Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

Is Your Partner a Sociopath?

Love with the proper sociopath!

The blogosphere featured an interesting article on the common malady of having a romance with a sociopath: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/01/18/the-sociopath-we-all-know-and-sometimes-love/#comment-204441 The gist of the article is that we often find sociopaths to be very attractive and enjoy living vicariously through their boundary-less antics. However, to do so is to play with fire.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, under antisocial personality disorders, states that this disorder is found in the Cluster B list of personality disorders. To be diagnosed as a sociopath he or she must have a pattern of disregarding and violating the rights of others since age 15, and have at least three of more of the following symptoms:

Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;

Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;

Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead;

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Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;

Reckless disregard for safety of self or others;

Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;

Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;

The individual is at least age 18 years.

DSM-IV does not recommend this diagnosis when the occurrence of the antisocial behaviour is exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia (More) or a Manic Episode (More).

The sociopath thrives in today's mirage man society. Thanks to a century of media promotion,  physical attraction and charm is emphasized to establish a romance with no regard to true compatibility. People with sociopathic disorders often display a superficial charm and their partner has no idea that they have committed themselves to someone with a serious psychiatric disorder until they have already become emotionally and physically committed to them. A great contemporary example of a man using Mirage Man Syndrome to  become involved romantically with a sociopath is Charlie's relationship with the character Rose in the CBS hit sitcom "Two and a Half Men."

The partners of sociopaths often blame themselves when the relationship inevitably declines after the Honeymoon stage and becomes increasingly unhealthy. If you suspect your partner may be a sociopath, we recommend that you seek professional help.

 

 

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.

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