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 Post subject: Sociopath
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:47 pm
Posts: 65
I have continued to support my SA husband and I have waited for 3 years for signs of recovery. It has been a very painful time, I am lied to everyday. I have stuck sto my boundaries and now I have retreated to separate beds and we are approaching separate lives. I was always hopeful that he would get there feeling that he would learn from mistakes and feel the pain he inflicts. Now after reading an article about how sociopaths are unable to recover or change I feel that I have wasted 40 yrs of my life. The description of a man with no empathy who fails to learn from his mistakes and is a pathological liar fits perfectly. After deception is discovered we have the pretend show of sorrow quickly followed by repeat behaviour, the sorrow is only for himself, not his embarrassed children or spouse. He has no conscience and no shame but he expert in mimicking these feelings. The experts say a sociopath can not change so surley I am wasting my time waiting for recovery and he is wasting time working through the workshops. He lies to himself on this site and he draws in others who respond to him. I have worked hard with therapists over the years but no one has ever suggested that I was living with a sociopath. It may be worthwhile listing characteristics of psychopaths and sociopaths on this site to help others. All I ever wanted was to continue with my marriage whatever it took. While I did this I was laughed at and humiliated for my efforts.


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:38 pm
Posts: 67
Hello Swimmer

I can hear your anger and frustration. My understanding is that the brain damage caused by addiction does lead to behaviour that is similar to psychopathy. If your partner is not truly in recovery and fighting to change his brain then the damage remains and the behaviour continues.

So I guess you need to check your values. Is the damage he is doing to your self-esteem and happiness greater than whatever value made you stay?

Only you can decide what is best for you. But you say you have wasted 40 years and wanted to do 'whatever it takes'. My take on my 23 years with the SA is that if he is in genuine recovery I will return but if he hurts me again there is much, much more that defines my life than the relationship and I will not accept more pain. Better to lose 23 years but gain 5 years of serenity than spend another 20 miserably hoping I can rescue the past.

Other partners may feel differently though.

Good look with whatever you decide and big hugs.

_________________
'The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows'. Buddha.


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:45 pm
Posts: 45
I really understand your fears and concerns about the personality disorder issue. I posted a previous inquiry asking about borderline personality disorder.

It is my opinion that the counseling community may have a blind bias for working it out between couples and this may run contrary to what might be best for those who have been diagnosed with PSTD. Every effort should first be taken to guard partner of a sexual addict from further emotion (and sometimes physical) assault-- no matter what the relationship cost to the addict.

I always wonder if it wouldn't be best to start running tests on the addict for personality issues so that the person who has been victimized might have a better understanding of what she is dealing with and act accordingly.

This could be my "mistrust" of the system and part of my PSTD or we could need more legitimate information on personality disorders and how it relates to addiction and our lives.

If the behavior of these addicts is "normal" or only "slightly out of the norm" male behavior…. that thought is terrifying for women. I have to say neither of these ends of the continuum (he's abnormal _______________he fits in perfectly with the misogynistic culture) feels very nice or comforting.


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:23 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 659
Swimmer - I am so sorry for what you are going through. I thought long and hard about having my husband tested for an underlying personality disorder. I spoke to a trusted therapist about this and she told me that there are specialists who can test for personality/character disorders, but it is a specialty. My husband would have had to go in and be interviewed and tested. I don't know what this entails, but it is expensive and you have to find the right kind of specialist. I don't know if your husband is a sociopath or not. He may be. Or he might be an addict who has no empathy. My trauma therapist has told me that even without a personality disorder, my husband could become abstinent but he might never develop empathy. That gives me pause. I thought my husband was a narcissist, but while he is utterly selfish and narcissistic, now that he is in recovery and getting therapy, I don't think he is a full blown NPD. He has very little empathy and compassion, though. I see glimmers, but he is still very, very self absorbed and self centered. He is not a giving kind of person. I also see him as kind of bi-polar, but my therapist said that can often by a symptom of trauma.

I used to be wrapped around the axle about all of this thinking if I just knew he had a character disorder, then I could walk away. Now I don't really know or care all that much. I realize that my husband had to show me he was serious about recovery. That took about a year. Then I had to see real declines in his acting out behavior, and improvements in adult, healthy behavior. I have seen some. But empathetic and giving? No, not really. I guess where I come out is that I have to decide when is enough enough? What is it just not worth waiting anymore regardless of what is really going on with my husband?

I do agree that as I decide, it was critical for me to detach and start building my own independent life. I am doing that. And the more I do that the better I feel. And the better I feel the less I really care about the outcome of my husband's recovery and health work. I have found that my healing, my happiness, my trauma, my life, is now my focus. It gets easier every day. What I am going to do about my husband is way down on my list. Now he may decide to walk out, but that is his right. But, if he can keep working on becoming a healthy man, well, maybe I will start to engage again.

With deep compassion,
dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:32 pm
Posts: 44
Ive questionned this personality disorder thing too and do think my husband has bpd but as dnell says does it really matter? Its not up to us to find out whats going on with them but up to them to do that, we have to be our priorities. Easier said than done i know, takes a lot of practice and biting of your tongue. Its hard to take a big step back and to relearn how to put yourself first but it can be done and we all deserve to have better so lets get better for ourselves regardless of what they do.


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:47 pm
Posts: 65
Thank you to you all for your replies. I have looked through the workshop and feel that it would be beneficial to mention the traits of a sociopath. I have really struggled over the last 3 years not understanding why my husband was not affected when I cried or our children cried. I could not understand why he failed to recognise my shear desperation and pain. I have only just realised that when he tries to cry there are no tears. When he is distraught at being discovered and he knows his grown up children will learn of his perversions he continues with the behaviour. He has an inability to learn from any mistake and he lies about every part of his day. His recovery has been based on the workshops but if he is a sociopath he will never improve his behaviour. If there was a workshop which questioned empathy, compassion, guilt etc SA may realise that something was amiss. My husband didn't realise that it wasn't normal not to be moved when someone cries he doesn't have any understanding of how a father should protect his children. And for my part it was incomprehensible that my husband didn't have any empathy, love or understanding. I never realised that such people exsisted outside prison. I do think it is important that we question the capacity of our SAs because if recovery is not achievable we can make a decision based on this. I made a decision 3 years ago that I would wait for recovery I never expected such pain and rejection, my decision was made mainly to protect our family and their well-being. I wish he had told me from day one that he didn't care or worry about any of us.
Thank you for all your advice and thank you for the hugs I really need them at the moment X


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:32 pm
Posts: 44
Personality disorders are a hard one and many share the same traits. Some are mild forms while others are severe and they also do not have to have every trait listed under that disorder either. Way too complex to even begin to figure out. I do think that personality disorders do play a part in addiction though for sure for some, not all. Many times an addiction of any kind is a result and symptom of the disorder and used to cope. This being said it is extremely difficult to know what is what and i know you did the best with what you knew and were living by your values by trying to make things work. Are you still together now?

You have to do whats best for you no matter what issue your partner may have whether it is straight addiction or mental health issues like a personality disorder are at play. Addiction is a mental health issue anyways. I personally think many many people with addiction issues have personality disorders or some sort and to me they show themselves depending on how the person acting out deals with it. Is recovery real or just lip service? Do they show any empathy or remorse or only when crap hits the fan? How long has their supposed recovery been going on and are their any changes or improvements? Is it real recovery or just abstinence with nothing else and no real other changes?

The bottom line is when have you had enough regardless of what is going on? For each this is different and rightly so. It takes a brave and strong soul to cope with addiction or a personality disorder. I hope evegyone does whats right for them no matter what is going on.

I am very interested in your story and thank you for sharing with us.


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:23 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:39 pm
Posts: 29
swimmer I hear you! There is more going on with the SA than just addiction from what I have learned. My SA was finally diagnosed ADHD/anxiety/anger and thats as far as it went then. I discovered his "first" acting out around the same time as my son and he was diagnosed. (also newly found access to the internet at work as a new manager position) That was called a "midlife crisis" then (10 yrs ago now) but looking back, there were lots of signs of "stuff" I couldn't put my finger on but definitely self centered, selfish, was a major issue. When learning about ADHD, I thought, ya, thats it, that explains everything, all the "mistrust" I felt.
Now I realize how it escalated out of control and a big part I feel was the lying/sneaking and finding ways to hide things from me. He would or could never tell the truth, even when the evidence was thrown in his face. He also never had the ability to read others emotions. He always thought when I was sad, that I was Mad!
I too was caught up in trying to learn about his disorders, to understand, not him! He took the meds, but that was it.
He is still acting out, actually even more now that he is living on his own. He thinks he is dealing with his addiction but going to the occasional meeting, and a few counselling appts but I know he is not being honest with her.I believe if it wasn't for the finances I would never hear from him again. Now that is not normal, 32 years and 2 kids and is able to disassociate so easily with all of us? theres more than just addiction I believe theres alot more but I have finally detached and stepped back, really not interested in knowing what else is his issues, all I know is they are for him to deal with and I am happy to not have to live with it all any more! Its their stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:51 am 
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Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
While there are certainly people with addictions who also have other diagnoses, I wish to remind us to not pain all persons with addiction with the same broad brush strokes. There is no evidence that addiction causes brain damage any more than any other over-learned behaviour does. The difference with addiction is that we are labelling a learned "unhealthy" behaviour (which can be an otherwise healthy behaviour that has become maladaptive to the individual, causing harm instead of promoting health) whereas with other "healthy" or "adaptive" behaviours, we are not labelling the behaviours as anything other than what they are. Another difference is that people who have trouble overcoming addictions may have a slightly different brain structure than those who do not have trouble overcoming addiction, but this is a chicken and egg argument as there is no current evidence to prove which came first (brain structure dictates propensity to addiction, or or repeated behaviour causes change to brain structure). It is more likely a little bit of both.

I do not have time to continue right now, but please remember that every person is a person, with experiences and perceptions that are also part of the bigger picture. There are many variables that will impact who transcends their addiction and who doesn't. Let's not depersonalize people; to do so is really no different than the person with a sexual addiction depersonalizing the people they objectify.

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:47 pm
Posts: 65
Thank you for all you input and I do understand that applying labels to people is not always helpful, but if we as partners are prepared to stand by and wait and support we do need to be aware of the full picture. My therapist said that I had 3 options-leave-stay and put up with the same-stay and ask your partner to change his behaviour. The possibility that he would be unable to change was never suggested, the idea that this man was completely devoid of all caring emotions was never investigated. His ability to lie and deceive continue and I am sure he has no concept of how to be truthful he will lie about the most insignificant details. I know this site is here to promote recovery from addiction but some of your members may benefit from learning to recognise psychotic behaviour and stop passing off their actions as acceptable because its all part of recovery. I think that if it was explained that it is not normal to lack any feelings of guilt or remorse some addicts may seek further advice. I have had to explain what it's like to feel empathy. My husband should be so guilty and sad that his children are aware of his deception but it makes no difference tomorrow he will do the same. Apparently learning from ones mistakes is not a characteristic of a sociopath. Thank you all for your supportive words I do hope your SAs achieve their goal and you are given the happiness you deserve.


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:59 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 659
swimmer - It's so hard to be in our position. The hurt. The anger. The uncertainty. The unfairness.

For me, my anger at my husband was volcanic. It's less so now. But, I was also angry with myself. It's tragic to be angry with myself for what has happened and I'm working really hard on this issue. Not fair at all.

I understand what you are saying here. I recall that Jon does say something about RN does not work for people with underlying character disorders. I think noting anything further about character disorders on this site may not help since people with character disorders aren't even going to process the information. And, for us, the partners, our painful decision is exactly what your therapist describes: leave, stay and put up with it, stay and ask for change. And we are powerless to change them, regardless of their underlying pathologies. It's devastating, this reality.

Who can we be angry at? Who can we blame? How can we get justice? I can be angry at myself, my husband, pornographers, men, the culture, you name it. I can blame my husband, his parents, the culture, you name it. I will never be able to get justice. So, where I have ended up on all of this is that I have been so unlucky: unlucky to have met and married an addict, unlucky that my own trauma made me unable to set boundaries and caused me to acccept ongoing emotional abuse. And, I can't change the past. I'm working hard on self forgiveness, on self compassion, on finding my own joy. The most helpful thing I have learned is to focus on myself AND to let go: let go of my dream of my marriage, let go of the lies, let go of feeling stupid. That doesn't mean I'll forget. No way I'll do that.

I've been doing meditation and one of the things my teacher talks about is how to handle suffering. How do I find meaning in my suffering. I can't tell you how angry and annoyed I was by this question: what is the meaning of my suffering. But, now, I think the meaning for me is that I needed to change the way I live my life to be more self focused, to be more self caring, to live the rest of the days putting me first. It's weird, this realization. But, sometimes, now, when I am focused on me (not my husband, not addiction, not my past, not my marriage, not on figuring out what in the heck I'm going to do), I feel...wonderful. I want that for you as well. You deserve it.

With compassion,
dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:47 pm
Posts: 65
Thank you for your response I have replied to you but it seems to have been removed-not sure why. It does seem unacceptable to mention psychotic behaviour on this site but after three years of very slow dripfed discovery things are now making sense. I have learnt so much from all you very wise ladies I am just amazed it took me three years to understand why I have hit a brick wall with my husband. It does seem that we all travel through very similar timescales of discovery/pain/disbelief/trauma. I just wish I could have seen a timeline of advice, we all seem to be subjected to the same process of discovering the vast levels of SA. It is worthwhile to consider whether your partner is psychotic it may save time and pain. Thank you once again, I have no one to share this life I have found myself with, you are my only outlet. Thank you ladies


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 pm
Posts: 96
I have been away for awhile. I came back to post as I am looking for advice, but stumbled across your thread. I found out 3 years ago about my partner's behavior. Since that time, I have also learned that he does indeed have an official diagnosis of moderate impairment related to ASPD as well as other diagnoses of PTSD and ADHD.

When I first learned of the diagnoses, I think I felt relief -- finally there was a reason behind his behavior! That sense of relief was short lived, however. Because, in the end, I realized that the diagnoses really don't change the facts. He does what he does. I need to accept the reality of that situation and figure out what I am going to do based on that reality.

To be honest, I don't think had I known about these diagnoses at the time of discovery that it would have changed anything about my choice to stay in a relationship with him and hope for his recovery. And actually, had I known at the beginning of the relationship, I'm not sure that it even would have changed anything about my choice to enter into the relationship in the first place. Because that's who I am.

Certainly, if you care about a person, you want to be sure they are receiving the right therapeutic treatment for whatever ails them -- and that's the reason for wanting a correct diagnosis to begin with -- but again, it is irrelevant. If someone had a brain tumor and is violent as a result, does that mean you can stay, put up with physical abuse and jeopardize your life, because they are "sick"? No. It is no different with SA. You can love them, you can want them to get help, you can try to make sure they are getting the right help for whatever it is that's actually wrong with them, but in the end, you MUST protect yourself.

I think you are at the point that many of us are -- 3 years in -- realizing that nothing is really any better and feeling a bit regretful that you "wasted" those years hoping for change -- and now realizing that if any change is going to happen, it's going to be up to you. Don't let the issue of a possible PD keep you focused on could of, would of, should of. Just keep moving forward.

Please understand, I am not encouraging you to stay or to leave, just to make your choices based on reality and on self-respect for your values. I hope this makes sense to you.

I know this sucks and isn't fair.

((((big hugs))))


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 Post subject: Re: Sociopath
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:45 pm 
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General Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 3957
I have bumped up a couple of threads that you may find helpful.


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