7 Phrases Sociopaths Are Likely To Use On The People They Love

Ashley Batz/Bustle

Sociopaths are known for their lack of empathy. When they form relationships with others, they usually have a self-serving motivation for it. Spotting someone's sociopathic tendencies right away isn't easy. But according to experts, there some phrases sociopaths commonly use on the people they "love" to be aware of.

Despite what you would initially think, sociopaths can experience love. "However, it's not the same kind of love that a 'normal' person experiences," Dr. Darrel Turner, president of Turner Psychology, tells Bustle, "For the sociopath, the experience of love is much more shallow and less meaningful." They view relationships in "self-serving terms" so they're more likely to see their partner as a "trophy" rather than someone they love and are committed to.

More often than not, their partner will describe a relationship with them as "cold" or "distant." When a sociopath is in a relationship, they may use certain phrases that will help them to control or manipulate their partner.

"Sociopaths are innately manipulative, they cannot help themselves," Dr. Turner says. "In some cases this is deliberate on their part, but very often it is an unconscious act — almost a reflex. They can’t help but be destructive to their partners and in many instances they enjoy the challenge of ‘breaking’ the other person. The stronger and more independent that person is, the better." Basically, it can be a game for them.

Unfortunately, sociopaths can seem totally nice, charming, and "normal" at first, so it can make it difficult to spot the red flags. But according to experts, here are some common phrases sociopaths are likely to use on the people they "love."

1. "Nobody Gets Me Like You Do"

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"It’s important to realize that they do 'feel' certain things but they are limited," Laney Zukerman, relationship coach and author, tells Bustle. They can feel basic emotions like pain, anger, sexual attraction, pleasure, and interest. However, these feelings are often "glib and fleeting," she says. So when a sociopath uses a phrase like, "Nobody gets me like you do," they may actually mean it. But don't read too much into it. There's usually no hidden meaning behind it, and it may be a low-key way of expressing emotions in their book.

2. "I've Never Felt This Way About Anyone Before"

Ashley Batz/Bustle

Coming from anyone else, this line may seem like a sweet declaration of love. But coming from a sociopath, this is a phrase that may be used to further their agenda. "There is no real depth to their words," Zukerman says. However, they can be highly intelligent. They know what people like to hear, so they'll usually say things in the moment to get people on their side. According to her, "lying is like breathing." It makes them look good and gets them what they want in the moment.

3. "You're The Best"

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"A sociopath's motive is power, control and dominance no matter what the cost," Zukerman says. Showering their target with compliments like "You're the best" or "You're the most beautiful person I've ever seen" is just one of their go-to manipulation tricks. "They'll often use charm to lure their targets and it works," she says. While this may be a sincere compliment coming from someone else, note if something doesn't feel right, or if the person is laying it on thick.

4. "You're Lucky To Have Me"

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

When a sociopath isn't buttering someone up with compliments, they'll turn on them by saying things that make the other feel less than. "No one is ever going to love you the way I do" or "I could do better" are just a couple of common phrases a sociopath will say, licensed clinical psychologist and author, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, PhD, tells Bustle. "Once they have satisfied their need, their tendency is to discard people, or simply show them no more warmth," she says.

5. "You Owe Me"

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Sociopaths usually form relationships with people in order to get what they want like sex, money, or status. "They have little capacity for intimacy, mutuality and reciprocity in a close relationship," Dr. Durvasula says. So it's very common for them to keep score in their relationships.

6. "I Already Did This For You, What More Do You Want?"

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Since sociopaths only put forth effort if there's something in it for them, they're quick to react in a negative way if their partner asks for something in return. "If not physical abuse, their relationships are frequently characterized by verbal and emotional abuse, frequent yelling, saying insulting or degrading things," Dr. Turner says. It's not uncommon for them to become a completely different person when they get angry. They turn on their partners fairly quickly, especially if they already took what they want from them or the relationship.

7. "I Don't Have Time For This"

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Sociopaths are all about doing things that make themselves look good. Because of that, Zukerman says they'll use phrases that deflect responsibility away from them. To a sociopath, nothing they ever do is wrong.

Keep in mind, these phrases were given by experts who have studied and observed sociopathic tendencies through their work. If someone you know uses these phrases, it doesn't necessarily mean they're a sociopath. Again, it really depends on their motivation behind saying it, among other things. Nonetheless, it's always a good idea to have this information so you can be aware of the warning signs.