He looks up to notice her.
She has a genuine smile, calm nature and bright glow. He greets her and there is no compliment to be had. No “you look beautiful tonight, so good to see you.” Just a simple “oh hi” and a coy and charming smile. Because giving her even a little compliment would only empower her, something he doesn’t want to do. The predator gives his victim the once over. Before his true nature is revealed he mimics her every thought, making her believe how much he understands her. But boy, is he beautiful in the beginning. They laugh and they feel a connection that is almost instant.
A superficial charm is what distracts an empath from the deeper and more disturbing nature of a sociopath. His every word is calculated and has an intention; to size up the empath and test her to see if she fits to be the toy in his game.
I know what your thinking. Everyone says his or her ex is a sociopath. But just because someone isn’t emotionally available doesn’t make them a sociopath. The characterization of a sociopath is a person who lacks empathy or a moral conscience and disregards societal norms. They con people for personal pleasure and amusement and have a complete lack of remorse. They live in their own bubble, ignoring reality and existing only to meet their selfish needs, not caring whom gets harmed in the way. One thing that attracted me to sociopaths was their antisocial behaviors.
I knew they lived in their own bubble and I so desperately wanted to be the one to break into the bubble and the mind of this highly intellectual, manipulative and calculating man.
But sociopaths and empaths are not gender exclusive. This isn’t a naïve girl being manipulated by a player type situation. There are many sociopaths who are both men and women, as with empaths. These are two very real personalities that have special characteristics and when they come together, it many times is extremely dangerous. To be clear on just exactly what an empath is, they are a person with an “abnormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.” Empaths have the ability to suck in other people’s emotions like a sponge, and have an intuition to know just exactly when there is a shift in a room and something doesn’t feel right. They also are very sensitive to the emotional distress of others and are known to feel the pain of those around them.
An empath that knows their gift, has a protective barrier that surrounds themselves from negative energies. But even the most mature empath can be tricked by a cunning sociopath. A sociopath takes the knowledge that an empath has compassion and runs with it. On a first date for example, it is likely that the sociopath will share a sad story about childhood to appear sensitive and filled with emotions. They are masters at mirroring what someone with emotional capabilities says and does. Socially, the conversation isn’t a natural flow of back and forth. The sociopath takes awkward long pauses, rarely breaking eye contact. The sociopath seems to be studying his counterpart to pick out facts about their life to later use to question them with.
This in what we like to call the “sociopaths dance” and is the first phase of a term called gas lighting.
Growing up as a kid my Grandmother and I would watch old school psychological thrillers together. We would get the popcorn going and I would be ready to be freaked out. One of our absolute favorites was a mysterious, dark film called Gaslight. In this film the husband does everything in his power to convince his wife she is going insane. Sociopaths use gas lighting for a similar effect and to gradually gain control over their partner. During this calculated game, the first stage is called the idealization stage where the sociopaths paint a beautiful picture of themselves to charm and trick the empath. An empath sees the truth in people, so they are a sociopath’s natural nemesis. This makes for a high stakes situation and ultimate challenge for the sociopath. And to them, this is only where the fun begins.
It is during the second stage of gas lighting where the relationship usually develops further. As these two continue to learn about one another, the sociopath slowly throws in small lines that devalue their counterpart in a tactful and clever way. The sociopath sees that this throws an empath off, because their sensitivity is strong. Sociopaths take pleasure in knowing that they have the power in this mind game and like to see their victim confused and questioning his or herself. It tickles them. For example, in relationships people develop inside jokes together. I frequently would wake up and tell one new guy I was seeing how many coffees I had to start the day. “Two coffees deep!” I would text and send a photo of my morning coffee. He even sent me a picture of his coffee in Europe with the caption “Coffee number one.” Months later he looked me in the eye one day and asked if I ever drank coffee. “Are you kidding me?” I wanted to say. This confused me so much and left me to question myself.
Now remember, the purpose of a sociopath to develop a relationship with an empath is to seek, validate and then toss away.
Just like how Dracula seduces and tricks his victims to own them for eternity, the sociopath will do the same until they choose to discard them. Frequently, the sociopath will pull that card back into their deck in hopes of once again controlling that person. The sociopath becomes indifferent, bored and ready to move on to his next target, leaving the empath wounded and completely confused. According to Psychology Today, “it is often the kindest and most trusting individuals who suffer most at the hands of sociopaths, and the healing for these individuals continues long after the relationship has ended”. For an empath who manifests negative energies physically, this can leave him or her distressed, physically ill and in a dark place wondering what they did to push the sociopath away. The saddest part of this story is if the sociopath keeps an empath around just as a toy to stoke his or her ego. This will only cause further heartache and can break the empath down to nothing, but can almost make an empath lose faith in the goodness of people.
It’s funny. Some sociopaths are smarter than others. I have had sociopaths in my life who are not even good at phase one of gas lighting and accidentally reveal their nature right away. A guy on a date in the past has to me, “people have told me before they think I have no feelings.” Um check please? If you haven’t already guessed this by reading this article, I myself am an empath. I always knew I had a light that was different than others. Growing up I was able to calm people down in a crisis and my energy could make dark situations positive.
Empaths are healers of the world, givers, teachers, musicians, nurses; all with distinct gifts to share to make the world a better place. We naturally try to heal people, but we have to realize a sociopath will most likely never change.
So, what can be done to prevent this from happening to an empath? It is important for an empath to know his or herself enough and understand our gift to develop a shield of protection. For our safety, the last person in the world we should let ourselves be close to is someone who lacks a conscience. Just because an empath feels a connection to someone, doesn’t mean their intentions are as pure as the empaths. Actions are the key to knowing if the sociopath is playing you for their own amusement, because they can only act for so long before the mask comes off.
Empaths are unique and sensitive people who need to be surrounded by others like them that abide by a strict moral code. They need to be around kind hearted people who and are on the same mission of making the world a better place. One positive outcome of having a relationship with a sociopath is that an empath can take the experience and learn more about themselves and their boundaries to protect them against it so it never happens again. We all come across negative people along our journey, but remember a sociopath has a specific talent for destroying people in their path. For an empath, steering clear from romantic partners with these qualities will allow an empath to find love that mirrors the deep love they have to give.