- Sociopaths are notoriously difficult to spot because most of them are incredibly adept at hiding their true self and their motives. Since childhood the female sociopath may have developed complex and often subconscious methods to deceive her targets. On the surface she appears excessively friendly and charming. In fact, an early warning sign is that you suspect she is too good to be true. She probably is.
- “Occasionally she may let the mask slip. In isolation these incidents can be accidental, but if you witness a number of them, a queen of manipulation may be operating on you.
- “She is an aggressor and she picks fights with opponents who have been duped into believing she is a friend or a lover. Once she befriends her victims, she relies on their reasonableness to forgive her transgressions. However, most of her actions are hidden, because she has learned to fight with invisible weapons and wields them with the deadliness and accuracy of a samurai warrior. Invariably, you don’t see anything until the fight is over and she has won.
- “She is capable of being furious if she is ignored or is not given what she wants. She has mastered the art of expressing an opinion so forcibly and convincingly that it takes on the appearance of being a fact.
- “Her regular tantrums involve swearing, shouting, intimidation and threatens. She will wear people down until, for a quieter life, they agree with her. Interestingly, what she threatens to inflict on others is what she would find most damaging and hurtful to herself. Equally interestingly, she feels criticism and humiliation intensely, even if none is intended or given, and she will fight ferociously to defend what she sees as an attack, whether or not there is one. Sometimes she will create a threat in her mind merely to defend and excuse what she knows to be her own dreadful behavior.
- “She will expect you to keep quiet about her conduct towards you, assuming you will feel shame or embarrassment because you tolerate it. If you collude by maintaining your silence, it perpetuates her behavior. She needs her victims to stay quiet about her. Beware of allowing yourself to get sucked into this game. She’ll take delight in knocking you down a peg or two – for your own good, of course!
- “This attitude demonstrates a lack of concern for other people’s wishes, welfare and rights, and she matter-of-factly shows a blatant disregard for society’s rules, regulations and laws. A petty but common example of this is her blasé attitude towards parking her car. Parking restrictions simply don’t apply to her and parking tickets are stuffed in the glove compartment to be forgotten and left unpaid.
- “Parking fines are not the only unpaid bills that mount up. When the bailiffs call she spins her sob story and plays the victim. Yet the moment they have been persuaded to leave she feels nothing more than contempt for those to whom she owes money. Her definition of a personal loan is often more like a donation; so don’t expect to see your cash again. Don’t ever open a joint bank account with her. She defaults on formal loans, and will almost certainly have a poor credit rating. She may even have stacks of County Court Judgments (CCJs) against her.
- “She routinely fails to honor other promises and commitments. The consequences of her behavior are always somebody else’s problem, not hers. She is never to blame for anything and is highly likely to be one of life’s complainers. Because she’s out to control, she manipulates and punishes at will. She is the witness, the judge, the lawyer, the jury, the executioner – but never the accused.
- “She may believe that antisocial behavior is justified because of her ‘difficult’ circumstances, even though she may have contributed to them. She will break the rules without a second thought, if the end justifies the means…”
- “She believes she is entitled to everything she desires. With an overdeveloped sense of self, working for what she wants is an inconvenience. Hard work is for everybody else. She wants the fast buck and the short-cut to success. Becoming a social parasite is quicker than toiling for anything. And when she pulls it off, she can then congratulate herself on cheating, conning or defrauding others who may be more intelligent or successful than she is.
- “Her every whim must be accommodated. Humility is alien to her. She is self-centered, opinionated and over-confident, and expects to be pampered and treated as superior.
- “She has possibly dabbled at shoplifting to feed her sense of entitlement for whatever she wants and for the ‘buzz’. So obsessed with what she wants, she will ignore or neglect her children while claiming the opposite. She plays the martyr and expects constant attention. Her demanding behavior almost guarantees it.
- “If she is divorced, she may have grown to hate her ex-husband more than she loves her children. She abuses the children by depriving them of access to their father, because she’s punishing him for not delivering what she wanted in a husband. She refuses to consider that she played any role in the marriage break-up.
- “She expects her man to do what she wants to prove his ‘commitment’ to her, and will try to control all aspects of her victim’s life. She insists on choosing his friends, making him account for every moment of his day, making decisions for him, telling him what he can and cannot wear. She may even insist on watching her victims go to the bathroom.
- … They derive pleasure from putting others down and humiliating friends, colleagues, lovers and ex-partners. For some, revenge consumes their lives.
- “If there are any times when you start to suspect that you are being used, she is equally skilled at making you feel bad for thinking such thoughts. Mind you, she will probably never tell you explicitly that you are wrong, except perhaps if you confront her. She may feign shock and surprise that you could possibly think such unkind thoughts.
- “Unreliability goes hand-in-hand with her desire to control. Things always seem to crop up at the last minute making it ‘impossible’ to do what she promised. She is often brilliant at providing rational excuses rather than reasons for her behavior. She makes promises about a bright future but they are always promises of ‘jam tomorrow’.
- “You find, too, that these women are stimulation junkies known for sexual promiscuity, gambling and taking illegal recreational drugs. If something gives the sociopath an adrenaline rush or makes her feel good, even in the short term, she’ll probably give it a try or become addicted to it. This could lead to high-risk behavior, with a reckless disregard for her own safety and that of others. She rarely thinks about the possible or probable consequences of her actions.”
- “The most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.”
“These women want to create the illusion of intimacy quickly and are prepared to take short-cuts. They are full-on and their friendliness positively gushes. They often smile too much, but with their teeth, not their eyes. The woman will say all the right things and appear keen to be seen to make plans with you, but it’s a ploy to gain your affection quickly and hook you in.
- “She will seem very loving and capable of intimacy and will pretend to care. However the intimacy, depth and commitment are illusions. They merely enable her to collect what she wants. Her true colors show only when all other tactics fail.
- “She’s quite happy to steal her best friend’s boyfriend. It’s a great way to prove she has what it takes to be desirable, and simultaneously to prove the shallowness of the man and the delusion of her friend.
- “The picture is emerging of a woman who must get what she desires at all costs and must always be right. Sometimes she will deliberately claim to misunderstand something to justify doing what she wants, even though she knows it is against your wishes. She may cause problems just to attract attention to herself, because she likes to feel important.
- “Creating self-doubt in her victims’ minds is an integral part of her approach. She plays on their reasonableness to give her the benefit of any doubts they may have. She knows that reasonable people don’t like to think badly of others and will often beat themselves up for thinking uncharitable thoughts. She always sounds so convincing. Her approach is intended to make you question whether you were correct in your thoughts about her. It slows you down. It’s meant to.
- “Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door says, ‘The most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.’
“This is a key point. If you take only one message from this book, make it this one. She is probably brilliant at eliciting pity and knows precisely how to do it.
- She may have learned these skills from a young age. Treated like a little princess by her father, she learns to wrap him (and others) around her finger. By learning to get her own way, she perfects the illusion of appearing fragile. She is anything but….
- “She also appears so wonderful, sweet and demure, as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. Of course, she is a chameleon, capable of becoming exactly who her victim needs her to be.
- “She is meticulously turned out, expertly masking her inner personality cracks with flawless make-up, perfect hair and an extensive wardrobe, often paid for by past boyfriends. She may have learned to cover up who she really is by appearing confident and self-assured. Yet underneath this confident and highly manicured exterior may lie an insecure, inadequate and ultra-needy woman.
- “How dysfunctional is the rest of her family? If she looks like the only sane one, she may be the only one who has managed to cover it up!
- “The disguise is so good that nobody would ever suspect that she could do anything unscrupulous. Beware the woman who flatters without offering sincere compliments. Flattery has been described as ‘counterfeit charm’ and is usually a little over the top. She’s probably setting you up to make demands on you or to manipulate you in some other way.
- “She holds grudges too. Her revenge and retribution can be savage and harsh. Surprise is her weapon. Expect the worst, then double it.
- “This woman doesn’t think twice about destroying the reputations, health and well-being or the livelihood of others if they represent obstacles to getting what she wants. She’s the sort who will force you to get down on bended knee to beg forgiveness and then take delight in saying ‘No’. She makes you feel bad to ‘keep you on your toes’.
- “Such women will not be happy until they have ripped the very heart and soul out of their victim. Even then, there is no guarantee they will be any happier. Sadly, most men ignore what their gut instinct is trying to tell them about her, because they think she wants them.”
(The above contains excerpts from Venus: The Dark Side, Copyright ©Roy Sheppard and Mary T Cleary 2007. www.VenusTheDarkSide.com.)