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Am I A Sociopath?

Question:

I was in a serious relationship with my boyfriend for a little over 3 years. Things were great in the beginning. Then, I started getting upset over things he would do, like putting friends and drugs before me. We eventually got passed that until I did something unreal.

He had a best friend who treated me like I was lower than dirt. I felt like everything with his friend was a competition between him and I. Until one day, when my boyfriend and I got into a huge fight, his best friend was the one there to comfort me and I ended up sleeping with him. After that one time I should have just told my boyfriend what had happened but I didn’t. His friend started using it against me and, before you knew it, I ended up sleeping with him multiple times over a span of about a year. My boyfriend would ask if anything was going on and I would continue to lie and say, “no.”

After he found out we did, he wanted to know everything, and I still continued to lie about what had actually happened. I blamed every little bit on his friend when I was at fault in some way too. I mean I did go through with it and all. But, after this incident, I realized that was how I attempted solving all my problems, by lying because, in my head, thats the easier way out.

Every time my boyfriend would ask me something I didn’t want him to know about I either stretched the truth or just flat out lied about the whole thing. I do that with every situation though, not just involving my boyfriend and me. I wish I could go back in time and do things differently. Unfortunately, I only feel the most sorry when I see him upset about it.

When things are fine, I’m fine. He’s told me multiple times that I’m manipulative and do whatever I can at that certain time to better myself and no one else. He always tells me it’s like a game to me. I would always tell him he was wrong, and then I Googled, “pathological liar,” and I found a website about sociopaths instead. After reading multiple websites about it, I feel as if maybe he was right. And now I don’t know what to do.

Can you please help me with some advice? I’m begging you.

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Answer:

I find some humor in the thought I had when I read your E. Mail that, if you are a sociopath, you would not be writing to me about it. I suppose what I am saying is that you probably wouldn’t care if you truly fit that diagnosis. Another way of saying this is that just because someone lies from time to time, does not define them as a sociopath.

Perhaps the question you need to ask yourself is, “why do you lie?” People are motivated to do this for a variety of reasons. For example, fear and anxiety cause some people to hide certain things they do. They may fear that, if they tell the truth, there may be terrible consequences. One of these consequences can be the fear that they will no longer be loved.

Guilt is a powerful motivation for telling lies. Self punishment, embarrassment and shame have been known to cause people to withhold the truth. There is probably no worse punishment than one’s own sense of shame about something that was done.

Another motivating factor behind telling lies is to protect the other person. In your case, protecting your boyfriend, along with feelings of guilt, may have caused you to lie. Underlying much of all of this there are frequently feelings of low self esteem.

If you and your boyfriend want to build a strong relationship, you need to build mutual trust. Without that, there will always be the danger that the two of you will dissolve as a couple. Secrets have a way of slowly destroying a couple’s ability to be together.

My thought for you is that psychotherapy could be helpful for you. In therapy, you could learn healthier ways of coping with stress and anxiety than either withholding truth or telling outright lies.

Best of Luck

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