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Old 01-21-2009, 07:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Does sociopathy and drug abuse go hand in hand?

I have been online and read some of the symptoms of sociopaths, and found this to be very revealing of my ex-husband. Here are the general symptoms:

* Glibness and Superficial Charm

* Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

* Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."

* Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

* Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them 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.

* Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

* Incapacity for Love

* Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

* Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

* Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
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. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

* Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

* Irresponsibility/Unreliability
Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

* Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

* Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

* Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

I have noted that while my husband has an addiction to both opiates and heroin, his basic behavior has followed a lot of the listings above. Just curious, has anyone else come across this in their addicted loved ones?
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My late AH did not exhibit those characteristics, but his mother does. TOTALLY. He used to tell me she was crazy and I did not know the breadth and depth of her mental illness until he died. I don't know if that helps...but perhaps having been raised and reared (she was physically and emotionally abusive, according to him) in that environment, lent itself to his becoming an addict--I really don't know. It's just my theory...I don't necessarily blame her for his addiction, but rather I try to find a reason and/or motivation for it....

HTH.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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According to a study done by the American Medical Association (albeit in 1990) up to three quarters of sociopaths abused alcohol and half abused drugs. That is to say that a huge number of sociopaths are also substance abusers. However, the converse is not true - certainly no where near three quarters or even half of the substance abusing population altogether are sociopaths, which is to say that the presence of substance abuse does not strongly imply sociopathy but the presence of sociopathy does strongly imply the presence of substance abuse. The important thing to remember is that there are dual substance abusers/sociopaths out there and their ability to lie and manipulate is even more refined than your typical A. I have known several personally, and it is frightening how similar their behavior was on so many levels despite the fact to my knowledge none of them knew each other. And none of them were able to attain any lasting sobriety, in part because they rarely felt the consequences of their actions.
Hope this helps...
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm not really sure if there is some sort of correlation, but my BFs AS certainly is a sociopath who will be charming when he wants something and be verbally abusive and threatening when he does not get it. He also lies, lacks empathy for anyone around him, and is very impulsive.

Just my $0.02.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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This is a subject I see come up a lot in circles such as ours. Some believe addiction is a lot like sociopathy especially when it comes to behavior. It can become a question of which came first the chicken or the egg. Are their behaviors addictive or are they sociopaths?

I have a brother who is just the sweetest guy when he is clean and the most uncaring, you know what when he is using. My sister is the same way.

I do believe there are some who are actual sociopaths but not all. Addiction does not care about anything but staying obsessed to seek the drug of choice like a sociopath almost nothing will stand in the way of getting what they want.

I do believe that a sociopath has very little chance of changing. If they care that they are hurting others they probably are not a sociopath. A sociopath will only care about hurting others to the extent that it keeps them from achieving their goals.

I believe many addicts do get clean because they do care very much about how they are affecting the people they love as well as they damage they are doing to them selves.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This is a topic i've been so interested in. My 16 yo AS has portrayed these descriptions - on the flip side so do a lot of teenagers so i know that docs are very hesitant to ever diagnose a kid with these kinds of labels. You cant really diagnose something like this until someone gets into their 20s. The brain doesnt fully develop until 25 and someone under that age really doesnt have the capability to use all of their brain. There are actually less true sociopaths then we think. I saw a documentary on them once and their brain actually works very differently than a healthy brain works. So if you are dealing with someone under 25 its pretty difficult to actually know if they are a true sociopath or just dont have full access to their brain.

A year ago in his heaviest use - I could have gone through that list and checked off every one - I thought my son was capable of anything - honestly he just seemed evil to me - not my son at all and at one point i was actually scared that he was going to just kill me. I've since found out that it was before he started getting in trouble and that he was using extremely heavily. I still dont know the extent of what he was using and honestly dont want to know. He's tried to tell me a few times wanting to explain that time period but i just have too much to worry about with him already and dont need the gory details - I'd rather just focus on what we are dealing with today.

I researched a lot because i was scared that i was living with someone who could just flip at some point and cause real harm to us - it seemed more like a mental illness before i knew that it was drugs. What i have found in my research is that everyone is prone to some mental illness so when you add drugs to the mix they can trigger the mental illness - very dangerous with kids because their brains arent fully developed and they dont always revert back even if they stop the drugs. The affects of addiction can also mimic many of the traits of a sociopath, borderline, anti-social. Now that he is clean there are many descriptions on the list that he no longer portrays. he is still very selfish and grandiose and I dont think he even knows the meaning of emphathy at all but i have to chalk that up somewhat to immaturity.

I've seen his AD who also at times has portrayed all of those qualities above. But I dont think he is a real sociopath because he does show regret and pain at times - he just cant control himself and make rational decent decsions because he is under the influence so much. I see his dad more of an anti-social behavior - just a complete rejection of society's rules and responsibility to others. A true sociapath doesnt think that they have done anything wrong whereas someone mimicing those behaviors usually knows deep down inside that they are wrong - even if they wont admit it.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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A subject dear to my heart. I cannot tell all of you enough, how many times I called him a sociopath! I have never met in my lifetime anyone, who was so self serving. Everything was about him, what he wanted, what he needed, and who was going to give it to him. If something went wrong, it was never his fault, never. When he got into trouble, everyone else was to was blame, he didn't do anything, so let's call my lawyer.His lawyer almost became a family member he was called so much.

And then the "I don't know, I never knew anything about that". Could have been driving fines, or bench arrests or whatever, but he never knew anything about any of it. He drove without insurance, drove without a valid drivers license, owed money for taxes, owed money to every single person he ever laid eyes on, put empty envelopes in the bank machine and withdrew money, but any ramifications of doing these things were never his fault.

Grocery shopping, well that was fun. All the food that HE wanted. Watching television or renting a movie, all what HE wanted to see. I actually spent almost a year living in my bedroom because there was nothing happening for me anywhere else in my home. It was all about him.

When we moved in together he brought nothing with him, short of a slow cooker that was given to him. All the furniture, tableware, pictures, etc. etc. were mine. He made it quite clear from the get go that now, he owned half. That scared me.

I can safely say that there was only one time in four years that he ever said he felt something. Some emotion. He actually said"you know I really felt bad about that" and that was when he fractured my head.

This man does not know how to love, voiced by his last live in girlfriend of ten years, and by me. He does though, know how to NEED. He is very charming and loving when he wants something, and by the way he knows everything about anything. I guess they have a full course load of life in general at the "crack college" he attended.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm married to a psychologist.

The research shows that many addicts and alcoholics are "dual diagnosis" patients, usually suffering from a personality disorder (narcissism, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, etc.) or a mood disorder (depression, bipolar) in addition to their substance problems. It's not every addict or alcoholic, but it's a lot of them.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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When my daughter was active in her addiction she was a classic sociopath. In recovery she is the opposite. Hijacked brains are a terrible thing to experience
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm not a sociopath and i'm not an addict but if you got me really drunk i'd "act" like a sociopath. Sociopath is a very serious and overused label for people. You dont just get over being a sociopath when you get sober - its a lifelong condition because a true sociopath's brains work differently than "healthy" brains do.

This is like the overuse of the term bi-polar or the overuse of ADD medications in children whose only crime is they are very energetic. Too many diagnosis when sometimes its just bad behavior.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kallista View Post
I'm married to a psychologist.

The research shows that many addicts and alcoholics are "dual diagnosis" patients, usually suffering from a personality disorder (narcissism, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, etc.) or a mood disorder (depression, bipolar) in addition to their substance problems. It's not every addict or alcoholic, but it's a lot of them.
Well I can tell you my ex was definetly both. As we went together for his first outpatient therapy session and diagnosis they said he needed a program for "dual diagnosis" I didn't know what it was until they explained it to me.
He certainly had the "narcissism, or borderline disorders but he was on meds for Bi- Polar\ Depression. He had many mania episodes. What a nightmare.
Talk about a roller coaster, the drugs, the alcohol and the disorders omg it was the craziest life I have ever lived!
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by racaple78 View Post
I have been online and read some of the symptoms of sociopaths, and found this to be very revealing of my ex-husband. Here are the general symptoms:

* Glibness and Superficial Charm

* Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

* Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."

* Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

* Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them 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.

* Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

* Incapacity for Love

* Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

* Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

* Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
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. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

* Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

* Irresponsibility/Unreliability
Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

* Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

* Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

* Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

I have noted that while my husband has an addiction to both opiates and heroin, his basic behavior has followed a lot of the listings above. Just curious, has anyone else come across this in their addicted loved ones?

racaple78, Your post caught my eye. It looks as though you did the same thing I did. After so many unexplainable things happening in our relationship, I went online looking for answers, the information you posted was the first thing that came up in my search! I remember thinking "ok thats him , so now what?" I just couldn't believe that what I was experiencing was actually a sociopath! It was rather shocking.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Well, I hate to say that it sounds almost exactly like my ex, but it does.
He lied over the course of our marriage and hid his addiction to opiates, but kept relapsing and relapsing. He also made me feel like I was somehow the crazy one. This was before I realized he was a complete liar.
He has almost OD'ed and died, having to stay in a hospital for several days due to overtaking pills, yet he still relapsed. He didn't seem to understand any consequences to his actions. He also recently got arrested for the umpteenth time in his life, and while in jail, kept calling me asking for help and crying out that he was remorseful and wanted to be a good father and husband. He has since been bailed out by his grandmother almost a week ago, and I haven't heard a peep from him.
Bear in mind he also hasn't seen him two small children in almost 4 months, let alone me, and has no remorse over that either, it seems.
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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gosh i dont know why but this bothers me that we're all labeling people like this. if you look at the list of characteristics of a serial killer our addicts would all fit into a lot of those catagories too.
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:22 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I was convinced my sister was a sociopath in the years before I knew the full extent of her opiate abuse. The lying, stealing, and complete disregard for anyone else's feelings.
Now that I've watched her slowly recovering, I don't think that anymore. She may still be irresponsible, maddening to deal with and clearly has some mental issues...but she has also started to care more about others and herself.
Unfortunately drug abuse can take someone with a lot of underlying mental problems to begin with (as she has) and turn them into the horrible creatures we've all had to deal with.
A sociopath doesn't feel anything, and at least in my sister's case I think she feels too much and spent years numbing it all with drugs.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I think active addiction does mimic sociopathic personality. addicts often do feel guilt but are unable to stop the behaviors. Most of this stuff does disappear when we get clean. I know the drugs "turned me into someone I didn't want to be" and made me do things I wouldn't ordinarily do. The end result is the same, though. When in active addiction, I was totally self-centered and rationalized my behaviors. If necessary (and it often was) I lied, stole, manipulated, etc. A lot of the sociopathic behavior disappears in recovery simply because its not needed anymore. But the rest dose require work as well as a willingness to change thru the 12 steps or whatever method...

My husband was big on calling my AD a sociopath for a while. Now he says, if she ever gets clean, we'll be able to separate what's her and what's the drug addiction. I agree.
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:55 PM   #17 (permalink)
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sociopaths

I AM a sociopath and it is crazy to me how regular people do drugs and act like sociopaths lol funny sociopaths do drugs just to feel something lol
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:20 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I'm with Winnie on this quite strongly. A true sociopath has no human connections whatsover. Think Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer. They have narcissistic tendencies and are incapable of empathy. It is a very serious mental illness and not that common. Are there sociopaths who have addiction problems? Of course but you can't read some thing and say 'a ha! he must be that'. It is far more complex and quite a serious diagnosis. Labelling someone a sociopath is an exercise in futility. You can't catch it like an illness either. They show symptoms early on in childhood.
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:24 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I found this post very informative and although it is older, I just wanted to comment that I do believe my sister fits all the above. However as much as I want to get a 72 hour mental hold and get her on some meds to help I think that she will manipulate and fool the doctors.

She has always had issues and I understand her childhood had problems but a few other characteristics is that she seems to protray permenent parinia, narcistic, and conartist attributes. Did the drugs cause this no not 100% but like with many legal perscription they too can also bring out certain underlying mental illness.

The alcohol and drugs do often bring out or create on going paranai and wow there you have it a mess for that of the person and those around. I just wish I knew the stats on homeless and mental illness however, a lack of insurance and its unfortunate.
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:53 AM   #20 (permalink)
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antisocial personality disorder (aka sociopath) is on a continuum. The same way that all people with depression do not exhibit or experience that the same - neither does antisocial personality disorder.

My husband went through a battery of psych/neuro testing a few years ago to determine the etiology of his problems. He had a lot of high markers for both antisocial personality and narcissism. However, he did not hit the bar where he owns that label. However, at an earlier stage in life he probably would have hit the diagnositc criteria without a problem. It does tend to become tempered with age.

Drugs/alcohol can make anyone act like a sociopath but it doesn't mean that they are....it doesn't mean that they aren't either. People like Jeffrey Dahmer and other serial killers are on the more extreme end of this diagnosis.

I think that it is hard for us to understand the behaviors of people that don't seem to care about others - because as people on the "anon" side we just aren't wired that way. I also think that is why we attempt to explain and understand their behaviors. It is just so foreign to the way that we think, feel, and behave.

A large number of people with personality disorders do have a dual diagnosis. But, it's also correct that a lot of people with addiction problems do not have a personality disorder. I am getting a masters in rehab counseling and in the training they stress how careful you have to be about attaching labels to people. Instead of assigning labels without formal testing it helps me to just be aware that someone has tendencies that are consistent with certain personality disorders without necessarily being formally diagnosed with one.

We all have aspects of each of the "personality disorders" in us. It's when the behaviors and characteristics are the prevalent presentation that people begin to hit the diagnostic criteria:

Diagnosis

According to ICD-10, the diagnosis of a personality disorder must satisfy the following general criteria, in addition to the specific criteria listed under the specific personality disorder under consideration:

There is evidence that the individual's characteristic and enduring patterns of inner experience and behaviour as a whole deviate markedly from the culturally expected and accepted range (or "norm"). Such deviation must be manifest in two or more of the following areas:

cognition (i.e., ways of perceiving and interpreting things, people, and events; forming attitudes and images of self and others);
affectivity (range, intensity, and appropriateness of emotional arousal and response);
control over impulses and gratification of needs;
manner of relating to others and of handling interpersonal situations.

The deviation must manifest itself pervasively as behaviour that is inflexible, maladaptive, or otherwise dysfunctional across a broad range of personal and social situations (i.e., not being limited to one specific "triggering" stimulus or situation).

There is personal distress, or adverse impact on the social environment, or both, clearly attributable to the behaviour referred to in criterion 2.

There must be evidence that the deviation is stable and of long duration, having its onset in late childhood or adolescence.

The deviation cannot be explained as a manifestation or consequence of other adult mental disorders, although episodic or chronic conditions from sections F00-F59 or F70-F79 of this classification may coexist with, or be superimposed upon, the deviation.

Organic brain disease, injury, or dysfunction must be excluded as the possible cause of the deviation. (If an organic causation is demonstrable, category F07.- should be used.)

There is an interesting book called "The Sociopath Next Door" that helps to explain some of the more garden variety symptoms/tendencies of this disorder. It's confusing to try and diagnose people.

When I stay in the solution....it always comes down to me and my boundaries. It doesn't matter who or what someone is....it's all about what sort of people I want in my life. Other people and their disorders really aren't any of my business. My business is whether to be around them or not. Sometimes when I tend to pin pathology on someone else it is to justify and explain my actions. If I can find something wrong with them - then maybe there isn't something wrong with me. Which, of course, is incorrect. Always....I have to look at myself and learn about what in me was drawn to that sort of person. That is probably the best thing to figure out.
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