As a therapist, I specialize in the treatment of psychological trauma survivors. Over the last twenty-five years, my practice has included hundreds of adults who have been in psychological pain every day of their lives on account of early childhood abuse or some other horrendous past experience. As I have detailed in case studies in the Myth of Sanity, my trauma patients suffer from a host of torments, including chronic anxiety, incapacitating depression, and dissociative mental states, and, feeling that their time on earth was unbearable, many of them have come to me after recovering from attempts to commit suicide. Some have been traumatized by natural and man-made disasters such as earthquakes and wars, but most of them have been controlled and psychologically shattered by individual human perpetrators, often sociopaths (same as psychopaths) —sometimes sociopathic strangers, but more typically sociopathic parents, older relatives, or siblings. In helping my patients and their families cope with the harm done to their lives, and in studying their case histories, I have learned that the damage caused by the sociopaths among us is deep and lasting, often tragically lethal, and startlingly common. Working with hundreds of survivors, I have become convinced that dealing openly and directly with the facts about sociopathy is a matter of urgency for us all.
The Sociopath Next Door
Martha Stout, ph.d. 2005