This morning I was catching up on my blog reading, and I came across a post from the end of March by Paula’s Pontifications. It is titled Lazy Brain and the Narcissistic Sociopath. I vaguely remember seeing it when she published it, but I wasn’t up for more reading on narcissistic sociopaths at the time. It can be very emotionally draining to re-live my time with him, as I inevitably do whenever I examine this topic. I get flashbacks and realize how much I was manipulated. It makes me feel like a victim, which I absolutely hate. Sometimes it also makes me pity him and the place where he will be trapped forever – his dysfunctional mind. When I feel sorry for him, I immediately start reprimanding myself: feeling sorry for him is part of the reason I got trapped in that vicious cycle. I worry that I’m living too much in the past. Then I remind myself that processing past hurts is part of healing from them.
These feelings and insights can be overwhelming when I’m not prepared for them. However, it is also validating to read the experiences and research of others into the disorder that lived in my house, shared my bed, and gave me its last name. Of course it wasn’t the disorder I was married to, but a man who had it. Still, there doesn’t seem to be much of a practical difference. The stories of others who have dealt with someone like him are all surprisingly similar. Things they share happened to me. They could be talking about him. In fact, they are, even if they never met him. Because he is a narcissistic sociopath. This article reinforced that. The term “lazy brain” is so perfect, as is the following description, that I had to re-post them both here.
“Somewhere along the path of development, a narcissistic sociopath‘s brain ceases to grow. Instead of the circuitry inside his brain getting excited about learning something new and solving a problem in a new and different way, the circuitry opts out.
“Abort! Abort! This one is too tough to solve. Just keep doing what we always do: cry, pout, blame and run away. It works so well.”
And the sociopath’s brain keeps doing this — sending the same message. As a result, the sociopath continues to cry, pout, blame and run away regardless of age. This childish behavior is one of the reasons why so many victims initially blame his inability to communicate effectively and come to collaborative resolutions on, what they deduce and assume to be, the sociopath’s lack of life experiences. Victims assume the sociopath is so rigid in his thinking because he has never been in a situation where he has had to consider another person or a group of people. And because we are empathetic, we set aside our frustrations, and instead, we feel pity for these people who seem to have been living in a protective bubble their entire lives.
(Strike one against us and our so-called advanced cognitive thinking skills!)
After all, the rest of us (who are not pathological) experience the growing pains of our teenage years with complete immersion and energy and gusto. Our brains work overtime. We cry and battle ourselves and other teenagers and our parents. But we learn valuable lessons about respect and empathy and how to treat others as we wish to be treated. As teenagers, we experience a level of cognitive development that is so high and constant that it sometimes makes us feel like we’re losing our minds. And in a way we are. We are losing the primitive thinking patterns that guided us as infants, toddlers and children. Our brain’s cognitive development during our teenage years is life-changing. It’s a rite of passage. Once reached we are thrust head-first into adulthood and feeling empowered with the necessary brain power and thinking skills to help us take on all of the responsibilities associated with being productive, loving and kind.
The sociopath does not attain a rite of passage like the rest of us. He cheats his way into adulthood, because the sociopath spends his teenage years regressing mentally and emotionally. All problems are solved by rebelling but never facing the consequences of those rebellions. Someone is always there bailing him out and telling him it was someone else’s fault and not to worry. This “bailout” sends the message to the sociopath’s brain that says, “You don’t have to change, man. Look how easy it is to keep being an infant and toddler and manipulating everyone around you so you can have your own way in the end? Why learn how to think beyond your primitive brain? Why bother? Why be accountable? Relax. Sit back. Enjoy the ride.”
And that message keeps getting sent, which results in the sociopath’s increased feelings of entitlement and lazy, lazy thinking.
Entitlement and lazy thinking leads to lazy work ethic (or no work ethic). Many sociopaths who do not have degrees or who barely graduated high school will tell you that their life experiences make up for their lack of education. They will even go as far as putting down those with degrees and declaring them as being sheep easily manipulated and trained.
When and if you hear this, think “splitting.” This is a great example of their black and white thinking. All good and all bad. I’ve met some lazy thinkers with degrees, but also some of the most intelligent people I have met in this world do not have a college education. They are also not sociopaths. To me, if you’re going to claim your life experiences make up for any formal education you could have pursued, show me. Talk to me. Tell me what you’re passionate about and why. Sociopath’s can’t show you beyond the passion and lust they have for material possessions, and that’s just sad to me.
With his perpetual lazy thinking and entitlement, the sociopath continues living in his protective bubble of ignorance and inability to discover any real passion other than a passion for conning and abusing people and situations.
And if you start questioning the sociopath’s con, his brain will send that same and comforting message to him:
“Abort! Abort! This one is too tough to manipulate. Just keep doing what you’ve always done: cry, pout, blame and run away.”
When and if your relationship with a sociopath ends, remember that they can’t help themselves and they will never change. It’s impossible to reprogram something with defective parts no matter how much cognitive-behavioral therapy you thrust upon the sociopath. You might THINK the glitch has been fixed, but the machine has a memory, and the glitch is too comfortable and too familiar to be considered a true glitch to the machine. The machine misses the glitch and will inevitably seek out that place of comfort, like a baby seeking a nipple.
The abuse and con games never end.
Unless the sociopath has committed a prosecutable offense against you or a loved one, let the sociopath go in peace so you can find your peace. It’s better this way.”
Parts of this were so accurate that I have to repeat them AGAIN, with additional commentary.
“…because we are empathetic, we set aside our frustrations, and instead, we feel pity for these people…” I have always felt that empathy was one of my strengths. I constantly try to put myself in someone else’s shoes. Maybe it is because I read so much as a child and got practice reading other people’s thoughts, feelings their emotions, getting pulled into their stories and adventures and fears and triumphs. Maybe it is because my mother was so kind and thoughtful and always asked me to consider the feelings of others (and made me genuinely apologize with reasons and understanding of what it is I had done wrong). No matter the reason for my empathy, I often did feel pity for his situation, his excuses, his issues, and the fact that his parents didn’t do those things for him (at least according to him). I was constantly setting aside my own feelings, my own concerns, and my own frustrations because I was taught that love is selfless and accepting and forgiving. So I put myself aside, I tried to accept his shortfalls, and I forgave him again and again when he lied because he was “trying to change.”
“He cheats his way into adulthood, because the sociopath spends his teenage years regressing mentally and emotionally. All problems are solved by rebelling but never facing the consequences of those rebellions. Someone is always there bailing him out and telling him it was someone else’s fault and not to worry.” This is so accurate that it was scary the first time I read it. He spent his teenage years selling pot, skipping school, back-talking teachers, doing drugs, drinking, partying, and being reckless, but he never had consequences. In fact, his parents were right there fighting the school when they suspended him for selling drugs. They defended him and made it the school’s fault. They played right into his victim mentality by believing and reinforcing that the teachers and principal were out to get him. I saw the below cartoon the other day. The “today” side is exactly how they were when it came to his truancy and drug use and distribution.
“And if you start questioning the sociopath’s con, his brain will send that same comforting message to him: ‘Abort! Abort! This one is too tough to manipulate. Just keep doing what you’ve always done: cry, pout, blame and run away.’” When I finally got wise to his game and stopped accepting the constant lies and manipulation, he went right back to his comfort zone. He cried and pouted, first to me, then to anyone who would listen. He blamed me, called me a “nut job,” denied even cheating on me or causing any of the problems in our marriage, then ran away. He does these dive bombs still where he swoops in to cry and blame me, then runs away again. I just hope that the “run away” instinct extends to signing the divorce papers next week…
“When and if your relationship with a sociopath ends, remember that they can’t help themselves and they will never change. It’s impossible to reprogram something with defective parts no matter how much cognitive-behavioral therapy you thrust upon the sociopath. You might THINK the glitch has been fixed, but the machine has a memory, and the glitch is too comfortable and too familiar to be considered a true glitch to the machine. The machine misses the glitch and will inevitably seek out that place of comfort, like a baby seeking a nipple. The abuse and con games never end.” How wise. How true. I know that he won’t change. Again, the empathetic side of me is sad about this. I feel sad that he discontinued all therapy and SA meetings and that he will never get over the glitch in his machine. The part of me that loved him, despite how screwed up he is, wishes things could be different for him, even though he will never be part of my life again. The truth is that I never could have saved him. He was only doing those things to appease me and as part of his continual manipulation of my emotions and empathy. They weren’t “working.” All I have to do is look back at all of the lies that unraveled again and again, despite his “work” and “progress.” Nothing ever really changed. It was just hidden a little deeper, covered with a new lie – meetings or therapy or “disclosure.”
“Unless the sociopath has committed a prosecutable offense against you or a loved one, let the sociopath go in peace so you can find your peace. It’s better this way.” While not a “prosecutable offense,” I do have the legal matter of the divorce to attend to. Our 6 month separation mark is coming up – April 13th (this Saturday) is it. The date I can officially start the divorce process. Of course the 13th isn’t a business day, so that means the 15th… My lawyer is standing by with the paperwork, ready to serve him. Then there is a process that can be as long as 2-3 months or as short as 20 days depending on how cooperative he is. I can hope that he wants to get this done and over with quickly, but realistically I am going to assume that he will make things difficult just to be petty. Either way, I have already let him go in my heart. There’s just that little matter of severing the legal ties and getting him to stop texting me and stalking me online. But I suppose that’s just something I’ll have to deal with and ignore since I’m done with letting him disturb my peace. I’m not longer part of his narcissist universe.
- How to spot a sociopath – 10 red flags that could save you from being swept under the influence of a charismatic nut job (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- From My Emotional Vampire and SociopathWorld (spreadinformation.wordpress.com)
- Understanding the Sociopath: Cause, Intention, Relationships (psychologytoday.com)
- Being with a Narcissistic Sociopath – Part 1 (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com)
- Being with a Narcissistic Sociopath – Part 2 (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com)