“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me.” –The Christian Recorder, March 1862
If only that old adage were true. As adults, we fight mostly with words, not sticks and stones. And while words may not injure a small child the way that sticks and stones would, they can still cause some injury. Sensitivity to words gets, it seems, increases as we age. And boy, do sociopaths know it.
Sociopaths try to undermine our confidence constantly to try to keep those of us in relationships with them under their thumb.
Through the use of fear, demoralization and manipulation, sociopaths chip away incessantly at their “beloved’s” confidence and instill self-doubt instead. This is why often people in relationships with sociopaths seem to be “on edge”.
These are sociopaths’ words of choice:
1. “You’re the one/we’re meant to be.”
When anyone spouts such a thing too early in the relationship, they may very well be a sociopath. This is characteristic of people who move “too fast” and have no respect for boundaries. Some of these people are clingy and/or stalker-esque; sociopaths, though, are manipulative control freaks. Back away. Quickly.
2. “You’re misunderstanding me.”
A hallmark of gaslighting, the abuse tactic that, when employed, makes the victim question their own reality. Sociopaths resort to gaslighting to recover from a situation in which their power was threatened.
3. “I hate drama/you’re a drama queen.”
What happens when you accuse someone of being a drama queen? The situation usually gets a lot uglier, and quickly. The accused may even think the sociopath is right. But sociopaths actually love drama. They especially love it when you react vehemently to accusations about drama. Here’s an idea: give them what they say they want. Operate calmly and quietly at all times around them. See how long they last.
4. “You need me.”
If anyone ever tells me that I need them, I would laugh at them. Seriously. Sociopaths often used this phrase, however, to bolster their control over their victim. You don’t need them. You need to separate logical and rational thought from emotional thought, and consider thoroughly whether or not you want to stay with a person whose sole desire is to manipulate you.
5. “You’re ignorant/stupid/uneducated.”
So this one hits the sociopath button on multiple levels. First of all, it shows that they are fully capable of abusive behavior, because second of all, they don’t care about hurting you in any way. Sociopaths have no inhibition about inflicting pain upon others. Finally, joining that capacity for abuse with their absolutely real, massive desire for control and it ends up being a play on your emotions that spirals into a dangerous situation. Get out. Now.
I sincerely hope that nobody reading this has been in or is currently in a relationship with a sociopath…but if you are, I hope this is helpful to you. Want to share your opinions? We’d love to hear ‘em in the comments!