The Book Aisle Sociopath

The Book Aisle Sociopath

We are amidst the Christmas season, the malls are crowded, the music and decoration awake the spirit in us, and everyone is out buying presents for their loved ones. Everywhere we go, we feel love around us. Some of us spend those days with their families or partners, others are single and alone looking to fulfill that dream. It may have been a rough year for you; maybe you went through a nasty breakup and you are still recuperating.

It goes without saying that the Christmas season can put many of us into a depressive state, and the last thing you want is feeling lonely. Unfortunately, this time works in the favor for many sociopaths who take advantage of being able to walk around unnoticed in a crowded mall when everybody else’s focus is on the gifts they like to purchase. It would seem flattering if only one of them turned their entire focus on you in this shopping chaos, wouldn’t it?

There is one particular type I would like to make you aware of today, because I had seen it happening. It is the type I call The Book Aisle Sociopath. This predator moves smoothly through the bookstores and lingers in the relationship, self-help, or psychology aisles. He/she observes his/her target for a couple of minutes either from a distance or by standing right next to him/her. What he/she pays attention to is not just your overall appearance, the way you walk, stand, and interact with your environment, but more importantly, the sort of books you are interested in. Remember the old saying that you can tell a lot about a person by the books he/she has on his/her shelf? The same applies to people in the bookstores.

You are looking at a book that teaches about establishing boundaries? It is a clear indicator to him/her that you may be lacking in such. You are looking at a book about healing the inner child? Maybe you have some unresolved trauma inside. You look at a book about narcissistic abuse? Bingo! One of his/her kind has already laid hands on you and that means you are probably still receptible.

The sociopath will most likely engage you in a conversation about the book you are reading. As you slowly confide in him/her and tell why you are reading a book about narcissism (or another topic), he/she feigns sympathy and mirrors your experience. Coincidentally, he/she went through exactly the same as you.

When I was deep in the research for Narcotic Love, I observed the Book Aisle Sociopath for the very first time, and not for the last time. I was just browsing some books on narcissistic abuse when I heard a man eagerly involve a young girl into a conversation on the other side of the shelf. Within minutes, she opened up to him while he barely laid out any private information about himself. She talked about past relationships and hurts, and he claimed that he had studied the subject and could help her. Without meaning to be prejudiced, but seeing the two together really struck me as an odd couple. It was obvious manipulation going on, and if we need to be careful of one thing, then it is unsolicited and imposed help offered from complete strangers.

He did not let go and began recommending her books about the establishment of boundaries and speaking of her own lack of them; he was trying to make her trust him, telling her that she needed to build stronger boundaries to protect herself from insincere men. I dared to interrupt the conversation and put a stack of books on narcissistic abuse in her hands. The guy seemed surprised and laughed with guilty giggles and a sense of insecurity.

As the guy disappeared with the words, “I have to go, because I will be meeting with a friend.” I returned to the girl and told her that it was quite funny that he recommended her a book about boundaries, because he had broken at least three of hers already. When she snapped out of his hypnosis, she not only realized that he did indeed break her boundaries and made her lay out her entire history of broken hearts and pain in front of him, but on top of that, she gave him her full name and contact information. Obviously, he had gotten all he needed from her for now before he said farewell. If he was truly meeting with a friend, how come he could spend an endless amount of time grooming her in that bookstore? Why was he in the mall so early? I explained to her that, due his lack of urgency, this smooth guy in a cheap Armani imitation was most likely not meeting with a “friend” but would be doing the same thing he had just done to her to another woman in a different store, or even worse, return to his wife or girlfriend and tell her that he loves her.