' afterwards, and all the exhausting mind games."
"Even through all of that and more, I still utterly adored him and repressed all of my instinctual feelings that were telling me to leave, somethingIi still feel dumb about. I honestly think I was just a toy for him to manipulate and hurt, something he made sure to tell me about after our relationship ended."
"The way his face would change from 'loving' to like someone i didn't know was kind of terrifying really. it all f***ed me up pretty badly and i still find it hard to trust people."
"He was brilliant, handsome, and charming, and made good money at a globally recognized law firm despite being barely 30. He was attracted to me but it was a take-it-or-leave-it kind of attraction. He was more curious about me than anything else."
"He'd play mind games and was surprised when I started catching on (I'm from a very intelligent and slightly crazy family myself). He had no feelings for his family, who worried about him but he never responded to their calls or messages. I found that very off-putting until he told me his diagnosis."
"Honestly he could be a bit of a d!ck in general, but he didn't treat me badly while I was with him (or so I thought). I tired of his lack of affection eventually and broke things off after a particularly pointless mind game of his. He then told me he'd been hooking up with girls in clubs the whole time. I was surprised but not disappointed, as my view of him was pretty low by then."
"He ended up giving me HPV. Thanks a**hole."
"Yes. Tried to separate me from my friends, completely shut down socially when I may have been having a better time than her, threatened to jump off a cliff when I broke it off, etc. Luckily aforementioned friends are excellent people who told me to get out early and helped me through the post breakup shock."
"Honestly though, I grew closer to my friends and my mum because of it so it was a good bad experience."
Hidden Behind Tenderness
"He never once yelled. Never raised his voice. It made me feel like I was the insane one."
"I was young and going through a very hard time (also had been badly abused by my father and stepmother for several years, so this kind of behavior was oddly comforting and familiar), and I had convinced myself that I loved him."
"I found out that he kept detailed notes on what I liked and didn't like, who I spent time with, what I ate, everything. Every time I would get up the courage to leave, he'd find some way to weasel back into my life. Going so far as to get himself hired at my job site and pretending it was 'fate.' "
Still Working Through
"Traumatic. I'm in therapy, but I'm scared of people now. I don't know if I want to get married or have kids. I beat myself up for it because there were SO MANY SIGNS he was a sociopath. But I still wanted him. Even after a few years we first broke up."
"I ended up catching herpes."
"He never cared about me and only cared about himself. He used me. I get really mad at myself when I think about it. Even typing this out my anxiety is slightly hitting me."
"I learned that I was in love with the idea of being in love and that my self-esteem was so low."
"It's probably going to be a long time before I trust people again. One of my biggest fears is falling into that again. Even worse, not leaving."
"I'm thankful that I have family and friends so that helps me. I don't feel alone. I feel love all the time."
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