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Sociopaths

'Normalcy does not make for a good story; the psychopathology of everyday life does. Similarly, there are many who cannot live with the equilibrium of every day existence. For them, life needs a step function or two, a qualitative change from time to time. And unlike the sociopath, they are incapable of moving to the edge and testing the boundaries of what they can get away with while being oblivious to the consequences; they live vicariously through the destructive sociopath who can do all that. This is the attraction. The sociopath provides the soundtrack for other people’s existence. Whether through the vicarious experience of watching the sociopath push life to limits that they could not imagine or periodically going along for the ride with him at the wheel, those who tie themselves to sociopaths find the narrative of their own existence in the relationship...

There are those that believe that they can be in a relationship with a sociopath and stay in control. Even some therapists will tell you that if you are going to be in such a relationship and can’t break it, then you must become like the sociopath. You must have an agenda for the relationship that you manipulate to your ends. You must see the relationship as an exploitive relationship and become the exploiter.

There is a major flaw in such advice. The sociopath neither loses sight of his ultimate goal nor of his self-interest. Ordinary people do. They succumb to the bonds of friendship or intimacy. Ordinary people have feelings. Sociopaths don’t. Ordinary people establish feelings of altruism, which the sociopaths do not, and which he ultimately manipulates when others are least ready to resist.

Sociopaths tell you how they are going to destroy you. They tell you stories of the relationships they have left in wreckage. It’s just subtle. You have to listen. I would bet that if people listened carefully to even a great exploiter like Madoff, there were hints of what he was really about. The sociopath can’t resist bragging. It is, next to lying, intrinsic to his very existence.

The most difficult relationship to extricate oneself from with a sociopath is a sexual relationship, for the sociopath uses sex as the ultimate form of manipulation and control, but feels little to no emotion in the process.'

- Abraham H. Miller, 'The Sociopath We All Know and Sometimes Love.'

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