Stringing Women Along: The Psychopath as Puppet Master

Since, as we’ve seen in previous discussions, psychopaths enjoy sex and power–especially when the two are combined–they’re great jugglers of women. They especially relish creating rivalry and jealousy among their partners. They instigate feelings of mutual disrespect and even hatred. Watching several women fight over them validates their ego. It also offers priceless entertainment. To offer one notable example of a famous psychopath, Pablo Picasso unabashedly confesses to his partner, Françoise Gilot, his delight in having women assault each other over him. He recounts how Marie-Thérèse and Dora Maar had an altercation over  who was his real girlfriend. Instead of diffusing the tension, he encouraged them to escalate from a verbal to a physical fight. Picasso tells Gilot, “’I told them they’d have to fight it out themselves. So they began to wrestle. It’s one of my choicest memories.’” (Life with Picasso, 211)

Jealous fights, as well as mutual insults and devaluation, offer an amusing spectator sport for psychopaths. It makes them feel in charge: like they’re the puppet masters manipulating all these women’s emotions. This rivalry also has the additional advantage of creating artificial barriers among the victims. The women’s aggression turns against one another rather than towards their real enemy, the psychopath who is using and mistreating them both, plus several others that they may not even know about.

Psychopaths tend to select trusting and trustworthy women whom they can manipulate and taint. They enjoy the thrill of getting them to collude in their lies and machinations against others, including family members and friends. They resort to emotional blackmail to get their victims, who are often decent human beings, to cooperate. This establishes a link of complicity in the psychopathic bond: something along the lines of, you lied to your family (or my family, or our friends, or your spouse) too, so therefore you’re just as bad and deceitful as I am. Furthermore, psychopaths need to have their sense of power over you constantly reaffirmed. Since they’re at core malicious human beings, the way you help confirm their power best is by colluding with their projects to deceive and hurt others.

By turning “their” women against one another, psychopaths make each of them simultaneously their co-conspirator and their dupe, the deceiver and the deceived. When she deflects her negative emotions towards other women, the psychopath’s wife or girlfriend remains blind to the real threat posed by her own partner. Emotionally, this perspective may be easier to accept than the truth: namely, that your supposed soul mate wants to destroy you and is using you as a weapon to hurt others and vice versa. Only when you’re strong enough to open your eyes and face reality do you begin to see the machinations of the psychopath as puppet master.

Françoise Gilot describes this strategy with incredible lucidity. She compares Picasso’s habit of stringing several women along to a Bluebeard complex and to a bullfight. Although these analogies may seem radically different, they describe the same phenomenon. In this process, the real enemy–the one who gores you in the end–is the man generating all the drama and rivalries among women in the first place:

“Pablo’s many stories and reminiscences about Olga and Marie-Thérèse  and Dora Maar, as well as their continuing presence just off stage in our life together, gradually made me realize that he had a kind of Bluebeard complex that made him want to cut off the heads of all the women he had collected in his little private museum. But he didn’t cut the heads entirely off. He preferred to have life go on and to have all those women who had shared his life at one moment or another still letting out little peeps and cries of joy or pain and making a few gestures like disjointed dolls, just to prove there was some life left in them, that it hung by a thread, and that he held the other end of the thread. Even though he no longer had any feeling for this one or that one, he could not bear the idea that any of his women should ever again have a life of her own. And so each had to be maintained, with the minimum gift of himself, inside his orbit and not outside. As I thought about it, I realized that in Pablo’s life things went on just about the way they do in a bullfight. Pablo was the toreador and he waved the red flag, the muleta. For a picture dealer, the muleta was another picture dealer; for a woman, another woman. The result was, the person playing the bull stuck his horns into the red flag instead of goring the real adversary–Pablo. And that is why Pablo was always able, at the right moment, to have his sword free to stick you where it hurt. I came to be very suspicious of this tactic and any time I saw a big red flag waiving around me, I would look to one side of it. There, I always found Pablo.” (Life with Picasso, 242-3)

Psychopaths have an uncanny ability to turn even people who don’t know one another against each other through their egregious lies and smear campaigns. After slandering their ex partners to their new partners and vice versa, psychopaths sit back and enjoy the show. Aside from the entertainment value and the sense of being in charge, the psychopath gets something else out of generating conflict among his targets. He also gets back-ups to his back-ups. Given that he’s bound to mistreat every woman he’s involved with, he certainly needs them. It seems as if psychopaths know, through both intuition and experience, that the honeymoon phase won’t last long no matter how exciting and promising a given relationship may seem in the beginning.

Claudia Moscovici, psychopathyawareness

Dangerous Liaisons: How to Identify and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction


  1. I am so impressed with this site, it has truly helped me understand that my male friend is a Psychopath. He was only my friend because he told me and showed me many red flags when we reconnected three years ago. There was a very strong physical attraction. I would not enter into a FWB relationship with him but he was adament about us remaining friends. The last time I saw him was at a party of a mutual friend of ours. He came to the party with two other women. (Not his main lady). He had changed his appearance, his demeanor and his voice. He proceeded two sit between me and another lady and did his leave best to make me jealous. Junior High School stuff. I am intuitive enough to know when a male is trying to make me jealous. I have never believed in fighting over a man. He hurt my feelings by the way he treated me. I said my goodbyes and left. I did let him know that he disrespected me and that I would not continue our friendship if he felt he could treat me that way. I told him that I had broke my cycle of emotional/physical abuse many years ago. I have not seen him in six months, however I have talked to him. I know he has one main lady and is seeing two more. It truly makes me sad and angry that he is a Psychopath and is treating women this way. I read somewhere else that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I am truly grateful that I didn’t get into a intimate relationship with him. I do feel used by him. However, I am feeling a lot of the same emotions that are being expressed on this site.

  2. I was introduced to this site of yours via an acquaintance on facebook. This is a marvelous place to find fortitude of spirit and empathic understanding. My own trek through the Bowels of the Twilight Zone left me shaken for a good year. Now, surviving despite a period of evaluation that my emotions were devastated and my finances decimated, I find I am no longer the same person. No longer wounded and with a different perspective on compassion. (: It really is true that “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Different, yes….and actually able to see the world a little more clearly – still with warmth and humor, but not with such naive openness. I love the first segment of The Seducer. Thank you for sharing. The writing is engrossing and I so enjoy the style. I’m thrilled to find intellect and a camaraderie.

  3. Becky, thanks so much for your kind words. Yes, almost everyone who is not destroyed by a psychopath
    becomes stronger from this experience. And better able to spot these inhuman monsters in human disguise.
    The naive trust in everyone is gone, as you say. You will rebound, though it may take a little while longer to process the anger and the pain.
    I’m glad you liked The Seducer. Sometimes you can express in a novel more emotion than you can in nonfiction. It will
    be in print in a few months. Claudia

  4. Donna, Welcome to this site! Psychopaths need many dominance bonds to survive. That’s why they string women along, not just for the sex (although sex too,
    becomes an exercise in dominance for them). If they don’t have several people to manipulate and use, they feel bored and empty. You are fortunate that
    you didn’t become involved with this man. I’d advise you to go no contact with him, because any contact with a psychopath is a window of opportunity
    for him to manipulate, use you, play upon your emotions and maybe even “conquer” you. If you ignore him, he’ll probably slither away, especially
    since he hasn’t had a sexual relationship with you.

  5. Thank you for the Welcome. Now that I think I understand who and what he is , will he really go away for good and leave me alone. I have no reason to contact him ever again. From reading some other sites I realize that I was (Friend (NS). I became a good source of wise woman wisdom. I know that he has a #1 woman and a few on the side. I have dealt with other Narc’s my Exh was one, and my brother, but they don’t have any money, however this one appears to be a true Psychopath. He is a self made millionaire and could buy any woman that let him in with his charms, words, gifts, and buying ppl in general. He even told me that he wants and needs a submissive woman who is weak, because he knows how to care of them. I was appealed. It appears to me that everyone in his life is a liability/not an assest? But who knows hoe they think……

    Divorcing my ex husband taught me many life lessons” learned.” I am a strong intelligent woman with a stable, empathic and caring heart. My trust issues are even worse now. My limits and boundaries are so high that I feel i will never let another man into my life. Am I only attracted to the “Disordered”.

  6. Donna, it may be better to allow yourself some time to heal and recover from this toxic relationship before dating again. But I think this experience has ultimately built your judgment and boundaries, and that it will help you in the long run find a good partner and have a healthy relationship. Claudia

  7. Claudia, I was curious about the woman who writes so cogently and with such clarity on this “condition.” I was floored by your biography that I read – albeit, short, it underscored your amazingly nimble intellect.
    There are so many sites “out and about” and yours holds the objectivity missing in many. Thank you so much for your generous responses. These, too, aid in the recovery process.
    I am a year away from the ordeal and in the beginning, so wanted a – any – link with anyone to help break that horribly painful bond. Such a weighted connection did not occur and I am grateful. Although I’m “different,” I am finding joy within my sphere again.
    I’m not ready to move on totally, as I will return frequently to your site and thoughts. I am not trying to be overly dramatic, but I wonder if this is what “survivors” of much more obvious horrors experience in the way their evaluations of life and the mechanics of social interactions alters in the aftermath.
    Is this a change in our culture? Has it always been present to this extent?
    I read Guy Garcia’s book, The Decline of Men, and find it interesting that as in the science fiction strories, perhaps the male isn’t so much needed as once-upon-a-time. Or, maybe our expectations for fairytale “happiness” has clouded daily living.
    Thank you so much for your amazingly lucid and very helpful works!

  8. Becky, thanks again, for your second comment. I do hope that you move on and am glad you’re finding joy in your sphere again, as you state. Claudia

  9. Hi Claudia

    I thought you may find the following of interest. It is text from an old email from my ex sociopath and his explanation as to why he does what he does with women. I find the references to “phases” and “selection issue” very interesting, as this is quite a cold description of something that is meant to be a bonding loving relationship. Anyway i thought you may like to read it. lesleyxxx

    I do however genuinely believe that I am seeking a life partner, have been for years. It’s a selection issue. I think that I don’t take long enough to make decisions based on qualities that I truly enjoy and admire.

    Im harsh with my criteria. People display ofeten lots of good qualities but I will focus on the negative, those behaviours, habits issues that are unacceptable to me. Due to my makeup and my background I seek out flaws or they are presented to me. Whilst I may be able to overlook them or accept them shortterm when I envisage living with those flaws, habits, charecteristics, physical, emotional or mental I struggle to maintain the motivation or commitment, so tend to start again and look for someone with less or no flaws.

    Of course I realise that this is largely unrealistic. More than anything it will not be the flaws people have, more likely due to my upbringing, background, 25 years career in fault finding and problem solving I just find them…

    Its hard, but I do keep looking elsewhere to new or different partners to find less and therefore someone that I will be more comfortable being with.

    So its not the buzz, the romance th ego ( although ego and lack of acceptance is a part of it) bit its not that Im getting off on it rather I am genuinely and seriously considering every potential partner when I enter this phase.

  10. Thanks for sharing with us this email. Usually, though, I prefer not to give sociopaths a voice
    on my blog. However, what I notice in this email note from your sociopathic ex is a similar rationalization, probably
    filled with lies, that sociopaths who murder and justify their evil actions as in the best interest of the victim (she had nothing
    to live for anyway) or as provoked by the victim (she asked for it, she provoked me). Similarly, psychopaths
    who chronically cheat and lie to all their partners, stringing numerous women along and deceiving them all,
    often claim to be looking for the right fit. Men looking for the right fit are honest and respectful to the women they date.
    They don’t cheat and don’t lie and don’t lead them on. If they don’t wish to commit or aren’t looking for commitment, they say so.
    Psychopaths aren’t looking for the right partner with honesty, integrity
    or in good faith. They are looking for the right dupes to deceive, string along, control, manipulate and use: all dishonestly, all in bad faith.
    That’s why they end up devaluing each and every partner. As Steve Becker put it in one of his posts, psychopaths seek
    scapegoats not partners. The email you shared describes the process of idealize, devalue and discard that I wrote about in the post “The Psychopath’s Relationship Cycle: Idealize, Devalue and Discard”. Claudia

  11. I was fascinated with your comment and the text your ex wrote it is almost the exact thing that my exnarc friend said to me. He claimed he wanted to find his lifetime mate. He had very rigid and strict criteria that the woman had to meet. He would wine and dine her, sucking her in with money, gifts and sweet words and promises of marriage. Once he found someone who would submit he would string them along for two or three years and then drop them listing all their flaws and reasons why he couldn’t make that final committment and then claim that they were crazy. Now I understand that he never intended to marry in the first place. They are such evil men and my heart goes out to all the women he hurt and deceived.

  12. Claudia, I am leaving many of the blogs to which I have belonged because I need to focus more on my own development and change since the narcissistic spouse discarded me. Because his therapist believed him to be bipolar, I wonder – as I “clean up my ideas and emotions – if his therapy and medications actually altered him from being bipolar to being a narcissist. It matters little, perhaps, but as I move farther from the chaotic turmoil with the man and his family, I am looking at myself and my own strengths and weaknesses. Thank you so much for your site and your great awareness.

  13. Becky, it’s a good idea to focus on your own development. After all,
    you can’t change the personality disordered, nor undo the past with him, but you can always better
    your own life and future. I wish you continued improvement and recovery. Claudia

  14. Claudia
    Thank you so much for commenting on my post with my ex’s text. I did worry afterwards that perhaps you would not want to have such material on this site, as it does give them a voice so to speak. However I was just so interested to find out if it was me that found the text so cold and quite inhuman really, as though he was analysing a process or new gadget instead of a human being. Which is essentially what these “men” do. Donna, than you also for confirming that you ex sid the same things to you. I find it all a comfort to me and I hope to others on this site that it is not US the partners but these individuals that dupe us and reel us in only to cast us adrift and move on. I hope we all can gain more strength from you Claudia as your writings and knowledge is invaluable to us. Thank you again for everything.

  15. Lesley, personally I didn’t find the letter from your sociopathic ex cold as much as false, narcissistic, written in bad faith and blaming the victims. Essentially he was saying he lies and cheats and strings all these women along because none of them are good enough for him. That’s how psychopaths rationalize their horrible behavior to others, by blaming their victims and declaring themselves superior to them, with superior standards. All of this is just plan false. Psychopaths are despicable human beings. They cheat and lie and string partners along under false pretexts because of their underlying contempt for others, not because of their superiority to them. They don’t look for ideal relationships, as your ex falsely claims. They look for ideal dupes to use and abuse. Claudia

  16. Claudia yes you are right on all counts. I think I probably found it cold as they use such a different language to the one they use to you when they idealise you or want something from you.
    they really are quite foul and I suppose as you have documented in other posts, the healing you have to go through is from the 180 degree turnaround from charming loving partner to manipulative, condescending liar (and the destruction they cause in your life due to their selfishness). Your site and the articles on it though really help people like me (and sadly there are a lot of us) get through all this devastation that is caused. It shops you thinking that you are the mad one!! My ex also had been in the army in Special Intelligence corps and I think this made him even more adept at emotional abuse, mind games and pyschological warfare. The two fed each other, as the army possibly saw this character trait in him and he excelled due to this. I may be wrong.
    I for one, am very glad indeed that I found your site.

  17. Lesley, unfortunately the real problem is that all their initial “warmth” and “niceness” is instrumental and fake, intended to fool and use you. In some ways it’s much colder and more calculated than the direct abuse, because it’s disguised as love. Backstabbing is always colder than a direct attack, since at least then you know about the evil you’re dealing with. Psychopaths are cowards, so their assaults upon your personhood and life are hidden and disguised during the luring and manipulation phases of the relationship.

  18. Hi Claudia. yes it most definitely is fake at the beginning. And if you put up with them you get, as you describe in one of your posts, brief flashes or glimpses of niceness again (when you do what they want or they have gotten away with duping you again) then at some point they go cold, distant, they revert to type really. I most definitely experienced the full force of the vile, twisted nature when i left and could not believe someone could have such hate for me, such contempt. However your articles help me loads and I think we all have to find ourslvs again and it may take a long time but that it what i think, that you have to be away from them and start to remember how you were before they came and tore you life up. Then you can slowly start to heal.
    thanks claudia

  19. Lesley, you’re so welcome. I’m so glad you’re starting to heal. It’s true, if you stay with a psychopath you get fewer and fewer “nice” pellets and more and more exposure to their evil, ugly selves. It’s all a form of Pavlovian conditioning, really. At first the carrot (of fakery and deceit), then when he feels you’re emotionally hooked or under his control, mostly the stick. Claudia

  20. Thanks Claudia. I have started feeling better since I found your site as its so well written and just helps so much. They are just not nice people and no amount of love can help them which is sad but true. The damage they do, emotionally, financially, physically and mentally is quite frightening and its made worse by the fact that they cut you off without a single thought. Or as my ex said “no damage done here (as to him)”. How true that is of them all. No damage to them but always to others. Keep doing these articles they are just great! lesleyxx

  21. Lesley, I’m so glad my blog could help you. Just think of it this way: whether they suffer as a result of the end of the relationship (because they feel frustrated they can no longer dupe, manipulate and control us) or not (because they’re so shallow they don’t miss anyone) is irrelevant. Psychopaths are trivial human beings. Their attitude towards us and towards our dead relationships doesn’t matter. What matters most is that victims see them for what they are, move on with their lives and achieve personal growth and success in life and in relationships of real love. Claudia

  22. Thank you Claudia. That is true, they only feel frustration that they cannot control you anymore if anything at all. When I was with my ex and i was maybe away somewhere and I would tell him i missed him he would recite chapter and verse at me as to why i was not to tell him i missed him as he would then have to think about whether he missed me(which was obviously not!!) and that he was happy on his own (which was and is a lie as these types cannot funtion on their own without someone to dupe) – so you are right in both views!! thank you gainh.

  23. Lesley, don’t worry, despite not caring deeply about anyone but themselves, these psychopaths are never happy for two main reasons: 1) they have an underlying hatred and contempt for other human beings, which cultivates spleen, like in Baudelaire’s poems (since you mentioned poetry). 2) they are never satisfied with whom they’re with and what they have, but always want more and more and more. That’s what your psychopathic ex so graciously explained with regards to his quest for the perfect dupes. No dupe/partner of a psychopath will ever meet his needs because his needs are insatiable and because with each one, sooner or later, the bottom falls out of the pile of lies. Claudia

  24. Claudia can I just say how helpful this blog has been to me too. The psychopath guy that I know has once again been treating me really badly and I have told him to just leave me alone and stop hurting me. His response was that I was too serious and he just wants a bit of fun!! They just don’t get it do they how much they mess with your emotions? I asked him to delete my number and never to contact me again. I am terrified that he will tho and just hurt me even more.

  25. Emily, I’m so glad my blog has been helpful to you. Yes, they do know how much they hurt you by observing your reaction (even though they can’t feel comparable pain). The reason your sociopathic ex talked about just having fun it’s because causing others pain gives them the highest pleasure. All psychopaths are inherently sadistic. You’ve made a great decision not to have any more contact with him. Claudia

  26. Claudia. you are just bloody great. I have put you as one of my inspirations on my facebook page!! please dont stop writing these very helpful and supportive blogs.
    oh could you take my email address off my posts please?x

  27. Lesley, thanks for the Facebook link:). Yes, I’ll take your email off but how come it shows up?
    You can sign in as Guest, if you wish, so your email won’t show. Claudia

  28. Hi Claudia

    Oh I wont be signing in as a guest – i’m rubbish at IT stuff! haha. yes you are on my facebook inspirations!!
    I’m sorry, I know the answer to this already really, but I find you such a help and this always upset me(though all of it did and does really) but my ex always told me how much he loved his ex wife, that he was deeply in love with his ex girlfriend (who let him sleep with other women in the next room in their house..) and that he loved his other ex girlfirend (one before me ) to bits…but he never loved me and it was only sex that we had in common. Do you find this a lot with them, that they say how much they loved their exes but never you?? I suppose really Claudia they lie about everthing, anything that comes out their mouths is a load of nasty lies..but I just wondered if you had experienced this before.


  29. Sorry Claudia what i meant by that is I wont have noticed you can sign in as a guest!

  30. Lesley, your ex’s sexual behavior sounds just awful, if there’s any truth to what he says whatsoever. Who would want to be part of such unhealthy triangulations?
    Nobody who is healthy, that’s for sure. Therefore, not you! Look at his descriptions of previous relationships as a fair warning you’d be entangled in
    such a mess if you were with him. Claudia

  31. HI Claudia..haha you actually made me laugh out loud there with your comment..though its such a serious matter! Yes, it was awful, actually that is nothing to what he was capable of sadly. A mere tip of the sexual deviancy iceberg so to speak! He did what you go over in your “conditioning” blog, he pushed the deviancy envelope from just about the start of the relationship. With his ex that he did the above to, she just kept letting him away with worse and worse behaviour (and to my knowledge, if what he tells me is true) she still does, as he has kept her on the hook for 4 years now, using her for whatever he wants at that time, whilst he continues to collect other relationships and dupe other girls/women into thinking he is for real. However, sadly he is not. He keeps the above ex for certain uses whilst having more “serious” relationships with others, be it girls he likes at work, from dating websites, chat rooms etc. I actually only found out he was still “using” his ex gf recently, well a few months ago when he let it slip into conversation. And he had been whilst he had been “wooing” me. Quite frightening really Claudia, not just for mental heath reasons, but obviously for other health reasons too. And of course, after giving up your job, home and friends/family to realise the person you held so dear was doing all that at the same time. Horrifying!! Thank you for always taking the time to reply Claudia. I appreciate it very much.

  32. Lesley, unfortunately your psychopathic ex’s sexual deviancy is pretty normal for a psychopath. They get very bored easily so they need a lot of people to manipulate. Sexual conquest, duplicity and manipulation is the name of the game for many of them. I wrote a post here about psychopaths and sexual addiction. It describes exactly the phenomenon you mention. But why do make an allusion to giving up your job, home friends and family? Did you do that for your psychopathic ex? I hope not! It’s not worth giving up a penny or a minute of your life for a psychopath, let alone anything more significant. Claudia

  33. Claudia
    My question to you because these men operate this way all their lives, do their families and close friends, that know who he is and what he does, do you think they respect him or just accept that that’s the way he is? I did notice that my friend would put on a very respectable performance in front of some people and then be down right raunchy, vulgar and obscene with others.

    It was just within the last six months that he directed his truly dark side towards me. I have been trying to figure out why he turned his wrath on me and I was only his friend. I am not sure of what I did or said. I definitely want to avoid any further contact with him, but we only live two miles apart and have a large number of mutual friends.

  34. Donna, to answer your second question: usually what triggers a psychopath to drop the pretense and show his true ugly side is boredom combined with narcissistic injury: if you disagree or “disobey” the psychopath in any way and if he has already grown tired of you and finds nothing (or not much to gain) anymore from your relationship. It also happens when you no longer bolster his false facade/good reputation. Because psychopaths use others for fun and for maintaining their masks.
    As for your first question, I think families generally want to believe the best about their loved ones, out of love. So they tend to explain away psychopathic behavior as something else (stress, normal male behavior, or placing blame on someone else). Since psychopathy and narcissism have a strong hereditary component, some of the psychopath’s family members are psychopaths or narcissists themselves. So they engage in disordered behavior and find nothing wrong with the psychopath’s evil doings. On the contrary, they too slander and blame the victims, just like the psychopath himself. Claudia

  35. Hi claudia

    Yes I sadly gave up my marriage, my home, my well paid job and left behind my friends and family to move 500 miles to be with my ex. However, at that time, he was in his “idealise” stage, although he had let his mask slip once or twice, but as you so rightly document, I let those red flags go…put it down to stress of his job, stress of the situation etc. I thought that when I moved down to England to be with him then he would be ok. He was for about 3 months, then when I found thisngs out on the computer that made me wonder about his activities and I questioned him about thse things he then started to lose his mask, the rages started if I said anything that he didn’t like. Then the devaluation, he started putting me down for laughing at a comedy programme he didnt think was funny and in his mind this meant we “had nothing in common”. So sadly Claudia, yes i gave up the LOT only to be hit with the full range of his mentalness. I think what didnt help was that the minute i started living with him I noticed things straight away and questioned them and tried to get him to tell me what was up with him…which made things worse! Donna, my ex’s family just put it down to stress with his job, when we split up he told them that he should never have gotten involved with “someone like me” as I was married and he could not cope with that responsiblity. He has probably told them a lot of other lies about me no doubt. When we first met each other he never told his family he’d pressured me to leave my husband (which dont get me wrong I wanted to do, my ex was really the one i had wanted since i knew him from when iwas 12! but he knew that and used that against me). As for the rages, these come out I think the minute you question them, or say something even slightly negative about THEM, or if they decide that something about you offends them. Whatever that may be. I was told my flaws were analsying him too much (ie not being stupid) and coughing…My ex really could be text book. Especially the sex part, He was on sex sites, went to sex clubs, dogging, you name it he did it. He told me when he went for counselling that he was told to “embrace his inner darkness”….take from that what you will. My ex will be “happy” with someone as long as he can keep up his facade of “normalness” whilst he continues his deviant behaviour with or without his pool of ex girlfriends. The devastating thing for me, was that I have to now rebulid my life, find a job, a home and my confidence as he really did destroy me (or just about did), And he could not care one iota. In fact he found it boring and told me I was making out i was a victim if I ever reminded him of what he’d done. They really are quite abhorrent.
    Sorry that turned into a very long email!! lesleyxxx

  36. However, sorry one more thing. If it wasnt for sites such as this Claudia, and your writings, I would have continued to blame myself (and so would others that are in the same situation or grappling to understand what is wrong with this “person” they are with). Thank goodness for you and your knowledge as you have made me for one feel better about myself, that he was totally beyond help, that he really is rotten to the core. To be able to get over such a trauma you have to gain knowledge and understand what makes these “people” tick. Once you are armed with that information you can then start to heal yourself and slowly find your own “self” again. Claudia you said in one blog that in most relationships there are always two sides. but with a psychopath there is only one side. That is so true and I hold that thought. Victims blames themselves for the relationship failing, for anything that was wrong with it. The only one to blame in these awful situations is the psychopath and the only way to get better is to get away from them and slowly, slowly get better. It may take months, years but your site has helped me and lots of people no doubt. As my sister said to me, these types should come with a health warning. If only it was that simple. But they do give themselves away and your site and others at least can arm people with the tools to spot these flaws before its too late.

  37. Lesley, what you describe, unfortunately, is typical psychopathic behavior. A malignant form of narcissism is at the core of psychopathy. That’s why after the luring phase, once they know they have you hooked and under their control, the mask falls. Then you see them for what they really are: tyrants who need to control those around them, impose double standards, and feel entitled to do whatever they wish while dominating their partners.
    Exactly what you have described. I’m so sorry to hear this has happened to you. I’ll write a more detailed post about this kind of thing, to explain something you, and other commenters, have alluded to: why is the luring/idealization phase so high and seemingly “perfect” and the devaluation so sudden, seemingly arbitrary and complete? I’ve answered some of this question in the post The Psychopath’s Relationships Cycle: Idealize, Devalue and Discard, which is partly based on Robert Hare’s and Paul Babiak’s Snakes in Suits. However, this question is worth exploring in greater depth, because it happens so often and hurts victims so much. Thank you for sharing with us your experience. Claudia

  38. Lesley, yes, it is very important to have information about psychopathy, narcissism and other personality disorders because otherwise you think you’re either partly or largely to blame for the problems in that toxic relationship. Once you have this information, you can spot red flags much easier. But in general, after you’re armed with some basic psychological information, it’s not books that will teach you how to do that. It’s mostly observing how people treat you over time, when you yourself treat them well. Are they responding appropriately? Can minor tensions be resolved in a way that’s fair? Is it a relationship where you feel safe and that’s based on mutual trust? These issues are universal, relevant to any relationship. If you’re involved with someone with a personality disorder, however, these questions will all be answered with an overwhelming, rather than occasional, “No.” And then you know that you would be best off ending the relationship and moving on with your life. Claudia

  39. Thanks Claudia. Its ok, it helps to talk about these things and they make it more real in your own head that you were the “sane” one – not them. Yes it would be good to find out more about this idealise stage. I most definitely felt (and definitely on hindsight) that my ex mirrored my behaviour to perfection at the start (as you describe in your blog) and then further down the line when his mask was slipping he would just say “I am thinking what you are thinking/feeling” if you told him you loved him, as he could no longer find that emotion in himself or pretend to have it. They have a gift of transforming themselves into whoever you want them to be, when you first meet whiich is how they get you so hooked. Sadly they are not anything like the person they sell to you. They are not as the Ronseal advert says “does what it says on the tin”…you are sold a pup. And that is the hardest, most hurtful, mind blowing part of all this to get over.

    thank you Claudia

  40. Lesley, yes, psychopaths mirror you to get you to feel enormously lucky to meet them and perfectly compatible with them.
    But only until you’re hooked and only for as long as you give them what they want. In general, I believe it’s boredom
    that leads them to put less effort into maintaining the false mask and showing their controlling natures.
    After they get to know and conquer someone, they lose the adrenaline rush and thus also lose their incentive
    to pretend being nice or similar to you. Claudia

  41. Claudia, I am back in. 🙂 Your July 27th comment to me hit a home run with me. Now I understand why and when he turned on me.

    We reconnected after 40+years. When, I wouldn’t accept his FWB offer he invited me into his (special friend files) and I bought it. He worked me and manipulated me into being his confidante, I questioned him and he shared all his problems with me and I gave him some solutions and some suggestions of what he could do.

  42. Donna, glad to have you back. I’m not surprised. Psychopaths always first mirror you, become your best friends and confidants, so they can learn what makes you tick. Then they turn on you, after they feel you’re within their grasp and fooled by the mask. They often turn on you when it hurts you most and causes the most damage. Claudia

  43. My friend Claudia, I believe the only reason I am not totally devaestated, crazy right now is because my step-dad (deceased) and my only living brother both narcs, I’ve been in training for many years and many ways, I have been conditioned over the years to fight back and stand my ground for respect. I even told my friend that there’s not much more he or anyone can do to me. If this makes any sense.

    I must be a Narc magnet……I am a good strong intelligent woman with a soft and caring heart. I don’t know how to be mean until you take me to my limits and boundaries. Your words of wisdom would help me alot.

  44. Donna, there’s a good rule of thumb in life: be nice to nice people. But niceness and trustworthiness are tested by consistent behavior over time. Anyone can seem nice in the beginning, particularly sociopaths and narcissists. They seem the best and the nicest! That’s how they lure their targets. With people who prove themselves volatile or untrustworthy, however, disengage for good. Claudia

  45. Hi Claudia
    What i always wonder is why they keep you there when they get so bored with you? i suppose its because they get pleasure out of seeing you hurt, upset and made a fool of. My ex used to tell me he didnt want me, have me beside myself with sadness then the next day would say that I could stay and he did “love me”. I do believe they just do it all for control and they do get a kick out of hurting their partners. I also think that the higher the put you up there when you meet the more they put you down when they get bored and the more enjoyment they take out of seeing your upset.
    I’ve not hear d from my ex for about 2.5 months now, and I’m not going to lie, I miss “him”..not the real one, the fake one or the one he was when things were going his way. But I do feel stronger as I have not had to deal with his mindgames, nastiness and twisting all the blame onto me. I’ve changed my mobile number and he can’t get a hold of me, he is seeing someone new now, which will make a difference, well a few new ones no doubt. Its incredible to think that these people just go around getting pleasure from hurting others. I dont know if its that they hate themselves either, I just think they do not feel anything for anyone. or anything.

  46. Well when i say they dont feel anything for anyone, what i mean by that is the only thing they do feel is hate and contempt for any other human being.
    also claudia, you mentioned above to Donna that sometimes they have a parent that is narcissistic/same personality disorder. This was definitely the case with my ex. His dad was very controlling and always had my ex’s mum in tears, not allowing her to give her children any affection. So you are most definitely right (again!!) about the parent things.

  47. Lesley, alternating between hot and cold behavior–leaving you not sure as to what they’re going to do next–is how psychopaths and narcissists trauma bond their victims. Similarly, totalitarian regimes and cult leaders maintain control over people through arbitrary displays of power, the carrot and the stick without any apparent rhyme or reason. Claudia

  48. Lesley, the fact that the psychopath’s parents are often disordered as well was made most obvious when, for example, Neil Entwistle’s parents defended their son and blamed the victim (his wife) even in the face of all the evidence that pointed to Neil being guilty. Claudia

  49. Lesley, yes I do believe in some ways they do hate themselves. I remember talking to my friend one night and he sounded strange and I asked him where was he and he said he was sitting on the floor between the bed and the nightstand. I asked him why and he said “I did it again”. I asked him what did he do and he said “I hurt someone”. I remember him calling himself “a lecherous old man”. I also remember him saying “he will reap what he sowed”. I was visiting with him once and he said that he hated the other guy inside. I am not sure about his parents, but his sister treated him very badly as a child, I could hear the hate in his voice when he talked about her. He also took his son from his Mother and portrayed her as a drug addict in the custody hearings and he use to sell drugs and he won the case. Saying all of this, it’s apparent that he will never change.

    I have known this man for 40+ years and only reconnected with him three years ago. I have seen him do some very kind and generous things as well as some very nasty and mean things. One of the last few times I spoke with him he was talking about the newest lady in his life with so much disdain and contempt in his voice it made me ill. I can’t even imagine what he will do to her when he through with her.

    I must admit myself that “I miss” him. The fake him that is) But I do hope that he is truly done and finished with me.

  50. Donna, you bring up a very good point. There’s a lot of projection in psychopaths’ loathing of humanity. However, with such pathological liars it’s difficult to tell what is playacting and what is real. That is why it’s great that you are able to cut off ties with him (or him with you). Claudia

  51. Claudia, I do agree with you now that I know what I know. He is really a very brilliant man and it is very sad to me that he is such a disordered and evil person. At this point I would never believe anything coming out of his mouth. I believe there are always consequences for the deeds we do in life and he will meet his maker one day and like my step-dad the vultures will be waiting to pick his bones dry.

    I am so grateful for your site where I can vent. On a number of the other forums I have visited so many women are still waiting for them to come back, but I am not a glutton for punishment.

    Thank you again for hanging in here with me.

  52. Donna, it’s sadder for you because you are a smart person too–only you also have a heart–and had to suffer because of a disordered man. Psychopaths are too shallow to suffer much, except from frustration (at not having enough control or their deviant and exploitative needs met) and boredom. I’m glad you found this site too and grateful for your comments. Claudia

  53. Claudia, I think I am obessed about venting and getting over this madness. I now know what I said to him to cause his “narcissistic injury”. I finally asked him what does he want and need in a women, and he said a “submissive woman”. For some odd reason he has always been honest with me, I think. My comment back, “Not here and not today”, and I hung up on him.

    Believe me I was a submissive woman in my past. I also think I frustrated him because I didn’t give in to his attempts to seduce me into his spider web. I guess I was in my own survival mode and didn’t even know it. Yes, he did manipulate me into being his friend (and he mirrored me and learned alot from me) but nothing more, he never had control of me, myself and I. Thanks to the Gods and Angels that have watched over me……..He can’t reset my buttons anymore.

  54. Donna, because they enjoy dominance–as their top goal and pleasure in life–psychopaths do like submissive women. However, even those don’t satisfy them because they don’t present a challenge. Picasso once said to Françoise Gilot that he enjoyed transforming divas into doormats. I think that’s what most psychopaths enjoy: it combines a challenge with dominance. Claudia

  55. Hi Claudia and Donna
    Thank you for your posts. Donna all the things you write my ex also said. He would sit in “tears” at how he treated his exes in the past. And I know he will do that again when he puts in his act of sadness when talking about me. He could also do so many lovely things for people, but also be vile, evil in the true sense of the word. He also had a love/hate relationship with his mum (who was lovely!). They are though as you both say, liars and I would never believe anything that came out of my ex’s mouth again. He once said though that what he wanted was a woman that was deaf, dumb and blind. So that Donna, matches with your friend.
    They most definitely do make you feel as though they dominate your life. I mostly feel sadness really. You are aware of what is wrong with them and that they cannot ever change, the blame is truly at their door and I have never felt that its any other woman’s fault, as I knew he woudl always be to blame. But yes just sadness as what a way to treat people and what a way to live. I suppose though they see nothing wrong with it.
    Thank you to you both. I do so appreciate this site. Its informative, supportive and very helpful for so many people.

  56. Lesley, thanks so much. I’m so glad we can help. Sometimes the women psychopaths select are personality disordered as well (if you’ve ever watched the show Wicked Attractions on Investigation Discovery you know what I’m talking about), sometimes they’re not. According to the book Women Who Love Psychopaths, usually they’re decent women. But, either way, that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that the psychopaths themselves have a very dangerous personality disorder and are toxic. Claudia

  57. Yes, i agree. My mum is totally narcissistic, which is probably why I felt I could “fix” or “make happy” my ex. Thankfully though, I’m aware (i hope!!) of my failings or my weaknesses and even when my ex was on his best behaviour I knew there was something not right. But, as you have said in other blogs, you get carried away with the hope and dream that they offer up to you. My ex’s ex gf however (the one he has kept on the hook for years) is an AA member, like my ex and I think possibly she cannot break the ties with him, due to maybe the issues she had. I think she hopes that one day they will get back together, which is probably what most of his exes maybe think..well the ones he has kept on the hook and they have not realised what he is doing. But, ultimately, these men (and women) abuse their partners in whatever form and to do that to someone mentally healthy or not is awful. The thing is the longer you are with them the more you start to think you are going mad, or as mad as them!! You start to rationalise really awful behaviour and think oh well, maybe i woudl do that ..then you think Hold on a minute!! This is not right! I always viewed it that although I could be quite open minded and easy going..where I drew a most definite line with things my ex had not line. or it moved constantly…further and further into the unacceptable. As you say, they push the envelope and they do it so well, so covertly really, that you wonder if you thought it yourself!! Toxic indeed!

  58. Lesley, how true that the longer you are with a psychopath, the more you feel that you’re losing touch with reality. And you are, indeed, because of their pathological lying and techniques of gaslighting, which I explain in a few of these posts. Sometimes, however, psychopaths lure vulnerable women with serious issues and various addictions, who are more likely to remain hooked on them. However, their fate is not your problem. Your focus needs to remain your life and recovery. Claudia

  59. Claudia, I am grieving the lose of my fake, false friend and it hurts my heart to my core. It’s hard for me to believe I fell for this crap again, I thought I could see them for what they are. Did I have blinders on? I am a pretty tough cookie. I guess they come in all shapes, forms, colors and sizes.

    I am a strong woman with a good heart and working on getting back to me, but I don’t understand why the Universe keeps putting these sick men in my life.

  60. Thanks Claudia. Its hard going, as you know, I think distance and trying not to have anything to do with them is the only solution. And it is easier when they stop contacting you, as you get a break from it and that allows you to think more clearly, then you can start to make your own plans on how you stop them contacting you (if they do again). I’m not saying I dont find it hard, but there really is no other way. My sister keeps saying to me “for godsake you were only with him a year” but well, I had him in sights from age 12. He was The One. But also, these people are so so damaging, that it is not the time you are with them that matters, but the extent of the damage they are capable fo doing.

  61. Also claudia sorry can you take my email add off my posts..i must try to figure out how to post without that happening!!

  62. Lesley, I removed your email address and put your first name instead. It’s true, psychopaths can do a lot of damage even in short periods of time. It doesn’t take long for them to lure and manipulate their targets. The damage is not directly proportional with time together. However, there is some correlation. The longer you are with a psychopath the more you get used to the erosion of moral boundaries he imposes, the more isolated you become from loved ones and friends, the more you are under his or her control, therefore the tougher it is to leave the relationship for good. You’re right that no contact is the only way to go. Claudia

  63. Donna, that is probably the toughest part of overcoming psychopathic bonds: getting over the false image of niceness, sanity, true love, trust that the psychopath projected. It’s much easier to get over normal relationships that go sour, because at least they were real. Claudia

  64. I have been following this site for that past three months, having been newly detached and NC with my x Psychopath. I particularly liked this article how they “string” and manipulate so many women. I was involved with him LD for over 5 years, as he still has his “main” woman he lives with. I have come far in my recovery thinking I had met the man of my dreams and when the mask fell he was a sexually deviate, it has taken me the past year to undo the SEVERE damage this disordered individual did to me. I was raped, betrayed and deceived and he played every game imaginable with me, love triangulation, projection, OMG the list is too long.

    I am making progress but I have ONE thought that constantly enters my mind in the aftermath, “what did his “main” woman have that I never had that keeps him with her for 8+ years? What is their life like, and why was I nothing but a dirty secret. I am educated, attractive, and for the most part I am no less or no greater than his live in partner but yet he degraded me in every way possible. Maybe this obsession will take some time to let go of. Naturally in the beginning I was the love he had always wanted, this man simply could not get enough of me and not just sexually, and to this day he STILL calls once and awhile , geez I have changed my number so many times now I just delete and ignore all calls, but the fact remains he still is with this same woman, he is 50 now so I imagine he has trained her pretty well through the years as a life partner, (if you want to call it that) I was promised marriage, a life together and you know the rest……. Strange though they are not married, just live together.

    There seems to ALWAYS be ANOTHER WOMAN when you are involved with a psychopath/sociopath the MAIN SUPPLY so to speak, yet they destroy other womens lives and yet I realize her life is probably nothing but a lie living with him and she as well is being destroyed on a daily basis. Its a difficult part of the aftermath to understand, any words of great wisdom when it comes to their women they have tucked away at home?

  65. Linda, yes, psychopaths almost always triangulate. Many also cheat with innumerable partners on the side, both male and female, however, they always engage in one main triangulation to foster jealousy between the two main targets and feel important. Casual affairs do not provide them with the same opportunities for psychological and emotional manipulation as playing off each other a mistress and a wife. You should not feel inadequate because you played the mistress role. Rest assured that the wife was not treated any better after the honeymoon phase was over. But that’s not a consolation, of course. Psychopaths treat all of their partners very badly. When a partner has the impression she’s being treated well, it only means he’s hiding and lying to her better, for self-serving purposes. Claudia

  66. Thank you Claudia!!! I had to have extensive counseling to overcome the PTSD I endured when I became aware of what this man was, There literally is no better way to describe an experience of being involved with a servere PDI/psychopath, its a total shock to your whole system. Even today its so difficult for me to believe this person from the first hello NEVER for one minute loved me and only wanted to destroy my morals. He loved me, but only for what he thought he could get me to do!!! He loved the chance and opportunity NEVER the person, This man PLAYED ME, from day one it was nothing but an act and TOTAL brainwashing to get me to participate in sexually twisted deviated acts. That seems to be the trend for many of them, I NEVER ONCE faltered I stood STRONG to my moral beliefs and the more I did that, the more he bored of me and lost interest. I had love triangulation at its FINEST, I was actually invited to share he AND his live in Girlfriend which one time I called him on it and said sure lets set it up but it never materialized he came up with all sorts of excuses, too busy, my GF is busy, out of town, etc.. he actually used that as bait to further get me to believe it was ok to do that because his GF does that, IT WAS ALL BULLCRAP, he was calculating, evil, plotting used one victim against the other. Just as you article states, the GREAT PUPPET MASTER.

    I often wonder do you think his GF KNOWS he is a psychopath? She has been with him for 8 years – she must know something is amiss because I SURE FIGURED IT OUT living two hours away from him???????? Maybe he completely conceals this from her ?? DO they manipulate different roles ? The women they keep at home vs the others they keep on a string? Will this poor woman stay with him forever? And continue living a life with a man who is nothing but a total lie and fraud? Who is nothing but a sexual predator behind her back? I remember the countless times he would sneak in the garage to call me, or when he ran errands professing his undying love for me and how much he missed me, UGH it makes me nauseated, oh but of course in the beginning they were going to break up and we had so much more in common and their relationship was not going anywhere. Maybe she stays because he is FILTHY RICH. I think I will always wonder what will become of them through the years and how she is betrayed everyday of her life. I LOVE your articles because understanding the disorder is the key element in detaching and recovering, some of the other forums are SOAP OPERAS, he did this, and I broke contact, and why didnt he call, and why did he say this, or that….. I have been reading EVERY article you post for the past several months and it is like reading my entire relationship with this man. I am freshly out but as I said he pulled further and further away from me this past year – I dont know what is worse, just cutting it off or slowly detaching from the HELL so your mind can process it all. I feel at peace now but the wounds will take a long time to heal. Do you have any good books that you may suggest that help in the healing process from all the psychological damage, it seems that is the last to overcome. Thank you Claudia and keep posting those thought provoking articles, it gives me such clarity in understanding the animal that did this to me. Linda. ps Happy 4th of July, here is to our FREEDOM

    I o

  67. Linda, there are a few great books on psychopathy that I mentioned and/or reviewed on this blog (Without Conscience, Snakes in Suits, Women Who Love Psychopaths, How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved). Some of them do mention healing, though the focus is more on identifying psychopathy and other personality disorders and understanding what draws even normal people to a personality disordered individual. As for the other woman or women, it may be tempting to ruminate about them; however your focus should be your own healing and moving on. Those women may be badly brainwashed or deeply disordered. You can’t tell in advance, but ruminating about them is another way of still thinking about your ex rather than letting go, of him and his entire “soap opera” life (as you aptly say). Have a nice July 4 holiday. Claudia

  68. Claudia, good advise, at some point it pointless to try and figure everything out in their actions, now I know why they say, the psychopath is still with you LONG after they are gone. I could not agree with you more how BORED they get. I think the ideal partner for them is coming home to a different partner each night, and not just for sexual reasons but just the thrill of something new to interact with. That would be a perfect set up for them for the rest of their life.

    I have wanted to ask this question and I cant think of a better person that would truly know this more than you. Do you think psychopaths vs narcs actually NEED a life partner? They speak of narcs needing and searching for constant validation from others either thru sex or other ways, what they call supply. Here is another interesting twist to this question, when I was in counseling my counselor said he DOES NOT NEED HER for a psychopath its more for a front and imagine vs not wanting to be alone, half the time he cant stand her she is a pain in the butt to him . I was stuck so long with the thoughts that his partner gives him what he needs more than I ever could that being intellectual stimulation, etc.. according to my counselor who had much experience in prisons counseling psychopaths he would say, NO WAY, he keeps her around ONLY for image so he appears normal within the community and that would make sense being he is a Sheriff. Interesting Claudia how I see more and more that I was not really betrayed because what he once promised me he will NEVER give any partner. So as I mourned the dream and promise he once presented to me there is no woman he will truly give these things to. If he exhibited signs of boredom with me being long distance I can only image how bored they must get with whoever they live with on a daily basis. He did tremendous psychological damage to me its difficult to undo the brainwashing and what they had you believing for so long, but I know NC and focusing on myself with greatly aid in that process. I am sincerely trying – time and distance is what it takes. Thanks Claudia Linda

  69. Linda, congratulations on maintaining no contact. To answer your question, I do believe that both psychopaths need a partner in the sense of needing someone more stable to manipulate, lie to, and use as a front or cover of legitimacy. It’s much less fun for them to cheat and lie with countless partners if they don’t have someone to cheat on and lie to. That’s why they usually choose a life partner and then carry on with many other people on the side in temporary, more exciting flings. Generally, psychopaths want to have their cake and eat it too. Claudia

  70. Claudia, today is the 1 year anniversay of the last positive contact I had with my narc friend. It was one of the last “Big Papa Bear” hugs I received, the last was in Sept then the down hill spiral began totally ending in June of this year. I am doing well with NC, but I still find thoughts of him creeping into my mind. Do those thoughts ever go away?

    My question is, “Do they ever regret messing up and hurting the people, lovers, friends or family members in their lives? I know you said they have no conscience, but is there anything remotely humanistic about them, just curious?

  71. Donna, sadly enough, no, psychopaths have no capacity for deeper emotional bonding or true empathy. When they express it, it’s always instrumental (to manipulate others) or fake (to deceive them). Robert Hare does mention, however, in Without Conscience that psychopaths feel casual fondness, particularly during the luring phase, for some of their targets. Casual–and very temporary and superficial–fondness is the best anyone can ever get from a psychopath. Definitely not worth all the suffering they cause. Happy anniversary for this landmark. The most important landmark, however, will be when you will forget about all the landmarks pertaining to this toxic relationship. Then you’ll be ready to move on to better relationships. Claudia

  72. Hi Linda, Welcome to the site. I remember so well commenting about my narc/friend that he has his women meet him at special events so he looks like he always has a lady on his arm at all times. In the beginning he would wine & dine them. When the event was over he would always send them home alone. He also flirted with me in front of his OW. He doesn’t allow woman to move in with him anymore but he would give them money and gifts, I guess so they show up when ever he called. He has bought many engagement rings but has never married. He even flirts with little girls, I pray he is not a child molester.

    I just recently learned I was apart of his (narc supply) unknowingly until I found this site and Claudia. His mask started to crumble and I saw the real deal. I don’t like the title of “victim”, “target” fits me better, because I am still standing. They are users, abursers, liars, cheats and every other type of evil that still walks this earth.

    I truly support you in your recovery and healing.

    Sincerely, Donna

  73. Claudia, you are “My Angel” and your knowledege and wisdom has helped me on my path back to my healthy self. I am truly not worried about finding another man. I am in a better place financially and I know how to take of me. I have not suffered like so many here, but my train got derailed. Happy 4th of July to you and yours, Good Hugs to you, Donna

  74. Hi to everyone – been reading all your posts. These types just treat everyone the same, and that is with contempt. And they hurt people so so much. I know mine’s has hurt me beyond belief, I never thought I would ever be hurt like this. But I do believe they will never be happy, they will never love anyone and treat them well. In my stronger moments i try to think that well I loved him, with all my heart and I know i was with him for the right reasons. When you are down though (which is a lot) you have to try not to beat yourself up about not being enough or good enough. Because no one is. I have to say though it is a total mind game and screws yyou up. But its because they dont have one partiuclar thing they like in anyone. They just go from one person to the next, pretending they are the perfect fit. But that’s all it is, is pretend. But its so hurtful, because it was never pretend with any one of this on this site. I just hope we can all be stronger and happier one day and help each other, and Claudia keeps doing these great articles.

  75. Thanks Lesley for your encouraging comment to everyone who posts here and who has been through this horrible experience. It will get better with time. Absorbing the truth about the psychopath takes time since we all experience cognitive dissonance at first. We can’t believe that the person who acted so caring at first was a total fraud, as was the relationship with them, of course. But eventually we come to grips with this information as the emotional and rational sides of us become more in tune. Claudia

  76. Donna, thanks so much for your good wishes and kind words. Happy 4th of July to you and your family as well! Claudia

  77. Thanks Claudia. Yes, its the hate that gets me. When my ex contacted me when we split up he would only be nice if he wanted something from you. Once he had that and I dared contact him then he would be abusive, insulting, say you were “continuing to have dialogue with him” when he had told you he didnt want to have anything to do with you. Just horrendous really. Set you up for a fall time and time again and then blamed you and made out you were a masochist for keeping coming back for more. It really is the hate for me that upsets me the most. But its hate fro everyone I suppose at the end of the day.


  78. Thank you Donna for acknowledging my post. Claudia reiterated how they all triangulate gives them a sense of power and I am sure its quite amusing in a SICK way for them to sit back and watch the show. Strange how I was constantly jealous of his partner live in GF when I never gave a thought to all the dozens of others he was also having relationships with and sleeping with. Truth being the GF at home was probably getting NOTHING sexually as he was too busy servicing his other women on the side. Nobody is ever a GF to these horrible men, they have MANY GF’s and they each give him what he needs in different ways. What I need to focus on is just KNOWING this type of disorder is very dangerous and destructive and in the end we were all “Targets” and “Dupes” that were conned and played in order to feed a mentally disordered persons sickness. Its an extremely difficult experience to recover from never knew I would ever have to encounter something of this nature, it nearly destroyed everything I once was. Here is to your healing and recovery as well Donna. x0x0 Linda

  79. Thank you, I figured as much, they actually ENJOY the fact they can fool others, NO, I have that wrong; They ENJOY hurting others, they find it amusing – everything is a sick game to them – sorry my LIFE is not a game and I am not a person that can be recycled like garbage, I folded the cards and left the game because there are no winners in the end x0x0 Linda

  80. Lesley, psychopaths often blame the victims because they have no sense of responsibility and believe they’re perfect. Claudia

  81. Linda, yes, you’re absolutely right. It’s not only that psychopaths hurt others, but they make it their life goal to do to so and greatly enjoy it. And you’re also right to point out there are no winners in the end: it’s a waste of time, energy
    and life for both parties. One more reason why No Contact is the best advice in dealing with psychopaths (even though even that doesn’t always work and is not always an option, particularly if you share custody with a psychopathic ex). Claudia

  82. Lesley: I have said the same thing; “They just jump from one new target to the next pretending they are the perfect fit, getting their supply high to feed them then when they tire they discard you and recycle you” Love junkies as I read somewhere. In the beginning we were everything they wanted, and they pretended they were everything we would want, ha ha what a joke, but the joke unfortunately was on me; my prince charming soul mate turned into a sick sexual predator pervert, I cant even write what this man wanted me to do, THANK GOD I NEVER compromised my standards which would explain why he lost interest in me and hardly wanted to see me the past two years. I know what you mean Leslie, it was not even close to pretend for us, I LOVED DEEPLY this man mirrored everything he knew I wanted, and when the mask came off he took it all away, he died so to speak,

    I am still a bit screwed up from the encounter, I feel as if at times I was released from a cult, and for the past 4 years I wasnt really living, I was in a fantasy land of some kind, now it seems as though it never existed almost like I was sleep walking – now I am awake and living in reality IT HURTS I have good days and days that arent so good but at least I am awake and among the living and I try to surround myself with healthy people and people who genuinely love and care about me. We will get stronger its just a long recovery. One day at a time Lesley x0x0 Linda

    ps Claudias articles keep me grounded and in reality. They help me accept the bitter facts. THERE IS NO FUTURE WITH A PSYCHOPATH

  83. Linda, your post made me cry to be honest. That is how I feel most days, I too have good days and bad days. You do most definitely have to surround yourself with your friends, your close ones, people that can make you laugh, bring back the joy you lost, as that is how I feel that I lost my joy, my fun, my spark. I was always such a bubbly person that got on with everyone. But that is what they do. They hate that their partners are what they can never be, so they strip you of it but they make out YOU do it to THEM. My ex i knew from when i was 12 – he got me by saying he always remember the first time he saw me at a school disco and he thought wow who is that, it was so touching to me as that was exactly what i thought of him. He knew I’d always felt very strongly for him,. But they always know your achilles heel and they go for it, chipping away. I was only with mine a year, but as you can read in my earlier posts, i gave up the lot, and he was worth it to me, most definitely. Well the person i thought he was. My situation is the same as you, my ex kept pushing the sexual deviancy boundary – however I knew he was doing it for manipulation and control, that I would never be living with him again, or have a “normal relationship” with him (as Claudia says its an ever receding horizon) – so I never heard from him again. It does hurt, no one understands if they have not been in this position.
    Claudia’s articles are so so helpful. cathartic..when I’m feeling down i read them to remind me (like we all need reminded??!) how bad it was and yes that you have to accept the bitter facts.
    One day at a time Linda. That is all we can do. And be here for each other and ask Claudia her advice and read her posts and just get stronger little by little.

  84. Lesley, I couldnt find the reply on the last message you sent so I replied to this that you posted, (if you can make sense of that ha ha) I will give you example of his sexual SICK perverted desires – my counselor said not to focus on that and not to keep repeating it because it only hurts you further but I look back at the far contrast this man presented himself to be that gentle, man who held my hand and comforted me after losing both my parents in 4 months (they target the wounded) this man who I played with when we were 5 and 8 years old, this man who was my adoptive cousin, who KNEW my FINE parents, who knew my family, who attended both my parents funerals sat there in the congregation PRETENDING to offer his condolences professing how much he loved me going back to our child hood days, – hold on to your seat this man transformed into a man who wanted to see me raped by other men, as he once said it “I would just love to see them do a train on ya” Someone once posted a question wondering if they can fool their families, YOU BET they can fool their families he played his mother ALL HIS LIFE and in the end he got over a million from her inheritance, so as he now sits close to retirement with a nice pension from the county being a sheriff he also has a nice chunk of money his mother left him, I lost my job a year ago from PTSD just filed bankruptcy – I am working again but the damage they inflict is like a domino affect and that man is set up for life, he also sold her home after she died and built himself a half a million dollar custom made home, and he and his little gf live there. Oh but wait a minute I thought their relationship was over, and that We had so much more in common, as I sat believing he was going to share a life with me he was building his home for THEM, – That is just a little history of my story, It took me a long time to see I never missed out on a future, promise or dream that he offered me his GF is HIS dupe, his life long partner dupe. He invited me several times to stay with him at his new home when his GF was out of town, NO THANKS, I have no desire to see your palace because a psychopath lives there and to me he has NOTHING – an empty, shallow, evil, fake, fraud, sick low life disordered, low character con man who rapes women in every possible way. I could care less what material things he has gained in his life – didnt bin Laden also live in a palace?

    I was told once when you die you can only take with you what you gave to the world you are not remembered by what you had but by what you gave to others, but a psychopath wont care what others think of them when they are dead, they took from the world what they wanted and that is the type of life that sustains them. He told me that on Halloween he would love to hide in the bushes and throw shit at the trick or treaters he thought that would be funny as hell, mmmm and this man wears a badge? He should be stripped of his rank for the mennace he is to society!!!! Sorry my post is so long but that is my history and I wont speak of what he did to me again now I must focus on my recovery and OUR recovery – they are truly SICK individuals and I realized when I was with him I was also mentally unhealthy but it took me years to see what he was trying to do to me, he wanted me just as unstable as he was. It takes tremendous strength to detach from such a person who is pathological in nature and it takes equal strength to recover from such damage. I shall rise one day from all this and it is my goal to look back on all this with truth and great wisdom. x0x0 Linda

  85. Claudia, I have often read that they are NOT mentally sick, but highly disturbed, in contrast I cant see the difference, I look back and all I can see is a mentally sick person!!!! If they arent mentally sick than why is it my counselor always told me you are not at a place of being mentally healthy yet to get mentally healthy you must detach, and completely sever and cut this man out of your life only then you can remove the toxicity this man inflicted on you. So are they mentally sick or pathological and what is the difference? Just wondering what your opinion is? Linda

  86. Linda, yes, psychopaths are clinically sane, even though they do crazy things by any normal frame of reference. Psychologists draw a distinction between clinical insanity–which means someone’s out of touch with reality–and personality disorders, like psychopathy, where a person is lucid and knows what he or she is doing wrong. Psychopaths in particular are extremely meticulous in their planning of wrongdoings. That’s why they are held legally and morally responsible for their crimes. Thank goodness! They get away with enough as it is. Claudia

  87. Hi Linda. yes my ex was the same, well probably worse, he did a lot of things, and whatever you did that he wanted he wouid then push it further – as Claudia comments if you are passionate etc they use that against you as well. You really cannot win – whatever you are like and whatever you do (willingly or not). You really are damned either way.
    But it does take great strength to leave them, it did for me, It was the worst day of my life, well i thought it was until the days following when he did not phone me and say sorry, but only treated me with contempt, hate, abuse, rage, indifference to my situation, no feelings, no remorse, nothing. Definitely not love. I do think that when you have gone through such things you are traumatised for a long time after. And again, as you rightly say, you need to be strong to get through that too. My ex gets away with what he is like because he does not tell anyone anything about his life, his family do not know what he is like, what he does, how he treats women, they are on a need to know basis. And anything he will tell them about me, or any other girl for that matter will be lies, to make himself look like the victim. he could easily say to them that it didnt work with me and him as i had left my husband, moved 500 miles to live with him. So he blamed it all on that, too much too soon was his excuse. But it was nothing to do with that. We got on great (when he was doing whatever behind my back and he thought i didnt know or when he wasnt in one of his emotionally unavailable phases (when he was trying to set up something behind my back and was trying to work out how to do it). But again, as Claudia has said, they look for scapegoats not partners. And I’m not goign to be anyone’s scapegoat..the truth will out one day i hope. But it just adds to the insult, injury and hurt that you have to deal with when they discard you, whilst they put on their nice act for their new girlfriend(s).
    one day at a time Linda for us all. sometimes one hour at a time.


  88. Claudia. I know they get a sense of achievement when they hurt people and cause upset, drama, terrible consequences in their close ones lives. But do they know its wrong to hurt people or do you think that they do know its wrong they just dont care? I know my ex always seemed euphoric or full of himself or to be honest,happier when he had done something to hurt me, even boasting about it sometimes if it had to do with other women. I suppose its because they do not have any real emotions so just think that they can do or say anything to you. I go on holiday tomorrow, going on my own to try and get some peace and balance in my life after all this hurt and pain. So i hope you continue to write your artciclars so i can come back to them from my holiday. thank you for making me that little bit stronger claudia.

  89. Lesley, psychopaths enjoy crossing boundaries and violating social norms. It’s what turns them on. So not only do they know what they do is wrong, but also they enjoy it because it’s wrong. And they also enjoy tainting others and getting them to do wrong things as well. Enjoy your vacation! Claudia

  90. Claudia I know there are different reasons why psychopaths choose their victims, there is an element of some variation to what they use them for, in your experience have you ever talked to targets who were used for the sole purpose of trying to brainwash them into SICK sexual encounters? It begins with the luring phase, they pretend you are the love of their life, they cultivate your trust, make sure you are deeply in love with them then they SLOWLY start to condition their target to what their plan was for them, throw hints out about wife swapping, etc… saying its a fantasy of theirs and we could share it together, etc… it slowly gets worse and worse and worse with their demands and requests of this nature. I know sex is always the foundation of their pursuits (pretty much along with control and games) but this was the ONLY thing that he seemed to want with me towards the end of the whole SICK relationship and the fact that I NEVER gave him that pretty much tells me why he wanted to see me less and less – no wonder I felt like a rape victim when it was said and done. Just wondering if this is a fairly common sick and calculated plot for many of them? x0x0x0 Linda

  91. Linda, because they can’t bond with others, psychopaths suffer from chronic boredom and constantly push the envelope in their quest for excitement. Yes, they’re calculated in pressuring others, little by little, to push the envelope and engage in increasingly perverse behavior, sexually and in other respects as well. More than that: they prefer to latch on to people who don’t enjoy those things rather than people who do, both because those are more likely to have a respectable image and because they enjoy a challenge. The epitome of control for psychopaths is getting decent human beings to behave like them (in a depraved manner). Then they not only engage in depravity, which they enjoy, but they also taint others, which they enjoy even more. Claudia

  92. Hi Claudia, I wanted to stop by and say hello. I got through my 4th of July weekend pretty well, and tomorrow will be 4 weeks since his last D&D plus my NC.

    I do have a number of projects I am working on to keep me busy. I have spent less time going over this maddness in my head. I have been “Miss Independent” for a very long time.

    But, a few question keep popping up.

    So now I believe that I frustrated him because I never totally caved in, ( a challenge to him?) I faught back against his ugly behavior and I now know when I “insulted” him (Narc injury). I also told him I don’t do FWB or casual affairs anymore.

    #1. Have I received his final D&D, in general terms or will he come back with “sweet talk” and apologies? I want to be ready!!!

    “2. Will I ever know that I have received the final D&D?

    I can be slow sometimes, but when I get it, I get it. (smiles)

    Hugs and kisses, Donna

  93. Same here my ex call me crazy woman and always repeat that “normal woman will be xxxx, you are crazy you should stay in hospital, and whoever cant satify he will claim them are stupid and crazy.

  94. Donna, it’s difficult to predict whether you received your final devalue and discard from the psychopathic ex or not. They can harass former girlfriends or boyfriends for many years, or return to bother you unexpectedly after a long hiatus. But really it’s more up to you than up to him. If you don’t respond at all to any of his overtures and put him out of your life and out of your mind, then for all practical purposes you have. Claudia

  95. Claudia, my friend gave me the link to this website and I am so glad that she did. You are so clear and leave no room for all the drama of some other forums and I really appreciate that.

    Here’s a little background on my experience with a psychopathic man….If it is any indication of how bad things became…I moved over 3,000 miles away from my EX…practically fled in the night…after years of his abuse, lying and cheating repeatedly, i finally was able to get away from him. He appears to be such a ‘Prince Charming’ and of course presented himself as every woman’s ‘dream man’ (actually seemed to think he WAS the answer to every girl’s dreams)….as they all seem to do at first…he was so wonderful and kept up his persona with me for nearly a year before the chinks in his armor began to show …only to later do some of the most destructive hateful things…lie so much about nearly everything…he SO completely ripped from me my ability to trust…most especially trust myself to be able to tell when he or others were being dishonest…that I became a licensed Private Investigator. Since learning more about his background (restraining orders from several EX’s, trouble with the law for counterfeiting,, assault/battery, arrests for road rage, convicted of child abuse, arrested for extreme domestic violence)…yet you would NEVER in a million years know it! His brother…who is capable of similar violent and narcissistic behaviors, is a News Reporter for a local News Station where I lived when I was with him. You had to be there and actually witness their behavior to EVER believe it…as he and his brother both seem like the greatest guys you could meet.

    I left him about 7 months ago, now live over 3,300 miles away…kept NC for months, but he located me via my company website and called me on my birthday…once he got his toe in the door…kept calling and trying anything that worked until he finally actually flew out here to see me.. (he made several attempts to get over the Border but was denied entrance…so I thought I was safe that he never could come…and convinced myself that there was no harm in communicating with him eventually as a friend,…and THEN he actually got across somehow and flew here to see me! ….

    Long story short…he was all hearts and flowers, proposed a future with me…(I did not comment to him about this or agree)…nevertheless…he went back home (I was actually relieved)…and I discovered he had been and continues to be online…on dating websites hooking up with OW and had been doing this all the 4 years of our relationship while we lived together!

    I cut him off, blocked him from everything I could and warned him to leave me alone and never contact me again and have have been completely NC for over a month now, even though he continues to call repeatedly every day and night. Sometimes leaving messages and sometimes not. Some are pleading for me to call him back, saying he is hurting terribly, some messages are demanding and abusive/angry and then back and forth…the sweet/mean cycle they are so good at. Don’t know what to make of all this ‘hoovering’ as he continues to try to get me to interact with him and gets angry that I don’t respond. I made it so perfectly clear that I did not want any further contact and that it is absolutely over. And here he is, not only hooking up with OW all along…but still proposing marriage to ME, calling everyday saying that he will ‘never give up on ‘us’…and yet also telling others he is a free bachelor and that our relationship has been over for a long time and that I am to blame for all that went wrong, all this is being said behind my back. My attitude is ‘let him!’…so long as I don’t have to have anything to do with him.

    But my question is WHY is he doing this? How can you tell if a man like this is more dangerous than other psychopathic types? He has quite a history of violent behavior, but yet comes across as mild well-mannered and wonderful, it is SO mind boggling…Is he a threat to me at this distance? Do you think he may try to come here again? He is trying to connect with OW but will not let go of me…and all the while he says that I ‘belong’ to him and have no right to date or ever be with another man. What do you think about this behavior? (leaves this in a message…I am NOT answering his phone calls nor responding or communicating in any way with him…it is all one sided behavior on his part! Seems more than extreme and obsessive. Should I be more concerned? What are the chances he will come here again to try to see me?

  96. Jeanne, I’m tempted to say that the better psychopaths are able to pull off the Jekyll/Hyde persona, the more dangerous they are. Because those who do it well are a hidden danger, which is far more dangerous than what you see is what you get (open dysfunctionality). The reason why he’s still contacting you and using others to contact you is because psychopaths rarely let go of their dominance bonds. It’s all about control for them, and the more people they control the more powerful they feel. However, they don’t invest the same amount of time and energy in trying to control every target, past, present and future. That would be impossible. So they prioritize. It looks to me like although you haven’t completely vanished from his radar, fortunately, you are now a low priority for him. If you were a high priority, you’d know it. He’d be always at your doorstep. So I’d advise you to remain cautious but not overly concerned and enjoy your new life and freedom from him. Claudia

  97. Claudia, Thank you so much for your answer. This is what I think too, as he is currently and simultaneously searching for my replacement while still trying to communicate with me, leaving messages that are threatening with expletives, and alternating with the ones where he claims his ‘love’ and sends me ‘kisses’ and wants to never give up on us and pleading with me to help ease his ‘suffering’ by calling him back or answering my phone. Yesterday he left a message that he had sent me several ‘sweet emails’ (even though I told him before I went NC that his emails are blocked!!!) and was angry and ‘fed up’ that I never responded bc after all, HE is ‘trying’ to repair this.

    He has no idea that I am fully aware that he is also online sending out emails every day to as many women that he finds attractive on a particular dating site and telling them he is NOT in a relationship and considers his last relationship (with me) as definitely ‘over’…and telling these women sob stories(playing the victim for their sympathy with some of them that show an interest) about how awful I was bc I ‘just didn’t trust him’. What he leaves out is that he was completely untrustworthy throughout the relationship, not only doing porn DAILY sometimes several times a day, but being online on singles sites from his office and hooking up with women and dating during his lunch break…meeting for lunch, a walk in the park, tennis dates, and sometimes ending up taking the ‘afternoons off’ for trysts in the hotel next to his office. He did this while being WONDERFUL to me the entire first year and I never knew. How can a man be so attentive, affectionate and romantic, and seem so inseparable with happy in our relationship…and still do these other things???When I caught him outright cheating, he got mad at ME for, as he said: ‘not trusting him, bc after all he was such a ‘great guy and so very special and I was lucky to have him’ as there were line-ups of women waiting for their chance to be with him’…and he continued with the cheating, but got better at hiding it.

    It is unreal how they can keep track of so many women and ‘relationships’ keeping each one on a string and playing them like puppets so that each woman thinks he ‘loves’ her and there is promise for a future with him. Also I am speechless at how well my BF could act so wonderful, and I was entirely unaware of all this for the longest time!!! I am NOT a stupid woman, and he was able to fool me. For example, he was involved with another woman at one point and neither she nor I were aware of the other! One night we actually came home from a weekend away…only to find one of his many women he was seeing that I was not aware of…sitting in her car with her girlfriend in the passenger seat for support…in our driveway at midnight waiting to see why she could not go on his weekend trip with him and suspecting him of seeing someone else (we had been living together for 2 years at this point!) She was waiting to confront him! I left him right away…and yet after 2 months he was able to manipulate me back…though I never trusted him after that again.

    I cannot express how all this made me feel and how his lies and secret life, sexual addictions and abuse affected my life. The damage he did to me. I had been such a confident happy healthy woman when I met him…and felt so ripped to shreds towards the end…getting away from him took alot of courage and every ounce of strength and resources that I had…but I did it! And then after moving a continent away, I actually became a Private investigator. (had alot of training trying to get to the truth of who/what HE was.)

    If I had known his history I would have never looked at him twice! That is why I now believe in doing background check at the slightest red flag before getting too involved with someone. If I had done a background check I would have discovered his horrifying history of arrests for violent behaviors, domestic abuse so severe that he beat his wife black and blue with a metal object while she cradled their newborn son trying to shield his little body from the blows. The photos in the police files are utterly heinous/heartbreaking..and yet he went to play golf afterwards as if nothing ever happened while his wife was injured and trying to survive at home…and he was arrested on the golf course, put in jail and went to trial (where his brother the news reporter testified to get him out of more trouble and protect his reputation…quite a tag team those two, this is their pattern each time my EX was arrested since he was in his 20’s…frankly the entire family bands together against the victim each time and abuses and maligns her to others…he is PERFECT no matter what he does…it is unreal!)

    Also, what just makes my head spin is how well HE bounces back…within 2 weeks of my leaving him to move where I am now, he was photographed in nightclubs and at parties handing out red roses to women and playing the ‘Bachelor Show’ bachelor about town. Yet he also ‘cried and was so upset at my leaving him for months…according to HIM’…and within months flew out here to see me and propose marriage. He made a huge effort…all the while STILL seeing other women and searching for my perfect replacement.

    Of every person I EVER met in my entire life or ever will…I wish with all my heart I NEVER met this man. I have never known anyone like this in my life…he is so smooth he appears absolutely sincere, and when he smiles it disarms you…but within an instant at the slightest perceived offense…he can become extremely violent and in a dangerous rage, throwing the scariest tantrums you could ever witness. I know that he IS capable of killing someone…and yet act as if he they provoked it and he never did anything wrong. He didn’t seem to have a conscience, always blamed others for everything, and could walk away with that same disarming killer smile like he was every woman’s ‘dream man’…on to the next victim unaware!

  98. Jeanne, you might find some solace in one of psychologist’s Gail Saltz’s articles about a psychopathic sex addict. I also posted part of that article in my entry here on Psychopaths as Sex Addicts (I forget the exact title). Gail quotes a letter she received from a psychopath that describes exactly the behavior your ex (as so many other psychopaths) manifest. It might be interesting for you to read it. At any rate, someone who behaves this way is not worth taking to heart or taking seriously, obviously. Claudia

  99. Hello to Claudia and all my sisters in recovering. Today has been a special day for me. After reading many posts.

    My ex-husband was a narc and I divorced him in 1983, my only living brother is a narc. They are still sucking ppl into their own sick worlds. But, I am not in it anymore. I found and read M.Scott Peck’s book “The Road Less Traveled” and it changed my life. His descriptions of the difference between “Love and Evil” are still valid today.

    Claudia has helped me so much to understand their maddness. My friends, please take your power back and thrive. They can’t affect our lives and spirits anymore. “Love is as love does” and Leo B, “Love does not hurt”.

    From me Love doesn’t have a price to pay………True love is Free for me to me and you to be you!!!

  100. Donna, how true! In real love there’s no price to pay because it’s not a regrettable, huge mistake as any relationship with a psychopath is. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Peck’s books, including The People of the Lie. I have to read them. Claudia

  101. Hello Claudia: I have almost weened myself off the recovery sites completely, but I remain with yours because its one without all the drama and story telling in such detail after you read the stories of each target after awhile you begin to see their behavior is almost the same, with some degree of difference. However there are behaviors that remain constant, they can not love, bond, in a healthy way and they ALL abuse if not directly, indirectly behind their backs and that mask they hide behind when they act. For the past week I have set time aside for projects and activities that I enjoy but too often the sicko STILL enters my thoughts and I dont want him in my thoughts anymore, when it happens I say STOP IT think of something else – I have removed him from my life in every way but they sure stay with you long after they are gone dont they?!!!! Certain things will trigger the encounter for instance when I see a policemen I look at them with such hatred and when I take out the garbage I think of him, ha ha and I still wonder what he is doing in his life – do you have any suggestions that might help me when thoughts of him consume me? Maybe just TIME is the answer and slowly he will fade in my mind as I get healthier and return to my old self ? Thanks x0 linda

  102. Linda, I’m glad you’re returning to this website, which hopefully provides support in leading a healthier life, not just information about psychopaths and their victims. You made me smile when you said when I take out the garbage I think of him. Not such a bad mnemonic exercise! In French they call such scum of the Earth “ordure” or garbage. A very appropriate term to describe a psychopath! I wouldn’t worry about the fact he pops in your mind from time to time. I just finished rereading one of my favorite novels, on which I want to write an essay: Orwell’s 1984, about a sociopathic dictatorship, as you know. In the end, they wipe the slate clean of everyone’s memories, to wipe out the past and make it what the party wants it to be at any given moment. Your goal isn’t to wipe out the past–not even the misfortunate memories of the psychopath–but to build upon it a much happier and healthier future, with those you care about. Even if hypnotherapy, for instance, were so precise as to be able to erase memories of him forever from your mind, would you do it? I wouldn’t, personally. Because I think we’ve gained a lot of wisdom, as well as a better sense of self and boundaries, from these very negative experiences. Claudia

  103. Linda and Claudia, I agree with you both. I am so angry today and I cried for being so used by this sickco. This betrayal is even worse for me because I was cautious and took my time getting to know this man, only as my friend. I avoided his red flag warnings for a romantic and intimate relationship.

    He would keep track of the many women he was trying to manage, by taking their pictures on his phone with their names and numbers. So when anyone called he knew who it was. I am the one that taught him how to text and use his phone. Linda, I was an investigator during my career.

    Now I recognize that he took every good and positive thing I ever offered and used it against me and as bait for other women. I know that revenge is not the answer and I know that he has not completely destroyed me. He really isn’t worthy of my thoughts, but he still keeps popping up in my mind. I have learned many life lessons in my 62 years and this just another one. I am still a healthy, strong and attractive woman and I refuse to let this sick disordered man take me down. I believe I am in the stages of grief and I will survive, but these feelings suck. Luv, Donna

  104. Donna: I am so sorry for the horrible experience you had, as I am sorry for any and ALL targets of these monsters. Its a double whammie to recover from because not only do we have to recover from the deception we also must leave the relationship with NO CLOSURE, I realize I was played, conned for his sick agenda now as I look back there is not a damn thing I can do about it or take it back, it done and I am now on his long list of many he has done this to. However, what does comfort me Donna is knowing this person was NOT right, NOT normal, NOT healthy, and highly disturbed and disordered. No, it does not take away the pain in what his disorder did to me but I know I am walking away from something that was VERY WRONG and whatever illusion he created for me will NEVER BE, with me or anyone. Sometimes i also look at it like this: A man that had this disorder did this to me, this is what they do and this is why they are called what they are: psychopaths. Revenge? nah, not my style he will live the rest of his days with what he is NEVER SATISFIED and EMPTY inside sure they get their temporary fixes that sustain them – but I would rather cry a river and be just who I am than live his life any day!!

    It hurts to feel and have the ability to love its what connects us to others, but it would be far worse to live your life being a psychopath. x0x0 Linda

  105. Linda, you are my sister here on this site. I can also agree that because they have no feelings, they will never know true love , feelings and caring. They are not stupid but empty. I hope his supply runs out. I hope no one calls me when he is very ill, suffering his own personal injury or his losing his own darling son or on his death bed…….”I might show up.” I know my words are harsh but I also know you can’t buy True Love and caring, because it’s not for sale anymore…………..Luv, Donna

  106. Donna, you mention you tried to play it safe and be friends first. It really is amazing how these social predators can be so patient, and take their time, sometimes more than a year, to lure a victim and gain her trust. That’s because for psychopaths the hunt–and all the deception it involves–is much more fun than the catch. It’s stalking, predatory behavior taken to the extreme. But Linda is right that they’re not satisfied or happy with any catch and their entire lives a predictable cycle of momentary excitement and pervasive emptiness and boredom that nothing and nobody can relieve. Claudia

  107. Claudia and Donna: I was also very very careful, naturally I was overwhelmed that this man who came into my life was professing to me he had ALWAYS loved me as a child and always had regrets that I got away, and we grew up and went our separate ways. Even THEN I still was careful, It was almost as if hey wait a minute this is too good to be true, love doesnt not happen this way but maybe again it does, sometimes a person can come into your life like this. Claudia you are so right in their predatory behavior, they can wait YEARS for the right time to pounce on a certain target as mine did, Mine actually waited until both my parents were dead to re enter my life, I KNOW this was planned and calculated on his part, my counselor always told me this man always had a plan to re enter your life long before he did. They wait patiently, when the time is right, mine waited until I was grieving over my parents, not only was that planned but he knew his use for me from DAY ONE, it was never for a life to share as he once promised, he cared nothing about my qualities, my beauty, my background my attributes all he saw was another woman he wanted to manipulate to further his sexual sickness. He also would have got much satisfaction in taking me down to his level. OH YES indeed he cultivated me for a good year or more trying to gain my trust and deep love for him, then slowly his mask of sanity came off. It took me over a year to accept what this man was then another year to let him go.

    These men are the worst predators that walk the face of the earth, they literally destroy people and lives of good, loving trusting individuals. I WILL NOT lose my trust in humanity because of this psychopath, of course I know the red flags and know when someone is not sincere to a higher degree now but this man will not destroy my perception to an unhealthy level, he was a psychopath and they make up what 10-20% of the population? I will not crawl under a rock and be afraid because everyone I meet will be like him, I have to laugh at my mother who always wanted Fred(we will call him that) Fred and I to date, (even though we were adoptive cousins) my mother would say Fred is such a nice man and you both were adopted, and you would have a nice life together HA HA HA HA my mother is gone now but that just goes to show you how even their own family has no idea what they are, they fool everyone for a lifetime if they have to. I am glad my parents never lived to see what this man did to me and that is why this dangerous man entered my life AFTER they passed away. These lovefrauds and rapists (as I call them) are no different than your serial killers, same criminal deceiving, lack of remorse and no conscience way of thinking. They are criminals and what they did to us was a crime in every respect – they broke no legal laws but moral and ethical laws that most humans abide by. Anyway thats my take on it – calculating and criminally minded Linda

  108. Linda and Donna, part of the reason these social predators can be so patient as to wait for years (in Linda’s case) and simulate friendship all this time is because they have so many targets they pursue at the same time. When they have so many victims at once, some of whom are ready to move fast, some slower, then they can take their time for the slower targets, who usually bond deeper. Linda, in your case, as you state, he waited for you to be vulnerable and grieving your parents’ death. Did his mask come off as soon as you capitulated to him? Claudia

  109. Once he knew I was deeply in love with him he SLOWLY took the mask off, I would say it took him about a good year before the mask was completely off. Started to slowly interject the perverted sex, and what he wanted while still making sure I believed I was special and the love of his life, things like “I would like to share that with you” and when we are done we can throw them out and just you and I can be together”, comments like that …… The last year he made it clear what he wanted me for but STILL he mixed it with charm and acted as though he missed me so much and wanted to see me, he would throw me a few crumbs of that masked man I initially met; in the last year he completely stopped his love triangulation game, trying to make me jealous of his live in partner I think he KNEW I didnt fall for it anymore and I really didnt much care what they did, I KNEW he didnt care for her anymore than he cared for me she was just his MAIN DUPE. Interesting what you state Claudia how they can WAIT and be patient with many of their victims, because they have so many others on the side that are at the same time giving them what they want but you know there is no greater thrill and challenge to take down a good woman and they can wait years to accomplish that, meantime they have plenty of others they have taken down. No wonder he kept at me for so many years, its just more proof of all the other victims they have.

    This is nothing but a criminal mind – premeditating and calculating to inflict harm and injury on to others – I mean how much sicker can you get, that charm is the REAL EVIL and SICKNESS we never saw. And we thought it was LOVE, Love from a psychopath!!!!!x0x0 Linda

  110. Linda, it is so uncanny how similar our stories are. He resurfaced in life after some 25 years of not seeing one another. We were friends back in high school. Even though I turned down his FWB offer he would not let me turn down his friendship and would call to check on me, send emails and every now and then a text msg. He would keep me on the phone for hours.He even told me that he had a crush on me in high school even before I met and married my ex-husband. Even when he would come to my home he was was a gentlemen. He told me his sob stories about the ow in his life and how he never loved any one enough to marry them. He has a very bad back and he wanted me to help him find some relief and I gave him suggestions. He needed my help with his taxes and of course I helped him. He wanted my help with his teenage son who was rebelling like most teens do. He enjoyed my cooking alot. When ever I would see him out at an event he would watch me and stare. All of this took place during the last three years. He seemed to be frustrated with me because I wouldn’t give into his advances. In 09 he started dating a woman who looked alot like me. He would flirt with me right in front of her. I thought that was rather crude but I remained his friend. He knew I cared about him. But he had a habit of becoming very depressed right before his birthday and would disappear for a couple of months. Then in the fall of last year the mask started to slip. He started saying some unkind things to me and I was ready to terminate the friendship. He was still sending sweet emails and calling. In November he flirted with another lady right in front of me at a party and became very angry with me and the mask totally fell off. I really back off then. He came around in January but I told him if he disrespected me again I was gone. I confronted him about the flirting and disrespect and he denied ever doing or saying anything. I am not crazy and I know what I know. I terminated the relationship and he is still begging for my friendship. The very nice man that I befriended turned into the devil.

  111. Linda, I can relate to everything you state. Psychopaths are great at manipulating others, triangulating to make women want them even more, but also taking their time with some women that they consider a bigger catch for a period of time (nobody stays a big catch to them forever). My sociopathic ex’s expression was “keep your eyes on the prize”: the main target, for as long as you stayed that way, which meant fulfilling increasingly deviant desires. But even the tainting of their main targets is gradual, exactly as you describe it. It’s a way of pushing the envelope while presenting their sadistic interests as in your best interest, for your sake, for the sake of your special love. For as long as you are duped, they maintain some type of mask. When you begin to open your eyes, they lift it because they can’t take challenges to the facade and because without the facade, there can be no psychopathic bond. Claudia

  112. Donna, from what you say you are still lucky that you never had a romantic relationship with this man, no matter how much he tried to manipulate you into having one, through the pity ploy and making you jealous. It would have been a lot worse if you had. But even as friends, as you describe, these snakes can be very dangerous. Claudia

  113. Oh yes, to you Claudia and Linda: I now know I was his challenge, and yet I am still standing. I am recovering. I can imagine what a basket case I would have been if I had given in to his bedroom. I think it helps me that I have been through this before.

    I even told him that “You can’t keep a Good Woman down”, and he did his best, I must admitt. He probably has so many enemies out to get him that he can’t ever let his guard down. He doesn’t know who is coming for his as_, so he has to live in his mansion prison with all his money and art possessions, so be it, I hope it keeps him warm.

    At least my sick narc Step-father taught me how to take care of me. This sick man can’t hurt me anymore……….Donna

  114. Donna, that’s all they have in life: possessions. People are possessions to them (that they discard when they’re tired of them or let their mask down to be discarded by them) and things are possessions for them. Both are symbols of status or power. Claudia

  115. Donna/Claudia and all: Many have said if you are targeted by a psychopath you are doomed because of their ability to fool others so well, even the professionals are fooled so if a psychopath has his sites on you to target you are pretty much screwed, I think some of the targets pay more attention to the red flags but if they are REALLY GOOD as mine was you always find a way to dismiss the red flags as I did because they mirror so perfect off you you just KNOW you have found your perfect partner. The only red flags I saw was the fact he had a GF when I met him but of course he said the relationship was awful and afterall they were NOT married or had children together but it still bothered me, the other red flag was if he was willing to cheat with me I wondered how many others he cheated with, of course then I thought well he is 50 years old this man wants to settle down with the right woman, ha ha what a laugh I thought surely he has sewed his oats and wants more than just meaningless sex all his life, ha ha ha thats another joke, because naturally I had NO IDEA he was a psychopath and was unable to bond or truly love another human being. The red flags are like any other risk a normal person takes with love and a partner, I saw NO red flags in connection to being a psychopath and thats of course because the average person is not very well educated about psychopaths, we know abusive types but this man was gentle, kind, charming as hell, soft spoken, I thought his charm was his manly attempt to win me over in a good way not to manipulate or brainwash me for the sick things to come. Of course being a Sheriff he siad it was horrible when he went on domestic abuse calls and most of the domestic abuse calls were from doctors and such of higher status and how he was disgusted about a man beating on a woman, ha ha I laugh now at that too as I remember him choking me during sex as he wore his uniform, somehow those two images haunt me here is a man being a protector of society stopping over on his lunch break during his shift to see me – just so you know It was at that point I got the hell out of dodge so to speak this was one sheriff I wanted no parts of. I get tired of others saying “you had no boundaries” and this relationship should have taught you to set firm boundaries, well yes it did but I think it was also his pathology, brainwashing and manipulation that came into play also why I allowed his sick behavior to escalate as it did, as well as PURE SHOCK!!! He came up with “I thought you might like a little rough sex as long as it is agreed by both parties its ok” He kept within the legal system because he KNOWS the law very well and he plays on it. I knew this man was into more than just a little rough sex, again he was slowly taking the mask off and was conditioning me to accept his sexual deviancy on a further level.

    Just thought I would share this with all of you so you can really see how they can take a good, moral, decent woman and turn her into someone she NEVER could be, and we wonder why we were in such pain – we were in pain because we were slowly changing into a person that we NEVER were and a psychopath has the ability to change others, this is a part of their disorder I will never understand.mmm does CULT come to mind? NOW I know why his GF stays and stays and stays and how he keeps her staying he creates SEVERE doubt within herself, she may not be apart of his perverse life but she stays to play the role he expects from her and he brainwashes her to play that role, I imagine the half million dollar home helps too. VERY VERY dangerous men we are talking about here, its pretty scary not even REALLY knowing the person you are sharing your life with x0x0x0 Linda

  116. Linda, well said, and the idea of the cult is very relevant too. In fact, that’s what I want to research and write my next novel about, The Cult. Because psychopathic regimes, psychopathic cult leaders, and psychopathic individuals who lured us use strikingly similar methods of isolation, manipulation and brainwashing.
    Furthermore, NONE of these kinds of individuals can ever change. The experiments with reforming psychopathic rapists and killers during the 1970’s all failed miserably. Pathology is forever, as Sandra Brown states. You can reform people who are not psychopathic who have done wrong things, including child molestation. But if a child molester, dictator, cult figure, or serial seducer/conman is psychopathic, that is a disorder that permeates all aspects of their character and lives. This is why removing oneself from such a toxic person and environment, whenever possible, is the only thing you can do. Claudia

  117. Claudia and all: I want to share with you what an eye opening evening I experienced last night. My dear friend who I met on a healing forum (we have been helping each other for the past year to overcome the damage a psychopath caused us) She would want me to share this. She was the Girlfriend and I was the Other woman (not the same psychopath, we were just in two different roles) It has been very educational to both of us in understanding the concept of how they “string women along” and how they play and dupe EVERY woman in their life regardless of what role they have. She is a stunningly beautiful woman, decent, moral, educated, smart and during their whole 4 year relationship this man was constantly searching dating websites and of course porn for others. She moved FAR away from him which took great courage and strength, she even gave him another chance after his begging and pleading only to find out after he proposed marriage to her a week later she discovered he was STILL on these dating sites seeking others to date and looking for a long term relationship. What set her off was he used the same picture on his profile that she took of him the night he proposed marriage to her (I mean a person can only take so much) she called him and she pretty much said the following
    :” How dare you, you B—-d use the same picture I took of you for your sick profile searching others, at least have enough respect for me to use ANOTHER picture in your search for that perfect woman. What did I EVER do to hurt you in our relationship? Did I deserve to be lied to cheated on betrayed and beaten? The night you beat me you left me ALONE didnt even check to see if I was ok or offer me a glass of water you just left the house, I stood by you, supported you, was a good wife to you during those years together as you lied, to me screwed every other woman you could, I could SMELL other women on you when you got home from work. Good luck in your search I hope you find a woman that will cheat on you as well and she is high maintenance and when you are 75 years old you will be ALONE and you will remember ME and how much I loved you and how you did nothing but destroy my life and treated me like some farm animal.” She let me listen to this on speaker phone as she wanted me to hear a psychopath in action, his responses were rather monitone he tried to defend himself but she didnt give him a chance, if she had said this to him in person he would have no doubt probably gotten physical with her. His main excuse was “we all make mistakes why do you keep bringing up the past, and I am lonely without you, you left me – OH REALLY – were you lonely WITH ME ALSO is that why you were doing this when I was ALSO WITH you? She finally hung up on him.

    He called back saying he didnt want to live anymore, and he wont make it to 75 because he will be dead soon and he will cancel his profile because she was the love of his life, bla bla bla bull crap bla… So what does the sicko do? 10 minutes after their conversation he doesnt CANCEL his profile but makes it private, UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

    I hope those of you that have read this can see what the truth is behind their facade and mask, as Claudia said so perfectly:THIS IS A DISORDER THAT PERMEATES ALL ASPECTS OF THEIR CHARACTER AND LIVES. What I personally learned from this is dont EVER EVER for one second doubt that you were never enough for the psychopath that was in your life; the truth is you were never enough for HIS DISORDER, you were never seen and never will be seen for all that you were because of his disorder, you were betrayed, played, conned, and duped because you were with a psychopath. You were the best because they seek the best to give them what they need, your fine qualities and attributes were used to feed his disorder. I was blessed with many things in my life and I was not put on this earth to waste them on a disordered person. I am not someone’s “DUPE”, and sick supply, or crumbs you feed to a starving bird, and I wont be discarded and recycled like trash by a person that is none other than Garbage themselves. I WILL recover from the masked man that did this to my life because I believe that love can heal all things. x0 Linda

  118. Linda, thanks for sharing with us this story. It’s so typical of psychopaths. They do what is easiest and think they’re so smooth and smart that they can accomplish anything and manipulate all people just by facile rhetoric (the lame declarations of love) and lies. They’re stunned when that doesn’t work, when people like your friend expect actions to match the words. A psychopath’s actions will never match his words because he can never act in anyone else’s best interest or even comprehend it on an emotional level. They know what others want, but empty words is as much effort as they’re willing to put into it because the only point of view and interest they truly consider is their own (immediate needs). And in the case of this psychopathic sex addict, as pretty much all of them, he doesn’t need to invest any real effort into your friend or any one target because he has so many of them lined up. The most promising targets are always the ones who don’t realize YET that the declarations of love are empty and that they’re contradicted by the actions. With them the psychopaths can play their games best because they are still in the stage of the relationship where they believe the false mask. Incidentally, the psychopath’s obsession with trolling dating websites for sex and romance, to lure different kinds of women, is part of what I describe in my novel, The Seducer. Here’s a chapter pertaining to this theme, which is also the turning point of the novel, when the heroine (Ana) opens her eyes about the psychopath (Michael).


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