Why do psychopaths target married or “taken” individuals?

Some of the readers of this blog have asked me: why do psychopaths target married or “taken” individuals? Why don’t they prefer people who are single and available? My first answer is a reminder that psychopaths target everyone. They are constantly performing in their heads a cost-benefit analysis that intuitively assesses how they can use and exploit each individual they meet.

For those psychopaths who are sex addicts and/or sexual predators, obviously the use-value that matters most has to do with domination through sex and romance. When a psychopath enters a room, he scopes out everyone and zones in on the prey that he intuits might be vulnerable or open to his advances. Psychopathic sex addicts have plenty of easy prey: one night stands, friends with benefits and flings. They do go after easy targets.

However, those targets are not enough because their domination and conquest are purely physical, not emotional. This is why psychopaths also latch on to more challenging prey. They promise them commitment and express (phony or superficial) love in order to sink their teeth deeper into them, body and soul. Feeling the love in someone else’s eyes gives psychopaths and narcissists a sense of power, almost omnipotence, that is very arousing, especially since they know that the love is based on a foundation of lies and false premises. The conquest and dupery of their victims is doubly intoxicating for them.

Choosing married or otherwise “taken” victims adds a third dimension to their sadistic pleasure. When they seduce a married woman, they are not only conquering that person’s heart but also “taking her” from another man. To psychopaths this represents a double conquest and therefore also a double defeat of their victims: both of the person they dupe into loving them and of the person they both cheat on. The thrill of seducing married individuals, to manipulate and hurt not only a given target, but also her significant other and family, often proves irresistible to psychopaths, fueling their false sense of superiority, power and invincibility.

Claudia Moscovici, psychopathyawareness

Dangerous Liaisons: How to Identify and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction



  1. Claudia another great article and so true. In my case I think that was the main factor in my ex path wanting me, if not the only factor. He saw what a great life and, in the main, good marriage me and my husband had and wanted it for himself. He went all out for the romance, the thoughtfulness, the sex of course, the passion. I did, just before I moved to be with the ex path, try to get my husband to work things out with me as I felt that we had been together 10 years and we had so much worth saving. My husband had met someone by then on internet dating and had only been seeing her about a month. He told me he was “too far down the line with her to try and work things out with you”…. i think maybe he thought I was only suggesting trying to work things out as he had met someone and i was jealous, but that was not the case. In all honestly I knew that there was something wrong with my then “boyfriend or boyfiend as someone said on one post” and I also had a feeling that my marriage had been deliberately sabotaged, but of course you are so unsure, so all over the place, you dont trust your gut. And you should.
    On bad days all I feel is guilt and sadness that I caused so much upset to my husband, friends and family for someone that is one of the most hateful, cruel people I have ever met. However, I and all of us on this site were duped, and sold a lie, and I for one have paid for it a thousand times over.
    Keep up the posts Claudia!
    Love lesleyxxx

  2. I am slowly realising that this is what my spath wanted to do to me. I have been very happily married for the last sixteen years and we have 5 wonderful children. The spath lives very near me and out of the blue started texting me all the time. Because our youngest son was up alot during the night I was sleeping in a different room from my husband and was lonely so spent hours texting him. I slowly realised that he was using me as his texts were very very sexual and I knew he was getting off on it. By this time tho I was hooked on him and as written about in previous posts addicted to him. He was always trying to humiliate me by saying he would see me and then at the last minute say he couldnt or giving me silent treatment for weeks on end. It was horrible and I felt so used. I also feel like you lesley in feeling so guilty for treating my wonderful loving husband in this awful way. It has affected my marrige, my children and my whole life. Fortunately we are working on saving our marriage and the spath has found new targets so is leaving me alone. This blog is so wonderful and has helped me so much. There have been days I have felt suicidal but just knowing there are other people out there going through the same thing is so comforting

  3. Hi Emily
    I totally understand the guilt you are feeling. My husband had his faults, we all do, but he did not deserve what I did and what happened to us as a couple. Unfortunately he moved on very quickly (though in my more lucid moments I realise that he maybe would not of if things had been ok with us and that, what I feared was wrong with our relationship I was indeed correct about). However I have flashbacks of us as a couple sitting in tears and hugging each other and it was just so distressing Emily, so i know how you feel. I hope you do manage to save your marriage, as it is so worth it if you love each other.
    My ex path said when he told me it was over, that he’d done my ex husband a favour by getting me away from him as now my ex husband had a better life without me. To be honest in some ways I felt that I was let down by both of them in the end – though I know my actions and the fact I was so besotted with my ex path sealed my fate.
    I too have felt suicidal with guilt, that I had so much, and lost it all and some days I just think well, I had ten years with someone who was my best friend, a lovely home, a great job, good times, then i found someone i thought i would never have, that I’d always loved from afar. So in my life I at least experienced the correct feelings, the right kind of love for someone. Sadly that person was just a lie in the end. On those days I do think what is left to experience but you have no choice but to get up and put one foot in front of the other and eventually you will get through it and happiness will slowly come into our lives again.
    Love lesleyxxxx

  4. Thank you so much Lesley for replying to my post. Am feeling low today and am ruminating alot about the spath and is just so good to be able to tell someone who understands. I have read alot of your comments over the last few weeks and everything you say is so true and has been so helpful. My spath never wanted me to leave my husband. Everything was on his terms. He never said that he loved me or wanted to commit to me which seems to be a very common trait of psychopaths, on the contrary he said that love was stupid and hated when I said that I loved him. He was just so emotionless it was scary. I really do hope that you are healing and thanks again for your reply. Emily x

  5. Hi Emily
    Gosh thanks, I always feel like I just moan my head off! hahaha . you have reminded me of something quite telling though…two months after I had started seeing my ex path i visited him at home in england. When it came to me going home to my husband my ex path started getting weird, saying he was going to make a decision that was easier for me (ie dump me and easier for him) – when i got home he did the exact thing. he dumped me by text, said he would never be able to commit 100% to anyone (which is true of ALL of them!). I then cracked up infront of my husband – when i told my ex path i’d told my husband he said “you should never have done that, he should never have known” – and you know what Emily, he was right as he was exactly the same as your one. He didnt want me at all and it should have ended there and I may have been able to salvage something out of the mess that was made. But like you, i’d been totally brainwashed and taken over emotionally by someone who was rotten to the core. Following this my ex path then decided he maybe would like to “give us a try” and well, the rest is history. But, he also said to me just before he split up with me that he would prefer women did not love him, as it would make his life so much easier, that I told him I loved him far too much, that is was suffocating and he hated all that love stuff. Incidentally it was him that was Mr Romance Night on a Friday night, cooking nice meals and making “time just for you lesley..”
    They do say anything to you Emily, purely to get what they want. Whether it be a nice thing or a horrible thing, its purely to get something from you and it always means nothing to them. My ex got so bad that he would change tack in one sentence, he would come out with random lines that I had said and use them out of context. He would contradict himself within seconds. He basically malfunctioned if you sounded like you were not going the way he wanted you to. What I’m trying to say (i think) is that I spent months ruminating over the tiniest word he said, all the nasty things he screamed at me then the “nice things” he did – but they just all mean nothing and you should not let them upset you (although they do as you are a genuine soul) – they are just a meaningless pile of rubbish spouted out to make you upset so they can get a kick out of you being hurt. My ex had the cheek to say it was me that spewed vomit but it was him that did that, he just didnt’ like me questioning what he said and did. They drive you to distraction as they know how much they mean to you and how much their words mean to you. It takes so much time to get through but this site has helped me loads and I could not have started getting stronger without Claudia other people like you to share the hell with.
    I hope you sort things out with your husband, its a terrible ordeal to go through.
    Love lesleyxxx

  6. Another perfect, spot on post, Claudia! Thank you.

    For anyone who has had some thoughts of suicide, do call a crisis hotline if you feel like you might act on those feelings. But otherwise, a very good book to read is on emotional rape, inspired by a man who lost a good female friend to suicide, because of her interactions with one of these psychopaths. As you read her story and others, you will receive healing messages, without any blame whatsoever for the victim, which is how it should be. I’ve no relationship to the book, other than I’ve read it. Here is a website about it. http://www.emotional-rape.com/ And it will be clear to you that these “relationships” with psychopaths are indeed an emotional rape, and we need to be gentle with ourselves. This book helped me a lot in my healing. Like you, I was torn from my husband by a psychopath, but my husband was so supportive, and so concerned about my devastation, that eventually our marriage was healed and became stronger. Not easy. After years, all of a sudden my husband was crying this weekend about the whole thing. Healing is a long process for all touched by a psychopath.

  7. Lesley,

    I think it odd that your now ex husband didn’t want to work things out because met someone on an online dating site and had only known her a month? That seems somewhat suspicious to me and more of an excuse to not work the marriage. Perhaps the trust was too broken for him or he said that out of hurt and anger. Some people, once trust is broken, they can never go back. Did he wind up with the woman online? Either way, i’m so sorry for your losses, and while there is responsibility for any of us who have been with spaths and our involvement, we also need to try to be kind to ourselves too. THey live to dupe others and with the many hundreds of stories I’ve read, there is a pattern: A target could be anyone. ANYONE. And anyone can fall for it. I hope that you can find a way to forgive yourself.

    I feel for both of you. I’m really glad, Emily, that you and your husband are trying to work things out. I wish you the very best with that.


  8. Susan,

    Thank you for that link. I intend to get the book. Kelli

  9. To lesley, kelli and susan. Thank you for your helpful replies. Lesley you are so right when you say they brainwash you and take over you emotionally. I find it hard to explain to anyone what a hold he had over me. It was frightening. When I finally realised what he was and started no contact with him I was in such a mess. Crying, unable to sleep, irritable and depressed. My friend(who is also a GP) suggested I was clinically depressed and I started taking medication for it. I think I must be very naive because I just wanted to be a good friend to him and all the while he was trying to hurt me. Kelli I find your posts really helpful too. It’s amazing how similar they all are. Susan thanks for your helpful link to the book. I am thinking of buying it. Yes there were times I felt suicidal but have never acted on those feelings thankfully. Have found that the anti depressants, two months of no contact, a very good friend, a loving husband and this blog and everyone on it has helped so so much. I will be thinking of you and your husband too. Emily x

  10. Lesley, I’m glad you liked this post. Psychopaths go after married targets because they get to hurt at least two people: the target, her husband and if they get really lucky the whole family too. But after the conquest you see that their interest in you was purely circumstantial (the excitement of cheating and conquering you), not in the least related to you or your personality. Claudia

  11. Emily, psychopaths use different masks for different victims, to see what works. But it may be that your psychopathic ex preferred to play it cool with everyone, and engaged only with victims who would play his game without trying to mold to them or mirror them. It does happen sometimes. There are all kinds of psychopaths, and what they share is not their roles, but the lack of emotional bonding, pathological lying, and insatiable need to control and manipulate those around them. Claudia

  12. Susan, thanks so much for sharing this emotional rape link. Psychopaths rarely murder others, but they aim to drive their victims to despair very frequently. Domination and destruction is always their goal. They feel they have the power of life and death in those cases, without doing something illegal for which they might have to suffer consequences (like going to jail). Claudia

  13. Emily, I’m so glad to hear that you found so many sources of support after your encounter with the psychopath. You were fortunate, even though it’s tough to use that word after any intimate encounter with a psychopath. Claudia

  14. To Linda, Leslie, Kelli & Emily, I remember so well my Narc/friend telling me so well; “That he loves calling up married women to meet him for a late night movie when he feels like it ; to see if she would leave her Husband” and meet him there. He was honest with me to his very sick core of an alive species……

  15. Claudia: When I think of the damage this man did to not only MY life but how it indirectly or I should say directly affected my family as well. My grown children saw the change in me and wondered what happened to their mother, and one day my husband came to me with tears in his eyes and said: What has happened to you, did someone do something to you? Yes he said those exact words!!!! Of course upon saying that I burst into tears and he begged me to tell him if something happened to me because he didnt even KNOW who I was anymore. THis is what psychopaths do to those that have encountered them on our level. They DESTROY their targets, and they end up destroying families and relationships of those close to their targets and they find a sick satisfaction in all this, they think its just GREAT… I wanted to share with others on this forum how my own husband saw me transform into a total train wreck. NO I never told him and I never ever will, I paid dearly for this encounter and he should not have to suffer also because I fell victim to this predator. The article was good, and right on target, (no pun intended) x0 Linda

  16. Lesley: Yes I have also felt such despair from the guilt and I spoke in great lengths with my counselor about how I could have done such a thing, married 20 some years and never ever strayed or even thought of being with someone else, I didnt care how unhappy I was in my marriage cheating is NOT the answer and yet I did that with a psychopath of all people, but maybe it took the deceptive skilled techniques of such an individual to sway me into thinking and believing I had found my soul mate; compiled with my tremendous feelings of lonliness, neglect and abuse in my marriage these were also factors that attributed to why he appeared in my life as such a “dream come true”. They put on the act and appearance such as this so they can rape you and that is only the beginning, they have more in store for you and they keep you hooked so you stick around for the mental torture that follows. They are dangerous beyond what I can even describe, and yes you are right Claudia that when the illusion dies they become trivial, they become trivial and less dangerous only when you remove yourself from their game then you can stand back and say, OMG what a fricking fraud, what a piece of shit, what a low life parasite that he has to pretend he is something he is not in order to sleep with women and scam them.

    I remember meeting him at hotels the bastard would show up take what he wanted and then leave me there ALONE, now the thought of him makes me throw up because he is such a slimy creepy sick pervert. He never deserved to be in the same room as me let alone be WITH me, he struck a gold mine when he victimized me and not that I am being boastful of myself but the illusion died and all that is left is a pile of crap. x0 Linda

  17. Thank you to you all for your help and support.
    Kelli, i think if I had stopped seeing my ex path at the end of February when he dumped me then me and my ex husband would have sorted things out. I think my ex husband hoped if he stuck his head in the sand it would all go away. He never got angry, I think he just hoped without hope that I would never see the path again. Unfortunately it did not work out that way and its something i will regret for the rest of my life i think. However, my ex husband never lost his temper, never fought for me, he actually went out and bought a top from Gap the day i told him and then went to his work. It was maybe just shock. The problem with me and my ex husband was I felt that with him anyone would “do”. He sadly proved that fear when he met his new gf on line and she moved in to our flat the minute i moved out to rented accommodation. She is now pregnant and due a baby in November!! I still speak to my ex husband and we get on fine. I am happy for him if he is happy, though I dont know if he is truly, I see the hurt in his eyes..maybe he feels he moved on too quickly…. I do agree with what you say that he maybe was so hurt and the damage was so severe that there was just no going back for him. Everytime we have to speak on the phone though i always end up in tears, like a right woose! Its guilt and wishing that in February that had indeed been the end of the path, because that was what should have happened. But as Michael says, 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing….I cannot go back…
    Linda, I was the same as you, I cracked up. My ex husband thought i was ill, sick dying…he asked the same, has someone done something to you. And yes, they HAD. And yes I was SICK, because I’d allowed this sick bastard to ruin everything. The whole situation was traumatic. A living nightmare.
    Susan thank you for the link and you are right we have to be gentle on ourselves. I have thought of suicide many a time, even when I was on holiday, but to do that would mean that the ex path had won, and even though I actually dont care what he thinks, I would hate for him to say to people..”you see, i told you she was mad..”
    I took the blame, the full hit from my ex husband for it all going wrong, though he in his heart knew there was something not right if he could move on so quickly and not try to work things out. I phoned him before I left to go to live with the ex path and pleaded with him for us to save what we had (some people settle for a lot less than what we had together) and he wouldnt. I think it was his way of punishing me and i dont blame him and I never will. I just think, for his sake, he moved on too quickly, whether we had ended up back together or not.
    Emily, its just an awful experience, despair is really the only word. You lose your “self” ..that is how I felt and still feel sort of …that I lost ME. No contact and having people around you that like you and love you is a great help. It takes a long time to get over but I hope you and your husband can, as something good should not be allowed to be destroyed by someone so evil.
    Love to you all

  18. Linda, for psychopaths destroying not only you, but getting you to collude with them in destroying your own family offers the extra thrill/bonus. My psychopathic ex was pressuring me to make love in the basement while my family was at home. Of course I refused, but thought even at the time that the request was exceptionally sleazy and sadistic. It was another big red flag–needing the circumstantial thrill of the risk of getting caught plus the bonus of using your target to humiliate other targets. Typical psychopathic behavior. You may have told us already, but what happened between you and your husband afterwards? Did your marriage recover from the onlslaught by the psychopath? Claudia

  19. Linda, the illusion dies when they no longer have any incentive to keep it up because you’re less useful and exciting to them. It’s very cold and calculated behavior. Claudia

  20. Lesely, in some ways the instict to move on after your spouse moved on to someone else is healthy. The most humiliated victims of psychopaths stay with them, despite the double standards and emotional abuse because they’re too weak to let go and too dependent on them. But if you move on too fast, the risk is that you haven’t processed the shock emotionally. I’m still sorry that the psychopath had such a negative effect on your marriage. Despite the fact he moved on so fast, your husband sounds so much better than the psychopath. Anyone who is not personality disordered would be! Claudia

  21. Claudia, your blog is amazing. I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and comfort from your writing. What I have experienced was almost surreal and I find that I am finally able to make sense of it all.

    I got involved with a P during a period of time when I had decided to end my 19 yr marriage. The P had been living with a much older woman for over 15 years. The P is 49, she is 65 and he had been involved with her over 12 yrs ago, they purchased a house together, etc yet he claimed he was not “married to her”, not involved with her. While with her he was involved with other women, I was not the first. They had a stormy relationship, one or the other moving in and out of their property.

    He seemed to enjoy keeping our relationship a secret from her and pretending as though she would be so hurt if she knew he was involved with me. I think he liked the fact that there were four people (him, her, me, my soon to be ex husband) in his relationship and he was causing all of us misery. Eventually he told her the truth and she moved out of the home and they settled their property.

    After seeing him for over two years and shortly after he was truly free from his weird friendeship/relationship he out of the blue announced that he had never felt anything the entire relationship, was “uncomfortable”, and simply walked away with no warning whatsoever….after of course one last sexual encounter with me.

    He claimed since he was never married this was “just what men do … men are different than women”. Really? Michael, Greg, Julian … curious what your thoughts are on that comment! I have never heard of such a cold detached approach to ending a relationship.

    He said he tried to love me but couldn’t which I guess makes sense if you are a P. He may not have loved me, but apparently he loved having sex with me. He was the “insatiable type” just as one of your other posts outlines. A very mind blowing confusing experience.

    Your article regarding Cognitive Disonance was amazing as well because I have felt so completely confused in wanting to believe he seriously was trying to change his life. I still struggle to understand how he could do such a 180 degree turn around and show absolutely no empathy for how that might affect me, especially ending the relationship immediately after intimacy with NO WARNING. I still have nightmares from the experience.

    We became involved when he lost his job of 17yrs, and I supported him thru the tough times of unemployment, and preparing for his job search. I have known him for **over 15yrs professionally** and never in a million years did I think I would ever be involved with him, yet here I am trying to recover from the emotional rape I experienced. Your Cog Dis article talks about health people cannot abruptly detach from relationships … I am still shocked how he chose to repay me for all of my support.

    He used me for sex, for career support, entertainment, all the while telling me he really wanted to change his life and get out of his “Bizzare platonic relationship” with a woman old enought to be his mom. He would cry in front of me over his “situation”, his career, etc and I got totally caught up in his problems and felt like they were my own.

    All along he was using me and dumped me abruptly and cruely (two days before I was schedule for surgery…an added bonus). It has been almost one year since our break up and while I am feeling much better, I still feel so violated and used.

    I so appreciate the material posted here … it has helped me more than you’ll ever know.


  22. Joanne, thanks for sharing with us your experience, which sounds so similar to what many of us went through. It’s not surprising that the psychopath broke up after he got what he needed from you (monetary support, got you emotionally hooked on him, and sexual/narcissistic supply from you as well). When they do break up, they often do it abruptly because they have another victim or victims lined up and to hurt you as much as possible. He may, however, try to come back, so I hope that you’ll keep in mind how disordered and cruel he is and never give him or anyone like him another chance. Claudia

  23. While the pain is still in my mind almost daily, I know I could never go back to that situation. Your other post about the lure of the honeymoon phase hit the nail right on the head on why going back is impossible.

    One thing I do need help with is this feeling of needing to dump all of this anger and knowledge back onto him. I have sent him alot of material about his behavior and how its documented in incredible detail.

    He actually admits he resembles much of the “diagnosis”. He is already involved with another woman and is “introducing her” to his 65 yr old ex girlfriend, roomate, mommy, or whatever she is. At least I am no longer part of the triangle.

    I have read the book Women who love Psychopaths and the quote that stuck in my head was something to the effect that when you tell a P how much they have hurt you it translates into something like “Please pass the butter”. Ugh!!

    I am still so angry that I often cannot resist the urge to tell him off again and again…I am mostly in NC but it has been so difficult to get past this need to attack him back. Pointless I’m sure….

  24. Ok, I think I’m in a place to talk about this openly now. At least to a degree more than I did before. I’m really struggling with my role, my reactions to my ex. I talked about this in therapy today when we were talking for a bit about the relationship dynamics. I feel a great deal of sadness about it and blame myself constantly. I keep thinking that I could have done something to work the relationship. Like keep my mouth shut or not react to anything he said to me. One of the things that just kills me is that he would say things to me that were BRUTAL. I would either get up and leave (as I did towards the end), but more often than not, scream for hours at him. I would scream in person or on the phone. I’d text him like fifty million text messages, and he’d give me the silent treatment or say “please stop hurting me”, or “please stop texting my phone, your texts have cost me 20.00 already and I could have had a decent dinner for that”. Even as I write this out, it is still so painful to recall, I’m in tears. I loved him so much that painful things like his silent treatments or blowing me off after he did or said something is still raw for me. I spent the majority of the relationship reacting like that. What I never bothered to notice until MUCH later in the relationship, is that he would TAKE it. TOTALLY calmly, like he enjoyed it. Was deriving some joy out of it, or satisfaction. I mean he would LISTEN to me if we were on the phone or in person, for HOURS. He loved my reactions. I told him many times to tell me advance before he ran off with his wife on vacation and only ONCE did I get a heads up other than the day or two before of the day OF his departure. It made me cry every single time. He would sort of smile, or stare off in another direction, then would come and “hug” me and tell me not to worry about it, then he’d leave me in pain. The countless times he did this to me are innumerable, and it was other occasions as well. The basic running theme was, every OTHER woman I’m with, my wives of course, are WORTHY of my time and attention, but I’ll give you bones here and there if you keep giving me what I want. My fantasy of us being together was the carrot. Now that I see what was done, really SEE it, I’m beside myself with grief, for my reactions and for what I put up with. He also left me with the idea that I was the ONLY woman in his life that wasn’t “worthy” of marrying or living with. I know for a FACT that his wife reacted the same way, screaming and yelling in marathon fighting for hours. He would act like the victim, but now I understand that this was provoked. This theme is similar with his ex wives and myself. Now that I’ve been out of the relationshit for awhile, I’m seeing how truly deeply he had his claws into my heart. What he was doing to me with the carrot dangle for ten years, weaving a web into my most cherished and hoped for dreams. And now they are gone. I’m robbed of my self worth, my sexuality (he was abusive with that too), my spirituality…..everything. My reactions have mellowed somewhat over the months now being away from him. I was very reactive the first several months to any perceived slight. My PTSD is now me isolated, in times of anxiety that lasts for hours. I feel I’ve lost my ability to communicate. My boundaries right now are VERY tight through trauma. My therapist told me that right now, all of these things are things I need to just sit through for a time until we progress and onto EMDR therapy. I am not as open, not as friendly and tight lipped about my life and everyone in it. I feel as if a label upon my back and butt that says, “damaged goods”. I’m deeply grieving the parts of myself that I was once proud of, and all given to him. i was so tightly wound up in him that I lost me, my family, my friends. I have kept a few friendships, but only those that are not toxic to me. My kids and I are becoming closer, but I’ve got boundaries with them now too. I HATE thinking about him and her twenty four seven that he’s off being happy without ANY consequences to himself, in fact life is GRAND, more money, more sex, more life, while he took mine. I’m very very angry…and there is no justice. NONE. He walks away with a BETTER life, without a care in the world. I have to learn to accept this bitter reality. It is excrutiating to me. I want to get past this and not spend another minute thinking about this soul stealing bastard. I’m so sick to death of it taking up my life and my time. I’m tired of hearing get over it, I’m tired of thinking about him having sex with her or that he’s married AGAIN in such a short time….I feel “out there” in a never never land. In emotional suspended animation. There are times that I wish I didn’t feel; at all. Times I wish I could be like him, Without a care in the world and not sitting here with my life in a shambles asking myself………was it me? Why did I choose this? Why didn’t I open my eyes and why did it take so long? My consequences are overwhelming to me. And all of the healing takes so much damned time. I want sooooo very much to believe that when I can get past this, that it will have been worth what happened, if it makes me a better person and doesn’t have me missing and constantly thinking about a pathological man. Isn’t it normal for people to just “move on” after a break up? So many do. I often wonder if it’s ABNORMAL to feel this way. It is SO frustrating and SO painful. What I hang onto now is my isolation, my tight boundaries, my heart in tatters, my life in shambles, no direction, what feels like little hope for genuine recovery. Logically, I know this is not true. I just want this to stop. Was he pathological or is everyone pathological? Today my therapist told me that having these boundaries is a GOOD thing, the isolation necessary for a short time more. But the boundaries feel so uncomfortable and she explained that because I never had them, it WILL feel this way for awhile. To me it feels selfish. I use to believe that there was good in everyone, was so open and friendly and open to new love and new things when we became intimate. He destroyed that new hope. I don’t recognize who that woman was anymore. Does it ever get better? I’m almost nine months out now, shouldn’t it be better already? Maybe it WAS me!!! I can’t help but wonder now with all the damage and all the healing that needs to happen. Kelli

  25. Kelli

    If it’s of any comfort to you I think many of us feel like we should be over it 6, 9,12 mths later yet it truly is such a bizarre experience I don’t believe you can ever be completely free of the memories. My counselor said approx 5% of the population is disordered in this way so I try to consider it as extremely bad luck.

    No matter what we did in the past for the P, or try to do going forward I believe the outcome will always be the same.
    I don’t believe deep down inside you really want to be exactly like him, moving on without feeling anything, using and damaging others without a second thought.

    I think you need to feel the pain for as long as you have to and surround yourself with supporters. This blog is wonderful and has been my island of sanity. I have been reading it for quite some time and finally decided to join the conversation.

    Don’t compare yourself to others in regard to how long you need to grieve. Everyone processes trauma differently. Men tend to turn to work to forget about things like this so I have been using this strategy myself. It works somewhat but I still have that lost feeling you described, especially on the weekends. I think with time the thoughts will become less intrusive.

    My P told me I had transformed him from “simply a jerk” into a monster. My response to him was “I” had not transformed him into anything that he wasn’t already. It was “him” who had transformed me. The understatement of the year….

  26. Claudia: To answer your question of my marriage; its not very good it was not good before the disordered entered my life I realized even MORE while I was in this relationship how abusive my husband had been to me for so many years. For a long time I compared my husband to the path – compared to the charms and seductive skills of the path my husband looked like a dead fish to me but of course none of how the path acted was ever real so he took me into a fantasy that was pretty remarkable I felt ALIVE again, then when I discovered just what I was involved with it felt like my world had ended.

    I no longer compare the two but In my reality and truth I KNOW my husband has an abusive nature and he was WRONG to verbally insult and demean me for all those years, I dont know if I can forgive his behavior he has changed some things in his ways but at the core abusive men dont change, very few do. I am trying to first recover from the path before I make any rash decisions about my marriage. I went from the prince charming love of my life to now a dead, sexless marriage. It was a hard hard fall from the cloud I was on – I wasnt on cloud 9 I was way way up there, maybe cloud 9,000 to be exact.. Now I am back down to earth where I should be, its not very pleasant and I miss the pretend prince charming – I think I will always love that pretend prince. x0 Linda

  27. Hi kelli I have just read your post and I could have cried reading it. You seem to be in so much pain and my heart goes out to you. We have to always remember that it was nothing we did wrong and they are the disordered ones not us. Alot of what you said I can relate to like telling him you were hurt and him just calmly listening to you and it not meaning a thing to him. I now realise he was getting some pleasure from me hurting. You also said that you can’t stop thinking about him being with this woman and how happy he is. But is he happy and we know from previous posts that he will just end up doing the exact same thing to her. I know my s path has new targets but I just try to tell myself that I am worth so much more than reducing myself to being there for him when it suits him. I am thinking of you. Hope your day good today. Emily x

  28. Hi claudia

    thank you god yes my ex husband was a million times better than my ex path. i knew that before and when i left him but i think by then i had accepted my fate.

  29. Kelli
    I think whatwuzthat is so right with what she says. All of us wonder when on earth we are going to get over this. I split up with my ex path in November last year though the playing games with me lasted until May this year. I too text him a thousand times, sent him emails, pleading with him and asking him how he could treat me the way he did, did he not MISS me?? We all know on this site what the answers to my distressed communications were. I dont know how long this pain will go on for, i wish it would go away too. I’m sick of thinking of him and wishing i was with him and wishing i had kept my mouth shut. But you can’t as you cannot allow someone to treat you that way. In my case he was mentally destroying me, but they all do lets face it. I lost so much weight that when i came home to scotland i was 6stone 12 at my worst. To stay with him would have killed me maybe. I think that i wish i had been a stronger person, that I wish I had just ignored him. But the thing is Kelli, you cant as they will find ANY way to get to you, they will use any method to get to you. And i think i was a very strong person because I did leave, with no home to go to, no job, no nothing. But every day i’m scared shitless of what is going to happen to me, and its made worse by the fact that bastard could not give a shit. In fact he blames me for everything that went wrong and has no doubt told everyone i’m mad, which they do to discredit you.
    I think it takes so long to get over as you cannot speak to your ex path. You have to deal with it alone, to an extent which is why its so important to seek counselling and have good honest patient friends. Honestly, I do not know how long it will take any of us to get over, I think, as one of my friends who had an ex path boyfriend told me “i felt as though i’d been in a car crash and got out alive and that I would never be the same person again, but in a good way because no one will ever use me like that again”…I hope the anger goes for us, and the hurt, but I for one wont ever be the same person again. I do hope sadness really does fly away on the wings of time, for all of us.

  30. Lesley, I’m so sorry that the psychopath destroyed your marriage. There seems to be a point of no return for saving the marriage, if you move in with the psychopathic lover. I was also at the edge of the precipice, just a few weeks away from moving in with the psychopathic lover, who would have destroyed not only me, but also my family: which was his goal all along. The goal of these psychopaths isn’t just conquest, it’s ownership and destruction of individuals and their entire families. Otherwise they would be content with the romantic, clandestine conquests. But they aren’t. They need to possess their targets, because without possessing them they can’t fully get them under their control to destroy them. Claudia

  31. Linda, verbal abuse is emotional abuse, which can be just as humiliating and devastating as physical abuse. So in a way the silver lining of this affair with the psychopath is that it opened your eyes to abusive and controlling individuals in general. But the pretend Prince Charming is the most dangerous, because it’s the camouflage of a social predator. Claudia

  32. Claudia: I am finding lots of silver linings in the aftermath not only in discovering abusive and controlling individuals in general (one in my OWN marriage) but discovering there is NO SUCH thing as prince that will ever rescue from what you believe is missing in your life. I HOLD THEY KEY TO THAT – In all the years that I have been married I never really wished that someone would come into my life and save me, I only struggled to find the cause of why my husband was the way he was. I always blamed myself for how my husband saw me; now I know with all my flaws, faults and shortcomings there is NO excuse NONE for another person to abuse you in ANYWAY or make you feel any less of a person.

    My husband is NOT a pretend prince; however I see right through his attempts to make me feel less valued as a person and quite frankly as I told him one day, STOP, it doesnt work anymore – Sometimes I want to say to him: Look I had the BEST of the abusers that walk the face of the earth – the KING of all abusers, a psychopath and I will stomp you out like dirt when you try to make me feel bad about myself. There is a silver lining for ya Claudia never again will another human being abuse me, NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. I’m having a hard time today and am needing advice. I got an email that seemed a bit weird, from a friend of mine that I’ve not heard from for awhile. She works with my ex. She and I were very close prior to his being put on AL for ethics violations in his relationship with me, then being fired and rehired through a hearing that was held (traumatic for me, as I had to appear). We have not had much contact so this email surprised me. I contacted her and she told me not to open anymore emails from that account because she never uses it. the content was promoting canadian pharmaceuticals and ex’s email at work was on the bcc line. I wrote her and told her that while I’m glad they are ‘friends” now, I didn’t want to see anymore emails like that from her account and then asked her if she was aware that they were even there. She said no, apologized and then we sent a few emails back and forth. She wants nothing to do with me. He has infiltrated her too with his seeming comeback, and smear campaign. This hurts me beyond belief because she knew about us and what he was doing to me and, in fact, was the one who outted our relationship to his boss. We haven’t spoken since the hearing except when I ran into her at a gas station and she mentioned she’d like to stop by and visit as she is in my town on Wednesdays. Since that time, apparently, ex asshole has also worked real hard at building image at work. They all think I’m shit now. I’m feeling so hurt and walking around my town with my head in shame. It is so angering. Why doesn’t HE? He has no shame at all. None. They all love him at work now. WTF? I’m still a client of this place. It is so painful to know what he’s trying to do to me. I’ve been thinking about moving to another area altogether and i guess this has given me what I needed to do so. I can’t heal here. The only issue I have is my son’s. One ready to finish high school this next year. But I can’t stay. I already know this in my heart. I’m too ashamed to show my face anywhere while Mr. Perfectly Redeemed is building up and protecting his good boy who did a bad thing image. Any advice?

  34. Wow! I wish I were wise enough to have a comment for everyone, but I’m not. But I do have a comment for Keli, who said, “why did I choose this?” You didn’t! Had he told you at the beginning who and what he really was and how he would treat you, would you have said “Great! That’s what I’ve always dreamed of happening to me!” Of course not. He had a hidden agenda. HIDDEN. You didn’t choose it. That is explained in the Emotional Rape book I referenced above. It is a “bait and switch” interaction, if you are familiar with that marketing term. (Advertising a great bargain, but when the shopper gets to the store to make the purchase, the great bargain is gone, and there is something else in its place, much more expensive. Some of us realized the cost of the relationship kept going up, but we had already driven to the store, we were excited about the item, etc!)

    You also asked “Isn’t it normal for people to just “move on” after a break up?” For the answer to that question, an excellent book is “When you love a man who loves himself” by Keith Campbell. He writes of narcissists (and psychopaths are that, plus a horrible cocktail mix of other personality disorders!) But at any rate, he walks you through the build up and collapse of a normal relationship, and then the build up and sudden screeching halt of a relationship with a narcissist. He makes the difference crystal clear, at each step of the relationship. (If you can even call the interactions with a psychopath a “relationship”. )

    For a psychopath, dumping the “love of his life” is as easy as changing the channels on the tv. For the victim, who has the capacity to love deeply, it hurts. But the important thing is to realize EVERYONE has vulnerabilities that can be exploited by a con. EVERYONE. Now, with some reflection, we can see our vulnerabilities (again EVERYONE has them), and unlike most people, we can now be aware of those and protect ourselves from those who would exploit our vulnerabilities (like a willingness to give a second, third, fourth chance: a hunger to be told we are beautiful; a longing for “romance”; a focus on the words of love rather than the deeds of love; a love of excitement, being willing to forget our values in support of another; etc) None of these are BAD things….until a BAD man comes along, intent on exploiting them. (or a bad woman).

    If there were no pyschopaths out there, we wouldn’t have to be aware of our good traits (and some traits we may not be fond of) that can be used to exploit us. But psychopaths are out there. Once you come out of a psychopathic “relationship” and heal, you are one of the strongest people around!

  35. Susan,

    Thank you for your feedback. It’s so helpful! And you’re right, if the real agenda had been revealed, well, I would have headed for the hills REAL quick! But even when I suspected I stayed…….until I couldn’t any longer without losing what was let of my sanity, but the smear campaign HURTS so much, I don’t know what to do with that yet, except give it to God. I have no control over what he says, but yet part of those he talks to, are those that are responsible for my livelihood.

    It hurts. He’s redeemed himself. I’m defenseless and that pisses me off!

  36. Claudia,

    Your current post answers a question I have had for awhile regarding my ex-P. I wondered why if all he wanted was to have a short fling with me as the OW, why not just be honest and say so. Why spin a fantasy of how we are going to be together and have a wonderful life filled with travel, passion, comittment and love? Why tell me he has never stopped loving me all these years and I am the “love of his life”. After all, we are both adults and I could have chosen to be in the affair or not. But as your post states so well, duping the conquest is doubly intoxicating and adds to the pyschopath’s arousal. Seeing me falling for him was a sick thrill for him. And this would be the second time in my life I fell for it with him. The sicker I realize he is, the easier it is becoming to let it go.


  37. MARI: OH MY GOD, I have asked myself this same question for the past year!!!!!!!!!! Do they have to spin a web of such deceit for ALL their targets? In fact I EVEN gave him that choice, I said look lets just have an affair, and he STILL promised me the moon, stars and a life with him told me we would be together forever, I was the one he always regreted he let go, that we would have a great life together and that he has loved me always, (are you throwing up yet?) I feel the same way, I am also an adult and it would have been my choice to either walk away or become involved why the act, mask and persona of playing someone he was not? I really dont think it was just for the sole purpose of sex, I think he had a higher agenda, he can get sex anytime from others new and old that he wants, WHY did he have to promise me the world and calculate such a sham? God Mari yours sounds just like mine, the SAME EXACT WORDS, So Claudia I would also like to know x0x0 Linda

  38. Mari, I think psychopaths want more than a short fling: they want that, plus to destroy you and your family. Domination and destruction of their victims and their families is a psychopath’s main goal. Short flings, in themselves, may not accomplish that. But psychopaths isolate you from your loved ones, blackmail you, manipulate you, lie to you, all this to better control and eventually destroy you. Claudia

  39. Susan, great point! Few people choose a psychopath and those who do are often disordered. We get entangled into a psychopath’s web because he or she hides their wrongdoings and lies to us. The mask of sanity fools us. It’s not an informed choice at all. It’s a trap made of hiding, lies and false promises. Claudia

  40. Kelli, I’d cut this friend off as well as the psychopath. Anyone who colludes with a psychopath or defends him is either blind or dangerous/pathological themselves. It’s best to stay away from these people because they keep you entangled in the psychopath’s life and can be toxic or at least prevent your recovery. I advise: no contact with the psychopath ever again or with any of his cronies and supporters. They can be as harmful as he is sometimes to you and your recovery. You have real and supportive friends. You don’t need to be entangled in any mess with the psychopath and his friends. Claudia

  41. Linda, unfortunately that’s true. Anyone who seems too good to be true usually is. But having boundaries can protect us from disordered personalities even when we give frauds the benefit of the doubt initially. Claudia

  42. Claudia and Linda,

    I keep vacillating back and forth between whether I think my ex is a P or not. He has a lot of the traits: pathological lying, ADHD, only sleeps 3-4 hours a night, charming, glib, shallow affect, etc. But he also helped me a lot financially (very significantly) which isn’t what P’s normally do. (He said he wanted me to depend on him and live my dreams, blech!) So, that one aspect has had me baffled.

    But this really proves it. A normal person who has an affair is probably doing it for sex and love; but for a P the sex isn’t enough, it is the power over another person’s perceptions and life that really turns them on. Hence all the words and actions intended solely to dupe. And he has broken it off twice, just for the drama and hurt he can cause me.

  43. On another note, I have been reading about P’s and sleep patterns (actually, I read everything I can find about P’s; it really is a form of therapy!). Most of them don’t need much sleep, and they don’t dream much after adolescence (similar to autistics). My P has pretended to have dreams in order to manipulate me, but when he describes them, they sound more like a movie than a dream. No allegory or symbolism as in real dreams. So, it is obvious he was making them up. Also, my P sleepwalked as a child. I think that may also have a link to pyschopathy. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

  44. Claudia, that is exactly right. It takes time to wrap our heads around the fact that just like most of us sort of always have in the back of our mind “How can I show support to my friends, let them know I care”….so does the psychopath JUST AS AUTOMATICALLY AND PERVASIVELY have in the back (and front) of his mind, how can I demonstrate my power over this person? How can I pull one over on them? How far can I push them towards total destruction? This lust for power and dominance is much more important than “what can I get from them or use them for?” Once you REALLY grasp that, you get what they are all about.

    The P I was involved with referred to one weekend together as one of the best weekends of his life. I was flabbergasted. There was nothing special about it, and two of the three days/nights he told me to sleep elsewhere and we didn’t have sex. And when we did on the last night, it was a sexual assault, where I was physically pinned and unable to stop him from doing something I said scared me and I didn’t want to do. And he was in a race and purposefully gave me the wrong time, so I would miss seeing him cross the finish line.

    Of COURSE it was one of the best weekends of his life! He finally saw that he could treat me terribly and I would stay and say how much I loved him. He was on a power/dominance high and he loved it. Got away with sexual assault! Best weekend of his life, of course!

    I don’t blame myself. He was exploiting my ability to “understand”, to be supremely forgiving, and by then I had a “betrayal bond” with him, where there is just the right mix of abuse and terror with little acts of kindness to make a very strong bond. Especially since I had been raised under the influence of such a bond with my mom.

    I once had a dog that was biting. I would never do this again, but the dog trainer had me and the dog (who was on a leash) stand in a corner, while the trainer cracked a huge whip around us, shouting “Whatcha doing?!” Finally the dog was shaking and peeing from fear, though the whip never touched us. The trainer told me to drop the leash. The trainer walked across the room, crouched down and said “Come here’….and much to my astonishment, the dog ran across the room and covered this stranger with licks (kisses), his tail wagging like crazy. He had formed an instant betrayal bond. I feel horrible about that now, I didn’t know what was going on. But if the dog thereafter started after someone, I would just say “Whatcha doing” and the dog would stop in his tracks and come back to me.

    I was like that dog, with the P cracking his whip around me, and then when he would call, I would go running to him and cover him with kisses. I didn’t have much ability at that point to respond otherwise.

    But now I DO have the ability to respond differently. I also now have a job where I have to stand up to people trying to bully me, lie to me, etc. and I AM able to do so. There is no doubt in my mind that a psychopath will never be able to con me again…at least not for long. At first it feels like you just don’t trust anyone, because before we just about trusted everyone! But now, it just feels like I’m strong, not disillusioned, just strong.

    But I remember well that at the time I left the P, the only reason I could leave the P was that I really had no choice. I was having diarrhea and panic attacks at just the thought of him and I went no contact. Healing could not begin until then.

    The book Claudia has written “The Seducer” is a fictional account that I think helps heal by letting us see inside the mind of a psychopath, as opposed to how he is portraying himself to the victim. It is brilliant!Even after I was mostly healed, the book helped me heal even more. The book helps you finally GET IT….These psychopaths want to dominate, have complete power, pull one over on you just for kicks, humiliate you, lie to you just for the thrill of it, evoke heartbreak in you…it amuses them, they get off on it.

    I don’t think they are happy. I think inside they feel empty, and they are constantly in the giip of envy.

  45. Kelli –

    If it’s an consolation, I went through EXACTLY what you are currently going through…and I’m here – living proof – that there is light at the end of the tunnel! My ex-husband would torture me with the silent treatment as well; especially via text message. It’s sick that they do these things for enjoyment. I have been divorced from mine for nearly two years (separated for over a year before then)…and it really has taken me close to that entire amount of time to begin feeling like the person I “lost”. You are taking a lot of necessary steps to heal yourself, so WAY TO GO! There is no time frame on healing…it’s all very personal…so don’t start to doubt yourself. You’re a little broken emotionally right now, but with time and effort those wounds will begin to heal. In the meantime, keep healthy boundaries with people (co-workers, friends, family, potential dates)…and continue to invest time into YOU. You will get through this, I promise!

  46. Kelli, I totally understand what you mean by wanting to “get out of town.” I can not go anywhere without seeing people I know and wonder, what has she told them about me that’s not true? I am not comfortable around anybody that was acquainted with “us”. My ex always tells me I’m a bad father, especially when things don’t go her way. The old that’s what I do but, I’m gonna blame it on you. I know I am a good father in my heart. I would do anything for my kids and have. I walk around town paranoid. Every time I talk to someone I want to defend myself, possibly for no reason, just my own paranoia. I even avoid people. I wonder if smearing us and our reputation is a tool they use to make us look like we are the crazy one? You know what? It is. It has to be. They are so worthless, empty and pitiful that they do what ever it takes to take the spotlight off of them. With a big smile and not a care in the world other than keeping their mask intact for outsiders, who are not yet convinced or don’t have enough contact to see what they really are. Kelli like you I am still in town for my kids. I have done everything in my power to protect them. They are settled in. I feel the battle for me to move would be very hard on them because my ex p is relentless. I have such a hard time not telling them what she is, I have not told them anything. I am hoping they will figure it out on their own. I don’t know I feel like I would be stooping to her level if I started telling them more. I don’t know am I wrong? Should I tell them more? After all she is their Mother. Man these people can really mess a guy up. I cant answer your question or give advise but just know you are not alone. Keep your head high and all we can hope is that some day they will put their foot so far down their throat that they will choke.

  47. Gary,

    I can’t imagine trying to co-parent with one of these people. I am lucky in that I have no reason to ever see my ex P again as he is not my children’s father. I have two kids and often thank my lucky stars that they were not involved in getting to know him.

    I know the feeling as well, wanting to move in an effort to start anew. My ex P use to come to my place all the time, and we mostly did things near my community so the memories are still present. I sometimes feel like my home has been tainted by him and physically moving would help me feel better. When you’ve got kids together, you are in a way stuck and have to find a different way to cope.

    I wish you luck with all of this. It must be an exhausting heart breaking experience.


  48. Susan (this is more in relation to your post below about your weekend from hell..)
    You are so right about their M.O. and that they do calculate how they can hurt you to the maximum effect.
    My ex and I had an argument one night, and after it I went up to our bedroom fully expecting the severe onslaught of verbal abuse later, as he announced he was going to an AA meeting. He then came upstairs, was very loving, said he wanted me to go to the meeting with him, he wanted me to meet people, and he would like me to be with him, that i was to forget our argument and not worry so much about things…in the back of my mind I should have known this did not feel right, however..
    We went to the meeting and he was asked to speak whereupon he told the attendees that he had his partner with him, that he was so lucky to have my support, that he was so selfish but I was always strong for him, always there for him,. I was very surprised by this but not that fooled…he was fine all the way home in the car and me, him and his friend had a cup of tea when we got home and everything was fine. The moment however that his friend left he changed. He went silent, got up went to bed and when i went up and asked him if he was ok that was IT. he got up, launched into how it wasnt’ working out, that i was rude to his friend when we got home (!?) that he was sick of me, that he never loved me. This went on ALL night. My point is (and i said this to him at the time) is that it was ALL calculated. He took me to that meeting (where incidentally when we first got there he walked off and left me and people thought i was a “new AA member..hahaha”), he stood up and made out infront of his friends that he was so lucky to have me then he took me home and emotionally destroyed me for 12 hours. When I said to him that he had calculated the whole thing, that it was premeditated and i thought he was a mental bastard he said I was sick in the head if i thought that. But it was true and it was HIM that was sick in the head. Susan you are right – you basically have to put your thoughts (if you are like us a normal functioning human being) and do the exact opposite of the nice thought then you get what they are. you understand then what is going in their heads and what they really think and how they are going to treat people. Absolutely terrifying. I must get your book claudia.
    Also Susan, my ex when he was trying to get rid of me (on a two/three weekly basis) would say these words “Lesley, I’m sorry…” that is all he had to say..in a sort of monotone dark voice..he usually finished it with “i dont want you” but just those three little words (not the usual ones!) would make my stomach turn, I would feel sick, my hands would uncontrollably shake…i am sure that if a man said that to me again that i was involved with it would have the same affect on me, even though he would necessarily not be ending our relationship. Like Pavlov’s dogs really, like your dog Susan, like us all, they traumatized us into submission.
    Love lesleyxxxx

  49. Susan and everyone. i do agree also Susan that they are indeed in the grip of envy. with my ex I felt he hated that i was popular, funny, easy going, people liked me, HIS friends liked me, it was as though he wanted what i had, he tried to copy my funny remarks, he wanted to be naturally just funny and sort of sunny, but he couldnt so he just destroyed me. as they all do. due i think to jealousy of what they can never be. human.

  50. I want to share something here that’s bothering me…..Lesley, your comment above is interesting…

    Yes, I snooped about his new wife today. What I found out was very interesting. It pretty much goes with what I know to be true of what he was looking for and the rush to marriage. They both have profiles on the site I found. I don’t “know” this man anymore, which proves I never did. She’s living in his house, but she has a home worth a million dollars of her own. She has children. Why she would live in his house is beyond me. HIs profile was more interesting. Now he’s got himself as “catholic” (He was a “christian-nazarene”) and his political affiliation is now “democrat” when he was definitely “republican” before. His interests also show investment search and research. OMG….I was so hurt. But it verified what i knew to be true already. He hit the jackpot with a sugar mama and he’s still working his job. I don’t get it. At first I was very hurt. But then it started to dawn on me….narcs get anything they want. He was willing to do anything to have money and be married to it. Can he keep the mask on that long? I can guarantee that his monologue to her, was filled with nothing but lies. I wonder if she’ll ever know. Can Psychopaths just not be abusive anymore? Or do we like to think they are or will continue to be, because it makes US who have been wounded feel better, when it reality, they’re just damned happy when they’re getting what they want? Isn’t the incentive to keep the mask on when they want something from the victim or is this something they literally cannot help?
    This information separated me from him in a sense. If I saw him somewhere, the only thing that would not have changed is how he looks, otherwise, he as morphed himself into someone I don’t recognize at all. With whom I know about him to be true, i find it impossible to keep the mask on for long, but he loves money and he loves investing and she has a lot of it. He can pay off his debts, continue to play disneyland dad and be even more popular with his friends. It hurts in ways too, because I didn’t have money. I also wasn’t quite as beautiful. And in ways, I feel so sorry for her. I hope she figures him out before he takes her for all of her money. How could she not know? His games were obvious to the woman before he married this one, what he was doing. How can he hide his behaviors, the one that shows his true colors for long? I read somewhere this morning, on another blog site,that it’s wrong to think that psychopaths don’t get away with their behavior. They do, more often than not, and many never find out.

    I don’t know what to think anymore. It makes it so hard to put what happened into perspective and what i believed I was seeing that was psychopathic.

    All in all, I hope he continues to be so into her, so into idealizing for all that money, that he doesn’t give me a second thought to me. I can’t imagine that it’s not a lot of energy to pretend to love someone for money. His profile also states he loves to travel and is into “healthy living” So much for the alcoholic I knew him to be.

    I’m glad I looked, to see the morphing. But at the same time, I’m left realizing that he will probably never be found out, or that he has redeemed himself because of his relationshit with her. I don’ tknow what to think about all of this and I don’t know how to validate my own experiences to be true. Thanks for listening to me vent. Kelli

  51. Gary,

    I just saw this comment and really appreciate your understanding. My children know their father is a psychopath. While they did not understand what that meant (except the older kids) when they were younger, I did tell them that their daddy was really sick and that it wasn’t their fault that they couldn’t be there for them. He deserted us though, so I’m not sure what advice I’d be able to offer other than this, Gary, eventually, her behaviors will puzzle and hurt your children as they become older. This could happen in various forms and ways. It is when this happens that you may be in a better place to explain to them what is happening, but on a level that is respectful, both to yourself and she. If it’s something that gets out of line, than further and more harsh actions would be required. I totally understand your paranoia Gary. I don’t share children with the ex, but I’m still a client of his and all his cronies are in this town. He has many clients that know me as well. He just remarried a rich woman and the last thing he wants is for anyone to know about me, and if they do, as they do where he works, it’s time for the smear campaign. This I already know has happened and it’s very devastating to me. On top of everything else. It’s hard not to feel completely trapped here when all i want to do is get the hell out of here. My children have been told nothing about what I”m feeling and I have to keep it in which further adds to my depression and pain. I’m so very torn on this level, because if I moved out of my county it would take me out of the clutches of my ex altogether and I would not longer be a client of that entity. I’m still thikning about it. Can I reallly wait another year? I’m going to do the EMDR therapy before I make a solid decision, hoping that will help. If it does not, I may well just choose to move for my own emotional well being and healing. I feel for you, gary.

  52. Thank-You I have been trying to figure this one out. I had to reblog this. This information is so important. Psychopaths truly are evil! I have been on my own personal quest to educate people about Psychopathic Narcissists. I have also been trying to figure out what makes certain types of women tick. The ones who love to go after men who are already involved. Your explanation is the closest I have come to an answer. I was married to a narcissists and my life partner was also involved with one before we met. My narcissists did me the favor of disappearing after leaving a complete disaster in his wake. My life partner’s narcissist is the kind you can’t get rid of. It is interesting that she broke up a relationship he was in when they got together. While together, she went after his best friend who was also involved in a relationship. I guess that was especially enticing because in that circumstance she was destroying three lives in one shot. She continues to have pictures of these men on the Internet like they are still friends with her, when in fact they avoid her like the plague. It has made me wonder; doesn’t this woman have any pride? But pride didn’t complete the picture. Does she have too much pride? But she is making a fool out of herself! She also has a girlfriends picture up, Liz, who will also never have anything to do with her again because she actually tried to enlist her approval in the nasty hurtful triangle she created.

    This woman was a prime example thrown in my face because she went after me when my life partner and I got together. Acting like I was breaking up her relationship with him when in fact they had not been together for two years prior to my meeting him. I suppose she was losing her tortuous game playing she was getting off on when I entered the picture. Like I wrote in my article http://thoughtsandimpressions.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/how-to-recognize-and-avoid-a-bitch/ Where I said “This article is referring to those jealous self centered manipulative unhappy souls whose prime objective whether consciously or unconsciously is to not face themselves and go about this world making the people around them as unhappy as they are, therefore making them feel normal.”
    There are many other women who I have been told about by men that wearing a wedding ring is a magnet for these kinds of women. For me it is very perplexing and thought provoking.

    It makes me wonder in all of these self-love teachings, have we created monsters in this generation? They have taken a simple principle to the extreme, have we actually encouraged people to become Psychopathic Narcissists?

  53. I posted my comment to your article before I read any of the comments on this feed. It seems to me several of the commenters were involved in affairs with married or unavailable men. Hello, there was your first clue! Do you ever think about the pain you have caused the wife or other women this man was involved with!?! I would rather slit my throat than cause that kind of pain to another woman. Because I know how it feels!! You knew about the wife or girlfriend and continued to get involved? Why because you are so special? This makes me so angry that woman are so disrespectful of one another! YOU are enabling these men to cause havoc in the lives of innocent others and yourself. Maybe there is a problem in his relationships, but you need to stay the heck out of it until he is single! I don’t want to hear the excuse that well I feel in love and it was too late by then. GREAT screw his wife, kids or whoever because it all about you, Right? Sorry I am not going to candy coat this. You obviously needed therapy before you got involved with the P. Besides wasn’t this article about the P who goes after someone who is already involved, and not the other way around? Sometimes I am so ashamed of my gender!

  54. Maya,

    Your comments are understandable. Next question, have you ever been involved with a psychopath? Or just know someone who has been? It’s to be involved with one that helps you understand how they dupe their targets, OW or not. Your comment also does not take into consideration the psychopaths agenda in that HE is responsible for HIS marriage and he lies, to HIS WIFE (also a dupe-MAIN dupe) as well as MANY OW’s (not usually one). There is NOT one human being in his path that is not wounded significantly or harmed in some way by one of these people. I have a suggested read for you: Women Who Love Psychopaths, by Sandra M. Brown. This should help enlighten you. Having said that, I’ve also been on the OTHER side of the fence, having been cheated on by my ex husband psychopath of 20 years, MANY times. With the exception of ONE (who was so obviously personality disordered as he), ALL have been forgiven and I’ve spoken with THREE. ALL have had the same lines and lies told to them by him, JUST AS I DID IN THE BEGINNING. SOB STORY, LIE AFTER LIE. And guess what? He didn’t give a damned that he hurt me or ANY Of those women. I do not blame them AT ALL, in fact, the last one RESCUED me from one of the most abusive relationships (other than the last) I’ve ever had and I’ve only had THREE over the course of my lifetime. I think that a lot of us who have been OW;s carry painful burdens with us, that the wives do, because no one goes without pain in these relationships. We carry the pain of having been duped, as well as carrrying the pain of having harmed, through our relationships with them, others. Your way of thinking is EXACTLY what a psychopath would jump up and down about. I will carry my share, but I will NOT carry his, nor should anyone else who has been so hurt. Please read he above and entitled book and EDUCATE yourself on pathologicals. Also, please read others stories elsewhere that have to coparent with one of these people. Even if a woman never becomes aware of her psychopath cheating (rare), he has other abusive behaviors that he uses to HARM HER ON PURPOSE. And he’ll do it to the next main dupe too, if she divorces him, I know this to be true. Kelli

  55. Maya, it’s certainly true that it’s best from a moral and any perspective to have good and clear boundaries. Having said that, almost everyone becomes the other woman or the other man with a psychopath because they have so many targets, most of whom don’t even know of each other’s existence. Quite often, the psychopath’s targets become both cheater and cheated. Clear moral boundaries help a lot, however, as you indicate, since after the honeymoon phase, psychopaths often enlist current victims to hurt past victims in a chain of abuse. By moral boundaries I mean not just not cheating or colluding with cheaters, but also not colluding with a pathological individual to hurt any other innocent person: once it becomes clear and transparent that’s what the psychopath (or narcissist) intends to do. It’s rarely transparent, however, in the beginning, when the psychopath (or narcissist) puts on a mask of being an ethical, other-regarding, caring individual. Even in the case when a psychopath tells a victim he’s married, he’s likely to say he’s separated or about to divorce and that the marriage is pretty much over and characterizes his wife as cold, abusive, or completely incompatible with him. Victims commonly react to the misleading information or downright lies. The mask usually starts coming off, and the psychopath gradually starts showing off his true colors, only once the victim is already emotionally attached to the disordered person. Some victims then have the strength (as well as the financial resources, circumstances and support from others) to leave the psychopath once they see what he is, others do not. Hopefully informational websites about psychopathy and narcissism can give more and more victims the knowledge and confidence to help them end the psychopathic bond (and with it, stop being part of a chain of abuse or immoral behavior). Claudia

  56. Kelli, I think you’re answering your own question here. If he’s morphing into what she wants, changing his political affiliation, and lying to her then this in itself is the psychopathic mask, filled with deception to better manipulate his new target. This is part of a psychopath’s emotional abuse: creating an illusion based on morphing, lies, and hiding his true nature, to better control and manipulate her. Now that you’ve seen this process at work with your own eyes, I hope that you’ll not look on their facebook or any profiles anymore. Claudia

  57. Lesley, for psychopaths any sign of your success or popularity takes away from their narcissistic power over you. That’s why they want to control, isolate and ultimately destroy you by reducing you to a slave status, psychologically. It’s not just because they’re envious of what you have, but also because for as long as you have any assets, economic, physical or psychological, you still have some power. Psychopaths want to reduce their victims to a state of powerlessness. Claudia

  58. Susan, you now see your relationship with your psychopathic ex with great lucidity. Yes, it’s amazing how human beings can get used to mistreatment if it happens gradually, interspersed with small favors and reconciliations. Each time you accept the mistreatment, it eventually gets worse and your boundaries become more permeable to the abuse. I’m so glad you saw through that and got out of that relationship for good. Claudia

  59. Mari, I’ve read that psychopaths need much less sleep than normal individuals and have a much higher level of activity. I don’t know why that happens, but do know that the emotional part of their brains are wired differently. The inability to bond emotionally to others on a deeper level causes their incapacity for empathy and propensity to play malicious games that hurt others. That is the defining physiological feature of psychopathy, while the different sleep patterns are more tangential, and probably a characteristic of other sleep disorders as well, not specific to psychopathy. Robert Hare, the author of Without Conscience, and his team of researchers are doing more studies on the unique neurological features of psychopathy. Claudia

  60. Claudia

    That is true, but even those who do, don’t know that they are being lied too. Particularly when psychopaths prey on the most vulnerable. Mine did it under the guise of “friendship” for two years, comrades in having awful marriages. He even brought me a cut up shirt his wife had given him for a father’s day present……she was that angry and that was BEFORE I knew ANY truth at all. Now I know what that was. He made her out to be a violent spouse, to which he said he needed to keep his door locked at night because he had guns in the house. LIES!!!!! Because just shortly before the relationship ended, he brought the gun out and laid it pointed at me on the bed.

    But at the time, I believed it. Hook, line and sinker.


  61. Mari, it’s not even necessary to make a clinical diagnosis. If you see a pattern of pathological lying, sex addiction, insatiable desire for control, impulse to belittle others and aggrandize yourself, glibness and charm, need to constantly play games with people, you know enough to realize you’re dealing with a very pathological individual and stay away from him or her. These are the symptoms that experts on the subject associate with psychopathy and malignant narcissism. However, the name or clinical label of the disorder matters less (to the victims) than its existence. Claudia

  62. Kelli, yes, deception is at the core of the psychopathic bond. That’s why a psychopath has so many victims: by lying to them about his marital status (or intentions) and, more generally, his identity: both past and present. Without the all-pervasive deception, there is no psychopathic mask, hence no lure for the numerous targets. If (most) targets knew they were dealing with a pathological liar and sex addict without scruples, they wouldn’t become entangled with him. Victims react to the lies and the false identity (which a psychopath molds to each and every victim), not to a psychopath’s real identity and malicious intentions, which would be profoundly repulsive to any normal human being. Claudia

  63. Gary, I can see why you’d hesitate letting your kids know about their mother’s personality disorder. That’s extremely difficult for children to process because they love both parents and want to believe the best about them. Depending upon your children’s age and emotional maturity, this information can traumatize them more than help them see her for what she is. I say: trust your intuition about this matter. You love your kids and want what’s best for them. When you sense that it’s time to explain to them their mother’s personality disorder you will. But for as long as you have serious reservations about this, it’s best to hold off. If you tell your kids before they’re ready to process this information, they may feel caught in the middle of a parental feud/ugly divorce, which could do more damage than good. Claudia

  64. Mari, I’m glad to hear that information about psychopathy is helping you let go of your disordered ex. Whenever you feel tempted to think of him in a (false) good light again, just return to the articles and books on psychopathy to remind yourself of the reality. Claudia

  65. One supporter of the P I knew said “he is not a liar”. I guess if the P withholds his/her intentions from people (using those persons for sex and other dubious pursuits) that its not considered lying.

    While this supporter was telling me this I recalled the timeline of how he lied to this supporter by not telling her the truth of his activities for over 12 months from the time he started them. She was clueless whilst defending him. I didn’t have the heart to say “hey sweetheart you are missing the facts”. It’s hardly worth trying to set the record straight because the P and his supporters have a bizarre way of thinking and you can never convince them how outrageous the Ps behavior truly is.

    The P claims he never plans any of these things they “just happen” and since he has never been married before his behavior is acceptable.

    If a person knew the information the P is withholding they could make an informed decision about getting involved and protect themselves from the inevitable harm they cause.


  66. Ladies I was married to a P with NPD. for 28 years. After what I call “thawing out” from the abuse I found a wonderful caring man only to find out I was now dealing with his ex P with NPD. I made sure everything he told me about her was confirmed. She broke up with him several times and made it a point to chase away any possible relationships he may have started before he met me. She made me nervous because I clearly did not want to get involved with a man who was still involved with someone else. I never wanted to do to some other woman what was done to me.

    The good news it is an amazingly kind relationship when your partner understands what you have been through because he has experienced the same kind of abuse. The only problem was in dealing with her brought back a lot of the negativity I was trying to remove from my life. I almost ended our relationship because of her and especially when I found out how the two of them got together. I realized who and what he was dealing with and gave him the benefit of the doubt. I am glad I did. I could not imagine him not being in my life today. He is a breath of fresh air after what I went through with my husband.

    However, I am still hurt that the woman my husband had an affair with knew about me and did not give a damn. How could someone be so heartless and unaware. I see it all the time and so do you. We did get back together and dragged out our marriage for another 10 years. That was my mistake. Once you form that bond with a man or woman and it is broken, I don’t care what anyone says it is never the same. The trust is gone. And to tell you the truth the affair or affairs was not the worst part of living with him. I used to joke and say to my girlfriends that dealing with the world is easy, it was living in my home that was hard.

    I have lived and been around the block. The point is, there is something wrong with people who go after a married or taken person. Your stories confirm what I am saying is true. It would save everyone a lot of greif if we could stick to that principle. And if we could stick to that principle we could snuff out a few miserable psychopaths along the way.

    Peace and Love to you

  67. Hi everyone
    I think the point about women and how women can go after or be with a bloke that is “with a woman” is a slight against the sisterhood is interesting . I was not the OW, though I think i’ve said before that we all are if there is a psychopath pulling the strings. However, and I can only see this from my side and what my ex said to me at the time when I was no longer with him and he was stringing me along (in the terms in Claudia’s post re the path being a puppet master). His view when I said I did not want anyone hurt (me or anyone else he was messing around with) was that he didnt want to hear “that crap”. He also changed his answers on whether he was seeing people or not, one minute he was dating several women, next minute he was in a relationship, next time he was jetting off to see a girl in tel aviv, next minute he was still in love with his ex wife. My ex had a girl at work that he’d slept with before (well I think before though now i doubt it!) i was living with him. She used to phone him a lot and i asked him if he had told her that I was living with him and that he was in a serious relationship. His answer was “my personal life is none of her business” – but I was to tell every man and boy that I was with him. These paths just say anything (or nothing) to get what they want or dont want at the time, so with that in mind, most, if not all, women would be totally duped by them.
    Add to that, and this is my own personal feeling, is that some women are highly competitive when it comes to other women (and their men). My ex said that when he went into London on business he came back with the horn as “all you women dress provocatively for men, deliberately to make us want to have sex with you”- Can I just say I found this statement extremely worrying for the obvious rape connotations it contains…However what my ex failed to understand is that, again in my opinion, women, especially in large companies in the City dress not for men, but for other women, as they are competitive in that way. Women also dress well as it makes you feel good about yourself; you feel that you are much more confident when you know you look nice. In that sort of business environment women do not predominantly dress just for men’s pleasure, but for their own. Women dress in a certain way for men in strip bars etc, but again, that shows how my ex viewed women, in a business environment or not, that we were all just there to be fucked. In addition if you are a woman and you have a good looking man telling you he wants you/you are the love of his life/his wife/partner does not understand him and YOU are wonderful then you are going to subconsciously think “i am better than her, he deserves ME!, he wants ME!”. Of course we all know that is not the case in his mind, as in his mind he is only wanting you to use you. I also think that paths use the “divide and conquer” technique to get away with duping lots of women at the same time. My ex HATED that I contacted his ex gf and asked her how she coped with him when they split up – though I didn’t know when I contacted her that she was still sleeping with him…so that was a bit of a blow. However, I didnt hate her, I just realised that she has her own mental health issues to deal with and is probably never going to be able to let go of him as she will think one day that he’ll go back to her properly.
    For me personally i think Claudia’s description in her Idealise, Devalue, Discard article that other women “may have been decent human beings, the scum of the Earth or anything in between” sums it up –it is not the other women that I have ever blamed, even though his ex gf did email him when I was living there and ask if I was up for a threesome with them – at the end of the day it is HIM that orchestrated every situation with every woman he was sleeping with behind my back and it will be HIM that can step up to the plate on judgment day and not the other women. Though as he will be going straight down to hell I doubt he’ll have to do that!!
    Incidentally, my friend (who is male and gay) had exactly the same experiences as all of us on this site with his ex partner (who was a path). The pattern of behaviour, the rages, the numerous exes that he still slept with, the other men, the abuse. It was ALL the same. Male or female, gay or straight, they can fool any one of us.

  68. Maya, I can understand your hurt and it’s something to keep in mind: when we hook up knowingly with a married person we not only set ourselves up for a failed relationship (whoever cheats with us will cheat on us), but also hurt other women. I would like to emphasize again, however, that most of the time a psychopath feeds us lines that are either false (I’m single) or partially true (you are the only love of my life, I’m separated from my wife, or we’re in the process of divorcing), so that most victims act on no information or false information. I’m quite certain that most victims of psychopaths and narcissists are strung along and manipulated/used against each other, as I describe in my article Stringing Women Along: The Psychopath as Puppet Master. This article might interest you.

    It also seems like you might be interested, given your bad experience with a narcissistic OW, in Steve Becker’s article on the difference between a narcissist and a psychopath when it comes to sex addiction, which you can find on lovefraud.com. I’ve cited it here as well, in my article on The Psychopath as Sex Addict, because it explains very clearly how psychopaths accumulate affairs and sexual liaisons in order to use, control and debase as many individuals as possible while narcissists do it primarily for validation. With each sexual conquest the narcissists tell themselves: I’ve still got it. Some of the OW are such narcissists, as are many male seducers, of course. But most victims of psychopaths and narcissists are just that: victims, who were strung along by a pathological liar with malicious intent.

    Finally, I’d like to remind everyone that the legal status on paper matters less than ethical behavior. Some of the wives of psychopaths or their family members are deeply disordered individuals themselves, who support and collude with their wrongdoings. Joran Vandersloot’s father, for instance, may have had a hand in helping his son hide Natalee’s body. Neil Entwistle’s parents supported him and blamed his dead wife, the victim, for the murder of the baby that he committed, even after he was found guilty. Such parents are probably malignant narcissists themselves, who idolize their sons no matter what they do wrong and to whom. Some wives of psychopaths behave this way as well, and as I write in my article on Dangerous Duos: Psychopaths and Malignant Narcissists. This small subset of so-called victims help their partners harm others or continue to idolize and stand by their husbands even once they know what they do to harm others. To my mind, our behavior AFTER we realize we’re dealing with an evil human being is in part a test of our strength and external support, but also in part a test of our ethical standards and unwillingness to continue hurting other victims. Because a psychopath will always lie, will always taint victims, and will always pressure some victims to violate moral boundaries and to hurt other victims. It’s how they operate, and part of how they feel dominance and control over their targets: via lying, hiding, manipulation and exploiting our vulnerabilities and jealousies to pit us against one another, sometimes with the help and support of equally disordered people who idolize them despite their evil actions. Claudia

  69. Lesley, I appreciate what you say here, since it’s so true that psychopaths use lying and manipulation to string along and use so many partners, many of whom don’t know about each other, or have false information about each other. Often even the wives were initially targets they used to cheat on another relationship that precedeed them. From the moment they engage in sexual liaisons, psychopaths need to lie, to triangulate, to create jealousies and intrigue and to cheat and engage in perverse acts. It’s what defines their character and behavior. We do need to keep this in mind when we judge other victims, and judge victims more by how they behave once they realize the destructive nature of the psychopathic bond as opposed to how they behave when they’re misinformed or ignorant about the psychopath’s nature, behavior, other relationships and future intentions. Claudia

  70. Joanne, I read this excellent book by Susan Forward called When Your Lover is a Liar, which confirms what you just said: lying is either by ommission (withholding key information) or by commission (telling actual false information). Both kinds of lies are devastating to victims because in both situations they don’t have the information required to make wise decisions. Your psychopathic ex might have lied mostly by omission, but this didn’t make him less of a liar. Claudia

  71. Maya,

    I wholeheartedly agree with the responses that Claudia and Kelli have made to you.

    You really need to place blame on the psychopath, not the OW. In my case, I left the state when he got married and had no contact with him for about 25 years. He contacted me and reeled me in with lies after all that time. I am only human (he isn’t, lol!) and it was very hard to resist, especially since I never married. Even after he contacted me I was very cautious and waited almost a year before I agreed to see him, and I always encouraged him to try to save his marriage.

    I guess the point is every situation is different, and you cannot always blame the OW. Actually, I think P’s capitalize on the fact that people will tend to blame the OW, not the wife or the P if the affair is found out. It gets them off the hook everytime.

  72. One more thing, I would like to tell his wife about the affair and that her husband is most likely a P, but most people have told me not to contact her. For one thing, she will most likely close her eyes to the truth and blame me. And because the P is such a good liar, he will tell her that I pursued him, and that I am an evil, crazy woman. Since he lies so well, who is she going to believe? Plus, she has invested over 25 years of her life with him, and she has been very well taken care of financially if not in other ways. So, she will believe him and stay with him. What do you think, Claudia? Should I confront the wife?

  73. Thank you Claudia for always replying and being so wise!! it is so easy to blame others, and yes some people are just vile and go for men that they KNOW are off limits. But also we are all human and open to mistakes and paths are not!!

    Also, my ex was stringing a girl along when i was with him, he’d been seeing her a year or so before I moved in with him (yes another one!!) and she came to one of our parties we had at his house. Now, she was very nice, asked me how my move had gone etc, but she still outwardly flirted with him and him her, when she left he kissed her at the door – this girl had the look of someone that had been charmed by a snake. And that is exactly what he was doing to her. I suppose it is all about how you view them (your exes i mean) and I suppose I never saw it as being anything other than his fault, but that is just me. Many victims will not see it that way i suppose until they learn more about the disorder and how their partners really are and that so upsetting for them. I knew what he was doing I just thought he’d stop it, but he never will. No matter who he is with.

  74. Mari,

    I can share my experience of sharing with the wife. I did that. She left him. I gave her the out she needed, as she was having her own affair at the time (my ex made her life a living hell, so i don’t blame her). They had been married for seventeen years at that point. She had also been told about us five years prior and STAYED, but the seed of distrust had been planted in her mind. She stayed for religious reasons and her children. It is my understanding that she is very happy in her life now and for that I am so very glad and happy FOR her. She has to coparent with the idiot, so I don’t know much more than that and he just married a rich woman and she is now pregnant. What a mess, but he is VERY happy with the situation. Anyway, I can’t tell you what is appropriate for you to do. Some women that are with psychopaths, and that goes for many of us, stay beyond when we should have, but you don’t know what she’s living on a daily basis or if she’s even aware of what he’s doing. My ex’s wife was NOT aware. From my perspective, I WOULD tell her, but my motives would have to be right. In other words, not for revenge, but to let him wife know what happened and what he’s done to give her a chance to walk and live in truth about him. It’s up to her what she does with the information. Of course one of things about psychopaths is that they lie to their spouses day in and day out. I’m not sure if I believe it’s fair to know something and not share it with someone who could be further wounded not knowing and the victim of a psychopath doesn’t know unless she is told. I’m really glad i was told about my ex husband’s affairs, even when I went back. Things were never the same again. Whatever you decide to do mari, I support you.

  75. Thank you so much for your important work on this blog. You have helped me so much in moving on with my life. For a while, whenever I felt the temptation to contact my ex path, I would come here instead and found the temptation quickly removed.

    I got mixed up with my ex path in 2009. I was already contemplating divorce but his long-distance interactions with me did convince me that all my dreams could come true if I were to free myself of my onerous marriage. A big kick for him, I’m sure.

    Anyway I did leave my husband, but was clear at the time that things may or may not work out with “dream guy” AKA psychopath. The path and I continued in a long-distance relationship for a year, with intermittent break-ups as he inched me along the abuse tolerance scale. He also flaunted other women in front of me, but claimed they were just friends or women who wanted him desperately–too bad for them as he was completely devoted to me. This, I idiotically accepted as truth.

    I was very suspicious of him and would tell him that he made me uncomfortable with his statements on a range of subjects relating to morality. But of course he had the sympathy story and I thought that with time and love he
    might recover from what he had been through. (ugh)

    In the end he seemed to flaunt his psychopathy itself in front of me, to want to tell me the truth about it and see me remain standing there by his side. He finally revealed himself for who he really was and the picture was very ugly indeed.

    The relationship was immediately over as far as I was concerned, once I had the ugly truth. He went through several iterations of attempts to get me back, from pretending everything was normal to calling me stupid for ending a perfect relationship over such a minor incident. When nothing else had worked, he wrote me a letter saying how in love with me he had been and that we were each other’s destiny.

    Thanks to your blog, this was not unexpected and I did not respond. A few days later, I get a message telling me he is gone forever, I may as well forget I ever knew him because it is clear that his feelings don’t matter at all to me, despite the fact that he has been so forgiving of my disloyalty in the past.

    I know it is meant to unbalance me and make me doubt my position, and to hurt me. But this time, I AM confused. Does he really believe this version? Did he really forget that he himself showed me his unfaithfulness and deceit? More importantly, is he really gone for good?

    I am so tired of feeling this way. Every 5 days or so, just when I think the storm has passed, I get another round.

    Thank you again for what you do here. You have helped me immeasurably.

  76. Hello All,

    I wanted to talk about denial here. the last few days, yes while peeking, i found out my ex has not only remarried, but married a beautiful young catholic women with young children and she is now pregnant with his child. All in five months times. We have been apart for eight months. Almost nine.

    My denial has been huge. Overwhelmingly huge.

    He is not psychopathic, his abusive behaviors were only for me. HIs profile is about being a catholic now, rather than the nazarene he has been for years. Democrat, when he was staunchly republican. “healthy living” while when I was with him, he was alcohohlic……..

    Suddenly, he loves to read (when I was with him, it was limited to Sports Illustrated and dust of books on a book shelf). Loves to garden (He didn’t build a garden at his house last year at all). And th funniest of all things, “Loves to research investments”. also, “gives to charity and health contributions”,…..

    NONE of which he was when he was with me.

    Or with his wife.

    But with this one, he is. She has money. Lots of it. Chameleon. When i found out this information, it threw me into a fibromyalgia flare and sent my PTSD through the roof.

    Is he abusive? Did I read any of this right? My denial is so strong!

    He isn’t PD, it’s ME. I”m the reason it didn’t work. Being the OW is WORSE, even while we dated AFTER his divorce.

    I loved this man so much. More than I have ever loved anyone in my life. I would have done anything to make it work..I think this, but it’s not true, or I would have acquiesced to his demands at the end of our relationship. I just wanted him to love me. I needed to make a point. he just needed to destroy me.

    I’m in soooooooooo much pain. I was reading on a PTSD website about symptoms that are extreme for survivors. They describe me to a T. I called my therapist this afternoon, right away.

    This beautiful young woman. this beautiful young woman, with young children and a pregnancy now with him. His two beautiful children (actually one was turning into a psychopath last I saw) are being wounded. They have to be. He has joint custody, so whatever choices he makes, including with this young new beautiful woman, was made without concern or care to them. I love them SO much. I hate that I have contributed to their pain and that he continues to cause it by pretending everything is okay with MONEY!!!

    I’m so upset. I don'[t know what to do. I’m so lost. So hurt.

    Damn him. damn the lies I believed, the fantasy for sooooo long.

    I want to be well. I want to recognize this for what it is. but it’s just killing me inside.

    I feel as sick, if not more than he is.

    I’m sickened. Totally sickened, when I want SO MUCH to be well and see him for what he is. But I see him as normal, just rejectiong me because I was garbage for something that was more.

    I’m sickened.

  77. Claudia: It has always puzzled me why Psychopaths can have sex with the SAME sex and yet I have read this does not mean they are homosexual???? Isnt the act itself to have sex with the same gender an act of homosexuality? I know speaking with straight men they would not TOUCH another man in that respect. It seemed my x path seriously wanted me to be with him and another man, on the other hand I know there ARE homosexual psychopaths – do you think mine hid his homosexuality in his predation of me and hides in the closet having a GF for a front? Is this possible with some? Just curious Thanks Linda

  78. Claudia, that was definitely his way of lying to me and others by simply omitting information. I recall he had planned a vacation with his ex intimate partner, roommate, friend, former coworker (whatever she is to him) while he was seeing me.

    He made these plans 6 months prior and simply waited until the day before he planned to leave to tell me of his plans. Of course I was amazed that he would not say anything until the last minute, and even more surprised that he didn’t ask me, the person he had been having sex with, to accompany him on his trip. How bizarre.

    He said of his traveling companion that she is just a friend, and I assume at this point she was at age 65, 15 years his senior, they are no longer intimate but I could never make sense of why he was clinging to her whilst trolling for other “options” in his Porsche.

    What red blooded man would live with a mommy figure whom he slept with in the past and slink around having sex with others where he could get it? In a car, in a park, in a box with a fox.

    Wouldn’t you just live alone and remain friends with the old gal? He always claimed it was so they could share expenses yet he was making 200k per year and she was making 100k per year. They worked at the same company and she reported to him.

    The entire situation was/is so bizarre I can’t believe I thought I could help him change his life. He would say that he wanted a romantic relationship and not the bizarre platonic relationship he was in so that’s where I came in I guess. While his life choices scared me I believed what he was telling me. Boy did he put on quite the show by crying whilst explaining his “situation” as he called it and then going over the top with his sexual behavior towards me.

    Most people tend not to continue living with one another after they end a romantic relationship, so why do you suppose he kept her in his life and under the same roof as himself? Other than the fact that he gets off on the dynamics of keeping his sexual liaisons a secret from her and sneaking around. He would never bring anyone to their home, and he did not tell his 65 yr old roommate/friend that he was sleeping with me for at least 12 mths into the relationship. Hence she is clueless and claims he never lies. Hummmm……

    So now he is no longer living with her yet he is bringing his new “Object” he has been sleeping with over to meet her. A first for him because he has alway/ compartmentalized his sexual partners from the rest of his life so he claims this time he is trying to treat her better than he treated me. What a nice thing for him to say to me …

  79. Linda,
    My ex path loved to have sex with a girl and another man, he told me once that he had sucked a guy off because he liked watching his then girlfriend do it. To be honest, I think with paths that anything goes. It is not that you are male or female. It is what it is. It is the sex, the thrill, the turn on, the different person. It makes no difference who they are, what sex they are. Gay or straight is not a term that paths (not mine anyway) can be confined to. They do whatever and whoever they like. Mine did anyway. I did think that he may have had issues with his sexuality at first but after a lot of thought I realised he would have anyone, if they showed him interest, if he could get something out of them then bring it on. Actually, there was once he had to go to a meeting with his boss (who was male and gay), just to a bar as it was not formal. I remember my ex was taking ages in the shower, so long that i said for a joke “are you going on a date??!” – i wont go into what ensued after that remark but suffice to say, it involved a huge fight, where i was vilified for accusing him of having an affair, he smashed some of my belongings and stayed out all night. Now at the time i thought “the lady doth protest too much” where my ex path was involved, I think i even said that to him, but what I thought was that he was seeing another girl. Now, with all I know about him, i think he was possibly sleeping with or doing something with his boss. Because it ticked all boxes, sex, and a good report card with his boss. They have no conscience, no morals. For anything.

  80. Lesley; Thanks for that clarity, I think I get it now. Mine was also obsessed with ejaculate and would go into great detail of what he wanted to do with another man as I watched; while he is doing this to me you can do that to me, while he is doing this to you I can do this to him etc….. Mine has a hunting buddy he hunts with and everytime I was with him this person called, I actually heard a male voice on the other end – Scott this and Scott that, and Scott and I were at the mall, REALLY? I suspected as well not only did mine predate on women but was on the hunt for men as well, but It puzzles me because mine had some feminine mannerisms about him??? I guess they would screw a goat if they could JUST for the thrill of it. Either way I am just thankful I will never never see or be with this immoral cruel sadistic animal again. x0 Linda

  81. Linda, yes my one was on the hunt for men too i think. He joined a dating website for swingers and he received an email from a guy saying that the guy “thinks you are hot” when i asked him about it he laughed and was very proud of it. Full of it I would say. Full of himself. As long as someone wanted him he was interested, until they wanted somethign from him then that was another story….

  82. Linda, psychopaths get bored and sex for them is entertainment as well as a way to exercise power over others, be they male or female, adult or minors. They have no scruples and boundaries, which is why they’re so polysexual. Claudia

  83. Kelli, it’s him not you. Being involved with a psychopath, be it as his mistress or his wife, is a nightmare. There’s no intimate involvement with a psychopath that can turn out well or that can make any person who is not disordered happy. Even the moments of happiness are based on ignorance and lies. Claudia

  84. Mari and Maya, psychopaths use women against each other and manipulate them to foster hatred and rivalry. That’s also important to keep in mind and not play into their manipulation games. Claudia

  85. Mari, I don’t know what to advise you on this one because some of the wives of psychopaths are equally disordered and idolize their partners despite–and sometimes because–of his evil. They feel special with him and take pleasure in the victimization of other women, like on the Investigation Discovery show, Wicked Attractions. Most partners however are not disordered, just blinded by love and lies. Some stay because they’re trauma bonded to the psychopath and dependent on him, emotionally/and or financially. Each situation is specific and how you react to it depends on what his wife is like, which I certainly don’t know, and you may not either. That’s why I’d advise caution, whatever you decide to do. Claudia

  86. Lesley, you’re welcome. I try to respond as promptly and as regularly as possible. I think, as you do, that there’s a difference between normal human flaws and mistakes, which we all have, and personality disordered individuals. Basically, disordered individuals don’t change because they don’t want to, find themselves superior to others and have no guilt, no empathy, no conscience. Hopefully we can all help others distinguish between fallible human beings who can be forgiven for their mistakes and personality disordered individuals who can’t and don’t want to change. Claudia

  87. Laney, I’m so glad I could help you through my blog. This is why I started it, to help others in similar situations find the information to identify personality disorders and the strength to leave for good personality disordered individuals. Your psychopathic ex’s tactics sound similar, and I’ve described some of the reasons behind them in the post Stringing Women Along: The Psychopath as Puppet Master. Claudia

  88. Kelli, I understand why you’d feel such a jealousy, it’s only human. However, I still think you are giving this psychopath too much credit and importance. That’s why you still focus on how he treated other women. Maybe under a microscope you could analyze that he treated some better than you. Who knows? It’s possible. But in the big scheme of things he exploited, deceived and mistreated each of them. Whenever you focus on the smaller distinction, please keep this bigger picture in mind. Claudia

  89. Claudia,
    Thank you so much for the insightful articles. I am a “newbie” to this blog and I really appreciate you being here to help raise awareness about these types of individuals. I read The Seducer and it really hit home with me. Great job.
    I also appreciate the members who bare their souls in order to help others. Thank you all for being so open and honest on such a painful, personal subject.

    Unfortunately, I got involved with a man who I definitely believe to be pathological. I found this article to be extremely helpful. I have been happily married for 14 years, and could not figure out what was happening to me as I almost left my wonderful husband for this person. It was a very confusing, bizarre, terrifying time in my life to say the least. I could not understand how/why this man would do this to me after I befriended him and welcomed him into our home. I only knew him for 8 months, and within the first month of spending time socially (we began to spend time together socially 4 months into the relationship & I thought we were becoming friends, getting to know one another as “normal” folks do) he declared his undying love for me, wrote me love songs and posted them online, and claimed he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, urging me to move in with him. I was going through a very dark period in my life and he appeared at the perfect time. When I ended things with him, he used the ultimate form of manipulation by saying that he would commit suicide if I walked out of his life forever. I felt so much guilt, pain, confusion and anxiety over him that I actually agreed to try to remain in contact until he confessed that he immediately slept with his “stalker” to get over me. I felt like such a fool to have been duped by this person as I have two siblings with BPD, one who is a complete and total sociopath. I could not believe I ignored all the red flags, especially since I learned at an early age how to detect certain behaviors from dealing with my siblings. It also hurt so much because I felt as if I was going insane and that I brought this on myself. Of course, this man never accepted responsibility for his actions and said all of this happened because he was “working off my vibe.”

    I have since been to therapy, and luckily, have an amazingly supportive husband who stood by me through this whole ordeal. Although it’s been two years, and I have firmly adhered to the no contact rule, I still have intrusive thoughts. They are getting further apart with time, but it has been a pretty traumatic experience. I am happy to say that I am beginning to get past the self loathing, am focusing on living a happy life, doing things that bring me joy and peace. I know that by focusing on me, he has lost and I have won.

    Thank you for letting me share a bit of my story here. It’s fantastic to be able to communicate with other individuals who understand.

  90. Laurie, your story reflects many of our experiences. Psychopaths can be very seductive in the beginning, however notice how superficially so: the love songs, poems, things that can be written for and used on countless individuals and that don’t necessarily mean much. Of the order of interchangeable Hallmark cards. We’re touched by them because we want to believe the illusion of an extraordinary love and need the romance, not because it has any depth or substance to it. Claudia

  91. Laurie,

    I’m so glad you’re finding peace after what happened to you and that your husband has stood by you. Welcome! Kelli

  92. Thank you, Kelli. It’s been difficult, as it has for everyone, but things are going much better and I’m starting to feel like myself again. I felt like he flipped a switch in my mind that I would never be able to turn off, but my therapist really helped me find ways to change my thinking process which is assisting me in breaking the ruminating thought cycle. I still think about him, still have anxiety attacks if I have to drive by his place of business,even certain music sets me off, but it’s manageable and so much better than it was two years ago. I’m just really happy that I found this blog and Dr. Sandra Brown’s blog. Both have helped me tremendously in trying to make sense of this whole thing.
    Best to you.

  93. Laurie, I’m so glad to hear that these blogs on personality disorders have been helpful to you. I’ve also been helped by such blogs as well as informative books on the subject, since without them we wouldn’t even know we were dealing with personality disordered individuals to begin with. Therapy is even more helpful when you go into it well-informed. Claudia

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