Orsolya's Reviews > The Sociopath Next Door

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
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's review
Aug 15, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: the-brain

I once dated a boy (he is certainly not worth calling a “man”) who was a drug addict, physically and mentally abusive, sex-obsessed, and a cheater. Basically, every single bad trait rolled into one. Somehow, he had an undeniable charm and was able to hide his crazy pills until I was in too deep (by deep, I mean having quit my job and moved in with him per his persuasion). After about a year of pure hell, day in and day out of him having the nerve to tell me that I’m the crazy one; I suddenly woke up and realized that something is wrong with him. Perhaps I should have taken note when his aunt told me he had been in and out of rehab in the past.

Long story short, we broke up and it took me many months to heal from the broken pieces. More so than a “normal” break-up, I was suffering from picking up the pieces of physical and metal abuse, unemployment per his whim, and being upset at myself that I “fell” for him in the first place. Self-pity at its finest. During this time, one of my neighbors handed me this book and I am 100% sure that this ex of mine is a sociopath.

Granted, I had some issues with book. A quick read, at times moving as quickly as a fictional novel; and not a good one at that. I expected deep scientific research, experiments, and proven hypotheses but instead found the book to be more of the author’s opinions based on previous studies. That is all well and said, but I like to read backup information. Some of Stout’s “stories” were even based on hypothetical characters and situations. Situations, which are written on an elementary-level.

My biggest pet-peeve is that her annotated usages are short and much outdated. I recall being in school and having the teachers jarringly state that we can’t use sources which are more than a year old. Apparently, Stout never had any of those teachers. Information and scientific research changed daily so I can’t just accept her sources which were almost a decade old.

Despite my complaints, this book does succeed in opening one’s eyes to possibility that sociopaths surround us in our daily lives. A terrific introduction book, if you will. Regardless of solid facts or not, this book described my ex to a ‘T’ and that is all I needed to know that I wasn’t the crazy one.
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03/25/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Booksdingle (new) - added it

Booksdingle Oh this sounds familiar....I was once in a very similar relationship, not abusive but definitely with a sociopath....don't beat yourself up about it, you were probably like me and thought not only could someone not be all bad but that you could also help him - I guess too you probably picked out his good traits and glossed over the bad ones until the point where you thought enough is enough - It took me a long time to get over my ex sociolpath too and sometimes I still worry about him but have come to the conclusion that you can't help someone like that esp if they don't want to help themselves - I hear that my ex is still causing trouble and still not amounting to anything - I am now happily settled with a brilliant loving man and often think, lucky escape! I shall read this book and see if I can spot my ex - I am sure I will - thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Orsolya Thanks for the support and kind words! Honestly, it wasn't even just that I glossed over his bad traits; I was so blinded that I didn't even see the bad traits while in the relationship. Everyone else did but I ignored them. I was convinced that we were in love. Obviously, looking back, we weren't but I was "in too deep". The break-up was brutal. Even though it was the best for me and it was good to suddenly "wake up", I felt so heart broken and blamed myself. It was a terrible few months. Surprisingly though, I got over it much quicker than I thought. I, too, met an amazing man who is the love of my life and we have now been together for more than a year (I know that is not long in the scheme of things but I do hope to be with him forever!). He treats me with the love and respect I have always desired.

I am sorry that you had a similar situation but I am glad that you also bounced back and better than ever :) These men will never find happiness like we have!

Heather Dixon Well not everything can be proven by scientific research. Wish it were that easy. We need to rely on our intuition and sixth sense too, and that's Stouts message. I thought this book was fantastic, and having been the target of 2 sociopaths in my life, I could relate to her every observation. It was empowering and validating....vs a nameless phenomenon. I hope it's the beginning of more public dialogue and research to come.

Nora I'm glad you got away. I'm interested in this book because a good friend also lived w/sociopath. (I didn't know what to call him) and he drained her savings. I believe it is true that they spot people with strong consciences and desire to nurture. Awful.

Orsolya I'm very sorry for your friend as I know how horrible it is. The funny thing is that this ex of mine has recently reached out to me to apologize. I don't buy it. He probably wants something.

Nora The book was sure enlightening. So hard for us to understand according to our upbringing to care about others. I found the author's point about teaching daughters to refrain from speaking up, interesting ...in essence teaching girls not to protect themselves. Never thought of it that way. I loved the little girl on school bus who said, "That is very mean. Quit it!" My friend encountered her ex at the health club. He swam up to her and wanted to chat...like old friends. He saw nothing to be ashamed of. I wish you well and hope you remain safe from the "ex".

Orsolya That seems to be a pattern: that they contact after some time and act like "old pals" and nothing happened. That is EXACTLY what this guy does to me. He is cuckoo. Thank you for the words. I have been in a happy and healthy relationship for 3 years now with my soul mate and best friend so I am glad this ex is exactly that: an ex!!!

Nora What good news. I'm glad your life turned around! The odd part was the creep met her husband in the dressing room and he tried to be friendly with him! creepy. Best to you!!

Orsolya I am not surprised with that behavior. They are so messed up in the head.

Rebecca How old the sources you use completely depends on your field. In psychology it is not unusual at all to cite studies old studies. When it comes to pharmacology you can use new citations, because there is loads of money in it and new studies are constantly being funded and old studies are being replicated. There is not so much money in psychology or even other medical sciences that don't involve drugs.

I am glad the book gave you some peace by allowing you to stop thinking about your ex.

Orsolya I always sort of cringe at my old reviews (this is from 2011). It is like seeing an old photo of yourself. Anyway, I digress...

Rebecca, I understand what you are saying and you make a valid point. However, I have been involved in many writings from educational back in my university days to professional from profit and non-profit ventures and none of these were in pharmacology or areas that necessarily involved funds procuring up-to-date research and outdated citations were still frowned upon and considered to lose credibility. So, I have to disagree with you based on my experience. However, that being said, I again do understand your point and what you are saying.

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