In her book, Confessions of a Sociopath, M.E. Thomas says, “I am a sociopath. Remorse is alien to me. I have a penchant for deceit. I am strategic and canny, intelligent and confident.” She goes on to describe herself as an insensitive, manipulative, destructive, and deceitful person who has no real regard for the rights of others.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) refers to Sociopathy as Antisocial Personality Disorder. This is somewhat of a misnomer, but the antisocial descriptor actually refers to the fact that a person with this disorder does not have the capacity for prosocial behavior (doing things that benefit other people).
The characteristics of Sociopaths are glaring:
- A disregard for laws and social mores
- A disregard for the rights of others
- A failure to feel remorse or guilt
- A tendency to display violent behavior
The DSM-5 also lists more specific diagnostic criteria of Antisocial Personality Disorder. These include:
- Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
- Reckless disregard for the safety of self or others
- Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
- Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
- Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
Andria’s husband fit every single criteria on the list and exhibited these characteristics in his behaviors in some capacity on a daily basis.
But, the thing about Sociopaths is that they fly under the radar.
Throughout their marriage, Andria’s husband was (and still is) a respected and well-known professional in the community, was quite charming and sociable, regularly attended church and led small group Bible studies, and, for all intents and purposes, looked like the perfect guy.
Except the IRS finally caught up with him.
And Andria realized she had been sharing her husband with other women for two decades.
She began to seek ways to live in her truth. She asked God to open her eyes and show her the truth about her marriage. The reality she had not been able to really see. She began to seek counsel and slowly, she grew intolerant of having cans of food thrown at her head. She got stronger. Soon, she no longer cowered when she was sprayed with the kitchen faucet until she was soaked. She one day realized that daily 4am meetings with her husband handing her a “task list” of chores and responsibilities wasn’t normal. And that she shouldn’t be called a fat, stupid, inept, lazy, f***ing whore every minute of the day. She saw through the web of lies and grew weary of the late-night verbal assaults she had endured for so long.
These things Andria endured were just the tip of the iceberg, and are but a tiny glimpse into the disaster she lived with her husband for all of those years. But she was done. So she finally removed the rope from around her neck and…
Ran. Like. Hell.
When Andria decided to leave her husband, a new battle was just beginning. And she needed an intense amount of help and support from her family and friends.
Tomorrow we’ll look at some ways we can truly be there for women who find themselves coming out of the cycle of abuse with a sociopath and how to help arm them with healthy weapons for the battle ahead.