Feelings of joy mixed with anger and pain often are the hallmarks of a relationship with a sociopath. At one point in your relationship, everything was blissful and then it changed and it seemed like it was somehow your fault. Sound familiar? They are only using you and they want you to believe their lies for their own benefit.
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But chances are you've met a sociopath — after all, according to Harvard psychologist Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door , one in every 25 people is a sociopath. With so many alleged sociopaths around, and with their charming nature, it can be hard to know one when you see them. A standard trait of a sociopath is that they are charming and gregarious people. They know exactly what to say to everyone to get them to like them. That's probably why you were drawn to them in the first place.
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But sociopaths can be charismatic and some symptoms of their condition, like being impulsive and persuasive and shunning social norms, can be attractive in some situations. A quick primer: A sociopath is someone who has antisocial personality disorder—a condition that causes them to lack empathy, be exploitative in close relationships, indifferent to the needs of others , entitled, and lack remorse for the bad things they do and say—according to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula , PhD, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go? For the record, being a sociopath isn't something you can fix on your own.
Now, imagine dating someone whose brain is wired to see people as chess pieces and life as a game. After all, sociopaths can seem exciting, come off as deliciously deviant, and make great co-conspirators example: that girl with the dragon tattoo. Plus, master manipulators are good at hiding their tracks.