The Righteous One

When I am hurting
Drop everything you’re doing
I need you
And you owe me

Your choices are hurting me
Don’t you see this?
I need you to “get it”
So you change
And I feel better

Don’t speak
Let me finish
This is important
What you have to say can wait

I can’t hear you anyway
Or receive your love
I’m too activated to listen
To let you into my heart
To consider my impact on you

Or maybe I do know of my impact
Of the ways I dishonor you
And I feel deep shame
But I bury this and add it to the pain

I can’t bear to see myself this way
To allow that image of me to exist
So I blind myself to this “ugly truth”
And continue on autopilot

Don’t bother trying to explain the hypocrisy
Of me asking you to do for me
What I’m unavailable to do for you
I won’t hear this either

Just let me drone on and on
Attempting to get my point across
In endless new and “clever” ways

Endless analogies
Endless repetition
Endlessly feeling the need to defend yourself
From my stories of how bad and wrong you are

Still not “getting it”?
Then I’ll say it LOUDER
Because somehow I imagine
You will hear me more clearly this way

What is this game I am playing?

This game of attempting to get another to feel my pain?

What is that?

How can I possibly feel okay about projecting my pain onto another?

MY pain
The pain is not yours

So why do I attempt to make you feel it?

Because I lack awareness
And I don’t want to feel it

I don’t want to feel my own pain
So I project it onto you

Why you?

Because you are an easy target

Your impulse to caretake
Your codependent tendencies
Your questionable self worth
Makes you a perfect match

A perfect match
To take on the belief
That you are responsible
For my pain

I will convince you of this
And you will agree
If only you’d made more “considerate” choices
Then I wouldn’t be hurting

It’s your fault
Part of you believes this
The guilt holds you prisoner to my pain
And I sit beside you in this prison

There is a way out
But you may not like it
Because it may mean you’ll end up alone
With no one to take care of
But yourself

I don’t like it either
Because then I may be forced
To finally face my pain
As well

I have been avoiding this at all costs
And I will continue to do so
Until one of us awakens
To this game we are playing

Until you awaken
And choose to empower yourself
Or I awaken
And choose to take responsibility for my pain

“The Righteous One”
– Troy Cohen

Nailed It!

I just happened to scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook, and saw a post from Anne Rice. It’s an article that explains the Sociopathic Style in a different — yet also profound — way. It nails the relationship dynamic to a tee!  Read. Learn. Spread the information.

Empathic People Are Natural Targets For Sociopaths

The empathy trap: therapists and counselors almost by definition are empathic, to facilitate clients’ recovery – but this quality can mean those carers are targets for sociopaths, aided by what Dr Jane & Tim McGregor call “apaths”. The first UK article on this cruel sport shows how to identify and thus avoid it.

People targeted by a sociopath often respond with self-deprecating comments like “I was stupid”, “what was I thinking” of “I should’ve listened to my gut instinct”. But being involved with a sociopath is like being brainwashed. The sociopath’s superficial charm is usually the means by which s/he conditions people.

On initial contact, a sociopath will often test other people’s empathy, so questions geared towards discovering if you are highly empathic or not should ring alarm bells. People with a highly empathic disposition are often targeted. Those with lower levels of empathy are often passed over, though they can be drawn in and used by sociopaths as part of their cruel entertainment.

Sociopaths make up 25% of the prison population, committing over twice as many aggressive acts as other criminals. The reoffending rate of sociopaths is about double that of other offenders, and for violent crimes it is triple.

But not all sociopaths are found in prison. There is the less-visible burden of sociopath-induced emotional trauma which, if left unchecked, can lead to anxiety disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Chronically traumatized people often exhibit hyper-vigilant, anxious and agitated behavior, symptoms such as tension headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, abdominal pain, back pain, tremors and nausea.

Exposure to and interaction with a sociopath in childhood can leave lifelong scars. This can apply to people in therapy – and for those who in recovery trained as therapists, re-exposure as an adult can trigger old emotions and PTSD.

This article is not about sociopaths per se but about surviving the harm they cause.


Many sociopaths wreak havoc in a covert way, so that their underlying condition remains hidden for years. They can possess a superficial charm, and this diverts attention from disturbing aspects of their nature.

The following case history illustrates how people can be systematically targeted until they feel they can barely trust their own sense of reality – what we call “gaslighting”. Sociopathic abuse is targeted abuse. It can wreck lives. Victims can become survivors, but at huge cost.

At school, ‘James’ took a dislike to a classmate, ‘Sam’, who was sensitive and popular. He would mock him for auditioning for the school play or for getting upset over failing a test. The situation deteriorated when it became known that Sam’s parents were separating. Sam appeared to be taking it with fortitude, to the admiration of his peers. He also got attention and sympathy from the school staff, especially James’ favourite teacher: ie, the one he manipulated most easily.

James decided on a plan of covert bullying. He started a whispering campaign implying that Sam’s parents were not splitting up, that he had said they were in order to seek attention. Sadly, this was all too successful and over the next few days Sam was met with silence and verbal bullying from his hitherto-supportive classmates.

James continued his campaign, targeting Sam’s close friends over the next few days. They found themselves accused of misdemeanours such as sending offensive emails/texts. Then the ‘favourite’ teacher went on “leave with immediate effect” after accusations of assaulting a pupil. Where had the accusations come from? Guess.

This case shows how deliberately sociopaths, from a young age, can target others. Taking advantage of people’s credibility and goodwill, James exploited the situation. With a more perceptive head teacher, this sociopath might have been found out, but he knew who to manipulate and how far he could go.


My Ex’s Current Girlfriend Contacted Me.

This is a question that comes up frequently in my work.

So, you’ve moved on and blessed your ex’s new relationship. You and the new girlfriend may have never met in person or otherwise. Months go by, and I am guessing the six-month mark is approaching and the new girlfriend is waking up to the fact that there is something very wrong with her relationship. She may not know about sociopaths or people committed to the Sociopathic Style of relating. She’s confused. She needs answers or closure, so she does a little research and finds you online and contacts you.

What is the correct way to respond?

First, you need to set your intention to help and — not further hurt — the person who is making contact. Moreover, you don’t want to hurt yourself with the exchange of information.  Do not jump in and share all the negativity and/or get into a “Schadenfreude” mode.

I believe it’s okay to share and, in some ways it’s our duty, to bring some light to someone’s suffering and to help them get confirmation or closure.

Under the aforementioned circumstances, I would do the following:

  • I would meditate for guidance and set my good intentions.
  • I would respond with empathy because I understand what she is going through.
  • I would validate her experiences.
  • I would not let what she shares affect me in any way.
  • I would steer the conversation in a positive way should she start to tell me things that I do not care to know about; i.e. more of his lies about me.
  • I would keep the conversation centered around her and very little on me since I have moved on from that experience.
  • I would keep what I share “academic” and based on facts.
  • I would not rehash all the negativity.
  • If she has a lot of questions, I would help her find the answers for herself, opposed to me offering answers from my own experiences.
  • I would focus on the upside on why the person came into our lives and what we can learn from the relationship.
  • I would share my “recovery journey” only in bullet points, and the positive things that have happened in my life since he and I parted ways.
  • I would watch the clock and give the conversation no more than 30 minutes.
  • I would wish her well and remain as we are; meaning not become friends over him or her situation.
  • I would keep our correspondence and/or conversation confidential.

I think it’s a bad idea to contact a new partner of an ex, but if the new partner contacts you, I think it’s fine to offer well-intended, helpful guidance.  In the sociopathic way of relating, there is a lot of confusion, gaslighting, manipulation, verbal  and emotional abuse, betrayal and pathological lying present that makes the “victim” feel crazy. It helps to know that there is someone who cares and understands — who can help one out of the fog without judgment and more drama. Remember to stay in love-based communication and don’t engage in the power triangle.

Don’t let people pull you into their storm; instead, pull them into your PEACE.


The Power Triangle

The Power TriangleCentral to the understanding of  The Sociopathic Style™ is the power triangle.

Classically, one enters the power triangle from a power-down victim position or the power-up rescuer position. The stereotypical relationship style in our society is for the female to be seen as victimized by the male. This is certainly not always the case and we have seen many examples of males being victimized by females, females by females and males by males.

In the classical scenario, the Damsel in Distress needs the Knight in Shining Armor to rescue her as she is helpless and cannot get herself out of her terrible life circumstance. The hidden component of the triangle is the Villain. Classically, in the Sociopathic Style, the Knight and the Damsel are the characters in the drama. Only when the Damsel starts to gain strength does the Villain come into the drama. The Knight needs the Damsel to stay in distress or he doesn’t have a purpose for living.

As in all dualities, one side mirrors the other. The Knight is utterly powerless without the Damsel, as the Knight has no access to his core, his inner source of strength. He denies his powerlessness and finds power through his chameleon-like ability to be whatever the distressed Damsel needs. The Damsel is incredibly powerful in her ability to manipulate the Knight with her absolute, albeit unconscious, feigned inability to live life from her own resources. Her all-powerful message to him is that without the Knight she cannot live.

Now enters the Villain. As the Damsel begins to receive what she needs, she begins to come more alive. The Knight is then threatened by the Damsel’s developing strength and becomes the Villain through shaming her, diminishing her, blaming her for his woes and telling her how sick she is. He aids and abets her belief that she cannot live without him.

The degree to which she holds him as a credible authority, and the degree to which she believes she needs him to survive, is the degree to which he has power over her. Sometimes the authority and power are real as in the relationship between a doctor and patient, professor and student, attorney and client, clergyman and parishioner, parent and child, employer and employee, haves and have-nots. The reader can add many more categories of power dynamic relationships.

Because each person in the Sociopathic Style has emerged from childhood with a deep suppression of their essential self, having also an inner experience of powerlessness, they must operate in all relationships from positions within the power triangle. Being separated from their inner strength, they must get power by playing the characters of the drama.

Thus, the Sociopathic Style encompasses the victim, the perpetrator, and the rescuer. The typical cultural view is that of the medically diagnosable sociopath being a perpetrator on innocent victims. In our research, we have moved beyond this to reveal a larger picture of a relationship style that engages all three characters of the sociopathic phenomena. This means the victims are sociopathic to some degree as well as the identified victimizing sociopath. We have worked with many people who have been in relationships with medically diagnosable sociopaths. We have discovered that the Sociopathic Style relationship phenomenon is very widespread — perhaps universal — in our society. In many ways, our cultures foster the Sociopathic Style as an acceptable relationship style.

© 2013, The Sociopathic Style™

Deliberate and Planned


Psychological TraumaEvery victim of a personal crime has to face the reality of this: the deliberate and planned violations by their intimate partner on their personhood, down to the foundation of who they are as an individual. They are assaulted emotionally, spiritually, verbally, and sometimes physically. They are shaken to the very core foundation of everything they thought and knew about themselves. The result is soul trauma. This is a PROCESS and not an event.

The psychological trauma they face can impair their ability to bring charges against a perpetrator and to see the perpetrator for who he/she really is. Everything they experience and face appears to be stressful. Add to that stress the fear of retaliation and “silence” along with the inability to make good choices is the result.

A society also becomes a partner with the perpetrator through “dissociating” the victim. This is where they “dissociate” the victim from the human race by seeing the victim as “irritant symbols” who “had it coming” because of not leaving the relationship, keeping secrets, or by blaming – “what did you do to make that happen?” Society also “objectifies” the victim, similar to the perpetrator, so they don’t have to do anything about the problem that they find hard to deal with. Then add society’s minimization of the incident by statements of “if it was really bad she/he would have left.” Animal rights are still more important in this country than are the rights of women and children. We have more animal shelters and provide more money to animal shelters than we have to shelters for women and children. When it comes to shelters for men, there are even less available for male victims. Animals take a precedent over people in the United States.

Victim Selection

Victims are selected because they crossed paths with the perpetrator and had a symbolic significance or purpose for the perpetrator. Perpetrators thrive in neighborhoods, churches, courtrooms, hospitals, political offices, law enforcement all across our country and in every country worldwide. Their “hunting grounds” are limited only by their own choices.

– Dr. Kathie Mathis