Have you ever read a book and either the timing was just perfect in your life or the material in the book highlighted a topic that was extremely intriguing to you? It’s an amazing experience to gain knowledge right at the exact moment that you need or want it. That happened to me when I read “Psychopath Free” by Peace.

The anonymous author, Peace, does something that is as hard as describing air; Peace shines light on the insidious nature of being in a relationship with a psycho/sociopath. The reason this is quite an impressive feat is because the psycho/sociopath intentionally mimics aspects of a normal relationship but with very different hidden intentions. Therefore, it is incredibly hard for a normal person to see the abuse happening while in the middle of the confusion manufactured by the psycho/sociopath.

As a counselor, I have been witness to many unhealthy relationships and sometimes they were the garden variety of a coupling between a jerk and a nice person. Other times, the relationship dance was very toxic. I do not buy into the belief that all relationship ills are “fifty-fifty” responsibility.  I have seen time and time again that one person is usually dragging the relationship down. I would put the percentages closer to 60-40, 70-30 or even 80-20% of who is causing the issues and who is not. We all play some role when our relationships are struggling but usually there is one person that is the weaker link of the two. Feel free to visit my previous blogs on this topic at Weakest Link and Not The Weakest Link.

The book “Psychopath Free” states that it is for those “recovering from emotionally abusive relationships with narcissists, sociopaths and other toxic people.” I will say that everyone should read this book! Young, old, married or single. The reason I feel this way is because we all need a knowledge base of what is normal behaviors in a relationship and when should red-flags be going up. Being in a relationship with a psycho/sociopath throws all our previous understood laws of relationships out the window because the psycho/sociopath is intentionally wanting us off balance so we don’t see their game. Books like “Psychopath Free” help to show the pattern of what it is like to be in a very damaging relationship and therefore we are wiser when dating, giving advice to family or friends or within our own relationships.

Reading a book is like looking at a piece of artwork. Everyone will come away with something slightly different, even while looking at the same material. I encourage you to read “Psychopath Free” yourself but I will give you what were the main take-aways for me and paraphrase what I think the author was trying to share with the reader. There is so much goodness in this book and I am only highlighting a few of the points that jumped out for me.

Idealization Stage:  

The idealization stage for a psycho/sociopath is critical. This is where he/she will target a particular person to win them over and essentially brainwash them into thinking they had met the person of their dreams. Peace says “they will feed you constant praise and attention through your phone, Facebook timeline and email inbox.” Within a matter of weeks, the two of you will have your own set of inside jokes, pet names and cute songs.” Now, this might sound like the early stages of all normal relationships but the intent of the psycho/sociopath is very dark. He/she “never truly feels the things they display. They’re observing you, mirroring your every emotion and pretending to ride this high with you.” The psycho/sociopath “love-bombs” the target in order to quickly gain a hook into their victim. Not all psycho/sociopath do this overtly. Some are smart enough to know not to come on too strong or the normal person will flee. A psycho/sociopath is a master of reading people and figuring out just the right amount of attention to give during this idealization stage in order to gain the results of the victim believing that something very special is taking place between them.

During the idealization stage, Peace states that six major points will be employed by the psycho/sociopath:

1) We have so much in common
2) We have the same hopes and dreams
3) We share the same insecurities
4) You are beautiful (handsome)
5) I’ve never felt this way in my life
6) We are soul mates

That all sounds really great right? Sounds like two people falling in love and the normal beginning of a relationship. Sadly, for those involved with a psycho/sociopath, it’s all lies. The normal person believes they have met their soul mate who is so much like them, but in reality, they have met a con who is manufacturing love feelings within the normal person. The  psycho/sociopath wants the normal person to be hooked on the attention because guess what is coming next? The stage in which the psycho/sociopath begins to create heartbreak for the normal person. It’s all part of the game and entertainment for the psycho/sociopath. Crazy right?

Devaluing Stage:

Once the psycho/sociopath is sure that he/she has the normal person on the hook, they will begin testing the level of dependency they have created within the normal person. Peace shares that the psycho/sociopath will flood the normal person with emails, phone calls, social media posts, texts or other forms of communication that creates an expectancy and routine but once the normal person is brainwashed enough, the psycho/sociopath will suddenly go silent for hours or days at a time and sits back to watch the normal person panic by the sudden change in behaviors. If the normal person says something to the psycho/sociopath, he/she will begin blaming the normal person and name calling such as needy, dependent, crazy, psycho, jealous and other unpleasant things. But the truth is that the psycho/sociopath did it all on purpose to create chaos for the normal person.

During the devaluing stage, the psycho/sociopath will utilize methods to cause distress in the normal person. The silent treatment is one but so is triangulation. According the Peace, this is where the psycho/sociopath will ignore you but spend lots of time on social media interacting with exes and people the psycho/sociopath had previously told you were “crazy” or of no importance to him/her. But they are ignoring you to engage with them so something must be going on. The bottom line is that the psycho/sociopath wants to emotionally destroy the normal person for their own entertainment and in the process make the normal person feel and look crazy.

Another favorite trick of a psycho/sociopath is called gas-lighting.  This is where the psycho/sociopath out right denies previously known facts and will attempt to make the normal person doubt their own memory and re-counting of history. This type of brainwashing can take on different forms but the ultimate outcome is that the psycho/sociopath has fun by suddenly changing the facts and watching the normal person squirm in confusion. Remember though, the normal person thinks he/she has met their soul mate and is deeply committed to the relationship so all these games are intensely painful for the victim.

Discard Stage:

Wait for it…the bottom is about to fall out for the normal person. The psycho/sociopath had successfully love-bombed the normal person into believing they had found their soul mate, started pulling the strings of the normal person for their own entertainment and now the psycho/sociopath is ready for the next victim so he/she must discard the useless one or the one who started to see the game. According to Peace,

“the psychopath carefully selects the most indifferent and heartbreaking way imaginable to abandon you. They want you to self-destruct, cleaning up any loose end as they begin the grooming process with their latest victim. They destroy you as a way to reassure themselves that their new target is better. But most importantly, they destroy you because they hate you. They despise your empathy and love – qualities they must pretend to feel every single day. To destroy you is to temporarily silence the nagging reminder of the emptiness that consumes their soul.”

See why I love this book so much? It describes a hidden agenda within some relationships that is so hard to pin-point that it often leaves the victim blaming themselves and deeply wounded. But there is recovery from intensely toxic relationships with a psycho/sociopath. The last section of “Psychopath Free” goes into great detail of how to walk out of an abusive relationship with a psycho/sociopath and how to get your feet firmly planted back on the ground and actually come out of the experience healthier, wiser and truly happier.

Due to the hidden and dark agenda of a psycho/sociopath, it is important that people educate themselves on the warning signs that these types of people put out and to follow through on No Contact with such individuals. If you find yourself relating to some of what you have read above or have a family member or friend who may be in an emotionally abusive relationship, please reach out to a counselor or trusted confidant and share your story. Isolation is one of the main tools used by abusive people and breaking out of that loneliness can be just the thing that starts the healing process.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to Peace for your work in writing the book, keeping the Facebook page and website going and everything else you are doing to help people heal and be restored from psychopathic abuse. You are a gift to many…

Book Review: “Psychopath Free” by Peace