A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.


The Sociopathic Partner

He is a sociopath masquerading under a schizophrenia diagnosis, the doctor said.  Actually, today we don't commonly call them sociopaths.  It is more common to say they have an antisocial personality disorder.  Individuals with this disorder cab appear very charming and become involved in relationships, but to them, the relationship is in name only. They so easily end them whenever necessary or when it suits them. They seem to have an innate ability to find the weakness in people, and are ready to use these weaknesses to their own ends through deceit, manipulation, or intimidation, and gain pleasure from doing so. The doctor's words made me think about more than one relationship that I have been in.

DSM-IV Definition

Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a lack of regard for the moral or legal standards in the local culture. There is a marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules. Individuals with this disorder are sometimes called psychopaths or sociopaths.

Diagnostic Criteria (DSM-IV)

1. Since the age of fifteen there has been a disregard for and violation of the right's of others, those right's considered normal by the local culture, as indicated by at least three of the following:
A. Repeated acts that could lead to arrest.
B. Conning for pleasure or profit, repeated lying, or the use of aliases.
C. Failure to plan ahead or being impulsive.
D. Repeated assaults on others.
E. Reckless when it comes to their or others safety.
F. Poor work behavior or failure to honor financial obligations.
G. Rationalizing the pain they inflict on others.

2. At least eighteen years in age.

3. Evidence of a Conduct Disorder, with its onset before the age of fifteen.

4. Symptoms not due to another mental disorder.

The sociopath is manipulative and cunning.  Although they may appear charming, they also possess another side which they hide well.  In fact, they are really rather hostile and domineering seeing their victim as someone to be used; hence, they often dominate and humiliate their victims.(My ex loved to dominate and humiliate me out in public.  He took great joy in calling me names and watching me cringe with embarrassment.  A true sociopath, he never said he was sorry.)

The sociopath has a rather grandiose sense of self.  He/she feels entitled to certain things as their right, and they know how to manipulate to get what they want.  (My ex was an actor; not a big actor, but he had some 'bit' parts, but according to him, he was 'the star'.  He made it impossible to be happy for him.  He also worked as a 'bouncer' in a New York City nightclub.  He made $50 a night.  In those days, that wasn't a bad paycheck.  I worked at the time as a case coordinator for a city run home care agency.  If the ex got an acting call on one of those days he was supposed to work at the club, he told me that 'I' had to give him the $50 to make up the pay he was losing, like I owed him...and like a fool, I always handed it to him.) 

The sociopath is pathological liar.  He has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. He has the ability to create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. He can be very convincing and has even able to pass lie detector tests. (One trait the ex wasn't very good at, but I did have an old boyfriend who could look me in the eye and tell me a tale so huge that I had to wonder how gullible he really thought I was.)

The sociopath lacks feelings of remorse, shame or guilt.  There is a deep-seated rage which is split off and repressed at his core. He does not see others around him as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way. (I have a knot on my leg to this day, a result of being hit with a chair while the ex was having a fit of rage.  I was never a person to him; at first I was a target since I was such a naive country gal and once he had snared me, I became the victim.  No matter what he did to me, how much he ever hurt me both physically and emotionally, I never heard the two words, 'I'm sorry'.  And that's because he NEVER was sorry.)

The sociopath has a need for stimulation. He lives on the edge. Promiscuity and gambling are common.  (My ex was a gambler.  While I was at work, he would be hanging out in the neighborhood OTB all day.  Sometimes he would win, but I never saw any of that.  Even though he always had me replenish his losses from my salary, he NEVER shared his winnings.  That was 'his' money, and according to him, "I didn't deserve any of it.')

The sociopath is callous and suffers from a lack of empathy.  He is unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them. (One night I was very sick.  I had the flu and had bruised my ribs by coughing so much.  Feverish, I was barely able to take care of myself, let alone two young boys.  He was going out, and I begged him to stay home and help.  He just sneered at me and said, 'Too bad.  You're just going to have to take care of them the best you can.' and he left.  Later, a neighbor had to take me to the emergency room.) 

The sociopath has poor behavioral controls.  Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. The sociopath believes that he is all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others. (Everyone here knows my story.  The rage and abuse I was subjected to.  The small expressions of love were generally lacking, but one must realize that women in an abusive relationship over time begin to associate abuse with love.)

Other Related Qualities: 

Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them 
Authoritarian, rules the household
Paranoid  (Had to touch on this one.  When the ex was struck with a cab one night, he literally blamed me for it, stating that 'I wished it on him.')
Conventional appearance 
Goal of enslavement of their victim(s) 
Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life 
Incapable of real human attachment to another 

Sounds pretty much like an abusive husband, doesn't it? 


  1. In reading this one, I recognize one of my daughters many personalities.....

  2. I'm in an abusive, cross-racial, cross-cultural marriage in which Iam 11 years older than my "abuser/sociopath". Married 22 years. It has gone from bad to worse. The last 7 years of which, he has had a girlfriend who he says he prefers to me. He defends her right to be his girlfriend, even though he's married. He brags about her to me. And still, I don't leave. What's wrong with me? I know what's going on, but always feel responsible for him and stay. He will not leave me, but prefers to stay and torture me ... and I let him! My sense of self is destroyed and my strength is gone. I'm exhausted from taking care of him ... and still, I don't leave. Will someone please push me onto the tracks - please. I'm 66 years old and my life is in constant trauma. I'm frightened for my life and my spirit is bruised. And, I'm stuck, like a merry go round going nowhere. Help. Lynda