Posts Tagged: sociopath

What His Anger is Really Hiding

If you love a man with anger problems, you have probably felt hurt and overwhelmed by his behavior at times. Maybe you wonder if you could have done something to prevent the angry outburst. Maybe you feel responsible to control or pacify his temper. Women who are married to men with anger problems can feel desperate for them to change but powerless to do anything about it.

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Anger can feel scary, mean, and even threatening. When a woman feels the full force of her husband’s anger, a deep abandonment, coupled with fear occurs in the psyche. This abandonment/fear mechanism inside a woman can have a traumatizing affect leaving her with primal response of fight/flight/freeze. If you’ve ever been in this situation, you know the feeling I mean. You realize how utterly vulnerable you are to the man you love and who you trust to love you back.

When I see couples where the husband presents with anger problems, I try to understand exactly what’s going on. Sometimes, the anger is really a secondary response to other untreated problems. The untreated problems have been stuffed, hidden, repressed, and denied for so long, they turn into unpredictable anger outbursts affecting the family and the marriage.

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The Problems that Masquerade as Anger

  • Untreated ADD: people with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder often have difficulty with emotional  and mental self-regulation. When uncomfortable emotions are experienced, people with untreated ADHD often lack the inhibitory capacity to censor emotional reactions. Combine impulse control with rage and you can see how this could be a big problem.
  • Untreated Anxiety: When I am treating a man with an anger issue, I often find that anxiety is their root problem. I like to explain anger as anxiety’s stunt double. The anger is the emotion that gets the most attention, but behind the quick temper, the agitation, and the volatility, anxiety is in the driver’s seat.  They report feeling keyed up, stressed out, sleepless, worried, out of control, fearful, and even panicked. Identifying and treating the anxiety can offer a lot of relief to both the man and his family.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Trauma or life-threatening events can cause upsetting memories, hyper arousal, increased agitation, distrust, and negative changes in one’s thoughts and beliefs. Trauma causes a person’s response to threat to become stuck. So when normal stressors come along, they react with “full activation,” as if their life were threatened. This automatic anger response can create serious problems  on the job and at home. 
  • Addiction: People can become addicted to many substances and activities like marijuana, alcohol, sex and gambling. When people become dependent and begin to abuse these mood altering drugs, they lose the ability to self regulate. The addiction becomes a sickness, and the need for the next high drives the person into acting ways he normally wouldn’t. Rage, denial, deceit, defensiveness, blame, and physical violence are all indicators that use has turned into abuse.
  • Narcissistic or Sociopathic Personality: Men who have pervasive disregard for how their actions affect others, marked with hostility, recklessness, aggressiveness, deceitfulness, lawlessness and abuse for personal pleasure. These personalities can often make people believe the best in them or feel sorry for them, pulling people in just to take advantage of them. This type of personality will use his anger to manipulate, threaten, scare, control and dominate without care for who he hurts along the way. They leave a wake of relationship wreckage, broken trust, and a past with immoral and even criminal activity. These men with anger problems are particularly dangerous because they prey on those they see as weaker, and are not bound to social or moral norms or conscience.

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If you are married to a man who struggles with anger, it is important for him to seek support to learn to regulate his emotions. When anger is driving a man to say and do things that hurt other people, serious consideration needs to be made about seeking help. Counseling, support groups, trauma therapy, medication treatment and meditation are all ways for men struggling with anger to learn new coping strategies. You don’t have to endure out of control anger or fear provoking rage. It is important to seek help immediately.

If you are married to a man who uses anger to manipulate, control, or threaten, be careful. These are dangerous tendencies that you need to recognize as abusive. Getting support to help you know your options and keep yourself safe is very important. Click here for next steps. Anger is a normal feeling that all people have, and is necessary for healthy functioning. However, when anger gets out of control, boundaries and accountability are needed to keep safe and secure.

Cracking the Secret Code of Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychological Manipulators: Part II

Whether you deal with them in business or relationships, narcissists, sociopaths and psychological manipulators can make life difficult if not down right scary. In the beginning, you may have hoped that your relationship could be successful, maybe even remarkable. But slowly as you got to know him, the shiny veneer wore off and you saw the darker side. The rules are simply mind over matter: as in “he doesn’t mind, and you don’t matter.”


There are tell tale signs and predictable behaviors that can alert you to the psychologically manipulative personality. In fact, if you missed the Part I in the series, you can click here for a refresher of the top 10 tactics used to manipulate you.

But there are signs inside of yourself that can alert you to psychologically manipulative people too. Here are some practical ways to understand the unwritten rules to the narcissistic game.

Crack their Secret Code by Listening to Your Own Feelings

You may not know exactly what he is doing or why he is doing it, but you can know how you feel about it. It is impossible to know what is going on inside someone esles’ head or heart. It’s especially difficult to recognize motive if pscyhological manipulation is used to hide that motive.  Often times we can’t quite put our finger on it, but we know something is wrong. This article will help you identify your own feelings so you can better trust your red flags. Your feelings can tell you a lot about another person. Here are the emotions you may feel when encountering a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator:



  1. Exhilaration: First, you may feel excited about the opportunity you have as he sets his sites on you. You feel special, wanted, and you believe his promises. Like a drug, you may feel like you just can’t get enough of his high. At first.
  2. Confusion: Second, you feel confused because there’s things about him that don’t add up. His actions don’t match with his words. His body language doesn’t match with what he says. You want to believe what he has promised, but the way he talks, or the way he treats people makes you concerned about his true intentions. You reason with yourself and decide there is nothing to worry about- that his good traits outweigh his bad traits.
  3. Self doubt: Third, you feel guilty for doubting him, judging him or questioning him. You wonder if you are the one with the problem, not him.  You notice that you’re self esteem is down, and you don’t feel good about yourself as you once did. You start to second guess yourself, not knowing who or what to trust.
  4. Whirl Wind of Emotions: Next, you start to feel crazy. You try to please him, but he seems so unpredictable. You try to do what he wants, but something always upsets him. You never know what you’re going to get with him. Elation turns to fear, and you try hard to use reason to figure out how to make this thing work.
  5. Disappointment: You start to realize that the promises are not going to come true, that you are being taken advantage of, and things aren’t going to get better. You start to feel a sense of dread. Feeling helpless to change him, you fear being trapped in this relationship indefinitely.
  6. Regret: Finally, you feel such a sense of regret over trusting him, you start to blame yourself. You wonder if his mistreatment was really your fault. You say things to yourself like, “I should have known better,” and “What did I do to deserve this kind of treatment?” You may not see a way out, and the guilt feelings seem to overwhelm you.


Sometimes the sociopathic static is so loud, recognizing how you really feel is difficult.  Spending some time evaluating how you feel and why will give you important information. When dealing with a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator, your emotions may seem out of control. Finding someone to help you sort through them is a good first step. When you have the freedom to share openly and honestly about your true feelings, your load won’t seem so heavy. A professional counselor can help you put a plan together to fit your unique relationship circumstances.

If you believe you are dealing with a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator, take steps to give yourself some needed distance and perspective. Disengaging from this personality type will seem uncomfortable and even scary, but necessary for your health and wholeness.


The Real Reason We are Attracted to Bad Boys, Narcissistic Users and Sociopathic Abusers

Have you ever wondered why you are attracted to bad boys? The narcissistic, emotionally unavailable guys your mother warned you about? Or the charming man who turns out to be a certified sociopath? If you dig a little deeper into the Bad Boy persona, you may very well find a narcissistic user, a sociopathic abuser, or a psychologically manipulative woman eater. Feeling attracted to a bad boy isn’t a bad thing, but falling in love with one expecting to get love back will leave you very disappointed.

Some say that women’s caretaking nature is piqued when they encounter someone “hard to love.” Perhaps the nurturing nature in women needs to reach the unreachable or love the unlovable. Others say that the Bad Boy represents a challenge to women and “fixing” him is a great ego boost. Here are the real reasons why you are attracted to Bad Boys.

1. Because Sociopathic Snakes are Sneaky

Remember the man-cub Mowgli in the Disney classic, “The Jungle Book?” Mowgli was a sweet, innocent boy all alone in the world and down on his luck when Kaa the snake just “happened along”. Disguising himself as a helpful friend, Kaa lured Mowgli into an unconscious slumber with the hypnotic power of his alluring gaze. The same thing happens to women everywhere.  Although your inner alarm systems warn you that things seem a little “off,” you decide to trust anyway. The promises are a direct hit, the sales pitch pitch-perfect, and the lies taste so sweet, you just want more.

The Snake has uncanny ability to hide his true self and intentions, making him seem like something he is not. All the while, you are being hunted, stalked and groomed by a predator. This process may feel like being romantically pursued, but make no mistake; he sees you as prey to be controlled and ultimately consumed.

He is unable to connect, to feel, or to have intimacy because reptiles don’t have the brain capacity to do that. Reptiles don’t stay in pods, or flocks, or herds. They live cold-blooded, slithering, loner lives hunting and consuming prey. They are great for insect and rodent population control but not for tenderhearted relationships. The trouble is you may not know he is a Snake until you get too close. You don’t know he is poised to strike, until he strikes you.


2. Because Your Inner Cave Woman is Really (REALLY) Enticed.

The Bad Boy is a symbol of all that your inner primitive cave-woman would find attractive: strength, virility, self-reliance, competitiveness, and confidence. All these characteristics make him a good catch to your inner cave woman. With all that machismo to protect, provide, and carry on the species- all the bells and whistles go off in the primitive part of your brain, and well, you’re turned on.

If the Bad Boy sets his attentions on you, you may find it difficult to resist. It feels flattering, ego-boosting, and sexually stimulating. The sex appeal can be astonishingly strong. He’ll say and do things that “respectable” boys won’t.  There is something thrilling about getting the manliest, macho-est (is that a word ?), smartest, or richest man in the room to take notice of “little-ole-you.” There is nothing wrong, sick, or misplaced about being attracted to a Bad Boy. However, to pursue him with hopes of making him truly love you is just north of crazy. He does not love. He possesses.

3. Because Narcissists has Convincing Groupies

Often times, the bad boy or narcissistic user will keep other respectable-looking people around him lending to his credibility and trustworthiness. I call them Groupies. It can be difficult to see the true identity of the Narcissistic User and Sociopathic Abuser if he often keeps other seemingly “good” people around making him look good. He may be edgy, or rude, or hostile or temperamental, but if he has “good” people around him making him look good, you dismiss his bad character traits.

4. Because You Have a Dream of  Making the Bad Boy Love You

You want to look past the bad so you can keep the image of what he could become always in your mind. You overlook the bullying, badgering, threats, and domination in order to keep your dream alive that someday your bad boy will turn into the man he was destined to be. You are the only one who believes in him, the only one who can see past the jerk on the outside to see the hurting boy on the inside. You hold the dream for both of you, and you’d rather die than give it up. You carry the hope, the responsibility and the work load of the dream for the both of you, often letting him completely off the hook from his end of the deal.


5. Because No One Showed You What True Love Is

There is one thing you have in common with every woman who has ever loved the Bad Boy, the Narcissistic User or the Sociopathic Abuser:  you thought you could get something from him that you couldn’t get for yourself—whether it be love, affirmation, validation, promotion, acceptance, or to just feel special. You believed that he could fill the hole, meet the need, be the miracle you always wanted. But he can’t love or affirm you because he’s too busy doing those things for himself.

You may have experienced feeling minimized, forgotten, used or neglected in the past, and have since grown numb to red flags. Maybe you have difficulty recognizing abuse, because people made excuses for it in your past and you were forced to accept those excuses to survive. Original abuses from the past may have set you up for future abuse from the Bad Boy, the Narcissistic User and the Sociopathic Abuser.

6. Because You Overlooked your Red Flags

If you are used to judgmental criticisms, emotionally abusive manipulation, shame-filled accusations, or unapologetic arrogance from your family of origin, you may overlook those things in your current relationship with a Bad Boy. You may have witnessed him hurting others without apology, calling names, talking with vulgarity, lying to someone, acting possessively, or ranting and raving. You may have overlooked or excused these things because unconsciously, you’re familiar with this kind of “bad” behavior from your family of origin.

The hope and promise of getting the unloving person to love you, the abandoning person to stay , or the egomaniac to think you’re special is so alluring that it’s deafening compared to any weak danger signals going off.

If you had to excuse other’s bad behavior just to survive growing up, it is unbelievably easy to excuse the dark side of the Bad Boy, the Narcissistic User or the Sociopathic Abuser. Making excuses for him instead of being alarmed by his degrading behavior, unfortunately just comes natural.


7. Because Bad Boys Seem So Perfect at First

Women often tell me that they never saw it coming. They never suspected the man they loved would end up being abusive, unfaithful, or wholly self-centered. One reason why you don’t suspect the User or Abuser’s true intentions is because they are highly skilled at creating false personas. You may have experienced something like a “love bomb” in the beginning of the relationship. Maybe he wouldn’t stop calling or giving you gifts or saying flattering things or showing signs of possessiveness right away. He bombed you with “good” things so you would look past the bad.

They are master manipulators, often craftily mixing things you know to be true with things you’re unsure of, until you push past reason and logic in order to believe them. Pathological lying is a skill. They practice until it’s nearly impossible to tell the fraudulent from the real. Everything looks right and sounds right, even though it does not feel right. He simply looks too good to be true… until he’s got you hooked, utterly dependent on him, and scared to leave.

What to Do if You’re Attracted to the Bad Boy, Narcissistic User or Sociopathic Abuserdanger-sign

Traumas, childhood neglect or abuse, and punctured self-esteem set women up to fall in love with bad boys, narcissistic users and sociopathic abusers. If you have traumatic neglect or abuse from the past, his selfish nature can draw you to him like a polar magnet. Even though your head, your friends, and your family may be telling you, “He’s not good for you,” you can fall for him anyway. It can feel impossible to say “no,” to his pull.

Step 1). The first step is to be aware of your tendency to be attracted to unhealthy partners. You may be aware now of your longing to be loved from partners who don’t have the capacity or willingness to give you that love. It’s like trying to draw water from an empty well.  It is important to hear and to trust the uneasy, slimy feeling you get when something looks too good to be true. Once you’ve realized this painful pattern, you can do something about it.

Step 2). The second step is to get help. Habits, patterns and love attractions are not easy to break and require some concerted team effort. Since, the initial attraction, chemistry and romantic feelings wear off eventually, it’s important to put your time and energy into changing more permanent character traits with-in yourself. You can do this by healing past traumas, breaking free of ineffective self-talk, learning healthy self-respect, and asserting your needs. You are worthy of feeling loved and valued. Getting supportive counseling can help you recover from Bad Boy Attraction once and for all.

Step 3). Pray. Seriously. The bad boy, narcissistic user and sociopathic abuser carry a dark cloud around with them. That dark cloud is not easily chased away just because you break up. Ask your friends or family to pray with you for safety, strength and provision. Pray for protection as you begin your new life, and for courage to stand strong against any attempts at getting you back in his clutches.

My “Relationship Savvy” blog gives you tips, advice, and flippin’ fantastic feel-goods to help with your most difficult relationship challenges.

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