Hello Internet. I am here to tell you something you won’t like.
It seems as though you’ve lost your better half recently.
No, wait. Not your better half. Your worse half. Your toxic half. Your gas-lighting, narcissistic, sociopathic half.
But let’s back track a minute. Can we really assign these labels to the people we recently separated ourselves from?
I’m not doubting that people suck. And I’m certain that your ex was no exception.
I’m sure he or she wasn’t great you. I’m sure they lied to you. Cheated on you, even. I’m sure your ex said one thing to your face and then did the complete opposite thing behind your back, and that sucks. It sucks an immeasurable amount.
But here’s the thing: They probably weren’t a narcissist. Or a sociopath. Statistically, the chances of that are just incredibly, incredibly low.
The prevalence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is less than 1% of the general population. And it’s not characterized by a fondness for shirtless selfies and a propensity for not calling people back after they sleep with them. It’s a serious – and in many cases debilitating – disorder.
Now let’s talk about sociopathy. First of all, are you aware that it’s not a recognized clinical disorder? Neither is psychopathy. Both fall under the umbrella of “Antisocial personality disorder,” which is a cluster of traits that have a twelve-month prevalence rate of 0.2-3.3% in the general population. And again, these are not your average ‘fuckboys.’ These are people with serious mental illnesses.
I know your ex liked to play mind games. I know he or she may have said some things that messed with your head. Is that behavior okay? No, of course not. But it also doesn’t qualify them as severely mentally ill – and when you throw around the terms ‘narcissist’ or ‘sociopath’ that is precisely how you’re labeling them.
The problematic thing is, the more we toss those labels around without actual diagnoses to back them up, the more skewed our perception of those disorders becomes.
And at the end of the day, are you REALLY measuring your ex’s state against the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or are you just slapping a label on their behavior because it’s easier to face than the truth – which is that they’re just a regular human who stopped loving you?
Because that truth can be hard to swallow.
It’s hard to accept that there was not a series of complex psychological biases coloring someone’s perception when they chose to mistreat you.
It may have just been a simple matter of them not caring as much about you as you cared about them. And maybe not handling it as well as they could have.
But you know who probably also doesn’t handle things correctly 100% of the time? You. And every other human being on the planet.
In fact, there’s probably someone out there who thinks back on YOU as a narcissist or sociopath because of how you behaved towards them (and because a plethora of ill-informed internet articles are encouraging them to think of you as such).
But, statistically speaking, you’re probably not a narcissist either. Or a sociopath. Or even someone who is full of ill will towards others.
You’re just a person, trying to figure it out as you go, who doesn’t always get things exactly right.
And you know who else fits that description? Pretty much everyone. Including the person you so fondly like to think of as a narcissistic sociopath.
Statically speaking, it’s much more likely that they’re a completely psychologically healthy human being, who made a few mistakes at your expense.
And the sooner you’re able to realize that? The closer you’ll be to conquering your own victim complex and actually taking your life back.