My Best Friend is a Sociopath.

Google search: “my best friend is a sociopath”
The response to that is “likely not.”

The search string above is a fairly common search used with Google and Yahoo. Actually, it’s too common … it shows just how many people completely misunderstand the traits of a sociopath. Sociopaths do NOT have any real friends, they do not want friends, nor do they have the emotions that are required to be a friend. Instead of friends, a sociopath wants loyal followers, people who will do anything to help the sociopath achieve their own narcissistic goals. They gain followers by using an act — known as their “persona”— pretending to be an upright, trusting person, and a great friend. Their persona is nothing like their real personality. But they are quite believable.

Mutually Exclusive Terms

The terms “friend” and “sociopath” are mutually exclusive. What does that mean? It means you can have a real friend, and you may know a sociopath, but you cannot have a real friend who’s also a sociopath. What you can be is a loyal follower, or even a disciple to a sociopath, and as such, they will treat you as if you were a friend … but it is not sincere. As long as you provide some value to them, something they need, value as simple as companionship, they will keep you around. But once they tire of your companionship, you will be left with no doubt. 

As most people are aware, a sociopath, or more precisely, someone afflicted with Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and/or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), does not feel any guilt or remorse for the things they’ve done to others, but on a larger scale, it’s not just those emotions that they lack … sociopaths do not have any of the typical emotions that most people take for granted.

So along with lacking negative emotions, such as guilt and remorse, they also lack what most would consider positive emotions, such as compassion, love, joy, security, and passion. This is what’s often overlooked, but critically important: a sociopath’s lack of emotions does not end with the negative emotions. Hence, a person with APD or NPD does not have the capacity to feel any positive emotions, preventing them from thinking about anyone else, but themselves. A sociopath cannot feel the emotions required in a friendship, so they act them out. And often, they over-act with a certain plastic appeal.

Most sociopaths or psychopaths have likely identified how they differ from most people, and in their minds, they’re superior to virtually all of “us”. They do not need friends … they need loyal followers. A sociopath cares only about themselves, and how they can use others to strengthen their narcissistic goals.

Scenario #1:  You have a long-time best friend who you think is a sociopath. Why do you think that? What gives you that idea? It’s not as easy as a carrying a five or ten-point cheat sheet in your pocket. A sociopath would never reveal their real selves to anyone … it’s their most guarded secret. And if you are sure — by something you yourself witnessed (hearsay never counts) — you are positively sure they are a sociopath, then why aren’t you running? This is no game.

Scenario #2:  You are certain that this person is indeed a sociopath, but you still hang-out with them and consider them your best friend because you say they treat you like their best friend. But you have no doubt that they are a sociopath. Well, I’m sure you do consider them your best friend. But you’re traveling in a dark, one-way tunnel.

Just because you feel that close kinship with them, don’t for a second think they feel the same about you. You are only their most loyal, shallow, and gullible ignoramus. You are not the sociopath’s friend. They have NO friends. Got it?

• You call the sociopath your best friend.

• The sociopath calls you a gullible ignoramus … but loyal.

• The rest of us call you a disciple. A sociopath’s disciple.

My experience with disciples is one of great concern. Disciples seem to have their own personality problems, and with them, they are just as dangerous, if not more so, than their sociopath.

A sociopath cannot have friends. They are incapable. It’s all an act to get other people to do things for them so they can achieve their own narcissistic goals — moral or immoral, legal or illegal. If you still stick with that friendship concept, I’ve seen T-shirts printed with “Just Plain Stupid”.

 

The Downfall

As soon as you don’t offer them the same value, or you hesitate doing something they ask of you, or they simply sense something different — watch how fast that “best friend” relationship will collapse. You were certain they felt for you as you did for them. No one wants to believe how sinister and cold another “human” can be. Most people won’t believe it until it happens to them … it’s the definition of intense gut-wrenching. I know that feeling.

You were in their inner circle. You know a lot. Sociopaths often suffer with paranoia, and even if it’s their own paranoia that causes them to sense a lack of loyalty from you, it’s no different to them … it’s just as real.

Consider this, and trust me, whatever your sociopath friend may say to counter this, it’s just what they do best — lie. A sociopath not only does not feel guilt or remorse, but it does not stop there … they do not have any typical human emotions.

They do not feel love, friendship, compassion … nothing, it’s all faked. It’s called their public persona. A sociopath’s persona has virtually no resemblance to their true personality. They know they are different, but they may know nothing more than that. It’s not of interest to them. What is of ultimate interest is control.

They build a group of followers by faking friendship, charm, compassion … until people are so sucked-in and so brainwashed that they now respect and admire a very evil sociopath. Some sociopaths wear their persona all the time, i.e., 24/7. Those sociopaths know all too well that what they do, the things they get away with, would likely be just as revolting to their family as with anyone else.

Oh, and that family consisting of a spouse, and 2.5 kids? It’s all part of the act. They want to blend in. They know a family is an important element. They know belonging to a church, a synagogue, or any place that brings people together to worship, will assuredly benefit the cause of blending in.

My own dad’s persona at church services was something I recognized as a very young boy, though I could not understand it. Why he drank excessively each night, why he’d hit me for no reason, and why he was so popular and well-liked at church. I witnessed a public persona, verses the real personality, at such a young age. Yet it took another 45 years to piece everything together.

Never think it’s easy to spot a sociopath. Never. After a lifetime of being a victim, as well as years of personal research, I only recently discovered that specific sociopathic traits of some people seemingly jumped out at me. I was not looking, but it was my experience and instinct that raised the flag. And even then, when someone strikes me as having clear sociopathic characteristics, I do not claim to have identified a sociopath, only that I have reason to suspect. If they are not an integral part of my life, I just use caution when interacting with them. I do not try to prove anything, as I know the dangers.

A sociopath knows their family members cannot be aware of their real activities, because if they are, they would become a threat just as anyone else would. And the sociopath responds to a family-based threat no differently then by someone they hardly know. They must protect themselves from exposure … any slight threat or risk must be dealt with immediately, with what I call: offensive-revenge.

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  1. My father had sociopathic tendencies as well as being bipolar. My ex husband also had sociopathic tendencies. I have just had an experience with a full blown extreme sociopath/psychopath.

    I met him about 9 months ago when I rented my home to him. I had a situation come up where I had to be away for 6 months and he needed to rent a place for that time frame. We became friends and I went to work for him about 2 months ago. He presented an image of himself that I now know was completely fabricated. Since going to work for him, I have been in a constant inner battle of I like him/I can’t stand him. I realized over the past 2 weeks that he is a sociopath/psychopath. He owes money to everyone. His business is a train wreck. He hires people to do work, works them without pay until they leave, then brings in more unsuspecting people. I also discovered that he forged the signature of a “friend” of his and used the man’s social securty number to obtain credit. He ran up a $100,000 balance with the company and they are now suing him AND his friend. His friend was served with papers and that was the first he had ever heard of this company. I walked away from the job 2 days ago. I gave his friend information that may help him get out of this mess. At first the friend was very grateful. Now I am sensing that he has been duped once again by the charm of the sociopath. He is allowing the sociopath to “take care” of the matter for him.

    I am stepping away from all of it for my own sanity. I was going to try and stay until money came in so I could hopefully get paid, but I just can’t stomach it anymore. It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. The sociopath has no real friends. He has followers, like a cult. These people are unbelievably loyal to him even though he works them to death and never pays them anywhere near what he owes them. His followers are all misfits (using this term because I don’t know how else to decribe them). They are alcoholics, drug addicts, convicted felons, generally down on their luck types. The sociopath is a recoveing alcoholic/addict 20+ years clean. I have discovered that he also has a bit of criminal history, minor offenses but lots of them. One of the followers who is most used by him is an attorney who was disbarred because of a DUI. He works for the sociopath and is completely loyal to him. The friend whose credit he has ruined is none of those but he is a bit of a loner and rather insecure. The sociopath NEVER takes responibility for the messes he makes. I have been in meetings and listened to him throw everyone who is no longer around under the bus. I’m sure I will be his next scapegoat now that I’m gone. I tried to explain to him why I was leaving and lay everything out for him, including the fact that his 2 young sons are neglected. It was like talking to a brick wall. He is completely emotionless and takes no resposibility for anything ever. Their mother died a year ago of a drug overdose. After all that I have seen that he is capable of, I’m not so sure that he didn’t have something to do with her death.

    This man is very charming but socially aloof. From the very beginning, my feeling about him was that he always seemed to be running from something. He has a dissheveled appearance. Sometimes he wears the same clothes for days and goes unshaven for days. It didn’t take long for me to realize something was very wrong once I started interacting with him on a daily basis. My son and I got close to his 2 sons. That is the most difficult thing. He is not fit to raise them. They loved being with my son and me. I am having a very difficult time walking away from them. I have considered calling DFCS but I don’t know if that is the thing to do. The boys are 9 and 12. They go to a private christian school. The father is $12,000 behind in tuition to the school and has even conned the school into allowing them to stay. I have left out a lot of details because I could honestly write a book about this situation. Does anyone have any insight or suggestions regarding the children?

  2. I’ve recently identified a friend of mine as a possible sociopath…

    When I told him we had to stop being friends he started to threaten me. I would receive 250 phone calls in a single day, sometimes just for logging off without saying goodbye, or for not initiating conversation.

    He has told me he has the right to be treated like a god because he isn’t scared to liken himself to one, and often asks me where I am, what I’m doing, and accusing me of hanging out without inviting him. He told me I’m his ticket into our circle of friends. Some of my not-so-close friends love him so they don’t believe my recounts.

    When I told him we could be friends (after giving up on cutting ties), but that it meant no more than the status of my other friends he went into another rage and said “How dare you demote me to friend level.”

    It’s been 2 years of this and the police have recently been contacted but I’m scared to stir up trouble. I want to fade out and have him just lose interest in me but the rest of my friends want me to get a restraining order. I’m trying to lay low for now, but people keep tagging me and taking photos of me out with friends, which has him threatening me all over again in a new rage. The ultimatum he gave me was leave the group and be friends with him only, or get him in the group’s good books.

    I’m 19 and in a perpetual panic, and sometimes I feel like this is an elaborate cruel prank everybody is playing on me to see how long it takes for me to snap and go crazy.

  3. DeadTired,

    You are going through what most victims go through, but it can be manageable. We all feel at one time or another that we’re going to snap, but we don’t. We take one day at a time.

    Try doing what I have done online but just use a spiral notebook. Journal. Keep track of your days, logging in what happens. You’ll probably soon see a pattern of sorts that will help you to make sense of it, and ultimately good decisions.

    The best decision is to get away; move if you must. Don’t let any questionable friends know where you move to. It’s not an easy decision, but it really takes a great strain off you. You will come out of it a stronger individual.

    And, don’t forget what medicine can do. Antidepressants an anti-anxiety drugs definitely allow you to deal with life better and feel peace within. A psychiatrist is who you’d want to see for meds, and a psychologist or social worker to talk with and get advice. Virtually all of us do.

    The combination of the two, if good, are extremely valuable. If you go to one, and they don’t seem to relate to what you are going through, find another one. Doctors are all different, and many do not understand, or want to accept psychopathy.

    But hang in there.

  4. dear deadtired.

    what this person is doing to you is absolutely unacceptable, especially if there have been threats of violence. but it is unacceptable, all of it.

    he perceives you as vulnerable and will continue to exploit that. there IS no halfway, or peacemaking with these kinds of people.
    If you have trusted friends or allies , i mean really trusted friends and allies, strengthen your relationships with them. If you are not able to relocate , find a new focus in your life and surround yourself with some good people, different people. get some counseling if you can and take it one day at a time. Do not continue to communicate with this person.

    there is no reason he should be seeing photos of you n FB. you do have some control over that. i would suggest for the short term, insist that your friends not post them. nowdays if you are tagged in an FB post, you have to give permission for it to be published. do not give that permission. if you block him on FB he will not be able to see any of your posts.

    If you are nervous about contacting law enforcement please try to find an objective counselor to talk with, to help you decide n these matters. i can’t advise you on that, but sometimes these psycopathic bullies will harrass a person mercilessly, until a strong figure enters the picture. sometimes they do not understand NO unless there is a badge or a bigger guy behind it, sad to say. but please talk to someone who is not just a party friend, talk to someone who’s main concern is your well being.

    Every day remind yourself that you are a worthwhile person . Every day work on feeling and visualizing your own strength and wholeness .Visualize banishing this monster from your head and shrinking him down to the cowardly worm he is. If you work on it, and work on yourself ,it will get better. His influence and ability to bully you will diminish, and new friends and opportunities will come your way.

  5. Deadtired;
    I would like to offer some advice. Read as much as you can about Sociopaths. Don’t let this person know where your are or what you are doing. If you have to, for now find new friends. You don’t want this person in your life. I had a Sociopath in my life. Sociopaths make havic in your life as well as your friends. It is not worth the trubble. Get a new phone number, e-mail adderss. Keep as far away as you can.

  6. Hello. I have a complete lack of empathy, I find that society is usually hypocritical and annoying, and I find that most fail to understand that a sociopath, such as myself, do have emotions muted as they are. Many don’t bother with a “public persona”. Don’t feel the compulsive need to manipulate, nor sexual promiscuity. We do have our own Moral codes we follow and we do love our family, even if we can’t express or understand it. We are not evil and we are not the same. It is insulting to assume so.

  7. My now ex-best friend is a 28yo sociopath. I knew there was something wrong with her but now I have a name for it.

    She was so selfish, the relationship was all about her, she would call me day and night and talk about her and never ask about me, she would send photos to me needing my constant approval on how “hot” she looked, she never came to my house, I had to drag the 3 kids to hers (she had no kids and no entertainment for my kids at her house) she made up stories and then would contradict them without realising, she told me lies about her religion, her parents occupations, her nationality but then would tell me say a year down the track the truth without realising shw had told me something else.

    Not a day went by without a made up drama, she had to look and dress the best, no one could look better than her so she spent thousands on plastic surgery and designer clothes and cars, she couldnt hold down a relationship with a man, told me she will only marry a man for money (had to be a surgeon or lawyer) and divorce him and claim what she can claim in support and when I started to not respond to her needs as much, she just dumped me – completely out of the blue.

    I was no longer needed because I wouldn’t give her the responses she needed, well that’s what I think anyway. I’ve never been given an explanation, she just stopped talking to me and that was it. I tried calling, texting and sent her a beautifil heart felt email asking for sn explaination and maybe a friendship rekindle but I got nothing so I gave up.

    It broke my heart but its been a year now and I can see she had a mental problem and I did not serve a purpose in her life any longer and she more than likely found someone else to follow her and give her what she wanted to hear. It’s sad because I put my heart and soul into the friendship and I truly loved her, I felt we were like sisters, when she was half, maybe not even that, hearted :( I am now very cautious who I let in my life, when you have been burnt once you never want to feel that pain again.

  8. @Jordan

    I beg to differ with you. Your personally as a psychopath may be much different than others, but you still admit that you have them. The people who come to this site are those who have been tormented by truly evil sociopaths that have likely changed their victims lives for ever.

    If you have no empathy, how can you judge your own actions?

  9. @Ruined Friend,

    Count you blessings. Your sociopath “friend” has cut off all ties with you. Most don’t. You need to do the same thing with her. If she comes back, it’ll likely begin as friends again, and quickly turn sour.

    Don’t fall for it.

  10. @Jordan
    I’m not a zebra, said the zebra…I’m a horse now!
    d;o)

  11. I had a terrible experience with a sociopath that I thought was my friend. I had known him for ten years and I would make excuses for odd behavior or just dismiss negative incidents that happened.

    But things started to happen that I could not ignore. when I started to notice things in his home that had gone missing from mine. Then the penny finally dropped, I realized in that moment that he responsible for all the damage and sabotage that I could not explain. I would find all of my designer clothes with oil stains, or missing. Broken zips in clothes I had never worn. I would return home to find a rips in my sofa, deep scratches in all my furniture.

    All my tools stolen, my photograph albums going back years taken and frames left empty. And this all happened after I confronted him about the unique gift that came from Russia and why it was in his possession And it was the first time i ever saw him look shocked, The blood drained from his face and he froze, not knowing what to say or do.

    I ended the friendship if you could call it that. But it wasn’t until 1.5 year later that I had have all the locks on my house changed, because some how he must have had keys cut and had been entering my house for years to damage or steal my belongings. But even though i have cut him off, he still stalks me. And i feel like I will never get over this psychotic encounter.

  12. Anthony,

    Your sociopath sounds very devious. I would hope that you took photos of the dammage. You can probably take the photos to an attorney or the police and file charges; if not charges, at least get a restraining order. If you think he’s still entering your home, set up a hidden motion-detecting camera (something you can order on the web). Best of luck!

  13. Larry, so good to find your site, Thank You.

    I have siblings that are sociopaths. Took me a –very long time– to figure them out. Do you know if sociopaths attract sociopaths ? My siblings tend to ‘feed’ each other and have very similar attributes. After reading many posts and other websites about this personality disorder, I am certain my siblings have it. I loved them and since a death in my family has caused their ‘true selves’ to, at least in part, be revealed, I am just heartbroken. They conjured up many – many lies to make themselves look better, at the expense of two normal siblings.

    No thought whatsoever as to my feelings. One sibling in particular seems to be leading the other ‘disciples’ & others go right along with her like sheep. They have even contacted further distant relatives to ‘destroy my reputation’ with lies. (I have referred to it as ‘recruiting’)

    I have cut off contact with them, but still cannot forget them, because I LOVE them. I have given so much to them & received very little in return. I never ‘kept tabs’ on the give & take thing, I just became much more aware of it after the death in my family caused me to reflect upon the past and my family relationships. When I look back on the ‘behavior’ of siblings of many years ago, it all fits perfectly.

    Larry wrote in a previous comment:
    “I find that to be a common trait among sociopaths: they use their own malicious actions as weapons to degrade the character of their victims.”

    Prior to finding your website, I’ve have conveyed that to others very close to me, because that is exactly what ‘my sociopath, tormenter’ has done. Exactly. (among many other sociopathic tendencies)

    Larry ~ Thank You so much.

  14. @the poster of post 63.

    Sociopaths will always try to defame people around them. To a lesser or greater degree they need other people otherwise they would simply not exist, they have not much of an inner life, very attenuated emotional range and incapable of seeing situations as seen by others.

    Defaming other people around them is just one of their activities, like narcissists, they are full of rage because although sociopaths are probably hard-wired or are the product of very subtle brain damage they still need some nurture to become what they are. The key is that they are taught that they are worthless at an early age and this is the cause of their rage, an ontological crisis which lasts their whole lives and which they have no resources to deal with.

    Please see my post 29 where my prodigal brother leapt on the chance to defame me and claim that he returned home to keep me the nut-case in the family in line, all because I had a tiff with my mother one day. He didn’t visit his own father when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, took his money to move to New Zealand with, never visited when he was terminal and showed up after he died to count his money, which my stupid mother saw as an act of altruism, a few days of paper work compared to being around somebody having their brain rotting away for a year.

    I hope I never ever see him again.

  15. @ to thine own self be true

    You are more than welcome. It’s the only thing we can do for ourselves is to cut all ties. That can be so terribly difficult in many relationships, but it’s what we must do.

    @ Giles

    I hope you are doing better.

  16. I want to stress that this website is important, essential, crucial to victims of sociopaths. I only discovered this site two days ago, this after four years of trying to escape a sociopath, and that after only two years of marriage. Yes, a four year divorce over a two year marriage, with me trying every move and suffering every disorder to get out of it while Crazy Man played his little games.

    It is clear that if I told my long and distressing story that those here already know it, have already lived it, as I have lived your stories. And if I were to share the various revenges I consider, or the enduring spark of empathy I have for a disordered person, or the destruction of my life path and confidence that I must now live somehow to fight another day and overcome, the people here already know.

    I read many websites during my journey of escape, sometimes dabbling and not quite ready to believe, sometimes just jumping in with my co-survivors and trying to show the silver lining. The problem with almost all groups besides this one is that the people elsewhere are still so very wounded, so not yet escaped, so not accepting that the apology and recompense and justice ain’t never gonna come.

    Of course, in the early days, it was worse than that. I was at Vaknin’s (sp?) site soaking up the horror of it all, and I was afraid, and vulnerable to the fears he stirred up in me. Fight? Run? Stand still? What a horrendous choice to make day after day for four years.

    So, I discovered this site two days ago, and I guess at the correct time, and found that not everyone thinks that running is for sissies, and not everyone thinks calling a spade a spade is somehow impolite, but most of all, that emotional paralysis is the norm under the sociopath’s program of crazy-making. I am probably not defective at all. My responses to the situation have probably been normal even though the world, and my old self, easily deems them crazy.

    I have experienced more healing in the last two days due to having come to this website than I did over the last two years while I was fighting for my life. Please take that to heart and know that what you are doing here, which I would call gathering together a group of believers out of a world of unbelievers, is significant and important. Thank you.

  17. Welcome JCat,

    You sound as if you hit bottom as so many of us have. Being a yo-yo for who we trusted and loved as best friends, only to find they are no friends at all … that they don’t even have the ability to be the slightest of friends. You will gain strength, move-on and overcome it.

    It still won’t be easy, but knowing that everyday will get just a smidgen better is what gives us hope. Outside help, in the form of a compassionate talk-therapist, and even medications to relieve some of the pain, becomes a big piece of the recovery. Not something we ever wanted, but something that is helpful to stand tall again.

    But it is indeed I who wants to say “thank you” to you. It’s comments like yours that justify why I went public in August 2009 when I thought I would be better off dead. I’ve often turned to writing journals during difficult times in my life, but they were all very private.

    This one was open to the world, but I had no idea that it would grow as it has and draw in so many others suffering as I was. Life does improve, and the terrible experience makes us stronger, smarter and more resilient, but at a cost we never imagined nor would wish upon anyone else (except maybe those who did it to us).

    Again, a comment such as yours helps me as well as others who will read it. I humbly thank you for your very kind words.

  18. Oh Yes! This rings the alarm bell of:
    Reading people period! So I was early 20s naive enough to experience four years of a female friend who is a sociopath. Interesting in hind sight i feel a have a doctorate! So far as to minor details peeps-They are drinking your blood !Vampires!!!Makes my skin crawl!
    Just for a laugh:Dont let them take birthday photos
    Dont give them a job or feed them after midnight. Take your bag to bed they will drive whilst you sleep. nuff said! Good luck may you never meet another!!!

  19. I’m just now realizing that someone I was best friends with for over a decade is truly a sociopath. She used me and treated me horribly and all the while made me feel like I was the bad person. I can’t count the number of times I went back to her with an apology when it was she that had wronged me. And then after she was done sucking me dry of anything she could possibly take from me, she “dumped” me as a friend.

    There’s just ONE PROBLEM: She is still friends with everyone in my friends group and none of them think that there is anything wrong with her and they think that I am the one being malicious if I try to say anything (I’ve long since given up that fight!). But I just don’t know WHAT TO DO! Since she is still a part of this group I still constantly have anxiety about what she has (or will) done (do) to me. Do I have to sacrifice an entire group of friends because of this? I think the reason no one else sees it is because she has not victimized them to the extent that she did to me…