Responding to a Sociopath


Ever heard the phrase like oil and water? Oil and water never really mix. Oh, sure, they can be shaken up into such tiny globules that they look completely and wholly integrated with each other, but, given time, they separate out into visible splotches. Given enough time, one rests on top of the other, separate and apart.

It’s the same with a sociopath and reality. When a sociopath puts on the charm and shakes things up, it can appear that person has completely integrated with reality; they looked really well blended. But over time? Over time you see how the sociopath pulls away from reality, separates into occupying another space.

The best part is that they can do this on their own. So long as you don’t feed the belief that they are truly present in reality, you will begin to see how their stories contradict themselves, how they write their own reality to be some kind of oily mimic of the truth. Sure, they might still be able to incorporate some aspects of the truth – the best liars always do. If they’re truly good, they can make you question the truth, make you still see the blend when it’s just a sham.

They start with something to get you fired up, to make you not really look at things rationally, to respond emotionally.

Then they play into your emotions, telling you how unfair life is, how misunderstood they are, implying that you drove them to their own particular sociopathy.

Then they might compliment you, make you feel as though there is some validity to what they’re saying, because, hey, who doesn’t want to believe a compliment – especially when it’s true?

And then they slam you again with insinuations, dancing surefootedly around the truth so that they cannot be accused of outright lying.

If they want something out of you, this is when they strike.

This is when they make a demand or request, hoping you might rise up to the bait, responding to all the little emotional jabs and slights they’ve so skillfully used over the course of communicating with you.

By this point, you are an emotional wreck. You are averse to any contact with them, but they’ve drawn you in. Perhaps it was a need to defend the truth, perhaps to defend your own ego, perhaps because you were stung and want to get something back.

You won’t win this.

The only way to win is to know that no matter what you say, it won’t make a difference. That the only reason you would respond is to document the truth, but not to convince the other person of it.

The only way I’ve found to get some satisfaction out of it all is to respond as briefly and factually as possible. If there’s no outright question asked, leave the insinuations alone. The shorter your response to their impassioned tirade, the better. There is no prize here for verbal sparring. The best you can hope for is documentation in a calm, rational tone. They win when you give in to the temptation to put in a dig, however justified. Unless you just need to document that you’ve negated a comment, they win when you deign to acknowledge an insinuation or accusation. Demands? Unless they’ve specifically asked that you respond to their request, the best way to frustrate a sociopath is to ignore. They feed off the drama and confrontation and manipulation and control. They will get all of that if you give in.

If you have no legal ties to them, block them. Don’t respond.

If you are court-ordered to have some contact with them, keep it on topic, civil, unemotional, and back yourself up with documentation. Dates, times, quotations – any data you have. This is not to convince them. It’ll never happen. Their version of the truth is so skewed it’s a Gordian knot. This is to support you. This is your ballast against the waves of oily lies splashing at you.

Lastly, sit on it.

Give yourself all the release of responding to the sociopath on some kind of media that you cannot accidentally send. Write everything you’re thinking, acknowledge all of your emotions.

Then sit on it.

Go through it with a fine tooth editorial comb and extract the nits of emotion, the wordiness of your response, any indication that you care. Take the moral high ground. Keep it short, factual, and civil. And at the end, wish them well.

That’ll bug the ever-loving shit out of them.


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