I hope that you can help me with a situation that has been causing me a great deal of concern recently. For some time now I have feared that my sister’s partner is a sociopath. They are recently married and the truth is that most of my family members truly love him and regard him as part of the family. My sister currently seems happy and in love.
To provide you with some background information, my sister’s husband used to date a woman that works in my office. My colleague told me that he was a very difficult person to be around and she has warned me to watch him closely. My colleague explained that at first he seemed like a kind, gentle and charming man. However, the reality was that he was incredibly manipulative and controlling, even stating that due to his complete lack of empathy she believed him to be a sociopath. My colleague has said that he would never apologise, even when he was in the wrong and she has also said that he had a knack of twisting the truth in order to make him appear like a hero in almost every story he told. She noted how he ensured that he was always the centre of attention and craved the spotlight, noting that when around other people, he was a completely different person. Behind closed doors she described how he was often unpredictable, angry, intimidating and very controlling in terms of what he permitted her to do in her spare time. He stopped her from seeing friends and family members that he did not approve of and it even got to the point that he would tell her what to wear. My colleague did say that he never raised his hand to her, however she did say that it took her a great deal of time to recover her confidence after their relationship ended.
I have seen many changes in my sister since she started dating him. She has a whole new wardrobe and sense of style, she has also shut down from many friends in her life and no longer goes out and socialises as she used to. She smiles a lot during family gatherings, yet I watch her carefully and I have noticed that at times when she feels no one is watching she seems strained. She has taken up smoking again, something that she has not done for years. I asked her if everything was okay and assured her that she could confide in me. She told me that she was fine and asked me not to speak of this again. She became angry when I suggested that she talk to my colleague about her experience of life with him.
All of my intuition is telling me that something is not right and that my sister is not truly happy. I feel very uncomfortable around her new husband and so far just aim to avoid him. I am worried for my sister but I also want to be careful not to cause any unnecessary drama or worry for my family.
What should I do?
I look forward to your response,
It may come as a surprise that many experts within the field of psychology believe that as many as one in every twenty five people is in fact a sociopath. Given this common statistic and the details that you have described, it may well be that your suspicions are correct and that your sister’s husband is a sociopath. But what does this mean and should you be worried?
Firstly, let’s clarify that just because somebody is a sociopath does not mean that they are dangerous or even incapable of sustaining a happy marriage. The truth is, it all depends on the individual and how far along the sociopathic scale they are. Perhaps they have just a few of the qualities that make for a sociopath. Let’s look at some of the key signs sociopaths’ possess.
- Superficial charm
- Highly manipulative
- Inability to apologise: Sociopaths will never believe that they are in the wrong.
- Crave drama: Sociopaths possess a need to incite emotional chaos.
- Inability to empathise
Putting the label of sociopath aside, we can all agree that any of the above signs could prove incredibly problematic when it comes to sustaining a happy relationship. Can you imagine life with a partner that is not able to apologise when they are wrong, that loves to create chaos and play manipulative games? Important to note here is that just because a person may hold a number of these characteristics, which would inevitably make life with them more difficult, it does not mean that they are dangerous. That said, it does make it more likely that they could be.
You are in a very tricky position Sonia and I admire your caution. Continue to take your time before making any bold actions. Your main priority is to ensure that you offer the opportunity to your sister to come to you if she ever needs help. Perhaps it would be worth speaking with your sister again and making it clear that she can reach out to you in confidence at any time, day or night if she ever needs to. Express that you are here for her as a sister and that she can trust you. State that your door is always open to her. Beyond that, there is little more that you can do for your sister is a grown adult and it is her decision as to whom she wishes to spend her life with. If you feel worried for her safety at any time, do not hesitate to reach out for help. If your sister does come to you and express a fear for her safety, it is important that you feel able to contact the authorities. If you fear that your sister is in danger, it may also be worth contacting the police in order to express your concern. Trust yourself Sonia, for your intuition will tell you what is the best course of action to take with the information that you have.
Ultimately, as difficult as it seems, you must aim to keep hold of a clear perspective and not allow your imagination to run away with you. It is true, that people who possess sociopathic characteristics are likely to forge toxic relationships. I would recommend doing your research, perhaps even asking your sister or other trusted family members to do the same so that they too know the warning signs of sociopathy and what it is to live with a sociopathic partner. Couples counselling may be beneficial to your sister and her husband if it is that they are struggling and your sister chooses to make her relationship work.
Whether your sister appreciates it or not Sonia, keep in mind that you have her best interests at heart. She is lucky to have a sister like you.
Wishing you peace of mind,
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