A Crazy Roller Coaster Ride: Life with a Psychopath from Idealization to Devaluation

Life with a psychopath quickly turns into a crazy roller coaster ride. Psychopaths usually retain the appearance of calm, even in the face of great duress. However, sharing your life with a psychopath for any significant period of time means living with constant drama and extreme ups and downs. There are  four main reasons for this, three of which I’ve alluded to in previous posts and a fourth that I’d like to examine in greater detail today:

1) The psychopath, not being capable of forming deep emotional attachments, is very easily bored. Consequently, he (or she) will need to provoke constant drama in his personal and sometimes even his professional life, for entertainment.

2) The psychopath, aiming for power and control over others, generally becomes involved sexually and romantically with many individuals at once. This in itself will create a lot of mutual jealousy, fighting over him and drama (among those targets that know of each other), once again, entertaining the psychopath and demonstrating his dominance over his victims.

3) A psychopath will engage in arbitrary displays of power, to maintain control over his targets. If he got upset in a rational manner only for legitimate reasons, this would not demonstrate his power nor psychologically and emotionally unhinge those around him. Psychopaths are always tyrants: be it of their small families or of an entire nation. Whether they wield power over few or over many, their behavior is similar, as are their techniques of maintaining control (deceit, brainwashing, isolation, abuse interspersed with small favors and arbitrary displays of power, manifested from anything to physical violence to gaslighting and emotional abuse and, in some cases, to death itself).

4) However, there’s an aspect of the roller coaster ride–the constant ups and downs, the extreme idealization and the bitter devaluation–which is even harder for victims to accept. It’s nearly impossible for victims to understand why somebody who made such a great effort to seduce you; who couldn’t praise you enough; who gave you so many romantic gifts; who said “I love you Baby” more often than “hello”; who seemed to be lost in your eyes could all of a sudden perceive you as a nothing and a nobody; insult your appearance, accomplishments and intellect; criticize and stab you in the back to others and–above all–hate you as the worst enemy of their lives. I believe that this dramatic and seemingly unmotivated shift from high to low regard absolutely stuns victims of psychopaths, leading some of them to wonder what they did wrong to provoke it.

The answer usually is: you did nothing wrong. In some cases, the flattery and gifts were only a ruse the psychopath used to get whatever he may have wanted from you: be it money, sex, or a cover of normalcy. In other cases, however, the flattery was genuine: which, of course, also means genuinely shallow. It was a sign that the psychopath’s pursuit of you was extremely exciting and rewarding to him. You were (for a period of time) a very high priority because of the immediate gratification the relationship with you offered him.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that he didn’t cheat on you, that he didn’t lie to you, or that he treated you well. It only means that he took the trouble to deceive you and hide his secret lives far better because that was the only way to get from you whatever he wanted at the time. He couldn’t have obtained your trust, your love, your commitment, or your wealth without doing everything possible to convince you of the lie that he, himself was capable of trust, love and commitment.

The high in your relationship is therefore explicable in terms of the time required to lure you, to get you to buy the false image and bond to him. The low is explicable in terms of his need to control and dominate you. Later, it’s also the manifestation of  the final phase of the relationship–the discard phase–when the psychopath finally exposed himself for what he is. At that point, he either left you or you left him. Usually, however, psychopaths never leave you for good, but return from time to time to probe for more supply and to destabilize your life.

But it seems as if the psychopath’s devaluation of you is so filled with bitterness, hatred and sometimes even violence that it can’t be fully explained in terms of him tiring of you and moving on to other promising victims. Loving couples can grow apart and leave each other for better matches and lives. Non-loving couples can grow apart once they’re no longer useful to one another. But a psychopath takes this process one step further, to discard his ex-lovers with a degree of vitriol and hatred that astonishes his victims and exceeds any boundaries of normality.

This becomes most obvious in those cases when psychopaths kill their ex-partners and dispose of their bodies as if they were a pile of garbage. Fortunately, this only happens rarely: and when it does, we tend to hear about it on the news. However, even psychopaths who don’t engage in such extreme behavior manifest an inexplicably strong vitriol towards their former partners, particularly towards those who left them of their own volition.

It’s as if a psychopath feels doubly betrayed in those cases: not only for being rejected by you, but also for the fact you’re no longer living up to the unrealistic ideal of the honeymoon phase of the relationship. He projects the blame for the diminished excitement in the relationship unto you. What’s wrong with you that you don’t thrill him anymore, as you did in the beginning of his hot pursuit? Is it because you’re not beautiful enough? Is it because you’re not smart enough? Or rich enough? Or sexual and sensual enough? What do you do wrong and how do you fail to meet his needs?

Failing to accept any responsibility for anything in life, a psychopath never really blames himself for any failure in his relationships. Someone else, or circumstances, are always to blame. Like a child who tires of an old mechanical toy and smashes it to the ground when it no longer works, so the psychopath destroys old relationships (along with their positive associations in his mind) after he tires of each of his partners. For a psychopath, it’s not enough to end a dying relationship. He must also demolish that person and what she once represented to him. The higher you were initially idealized by a psychopath, the lower you will fall in his eyes when the relationship inevitably fizzles out. Hatred and contempt will fill the place in his empty heart, which was temporarily filled by shallow admiration and lust.

Claudia Moscovici, psychopathyawareness

Dangerous Liaisons: How to Identify and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction


  1. Claudia, I believe that real love and care is true and honest, and that the Higher Power’s that be; always give us a choice and a decision to make with it comes to staying or leaving sick, toxic relationships.

    For me it was praying, mediateting for the strength to leave or move on. I had to stop giving the other person “Power and Contol over Me”. It was me saying “Stop and “No”. It was setting my personal boundaries……..I am not a weak woman, but I’m human and have had some weak, moments, days, months and a few years. I guess I don’t enjoy physical or mental pain, so I will fight back if I am pushed into a corner.

    I never told him I was gone forever, but I did leave by my own volition and he has to live with my decision…..

    It seems it doesn’t matter for them, they will do everything to reset your buttons every chance you give them. I understand my emotions very well and I feel what I feel and I truly want a “Real partner and a Real Love”……..I my mind he/she is no longer the “Top Dog/Top Witch”……

  2. Claudia, Your post describes the relationship process very acurately; this dynamic always unfolds with a narcissist, borderline, psychopath or variations of all 3. In other words cluster B. Depending on the available sources of narcissistic supply, it is usually the case that a triangulation of relationships develops. these individuals like all the toys in their pram; and they have the capacity to switch relationships as easy as changeing the channel on a TV (this channels boring, lets see whats on the other side, tired of this one, lets switch back, oh this channels new etc etc etc). There is no grieving or remorse experienced by these individuals; and this is because their depth of bonding is at best ephemeral, or worst- non existent. At the core of these disorders is an attachment disorder (they cannot love another in a true, deep, and meaningful way). It is wise not to confuse their declarations of love with their need for a narcissistic mirror, their need to fill their void and hollowness within, and their need for drama and stimulation to break through their unfeeling bubble.
    These folks take you on a gut wrenching, emotionally disorientating nightmare rollercoaster; then dump you off….and while your trying to deal with the mass confusion of what the hell has been happening; they simply say NEXT ON BOARD! To add to the injury of it all; because they lack object constancy, they will forget you as quickly as yersterdays news.

  3. Michael, thanks so much for your always illuminating comments. Yes, all attachment disordered individuals behave similarly, despite the differences in the names (and some of the manifestations) of their pathologies. I love your apt comparison of psychopaths getting bored with some relationships and switching to others the way normal people switch their T.V. channels. Life is a show to them meant exclusively for their entertainment. And what entertains pathologicals most is exerting dominance over others and watching them writhe and suffer as a result. Claudia

  4. Claudia, thankyou. I agree that their objective is always about attaining control over the person. If it is not love, what is it? You asked this question in one of your posts. The control they pursue is always a paradox- “keep your distance a little closer, thats to close…back a bit, back, stop,,,too far, a little nearer STOP THATS TOO CLOSE DAMMIT!” or “you stay put in case I need you, while I try and line up your replacement”! I believe that these individuals ultimately end up using their partners to dump all of their toxic crap into in order to feel better about their empty hollowness and their lack of emotional, moral constitution. They only feel good about themsleves relative to how bad you feel (and we all agree these folk are grandmasters at making us feel bad). I do think however that sometimes they make us feel bad not because they consciuosly wake up in the morning thinking “how bad can I make him / her feel today”. This attributes them with consideration for us (allbeit destructive consideration) that they do not have. Ultimately we do not matter to them beyond us meeting what ever need they have. They are indifferent and naturally unaware of our emotions; they have no frame of reference to draw upon- i.e. a soul, a heart, depth, empathy, emotional intelligence. There is no there, there as i once read somewhere.

  5. Michael, I agree with what you say: that psychopaths and other disordered individuals make us feel bad about ourselves and inferior to them in order to feel good and superior by comparison. But I’d go a step further to say that they’re at core psychological sadists (and often sexual sadists as well): they feel great about making others feel bad and destroying them. For this reason, I also believe that psychopaths focus more on partners who leave them than on those they leave. It’s all about the power play so they often ruminate, plot various retaliations and machinate against those who don’t allow themselves to be dominated by them. They’re not as indifferent as they may seem, particularly if you exert your own will. That’s what makes them so evil: they go beyond apathy and indifference to deliberate and willful harming of others, which is their main purpose in life and what gives them most pleasure. In other words, often it’s not simply collateral damage in the pursuit of their pleasure. The pursuit of pleasure for psychopaths IS to cause INTENTIONAL HARM to others. Claudia

  6. Claudia that is an interesting and chilling point; one which i have contemplated often. I have wondered if at the core of narcissism is a drive to destroy the soul of another; akin to a predatory force. Do they Trojan horse their way into peoples lives, con their hearts through manipulation, and then relish the pain they cause? What on gods earth would motivate anyone to derive pleasure from such a pursuit? And how aware of this drive are they. We seem to be in agreement that they have the insight of a common house fly.

  7. I think what i am trying to say is that if they had the insight; they would realise that there pursuit of power, control, and dominance, which always results in harm and damage to the non disordered; will never compensate or provide them with what they do not and cannot have- the abilty to experience Love. They are Loves executioners? And they do this with malice? Yes I believe so; albeit reluctantly.

  8. Michael, that’s true, psychopaths and narcissists are too disordered to realize that using, deceiving and harming others can’t buy any real happiness, and it certainly can’t buy friends or true love. But, unfortunately, this is all they’re capable of and the only form of pleasure and satisfaction they can feel. Claudia

  9. Peter, I think part of the aftermath experience of having been involved with a disordered person is wondering if you have traits too. Truth is we all do; we have all lied, have said cruel things in anger; and have tried to hurt others as a way of communicating our own pain. We are not perfect. Here is the difference-

    Disordered people either treat us as all good, or all bad; we are either in or we are out in the cold- there is no shade of grey.

    They cannot and will not see things from our perspective when it comes to reltionship difficulties / issues. They lack empathy.

    Disordered people may be expert natural born liars; but they have memorys like sieves because they are narcissistic and cannot keep track of what is happening outside their own heads. This means they are inconsistent, and contradictory.

    They are unpredictable, erratic, and dramatic.

    They have no real sense of personal agency, accountabiltity, or ownership. In other words they get away with murder, you get away with zilch!

    As you get to know them, you realise that they are walking contradictions. Eventually you realise that the closest you can get to the truth of what they are doing is by working on the principle that they are doing the dichotomised opposite of what they say they are doing.

    You are either the centre of their universe or an annoyance; again little in the way of shades of grey.

    They are crazy making- welcome to the twilight zone where nothing is what it seems!

    They are extremely callous when you are not meeting their needs; or you deviate from their script that they have written for you.

    They demonstrate a weird lack of context. They are 2 dimensional; it takes a good while to recognise this mind bender!

    They are either as sweet as candy, or are vitriolic, dismissive, or down right haughty. Notice the Jekyll and Hyde switch appears when you challenge them on their behaviour.

  10. Michael, you’re absolutely right about the erratic, extreme behavior of such disordered individuals. There’s no way to win with a psychopath. If you don’t submit, you become his enemy. If you do submit, you suffer an even worse fate. Cowering to a psychopath and trying to please him isn’t going to win you any favors from such a thankless and loveless, malicious individual. On the contrary! Those who do everything to please the psychopath are paid back with all sorts of humiliation and abuse, in greater and greater doses. Psychopaths are bullies. They enjoy exercising dominance over individuals willing to submit to them. The more they give in to them, the more the psychopaths expect and demand from them, to control and humiliate them further. Psychopaths can break down even very strong individuals to make them submissive. Claudia

  11. Yes that’s what happened to me when ever I challenged my disordered ex and I didn’t follow his script any longer. When my blinders gradually fell off that’s when his mask started to slip. I started catching him in more lies and his half truths became more apparent. He would try to entice me back. He would even appeal to me not to let him go(abandoment issues), but when he could no longer manipulate me that’s when Mr. J&H showed up in full bloom.

    He would often talk about winning and losing and that he will always win, when he could no longer fight back on his own because of his age, failing body and body parts he would engage his paid croonies to do his dirty work. He will probably go bankrupt paying for and buying ppl and ladies to be in his life. He is a self made milllionaire. As he is aging he is also slipping on his mastermind plans.

    I wish him no harm because that’s just not me, I hope everything he touches fails. He messed with my heart and my head, but he didn’t destroy me. I am not indifferent yet, but he didn’t totally win against me because My First Psychopath was my Daddy and he taught me well. My cherished ex is gone forever from my life……..Donna

  12. I guess for me, he couldn’t put me in his “Box” and me stay there. I “Free Will” is very important to me.

    To all here I Wish you Love.

  13. Donna, I’m so glad you got out of the psychopathic bond box! Free will is important to all of us who want to be fully human and enjoy our lives. Incidentally, last night I saw an Investigation Discovery show that only goes to prove that when you stay in the psychopathic bond box, it gets smaller and smaller until it risks becoming a casket in a grave. We’ve all heard of cases of domestic violence that escalated to death. But last night’s Wicked Attractions show was about a woman who kept another woman–who was initially her “friend”–a virtual prisoner in her household, escalating to keeping her in a dry well next to their house, until she became more and more abusive and she and her disordered partner killer her: after they degraded her beneath human status. This is an extreme example, but one which illuminates the logic behind the psychopathic bond: the more you will give in to a psychopath, the more he (or she) will demand until you become so dejected and pathetic that he (or she) may even take your life. With most human beings compromise is advisable. With psychopaths: NO compromise. NO negotiations. NO discussion is the only way to go. Claudia

  14. Claudia,

    I truly appreciate your above comment “the more you give in to a psychopath, the more he (or she) will demand until you become so dejected and pathetic that he (or she) may even take your life” This defines my experience with my psychopath. One does not have to have the psychopath physically murder their victim to actually “kill”. The soul murdering so prevalent can also lead to suicide. The longer with a psychopath, seemingly, the more difficult the road to recovery. This comment is profound for me.

    Michael, I have very much appreciated your perspective of the psychopath as well, articulated very simply and understood so well by those of us like me, who are trying to make sense of their experience. Admittedly, my mind is still in a bit of tatters from my ten year relationship with a psychopath. I have also very much enjoyed your interactions with Claudia, that have brought more insights and thoughtful answers to this insidiousness.

    Donna, I wish you well in your continued recovery.

  15. Just reading all of the above useful information. Im just going through another bit of a setback in my recovery having heard he ‘is buoyant at the moment because of the love of a wonderful woman’. Yes the one who came to the house i shared(the rent and bills too) with him , each time I went back to see my son on the other side of the country. He used to insideously start problems when i came back after a 7 hour drive. I often zoomed back out on the same journey I was so upset. Nothing ready for me to eat but patting his bulging stomach purposely to indicate I wasn’t worth cooking for and that he had already eaten. Just one very small example of how a callous psychopath works- especially when they think you are hooked.
    Well she’s with him now (and there were others – many i would think) so it will be interesting to see if it works for her. My feeling is that it will because she seems to be like him – unusual and quirky (egotistical and superior). Possibly a cerebral narcissistic. Does that work i wonder -when the two people are both up their own asses?

  16. Kelli, welcome to this blog. It’s true, most psychopaths don’t physically murder people but they do their best to kill their self-confidence and soul. Claudia

  17. Tricia, whenever you begin to suspect that other women are happy with a psychopath, remember Michael’s comment about toys in a play pin or switching T.V. channels. It was a perfect analogy. Your psychopath is just flipping channels in changing partners. Some will entertain him more than others. To answer your question about what kind of partners are dysfunctionally “happy” with a psychopath (because any happiness with a psychopath is by definition dysfunctional): I think it’s three kinds of women.

    a) Women who are blind to his evil (and only for as long as they remain blind to it and believe his mask). I suspect that’s most of the targets of sociopaths, women like us.

    b) Sociopathic women. I think those women are happy with the sociopaths in the same ephemeral and superficial manner that their partners are happy with them: momentary thrills. However, this combination can be fatal or at the very least very dangerous for innocent bystanders. It only takes watching one or two episodes of a show I watch, Wicked Attractions, to see what can happen when two sociopaths unite.

    c) Malignant narcissists. I suspect this is the kind of women who can stay by their sociopathic partners no matter what. They believe their bond is superior to other couples. They believe that they’re superior to all other women and the only ones who truly love the sociopath, truly understand him, etc. They believe that the sociopath will discard other women like used up condoms (which, usually, is true) and that the reason they’re not being discarded is because of their own demonstrable superiority. These kinds of women will do pretty much anything for a sociopathic partner: evil things they would never do on their own, but they would do them “for the sake of love”. I think a lot of female cult followers fall into this category of women who on their own would probably not hurt others, but to prove their superiority, desirability and blind loyalty to a sociopathic dominant male would do pretty much anything in the world. That’s because deep inside narcissists have very low self-esteem and need a lot of external validation. Sociopaths are great at hooking such insecure women for life by giving and withdrawing validation (a process at work in trauma bonding). These malignant narcissistic women therefore become as dangerous as the male sociopaths themselves, as the followers of Charley Manson have shown. Little in life, short of evil dictatorships, is more dangerous or toxic than putting together two sociopathic partners or a sociopathic partner with a malignant narcissist partner. Claudia

  18. Thank you so much Kelli, I am still in the recovery process….and each day I am away from the psycho I get better. This is a great blog and forum to get our thoughts and feeling out, without being judged or put down. Claudia is the wise, caring voice I can trust. For me it’s a Healing Place to Be. I don’t know your story but I wish you well.

  19. Tricia, It is perfectly natural to wonder if his new woman will have a more succesful, loving relationship than the one you had. Will he or she elevate the new partner to the same ranks of specialness that was assigned to you? Will he or she have the magic key to unlock the cluster B’s heart; maybe you are thinking perhaps it was partly about me and our dynamic that made for an unsuccesful relationship; maybe their new partner will receive the love I didnt? All of these doubts and more will sweep through your mind. This is because cluster B pathology is an extremely difficult and slippery concept for us to wrap our heads around.
    We can recall too easily their periods of normalcy; when they were pleasant, funny, good company, curious about us; telling us we have a sexual connection; they dont want to lose us from our lives etc. But reflect carefully and hold onto this thought- was their any true emotional intimacy? Was there a contradiction beteen what he / she said and what they actually did?
    Their mask slips gradually, a little at a time. Towards the end you realise that the person they presented themselves to be is the dichotomised opposite of who they actually are which is-
    Unbelievably shallow
    Emotionally no older than 5 years
    Lacking in empathy, warmth, sensitivity
    Pathological lying
    Lacking in compassion (incapable of emotionally recognising your pain)
    superficial and shallow
    no real emotional inner life
    psychically unstable

    The list goes on. The truth is Tricia their true inner selves (or lack of it) is here to stay. The exact same dynamics will eventually be brought to bare in their new relationship. They will not suddenly have a eureka moment and wake up with a new personality and the capacity to feel love. The interactions will be different; but that is all. It is simply a matter of time; they inevitably grow bored and discard. I repeat- these people cannot lovingly bond with another- they can say the word, but cannot feel it. In the end you are left with a profound sense of a lack of closure as they shut you out for the final time- as far as their concerned your feelings have nothing to do with them- they never did.

  20. To pursue Michael’s apt description of the psychopath’s low emotional intelligence:

    low emotional intelligence + low mental intelligence = low functioning individual and low risk to society

    by way of contrast

    low emotional intelligence + high mental intelligence = high DYSfunctioning individual (great manipulation and deception skills combined with an utter lack of empathy and scruples) and very HIGH risk to society

    High (or at least normal) mental intelligence and low emotional intelligence is the toxic and very dangerous combination of sociopaths. Such individuals utilize all their mental capacities to use, deceive, manipulate and harm others without any limits, any conscience, any empathy, any heart.


  21. This is very interesting. I was reading the betrayal bond last night. I know what my resistance is and it is mentioned here, if not in an incomplete way though. I think what rings true, is that we all have a little bit of narcissism in all of us. My ex fed me a promise, I wanted to believe it. I remember feeling so uniquely special to him and he played on that to keep the relationship intact and I bought it for the same reason. I saw wedding bells or at least the end result of us living together. That promise was never truth. Not ever. My trauma bonds were already in place by the time my ex met me. I wanted him because he presented himself to me, to be something he never was in his marriage either. He promised to love his wife and she bought it too. Her spiritual upbringing and I suspect some abuse from her own family dynamics, led to her hanging onto the marriage and believing she was uniquely special as well. Secrets aggravate that unique position. It’s narcissistic, but that’s what spaths play into, our biggest most human desires as the promise, then they don’t deliver.

    Now is the fallout. The pain I’ve caused for years and cannot undue. I don’t know how to live in peace with that. The psychopaths empty, malicious promises don’t hurt just the woman/man he/she is involved with, but has a trickle down effect. My ex could care less that he’s not only hurt me, but the impact he left upon my children as well. I’m responsible for that too, as well as having hurt his wife and children. That promise, the carrot dangle….ohhhhh my they read us to the depths, don’t they? And why is it that they wouldn’t be able to see our narcissism because they’re spaths? It is true that anyone can become entangled in the web of a spath, but he’s more likely to seek out those who have abused childhoods and already established trauma bonds because we have little to no boundaries. We’re use to being promised things, only never to receive and we know how to respond to abuse. We will take it.

    It’s interesting to note that this is why I will not become involved in another relationship. I would only attract another spath. My trauma bonds are becoming more identifiable now and they extend way back to my father. Seeing this, there is much sadness and anger for me now. What they did to me is not my fault, how I responded as a result was not my fault, but now that I know why, it’s my responsibility to change it. I resisted letting go of the relationship because I felt he and I had a “special” relationship. I’m sure that’s why his ex wife did too, until the reality of what he was, could no longer be hidden, for her or for me. I think she had the capacity to heal faster because she had a lot of healthy support.

  22. Taja,

    It is a great blog forum for sharing about your recovery process and Claudia is also very wise in her responses. I may share my story here sometime, but I think I’ll wait until my healing is a bit more progressed, although I can say I relate so well to bloggers who have lived through this hellish existence with a psychopath. I’m glad you’re comfortable here, and I hope it helps you in process.

  23. Claudia,

    Thanks for the welcome! As well as that is also true, more often than not. Suicide of a spath victim might actually be more pleasurable to a spath, given their propensity to enjoy the reactions and pain of their victims. And they don’t have to go to jail or get their hands dirty.

  24. Kelli, that’s true, psychopaths prefer to be the puppet masters manipulating others to cause harm to themselves or others. That way they can enjoy the show and relish the disastrous results while keeping their hands clean, as you state. Think of how many times your sociopathic ex–anyone’s sociopathic ex on this blog–has manipulated you into going against your better interest, in the interest of “us” or “our relationship”: which to a sociopath= him. Or how many times the sociopath manipulated you into hurting your family and friends, all in the name of “love”. The psychopath’s capacity to present harmful actions as in your best interest –and thus persuade you to harm yourself and others–is the most toxic element of his manipulation strategy. Claudia

  25. Kelli, your post is interesting because I think that is part of the confusing dynamic of trrying to relate to a narcissist. Because of their tendency to mirror us during the seduction, idealisation phase; morphing into mirror images of the best parts of ourselves; we in effect fell in love with our own reflection- therefore they make narcissists out of us. But I think there is value in neing mindful of healthy narcissism; and not confusing healthy narcissism with pathological or malignant narcissism.

    Healthy narcissism looks something like this – “I have needs and I want them met, whether it be sexual needs, intimacy needs, sharing my life needs, whatever”. And also this- “I want and need to be sociable, to be understood, felt, and known by others; and listen and experience how these true relationships help me to learn and grow emotional and spiritual depth to bring meaning to my life”, and “if I fail to be mindful and have feelings towards others I will feel remorseful; because that is why we have feelings- because without them there is no togetherness”. With healthy narcissism I win you win- its a win win proposition.

    Malignant narcissism which is a central personality construct in cluster B personality disorder, looks like this-

    I have needs…full stop.

  26. Michael,

    I understand the concept between healthy narcissism and malignant narcissism, and yet there is another element that is missing here that allows the relationship to occur in the first place. Some victims of psychopaths do not experience this additional element, in what develops as a result of a relationship with a Cluster B and that is a betrayal bond, not that one doesn’t exist from the relationship at all in its aftermath, but those that come from backgrounds filled with Cluster B’s, such as I and so many others do from childhood. In the” Betrayal Bond”, a book by Patrick Carnes, there is discussion of “insane loyalties”. I think he comes somewhat dangerously close to blaming the victim, but NOT entirely. We are responsible for our actions once we become aware of the dynamic.A “healthier” person caught in the vortex of a psychopath, who did not experience childhood trauma or abuse, stands a better chance of a quicker recovery and quicker awareness of the psychopaths games, then those who have become highly acclimated to betrayal and abuse. The psychopath, i believe is aware of this vulnerability, as in the beginning he studies his victims closely. I often wonder if this is not more calculated than has been written or stated about the psychopath and his mirroring, as it almost assures him of the victims “insane loyalty”. It is much more difficult to get out of a relationship with a psychopath when trauma has existed in childhood. What is perhaps felt by the victim as feeling unique and special in a relationship with a psychopath, turns into a betrayal bond and in someone who is not pathological, the psychopath will greatly diminish if not completely obliterate this narcissism on the part of the victim. I think too, that a healthy narcissism can merge into a malignant narcissism during the relationship with a pathological, but diminish once the relationship is over and therapy commences. It is part of the insane loyalty in which the victim is required to emotionally shift in the relationship when the mask slips. With a recent experience lately with another victim of a psychopath, there was admitted pathology on this person’s part in admitting narcissism, yet with extreme elements of paranoia. I wonder if pathology is already there, or if it can develop during the life of the relationship with a psychopath and remain there afterward..These are important questions for me in my own recovery. Right now, I focus on the healthy elements of rebuilding my life and that is that I do not have ANY desire to be in the presence of or to engage with what is familiar to me: Cluster B’s in no matter what form. Given the awareness I have now about pathology, running to the familiar and clinging to it, would undoubtedly mean, in my mind, that I had a serious pathology of my own

  27. Thank you Michael and Claudia for your responses. I get so low sometimes but not as suidal as I was. I had a hysterectomy last Nov and was talking to him (collecting some things) two weeks before the op. He told me that day, sweetly and calmly, the the one wish he had for me was”to get as much experience with as many men as possible”.I said nothing, what do you say to that unbelievable cruelty? I had the operation and he never even texted me to see if I came through it. Nothing over Christmas or on my birthday in March(I was still recovering). We had been engaged for nearly 3 years. I couldn’t pass him in the kitchen even without being told how much he loved me.I was so looking forward to the future and at an age when I might not meet anyone else again(Im 51,he’s 61) “Stay with me always ……please?” ,he would write on little cards.

    I am still bewildered but very angry too. I hate to think there is no justice for me or others he destroyed. I often wonder if there’s any point in writing books on the subject, because there’s no way to stop a psychopath. He hasn’t done anything illegal – just killed the spirits and souls, confidence and talents of many women and children, and that doesn’t count in the legal system! Until he kills the body ,or gets caught for growing hash or stealing or something, he can carry on as much as he desires.

    If you have ever seen a poor cat that has been hit by a car but is not quite dead and is trying to crawl to safety, crying out in pain. Its such a horrible sight and so upsetting but most people would do something to help it in its suffering. This is an analogy of how I see the victims of a psychopath and how they are left. Barely alive. He doesn’t care -pure evil. I was blinded by grief – rarely leaving my lair (bedroom) just barely getting to the kitchen. Dragging myself to do the most basic of chores. I had to just go with the flow of pain and grief. The loss of my great love and my future. Never have I suffered like this and I have been through a lot prior to meeting him. But nothing even came near this pain. I really wanted to die.

    This site has been a major part of my recovery and Im getting there gradually. I go to a life drawing group twice a week and have just completed a 5 week web design course. The odd setback like yesterday when my friend who lives near him told me she had a chat with him and Jenny yesterday. She told jenny she had been admiring her painting during the week???? W.T.F.??? I was so baffled and felt so betrayed – I just cant believe she would do this to me. She knows what I’ve been through.

    But just another hurdle to deal with I suppose.
    Love to you all here

  28. Tricia, I’m so sorry you felt so depressed as a result of this experience with a sociopath. I’m not surprised to hear about the taunting and the cruelty, right before your operation. Sociopaths are inherently sadistic and pour salt on the wounds they cause us, to inflict maximum harm. But there’s another element to the way he taunted you: jealousy. When you reject a sociopath he believes that it’s to be with other men, because you got tired of him, the way he gets tired of every partner he’s with. Sociopaths can’t comprehend other reasons and can’t accept blame. Since they consider themselves blameless and since they themselves callously abandon scores of partners for yet other, new partners, they assume that’s how everyone operates. Those of us who don’t behave so callously they consider to be weak (we’re too emotionally dependent to leave our partners the way they do). They can’t comprehend loyalty or love, except as as empty words that are props in their daily drama of manipulation.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re getting back on your feet and participate in a drawing group. Art will help give you a creative outlet, provide other interesting things to think about–it’s important not to think obsessively only about one thing, no matter what it may be–and it will put you in contact with other interesting people. And when you periodically return to this blog you will find people who can relate to what you’ve been through and comfort you. Claudia

  29. Hi, I am new to this site. I am a male starting to go through recovery. I have days where I don’t want to do anything or have a hard time. All I Have on my mind is this woman and how could she be like this to her family. Very cold. I’m so glad I found this site. This is definitely going to be a tool in my recovery. I use to be a very strong and confident male. Now I have been reduced to a puddle. My confidence is low. To top it off I swear she knows somehow if I’m having a good day. It never fails, I start to feel good about myself then BAM she knocks me down. again I’m happy I found this site and there appears to be a lot of knowledgeable people here to aid in my recovery. You can only understand if you’ve lived it. That’s how I feel anyway. My ex is so good at keeping her mask on in public. I find it hard talking to friends about it because all they see is the facade she puts on. I’m hoping to find myself again and feel this site will aid in helping me understand and how to cope. Thank you so much. One question. You know I really want to blow up on her and tell her what I think. Unload a bit cause I’m full. She is very good at attacking, then avoiding when I confront her about a lie or something. How do I get rid of this frustration. it is very debilitating and cant be good for you.

  30. Gary, my advice is not to engage at all with someone you believe to be a psychopath or disordered. If you have to engage about child custody issues, do it via your lawyer. Claudia

  31. Claudia,
    Thank you for the quick response. unfortunately do not have a lawyer. We completed our divorce ourselves. This was prior to me educating myself on the issue of a disordered personality. I feel It may be neccessary to try and afford one to regain my life back. Thank you again and great site.

  32. Gary, if you have children together and wish to have full custody or at least fuller custody, then you’ll need to get a lawyer, unfortunately. Preferably someone specializing in family law. As for the anger and frustration, the more you try to unleash it in the drama of this toxic relationship, the more it will eat you alive. You need to disengage from your ex as much as possible. Claudia

  33. Kelli and Michael, as you mention, psychopaths lure you by mirroring you, and more than that, by tapping into your deepest desires, some of which you reveal, others which they intuit or extrapolate (because they’re very good at that). Robert Hare and Paul Babiak describe in Snakes in Suits how during the “assessment phase” of the relationship a psychopath will convey to his target four main messages: 1) I like you; 2) I share your interests; 3) I’m like you, and 4) I’m the perfect partner or soul mate for you. This process constitutes the “mirroring phase” of the psychopathic bond.

    It’s normal and human to want someone who shares a lot in common with you, with similar tastes, who truly loves and appreciates you. I think the unhealthy part of this is when we expect it to be miraculous and immediate, as it almost always is with psychopaths. When we don’t ask ourselves “why me?” when faced with a declaration of passionate love; of being the only person who is right for him; of being the true love he always searched for. Why did he cheat on every other woman? Why is every partner he’s had wrong for him, somehow? Why am I the only right one? Why will he break the cycle of betrayal and devaluation (if he cheated on and speaks badly of every other woman, before me) with me? Why am I so special? Truly, nobody is special to a psychopath except himself. Psychopathy is an absolute narcissism, and it’s sometimes contagious during the luring phase, when psychopaths depict their new parters as almost as special, unique and superior as they consider themselves to be. That is a trap. Claudia

  34. Claudia,

    with regards to your above post…. I think that this is what makes the psychopathic/betrayal bond so devastating in the aftermath…

    They appeal to our narcissism. Who WOULDN”T want to be mirrored so perfectly? The problem is that we don’t see that. Especially if we are lonely or somehow vulnerable in some way. This is the hardest thing to overcome in the aftermath and why they are so good at what they do. They appeal to our DEEPEST dreams and fantasies not realized. They can do this because they feel nothing. I guess the best analogy would be a student preparing for an important test. I must study the ENTIRETY of the subject at hand, not just the textbook, in order to attempt to get a perfect, if not nearly perfect score. Psychopaths do the same. They STUDY their targets. They have interesting ways of accomplishing this, as with mine, much to my surprise,….things I didn’t think he knew about me, he KNEW! All he had to do was asking a leading question and I would give the answer and he’d study it further….

    It is the utmost of evil and betrayal to extrapolate, use, manipulate and deceive in this way. It takes the very essence, hopes, desires of another human being, without more than to study it for his benefit, then to exploit it to his own ends.

    This is why the end of the relationship is so difficult to wrap our minds around. While I believe we stand responsible for involvement, we are not for the evil intent to which they exploited our deepest of hearts and desires. This is why it makes it so difficult to overcome in recovery. Addressing our issues, also means the loss of the fantasy, the hope, the mirroring of our narcissism. And because they feel nothing, they walk off as if nothing happened. This traumatic bond lasts a lifetime when it involves a psychopath. Largely, because the dream he offered, we know when it is over, was not only not true, but may never come true, and it is that truth, if we have the courage to face, that we must if we ever wish to find healing.

  35. Kelli, you’re so right. Psychopaths have a predator’s instinct for our vulnerabilities and dreams. And dreams also make us vulnerable, because dreams are about what we want most in life that we don’t have yet. They’re much more difficult to pin down, so to speak, than fantasies. Fantasies are only wet dreams, very trivial. Dreams, on the other hand, are the horizon of life itself. They are our aspirations, what makes us want to make it to tomorrow. That’s why psychopaths are so dangerous. They rarely kill us, but they often identify, play upon and ultimately kill our dreams. Claudia

  36. You are so right Claudia it is just so evil and cruel beyond words to plan in advance to use another person for a period of time until they prove useful no more.
    Whether its because their money ran out or the psycho has met more (colourful, shiny balls) women and you are not allowing him his freedom to pursue what he wants (holding him too tightly,clenched fist, instead of holding him lightly, hand outstreched). This is why I was told to F.O. in the end. I was also asked what I had achieved since meeting him even though I had been working on ‘our’ card business. It was mine before meeting him and I had produced some very successful work. He never worked to help out! Always swanning off and I was encouraged not to ask or be suspicious.

    Very ingenius operator! Early on he indicated my jealousy and suspicious nature even though I was never like that. This made me hyper vigilant not to pry too much right from the outset! We were.nt joined at the hip i was told. I was always the type to respect a persons including my ex husbands freedom so this accusation startled me. of course it was his manipulative tactic to allow him complete freedom while I was working away in isolation, knowing nobody, he would head off most days. It was his stomping ground, he knew everybody -especially all of the attractive women who lived alone!!!
    I was afraid to even text him or call his mobile. Immediately he would say :- ” so you’re keeping an eye on me?”

    I felt so insecure, like I was standing on a rotten plank,just about to break and drop me down into a bottomless pit of unhappiness. I started to fear losing him because he had planted the fear in my mind and my heart. So I lived in constant fear of losing this wonderful dream which he would sometimes feed me with. We would go to look for the perfect little cottage with a bit of land where we were going to grow our own organic vegetables and I could have my own chickens and maybe a goat. Roses growing around the door and the two of us painting into our old age. I was 50, he was 60. Our sex life was amazing (according to him also). Chemistry never waned. But it wasn’t enough for him. All the time he was on the lookout for someone new and was seeing the woman he is now with and some more.

    I also had to put up with two ex’s who visited when they wanted because they each had a child with him. So they also made me feel insecure and they were always so nice to him. This really puzzled me and still does. Even their friends smile and wave at him. Nobody seemed to dislike him. So I had to be the problem in my mind.
    Still his family, his ex’s and his friends support him.
    On top of all of this he dragged my name through the mud when I was gone, – saying I was a crazy woman who accused him of being with other women!! But everything I said was true -he’s now living with one of them- Jenny. It seems she was in my home any time I wasn’t. So she can’t be much either.
    I know his family (enablers) will support him even though he has been doing this for forty years now. I also am nothing in their eyes. Even though I had his mother to stay and got on so well with her and his sister – they too have dumped me. Its so shocking.
    Sorry for the novel but going through a bad patch at the moment.
    Why do they all support him?

  37. Tricia, to address your first question: why does his family support him? Either because they don’t know or grasp that he’s pathological or because they’re also pathologicals (usually narcissists or psychopaths themselves). As for how he treated you, it underscores a psychopath’s double standards: he didn’t want you to have any freedom, sexual or otherwise, but he wanted to retain for himself the freedom to be with anyone he wanted. That’s why he accused you of being jealous and clingy, to turn the blame for his cheating and lying on you, the innocent victim. These double standards are typical for narcissists and especially for psychopaths. It’s one of the biggest red flags they wave to us: extremely controlling and jealous behavior towards us coupled with a sense of entitlement to do anything they want.

    How or why his ex’s are nice to him is explicable by two main reasons: either they are faking it, for the sake of the kids (who I assume are all grown up) and keeping it cordial; or they’re pretty pathological themselves. The kinds of people who are not bothered by a psychopath’s controlling nature, pathological lying, manipulation, sex addiction, etc. are usually pathological themselves.

    Because such behavior isn’t normal, is harmful to others, and is disordered. Any healthy person is bothered by it; it just so happens that even healthy people stay with pathologicals despite being severely bothered by their behavior for any number of reasons: love, loyalty, blind hope, fear, despair, sense of worthlessness and not deserving better than an abusive loser. But when they do stay with the psychopath, it hurts them even worse than getting out of the relationship would. For those like you who do get out of these dangerous relationships at least there’s a light at the end of tunnel of recovery. Claudia

  38. To Tricia, I basically had asked the same question for Claudia not to many days ago. Are their family members, children and friends totally blind to what they do and how they treat certain women and other people? I don’t remember the date and at this moment I accept that they all are sick and dysfunctional in some way just like him and they are all playing games.In his case he has alot of money, but everyone in his life is liability…… In my case, I have been through some therapy and counseling so at some point becoming aware started “ringing bells”. I don’t understand all the technical and clincial termanology that is sometimes used, but I do understand some “Common Sense”. “If you hang out with sick people you will get sick or sicker also”. At this stage of my life 62, you challenge me I will challenge you back or walk away. This one got to my heart.

    He “used me” until his son graduated from high school and I did volunteer my experience and knowledge willingly as a trusted friend. Sometimes, I just need to put and think about things in a different way. Yes, he stomped on my heart and my emotions, but he didn’t destroy who I am. He fuc’ with who I am and he can’t come this way anymore because I have too many other problems I am dealing with right now. His money can’t buy me.

    I truly believe you will recovery, because he is not important in you life. Donna

  39. Donna and Tricia, Since psychopathy and narcissism have genetic aspects, they often run in families. A psychopathic child is likely to have genetic predispositions for this personality disorder (shallow emotions, faulty brain wiring as far as emotions are concerned) from his or her parents and grandparents. Plus, you can imagine that even one narcissistic or psychopathic parent will create a home environment that encourages these tendencies in his/her child or children. And it’s not always through abuse. Narcissists in particular dote on their kids, whom they perceive as very special and flawless, even when they do very immoral things, because they consider them to be a reflection of their own flawlessness. They often project blame upon the victims, as does the psychopath himself. Some such disordered parents will stand by their child even when convicted of murder, as Neil Entwistle’s parents did. But the fact a psychopath finds support in family members or “friends” is not a sign of his normalcy. Usually, it’s a sign of their abnormality. Healthy, normal and decent people don’t condone or encourage sexual addiction, pathological lying, Machiavellianism, harming others and everything else that psychopaths commonly engage in. Their support should signal to you that you escaped not just the disordered psychopath, but also his disordered family and cohorts. A double blessing! Claudia

  40. This was another good article!!!!!!!!!!! I once asked my counselor why his GF stays if the relationship is this way and he is a psychopath and he looked at me and said “WHY DID YOU STAY?” Claudia what do you think is the MAIN reason why their targets stay on this ride? Do you think its because they interject some good but just enough to keep them around or because their partners are brainwashed beyond repair? Another question I also wondered do many psychopaths in your experience have long long term relationships that can last thru their lifetime? With the same person or eventually most all their partners leave because its too difficult to stay the course? I am just curious with this disorder that they very seldom reach golden anniversaries?

    yes indeed why did I STAY? Because I thought he was larger than life he was the most exciting person I was ever with, and he was also the most toxic and dangerous I had to make a choice, stay and live a life of continual torment or leave his sickness, its not until AFTER you leave do you truly see how sick they are Linda

  41. Gary, welcome; I’m afraid Claudia is right regarding the frustration your experiencing compounded by the overwhelming sense of injustice your left with as they devalue you on the way out the door. It is as though their devaluation comprises of morphing you into somebody your not; i.e. they split you and project all of their own traits onto you, rewrite the past using cut and paste reality, gaslight you, belittle you, refuse to listen (while at the same time tell you that you “never ever” listen). They do this as a means to justify their leapfrogging out of your relationship, into their new one. When your being devalued in this way it is a pretty safe bet that someone else is being idealised somewhere else. In spite of all the insanity you put up with, guess what? It’s your fault it has ended!!!
    It is impossible to get any piece of mind through closure discussions with a cluster B. You can try; but dont be suprised if their gaslighting, lack of response-ability, lack of empathy, lack of compassion, lack of recall, and their mind bending abilty for cognitive distortion will only add to your frustration. You will get only non seqiturs and contradictions, and a game of one up man ship which could pull you in like a vacuum. It is a follie au deaux; and everything you say will be meaningless to her if she is disordered- It is all water off a ducks back.
    These feelings will eventually pass; write her a letter outlining all of the things she did that resulted in your frustration, and read it during those times you feel consumed by your frustration. Whether you post it or not is up to you; but I would suggest that if you have children or she is capable of harming you further in any other way; then my advice is stay out of harms way.

  42. Kelli, re betrayal bonding and childhood influences; and psychopathic relationship dynamics. I absolutley agree that our childhood experiences of early exposure to cluster b’s have a negative oftentimes unconscious influences on our choices within the pathological relationship. My Father undoubtedly had traits. Whether these “predisposing vulnerability factors” for want of a better phrase- “allows the relationship to occur in the first place” I wouldnt subscribe to this because we are all vulnreable to not spotting the disorder behind the mask. Psychopaths / cluster B’s have had a lifetime of practice learning to walk between the rain drops; not only are they ego syntonic, they view themselves in my view as perfectly “normal” (if not better than “normal”). Even Hare himself describes how he still can be taken in by them.
    Where I would agree with you is that our early experiences can influence our choice to stay for the following reasons-
    We may have buried our wounds so deeply that we are unaware of them.
    Our childhoods have left us with core beliefs that we are unlovable.
    We have low self esteem, self regard.
    Our exposure to abusive behaviour has aclimatised us to abusive behaviour as somewhat normal / familiar. We developed an unheathy template for relationships in adulthood.
    We have an elevated tolerance of being treated in an abusive manner.
    Betrayal bonding in our formative years is I believe a complex issue. As children we are dependent on our parants for shelter, food, love, safety etc. In short, a wide range and synthesis of complex developmental and intrapersonal dynamics influence our realtionship “style”.

    The pathological relationship dynamic is characterised by the “mean and sweet” cycle; which results in intermittent reinforcement and betrayal bonding. When this bait and switch occurs the “victim” is usually well and truly enmeshed in the dynamic. The anxiety resulting from exposure to this dynamic sets up an incredibly potent bond that Sandra Brown refers to as becomming “gorilla glued”.
    As Browns’s study revealed- women who were strong, healthy, indpendent; and had healthy “good enough” paranting were reduced to broken heaps by the cluster b.
    It would seem that traits such as- high empathy, high sentimentality, high trust; amongst others, all play a part in the bonding process.
    I would add to this list that naivity around the nature of cluster b pathology plays a central role. to understand this one has to have lived through it; otherwise it is beyond comprehension.
    Imagine a “normal” (non pathological) relationship as a string of matching and or similar beads- the string is the narrative and the beads are the shared relationship story. With a patholgical, there is no string and all the beads are different- but in our naivity we try and make sense of our relationship by stringing these beads together into a coherent story that results in mass confusion. There is no consensual reality and we only fully grasp this in the aftermath phase.

    I believe cluster B’s mirror with intent and volition; with the aim to seduce- as they slowly weave a web of deceit and conceit around us; once we are enmeshed they finally move in for their toxic black widow bite. We are left poisoned and discarded and I believe in this way there is a degree of malignancy inherent in the dynamic. There is a degree of malignancy and mirroring in all relationships. With a patholgical, the merge and bond was an illusion- we were conned in a word- lovefraud.com. Recovery involves comming to terms on an emotional level with this truly awful realisation; and purging ourselves of the “crazy by association” toxicity. Sorry this is lenghthy- I wanted to mention cognitive dissonance as an after math symptom that can keep us going back but I will save this for another post.

  43. Michael, I appreciate all the helpful and accurate information about Cluster B personality disorders–as well as the caring and compassion–that you bring to this forum. Linda, the question “why did you stay?” is answered differently for different people. Most victims stay out of ignorance of his evil or do so reluctantly, with deep misgivings and out of dependency and fear (of splitting up the family, of not being able to move on, of wasting their lives, of not making it on their own). In other words, after the psychopath is unmasked, they stay with him primarily for negative rather than positive reasons.

    However, as mentioned earlier, I also believe that the people who stay primarily for positive reasons–because they idolize the psychopath–probably suffer from a personality disorder themselves. Usually, as mentioned, malignant narcissists and sociopaths can stay together for life in their “special bond.” Two sociopaths are likely to part ways because each one gets bored easily and needs to form several dominance bonds to feel alive. But that’s not the case with a narcissist and a sociopath combo.

    A sociopath will make a malignant narcissist feel like their bond is “very special”, superior to those formed by “normal” couples. She will take a derivative pleasure in the way the psychopath eventually devalues and discards each of his other flings/partners on the side, confirming her own sense of superiority (because she stays with him for life). She will take the longevity of their dysfunctional relationship as proof of their extraordinary love. I think unless they’re under great duress and fear for their lives, most people eventually leave the psychopath and refuse to participate in the harm he inflicts upon others. That is not the case with malignant narcissists, who vicariously enjoy the harm as well as the constant drama where other victims are constantly lied to, played tricks on, used and devalued and discarded.

    Of course, the narcissists would prefer that the psychopath idealize them all the time, but the oscillations solidify the trauma bond even more than if they were consistently idealized. Plus seeing how badly the psychopath treats other targets, the narcissist convinces herself that she is idealized or tries constantly to recapture the idealization phase with the psychopath to maintain a sense of self. However, the idealize phase with any psychopath is ephemeral and never happens more than once for the same person. That’s because it’s never real. A psychopath never experiences genuine love and respect for anyone. The idealization phase in the psychopathic bond is made of new circumstances and the excitement of the pursuit of a new person. It has very little to do with the person/target herself.

    When you’re no longer a new target in exciting fresh circumstances, a psychopath never truly idealizes you again. You’re old news to him. He may give you glimmers of the idealization phase to glue you to him, in the dysfunctional relationship. He may foster your illusion, from time to time, that you’re still being idealized. But you are not. This is why the malignant narcissists who stay with a psychopath constantly struggle to reassure themselves that they’re still “special” in the psychopath’s eyes and resort to any measure, however evil and uncaring to other victims, to prove their love to him and to recapture the idealization phase of their dysfunctional relationship that only comes once. In reality, the malignant narcissist so eager to hurt and debase others for him, is also being used by the psychopath as his main dupe. I will do an article thread just on this subject, since it’s a topic that came up several times in our comments and discussions. Claudia

  44. Claudia,

    I really enjoy this blog, and the participants here. Michael, I find your comments particularly enlightening. I’m curious as to your background insofar as how you have so much knowledge in this area. I do believe that many come from homes, just as you said with pathological involvement and most DO NOT become pathological, nor do they wind up with one, however, there are many that do and my family was FULL of them. Both parents and two siblings are pathologicals. I have NC with all of them. My ex was the last to go. Claudia, I think you’ve made a VERY interesting point in your last post here that causes me to reflect upon my relationship with my ex. The idealization only happens once. This is currently what is going on with his new gf. New circumstances, very exciting for him, however, it is all built on lies and a false relational foundation. I also think you’re right that most “healthy” individuals, even those who grew up in pathological environments, if they are not pathological themselves, do get out eventually. There is no way that one can even have a brief encounter with a psychopath and not be harmed. They also have behaviors that would be considered odd and highly abnormal, in a fragmented if not infantile sense. Mine was extraordinarily hypochondriac. A cut on the finger was a major production and shocking for the reaction that it was. I often wonder if those behaviors are consistent in all of his relationships oor if they were faked. I was idealized only for a short time, as I was the OW, unlike his other women that were idealized a bit longer. From the things he said,even though projected onto his ex wives, his behaviors became obvious three to six months into the dating relationship. The first major abusive episode occurred to me three months after intimacy started. There were subtle signs way before then that I missed, but that was clearly a test to see how much I would tolerate. I would be poor supply now because I am aware of his psychopathy and have told him as such. I’m curious about the idea that all psychopaths cheat. I’m not sure that is the case. While that seems a contradiction because i was the OW, he was apparently faithful seven years into his second marriage. I think some like the idea of controlling their partners without the added triangulation. This has been a very interesting blog line Claudia. I’m learning more and more. I am curious to get feedback even if hypothetically as to how long each of you and perhaps from observance have thought about how long the idealization goes on before discard and boredom by the psychopath. It’s interesting to note imagining what it would be like to wear the mask the psychopath does. I can’t imagine that the fakery wears thin rather quickly, as well as the energy required to hold it in place

  45. Claudia; can we review another dynamic of their “idealization”? You have mentioned several times that many of their partners suffer from some sort of personality disorder themselves, which kind of scares me because I stayed in the relationship two years after KNOWING FULLY what he was, of course I never lived with him either, i was not exposed to his pathology on a daily basis as his partner is. I thought they periodically wore their masks and idealized their live in partners as one method of keeping them around. So it is probably correct to say he no longer acts, charms and wears a mask for her, and if so we KNOW she must be extremely miserable in this relationship much of the time having to contend with his selfishness, and just general behavior that comes with a cluster B. One thing is for certain she stays because he WANTS her to stay, so he must be giving her SOMETHING that she clings to on a daily basis to live a life with him. I know we can never know exactly why a certain “Main dupe” would stay, we would have to know her history she may have childhood issues of abuse, it could be so many things that have lead up to her living a life with a psychopath for 10 years. I imagined myself living with this man I would be a mental wreck; I would NEVER trust him, believe him, I would SEE so clearly his manipulation games but then again I recall when I was in his presence how he completely took me over as if I was under some spell the minute he walked into the room, it wasnt until I left that I would say, Damn it, he did it again. That is why my counselor stressed you must NEVER see him again EVER even years from now you can never be in his presence.

    I want others to know I had a long distance relationship with this man. in the beginning we saw each other as much as we could (twice a month) but yet he was STILL able to manipulate and keep me under his spell on a daily basis calling me three and four times a week, that is how POWERFUL their pathology is and I sit here today and wonder why this OW stays? Are you kidding? THis man was like a drug to me I could not get enough, he kept me in total awe and enthrall every second I was with him (and not just sexually) This is a strange concept for me to understand because he was so disordered, he was extremely perverted, every other word he said was a lie, and not to mention he was dangerous yet he made me feel like a million bucks on one hand and on the other he degraded me like nothing I have ever experienced. I know the pain of NC and extracting one self from a pathological, its almost as if you have to fight with all your strength to get your mental health back you KNOW this person is not mentally healthy and as I look back I realize I was just given a fantasy of what he knew I wanted. They KNOW your mental weaknesses (and God knows we all have them) Furthermore, what the hell was wrong with what I wanted? Was it SOOOOO wrong to want that ideal partner, to be loved, to love, to share the chemistry, attraction, things you THOUGHT you had in common? What is wrong with them that they have to plow their way through life faking those things for others, getting others to fall madly in love with them only to find out it was all one big con in the end…… ya I know the answer to that. So why do others stay on that dangerous ride? For the same reasons I did and I truly hope in my case it was not because I was disordered to his extent, I hope it was a weakness within myself that I can recognize and overcome in order to live a happier and healthier life. Linda

  46. Kelli, I thankyou for your comments. Re my background; I have worked in mental health for about 22 years now. I trained as a person centred counsellor back in 1991- and counselled in the field of alcohol and drug mis-use. I then went to University and studied health science at degree level- focusing on cross cultural psychiatry and the sociology of medcine and mental health / illness. I later trained as a mental health nurse- then completed a post graduate diploma in psychological interventions. I worked for seven years in inpatients- psychiatric acute admissions; and set up a forum to raise the profile of psychological therapies on acute wards. I and like minded others had some success in generating interest in solution focused therapy and tried to persuade the medical model to nudge up a little and make room for other interventions.
    During this time I had little ineterest to axis 2 disorders and arrogantly held the view that personality disorders were a waste basket diagnosis applied by psychiatrists because their prescription pad was getting a little thin! My arrogance cost me dearly as i met my ex through work; she co facilitated a foundation course in family therapy. She seduced me on the last day of the course. This was a relationship that was to change the course and destiny of my life forever. I began studying personality disorder in 2008; During 2008 she turned my life upside down; ( months of absolute chaos- she disclosed 2 weeks after a wonderful and romatic weekend in Paris that she could only see me once per fortnight; when I asked why she told me that her ex was the love her life and she wanted to reconcile with him); we had been together for 3 years at that juncture. She tried but he rejected her; they have a son who is now 8. While she was trying the hoover manouver with him (to regain control because he was moving on with a new partner), she told me she wanted to be the mother of my baby and she might be pregnant ( al lie), joined dating sites at the same time! It was crazy- she loved me, loved me not, she loved me, etc etc.
    Then at the end of 2008 this happened to me on the way home from work http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/evening-chronicle-news/2009/01/10/i-nearly-got-killed-for-my-5-mobile-72703-22663501/
    She decided to get back with me because my almost dieing gave her the “wake up call” that she needed. During 2009 she seduced someone else, grew bored with me, continued with her push pull behaviour- then discarded me in a vicious vitriolic manner once she lined him up as a replacement. My father died of dementia in 2009, shortly after learning from his psychiatrist that he had been given a diagnosis of personality disorder many years ago. I never knew this until then. It all became too much for me; and i went from delivering CBT to folk with anxiety disoders and depressive illness for £20 an hour, to administering tablets to older persons in a nursing home for £13 an hour.
    It has been a tough ride- I still now work in older persons services as an RMN. There you go Kelli, a potted history 🙂

  47. Linda, I believe that even when we realise that their behaviour is consistent with a cluster B personality disorder construct and we have a defintion; we still cling in hope and denial. Maybe we can reach them through loving them enough, being patient and understanding etc. I robustly believe the medical model (psychiatry) does not help; our slipped down this blind alley and thought “if it is an illness then illnesses (at least most) are curable”. They are not; what is more they are not illnesses they are disorders and there is a difference. They are hard wired that way. We need to recognise in my view that extricating ourselves from these pathological relationships is incredibly difficult. Understanding the nature of cluster B pathology and the relationship dynamics is the integral first step towards recovery. Through distance and no contact we begin to gain perspective of the whole dance macarbre.

  48. Here is a link which addresses many of the issues raised in recent posts. http://www.relationshiprecoverynetwork.com/recovery-blog/175-what-is-a-personality-disorder-and-what-in-the-hell-did-it-do-to-me

  49. Linda, Kelli and Michael, thanks so much for your comments. Michael I appreciate your professional input and thanks for telling us about your background and experience. As for the difference between targets that are victims of the psychopaths and those that are victimizers the line is often blurred, since a psychopath manipulates his closer victims into becoming victimizers and hurting others to some extent. But to my mind the difference remains clear: if a target is willing to put validation from the psychopath above the interests of everyone else, and harm others or ignore their suffering, just to get that validation for an extended period of time, then something’s definitely wrong with that woman’s capacity for empathy. Usually malignant narcissists are the perfect companions to psychopaths because they will do anything, including hurting others, for an ounce of validation from the disordered individual with whom they’ve formed a dominance bond. Most victims, however, are not like that. Most victims are addicted to the psychopath, trauma bonded to him by the isolation, pile of lies, gaslighting, excitement, fascination, etc, but they would not knowingly hurt others just to stay close to him. I’ll have to write a post about this to articulate better, with examples, the distinction. Claudia

  50. Linda,

    I completely understand what you’re saying here. I was my ex’s OW and I stayed for ten. We never lived together, but when he divorced his second wife, it was HELLACIOUS as I got to spend more time with him, but I was no longer “needed” and he was actively pursuing other supply behind my back. His first wife stayed for four years, his second wife seventeen and half his marriage was spent with me as the Ow and there that there was one before me, but it can’t be proven. He is a licensed pastor, although that is not his main source of employment. His wife was a committed Christian and he PLAYED ON THAT to keep her in the marriage. She was afraid of what others would think and he had her so isolated and me so compartmentalized, that neither of us could see the forest for the trees. I know, for an absolute fact, that she was MISERABLE in the marriage, although this is not what HIS perceptions were, because she was the evil bitch, depressed all the time, wouldn’t give him sex, suicidal. Is it not a wonder WHY?? She is happy now and GLAD to be out of the marriage. Perhaps the woman that is with your now ex, will also tire of it. It isn’t always pathology that keeps women in relatoinships like this. I stayed WAAAAAAAY too long and I knew w hat I was doing, but my fantasies of what may be, the carrot dangle he had in my face, constantly, KEPT ME THERE despite my GOOD judgment that the man was more than a psycho, liar, cheater, user. Ironically, it took his cheating on me to finally push me out the door, but before then, he was demanding, mean, nasty, sneaky. I saw odd behaviors that I did not see when I was NOT in his presence on a daily basis inside his home, after his divorce. I wanted out. I had attempted autonomy in going back to school to which he tried to sabotage. That also pushed me out the door. I could not imagine living with him when the honeymoon stage was over. No way. So now, part of the healing is addressing the fantasy that I helpd onto and why I could not let that go. part of that is from my childhood issues in dealing with pathological parents who did NOT love me. I am NOT pathological, but I do have PTSD, situational depression. I I have NO relationship now and have non desire for one. You’re right in that there are many reasons why women stay. I believe momst of them are NOT pathological. I think psychopaths choose more those women who are very high i compassion and empathy. . Being with another pathological would be a Jerry Springer show for sure. Sounds like fun, huh? I think we all have dreams and it’s human nature to want to be loved, but at what cost? We hang onto that dream the psychopath sells us and his mean/sweet cycles, the bones he throws keep us there much longer than we should be. But I do know, even if I don’t feel it at times, that she will get it worse than I had it. All of them will. It can’t be any other way with a psychopath.

  51. Micheal,

    I read that story! Unbelievable and given the time lines, all of this trauma occurring in a short span of time! I’m sorry for what’s happened to you, but hope you’ve made a full recovery! I’m curious as to whether or not you’d consider going back to delivering CBT to those with anxiety disorders/depressive illness? I can assume (I hope safely) that by CBT you’re referring to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? I’ve been with a therapist that uses this approach and with my PTSD, it’s not working for me. I would like to try EMDR with someone who has a more eclectic approach. Your discard sounds so very similar to mine and I’m sure to many others who read this blog or have shared their stories. How have you been emotionally/physically since the discard as well as the physical violence you endured?

  52. Claudia, I thankyou again for you comments. I wonder; psychopaths are predatory- they can sense our vulnerabilities that render us prey, while at the same time we have something or some quality they want. They have been known to try to cull us from the herd and isolate us and they are endlessly creative in this department- ranging from the very subtle- to the verbose.
    You say- “they would not normally hurt others”; hurting others as we know, intentially or not, happens in gradations. What do you mean by hurt? and what hurtful acts do you have in mind? Have you hurt someone? Have the visitors of this site? Have I? Was it intentional in spite of riding on the back of anger and frustration?
    What am I getting at here? There is a danger that we can pathologise emotion- including anger. My other point is that we can defend our relationship with the pathological at the expense of other relationships and this in itself can cause harm to those that love us; what is more we may often be cognizant of this harm / hurt; There is validity in the application of cult programming in relation to the pathological dynamic; perhaps the issue is to what extent will the indoctrinated person go to in order to protect and defend the pathological relationship; and in what way does mutual pathology mediate this? http://www.relationshiprecoverynetwork.com/recovery-blog/162-pdi-on-the-brain


  53. Claudia

    I think the disctinctions you pointed out here already are very good. I realize that we all have had different experiences and varying time lines with our psychopaths. So much could be said for the reasons one stays so long. I think like me and perhaps others like me, just fresh out of a relationship with a psychopath, we have mixed feelings about “Was it me?” “Will he be happier with someone else”. and “it wasn’t me, and he will do this to EVERYONE in his path”. In other words, “He’s pathological, he’s not pathological’…I think it takes awhile to get out of that mind set as we make sense of the experience. I think you’re right about addiction to the psychopath, although I prefer trauma bonded. Because that is indeed what it is. the psychopath uses the mean/sweet cycles to keep us bonded to him, while his behavior becomes worse and accelerated over time, constantly being tested as to how much we will take. I have found that if a person has one ounce of autonomy left to them, a job, a lot of friends, or as in my case, school and has not completely lost themselves or the psychopath is not in FULL control through complete isolation, the bitter internal conflict between having your independence and your love for the psychopath, becomes less blurred. I believe my schooling saved my life, further releasing me from the trauma bond and bringing me back to myself. I look forward to your next article, claudia. this blog has been very helpful to me and many others here, I can see!

  54. Kelli, many thanks; and yes I refer to cog beh therapy. CBT is picking up momentum and is proving to be efficacious around PTSD.
    However my view is that with PTSD resulting from exposure to cluster B relationship dynamics; a unique approach is called for. CBT alone is a little like spitting in the ocean. Firtstly- education around cluster B is central; cruising sites around Borderline personality, or Narcissism is a good start and typically is where our education begins. Researching psychopathy holds the key. Then we go slowly and take it from there.

  55. Claudia,

    Again a wonderful article.

    My psychopath came back into my life after 25 years, but we are no longer together. He was my first boyfriend at 24. It was a disordered relationship then (I didn’t fully understand why until now), and he ended up marrying someone else about nine months after we broke up.

    I am fairly certain he is on the psychopathic spectrum but without giving him the PCL-R and brain scan, I can’t be sure! My question is: are some of the traits weighted more heavily in pointing towards psychopathy? He is most definitely a pathological liar, then and now. Is pathological lying a sure sign of psychopathy? What other personality disorders have this as one of the main traits? Love your blog, Mari

  56. Michael,

    Thanks ever so much for posting that link. It was a great and helpful read!

  57. Micheal,

    I have found that the most difficult challenge is finding a therapist who understands Cluster B’s and does not slap it as an illness that can be cured. Oddly enough, I’ve run into this with my last two therapists and it undermines and invalidates the experience I had, because with the CBT approach, the true issue is not to be addressed, more under the umbrella of “what’s done is done, time to move on”. I think a processing of what happened is critical to recovery.

  58. Mari, thanks for your nice words and for your comment. I’d say that lack of empathy is the number one quality of psychopaths. Even non-malignant narcissists have some empathy. Psychopaths are completely without this quality. They’re heartless, no matter how much they lie and what they pretend to be. Pathological lying and a certain Machiavellian enjoyment of manipulation are the other two main traits of psychopathy, but they are to some degree shared by more or less normal people.
    The difference between normal lying and manipulation and what psychopaths do is that psychopaths do it with intent to harm. Any cheating spouse may lie to cover up his or her cheating. A psychopathic cheater will do it to cover it up and get a perverse thrill–and sense of superiority– out of duping his spouse. But all of this goes back to the inherent heartlessness of the psychopath again. Because only a complete lack of empathy for others would lead a person to enjoy causing them harm. Claudia

  59. Michael, the way psychopaths cause harm to others is intentional and the intent is to cause (and hopefully witness) suffering. They often take trophies of that suffering–serial killers take bits of clothing or hair, but serial psychopathic seducers take a bra, or a picture–to remind themselves and relive with relish the suffering they’ve caused. Psychopaths live to see others humiliated and in pain. Their degree of psychological sadism is often cold and calculated, as Hare explains in Without Conscience. It’s not a mere flash of anger, it’s an underlying disorder that aims to destroy and devastate other human beings. This is what psychopaths live for, and they lie, manipulate, control others and sometimes even rape and kill in order to get that perverse pleasure. Dominance is not enough for them: they enjoy dominance best when it causes maximum suffering for others. Claudia

  60. Kelli, That is because there are very few therapists who understand and can respond to the emotional and psychological needs of those exposed to cluster b dynamics. They can do more damage and harm than good. CBT is about engaging in dialogue that encourages and supports a person to engage in a realistic appraisal of events.I can see the limitations of CBT when one considers the issue from this perspective.

  61. mari,

    I think claudia is right about all of the above, but this is where the fun starts. UGH! I think there are disagreements to an extent as to the lying. I would say lack of empathy is definitely one of the main traits, but along with that comes the pathological lying. EVERYONE lies, but pathological is CHRONIC lying. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the term “If his lips are moving he’s lying”, that’s what a psychopath does. The reasons, I believe, for their contradictory behavior is that they FORGET the lies they tell. They also deny their lies or spin another story if confronted. Mine used projections, such as “You’re hurting me, please stop hurting me”, “These accusations are false” etc. It got really annoying after awhile to say the least. They can lie with ease and pathologically because of that lack of empathy, lack of conscience. I would also say a lack of REMORSE OR GUILT is another BIG factor with these people. They feel nothing if confronted with anything they’ve said and/or done, and feel no guilt about it. They are shameless.

  62. Michael,

    I hope that someday soon, those who run our universities and colleges here will recognize the need for psychopathy education for students seeking degrees at the grad level as future therapists. It’s interesting to note that while they are AWARE of what Cluster B’s are, addressing the issue is strongly discouraged, if not outright avoided. I do agree it can do more harm than good, so in selecting my next therapist, instead of giving into a potential knowledge of the disorder, there will be several questions asked by me in how MUCH knowledge the potential therapist has, as well as how they feel about addressing the issue in therapy with regards to my aftermath symptoms and distress.I do hope things will change in this area however, because a good support system is critical to recovery.

  63. Claudia, OK this one is directed at your comment. “About the newest wearing Off”. I have to “Keep it Simple for Me”.

    I believe that my newest, my positive supply,and the use, I was giving him over the last three year period has worn off. His nice good guy mask came off twice.

    So are you saying that he will totally leave me alone? Do I need to remain aware and on guard of him trying to get back in with me?

    I am working very hard to get the attractive (No beauty queen here) healthy me back without his sick games. Many things are improving in my life for the good…….. I need this stupid trama/drama to end. I have been NC for 8 weeks. Sincerely, Donna P.S me and Taja are the same person?

  64. Donna, congratulations on the 8 weeks of NC. There’s no predicting if your psychopathic ex will leave you alone forever, since they return years after the breakup to bug some of their former girlfriends. Whether or not he tries to bother you again is not fully in your control since it partly depends upon his whims. What is in your control is how you react to it. And the reaction should be zero, none, unless he harasses or stalks you, in which case keep track of it to turn the evidence in to the police. Meanwhile, detach completely, emotionally not just physically (NC) from the psychopath and focus on your goals and on healthy relationships with friends and family or dates if you’re single. The more constructive things you have in your life, the more the nightmare with the psychopath will become a distant sordid memory. And believe me any positive memories do fade once the information about the fact he was a psychopath and everything that implies–he never loved or cared about you or anyone, he lied and cheated, he wanted to destroy you and is destroying other women–sinks in. We’re here for you to support you through this. Claudia

  65. Donna I wanted to say how I understand how truly difficult it is to go NC, I went NC for three months then I slipped and text him well and hope he was fine but nothing became of it and I STILL never saw him, its been ONE YEAR since I have actually seen him. Oh we had some contact after I wished him well but I want to say something to you, you have crossed over with two months behind you it was during those three months of NC that I now realize that I finally accepted him for what he was and if the disordered ever should contact you it will NEVER be the same you will see him in a different light from here on You have in my opinion have the worst behind you. You are getting healthier as I write this it may not feel like it but you are removing yourself from his sickness and its a painful painful process. There were days I didnt think I could make it and days I shook from crying so hard, I felt like I was killing a part of myself during the process I felt at times like I was dying inside but I always managed to calm myself down and stay in reality and that reality was knowing I was removing myself from a person that was very disturbed and I read enough books to know that its hard as hell breaking away from a psychpath. Mine NEVER tried to contact me of course I changed my number and I am two hours from him but when I text him he called me back within 8 seconds and I ignored it, Donna trust me he is the same rotten bastard he always was most of them will keep you around as long as you allow them to play dangerous games you will always be some source of entertainment for them in some way.

    Stay on the course Donna I KNOW its difficult but he will only be worse in his treatment they always are. Think of this NC as saving your life and yourself because that is what it is. Dont let those good memories cloud your judgment psychopaths dont have a good side to them, the good side of them is always faked but the bad side of them is VERY REAL. I am here for you to give your support if you need it you are almost there my sister and dont ever look bck x0x0x0 linda

  66. Michael, I agree with your analogy that an illness can be treated (for the most part) but a disorder is NOT treatable I can see now why they dont label them as mentally “Ill” They are highly disturbed but not mentally ill as my wise counselor once said. I believe it takes a great deal to understand this disorder; once we have a clear understanding of the behavior that is manifested with Cluster B personality disorder we can slowly stand back and see how it really was not personal (although it seemed like it) In my healing I chose NOT to take it personally because if I did I would continue to blame myself for something I lacked that was not enough to win his love. In truth it was NEVER anything I ever lacked that caused his behavior it was everything I HAD that gave him what he needed, (if that makes sense)

    Distance and no contact showed me the truth Michael and you are correct it was nothing but a sick dance macarbre. I wont be dancing for awhile but I am learning to walk again with grace and dignity.

  67. Donna, and for all those who are ready and at the stage to go no contact; or are dealing with the process of no contact. It is a horrendously painful process as we begin to emotionally disembroil and unmesh ourselves emotionally. We may want to believe that our disordered ex is feeling a similar way we are; and on some level must be missing us or grieving us too. Try to hold onto the fact that part of their disorder and the way it manifests is that they do not grieve; certainly not in the way non-disordered people grieve. Bereavement is a process of comming to terms with the loss of someone we had a deep loving bond / attachment too, and this bonding is something that they are not capable of doing. Our love was real; theirs was not; otherwise they would not have treated us the way they did to begin with. Think of them as an inflated balloon- an emptiness surrounded and encapsulated by a thin veneer. this is worth repeating- that all cluster B’s have attachment disorders; meaning one of their core issues is an inability to develop, and maintiain loving relationships with anybody; Imagine what an empty meaningless life they lead- to never know and experience love? Can you imagine? Is it any wonder they are always “on”, always on the move like sharks who never stop, filling their lives with busy busy busy! monkey swinging from one interchangeable partner to the next- always looking for that ideal perfect love……..a never ending pursuit to find redemption from the emptiness they hide within. Only of course the reality is they are on a futile mission; none of us can fill their emptiness- and the result? They make us pay and resent us for what they are lacking, and wage an emotional war against us- hence the abuse, the attempts to control us through lies and deceit, belittle us, devalue us, and show no compassion.
    No contact gives us the opportunity to gain perspective and distance that we need and affords us clarity around the nature of what they are, and how we were manipulated and why. In the end we see behind the mask; we see the bottomless black whole that we have managed to wrench ourselves out of.

  68. Michael, Linda, Donna and everyone: so true they don’t grieve for anyone because grief implies loss of someone you love. Even those who periodically play into the relationship boomerang with a psychopath and return don’t see the same person anymore, after they opened their eyes to this personality disorder. Contact is sometimes a temptation because of the memories of how the psychopath was with his mask on, during the luring stage. But that stage is forever gone. It only happens once for each person and nothing you do or fail to do could ever bring it back (because, as I’ve explained, it was made by novelty and conquest, both of which wore off). So what you end up with is the evil person behind the mask and all those toxic people he surrounds himself with, to keep his mask on. The stuff real life nightmares are made of. Claudia

  69. Claudia,

    That is such a good and very valid point. If any of us were to go back, after having gained clarity, it would never be the same. I’m beginning to see that I’m grieving on multiple levels, but what I grieve most is the mask he hid behind. Each day brings more clarity. It is excrutiatingly painful, however. Just dealing with what was the mask and what was behind it, dichotomous as it was, contradictory as it was, is the biggest of the layers of the onion, for me to peel. It hurts. Along with that, a dream is dead. A dream I had for a long time. And all the losses I’ve accumulated during the years I waited for him to “love” me. I could never go back. There is no justice.

    Michael, part of the pain I feel is not just the sorrow and grieving for the man with the mask ON, but the reality that when it came off, it was viciously done. The reality that he already has a new lover in record time, with no grief at all. None. No regret. Nothing. No apologies for the years wasted. A normal break up doesn’t look like this. There was no empathy at all. He attempted contact attempted contact with two mother’s day emails, to which I responded NEVER to contact me again. Nothing since. A test. For what true reasons I’ll never know.

    Claudia, you mentioned we are only idealized once. And that is truth. When the abuse erupts in the relationship, the attempts to hoover us back in are merely manipulative, not idealizing. Everything mine did with me sexually, felt as if a novelty. I was simply a toy. And that is all.

    As time moves on, I’m seeing more and more of the abuse, so part of this grieving is also my decision to stay, those that I wounded while doing it, the years lost….it’s hard to forgive myself.

  70. Kelli- Thank you for sharing this with me, every single person I have shared my recovery with has told me their wives and/.or partners are NOT happy and their life was living hell while with them. They say there is no closure from such an encounter or relationship well I disagree, if we look hard enough Kelli we find it in our journey of healing. I have come to know some pretty incredible people on that journey and the aftermath of a psychopath; intelligent, wonderful and truly caring individuals who I admire for their courage and the strength it took for them to leave and move on. I never lived with him and I cant even imagine the utter betrayal and lie they lived day in and day out with such a person, some were totally clueless of what they did, while others were always watching their every move knowing they cheated and did this but could not prove it. Its interesting to see Michael’s perspective of what happened to him and what this woman did to his life. Yes Michael I have said the VERY SAME THING, they will never find that validation and or supply from others that is something that must come from within in which they just dont have and never will. They miss NOBODY and they love NOBODY because of this very important element they are missing but yet they continue to search for it, the ideal love to make them feel whole and alive but what they dont realize is in their never ending search is it is that bond and connection that keeps us connected to others in a healthy way. How would you like to live everyday as Michael states feeling NOTHING for others to know you must fake everything about what you are to hide what you REALLY are. I shouldnt even say they are searching for love because they really arent, they are searching for others to have power and control over and to purposely abuse and hurt and deceive, they find this quite amusing, to sit back and say, OH LOOK WHAT I CAN DO- I can fool this or that person into thinking I am what they want they fall deeply in love with me, at the same time I can have sex or I should say I can rape them and they dont even know I could give a rats ass about them, in time I can get them to give me what I want. What a real contribution to society eh? TO play everyone in your life as a fool and dupe and sit back and find that to be entertaining.

    From the victim/targets view as their partner how would you like to live everyday NEVER trusting who you are with, always checking up on them, and being manipulated and brainwashed 24-7? How would you like to wake up one day and realize you never knew the person you were sharing your life with and/or discover they had hidden lives behind your back the entire relationship? Many are discovered but many can fool and keep up this act for many many many years, it must be like waking up and discovering your husband or boyfriend is a killer or serial rapist on the side, it would be the same type of betrayal. They are ALL rapists in my estimation anyway. They rape your heart, your life, your mind and your body. Kelli their lives are always full of OTHER WOMEN, the woman that lives with them, the woman they meet for a quickie before retiring home in the evening, the woman they pay for sex, the woman they promise a future with, the woman the actually have an entirely different relationship with for years and years while living with someone else, OMG the list never ends of their women and or men. Maybe we should not even call them the OW or OM maybe it would be better to just think of it as their OTHER sources of validation, because we are really not even people to them just resources for their disorder they suck dry and recycle over and over and over. I was recycled like GARBAGE and let me tell you that is exactly what it felt like too, I felt like a piece of garbage this man threw away when it was past expiration date, when I got old and he was full he threw me away for something new and different. I think we truly know what it feels like to be literally dehumanized and stripped completely of our value and worth as a human being. Like Michael states – no contact and you can stand back and see them for what they truly are.; empty shells and nothing inside to give to others. I find it interesting that they havent figured out that they take and take and take and yet nothing ever is enough – you would think they would get a clue that SOMETHING is missing within themselves must be part of the disorder – STUPIDITY x0 linda

  71. Kelli and Linda, the fact that you can see so lucidly the disordered men behind the mask and realize that when you do miss them, you miss the masks, not those men, means you’re already over the hump of the grieving process. It’s a milestone to celebrate. Kelli you express regret at being with the psychopath not only for the fact he hurt you, but also that he induced you to hurt others. This regret–not just for yourself but also for others–is the sign of a conscience, of empathy. Disordered individuals, such as malignant narcissists who stay with sociopaths, don’t experience such regrets, especially not those for the sake of how much they have hurt others because of the psychopath. On the contrary. Witnessing or hearing about how much the psychopath hurts and demeans other women is their only reward and it makes them feel superior by comparison. I think it’s very important to pay attention to this psychological phenomenon because psychopaths often have such malignant narcissists as their covers. They almost never travel completely alone in life, but as a part of dangerous duo, each of whom finds reward in humiliating and using others and reinforces the other’s pathology. Claudia

  72. Thank you Claudia, for your prompt reply, because I am still missing the connection we had.

  73. Claudia,

    Not every psychopaths next victim will be or is a malignant narcissist. I think those situations are uncommon and I’ll tell you why. Most malignant narcissists would not get along with a psychopath. The fight for ego would be way too intense. I do think it’s possible, however, to have a sort of secondary Psychopathy in which the victim of the psychopath becomes LIKE him, in order to keep the relationship, no matter how much he humiliates and degrades her. I think this is the ultimate in the loss of self. I cannot see life being a happy one in such a situaton. Anyway, most psychopaths want loving, highly empathetic, naive victims that feel so much love and connection in the luring stages that their hooked easily. Once this occurs, it’s a trauma bond. There has been so much said, wherever I go to read, that the new victim refuses to believe anyone that tries to enlighten her. I was one of those women too, claudia. I hurt people in that process of protection of him. Now, it is one of my greatest sadnesses. It took a long time to come to terms with that once the relationship was over, but I’m seeing the aftermath in its entirety. It is very hard to forgive myself. Anyway, this siding with the psychopath can look very much like narcissism. IN a way, he sucks you into that vortex and labeling you as the special one, while he degrades other women to your face. I think everyone wants to feel special to the one they love and it makes it all more an insane loyalty when the victim is clinging onto a dream that would otherwise be lost without his carrot dangle. I am convinced that pathology CAN bedeveloped during the course of a relationship with a psychopath, but it’s rare. Many women do leave. Those who have not lost themselves completely or their consciences obliterated to nothing and merging with the psychopath will leave.

  74. Linda, I completely missed this post from you. How powerful and profound it is for me! can you share a little more of how long you were with your psychopath? How long was it before you saw under the mask? I’m curious since you didn’t live with yours either. Mine was very, VERY good at compartmentalizing. I was the “only” other woman LOL! And I was for many many years. Were there others? I don’t know, I just know that after the divorce there sure was and rumor of another affair prior to his with me. I wish I had more real proof of his cheating, but…..he was so good at hiding. So good at it. Perhaps had I lived with him, that would have been different. Thank you for your input Linda, I really appreciate it.

  75. Claudia I try to stick with my comments related to the article roller coaster ride but sometimes I get side tracked so bare with me. However I wanted to recap on their mirroring, which is also part of the reason we stay because we felt such a strong connection with them. I wanted to share with everyone something that I actually got to witness with my friend who caught her x boyfriend psychopath on dating sites and such. She actually PLAYED HIM and set up a fake profile on one of his sites he was on and he went for it hook line and sinker. I told her if it makes you feel better and shows you the truth to see this man in action than by all means but dont carry it on too long so you can move on and not focus on him anymore. Anyway she killed her profile within a week – she was able to do this because she was able to track all his activities on his pc as he was unaware. What we both got to witness first hand was how this man mirrored all the women he was trying to meet up with – his profile stated clearly he was looking for a long term relationship with the possibility of marriage in the future etc…. and what a joke as he just asked my friend to marry him a week before, if the woman was into painting sidewalks he would have said he majored in it, it was UNBELIEVABLE to watch. As I look back now I clearly see how he mirrored everything he knew I believed in and wanted but when we are at that stage we dont even suspect it, it feels as if we have met our match. She was numb from the shock of seeing this man in his sick pathological action at this point she fully realized this is exactly what he did to her during the idolization phase which lasted maybe a bout a year (he was still cheating though on her even during that stage she discovered) I wanted to remind everyone of the mirroring because when we go NC we think back on those first days, or months or even maybe the first year and how wonderful it was and what we shared and how Crazy they were about us, how attentive they were, how romantic and such ……… when it was all faked and a fine acting performance on their part. So those of you who are newly into NC try not to reflect on those memories as being so wonderful, YES they were wonderful for you but only because you were being fooled and played – I dont doubt for one minute our disordered partner also enjoyed playing that part for us, but NOT for the same reasons of enjoyment and love we felt, not even close. This may also attribute to why we stay on the toxic ride for so long we reflect back to those early days and the connection we felt for them, but chances are even during those early days when everything seemed so perfect the lying snake was screwing others behind your back, they were in supply heaven let me tell you, they were probably overdosing on that drug called “validation” ha ha –

  76. Claudia, your comment to Linda and Kelli about missing the original masked man I can totally relate with. That’s been the hardest part for me to accept that his actions and his words were all just smoke and mirrors. That he never had any pure intentions of being that honest, caring and dedicated man he claimed to be.

    I took a risk of letting this man into my life with the hope that he would not hurt me or take advantage of earned trust. I recognize now that they tell you the things you want to hear and not the things you need to know. He is a total coward and his sole purpose was and is to destroy attractive, intelligent, caring and loving women. I believe I got out just in time before he could turn me into a basket case. I have seen those games before. I had decided that I would not lose myself to another man or let one torment me.

    I am not sure if I’ll ever put all my trust in another man again. I have accepted that past behavior is a good indicater of future behavior. At this point there is nothing he can say or do to get me back……

  77. yes Claudia I will conclude under this article also how helpful this reading was, just as Michael expressed.

    This forum is wonderful because we study their behavior openly among ourselves, we share and learn and there is no greater tool for recovery than educating ourselves to this disorder. Claudia writes these informative articles and we sit back and say, OMG, wait a minute this is why he did this or that etc…. I am NOT crazy after all, when I would question him he would say I forgot to take my anti psychotic meds, how is that for a laugh…. and you want to hear another good laugh…. one day I googled “When a psychopath dumps you” (sad I know) but do you know what came up? articles on psychopaths dumping their victims in garbage bags after killing them!!!!! I said, NO NO that is not what I mean and I stopped dead in my tracks and thought OH MY GOD what happened to me I actually am heartbroken a psychopath discarded me, how messed up is THAT?!?!?! The general population will RUN from them and we have struggles going NC and I know that is because the general public has very little knowledge of what a REAL psychopath is. Once in a great while I watch the CSI episodes and its particularly interesting to hear the investigators make comments such as, “he is a psychopath he has no remorse” or “psychopaths like to punish”, its one thing to watch a good investigative story but its quite another to have lived through what the story is about. On these CSI episodes they are usually trying to track down a killer but their predatory behavior is the same as what we have experienced. Never again will I consider myself weak or obsessive because I was unable to just forget this encounter and move on, violation of this extreme takes some real hard work to recover from. I consider what I went through much like a rape victim only difference being I could not see the mask MY rapist was wearing.

  78. Donna,

    I think your determination and resilience are incredible. You’re right about his purpose. To harm.

  79. Although 7 months have passed since ending the (fake & felonious) relationship, and going through all of the stages of Grief, healing and recovering, anger is the emotion that gets triggered in me. When I get triggered I begin to obsess, once again. It is so much less now, as days, weeks and months have passed, but is still so alive in me, I am finding. It is incredibly strange how I can get to a place that feels as if I am 98% healed, and then without warning I am triggered (now, most times not knowing by what) and in obsession land, once again, wondering how he could have done what he did, being so conniving and most of all cruel. It is his cruelty and his dupe… His calculated trickery that has been so devastating to come to terms with, I believe. Not that I am trying any longer. Just a big pisser, is all…

    I get triggered and then I obsess throughout all parts of the day that I am not focused on my work (now lasting approximately one to two days per incident, about once a week) about how he calculatingly caused me to feel so loved by and so comfortable with him, then so smoothly and easily transformed into someone I never knew existed within him. So intentionally cruel, after the (fake) relationship ended and I was no longer around, by slandering me and spreading around, not only personal information about me to people I have direct contact with, but also intentionally smearing me and my name through the dirt with lies. Flat out lies. Things that are not even close to being part of my character. Vast attempts to make sure that everyone in his path becomes convinced that I am crazy, and not the person that people knew me as for the previous 7 years in my business, and otherwise. Attempts to make sure to destroy my name and reputation, to make people see him as a victim, as well as to try to cause people to no longer see me as the good, honest, and caring human being that they had perceived me as.

    I recovered from most of the feelings of humiliation as I gained much of my self esteem back, over time, and in turn started to become whole, again, and aware again, of the person I truly am, and have always been. I couldn’t have done that or gotten to this point without not having contact with “The Devil Himself”. I know this because I was left an empty shell of myself and he could have molded me into a weak, unstable, insecure, vulnerable person for the rest of my life, as if the empty she’ll of me was a blank canvas for his craft, if I had allowed him to continue to lurk within my life. I observe that most people still find him to be an awful person, and me, the person that I have always been, and for some reason, that adds more strength within myself, even though I am aware that my strength, as well as what I base my self perceptions on, should NEVER come from outside of myself, but rather from within.

    When you have been so degraded and humiliated, it seems not to matter, where or what you can pull strength from. I think because we are left with such a vast amount of desperation, to become whole again, and to feel free within ourselves, once again, after all of the Hell, and sheer emptiness that has lingered for much too long. None of us deserve what we are left with. But I do believe that the light is now shining through a gaping hole that had been just a small crack a few months ago. I am absolutely convinced that the gaping hole will soon open all the way, to become what is the entire “ME”, once again.

    This is my first time visiting here. Thank you so much for listening and for the amazing article you provide, Claudia.

    Much love and peace to all, here,

    Cherie 🙂

  80. Linda, I appreciate everything you say and am so glad my articles can help you and others. It helped me as well to write them, because in writing you’re forced to sift through and examine bad experiences closer and come to understand them better. You make a very apt comparison between a rapist wearing a mask to hide his identity and ANY psychopath wearing a similar, only invisible mask to emotionally rape us, if not physically as well: in the sense that we’d never have voluntary sex with a psychopath and had sex with them only because we believed it to be a relationship of mutual love. So often I read about how victims of these pathological relationships feel emotionally raped and betrayed. And this is precisely what psychopaths do. Any relationship with them is a complete violation, both physical and emotional. And yes, the way they discard some of their former partners–not all, since some see through them and discard them first–is similar to how a few psychopaths kill and dispose of the bodies of their victims like a pile of garbage. To them, a used up woman is nothing more than something to be dumped after use. Very ironic since in reality it’s psychopaths that are the real “ordures” (piles of garbage). There’s nothing closer to human waste than these empty souls masquerading as human beings. Claudia

  81. Donna, I think you should trust yourself to trust others eventually, if anything because you don’t want this psychopath to destroy your faith in humanity (in those human beings who deserve your trust) and the possibility of finding true love in the future. However, it may be for the best that you’re being cautious. Cautious but not paranoid; careful yet still open. You want to transform this horrible experience into something positive, not let it grow into something even more negative (no future relationships, distrust of all human beings) than it was. Now you know what pathology is and can spot red flags. Proceed with caution, but… proceed:). Claudia

  82. Linda, this story about this psychopath on dating websites (by the way, so many of them do this, it’s one of their main trolling grounds) is almost funny. It also goes to show how shallow and fake the mirroring is: it picks up on clues about a person only on the surface. The only thing that truly hooks people to psychopaths is their own projections and dreams. Because the mirroring is rarely compelling if you look at it more objectively, as you have, and get some distance from it to see it for what it is: the machinations of a clown. Claudia

  83. Kelli, I think I am doing something wrong because I wanted to reply to your questions and there is no reply at the bottom of your post? I hope you get this. At any rate it will pop up somewhere for you to read.

    I was with mine for 5 years. I am happy to report a few weeks ago he left a message for an invitation to see him I ignored his message that is the happy and good part, I should change my number (again) but I just ignore and he will no doubt lose interest – I outlined a brief summary of my story under Puppet masters and stringing women along you can read in general what my personal story is there. With that said you can see after you read it what a sick puppy he was, towards the end he was starting to want to see pics of my 25 year old daughter and wanted a daughter and mother encounter, I told him sorry my child is sacred to me and his reply was: Oh come on I can F her and tell you how it was, that was the absolute END, dont even utter the word daughter again to me, when that mask was fully off he became quite sick and ugly he just got sicker and sicker and sicker with time until I could not take it anymore at this point I KNEW I had to get this sick B out of my life, do the work it took to extract and recover – I also am having a difficult time wondering why I tolerated him for so long and I hate myself at times for not being stronger to end it sooner than I did. I am slowly working on that as I know I was SEVERELY SEVERELY trauma bonded to this man that I now consider nothing but a rapist that hides behind a sheriff’s badge. I dont mourn him so much as I do the horrible violation he did to my life. He turned into something so sick, twisted and perverted that I have no doubts in my mind what so ever as to the lack of love he has for ANYONE, there is not a person on this earth that is mentally healthy that could live with this disturbed person and be happy. He caused me grave psychological damage but everyday I am getting better and stronger but its a slow process. I have to quit punishing myself so much for how a psychopath brainwashed me and come to full terms with the fact I fell victim to a person of this nature. I hope one day you post your story when you are ready others can help and we understand the mental damage they can do and always remember Kelli this was NOT YOUR FAULT . I look back and I realize I did ONE thing wrong, I loved a psychopath and it was too late before I realized what he was. Its never never too late to recover and move forward. A big hug to you – I hope you felt my hug today carry it with you at all times because I have walked in your shoes as everyone here on this blog has x0x0 Linda

  84. Cherie, welcome to this blog and thanks for sharing your experience. It’s normal to feel triggered once in awhile and feel angry at the betrayal. As I’ve stated previously, all psychopaths emotionally rape their victims because we’d never bond or make love to these monsters if we knew who they were; if they didn’t fool us with the mask of sanity and love. But the fact you ruminate so rarely nowadays is a sign of huge progress. It means you’ve already moved on with your life. Besides, recalling the horrible experience from time to time is not necessarily a bad sign. Healing also means never forgetting, so that we never make such a mistake again. Excessive rumination and being stuck in that past only hurts us and those we love. But recalling from time to time–as you do–how close we came to seeing pure evil and understanding it for what it was, on a psychological and emotional level, is a very useful lesson in life, which is worth remembering. Claudia

  85. Thank you, Claudia! I appreciate your sound words of wisdom, very much. I know that all survivors heal at different speeds, however I am wondering if you think that the amount that I am stil having obsessive thoughts coinsides with the length of time that I have been out of the relationship (7 months)? If this is a question that you, yourself cannot answer, I would completely understand, but thought I would ask just in case. I think that at times I become so intent on knowing timelines “HA HA HA”. I am so curious about so many things that I still have yet to know/learn. Like Kelli, I have been in therapy for several months, however, I just stopped as I need to find someone with much more awareness of the Psychopath and the the aftermath that their victims (survivors) endure.

    Thanks so much!

  86. Cherie, personally, I find you admirable in how quickly you healed and moved on from your bad experience with the psychopath. Seven months is not a long time! Those who heal and move on too fast usually shove a lot of the mourning process and anger under the rug, and it resurfaces somehow, even worse or inappropriately. It seems to me that ruminating from time to time is a healthy way of keeping in mind what you have learned from this negative experience. I’d only be worried if you ruminated all the time about him and weren’t able to also focus on your career, family, life. But you have a life, are living it, and the lessons about human pathology you’ve learned from being with a psychopath are part of that life and part of your wisdom (which is why you still think about them from time to time). This sounds very healthy to me! Claudia

  87. Oh Claudia, I have not lost my faith in humanity, I was a Benefits Manager and a Grief counselor during my thirty year working career. I have seen almost every personality out in the world, the good bad and the ugly. I truly love and care about people alot especially little children. I have learned many life lessons over the years and I can read most people very well. Most people show you and tell you who they are if you actively watch and listen. I see and feel things most people miss. I have some very dear and caring friends both male and female.

    This evil cruel deceitful man is the worst I have ever encountered. I actual saw many red flags that kept me from allowing him to talk a hole in my head. I don’t allow people to walk all over me. It was after I unknowingly caused him some narcisstic injury that he totally turned on me with his snakes venum. Now, I know that any woman/person he cons will end up being a toy that he plays with and then throws away. Another thing that is really sad is that he is grooming his son to be just like him.

    I do still believe that if the universe has a sincere male partner for me he will find me, but I have stopped looking for now. Donna

  88. Donna, I’m glad you haven’t lost faith in humanity, despite having seen it all: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the ugliest of them all (psychopaths). But I can understand why you’re proceeding with far more caution as far as intimacy goes. I always assumed that serial killers were this way, but until I ran into the psychopath, I never conceived of “ordinary” persons( who don’t kill) being so filled with unmotivated hatred and contempt, even for those who trust and love them most. That’s why I’m not surprised by the fact that even those of us who have lived through a lot and seen so much in life, still can’t fully absorb or comprehend the snake-like behavior of psychopaths. Claudia

  89. Thank you, Claudia! It feels good to know that you think that I am healing in a healthy way. What you have said is interesting, in terms of some people “shoving it under the rug”. I wouldn’t even begin to know how to do that, but as unhealthy as I know that would be to do, I sure would have loved to have had that ability a few months ago, when I was in such desparation, wishing for it all to just go away…disappear. At this point I have learned the dynamics of the process for which one heals from the affects of the Psychopath, and I am adjusting to the tide of it. It is so much like a tide that comes in and goes back out, repeating itself. I don’t particularly like it, but I am learning how to accept and deal with it. It has taken several high to low tides, to finally realize that this is the way one heals through the aftermath of Psychopathy. I have also learned that I am powerless over it, and cannot control it, therefore I must go with the flow of it, until it someday will be just a part of my past. I possessed much anxiety before I learned of this. Now I know what I can expect to a large degree, even though I never know just when to expect the tide to change, and when it will pass for good.

    Much love,

  90. Cherie, I believe that, in time, you’ll be left with the best of both worlds: the memory and wisdom you’ve gained about psychopathy but without the emotional pain it causes during the mourning phase, when you absorb the impact that the whole relationship was a fraud perpetrated by a malignant human being. Personally, if I were given the choice of removing all my memories of the psychopath, I wouldn’t take it because I want to retain the psychological knowledge that this horrible experience has given me and share it with others. Claudia

  91. Donna,

    It’s women with your level of compassion and kindness that psychopaths target. The most empathetic and loving. I read that in your posts. I haven’t lost faith in humanity either. But I am much more cautious now. It’s good that you’ve stopped looking for now. That’s a very healthy approach. Me too. I’m curious as to the red flags you saw. this intrigues me now, what survivors missed.
    You sound as if a very healthy woman despite the pain of your experience. I understand about your ex grooming his son. Mine is doing the same. The contradictions are absolutely astonishing in how he treats his daughter and deals with her, versus how he treats and deals with his son. It would have driven me crazy.

    It hurts a lot too, because another child is being wounded, you know it and can do nothing about it.

    I believe you’re going to be just fine, Donna. Kelli

  92. Cherie,

    An incredibly healthy approach. I learn from you. And you’re right, It’s actually more unhealthy to stuff it, than to be able to deal with it. This is the dilemma I’m facing now. I feel expected to just be over it. I think I’ve cried twice in the last eight months. I know I’m stuffing it, which increases the ruminating and obsessing. this is why it’s so important to have a support system that allows you to vent, cry and talk about it if you have too. It’s just another way of peeling away the many layers of the onion after something so devastating and life changing. I respect the rights of others to process in their own time, even if frustrating. I find myself wanting people i care about to just “get over it” too, but that’s not how this works. Missing the process, stuffing it, means missing something new that you’ll learn about yourself. No matter how painful or for how long. Kelli

  93. Thank you, Kelli for your very kind words. I have had a huge amount of tragedy and lost during my life time and had some very wonderful therapist that helped recover from rape, the deaths of parents, my youngest brother, my divorce and many other betrayals. They taught me how to grieve, they taught me cognitive therapy, taught me positive self talk, and gave me “The Five Freedoms” by Virginia Satir as well as a list of 14 Personal Bills of Rights. All of this has helped me grow stronger over the years.

    Yes, he saw my intelligence, empathy and compassion right out of the box and I knew it. One of the very first things he did was offer to accommodate my lack of a male companion. (Red Flag) he offered me money (Red Flag) he was really desperate for a female friend, because he had just broken up with a lady. I also told him that I would not invest in a relationship that had no “no-strings”, or was not exclusive. He was a complete gentleman about it. But I was aware that he must have felt rejected but wanted to be my friend anyway. So that’s when he started his slow attempts to seduce me. So he played the devoted friend for three years. He always wanted my female point of view about many things. He tapped my knowledge and gained wisdom about the a number of topics I have been educated and trained. Always being the appreciative friend. As my usefulness started to demish in his mind his masked started coming off and Mr. J&H showed up.

    He manipulated me, but did not dominate me, he thinks he demolished me, but he only shocked me and hurt my feelings I am human. I am on my road back right now…..much of my recovering has been through this site and the support of so many here. I will survive and I will rise. Hugs to all, Donna

  94. Cherie, part of the aftermath involves the experience of obsessive rumination, and intrusive thoughts. I can empathise with your anxieties around “should I not be having these obsessive thoughts by now”. A pathogical relationship with a cluster B provides the perfect recipe for this post relationship experience including-
    Shock, disbelief at their sudden departure and devaluation that marks the total unveiling of their mask revealing who they truly are.
    This is done without compassion, empathy, grieving, sadness, regret or remorse.
    The shock and disbelief at their abrupt emotional cut off as they direct their lazer beam focus on their next object of interest. This is done with heartless indifference no matter how much history you (thought) you shared with him.
    Your left wondering how much of the whole encounter was real; was any of it real!
    You play back each moment in the relationship, endlessy disecting every interaction that you can recall.
    Your left struggling to make sense of it all but the more you try the more you feel like you are disappearing beneath quicksand.
    It can be almost like waking up abrubtly from some weird dream / nightmare; or being lifted out of a warm bubble bath and being dropped in a giant ice bucket.
    You’re also left with the fallout from the gaslighting, betrayal bonding, and / or the effects of intermittent reinforcement; and all the lies upon layers of lies.
    Add to this the incredible projections, blaming, and distortions they subject you too as they discard and devalue for the final time.

    Everything about the relationship, what they said, what they did, what they thought,,,,,,and who they are turns out to be one huge contradiction. A floundering chaotic collage, a pastiche and distorted mosaic of bullshit that they in some incomprehensible way believe to be the truth- cluster B’s actually believe their own lies. Any consensual reality you thought you shared was an illusion created by them using smoke and mirrors.

    We are the fortunate ones because we have a definition which allows us to share our experiences on forums such as this; and in so doing, allows us to begin the process of reframeing our awful experience of encountering a cluster B……and slowly but surly move forward in our lives, one small step at a time.

  95. Michael, How you describe the awakening is so true, now that I am fully aware of what was done to me and why it feels like I woke up from some deep coma and missed out on 4 years of my life. Where was I for those 4 years? I can tell you where I was, I was on one perpetual dream (or nightmare?) The entire 4 years was one big dream, illusion and fantasy then something woke me up and I came back to life and reality.

    It has been one year since I have seen him and I find myself at times wondering if he REALLY existed, was he just in my imagination and dreams? I have spent the last year trying to make sense of what he did to me and why just as you outlined above. The awakening is so very painful and confusing but I pretty much have things figured out now, it feels pretty good to be among the living again. Linda

  96. Linda, I know where you are comming from re did he really exist. I often feel that way still. Does she exist? My experience still has the emotive quality of my life having disappeared down a balck hole of nothingness for five years. It is really quite haunting if you know what I mean.

  97. Michael, I had a similar impression as you. You have described the aftermath very eloquently. The mask seems best constructed and most plausible when they put most effort in, during the idealization phase. That’s when they mirror your tastes and aspirations, they flatter you and they appear to be not only genuinely loving but also extraordinarily generous. Afterwards, there are numerous red flags and hints that something is deeply wrong with the person, but by then we have constructed in our own minds the image of the perfect partner, so we cling to that and explain all the cracks in the mask–all the weird comments, stunning revelations and inappropriate remarks–away. By the end, however, the explanations themselves can’t hold the construct of “real love” or “wonderful partner” together anymore and everything shatters. This turns out to be a very emotionally shattering experience for the victim because she or he invested so much into this false idol, this fantasy, this perfect partner who is in reality evil. Claudia

  98. Claudia; you said in a prior response once” because without the facade, there can be no psychopathic bond”

    I am so glad you made this statement because it has clearly given me reason to believe the psychopathic bond I had with him for so long is broken. This may would account for why in the last 6 months or so his interaction with me was almost the extreme opposite of what he was like prior to that. He still displayed a certain era of charm and acting for me but he KNEW I no longer had ANY hope or belief in what he once promised me. Once their mask is off its almost like the saying, OK THE GLOVES ARE OFF NOW BABY this is who and what I am if you like it great, if you dont I could care less. I played the boomerang game with him for the past year or so (mostly through phone contact) Here is one for your books, I once asked him, “what ever happened to the Zorro I used to know? (we will call him Zorro) and he said, “I am still here” That was probably true that masked man was still there but just not for me. When he worse his mask for me he was that man that once comforted me through both my parents deaths within three months, the man who held my hand, offered support, confessed his love and admiration of me, offered a life with him …. when the mask came off I was offered this: I cant wait to see you I am going to rough you up a bit, throw you on the bed slap you around and stick my you know what in your mouth and force you and rape you and bla bla bla I wont go any further than that because we all can see his sick control and sadistic nature quite clearly…… This was the man unmasked – a real gem eh? What I dont get to this day is he KNEW I did not want that, he is the one that wants THAT. Oh he tried to slowly introduce me to all these sadistic sexual acts his explanation was, “whats wrong with little play acting and spicing it up a bit” ?? I am no prude but this was not some fantasy play acting for him, this is what HE WANTS and DESIRES, he likes to inflict emotional pain as well as physical pain on others and watch them suffer. I remember well when we showered once together the water was scalding hot and he took the shower head and aimed it at my private part, I screamed because it was so hot and then he LAUGHED, and said, it wasnt that hot you big baby, yes it was and he knew it was I slapped him on the arm and said you did that on purpose to hurt me, he said something like, I didnt realize it was that hot sorry. ya right. He would pull my hair and say, Tell me you love me, sadistic things like that causing me pain untuil I told him I loved him.

    Why do they set up their own failing of their relationships? Is it because they dont want to wear that mask anymore or because of their hidden agendas and plans they have for each of their targets and if their targets cant deliver they try elsewhere to get their sick needs met? A relationship with a psychopath is doomed to fail from day one and it seems they set the stage for this THEY cause the relationship to fail – they manipulate, brainwash conquer and divide their victims for as long as they can or until their target breaks down and can no longer tolerate the treatment he gives them and as you said they have so many others they are fooling so they can let some targets come and go, and recycle them maybe a few years later after they have gotten stronger. They recycle old targets when current targets get too damaged. I understand the concept of boomerangs now – that boomerang will hit you in the head as if to say, hey remember me how about playing another round, did you miss me baby? No wonder mine still will call to try and get me back in his game I have been removed from his life for a year now, I better duck when I see a boomerang headed my direction Linda

  99. Linda, what you describe: the sadism of a psychopath without his mask, is a pretty much universal characteristic of psychopaths and their behavior after the idealization phase. The psychopath I was involved with told me towards the end something to the effect: up to now we played by your rules (ie, equality, romance, everything I wanted), when we move in together we’ll play by my rules (which, I found out, where hierarchy in his favor, isolation for me, double standards in his favor, where he’d do whatever he wanted while imposing upon me his will, his rules, his prohibitions). They do show us glimmers of these double standards and this sadism, but it seems to be directed towards OTHERS: they sometimes boast of how they mistreated other women, or speak of other women, including their wives, in misogynistic and condescending terms. This is why empathy for others is key: because when you hear a man speak so badly of other women or boast about mistreating others, it’s a huge red flag that indicates how they’ll eventually perceive and treat you. Nobody for a psychopath will be the exception that proves the rule; everyone will eventually be devalued and mistreated by him after the honeymoon phase ends. Claudia

  100. Michael,
    That description is spot on. I’ve been going back and forth.. is she isn’t she. Well she is. I was caught in a wait and see mentality for awhile, the old well maybe its a phase and she’ll grow out of it. This of course after I started peeling back the mask. Then the rest was peeled back for me by her own doing. I wonder since Cluster B’s believe there own lies and are so caught up in them that if you question them they panic and unravel and figure the only way out is to destroy the questioner. and pretend or act as if your relationship never happened. That is one characteristic of my ex I seen before she was exposed. She had this amazing ability to pretend as if something didn’t happen. It always floored me. I would sometimes be embarrassed for her. This is a great site and is explaining a lot to help me wake up from a terrible nightmare.

  101. Gary,

    You bring up a very important insight. I’ve long since voiced the same observance, but find it interesting because it seems almost every single psychopath partner has noticed this too: like NOTHING EVER HAPPENED! SO true! Mine and I would have an argument, then hours, a day later, act as if NOTHING happened at all! As time has gone on since my NC I got to thinking about this particularly odd behavior. What I noticed about it, was that it was across the board with regards to his personality. Even if he was “happy” it lasted for a couple of hours or a day. Then it was gone. same thing with sex. As if it never happened, just expected…weirdest thing…

  102. Michael, Gary and Claudia, I remember so well how generous, giving, helpfully supportive, caring, good listener, calm soothing voiced and available he was in the beginning. Then over time all those positive traits completely disappeared. His actions and words didn’t equal what happened or was said. When I started suspecting something was really seriously wrong, I gave him the benefit of doubt, because he was under alot of stress. When I questioned his more frequent lies he developed amnesia and would swear up and down that he never said or did it.

    I have read that they get worse as they get older, is it because their access to available supply is becoming smaller?

    So now, I know that I lost a friend and I can’t save his life nor did I try (just help) or anyones elses but mine.

  103. Donna, Gary, Michael, Linda and Kelli (and everyone else following this thread), we all had similar experiences. The honeymoon period with a psychopathic partner varies for everyone, but the mirage and awakening to the sad reality of the fraud is very similar. I think the period of deceit (the mask) differs because psychopaths enjoy the chase more than the capture. They keep on the mask for as long as the chase gives them a rush, excitement, but aren’t capable of making that effort, not even the effort to deceive, if they don’t perceive something in it for them. As the psychopath I was with said to me: What’s my incentive? (to defend a number of big lies he had told me before, that became exposed at the end) The more the mask of lies and manipulation cracks, the less effort the psychopath puts into fooling that particular victim. Psychopaths prefer cooperating victims, who support their fake image of a nice, kind and reliable person. Those who start seeing through their masks are no longer worth the effort to seduce and dupe. Claudia

  104. Keli, Donna, It is amazing how blind we can become when we are sucked in to the “fantasy” because that’s what they play on and how they reel us in. Keli I believe you are correct in saying that it is the personality across the board. I remember being devalued then ten minuets later asked for a favor like nothing ever happened. I would be told I promised something or said something that wasn’t true. I would know for a fact I did not but she truly believed I did and would attack me for it. I don’t know if this is weird or not but I’m becoming fascinated by the mind of a psychopath. It is actually helping in my recovery. I guess I don’t look at her like a person. I see her as an empty facade that I tried to fill and help. it turned out the empty was solid and made of stone. I still have faith that there are more caring and passionate people than there are painted statues in the world. They may have beaten us but they haven’t defeated us. take care

  105. Claudia, my perspective is I am glad that I am no longer worthy of his false fake image of nice….”He is a cold hard stone” with no human emotional feelings. I can’t even imagain what his funeral will look like, all the women crying or cheering… But, for me it remindes me of the “Sammy Davis Jr.” song, “What kind of Fool I am”, it’s on Youtube.com. Duped but not Destroyed. Donna

  106. Donna, not only that, but you weren’t duped forever. You woke up and saw him for what he is quite lucidly. But I second your sentiment about wishing you hadn’t been “worthy” of being duped. Being chosen by a psychopath is not one of our life accomplishments or distinctions, but it is one of our life lessons. Claudia

  107. Claudia, Gary, Kelli, and all; this is an interesting and revealing thread. I wonder if much of what we have experienced reflects the emotional maturity of a cluster B. They can switch mood and affect so easily and effortlessly. Again when I reflect back there was never any real sharing of emotional intimacy; she was never emotionally spontaneous or expressed little moments of warmth and sensitivity. Her feelings seemed monochrome, lacking in depth, and could emotionally jaunt around- but these different emotional “positions” were fractured; when she was in one mood / state, she had no awareness of being in the other different mood / state. It was as though her emotional states could not communictae with each other if that makes sense. Always fleeting, transient, and unstable. Once the seduction came to an end; It did begin to unravel and soon I never really knew how she felt about me (regardless of what she said).
    When it all falls away in the end and they know your on to them; that is when the mask comes into sharp focus; their insight, their caring, their love, their honesty, in fact everything they have pretended to be they are not. It is such a sharp and dichotomised contrast. They lack complexity- childlike and undercooked; but well hidden. In the end when you challenge them; they try desperately to shield themselves behind their mask of perfection- deflection, projection, transference, rationalisation, and a weird kind of switch into them talking about the relationship in a third person kind of way as though the relationship has little to do with them. Your right Claudia; once they have lost interest and not getting what they want from you, they stop trying to even lie convincingly- it becomes an alomost childlike game of “if it wasnt you, then howcome your hand is still in the cookie jar and your face is somthered in chocolate”? they stop pretending to care either.

  108. Michael, thanks, as always, for your valuable insights. I wonder if bpd’s and psychopaths don’t differ, however, in their mood oscillations during the idealization phase. The psychopath I was with for a year and a few months didn’t oscillate wildly in mood. He was consistently romantic, sensual, etc, until he thought he had me under his control after about a year. He did push the envelope, but his requests were always couched in terms of our best interest “do it for us” or in romantic terms. Once he thought I was “his,” however, what I saw was apathy, more overt expressions of domination rather than romantically phrased requests (“we’re playing by MY rules now”) and the lies and contradictions seeping out of him, uncontrollably, once he made no more efforts to keep them under the mask. Then he’d do what you describe: go from irritation that I was challenging him one second, to vehement denials, to saying I did the same thing too (hence an admission of sorts), to accusing me of paranoia (hence another denial of sorts), to saying all human beings lie and cheat the way he does, to boasting about his psychopathic traits by saying that if he cheats, lies and manipulates more and better it’s because he’s more “Machiavellian” than the rest of us. At that point, after the psychopath’s mask started crumbling, his behavior and mood changes resembled very closely the symptoms of bpd. But not before that point, when part of his mask of sanity was to seem very calm, cool, stable and deeply in love. Claudia

  109. Michael, Claudia, I have to say at this point you take the words out of my mouth. I have so much going through my head that I am having a hard time organising and putting to words. I read some of the posts on this thread and find myself saying yes, yes, yes. Right now I am living the “Hindsight is 20/20” saying. I believe life is lived in stages. You have childhood, adolescent, adulthood and the golden years. With my ex I was involved in what I would call the transition between adolescent and adulthood. I lived the lie for 16 years. My ex was stuck and could not make the transition. She is stuck in the childhood and adolescent stage. When I started to push her to transition to adulthood, that’s when things started to crumble and the mask started to come off. I started to notice she was beginning to obtain a new Younger “friend” base. People that were in the later part of the adolescent stage.She dropped most of her “adult” friends. Has anyone else noticed that pattern. Michael I really like your “sharing of emotional intimacy'” statement. That rings so true.

  110. Gary, psychopaths prefer to hang out with younger people because they can exercise their dominance bonds better on them. They become like cult/ring leaders for them, especially if they’re in a position of power with respect to these followers (like a teacher, counselor, professor, preacher, etc). But you will also notice that a psychopath’s same age or older buddies are usually corrupt as well (cheaters and liars, who will cover for him and back up his lies to his spouse or girlfriend). Psychopaths surround themselves with people they can use (to manipulate and deceive others) and dominate. Generally, they have no real long-lasting friends because they aren’t capable of loyalty and friendship. The friends they do have, they eventually alienate with their snake-like behavior. Claudia

  111. Claudia, Gary- My ex too at the earlier stages of the realtionship appeared calm, cool, stable and collected; and most definitely into me. The word love moved in and out of her vocabulary throughout those 5 years. She was sensual but always within the context of sex.
    I think it is worth noting that when it comes to the medical model this represents the medicalisation of personality (disorder). Like all branches of medicine it classifies and catergorises these disorders- with cluster B as you know they are NPD, BPD, ASPD, HPD. However are these misnomers? The research cited by Brown re a high psychopathy value is to be found in cluser b I believe is valid. When you look at the criteria for each they are very similar and are variations on a theme- and psychopathy comprises of traits across the “B” spectrum. With BPD for example we see “an intense fear of abandonment and also at the same time a paradoxical fear of engulfment”- However it certainly isn’t a fear of being abandoned by a person they love- this just does not hold true as our experience informs us. I think what we see is more like this-
    A need for stimulation, excitement, a hatred of being alone, a need for a narcissistic source, a mirror to push against, a need to fill the emptiness within, a need for control over relationships, promiscuity, easily bored and feeling “dead inside”. On the other hand-
    They grow bored with you, zero attention span, feel suffocated and controlled if you get too close, they want us just where they need us (we’re objectified), they want a pick and mix (a kid in a candy store).
    These people eventually reveal themselves as the little Brats they are; but, again, early on this is well-masked.
    Does this hold true for any of yous?- Did their mood, attitude, position, explanation, beliefs, feelings all shift depending on how pumped up and inflated they were depending on how much supply theyve had that day or whatever.
    Did you feel at anypoint towards the end that if you put up, and shut up and just go along with their script you would still be an appendage for them to this day?
    I think psychopathy looks very much like this-
    Fleeting, thin, superficial emotions that are about toe deep.
    A limited spectrum of emotions that lacks nuance, texture, depth, and complexity- in other words toddler like.
    A lack of an emotional constitution = no cradle for experience= no learning / growing (spiritual or emotional)= no conscience or remorse= no emotional memory.
    They are narcissitically trapped in their own heads = no empathy.
    They lie at the drop of a hat.
    They at times can not tell the difference between what is happening inside their heads and whats happening outside their heads- e.g. confuse thoughts for facts; again little children do this.
    Impulse control problems – childlike!
    Anger problems- childlike!
    History you shared with them has no currency- as though what ever position they take is not informed by anything that has happened previously. This means they can walk away from you if you no longer fulfill their self serving needs as easily as if you met them yesterday.
    They compare you with their ex- my ex told me I wasnt tall enough, and Jon her ex was 6’3- I’m 6 ft (3 years in!).
    They compare you with their new partner- my ex told me – “this will do your ego good but hes crap in bed compared to you”!!!!!!!!!
    If you have a fall out they cut you off no matter what is happening in your life they wont give a monkeys!

  112. “I still have faith that there are more caring and passionate people than there are painted statues in the world.’

    Gary, yes indeed there ARE good and caring people in this world;this blog has many of them right here. I have spoken to several men that have had the misfortune of this experience (more women than men though, this disorder is more predominant in men than women) Who ever said a woman cant rape a man, they may not have the strength in the physical sense to do this but women who have this disorder can rape and violate a mans entire life. While I would never ever wish for this encounter to happen to ANYONE it is still refreshing to know by your example that there are men who deeply care and have the capacity just as you do and I do to genuinely love, men who have morals, men that are loyal and honest. It felt strange to type your name for Gary was my x psychopath and yet here I am reaching out to someone with the same name who was a target and victim and suffered as I did. Its just a name, its also ironic that Gary was my first love that broke my heart (young puppy love) and then a second Gary entered my life the psychopath) I can only conclude this is the LAST man who will ever break my heart. Maybe I am just unlucky when it comes to men whose name is Gary, ha ha ha but no reflection on you of course its just a name. It is strange though Gary was the first man that broke my heart and now at age 50 the last man. Maybe I need to meet a “Chuck” ha ha ha

    Furthermore, I dont believe they have beaten us, as much as I realize I was conned and taken for a ride by this disordered person in the end I came out the winner, I was always the winner during the entire sick relationship. Psychopaths always choose the easy path in life which would include being immoral, dishonest, unfaithful, undermining, and always plotting and calculating their wrong and evil intentions upon others. How can someone of this nature possibly beat or win? We are the true hero’s, its much harder to be a hero than to fall to the way side of choosing temporary and shallow gratifications, which really doesnt sustain them in the end anyway; with all their charming and acting skills and so called brains wonder why they fail to recognize that? Anyway just my 2 cents, we were never beaten we were always the true hero’s in this sick game. Linda

  113. Michael, yes, the commonalities are much more striking among Cluster B personality disorders than their differences. The lack of empathy and shallow emotions leads to very common attitudes and behavior in these personality disordered individuals.
    And it’s also true that their attachments are very shallow and thus human beings are interchangeable. They don’t fear abandonment because they fear being left by someone they love. As you rightly state, they fear being bored and without someone to dominate. I’ve read some people asking why don’t these shallow predators just stick to one night stands, since they don’t want commitment and attachment and are incapable of love. The answer is because one night stands don’t satisfy their need for dominance. You can’t truly dominate someone you have only fleeting contact with, someone who is not “yours” heart and soul. That’s why aside from dozens, hundreds, in some cases of extreme sexual addiction, thousands of sexual liaisons, psychopaths usually also triangulate between two main parters: a wife and a mistress, but their identity changes, when one or both catch on to the disordered personality and behavior of the psychopath or when the psychopath gets bored with them and doesn’t want to keep the mask on with them anymore. Everyone is interchangeable and disposable to a disordered individual; however, he or she must always have dominance bonds with a few individuals they can control, mind, body and soul. Claudia

  114. Claudia absolutley partners are simply interchangeable. I view their dominance as not so much about physical dominance- i.e. manipulating and controlling someone through threat of violence; many people make this connection with dominance with Brute force. As we know the vast majority of cluster B’s never lift a finger against their partners / spouse. The dominance you describe is a need for control- to be emotionally on top of, to manipulate, to be “right” (and never wrong)…..achieved by lying, gaslighting, dosing, carrot dangling, belittling, undermining, making promises that are always empty words “from an overcoat pocket” as Hare aptly put it.
    There is too much of an association between physical aggression and psychopathy- which is why when the ill-informed think of a psychopath they think of Manson, Bundy etc.
    Psychopathy needs to be associated not with an axe wielder; but with a hole in the soul.

  115. The objective is to wring every bit of emotional juice they can from you- to see how far they can push you and get away with. I believe they get a kick out of this. Once they have bled you dry, and they become bored, and they have seduced someone else to fulfill your role- you’re discarded like a used hankey.

  116. Michael, thanks for underscoring that the cases of psychopaths in the media, which are the most flagrant, are not necessarily the only dangerous ones. Psychopaths who don’t get caught for horrific, violent crimes still aim to use and destroy their targets, emotionally and psychologically (and often financially too).

    Also, what you state about the push-pull of psychopathic and other social predators is so true, and part and parcel of their need for dominance and control over others. The push-pull (stay under my thumb but don’t get too close, don’t suffocate me) is not at all contradictory. It’s part of the double standards of the psychopath and keeping people at his or her disposal. The pull part indicates: organize your life around me and my needs; idolize me. Psychopaths want their main dominance bonds to revolve strictly around them. They don’t want them to have any autonomy, other close relationships or a life of their own.

    But the push (away) indicates: don’t monitor me, don’t tell me what to do, I retain the right to behave however I please and do whatever I want with whomever I want. As the psychopath I was with told me in no uncertain terms at the end, when he thought I’d be moving in with him: “I decide from now on.” There’s no worse fate that I can imagine than living with a psychopath and abiding by such double standards. The push-pull of the toxic relationship is therefore NO contradiction, but an essential manifestation of a psychopath’s double standards. I’m going to do the next blog post on this very subject, since it comes up often in our discussions. Claudia

  117. Claudia,

    I’ve had a bit of a setback that I’ll share here for feedback. I had “contact” (indirect) with someone who knows my ex and said he is marrying. I knew he was on a dating website, so I created a profile only to find that he has taken himself off of it. I then wrote him a note wishing him well………….ughhhhhhhhhhh….I know I should not have done this, but I guess in some way, i didn’t want to guess about what I already knew. She is young, beautiful and has money. I’m very devastated by all of this. this to me, particularly getting off of his dating site, that he’s capable of being faithful. I’m told he’s not on the computer much anymore because he is twenty four seven with his new fiance/wife, and that rings true. I never had proof that there were many women that he had going on. I think he prefers to dominate one, even though triangulations are something he enjoyed because I was the OW for many years during his second marriage. We dated briefly after his divorce, but I found out he was dating other women and he was increasingly abusive and demanding of my time. I wasn’t “love bombed” the way his dates were. I was old news. I found out he lied to one of his potential targets and discussed this with her, but she, I think remains friends with him. We don’t speak. I found out many, many lies once the relationship was over. One of the things that I keep thinking about over and over now, was during the relationship, I would encourage him to go back and work his marriage and he would tell me “No, too much work”. When he divorced and I wanted more to be with him, this also became “too much work”, but apparently it’s not with the new one. Not only am I in a lot of pain with this news, but I second guess what he was. I saw him pass by me yesterday in his car. He looked very happy. He was in therapy when the relationship ended. I think this must have been mandatory, either through his job or in his divorce. He used to tell me that this guy was “an idiot”. I wonder if it’s possible that i was wrong about him. That he could change if he found the ‘right” woman. I’m beginning to feel that my perceptions were off and that the abuse was just geared towards me. While he complained much about his wife during the marriage, he also created fear in that “he should go work it out”. It was so up and down, I lived in constant fear of the loss of the relationship, and towards the end, I didn’t feel I cared anymore. As you can see, I feel confused and deeply wounded. Kelli

  118. Kelli, I think a lot of victims of psychopaths who find themselves in the devalue and discard phase while another woman (or women) are in the idealization phase experience exactly the feelings you’re describing. They feel inadequate and wonder why they weren’t worthy of being idealized by the psychopath anymore. But really, the post I wrote about “Relationship Boomerang: The Psychopath’s Relationship Cycle” should address your feelings. A tiger doesn’t change his stripes. A psychopath can’t love anyone in any meaningful sense.

    He will not be caring and loyal to this new wife or to any partner because he’s constitutionally incapable of it. It doesn’t matter how worthy she may be of his love, just like it didn’t matter how worthy you were of his love. You can grow longer hair but you can’t grow the capacity for deeper emotions and attachments when you lack this capacity. You are noticing the idealization phase with the new wife. Since you still feel some attachment to your ex, you feel hurt and jealous and wonder why you’re not being treated this way anymore. She won’t be treated well either, unfortunately for her. She is just another main dominance bond in an interchangeable series. She is just another victim. She may adapt to her victimization because of her own psychological issues or she may be strong and healthy enough to escape it once she catches on to it. The only thing I can say for sure is that psychopaths mistreat every target. So if anything, you should feel bad for her that she selected such a bad partner. But I understand why you feel hurt by this news, so I hope that you will find support on this forum to help you through your feelings. Claudia

  119. Claudia- very interesting comments re push-pull dynamics. They are more of an expression of double standards rather than push me – pull you. I think my understanding of the way in which they are contradictory is that what they “say, do, value, profess to be, feel, and believe”- as the end comes and you’re behind the false persona, what you see is the dichotomised opposite of what they “said, did, valued, professed, felt, and believed”. a complete and utter 180 degrees flip of the script.
    Kelli I will find a previous post that may help you find comfort.

  120. Kelli, my earlier post- I think it is relevent to you- it is to us all.-
    Tricia, It is perfectly natural to wonder if his new woman will have a more succesful, loving relationship than the one you had. Will he or she elevate the new partner to the same ranks of specialness that was assigned to you? Will he or she have the magic key to unlock the cluster B’s heart; maybe you are thinking perhaps it was partly about me and our dynamic that made for an unsuccesful relationship; maybe their new partner will receive the love I didnt? All of these doubts and more will sweep through your mind. This is because cluster B pathology is an extremely difficult and slippery concept for us to wrap our heads around.
    We can recall too easily their periods of normalcy; when they were pleasant, funny, good company, curious about us; telling us we have a sexual connection; they dont want to lose us from our lives etc. But reflect carefully and hold onto this thought- was their any true emotional intimacy? Was there a contradiction beteen what he / she said and what they actually did?
    Their mask slips gradually, a little at a time. Towards the end you realise that the person they presented themselves to be is the dichotomised opposite of who they actually are which is-
    Unbelievably shallow
    Emotionally no older than 5 years
    Lacking in empathy, warmth, sensitivity
    Pathological lying
    Lacking in compassion (incapable of emotionally recognising your pain)
    superficial and shallow
    no real emotional inner life
    psychically unstable

    The list goes on. The truth is Tricia their true inner selves (or lack of it) is here to stay. The exact same dynamics will eventually be brought to bare in their new relationship. They will not suddenly have a eureka moment and wake up with a new personality and the capacity to feel love. The interactions will be different; but that is all. It is simply a matter of time; they inevitably grow bored and discard. I repeat- these people cannot lovingly bond with another- they can say the word, but cannot feel it. In the end you are left with a profound sense of a lack of closure as they shut you out for the final time- as far as their concerned your feelings have nothing to do with them- they never did.

  121. Claudia,

    Thank you for your thoughtful words. I’m not sure if jealousy is what I feel, more than just confused as to what i perceived to be true and then believing that what I experienced perhaps wasn’t what I perceived to be truth. That I was the only one treated poorly, while he showed he could treat other women he was idealizing soooo much better. I think naturally, this would and does, cause me to question my worthiness. It is very painful to me. I wanted this relationship to be over when it was. As a normal thinking, feeling person, I want him to be happy, but if I flip that coin to what I THOUGHT he was, a psychopath, I wouldn’t feel that way. I think, from observing others who have come to terms with the reality that their ex’s were psychopaths, there is peace in knowing that they treat everyone this way. I was so compartmentalized, I’m not sure anymore about what he was. He always suggested he could be faithful with the right woman. Never directly stated it, but it was threatened in so many subtle ways. Kelli

  122. Claudia,

    In my relationship, it was constantly push-pull. But he would accuse me of doing just that. It was a constant. It didn’t matter what I tried to do to work it out or become emotionally closer, he would sabotage, and I’d be left thoroughly confused, thinking this or that is what he wanted, only to find it was not, it was at these points that he would tell me I was push/pulling.

    It was he, I think…

  123. Michael,

    Thank you for posting that again…

  124. Claudia, I think you have touched upon something important; There is something strangely encrypted about a cluster B that brings forth an almost if not complete, Witgensteinian frustration with language. they have double standards, but they are contradictory; but in a sense they are not because they do not see them as such; there is something incomprehensible and strangely nebulous about the narrcissitic psyche.

    I remember my ex saying to me in 2008 – “I’m really looking forward to our wonderful future together; but I carnt work on a future time line; only the present one”!

    Cluster B’s are actually very funny sometimes; without meaning to be of course. I rememer writing her a 5 page letter spilling my heart and soul to her. I asked her what her thoughts were about what I had written- her response was- “it was a bit long”!! Lol

  125. Kelli, that is a manifestation of the power play typical of a psychopath. He will do this to the new target once she’s under his control and he has a firm hold on her. And by the way, when psychopaths spend all of their time with one of their targets it’s a very BAD sign. It means that they’re grooming those people, they’re controlling them. A healthy person has a well-rounded life and doesn’t monitor anybody constantly. Drew Peterson, on the other hand, spent a lot of time with his wives and monitored each of them constantly, even stalking them at work, when he was married to them. Whatever appears flattering and loving in the psychopathic bond is usually just another red flag of the disorder.

    The excessive flattery and idealization, as you know, are the hooks or lure used by psychopaths. And the round-the-clock monitoring is a form of exercising control over their newest targets. The psychopath I was with once told me, when he was in the luring phase with me constantly on the phone together, that he focuses on “one woman at a time”. This didn’t mean fidelity, of course. It meant that his energies are focused on fooling, grooming and dominating one main target at a time, while also seeing many other women for sex. Everything you’ve stated so far about the psychopath’s new relationship spells out everything I’ve written in the article about “Red Flags: How to Recognize the Psychopathic Bond”. Claudia

  126. Kelli, what you describe is the mass confusion that comes as part of the terrain. You will notice that as time progresses, you will gain more clarity. seperation and distance and no contact opens up the opportunity to gain perspective. When you are interfaced and up close with a cluster B and believe to be in a loving relationship- you simply cannot see the wood from the trees. This is the real value of no contact.
    You describe the sensation and confusion of – what was truth and what wasnt- a wise and experienced friend of mine who survived a relationship with a narcissist (psychopath) once said- “by the time they have finished with you; you wont know who you are, from whenst you came, and where you are going”.
    The other clue comes in the shape of your not knowing where you stood in the relationship – “i lived in constant fear of the loss of the relationship”- this is the emotional control and manipulation of the cluster B’s dominance at play here- it works a treat doest it? They have a natural and uncanny knack to keep you off balance- all the better to control you with.
    Kelli there is not a person on this earth that would ever please him in the long term, that he can bond with and love, be truly intimate with etc. If he is cluster B then forgive my being candid but he is in fact fucked! Relationally speaking- and without (real) relationships what do we have? But allow yourself to feel your pain (as gut wrenching as it is)- it is all part of the process- Trust me it will bring good things.

  127. Michael,

    Prior to my indirect contact yesterday and subsequent note to him afterwards, i’d not had contact for eight months. He had tried to contact me several times, the last on mother’s day. This is a set back for me. calling into question the things he told me insofar as being faithful to a woman. the right woman. But there are so many, many things, as described in this thread that describe him to a “T”. I will process this as I have been doing, but this one is a true blow to me. It is very painful. I know this too shall pass, but blogging about it helps. This is such an insightful site. All of you have brought to the table, so many interesting and common reflections of experience. I’m so grateful. As I’ve gone up the thread, I’ve realized I’ve missed many more posts that I need to go back and read and wish to respond too. It validates my own experience on so many levels, but there is still this piece of denial within that needs to be exorcised. And with this new news, the good things that I thought were true or real, are becoming a bit more blurred by the reality of what it really was.

    Also, mentioned up the thread here (I’m sorry, I think Linda), about the men who are blogging here, Gary and Michael. I’m most encouraged by your posts. Not only do I see striking similarities with regards to our psychopaths behaviors, but also seeing the gentleness and intelligence of men who have been through this and have the capacity to learn and grow through the experience as well. It is heartening to me. I’m not one who hates the male human race even though I come from a long line of pathological men (and women) in my family history. I do believe there are good men that inhabit our world and the two of you are living proof of that. thanks for being here and being so helpful. All of you really. This is a great blog Claudia, with much intelligence and intimacy of heart in sharing. Kelli

  128. Linda, In response to you comment on an earlier post. I can see where a name can bring up bad memories. Even though it is a just a name there is still an association to the name. That is why advertising is so powerful. They use imaging and associations to words or names of products or services to make you feel good or desire their product/service.. Therefore a name can be associated with good or bad depending how that name/word/product/service has effected you. Gary is a name that has effected you in a bad way and has placed a bad image in your mind associated with that name. I think it is normal to feel that way. In a sense kind of a defencive mechanism. Thank you for sharing and your support and yes we are Herons.

  129. Linda/Gary,

    I find the name quite triggering. Michael’s ex new man has the exact same name and spelling as my ex man. Words, sights, smells, even names can be triggering. I don’t take any of that personally and I’m sure that all of us here are aware enough, just as Linda said, that while triggering it isn’t personal. 🙂

  130. I second Kelli’s comment about appreciating the fact we have valuable input by men on this website as well as by women! They’re welcome contributions not only because of how helpful the comments are, but also because in my articles I generally use the pronoun “he” to describe the psychopath. As mentioned before, I do so both because of the statistical preponderance of male psychopaths and because my own very negative experience has been with a male psychopath. However, I’m glad to have input about the behavior of female psychopaths and other Cluster B personality disorders, to offer readers a more complete picture of this pathology and how it affects both male and female victims. Claudia

  131. Kelli, Thank you for your kind words. I am sorry you are going through the pain and confusion of a psychopath. I know the feeling. In my experience early on I beat myself up. My self esteem took a big hit. I would ask myself what if I would have done this or that? would this still have happened? Well I am starting to learn that no there is nothing I could have done. I am still learning. I am so happy I have found this site. I have bad days and good day’s, generally the bad days are when there is contact. It doesn’t have to be by sight or vocal. One thing my ex loves is texting. That is how she communicates now. I believe she likes it so much because there is no emotion in texting. It’s amazing I would send her a heart felt text and what I would receive in response was just sometimes down right bizarre. It was a bit frustrating when I first started researching what I am going through. Given the fact that there are more male psychopaths than female, everywhere I looked it was all about males. I was like, hey what about me I know a female psychopath. I hope you can recover from your setback quickly. I know I will keep visiting this site for support and the healing effect it provides. I wish I had more time I have so much to say.

  132. Gary,

    thank you. I appreciate your kind words. I understand what you mean about texting. My ex texted, IM’d and emailed. Towards the end, mainly IM. Nothing much more, although he still called when he was in his demanding phase of wanting to see me. It is unemotional. Only towards the end, did I get bizzaro stuff on my texts from him. I don’t have that kind of contact with him anymore and if I did, I’d be right back to square one, I think….is there any way you could go completely no contact?

    If it’s any help to you, female psychopaths strike me the same as males in tactics, even right down to verbal statements. It is amazing how very common and alike they are. I realize it is frustrating for you not to find a wealth of information about female psychopaths, but given yours and michael’s accounts here of your ex’s, it is so similar I questioned whether or not it was really female at first! that’s how close they resemble one another. It would be interesting to see brain scans of female psychopaths to see if the same areas of the brain are affected with speech patterns and behavior fragmentation. Researching about the psychopath has been equally as frustrating for me, but not so much about what the psychopath does, but how easily so many are fooled and that so many men/women, stay in those relationships. I know I did, and in thinking about it, with all I saw that I KNEW was so abnormal and abusive, I question why, so that’s when I started researching and reading about trauma bonds. Very interesting and enlightening stuff. I feel sorry for the victims of psychopaths, male and/or female. It is truly life devastating and life altering/changing. I hope that you can go no contact completely soon Gary. It’s really hard to do at first, and there are ups and downs, but what I’m seeing is that there is some peace in your life, without all the drama, providing you do’nt have more of them to deal with in your life. It is chaos and mindnumbing. Kelli

  133. Michael,

    I just read this response from you again. I keep reading and re-reading this thread. I have found so much comraderie and enlightenment within. I think being with this man, brought out any malignant narcissistic traits I had. I think that while also appealing to the healthy narcissism that each of us “normies” possess, it turns into an ugly negative when the idealization phase is over. The psychopath becomes all consuming and my malignant narcissism kicked in. Neglectful of my children emotionally, my friends, my family he consumed me. I became belligerent, hostile, short tempered, alcoholic (he was severely so and introduced me to it from the beginning), selfish, competitive towards his wife, depressed, anxious, neurotic…i would literally scream at him for hours and send him hundreds of texts per episode. What I see now, is that all of this was purposefully provoked. I recall him telling me that his wife use to scream at him for all hours of the night while he laid there in his bed in his bedroom, being the victim. He started it. All of it. She was nearly suicidal, Michael. He was ALWAYS calm and if I was calm, he would erupt into little fits of rage to which I could not understand and I would sit there in silence and not respond. It was like an out of body experience. I lost myself being so merged with him, however, i defended him to the end, believed all his bullshit about his wife, angered at her, with a fiery jealousy for how she was “treating my man”…wow..and all of that based on lies….and you know what? He enjoyed every blistering second of it. My reaction and hers. Every single second of it. There were several clues that he treated her as he treated me, by the things he said…they were meant as projections onto HER behavior, but were glaringly his own, so i would ask questions like “Why would she scream at you like that though?” “why would she cut up a brand new shirt she bought you for your birthday?” When she asked for a divorce, she wanted it done as quickly as possible. She took him out to a restaurant and told him how much she hated him, that he spent all those years being mean to her…he said, “She went way back…way back”…but what he didn’t realize is that I was paying attention to this…not defending him, because he was playing the victim but understanding that this is exactly how he treated her and then my reactions started to make sense…..getting out of the relationship was a year and a half endeavor and emotionally exhausting. When it was over, I fell apart. I now see that it was the healthy sides of myself, fighting to rid myself of the malignancy that was my own narcissism in the relationship. If that makes sense. When it was over and to this day, I still take on all the guilt and shame of my own behavior, the circumstances as well as his devaluation of me. In the end, it was all my fault, including his hospitalization for pancreatitis a few years before LOL! I caused him so much stress. Unbelievable…but so painful. There were a couple of times during the relationship where I wanted to bail. I’ll never forget when he sent me an email and I deliberated about opening it. I wish to God I had not now. I was ready then to give it up. Resolute. damn me. It was another six years before it would be over after that.

  134. Claudia, Reading through these posts, I really don’t see a staggering difference between male or female psychopaths. I would say almost identical. when I read something now I find it very easy to interchange she for he. I believe victims male or female were just looking for that companion to share their life. The psychopath comes along and can sense the good in you and sucks you in, all along dangling a carrot. Doing just enough to keep you chasing the reward. I think in my case I hung on so long (16yrs) because I didn’t want the “dream” to end, the carrot was right there, just out of my grasp. I was blinded by the mask. I made excuses for her, telling myself she’d grow out of it and I’d get the carrot. She was very good at pushing me very close to my limit. She knew exactly where it was. She would know I was close then back off and be the “perfect” wife.moving the carrot ever closer. There was always an excuse that had nothing to do with her or an empty sorry followed by an even more empty I love you. She was not a true wife. I started noticing all my/our friends were settling down and being families doing family things. I started to question her. The beginning of the end. That was when I really started to see behind the mask. Looking back I did see behind the mask several times but ignored it. That was when I was finding excuses for her because that damn carrot was right there. From there on out you could pretty much read any post on here and you know what happened. I was a strong man with dreams and goals. plenty of confidence, happy go lucky. Now I have been broken down. Kelli brought up something in an earlier post that I’ve noticed about myself. I’ve become consumed with what my ex has done to me. I am not myself in front of my kids. my thoughts are constantly revolving around what happened. I’m irritable I’m angry. If they are done with us why don’t they leave us alone. Is it still part of their game. Do they want to keep us on the edge, just in case for some twisted reason they may feel they need us again. These are some sick and twisted people and there is no way we can hurt them emotionally like they have hurt us. Don’t know if this is right or not but I have tried to emotionally degrade her as she did me and all I ended up with was frustration. I am trying to have as little contact as possible. We do have one son together and I raised her son from another marriage. that’s another story. Take care everyone and let the healing continue.

  135. Gary, this makes a lot of sense. I’m glad to hear eventually you did break up with her, even if it took you 16 years to see through her mask. Psychopaths–be they male or female–have so much more in common with each other than with normal human beings who can care about others. The inability to bond emotionally to others and the compulsive need to attach to others only to dupe and dominate them is what makes all psychopaths fundamentally alike. The gender differences are very superficial compared to the fundamental heartlessness that male and female psychopaths have in common. Claudia

  136. Gary, my heart goes out to you for all she has put you through. I do understand because my ex-dil has put my one and only son through the same maddness and he is still in a custody fight for his daughter, their son is 18 so out of the loop after three years. What truly bothers me so much is that the Judicial system keeps siding with the insane, sick Mother? I just don’t get it that there are very good loving Fathers that keep getting screwed because the economy sucks right now; all over the World. Hold on my new friend on this blog. I have to hope and believe that we will hear and see justice…Hugs, Donna

  137. gary,

    I so understand about the carrot dangle. It’s an incredible taunting psychological treat, isn’t it? excuse me, but also the biggest mind fuck you will ever experience. I so get that. You stayed because you cared. I hope you don’t continue to experience self blame or any blame at all upon yourself for her evil deceptiveness. It wasn’t your fault. At all.

    I don’t share any custody or anything else with my ex psychopath boyfriend, but I have six children with my ex psychopath husband. I understand how you feel. I was lucky because he had no interest in the children once he knew I was done. But he didn’t let go without immense power plays first. It was hell. I can’t imagine living that day after day, year after year, in a custody battle or shared custody. I really feel for you. It can really do a number on your ability to move forward. I’m so sorry. I hope you can find healing somehow, despite your situation, just please know it wasn’t’ you and give the best of yourself to your child…I know that’s so hard. HUGS. Kelli

  138. Claudia…your post of 15 July re the box description. That is exactly the metaphor I used when describing my situation to my friends and family. that i felt i was in a huge box with lots of room, but then as I made an opinion, disagreed, was MYSELF, basically did ANYTHING which involved living then the box was made smaller and I eventually was trapped in a box of emotional angst. i think these comments and posts are so helpful and Michael also your descriptions and detailed views just hit the nail on the head.
    My ex HATED me when I left..though he told me to leave..I doubt he thought that I would…I think he thought that I would stay and plead and i wanted to…but I knew if i did then the blance of his power would be shifted ever more against me. They never tell you to leave and mean it. What they are saying is “you will stay here and let me do what I like and that is the end of it.” Each time they want something their way a new contract is to be drawn up…with only you as the one that is to comply with the terms therein. And yours is the only blood that the contract is signed with not theirs!!!

    As I mentioned to Claudia before it was the hate, the contempt..the utter lack of care for your well being and what happened to you when you left, because in their eyes YOU hurt THEM..no thought that I was homeless, had no job. It was and will always remain the worst experience of my whole life. No one and that is NO ONE has ever been so evil. so callous and I never want that experience again as long as I live. Michael and Claudia are right in everything they say. No contact is the only way. Because the longer they leave you alone the better, as you slowly see that they are truly sick individuals who are capable of serious serious damage to all others.
    I think this is a great site and I for one have felt so much stronger since finding it.


  139. Lesley, absolutely, psychopaths don’t want you to leave. When they break up they’re merely placing some of their targets on reserve, to be pining for them and available for when they choose to return. Once again, it’s about ownership and power play. I find your description of a contract also very accurate. As described in Relationship Boomerang, psychopaths engage in a series of breakups and reconciliations with their primary victims. The breakups occur when they get bored and found other more promising targets as well as when one of their targets sets up any boundaries or calls them out on what they’ve done wrong.

    That’s when psychopaths tend to withdraw and focus on other women (or men). Then, once they’re bored with those new victims, they return to their former targets. If those women have missed them and want them back, then they start those former relationship with MORE power than they had before: with a new contract that is even more in their favor and more asymmetrical. So these breakups and reconciliations serve a strategic function, since they are a way for the psychopaths to renegotiate the terms of their relationships in their favor, where they enjoy more privileges and demand more of the partners who can’t live without them. Until it becomes so unfair, so asymmetrical, so abusive that it ends up a kind of psychological prison for those partners. That’s why I use the metaphor of the box getting smaller and smaller for the people who abide by the unfair conditions set up by psychopaths. Claudia

  140. Claudia,

    This is one of the MOST perceptive posts I’ve seen yet! This is EXACTLY how it happened with the triangulation situation, with my ex, his wife and myself. As I was reading this, several memories popped up that play out his cycles. He didn’t “break up” with his wife, but he got BORED, or they had a fight, or he was distant, then he’d start a fight with me, take her on vacations, OMG, this makes so much sense to me! It also makes sense as to why an established triangulation would be the perfect set up for a psychopath! I don’t agree that they all come back, after a time. Many DO eventually slither away. But then there are those who are the opposite end and NEVER go away. Thanks for this Claudia. I appreciate this insight very much! kelli

  141. Kelli, usually whether a psychopath returns to a former victim or not is a matter of calculation, not purely accidental. As the psychopath I was with told me at the beginning of our relationship, he conducts a “cost-benefit analysis” of EVERY person and situation. I didn’t understand back then what he meant because I had never run across a person who used others the way he does. But now, having learned about personality disorders, I understand perfectly well what he meant. Psychopaths pursue every person with only one thought in mind: what’s in it for me? How much supply (of sex, emotional investment and/or money) can I get out of this person? For this reason, psychopaths tend to return to the targets that are willing to give them more supply: those that will accept the relationship on unequal terms, with less power than they had before the breakup. Unless they’re plotting revenge (and we all know psychopaths are extremely vengeful), they don’t return to the former partners that have seen through the mask. Why? Because those partners don’t offer them the same supply anymore, on unequal terms, accepting the abuse while still idealizing them: which is what psychopaths want. They want people to use and abuse who still idealize them despite the abuse (or even because of it, as is the case in trauma bonds). Psychopaths have a predatory intuition about targets they can milk for more supply. Claudia

  142. Claudia,

    I’m curious about your take on this: Why does a psychopath keep his MAIN supply source, while breaking up with and constantly reconciling with the OW? He doesn’t really “break up” with his main source, so what is she going through while he’s cycling with the OW’s? Do the OW’s get it worse, or do both but just in different ways? Does the psychopath idealize the OW’s too? Kelli

  143. Kelli (and Ling– sorry, I didn’t see your comments from July 3 until today), fundamentally a psychopath idealizes only ONE person: HIMSELF (or herself). All the other idealizations are only temporary, based on novelty and self-interest.

    As for your other question, psychopaths want to have their cake and eat it too: have a stable home base (a wife or a main partner) and go on vacation everywhere (have sex, flings and affairs with any woman or man they wish). That is why they triangulate with a main partner and interchangeable other women (or men).

    They choose very carefully their main partners, testing their limits constantly, to make sure it’s someone who will take increasing dosages of abuse and a fundamental inequality in the relationship, filled with double standards in the psychopath’s favor. Claudia

  144. Claudia, I’m starting to wonder if we are all victims of hope. Hope in my eyes is a very powerful thing and can cause blindness. I’m starting to believe psychopaths do not have the ability for hope and that is what separates us. In fact as sick as this may sound I still have hope. I know exactly what my ex is and what she has done, but in the back of my mind I’m still searching for a “easy fix” that one day she will “wake up.” I’m like a dog chasing a car… but what in the hell am I going to do if I catch it. I’m finding she has this amazing ability to keep me chasing, unconsciously/deliberately using hope as her tool, Even though the mask is off and I know in my mind what I am chasing is dangerous to me. I have told my ex I would help her if she would seek therapy (of course in her eyes I’m the one that needs it. I even said OK I’ll go if you go with, she refused), even though I know there isn’t any help for her. I think that is the power of hope playing a role. That just maybe a therapist can flick a switch and turn something on or have an answer that no one has found, “The magic bullet.” There are so many people in this world but hope keeps me chasing this ONE person. In fact It is so powerful I have put up a shield and will not let anybody in. I want a relationship…But I don’t because of hope. As I’ve said before these are sick, sick people. The testing The limits is so true. I’m at my limit and have been. But hope takes me beyond my limit. I’ve been involved in failed relationships in the past and have recovered. But never with a psychopath. I’m starting to wonder if I’m a perfect victim for a psychopath. At least now I’m educated and can look for the red flags.

  145. Gary, what you say makes perfect sense and is normal. All of us want what is too good to be true and extraordinary over what is imperfect and requires effort and compromise. That’s how conmen, who are often psychopathic, fool people into schemes promising huge profits with no effort. Psychopaths lure romantic partners with promises of perfect love, lifelong adoration, fidelity and commitment and a mirrored image of their own perfection. It’s almost impossible to resist a bond that seems to fulfill, so easily and so instantly, everything you’ve ever wanted in a partner or in a romantic relationship. But usually in these cases the red flags start waving. Because life doesn’t work that way and what seems to be too good to be true is often a psychopathic fraud. Our exchange just inspired me to write a post about this, called Perfect love is a fraud. Claudia

  146. You are doing Great and Important work! Just one question will we EVER get the satisfaction that in some point in their lives the Psychopath will see themselves for who they are?

  147. Maya, Martha Stout asks this very question in The Sociopath Next Door and she answers it with a firm NO. Psychopaths are too emotionally shallow and too narcissistic to think there’s anything wrong with them or with what they’re doing. They consider themselves superior to everyone else and need others to dominate, not validate their sense of superiority. When anything goes wrong, it’s always other people’s fault, not theirs. And their only regret, ever, is bad consequences not (their) bad actions. Claudia

  148. Hi Claudia-

    Reading these posts and articles gives me idea after idea…

    I have so much empathy for those going through these struggles. Honestly this recovery experience was the worst time of my life, and I’ve had some awful ones.

    What has struck me the most about this roller coaster ride is the addictive quality of the hot/cold treatment of cluster Bs. Sociopaths seem to use this deliberately to get their victims hooked- you’ve addressed this in many of your postings. But what I’ve really noticed is how like a drug/alcohol recovery is like the recovery from a sociopathic relationship. It takes 18 months to 2 years for most, the symptoms are almost the same -addled thinking, mood swings, memory loss, and on and on…

    In order to get me through this struggle I’ve used alot of the readings/research on substance abuse recovery and it has helped a great deal. I wonder if it can help others get through this too.

  149. Sam, that’s a good idea since all addictions have similar behaviors. So I think getting information about how to break any addiction can help those trying to recover from addiction to a psychopath. Speaking of addiction, my favorite singer, Amy Winehouse died today. It’s really sad because she was so talented that she could have written so many more great songs and albums if she had gone to rehab and taken it more seriously. Claudia

  150. Sam, I read your post and it makes so much sense I can totally see the addiction connection. drug addicts know drugs are bad, but they still pursue them knowing the consequences. In a sense the psychopath becomes the “drug” of choice. Interesting. I would have never thought of that approach/connection. I guess that’s what makes this such a great and resourceful site. Thank you.

  151. Gary –

    The idea came to me when I still struggled in year two, and then I read about PAWS (post acute withdrawal symptoms) and how year two often takes recoverers by surprise with its challenges. This is often when people relapse. Understanding this made me more gentle and kind to myself.


  152. Also, the idea was furthered strengthened when my therapist asked what I liked so much about the sociopath. “He was fun,” I replied. She said “I’ve heard the same thing about crack cocaine.” So then I started viewing him as my “crack”.

    Claudia, it is so sad about Amy Winehouse. She was so original and had such a beautiful voice.

  153. Claudia,

    Wow. Sam, what you say is so true, not only as an addiction, but also as a trauma bond. When reading about trauma bonds, they are almost identical to addictions. With my research about PTSD, trauma bonds, addictions, etc, what dawned on me is that they all have similar paths that set our brains in motion. It’s a simple as the theories behind Pavlov’s dogs. This is what makes psychopaths so dangerous. truthfully, it’s easier to recover from a drug addiction than it is a psychopath/sociopath/narcissist, but for very different reasons. A drug doesn’t speak to you, have sex with you, tell you you’re wonderful, is not in the flesh. It’s an addiction to a chemical, it is FAR different than addiction to an evil human being and I believe, far worse because of the emotional/sexual/spiritual/physical “closeness” that we experience with them. You dont get that with heroine, alcohol or anything remotely close. I believe a lot of the cog/dis we experience during recovery, the obsessing and ruminating is because IT IS A LIVING BREATHING HUMAN BEING that we are trying to disengage from, or rather heal our addiction from. I’m currently struggling with an alcohol addiction, I’m also addicted to nicotine. Quitting those are FAR easier, having done it in the past, than it is to “quit” a psychopath. They reach into our very souls. It is acceptable that one must be treated for any of the above named chemical addictions, it is doubly difficult when it’s a human being who presents himself to the world as normal. Any other addiction is beatable compared to the addiction to the Cluster B. I’m really glad the steps from chemical addiction, comparatively, are helping you in disengaging from your sociopath. I hope you have great success in your recovery.

    Claudia, great insights and articles. What I find so genuine about you is that you’re willing to listen too and give benefit of the doubt to those who are suffering, even taking what they say as a piece of enlightenment and turning it into something MORE healing with your articles. I’m blessed you’re my friend.

  154. Kelli,

    I’ve only quit the sociopath, never other drugs. And quitting the sociopath has been hell! I am happy to hear quitting other things is easier. Quite honestly, after what I’ve been through I have had a hard time imagining anyone quitting anything if it’s always this awful. Other posts have mentioned the lack of support as making the detanglement so difficult – there are a lot more programs/public knowledge in place for alcohol/drug recovery – and very little in place for psychopathic relationship recovery. And then people around you treat the psychopath as a normal person making you feel more crazy and destablized. I too have had the same unstoppable cognitive dissonance where I am on a constant trip around the mental hamster wheel trying to make it make sense, hoping next time I’ll get a different answer. But I don’t. And the depression and the grief were so deep and debilitating.

    And I wish I had the easy answer. Time and distance have made me happier. I am closer to end stage recovery. And to put it bluntly, that has been awesome.

    I wish there were programs in place where someone would swoop you up post ‘path relationship (like an exit program) and tell you everything you feel is normal, hold your hand/head every time you cry, want to scream, act out, contact them, or just feel terrible. Maybe someday..

  155. sam, and like any other withdraw from any chemical you can never ever go back for just one more puff, and/or drink, is it ok to say I was a psychopathoholic? ha ha However, we never abused this drug we were just exposed to it and thats all it takes, I suppose like what I have heard with crack all it takes is ONE time to get hooked. If I were to tell someone I just recovered from an addiction to a psychopath they would ask me to explain, how can you get addicted to such evil? I am over the physical withdraw from him its been over a year, but just like someone recovering from alcholism you can never never have another drink and I can never never have another psychopath If I saw him I would probably want just one sip so I cant even SEE him. Thats interesting that books on withdraw have helped you but it makes sense because afterall you are disengaging from something that was toxic and unhealthy for you but it made you feel sooooo good. Linda

  156. Kelli and Sam, you both point out why addiction to a psychopath is in many respects stronger and harder to escape than addiction to a substance, like drugs or alcohol. I don’t have any standard of comparison to other addictions either, but it’s clear that deep emotional attachment adds a big dimension to an addiction to a person that isn’t there for addiction to a substance. Plus a psychopath can manipulate you back into the addiction. There is, indeed, way too little public information about addictive toxic relationships, which are probably at least as addictive as addictive substances. I have written an article about this topic earlier that you might be interested in, however. It’s called “Breaking the love addiction: Disengaging from the Psychopath,” on the link below:



  157. Gary, Claudia, Donna, Kelli and all; a very poignant thread- hope, denial, addiction. Firstly Gary the eternal optimism and hope you decscribe above resonates with me clearly; all mixed together with healthy rashings of denial “is she or isnt she? how do I truly know? maybe If I can understand and love her enough she will have an epiphany or finally make a breakthrough? she will eventually wake up and realise the depth of my / our love, our special connection, if i describe my concerns around her behaviour she will eventually have the wake up call”. We are after all hopeful beings- what is not to hope? We thrive on hope dont we?
    The addiction????? Oh boy the sedcution! The earthy naturalness and ease of their company; the idealisation; the attention; their curiosity; their wanting you, your voice, your feeling at home (mirroring); Love has finally and truthfully come to town! vrooom! were hooked (line, sinker, and fishermans weekly).
    It is analogous to being seduced into a heroin den and being given your first dose of intravenously; as you feel yourself fall backwards into a warm, safe, comfortable and fuzzy blanket. In the words of a musical genious David Byrne; we are “creatures of love”. How can we not possibly become hooked?
    Before we know what has hit us, we are dealing with triangulations, devaluations, push pull dynamics, comparisons with ex partners, regular dosing of smaller amounts of the first drug hit; and our perfect love has somehow transmutated into our perfect poison.
    Finding the antidote to this poison is I believe one of our deepest (heart) challenges;- because we are presented with the ultimate conundrum- how do we reconcile the absense of hope, love, compassion and human bonding that is the dichotomy and hallmark; that these people leave us with?

  158. Michael,

    You should be a writer 🙂

    Your posts are so thought provoking and bring a wind of reality back into my sails of fantasy thinking and obsessive ruminating.
    I appreciate that much needed voice so much, as well as the rest of you here who speak with gentleness, kindness and intelligence. I’m truly blown away…Kelli

  159. Michael, you bring up a very good point: it’s so seductive to want to change a bad boy or girl. It makes one feel so powerful and special, that this bad person reformed for me, for the sake of our true love. But… that’s only one more lie, perhaps the biggest of them all, and an illusion. Personally, though, I haven’t lost faith in humanity at all because of this. On the contrary, I appreciate people with empathy much more and am so much less into the idea of “great passion” that I used to live and long for. Except for in novels and my art movement, postromanticism.com, I now think that passion is overrated:). Claudia

  160. Hi Claudia, Michael and everyone else on this site and this thread
    I so enjoy reading the articles and all your comments (if enjoy is the correct description!!) – I get a lot of support and help from reading all your views and that we have all really “suffered” the same way. You all put into words what I have gone through, how I feel, everything, its just so so hepful..I have not heard from my ex path for about 2/3 months now, i went away on holiday alone and the time, no contact and rest definitely has made me feel better. More confident and more positive for sure.
    But…. i know my ex path is wooing some girl…she paints(like he does), lives in Tel Aviv (where he always wanted to live) – she is basically all the things he flung in my face that i was not (though as we all know you are beyond perfect at the start!!), (also, Claudia this is the guy that i sent you the text of his email where he explained that he didn’t take the time to find someone that had the qualities he admired and enjoyed in a partner) – and i KNOW he is only seeing her because she lives in another country so he can pretend easily to her that he is something he is not (have sex with his other exes, date other girls whilst letting her think he is in love with her) – but it STILL gets to me, well today it is for sure…i can hear him say to her..oh Lesley, she did not paint, she did not have other interests, etc etc…and I KNOW in my head and my heart that it is ALL a front with him, to her, to me, to everyone..but well, i am just having one of those days where I need you all to give me a talking to!! I suppose you could say that it still hurts – some days it doesn’t and today it does…and you start to beat yourself up again about all the things that you were NOT instead of the fact that if they loved you they wouldn’t care that you didn’t paint or that you didn’t live in an exotic place..they wouldn’t even think about that..they would just love what you had and not hate you for what you didn’t have. And i suppose as you Michael said on one of your threads..and Claudia too..at some point the positives their new partner has will be turned against them. And that is a given.
    Sorry everyone.I.just need a group kick up the ass…hahaha
    Love lesleyxxx

  161. Lesley,

    No ass kickin here! LOL! Seriously, I think you just answered your own question, but just because you know the right answer doesn’t mean you won’t have days that you don’t hurt. I’m glad it’s getting less for you. Sounds like he’s a major liar, par for the psychopathic course. Kelli

  162. Lesley, You start by saying that you have had some respite (“2/3 months”) of no contact. During that time I believe you have taken the first steps towards gaining perspective; but the emotional pain is still salient for you and very much around. It is very early days, and I am in little doubt based on my own experiences that recovery is not an event; not even on our realisation that we are dealing with an individual who has a hole in the soul. There is no moment of clarity that looks like this – “oh boy, as it transpires that person had no genuine feelings of love or even care for me at all, sod them”!

    What does happen is that we come face to face with the reality that the person we were involved with had their own agenda, and their agenda did not involve care and love. The hallmark of this capacity / trait is an ability to walk away without any regret, remorse, feeling, grief, sadness, or loss. They do not detach, because they were never attached to begin with; not in any real loving way. Cluster B’s hate boredom, and they are so empty they are terified of being on their own; because they think / feel that they do not exist. They NEED a mirror.

    And so they unplug from you and plug into someone else. The impact is indescribable; and it wounds us on so many levels. We have been hollowed out emotionally; and our recovery involves moving forward and incorporating our lessons we have learned through our encounter with a “sub species” – a person who is empty and vacuous, malicious, angry, immature, unkind, callous, superficial, emotionally baron, and incapable of love. A person who has no integral sense of self; impulsive, lives for the moment (in an non Buddhist way!)….We have no narritive with them; It least no emotional narrative.

    You ask yourself Lesley,- maybe if I had been more this or more that, then he might have loved me. You gut serves you well in that it would not have made a blind bit of difference. Your ex; if he is cluster B does not emotionally know what you are talking about when it comes to Love- he really does not know. He has no frame of reference.

  163. This question is for Claudia or Michael. It has been 2 months since I last saw him at what I believe was my final in person verbal discard, however he sent emails that seem to be him wanting to keep the door open for the future. I didn’t reply. So if he is discarding me why would he do this. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I know he has another woman and I am OK with that because he is not keeping me on his roller coaster, because I have so much other stuff going on in my life. I wasn’t his lover or woman only his devoted and caring friend I did feel however that we had an emotional connection. I have always confronted him when he was disrespectful and out of line with me. If he is so incapable of love and caring why do they keep coming back. Michael you said they don’t detach because they were never attached from the beginning….

    This is the question I really need to get in my head and understand. I hope I am getting stronger to resist any attempt he might make…….
    Your thoughts and comments are so welcome. Hugs, Donna

  164. Donna, you raise an issue that is one of the root causes of so much confusion and anguish left in the wake of our trying to “relate” to the psychopath. They at times seem so needy and clingy and will say ANYTHING to convince you to stay if they sense that you may be withdrawing. Psychopaths view others (partners, ex partners, new targets) in a self referential, self serving and utilitarian way. They ask themselves “what can I get out of this person, what use can they be to me, what are my current needs that this person can meet”. In this sense people are commodities. To refine what I wrote above- yes they attach; but it is a surface attachment that is parasitical in nature. It is not a loving, caring attachment / bond that is symbiotic. They simply lack the capacity / ability to form a genuine bond in this way.

    It is common for psychopaths to say “can we be friends” or “we can be companions”; or other variations of this “dont leave my life” theme. Why do they do this? They may need to make use of you again at some point in the future; we are tools in their little black tool box. “Today I’m using a hammer, but tomorrow I might need a screwdriver”. Psychopaths, as I have previously written, are empty shells, with an inner emotional landscape that is baron, primordial, childlike, and lacking in depth and richness. They cannot abide not having someone in their lives to push against, or to reflect them. They need a mirror to see themselves in lest they can literally feel like they do not exist; and we are their mirrors. Imagine their relationship lives as a hall of mirrors. It is these mirrors that provide a psychopath with a “how to pretend to be human” frame of reference. They need this constant feedback. In addition because they grow bored easily, and this is inevitable; the more tools they have at their disposal means that they can more easily spice things up and dip in and out of peoples lives under the guise of “I care about you” to relieve the boredom.

    Relationships for psychopaths in a sense have no beginning and no end; which is one reason why they do not grieve. Yes they cannot abide losing a mirror if it still has value to them- but mirrors are interchangeable and can be replaced.

    It is very hard to piss off a psychopath in any pervasive and enduring kind of way.

  165. Thank you Keli and Michael.
    He is no doubt a cluster B. He is as you described always changing channels – always looking for what he sees as his match in every girl then moving on to the next one. I left my husband, job, family etc to live with him and then a few months later found out he was emailing girls, starting to devalue me, character assassinate me etc. Now he is (i think) dating girls at his work, but keeping this girl in Tel Aviv interested as she will be the one he will get the most out of probably (due to her having qualities he admires..though I dont know if going dogging and attending sex clubs is in her remit..hahaha – you have to find humour to get you through some days..). However that is not my problem – as you so rightly say Michael..this was never about how any of us on this site felt about our partners. It was only about them and what thrill they could get out of us at the time.
    I have definitely gotten perspective over the past few months (he actually text me with Goodbye Lesley..you are not my problem any more..” and I have heard nothing since and he has done me a favour really. But as you say Michael getting over them is not an “event”..some days you think about what you felt for them, how real it was for you, what you gave up for them, that they were everything to you, and you see or hear about them going through the same “motions” with someone else and it is like a kick in the guts ten times over.
    Michael..you mentioned in your post to Donna that they often say to you that you “can we be friends” or “we can be companions”; or other variations of this “dont leave my life” theme. My ex said that to me a lot when we had split up but he still wanted me there to use for sex really and when he felt his connection with his hometown was lost to him (he always said we had a connection as we were from the same area, same school, you know the usual crap they come out with as they know it means a lot to you..). the irony of his saying about us being friends was that when we were together he said THAT was what was missing in our relationship, was that we were not friends first (??) and it was all based on sex. Then when we were not together he would say that he wanted us to be friends yet how could we if we did not have that in our relationship?? All mindgames and to be blunt, total headfucks. Predictably enough though, when i said i didnt want to be just a friend he used, I had given up my life and lived with him for godsake did he not realise this (after much study into his disorder clearly not!!) i was cut off from his life. If I was not willing to let him treat me how he liked whilst he went onto the next girl and the next then I was to be dismissed.
    Thank you Michael and Keli and Claudia and you all. Just reading your thoughts, the so well written views and understandings of such terrible, twisted, emotionally inept individuals and the devastation they leave behind makes me feel better bit by bit every day.
    Love to you all

  166. Lesley, you’re welcome! I hope you focus on your blessings: the most fortunate victims are those who aren’t being harassed and (cyber)stalked for years by their profoundly disordered ex’s! Since psychopaths want to maintain dominance of all their ex’s and since they have a detachment disorder (because it’s part of their obsession with control), it’s fortunate your ex moved on. Fortunate for you, but not for his many new victims, that is. Claudia

  167. Michael, I have observed the same thing as well: psychopaths can have very intense flashes of frustration or anger when they don’t get their way, just as they have intense flashes of glee when they get their way. But both emotions are extremely shallow and ephemeral, dissipating within a few minutes or hours at most. Which is why both are essentially meaningless. It’s also true that both psychopaths and narcissists are highly dependent upon others. Their need for dominance is relative to dominating others, to having victims to dupe and control. Psychopaths often consider themselves autonomous and independent, however, without mirrors of their fake identities and without people who idolize them, to use, fool and devalue they cannot exist. They feel empty without victims, which is what they really are: social predators who are empty without their prey. Claudia

  168. Lesley; One of the salient relationship dynamics that characterises the relationship with a psychopath is their ability to hit the reset switch. Their previous behaviour is never brought to bare within the context of an issue being presently discussed. It is as though they have a delete chip readily installed; this manifests in non sequiturs when attempting to problem solve.

    Psychopaths in the final analysis are not in the remotest bit concerned with how you feel, what your needs are, your emotions, or your position. They do not know and they do not care; over and above their self serving needs.

    Their personality construct is ephemeral, ghost like, and lacking in substance.

    Cluster B’s (psychopaths) cut you off if they percieve that you are not useful as a tool in their ever changeing agenda. The cut off is swift, clean, emotionless, and without remorse. It is simply a strategical move.

  169. Michael, your comments and replies are so welcome and very appreciated.

    This maddness is so troubling to me because I survived my exhusband (narc) and my brother (narc) but the ending of this one in my head has been so hard, especially because he looked and connected as a “Normal” Man in the beginning.

    So, this one is the Psychopath and his agenda was totally different. I just need to vent sometimes. I am not a hateful, vindictive person so….it’s hard.

  170. Donna, what you describe about your experience with narcissists versus psychopaths is not that unusual. Psychopaths initially hide their malicious and destructive intentions better. Narcissists need excessive validation and generally boast a lot. Usually, you can spot them a mile away. But psychopaths, though just as narcissistic if not more so, can mask their supreme egocentricity under the guise of modesty and respect for you and others. They are complete frauds, so everything about their initial personas during the luring phase is fake: the opposite of what they are in reality. It’s not surprising that people tend to be duped by psychopaths much easier than by narcissists. Claudia

  171. Donna,

    It’s about nothing more than control. They need to control you, whether you’re a friend or lover…coworker, whatever, but it seems to me the connection you had with him was of an emotional variety, rather than sexual. THANK GOD you never went there! Mine sent me two mother’s day ecards, even after I told him to *uck off**. They do it to know you’re still there, as a pontential source of future supply. Since i told mine to do the above, I’ve not heard from him and he has remarried. All I can figure is that he wanted to see if I’d be around if he got bored with this one. NOPE!

    NC NC NC NC. THAT isyour power now

  172. Michael

    “it is very hard to piss off a psychopath in any pervasive and enduring kind of way”

    EXACTLY, and this goes to their “living in the moment”, and nothing more.

    It is the most bizarre and perplexing of psychopathic behaviors I have ever witnessed and with involvement, is a major cause, I believe, of the cog/dis we all will inevitably suffer with the aftermath.

  173. Michael,

    I’ve been doing tons of reading and research the last few days into personality disorders, but have limited it to psychopathy, however, once I opened the window to narcissism, there was a PLETHORA of information, more so than on psychopathy.

    So here is my question, “Cluster B” involves any of the antisocial personality disorders, no matter what they may be, that are toxic on any level, aka, malignant, whether it’s narcissism, psychopathy or sociopathy or borderlines. Doing the research and reading, there are many overlaps and not much difference one to the other. What is your opinion on the new DSM that is about to come out and how do you feel about labels when all of the malignant personality disorders seem to have virtually the same symptoms as well as the same outcomes for the victims? Is this why you refer to them as “cluster B’s?” This will be the topic of my searches online tomorrow.


  174. Hi Michael and Claudia
    Yes I do feel much better from him leaving me alone – even though they make you feel as though that is your fault as you’ve done something wrong!! Which is of course that you have not agreed to their ever increasing demands on you to fulfil what they want you to do in their warped lives. My ex actually said to me that he would only have anything to do with me if it was worth it for him, if I caused too much trouble for him (i.e wanted a “normal relationship and wanted us to try again – please note this was before i realised how disordered he was and had found this site) then he was not interested in any contact with me. He actually said to me “you just will not behave!!” as though i was a dog.. This is so mind blowing for anyone who has firstly experienced the high of first being in a relationship with these types, give up everything for them and have this supposed real life with them….then when you split up they don’t go on like anyone normal would. None of their behaviour of course is normal.
    No contact is the best way, I’ll be honest, its due to my ex not contacting me that I have started to feel so much better. I contacted him a few times and never heard from him, and was upset at first..but as time went on and I started to see things more clearly I just stopped contacting him. The longer it goes on the more I see what he was, and this site and everyone’s posts help so much. i think also what you forget about them as that they actually think YOU think and have the same attitude as them…which is just so crazy..but they can no more understand your view on life and love than you can on theirs. Actually we understand them more as they are mentally sick/disordered so hence we know there is something wrong with them at the beginning we just don’t know what it is.
    They really do just devastate lives.. and long after they have gone from them too.
    Thank you again and love

  175. Lesley, the thing to always keep in mind is that psychopaths, above all, love playing games. They’re the dregs of society, in (lack of) character if not also in fact, and everything they do they do it in the effort to be destructive and malicious to others. They need to control people because otherwise they’d have to face up to the fact that they’re empty losers, with no real relationships (other than pathetic and vacuous dominance bonds) who can’t accomplish anything constructive in life. The little they accomplish they also destroy to satisfy immediate pleasures. That’s why they often get fired for sexual misconduct, lewd behavior and other inappropriate conduct.

    When you keep in mind that these people are so trivial, it reduces them down to size in your own mind as well. Knowing what they are, why would you want such a pathological person’s approval or the approval of his equally disordered defenders? (Because anyone who knows what a psychopath has done wrong and still defends him is probably pathological as well, as I explain in my post on the malignant narcissists who stand by psychopaths to protect them and their own empty self-image). Don’t give them any emotional energy. They’re not worth it. None of these people matter or accomplish anything with their lives. They waste their entire lives playing pretend–moving from one role to another, one mask to another, one person to another–and empty power games with others to maintain dominance.

    Any engagement with them is a waste of time and therefore a waste of precious part of our lives. They have nothing better to do than play these power games. They have no hearts, no merit, no constructive goals in life. But the rest of us have constructive and creative things to accomplish with our lives. They’re not worth an ounce of our energy and a second of our time, beyond what we’ve already, unfortunately, wasted on them before finding out what they are. I have written two posts about this, which remain relevant to anyone who still cares about what the psychopath (or narcissist) and his pathological supporters think of you. It’s important to keep in mind that such pathological individuals live to waste our time and our lives. Claudia



  176. Hi Claudia –

    I’ve noticed that about 23 months later, everything has become crystal clear with the relationship with the s’path. I am officially emotionally detached. I kind of look at myself like “Who was that? Why was I such a depressed negative awful narcissistic (fill in the blank) person during that time?” I now can see me the same way my friends must have seen me.

    I feel compassion and love and feel that it is worthwhile again. I am no longer drawn to the dark side. I’m actually way more compassionate and kind than I ever was before. And happier. So much happier. The answer: time, and NC NC NC NC as kelli says.

    I must credit Sarah Strudwick for the help from her book “Dark Souls”. She said to write down how you were before the relationship, and then how you were during it, and to draw a line between them. Before is you, after is them.

    You site is a great help to those going through the process. Even now I have a hard time “getting” how I was then, and can see how one can find little support. Please keep this up.


  177. Sam, during the time we spend with a disordered personality our view of ourselves and reality becomes skewed by their pathological perspectives. Everything revolves around them: it’s “us” (the dysfunctional couple) versus the world with a psychopath. And by “us” a psychopath means him (or her) because there is no unity in such a self-serving, exploitative relationship. I agree with your positive assessment of Sarah’s book and believe she has written several sequels to Dark Souls. One of them is on psychopaths stalking and cyberstalking their former targets. This happens often because psychopaths can’t tolerate being rejected by others or exposed as the pathetic social predators they are. I’m glad that you are starting to see the end of the tunnel without the burden of the psychopath in your life. Claudia

  178. Claudia,

    I just really need to respond to this. Not ALL psychopaths continue stalking. MANY, if not MOST of them, stalk for a time, until they find new supply and then the ultimate discard is NO CONTACT out of them at all. My ex’s last attempt was mother’s day and obviously just before he married his new wife. Perhaps he was bored, or rather wished to set up a situation in which his new wife would be jealous or to triangulate, but it wasn’t the same thing that I thought it was before. They DO go away. MANY victims say that they never return. I believe this to be true. We are only as good to them until their next supply arrives on the scene. While psychopaths exhibit similar traits, there are differences in how they respond to rejection or how they discard.

    Sam, I’m glad you’ve reached the disconnect point. I’m working hard at getting there, ironically, what I find helpful to me right now, is to study psychopaths from various sources, listening to many victims. It makes what he did to me MORE REAL. Ironically, the more perspectives I get, I learn something new that I didn’t know before. Some of it shines a light further into the darkness that I have lived.

    Also, I think each survivor is different, depending on backgrounds, levels of support, whether they came from abusive backgrounds or not,the list is endless, in how long one takes to process the pain and anger of all of this to arrive at acceptance, some do it quickly, others take longer. I’ve never done anything quickly. This is one thing I’ve learned about myself: It takes a LONG time to process such pain. I accept that about myself. I’m so happy that you feehappier with your life. I’m hoping to be there soon. Kelli

  179. Claudia, Sarah Strudwick’s interview with Michael Smith “Empaths & Dark Soul’s is the story of my life. I have been a magnet for these types since I was 18 years old both male and females. I always saw the good in people. After many painful, traumatic and hurtful experiences I began to learn how to stand my ground. Many folks have told me they were drawn to my light, common sense and wisdom. “I was told by an elder woman; I was “Born an Ole’ Soul”. I was raised by very Stoic people and they did their best to squash all the feelings I exppressed for many years and I never listened. I feel all my emotions.

    I learned to watch, listen and be cautious about who I let in my life in my life in my early forties. Learned to never lose myself in another person and how to say “NO”. I learned to like me, myself and I and I really don’t care what folks think about me.

    I am so angry at myself for letting my exnarc friend slip in under my radar, maybe that is why he waited three years to drop his J&H bomb on me. I really don’t regret this encounter and reconnection, because every relationships has made me grow stronger……..Zumba exercise classes have helped me refocus and I still have a stable foundation and home as a single lady. Hugs, to all. Donna

  180. Kelli, yes, some people are very fortunate–relatively speaking–to have psychopathic ex’s who can let go and move on. You can count your blessings that your ex was one of those. Some psychopaths, however, move on but don’t let go and continue cyberstalking or just plain stalking. Those subset of psychopaths are usually the worst of them: the most power obsessed.

    Donna, as you’ve learned over the years, having boundaries is key because pathological individuals always push your boundaries, in the quest for more power over you. When you don’t jump through their hoops at all, from the very beginning, they move on to more pliable and promising targets. Claudia

  181. Michael and Donna,

    I wonder if either of you would be willing to exchange emails with me. I understand if you feel this is not appropriate for each of your given situations as a result of your psychopathic experiences, but there is so much I could share with each of you, as well as learn from both of you, as a result of this experience. Please let Claudia know if this is okay with you. Thank you. Kelli

  182. Claudia,

    I don’t agree with that. Some psychopaths love stalking what was once their prey, but it isn’t about power in the sense that one psychopath doesn’t stalk past prey versus another that they do.. Psychopaths go where they know they can still have an influence. Where they feel they still affect a target. Publicly known past lovers/wives/etc would be great targets because they are in the public realm, such a blogs and what have you. Psychopaths that do NOT continue to stalk former targets, are those who have found more fulfilling targets that give them their immediate relief for supply and are not associated with public awareness. If I had a blog, such as you have now, I have NO DOUBT that my ex would be stalking me day in and day out, trying to make my life miserable. What psychopath wants to be outted in such a way, even if not directly? NOne that I know of.

    This is the difference.

    My ex does not know me in such a public way that he could continue to target me with his venom. But I can guarantee you that If I were to raise public awareness, this would be polar opposite.

    It is the price you pay for helping others.

    Who CARES? No one. not even you, because you are unaffected and keep educating the public. He hates that.

    It’s really annoying. LIke a gnat that you can’t catch, buzzing about your head.

    But that’s all he is.

    For those of us who are not in the spotlight, raising public awareness, well, we get boring…so they have to move onto other sources that aren’t………for the moment 🙂

    Hang in there.

  183. Claudia

    Because a psychopath stalks you, does not mean he is more obsessed with power. It means you are public, so he has the ability to attempt to irritate you more.

    It is very individual in this sense. Mine didn’t have any power left to get from me. Not even for jealousy or triangulation purposes, but he DOES have power in his new relationship. Psychopaths go wherever they THINK they have power, no matter which victim, no matter for how long, but one thing that a Cluster B, overall, DOES NOT LIKE OR APRECIATE, is being discussed publicly. He feels “exploited” without giving one second of thought to the extreme exploitation he has done of that person he targets. I can also guarantee that there are more than one, as the target, but it’s sooooooooooo delicious for them if the stalking and targeting is one who outs them with public awareness. We aren’t impressed Claudia. I knwo you aren’t either. It’s no more than annoying.

  184. Kelli, good point. However, I should clarify that my psychopathic ex stalked me for several years after our breakup BEFORE I started this website for the victims of psychopaths. His cyberstalking began as soon as I broke up with him in December 2007 and continues to this day. I started this website in 2010, so for three years there was no public website to provoke him, yet he still harassed me several times a day. In my situation, the cyberstalking did not result from the public psychopathy website I began, but preceded it for several years. I have saved the evidence of his cyberstalking and printed out most of it to give copies to my therapist as well, so that there is evidence of it for the authorities both on my own computer and a hardcopy backup with my therapist.

    But I agree with you that, fundamentally, psychopaths are all the same because they all have shallow emotions and need narcissistic supply and attention. They get it from wherever they can. If they can’t get positive attention, they annoy us to get negative attention. This blog, however, isn’t about an individual. I wanted to learn what I could about personality disorders and help others, as reading about this subject helped me. I might have never realized the kind of person I was dealing with if it weren’t for books like Without Conscience or websites like lovefraud.com.

    Like I said before, each informational website helps. There’s still a lot more work to be done, however, since people usually seek and read information about psychopathy and narcissism after they’ve been burned and come to realize that they’ve dealt with a very disordered individual. It would be even better if this kind of information became mainstream. Then it could reach a much bigger audience and prevent people getting burned or at least help those who are in toxic relationships realize it much sooner, before they’re seriously harmed. Claudia

  185. Kelli, I don’t mind exchanging personal emails with Claudia’s permission, but to be honest I am getting tired of talking so much about this psycho. It feels like he still has control and I don’t want to dwell so much in the past. I want to take my power back and move on with my life…………… Hugs, Donna

  186. Donna, I have no problem with readers exchanging emails to offer each other additional mutual support offline. I completely agree with you about moving on, but also believe that when you share this information or help others you are making something constructive out of an otherwise very unpleasant and destructive experience. You give back to others, who are freshly wounded and need your support, and move on at the same time: the best of both worlds. At least that’s how I view it and what I’ve observed still happens on the first website that really helped me, back in 2007 when I needed it most, lovefraud.com. Donna’s website about psychopathy and all her activities to raise public awareness and build something constructive out of a personal disaster was the inspiration behind psychopathyawareness. Claudia

  187. I am definitely open to being available to anyone who needs my support and share what I have learned. What is the best way to exchange email addresses. I don’t want to publish it here. Donna

  188. Donna, your email is visible only to me via wordpress, so I can share it with Kelli if you wish me to do so. Then she can contact you directly. Claudia

  189. Claudia, please do share my email with Kelli. Please ask her to identify herself in the subject line. Donna

  190. Donna, Okay, I will. Claudia

  191. I’ve seen this Claudia. His weird “highs” and bizarre ecstatic behavior when he could get me to talk to him, and then the corresponding bad behaviors – sudden anger, frustration – when i didn’t. This image always makes me realize how crazy he really is.

  192. Sam, true. Did you notice this as well: the psychopath’s anger and frustration is sometimes without any apparent motivation and inappropriate. Sometimes it’s because they don’t get their way, at others it seems an arbitrary display of power, or disproportionate: an act of will, to unhinge us. Claudia

  193. Thank you claudia..i know. I agree with everything you post. Since i’ve had not heard from him nor him from me my head is so much clearer and I just really see him for what he is. Dangerous really. Thank you for always responding to my comments and for helping us all really.

  194. This article is so true. I’m sitting her still trying to make sense of this person who has kept me so off balance for so many years in so many different ways. In the begininng I thought maybe he did have a split personality. Then thought maybe he was bipolar. The one consant whether he was the “nice” guy or the controller, manipulator, abuser, was his extreme narsiccism. He literally has never done one thing that I can think of that wasn’t self serving. I am still vascillating between being in denial and thinking I’m totally wrong. He’s just a very lost confused person doing his best to figure himself out.

    He so often says to me he’s an ass and doesn’t know why he does and says the things he does. He doesn’t understand himself either and doesn’t know how to change or stop it. He told me as soon as he gets the woman he wants, he’s bored and doesn’t want her anymore and takes her for granted. He has also told me he hurts me on purpose because he likes the challenge of seeing if he can win me back. He’ll also say “your a good person and you dont deserve this.” Another time he’ll say things like “I am so mad at you and I don’t know why,” or “I just feel so angry with you and you haven’t even done anything.”

    What makes it so hard for me to make sense of is that he doesn’t talk badly about his past relatioships. He talks about his exwife w/no emotion whatsoever. He does tell me the cruel things he did to and/or said to her but when he tells me the story he’s telling it from the perspective of “how dare she do/say that?” when it’s clear to me he’s the one who was the ass and being cruel to her. Yet, he says she a good mom and has nice things to say about her.

    The other two women he was seeing, he talks well of them also. He admits he lost one because he just became an ass and took her for granted and doesn’t know why he did that. The other he says he was never attracted to her but was just trying to break free from me and “figure himself out.” I do know he was incredibly cruel to her though. I’ve read many of their email exchanges when she’s expressed her pain over his treatment of her. But, he talks about her sympathetically to me. He’s also said to me he deserves everything he’s gotten (when he’s depressed) because of all the pain he’s caused others.

    It is difficult for me to make sense of his apparent sadness over hurting people(women), hear him talk about them to me w/kindness and then believe he actually loathed them and hurt them, (and me) intentionally. Although I have for a LONG time sensed he was getting a rush whenever he hurt me and drug it out longer (the verbal abuse sessions) because it was entertaining to him. Most recentely he would actually get a timer out and tell me I couldn’t speak or respond until the timer went off. That way he could say all he wanted to say and I had to just sit and listen until he was satisfied he’d adequetly made me suffer. Then the timer would go off and he’d then say..”okay you speak now.”

    It’s all the duallity that keeps me doubting myself in thinking he’s truly a psychopath. Again, as I’ve typed this all out I think I have my answer. DUH! The only kindness I’ve seen from him are his words never actions. Do you see how difficult it is to think rationally when involved with such a person? Goodness. I’m glad I can process my thinking here where I’ll get an accurate outside perspective. Thx!

  195. Lisa, when psychopaths apologize it’s usually to get something from their interlocutor: sympathy, emotional bonding, power, whatever they may want. They’re not sincere in any meaningful sense, even when they do mean it that second. Often they boast of their wrongdoings because they’re proud of that behavior–once again, it gives them a sense of empowerment–and they boast in the form or expressing regret. They don’t regret anything except getting caught and not always getting what they want. There is no duality underneath it all, for a psychopath. Dr. Jekyll is an act, a manipulative created persona and Mr. Hyde is who they really are. The real Mr. Hyde eventually shows through more and more often when they no longer want you. That’s the ex you’ve seen and are glad you left. Claudia

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