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My ex bf is displaying a lot of signs of a sociopath/serial bully, Does he need help or is this just his personality?

Tagged as: Health, The ex-factor<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (17 April 2007) 17 Answers - (Newest, 27 January 2011)
A female United Kingdom age 36-40, anonymous writes:

I have known my ex off and on since childhood and I am becoming increasingly worried about him. He is displaying alot of the hallmarks of a sociopath/serial bully, and I wonder if he get help for this or if this is his personality.

I really don't want to get back together with him, as I couldn't cope with him and he was treating me really badly (not cheating on me, hitting me or swearing at me or anything, but I think there was emotional abuse going on; for example, I always got the impression that he was suggesting that I deserved to be treated badly, even though I have treated him far better than his exs did), but I feel so sorry for him as I know what a difficult life he has had. He has a brain condition from when he was born that has never been diagnosed (he was starved of oxygen) and whilst he can function perfectly normally in everyday life, his communication and the way he relates to other people is really bad. He recognises that he is very blunt and uses no tact, but not how much it hurts people until a long time after the event when he seems to be full of remorse (it seems to be genuine but then sociopaths are very good at putting on a front). He has a total lack of sensitivity to other people’s feelings.

I recall when his family used to come around our house when we were children, his brother would be called thick by their mother in front of us all. I don't remember this happening to my ex, but I remember my mum being truly horrified at the way she was speaking about her son. Whilst I really like his mum and think it was all part of her 'humour', I am sure it must have had an effect on them. Sadly, my ex has also developed this 'humour' that I think goes too far sometimes and seems like borderline bullying. My ex spent the whole of his childhood being told he was thick at school. When I was with my ex, he told me he wished he was dead and that he didn’t care about anything.

I love him to pieces, but I cannot be with him and that is what breaks my heart. I see a very vulnerable, screwed up and scared man underneath all the bravado. I realised very soon though that I was not strong enough to help him. I stuck it out for as long as I could, and then ironically he dumped me. After I had been his girlfriend, I felt worthless and suicidal for a while. I am making a slow recovery and I have made sure that I have no contact with him although he kept wanting to see me.

I couldn’t tell what was genuine and what wasn’t about him as he was being unpleasant to me at the end, in total contrast to how he was in the beginning; I felt like I hadn’t known him at all . He hurt me so badly when we split and yet he wanted to be good friends with me the following week like nothing had happened.

Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong with him and what can be done to help him because I really do fear for him?

I don’t how I can support him. He has very few friends and ‘no social life’ and yet he cannot comprehend why. I want to be there for him beccause so many have given up on him, but I also feel that I shouldn’t see him because it isn’t good for me.

View related questions: emotionally abusive, get back together, his ex, my ex

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A female reader, deirdre77 United States +, writes (27 January 2011):

We dated long distance and after 8 months he told me I was the one, he sweetly asked me to share his life with him, promised to love me always. I felt so happy and believed in him completely. I still can't believe how much I trusted him. We made plans to move in together. He introduced me to his family. I can look back now and see the inconsistencies and warning signs but at the time I just added it up to him needing some time to recover from a past relationship. It only took a couple of weeks for everything to fall apart. We had been speaking for hours and hours every day and then suddenly he disappeared for 4 days. He was in jail. That's how I found out that not only was he hiding a very not over relationship from me...it was a violent relationship. He kept me with him for a couple more weeks after that by pretending that he was so remorseful about what he did that he was going to get treatment. He pretended to be suicidal. He cried to me. Begged me not to abandon him. Said they hadn't been together for over a year. That she had stalked him because she was jealous of me. But I caught him in more lies and I broke it off. Said we could be friends and I would help him get through his depression. I still didn't get it. I thought he would come to his senses and apologize...admit he was wrong and we could part as friends. But I was nothing to him. A couple weeks later he discarded me like trash and then the two of them made a huge public reconciliation and announced they were madly in love again...just to rub it in my face. The saddest part of the story is, I was the lucky one. I got out. She didn't.

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A female reader, kimella  United Kingdom +, writes (23 January 2011):

I dated a sociopath for 6 months and in that time he stole £400 from me, mentally abused me, lied at the drop of a hat and told ME that he thought that I had bipolar disorder! He was very good at what he does though, he reeled me in and was living with me within 3 weekss. Then he walked out of his job and lived off me without any guilt. When I started to question the relationship and his lack of effort he would go on the charm offensive and the bombardment of loving texts. My advice to anyone is that if anyone is declaring undying love within a few weeks of meeting you - run for the hills. I have subsequently discovered that he set fire to his exes kitchen (for which he served a year in prison) when i confronted him about this, he was proud, saying that she cheated on him, and as he had installed the kitchen there was no way she was going to have it!! I finally kicked him out at Christmas and have been left a grand in debt but to top it all the loser sent me a text on Christmas day saying " I played you like a fiddle". STAY AWAY FROM THESE PEOPLE - they do not think, feel or care like normal people do. I would rather spend the rest of my life single and alone then be in a "relationship" with someone that lies and steals and who doesnt know how to love.

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A female reader, blackROSE1916 United States +, writes (16 September 2008):

Wow! All the answers/stories! I don't feel so alone & crazy~I had a break down & almost went inpatient from my husband of 8 months! I thought he was the one, charming, worked hard. At first he made every effort to please me, but he was impulsive~real anxious & always had to be drinking beer. He had told me about his time in prison, & a convicted felon, but I thought oh he was real young & never hurted anyone. Red flag#1!! OH RED FLAG#2~ the crazy ex-wife who stalked us, who was more of a sociopath, but took it as jealousy. The meet the family~real perfect too PERFECT! Same home,phone, etc since he was born, but everyones family is screwed, but this was a different feeling. Younger brother convicted felon x4yrs in prison,got jealous if I took a minute of his bros attention or if we were affectionate. Mom was very distant,kept distant from her sons visiting with no affection. Anyways I am sure my husband had sex with his ex, but can't prove it! It all went down hill when my father died, and we went to live with my mother to help her out! Jealous of my mom, rage if I spoke to my older brother, I never did a thing right, but he never did a thing wrong. He didn't care for his 2 kids from his ex, yeah no effort to get the kids on his weekends, when he did I took care of them while he slept & drank beer! Just thought he was depressed. I was mentally drained,he lost his job, never got another, working constantly, like a dummy I bought everything, paid all the bills, and a few times on his child support. I lost my job & could function but once I got up into my Psychiatrist and worked out my meds. I started to see so clearly. The look in his eyes & how he would reply "I love you!" Never eye contact, and I love you too with compassion just no emotion. Oh the sex part! Ok he would want constant sex, and ask if that was bad of him! He had to masturbate very frequently. The more I gave it to him he would get on porn sights~not a problem till my mom found where he had got on a locals sight x4, registered, & looking for locals to meet and have sex! He was sex addict. My mom finally approached me & told what really was going on b/c my mind had been so clouded. My husband was caught stealing from my family a few times, denied everything about the stealing, porn, whatever you caught him on! Like we were the crazy ones. I was working multiple night shifts, and I happen to walk down the stairs, and listen to him on the phone w/his ex-wife about I just love my bed,how unhappy he was, and talking about going to stay with her! Well I kicked him out real quick without regret, other than it was my first marriage & not how I imagined it ending~but lucky I didn't lose everything including myself! I thought I WAS ahead of the game. It's not a game with them at all, it's life,reality,&you don't matter! Run Run fast b/c they will tear u to pieces, and charming@ the sametime! You'll be so insane your mind is no longer your own, & everything is theirs & so are you. But your nothing to them, no empathy, sympathy, love, & for the sane ones you'll never be able to rationalize how their mind lacks those components. Not even in 48hrs he was back with his ex-wife, called about his stuff. I asked if he was back together & having sex. And he said " Yes, and it's your fault, you made it this way b/c you kicked me out." Went on to say I have to use her to survive, and take care of my family now. 2 days later my husband has a NEW family, no talk of divorce, can't even find him now! Just left destruction behind like a tornado but I thank god for my life and sanity back!! I can only imagine how many our out there. I UNDERSTAND it's a mental illness but reality is you'll end up mental, and not much hope for them!! Sorry to say

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (29 March 2008):

A friend of mine is presently in a relationship with someone I believe to be a sociopath, he has many of the traits. They have known each other for about 11 months now, and in that time, he has hurt her twice, not physcially, but emotionally. It is obvious that he is not capable of being a committed relationship with her, they are no longer going out with one another, but he still calls her to see her, and because she loves him, she never turns him turn. He can be a really sweet person, but at times, he is just plain weird and is a labled a loser by people who know him, not so much by his friends, but people who he has come in connect with. She knows that he has lied to people and even lied to another female recently in order to win her over, which may I add, is not working out for him at all cause obvious this other person has him pegged for the person he is, which is a fake. My friend needs to run as far away from him as she can, but sorry to say, at this time, she is still hooked cause sociopaths are good at what they do, which is manipulate someone who they find weak.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 March 2008):

Sometimes we don't really know someone until we live and expierence them up close. I am a retired nurse and have encourenterd lots of things but this ex bf of mind has really opened my eyes...They don't think that they have a problem so how do u help them??? I also need someone yo talk to about this....

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 February 2008):

I am dealing with this myself right now, it is extremely difficult. Accept and deal with each and every emotion that comes at you and learn from it and move on. Simply give up on them, yet wish them well! It is horrible to love and hate, this is no way too live. Be good to yourself and others, things will change for the better!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (14 February 2008):

I have just had a four year relationship with whom I now believe must be a sociopath having read about it. He asked me to marry him and we were 'married' (or so I thought) in a hotel in austria with many friends and family. I have never been so happy in my life but last November he told me he had prostate cancer and I was destroyed. I tried to get help and wanted to see the consultant only on many occasions to be told that the Doctor we needed to see was not available or called away. I have since found out that I am not legally married, he arranged a ceremony that was not legal, he does not have cancer and he has had sex with a friend of mine having tricked her husband out of the bedroom during the night while I was asleep ( I may have even been drugged). I really need to warn other ladies who are single and looking for love to be so careful. I did all the 'right' things when I met him to give me confidence. I knew his work colleagues and his family but i have since discovered that he was never in their company for too long. Nobody really actually knew him. I could go on and on about the deceit for hours but in a nutshell I can honestly say that ANYONE looking for love, affection and happiness could fall for this person. He was considerate, charming, successful (working in a bank for seventeen years) attractive and all the things a woman looks for. Too good to be true and he was. I was so happy and now he has destroyed any chance of me being in love with another man ever again. However, I will not allow him to ruin the rest of my life but be rest assured nobody will be loved like he was by me and I will never ever even try again. Good luck to anyone in this situation as I still have a while to go I am sure before this is all over. I now have to find a place for me and my daughter to live, to pay all the bills and debts he has left behind and emotionally have to get up and go forward for all my family's sake - not my own - i want to be off this planet!

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A female reader, sheilae United States +, writes (13 January 2008):

Yes he does need help and no this is not his personality. I too subjected myself in awful relationship 7 years on and off too too long. I always knew something was wrong with him but until I became better acquainted with the signs or symptoms of a sociopath it became quite clear and to break off immediately. It has been almost a month, but it is one less month that I am being treated like dirt. It is one month that I am learning to love me again and also realizing I not the sick one here, he is and he isn't going to change. I think alot of us who have experience a relationship with this type of person could write a book of the unimaginable things that we have been through and put up with, but you and I both have to stay strong and heal from this. I would never do this to anyone in my life, so my alternative is I don't want this done to me anymore. Good Luck

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (13 January 2008):

I recently broke off a relationship with a sociopath/bully/narcissitic, etc. In the 7 year relationship on and off. I had put up with sexual and mental torment 95% of the time, but I tolerated it. When that was satisfying enough for him, he would then make horrible comments about my children, my family it just became too much. We have been broken up now for over 3 weeks and in that time, I have read every article pertaining to sociopathic behavior which may me realize even more to get away. These people will only get worse and I am terrified for my life if I was to return. It's not easy, but I would be alive then a statistic!!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (6 January 2008):

Sociopaths can't be helped , they're evil through and through. No matter what you do to try and help the , it's never good enough. Nobody can do anything right in their eyes.

Don't waste anymore time on this whacko , he's damaged goods.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 September 2007):

Hi, i am only 25 years of age and the last four years of my life have been destroyed by a sociopath boyfriend, so much so that i was recently admitted to a mental health unit for a couple weeks because i actually hated myself so much that i wantedf to kill myself,

my ex displayed all the signs you and others mention, cruelty, absolutely no conscience or feeling whatsoever of remorse or guilt when he had treated me or others badly.

He would callm e and his mother the most horrendous and disgusting names you have ever heard. He made me feel like i was crazy constantly telling me i was the one wityh the problem.

all the while, everyone that knew him thought he was some charming wonderful guy and it still makes me sick when i hear people say what i nice guy he is because it is all fake and no one knows the true extent of his evilness.

Steer clear of him, i ket going back and it destroyed my life, people like this leave a trail of destruction behind them ,I lost my job because of the emotional strain i was under when with him and he never ever recognised or apologised for making me so ill. i was sunk even further into depression because of him and losing my job. he was an under acheiver with an alcohol problem and everything was always "everyone elses fault."

He ruined my life and i am just starting to rebuild it. i wouldnt help him if he was the last person on earth, he was never ever there for me and i had to face things alone that would disgust a "real" man.

Stay away from this idiot.

it will only be your life that ends upo wrecked these manipulative bullies like to see as much destruction in their wake as possible.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (27 August 2007):

I too have been with someone who has repeatedly reeled me in and then pushed me away for almost six years. He could be loving and attentive one minute then turn on me over something trivial the next. I was called a slag in bed and always expected to perform as the 'whore' in the bedroom.

Claiming to be unsuccessful with women, he was overly charming and engaging with them on the dancefloor, always denying my existence and has just been accused of sexual harassment at work. Two years ago another female employee was 'paid off' for making claims that he almost pushed her down the stairs.

We have separated too many times to recall, and each time he has wooed me back with words of we should live our lives out together, that he wanted to care for me and marry me. These promises quickly diminished once normality was resumed. These men are dangerous and I now realise I have been a fool standing by him.

He agreed to undergo counselling two years ago when things reached a head, but when I pressurised him he assured me everything was fine between us now and let's put it behind us.

Only the sociopath can decide to get help, but getting them to recognise they have a problem in the first place can only be their decision and theirs alone. As much as you care for your ex, there is nothing you can do to help him.

I too have felt loyalty and pity but have come to realise that I meant nothing to this man; he wasn't there for me in my time of need and I have had to cope alone many many times. Now I have taken the first steps to move on and this time I won't be looking back.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (24 June 2007):

I am recovering from a truly horrible relationship with a man who i now believe to be a sociopath.He displayed many of the traits including charming people in quite a false way, having a criminal past,attempting to get me to sell his house for his gain and showing detached behaviour to my feelings.He gave me no optionin but to throw him out.Within two weeks he had moved in with his next victim and when I confronted him about this he showed no regard for my feelings even sending the police to my house saying I was harassing him and his new girlfriend.He went on to threaten to get me the sack from my workplace.More and more sociopathic tendancies came to light as time went on.If your ex is a sociopath my advice is get on with your life and move on.If you continue a relationship friends or otherwise you will only experience hurt and pain.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 April 2007):

Sociaopaths can't be helped they are hard-wired to be mean and manipulative. Read up on it and then stay away.

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A female reader, elsie United Kingdom +, writes (18 April 2007):

elsie agony auntsorry honey but it sounds like you are getting a little bit fixated on this guy.he is your ex.you dont owe him anything.youll eventually meet someone else.how are they gonna feel if your ex starts relying on you in any way?you do need to move on.its nice that you sound so caring but put some of that energy back into yourself and those that return your caring.you are experiencing normal feelings of regret etc after a relationship ends.because you are caring you may have a bit of guilt over this guys problems.please dont.you need to stop wasting your time.good luck.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (18 April 2007):

Your question is a paradoxical. My ex boyfriend is displaying a lot of signs of a sociopath/serial bully, does he need help or is this just his personality?

The answer is yes and most definately yes and no you should not help him and support him as this is not your job or your duty or obligation or in your realm of expertise to effect any change in him.

He made you feel depressed and suicidal for awhile and you think he emotionally abused you.....it is a shame that you have known him since childhood, here is your chance to break free, take it and wish him well.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 April 2007):

I dated a boy who had serious sociopathic qualities, and he ended up hurting me more than I've ever been hurt in my life. You should be very careful in this sort of situation, because sometimes people like this act in harmful ways to others (even those that they care about) because they have so many inner problems.

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