Sociopathic Tendencies - Boredom
Everyone experiences boredom or the need for additional stimulation from time to time. Most of us have a million things we can fill it with. Notice the operative word in the previous sentence is “fill”. Boredom is a feeling of emptiness, and we attempt to “fill” it with something. Maybe seeing a movie with a friend, a bubble bath and a glass of wine, cleaning the garage, or maybe just reaching out to a loved one with that phone call you’ve been meaning to make but haven’t been able to get around to. A lot of the time, we fill it with relationship elements—worrying, caring, loving, hoping, believing, dreaming—and that’s enough to fill our time.
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The Plague of the Sociopath
A sociopath experiences boredom on a different level than most. While they still experience it as a feeling of emptiness, sociopaths do not have the normal capacity to fill that emptiness. In addition, it is believed that they have a much higher than normal tolerance to stimulation, and hence need high, sometimes extreme, levels of stimulation to cure their boredom. Boredom is a chronic, horrible emptiness to a sociopath and they will devote a huge amount of time to filling it. Since they do not love or empathize, and cannot sustain relationships involving feelings, they can’t fill it by spending time with people they love or care for. For a sociopath, spending time with someone they aren’t getting any benefit from feels more like a chore. Sociopaths have to pretend that others matter, fake concern and emotion, and that can take a lot of unnecessary energy. Where the empathetic individual will be content having dinner with friends to fill their boredom, a sociopath needs the equivalent of jumping on a roller-coaster and not tightening the safety belt. Then, as quickly as it began, the ride is over, the emptiness reappears and it’s time to devise a newer, more exciting way to fill it.
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Trouble for the Sociopath
Boredom can cause a lot of trouble for the sociopath. While they usually realize there will be a consequence for their actions, they only tend to care if it threat is immediate. Sociopaths are very childlike in their behavior on many, many levels and most have maturity and impulse control that average that of a normally developed three-year old. They recognize and know inappropriate behaviors, but when the need for stimulation over-rides the desire to avoid an unwanted consequence, the unwanted consequence becomes a simple background thought. The need for stimulation reigns supreme. Whatever cheap thrill, or expensive thrill, depending on who they can manipulate into paying, they come up with, they are going to do their best to follow through with. The more time they have to prepare, the more twisted and devious the plan becomes.
Sociopaths will engage in very risky behaviors to cure their boredom. Some are promiscuous, some exhibit drug and alcohol abuse. Others may make a habit of stealing. Risk creates excitement for them--an adrenaline rush that comes as close as they can get to a feeling of fulfillment. One sociopath I know very well engaged in several risky behaviors at once, having numerous affairs while she was married, abusing alcohol and drugs simultaneously in a binge like fashion, and became quite an adept shoplifter. She ended up leaving her husband and abandoning her two children for another sociopath. I've often wondered how that relationship works for her. He keeps her on a very tight leash, controlling everything she does. The last time I saw her she looked about 60 years old. She is only 40. "Crazymaking", or creating drama, also is a big time filler for a sociopath. Even after abandoning her children, she continued to fight her husband for custody for a year and a half, never once sending a birthday or Christmas card or calling one of their cell phones to say hello, let alone taking them on her court awarded every other weekend schedule. It came down to creating drama, telling lies, manipulating the court system and making her now ex-husband pay.
How to Spot a Sociopath
A very common description of sociopathic behavior is the inability to connect, especially to people. There may seem like a connection, but there is no bond. Sociopaths often neglect or abandon their families, including their children. Or, the connection looks more like ownership. They see their children as an extension of themselves, and not an individual and treat the child more like an object. Do you remember the Texas Cheerleader scandal? Those moms exhibited some serious sociopathic tendencies. If they can use the child to make themselves look 'normal' and 'caring' to outsiders, they will do it. When they get home behind closed doors, it's a whole different story. They don't really care about the child's well-being, they care that their reputation is guarded. They may try out different hobbies in an attempt to blend in, but most often, do not commit unless they are reaping some unknown benefit by making connections in certain social circles. They don't even care what's on t.v. Their eyes are often described as being hollow, like there isn't anything behind them. I often compared it to my grandfather, who had severe dementia. On bad days, it was like he was looking through me. His eyes became so cold and lifeless. It is the same with many sociopaths. You will always remember the look once you've witnessed it.
The Bigger They Are, They Harder They Fall
There is a website that is run by and frequented by sociopaths. I wish I could attribute the source, but for the life of me I cannot. If I remember correctly, he was asking how other sociopaths deal with boredom. This self-declared sociopath went on to state that he isn’t really even good at acting out emotional responses and that he could easily be figured out if “empaths” (the term sociopaths commonly use to identify non-sociopaths) didn’t automatically assume everyone else was like them.
Because he can’t connect, it is easy for him to use others as a source of folly rather than companionship. He isn’t even good at pretending to enjoy others’ company, but because it is so difficult for us to grasp that concept, our mind won’t even entertain the thought. It’s easier to believe in Santa--we at least have a conceptualization of him! What eventually happens is that his disdain for what he sees as our pitiful, weak, empathetic nature encourages him to manipulate it and break it down, and then we fulfill his boredom. The more powerful or intelligent we are, the bigger the thrill.
How to Identify a Sociopath
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Inside the Mind of a Sociopath
What if You Become a Victim
It is estimated that 1 out of every 25 people in the United States is a sociopath. The true numbers will never be known, because most blend in with society and go on about their lives just as everyone else does. Remember, though, that they are many times EXTREMELY charming individuals, so it is easy to get caught up in their game. If you find yourself in contact with a sociopath, the best thing you can do is completely stop all contact. Do not become immersed in their game. If you care about people, you cannot win. Don't believe you can change them. You cannot change someone who is fundamentally and physically incapable of feeling love and empathy. Do not believe you can love them enough or that you will be enough to make them want to change. They do not know how, nor do they care enough to try. The safest, best thing you can do is break off all contact. Do not go on a mission to make other people see their true character, you will end up looking crazy. Let them go and do not look back. There are many caring communities available to help you through your struggle. Check out www.lovefraud.com to start. Tell your story and begin the healing process.
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