Breaking the Love Addiction: Disengaging from the Psychopath

Several readers of this blog mentioned feeling addicted to the psychopath. Today I’d like to repost an article I wrote a year ago, when psychopathyawareness was just getting started and building a readership. Addiction–both physical and emotional–is the right term to describe the hold the psychopath has on his victims. After the relationship is over, many victims feel lost or empty without the psychopath. They need the excitement the psychopath brought into their lives: even if it indicated his emotional shallowness and need for entertainment rather than passion. They need the constant attention, even if they learn that it came from the psychopath’s desire to control them rather than love. How do you escape from these obsessive thoughts and need for the psychopath?

The psychopathic bond resembles any other kind of powerful addiction. Nobody and nothing can save an addict unless she’s willing to save herself. Others can only offer her emotional support, information and help. That’s what I do here.  Most books on romantic relationships tell readers what steps to take to get them or to improve them. By way of contrast, I tell you bluntly and in detail why and how to disengage for good. If there’s one kind of relationship that’s not worth saving, it’s one with a psychopath. You can’t change a psychopath. Therefore, you also can’t improve your relationship with him. Psychologists call psychopathy “pathological.” They state that psychopaths suffer from a severe “personality disorder,” not just normal human flaws that can be worked on and ameliorated. Sandra Brown underscores in How to spot a dangerous man before you get involved that “Pathology is forever.” (23) It’s the result of a faulty brain wiring, sometimes coupled with emotional trauma that occurs during childhood development, which can’t be altered in any significant way once the psychopath reaches adulthood.  Brown doesn’t mince words when she describes a psychopath as “an emotional predator” who represents “the pinnacle of poisonous and pathological dating choices.” (179) When involved with such an individual, she cautions, “You will never change his physiology or his bad wiring. You will never love him into safety, sanity, or sanctity.” (21)

Women involved with psychopaths have been conditioned by their partners to assume most of the blame for the problems that occur in the relationship. They’re often deeply in love. They hope that the psychopath will magically improve and grow to love them more meaningfully. Often, they seek therapy, counseling or support groups. They grasp at any straw that can help them salvage the refuse of a pathological relationship. As time goes on, they focus on the increasingly fewer positive aspects of the relationship. They cherish the memories of how well they were treated in the beginning. They go into denial so that they don’t have to face the deliberate malice of the person they love, to whom they may have devoted their entire lives. When faced with the vast discrepancy between the psychopath’s nice words and his malicious actions, they feel lost, disoriented and alone. They stubbornly cling to the psychopath and to the fantasy of romantic love he initially created.

After spending months or even years with a psychopathic partner, after building a family or dreaming of a bright future together, it’s very hard to accept the fact that everything good about the relationship was an illusion. It’s difficult to see that every one of his qualities, words and gestures were manipulative and fake, intended, as is everything a psychopath does, to get you under his spell and undermine your dignity and strength. It’s extremely painful to realize that the psychopathic partner has never cared about you, no matter how vehemently or how often he may have professed his devotion. It’s infuriating to realize that you’ve been duped and used for his selfish and destructive purposes. It’s frustrating to see that most other people, who aren’t well informed about psychopathy, won’t understand the degree of deception, brainwashing and betrayal you’ve gone through.

To give you an idea about how difficult it is for this highly abnormal experience to translate into a normal frame of reference, I’ll offer an example. When I watch episodes of the History Channel on Adolf Hitler, he looks to me, as he probably does to many other viewers who didn’t experience the mass indoctrination at the time, like a ridiculous looking madman, screaming and flailing his arms about. Quite honestly, I can’t see anything appealing, much less mesmerizing, about this man. In watching Hitler’s dramatic gestures and listening to his unappealing shouts, I find it hard to believe that he exercised such a powerful and destructive mind-control over an entire nation. But, clearly, he did. Not just over one nation, but over several. Those who have not fallen under a psychopath’s spell are not likely to identify with the experience or to comprehend it viscerally. They will remain sufficiently objective to find attachment to a psychopath puzzling, perhaps even incomprehensible. But such unhealthy attachments aren’t rational, to be examined from a distance, with hindsight and full information in one’s hands.  Psychopathic bonds are largely emotional in nature. They’re also based upon a steady flow of misinformation and powerful mind control.

Consequently, if you’ve experienced the psychopathic bond, not many people will understand what you’ve been through and what kind of disordered human being you’ve had to deal with. It may be upsetting to witness that even (most of) the media coverage of criminal psychopaths doesn’t grasp the nature of their personality disorder. Journalists often mistakenly attribute their crimes to more easily comprehensible and common motives (such as greed, sex, financial or emotional crises or substance abuse) rather than the psychological profile that makes these social predators so dangerous to others. It may be saddening to see that in therapy, if you fall upon someone unfamiliar with this personality disorder, you and your psychopathic partner are assumed to be equally at fault for the turmoil in your lives. Worst of all, it will be painful to face the truth that no amount of love or patience or therapy or medication or anything at all can save a psychopath and your relationship with him. He will always remain what he is: an irredeemably selfish, shallow and heartless human being. If you’ve been involved with a psychopath, this truth will hurt. But ultimately, as one of the contributors to wisely stated, it will also help heal your pain and set you free.

People tend to say that, as far as problems in romantic relationships are concerned, there are two sides to every story. This assumption doesn’t apply at all to relationships with psychopaths. In those, one person deliberately damages the other. What remains true, however, is the related popular adage that it takes two to tango. A relationship with a psychopath represents a macabre dance that hurts only one partner, but that takes two partners to participate in and continue. If you’ve been involved with someone who exhibits psychopathic traits, you have the power to take back your life. You can choose to disengage from that disordered individual, learn from your mistakes and make far better choices in the future.

Claudia Moscovici, psychopathyawareness

Dangerous Liaisons: How to Identify and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction



  1. This is exactly how I feel. That I am an addict that is addicted to a psychopath! I am getting help to try and over come my addiction to him because it is slowly destroying me. The last year and a half since I have known him have been one of the most painful times of my life ever.

  2. Emily, psychopaths form addictive relationships: during the luring phase through flattery, excitement and sex; during the manipulation
    and devalue phases through trauma bonding (a combination of abuse and small favors, like gifts or romantic dinners, to make up for the abuse).
    Just like former cult members need some psychological deprogramming, so do victims of psychopaths. In fact, a lot of cult leaders are psychopaths.
    So it’s good that you are getting help with this (I assume in the form of therapy). Claudia

  3. Excellent article, Claudia.

    I’m going to add a little to this in an excerpt from Thomas Sheridan’s book and this may help you, Linda, with your current situation:

    The Dangers of Rumination
    The Damage which a psychopath may have inflicted on an individual can linger for many years afterwards in the form of depression and negative thinking. The psychopath is very aware of this. They revel in this constant drip-feed of emotional turmoil and grief they leave within others.
    Most victims of psychopaths socially isolate themselves, often for years at a time, dwelling on the negative and finding themselves spiraling deeper and deeper into depression. Psychologists refer to this as rumination-repeating negative thoughts, dwelling continually on regret, recalling conversations and mentally replaying all the things they wish they had said yet doing nothing to change the situation.
    Victims end up over thinking, trying to make sense, trying to get the ANSWER. often this leads to distorted rationalizations such as declaring anyone and everyone who has ever annoyed, offended, hurt or damaged them i some manner to be a sociopath, narcissist, or psychopath, and so on. This is tragic on two counts as it leads to the social destruction of the ruminating individual, while also allowing real psychopaths off the hook by allowing them to say, “Oh they claim everyone who ever pissed them off is a psychopath!”. Rumination is a VERY TOXIC TRAP which victims must strive to remove themselves from as soon as possible before it becomes their defacto lifestyle.


  4. Kel, another good quote from Sheridan. Victims of psychopaths not only have a tendency to ruminate in search for an answer (or simply the truth about the past which was a lie, an illusion), but they also tend to obsess about psychopathy so much that they risk seeing personality disorders in people who are healthy (but have human flaws, as we all do). I think balance is key–finding meaning in family, friends and a variety of personal endeavors–and transforming the inevitably painful rumination into something constructive and positive: like sharing what we’ve learned with others. We each do that in our own way; some victims, who decide to become therapists or volunteer, decide to devote their entire lives to helping others. Claudia

  5. Claudia and Kelli; Thank you Claudia for this article. I have no doubt in my mind that he KNOWS he wounded me DEEPLY; but did he destroy me? NO!!!!!!!!! You see as much as I am stuck on the fence regarding some issues that go over and over in my mind this psychopath LOST, and I WON!!! He never accomplished what he was set out to do with me and we all know what that was (ISH) Yes he deeply wounded me in his attempts but I DID SAVE MYSELF. I realize now that is only HALF the battle. I dont feel I am giving power to him anymore, what I AM DOING though is depriving my life of its full potential – this is about ME NOW, I need to work on the residual of thoughts that go over and over in my mind in the aftermath, its a destructive pattern I have been in and not a lifestyle I want to live anymore. He can never be fixed but I CAN and only I have the power to stop the rumination. Actually though I DO get out, and I DO go to events so I have not shut my doors to the world nor am I curled up in a ball dying. Maybe some further therapy would give me the push to stop these thoughts that flood my mind, I am sure there are exercises and techniques they could suggest to me. I dont know how I ended up in this toxic trap but I want to get the HELL OUT. x0x0 Linda

  6. Claudia,

    I think I had that belief only for a time. That everyone is a psychopath. I don’t believe that. There is a distinct difference between having human flaws, and being a psychopath, lack of empathy, guilt, remorse. These things become very obvious over time and hopefully, with any encounter with any person, I will be able to spot it pretty quickly. So far so good!

    I would like to devote my own life to helping others struggling with this. We’ll see what happens, but the one thing I refuse to do anymore is to let him steal another minute of my life. Not ever again Kel

  7. LInda,

    the only way OUT is THROUGH. The only way THROUGH is to deal with the deeper issues that allowed the psychopath into your life. That is HARD WORK. But I believe you can do it. It’s more than just getting out, it’s really examining yourself deep inside. Fixing and healing what hurts. It isn’t just him, it goes way back. that is a long and painful process. It takes courage to do it, but I KNOW you can, and THAT is what will stop the ruminating. Kel

  8. Kelli: Hold on a minute you keep saying “the reasons I ALLOWED the psychopath to enter my life” If I knew he was a psychopath and this sick creature I would have NEVER let him in my life; the reasons are quite simple why I let him enter my life under his pretense; I thought I would have a partner that I had more in common with, a person who had the qualities that would have been more well suited for me in a partner, someone who didnt have an explosive temper, someone who didnt emotionally abuse their partner, ( quit laughing I said PRETENSE) someone soft spoken as my father was (and no I dont have a daddy complex) We were both adopted I thought that was special, so those are the reasons I let him in my life Kelli is there something about those reasons that are SOOOO BAD? I would consider them relatively normal. Now though I am so damn injured and my perceptions of others is so distorted that I couldnt tell you what I want in a partner – I can say though I DONT EVER want to be abused by another human being again EVER!!! Ok now I know you are going to ask me but when you find out he was NOT those things why did you stay? I guess maybe the idea of what I THOUGHT he could be to me was so implanted in my mind and I kept thinking he would return to that person he initially was but guess what, he never did it only got worse. He projected on to me all the good qualities that I wanted that my husband never had BINGO so this is the reason I let him in my life because for 20 some years I repressed and put up with my husbands awful behavior. I would ALWAYS blame myself for my husbands criticism of me; sure we all should be open to constructive criticism but NEVER NEVER in an abusive form; example: You didnt get milk you are a DUMB ASS because you forgot the milk you cant do ANYTHING right this type of behavior. My unhappy marriage is NOT the psychopaths problem its MINE, it was NEVER his job to rescue me (even though he sure played that part) its MY job to rescue myself if I am not happy it was NEVER his. The path just USED my unhappy circumstances to further his EVIL agenda thats all, because my unhappy existence made me extremely vulnerable and an easy easy target. I think I am finally starting to self examine here x0 Linda

  9. Linda

    LOL! Let me explain what I mean by “allowed”. When I say vulnerable to a psychopath or ALLOWED him into my life, I’m not saying he isn’t EVIL. THAT IS NOT WHAT I”M SAYING. I’m also not saying he’s not a predatory animal that won’t continue to do just what he’s doing. BUT in being honest with myself, I was DUPED because I ALLOWED him into my life. This does not in any way remove HIS responsibility or blame/shame (which he’ll never own) for what he did to me. To anyone. He leaves a long string of victims in his wake. We were all lied too, manipulated, etc. BUT we STILL allowed this into our lives.

    If I take that little amount of responsibility for myself, it FREES me from him and ALLOWS me to see why I left the door open wide for him in the first place. It takes two to tango and it is a CHOICE to tango with a psychopath. AGAIN, this does not excuse his behavior, it just brings into perspective what vulnerabilities were there at the time. I had marriage issues, very serious ones and had been abused for twenty years. But I allowed that into my life. He didn’t drag me kicking and screaming into it. He lied and manipulated for the lure, but I willingly went. LIke a sheep to slaughter. I can sit here and say I should have not done this or should have done that, but what’s done is done. The good news is that we are OUT, but unfortunately, the work is only beginning. And it starts with ourselves. It’s when we can face why we got involved in the first place and heal from whatever other garbage that’s in our lives that I think we find true joy, meaning and happiness. It’s not FUN to heal. no one told me it is, in fact, it is VERY painful, because I now have to deal with a darker side of myself that I didn’t want to face for a long time. I wish I had been in this place just out of my marriage, willing to stop and THINK and HEAL before I got involved with him. He was a distraction from that pain. He painted himself a knight in shining armor. That was teh lure. But as we all know, he was NOT.

    We can’t change the past or what happened. Making sense of a psychopath is fruitless. They are what they are, BUT we can do A LOT with what we know NOW. I’m not in the dark anymore, nor are you. It’s what we do with what we know. And that’s the hardest part of all. Kel

  10. Kelli: We shared so much today and it was much more constructive than going over and over and over what they are; now my focus is WHAT AM I GOING TO BE after this because we both know what THEY are going to be – I have to realize he probably has spent the last month thinking of me for about 4 seconds and what have I DONE? NOT HEALTHY!!!!!! I thank you for your honest observations of my behavior – I KNOW I can do the rest, time to shift the focus to ME and MY LIFE. I have to hop in the shower and get ready for work. I will be in touch later – have a good day and I hope your little wiener dog is ok x0x0 Linda

  11. Linda, in so far as he ever tries to get in touch with you again, it’s precisely because he didn’t destroy you and would like to! That’s a psychopath’s ultimate sense of accomplishment: destroying his targets completely. Claudia

  12. Kel, you have a pretty good radar:). Claudia

  13. Linda, Kelli, and all. I’ve been thinking about the issue so much lately, around why and how we became so bonded to our disordered partners. Most of you probably know this already and have read up on the issue. The process of idealisation involves a potent process of cognitive, emotional, and physiological bonding. If idealisation plus their hypersexuality during the honeymoon stage floods our sysytems with oxytocin, then is it any wonder we become hyperbonded to them? I’m curious as to what peoples thoughts and experiences are around this?

  14. Kelli, I agree with sheridan; however rumination and obsession is a natural symptom of a pathological relationship. It is an expression of the victim trying to make sense of their experience of the dynamic. I think that the way out of this pathological relationship symptom is understanding these personality disorders. Once we understand these disorders we can begin to differenciate between “normal” people having done bad things, and behaviours that stem from the psychopathic and cluster b personality. For example- one hallmark of a pathological relationship is- did you have an emotional narrative with your ex? If your partner was a psychopath, you can rest assured there was no emotional narrative.

  15. Michael, excellent point. Rumination like this doesn’t happen after the end of more or less normal relationships. It’s the result of a pathological bond, where you try to make sense of a reality that never truly existed. Because love can’t exist with a psychopath, and everything else that comes with it–caring, trust, honesty–also don’t exist in a psychopathic bond. We ruminate because of the fraudulent nature of the relationship–piecing together the parts of the puzzle–not because it has ended. Claudia

  16. Oxytocin! That’s the chemical I was thinking of when I wrote about physiological addiction to a psychopath. Thanks Michael. Claudia

  17. Michael,

    I agree with you completely, but I think what he meant by that is pretty much the same thing and it’s all throughout the book, that to understand what the psychopath IS, is the first step in moving beyond the experience, however I do understand that ruminating can take on a life of its own and become a way to distract from looking at one’s self and from the pain of change. I have also noticed that what helps is when the ruminating sets in, I just go with it, rather than fight it, as frustrating as it is, because I know now, that each time it happens, something deeper is coming up. It could be another truth about the psychopath or something else I need to work on. For example: When I’m really struggling with stress, my mind immediately goes to the psychopath and I compare my life to his right now. So I’m mindful of my stressors and alleviating those, which take down the ruminating to a do-able level. Kel

  18. Michael,

    I agree with you about the oxytocin too, but add to that the intermittent reinforcement and it’s a dangerous cocktail for remaining with the psychopath. There are many variables that keep us addicted, not just the oxytocin. Kel

  19. I really disagree it takes two to tango when it comes to a psychopathic relationship. At least NOT in the luring stage. Their lies can be so good, that even Hare has been fooled.When two are doing the tango, they both at least know what dance they are engaged in. With a psychopath it is as if you thought you were waltzing, but he was doing a well hidden bump and grind.

    EVERYONE has vulnerabilities that can be exploited. EVERYONE.

    Two of the main keys I identify with to stay out of their clutches is 1)strong personal ethics and boundaries that I won’t bend for anyone, and 2) knowing that when someone’s behavior makes my jaw drop, that is a red flag I CAN TRUST. And one red flag is enough for me!

    I had a little work to do to figure out what abuses I had been blind to, but I don’t think everyone has to undergo huge soul searching and digging into the past to “get better.”

    Kel, I think the hardest part is truly embracing what they were, not what we do after. When you truly embrace that, you will have no desire to compare your life to theirs. Would I compare my life to Hitler’s? To Ted Bundy’s? Once you fully realize they are damaged scum, you lose all desire to compare, to impress, to think about them.

    In my mind, the p is now firmly sitting in the same pew as all the weirdos in high school that you would shudder if they contacted you…no temptation whatsoever to know anything about them, or how they are doing. YUCK!

  20. I hate to sound stupid here, but what does “emotional Narrative” mean in specific terms regarding the psychopath? Kel

  21. Susan

    RE: Your above post, WOW! You really gave me something to think about! And think about, I will!

    Susan, is it possible to OVERTHINK your past abuses? Especially if you are aware of what they ARE? I wonder about this…. Kel

  22. Claudia,

    Yep, I think my ex is on the war path again. Funny how intuition senses upcoming negative energy prior to curtain calls. Jerk. Kel

  23. Michael, and all – From what I am starting to finally understand there are actual physical changes in our brain chemistry that occur from the CONSTANT flattery they project on to us in the idealization phase and yes the sexual chemical that is released during bonding. If I remember correctly in one of Sheridans clips he said high doses of serotonin are also released during the idealization process. In other words a psychopath can instantly treat depression, however its an anti depression I NEVER want to take again.

    Michael, what are your views on Sheridan’s theories? I actually looked up what Labyrinth meant,

    “an intricate combination of paths or passages in which it is difficult to find one’s way or to reach the exit or.any confusingly intricate state of things or events; a bewildering complex.” The title of his book is actually quite brilliant. I would like to add something to this rumination some of us are discussing. I am STILL discovering some things about this persons predation of me that I was not fully aware of, as I am becoming more and more educated on the disorder I think back to discovering how EVERY SINGLE behavior and tactic of this man was PURE predatory in every sense. Kelli, I also have come to the sudden realization that this man really never wanted sex from me but he only USED sex as a tool to bond with him so he could better manipulate and destroy me. Claudia your statement really hit me today when you told me if that man ever should try to contact you again it would ONLY be to further destroy you, because he wants to see you TOTALLY destroyed. Interesting how they always leave a window or door open they never really tell you goodbye they just up and vanish only to return months or even years later. I think its healthy to ruminate to SOME extent because we are left so damn confused when a relationship with a path ends but its important to not ruminate over the SAME things, we need to move on. I cant COMPLETELY quit ruminating but I certainly need to keep a very close eye on WHAT I ruminate about. If all of us never ruminated to some degree we would not be on this blog sharing our experiences and helping each other break free. x0x0 Linda

  24. Kelli, when I refect back I realise there was no consistent emotional theme that you find in a non pathological relationship. The timeline was more like a serious of sharp spikes. She used to talk a lot about emotional blocks in 2008 (I think she had a some flashes of insight into her emotional emotional poverty or lack of feeling. Thats not to say she has no feeling, borderlines like psychopaths are emotionally numb, and cannot bond with others. This is why they can move from one relationship to the next no matter how long term. They make a straight swap from one interchangeable partner to the next with out grieving at all the person they left behind. She asked in 2008 “how would I know if I felt love”. Needing someone for narcissistic supply is not the same as loving someone. Their emotional cut off is instant like flicking a switch.

  25. Claudia, here is a paragraph from chapter 1 of my book-

    “Fourthly, all of the above combined with their hyper sexuality floods our systems with oxytocin; a hormone that is known to be the chemical key that stimulates cooperation, empathy, and bonding. The hormonal basis for the experience of empathizing and bonding with others is well established. The more in sync the relationship seems to be; the greater the amount of oxytocin that is synthesized and released into our bloodstream. The process of bonding is a cognitive, emotional, and physiological positive feedback loop that operates and cycles in hyper-drive within the earlier stages of the pathological relationship dynamic. This is one of the reasons why a pathological relationship is so addictive; but there are other reasons why this relationship addiction becomes so powerfully entrenched. We will be looking at these reasons in some detail later in the book, as we move on to explore the impact of the later stages of the relationship dynamic.

  26. Hi Everyone
    I agree with Linda really, re the taking two to tango. You definitely do not know what you are dealing with, or if you see a red flag, then you put it down to any reasoning that fits at the time, i know i did. But i can tell you something for nothing, I did not realise or know the extent of the toxicity of my ex path, the strength of his manipulation, the horror of the emotional abuse he was capable of. I knew he was “a handful” and I can handle handfuls, I’m one myself. But as we have all said and its all happened to us, the part they sell you, that is great, that is fun, that is loving, that wants a real, trusting great partnership, is you yourself – they are not any of those things and not capable of ever giving them to anyone, well they can, for a price and that price is your dignity, your boundaries, your self esteem, your life. At the beginning you are really, I suppose dancing on your own, while they pull the strings at the back of you.
    I thought my ex path was The One, no doubt about it, i’d thought he was since i saw him when i was 12. He had lots of things about him i thought were great, but he ruined all of them by being what he fundamentally is, an evil toxic abuser.
    I do agree that when they unceremoniously dump you, or you have to leave – then it takes GREAT strength to cut off from them and that is when you really do enter a dance macabre with them. For myself I could not believe he didn’t want me back, that he was not apologising, not pleading for me to return, that he was on the contrary full of contempt. He then lied to me about us getting back together, or me going to visit him, but only if I did what he wanted, all on his own terms. The reason it is so hard to disengage from them is that you were the one that had the feelings and the love, you were real. For me personally, until i found this site, I did take full blame, I did think that i was the unlovable one and i tried and tried to make him see, reality really?
    Now, after months of silence, and as you all know too, he contacted me to tell me of his new, trusting, affectionate, loving easy and contented relationship with his new partner. All the things I could never give him and more importantly what he could never give me. Do I know that he will do the same to her, yes most definitely. Do I know he’s lying- yes as he will be messing about behind her back and she will not have a clue with what she is dealing with. Do I care – yes. But he told me all this to keep me upset, to keep me on the hook, he told me all this and then said “if we keep in touch then we must not discuss emotional or relationship issues” – of course, it is to keep his dance macabre going and also Michael, as you point out because he has no emotional recall, no emotional narrative, no memory for what he was with me. Well, he does, but only to blame me and to point out faults that were not mine, but his.
    I think it is a very hard dance to get out of, if i’m honest. I think it takes strength and having good people around you to get through. However, I do believe, that as Susan says, once you accept what THEY are, what they are about, what they do to EVERYBODY that they pretend to be emotionally involved with, then you can at least start to extricate yourself from the abusive strings they have round you. But, it takes a long time, a lot of strength and I do NOT think these things can be rushed, as it will cause you more harm than good at the end of the day. Its taken me months to now block him successfully from my emails (thank you Susan!!) and block him from Facebook. I no longer want to hear any more lies, hooks about what he remembers of me when we were at school, then back to abuse and blame and rubbing my nose in it about his wonderful new life. i know I always say it but if I had not found this site and others like it, all of you and your advice, help and support, then i would not have moved on as much (though granted it is not as much as i would like but i’ll get there one day!!) and I would still be beating myself up about all my faults, when in fact all I wanted was of course a relationship with trust, affection and easy living.
    I do think its good to acknowledge what it is about your inner self that makes it so hard for you to break away. However, and I do believe this. I think it does not matter what type of person you are. These paths are so damaging that if you do not notice the red flags and run at the start, which not many people do, then you really do not stand a chance. They can hit any person’s Achilles heel then go in for the kill. So when my friends’ maybe say to me that they would have ran rings round him, that I was soft, I know they cannot even begin to comprehend the damage these paths do, especially when you leave them. There is a song by a band called the VLA (it was the theme tune to Damages with Glen Close) and its called “When I am through with you…(there wont be anything left). That sums them up to me, and they are NEVER through with you. You have to be the one that cuts them off, that you have to be, ironically, the strong one. And that day will come and has come for many of us on this site, but it doesn’t mean to say its easy, or it doesn’t still break our hearts for something or someone we thought we had. When you finally realise what on earth you were dealing with then you just have to take it slow and one day it will just be a bit easier.
    I hope i’ve not rambled again..i bet i have.
    Love lesleyxxxxxxx

  27. haha sorry I mean I agree with Susan!!! about the not knowing that you are dancing with! sorry!!


  28. haahha WHAT you are dancing with i mean!! oh dear. not a good day!! i need more cigarettes!!

  29. Michael, how true, there’s definitely a physiological dimension to the addiction to a psychopath, aside from the obvious psychological one, of course. Claudia

  30. Lesley, absolutely, each person has vulnerabilities and psychopaths can go for them. None of us are immune to psychopathic seduction. But having boundaries–emotional and moral–can help. However, it’s not a guarantee form of protection precisely because psychopaths can lie so much, and initially present themselves as moral individuals, better than your average person in all respects. Claudia

  31. Hi Claudia
    Most definitely they do present themselves as better than your average male or female. But its the same show for everyone, but you have to finish it with (as you said) for now. And its then the same stark, cold, callous show for every ex when they have finished using you or do not feel that rush anymore.
    Its the dealing with the aftermath, the knowing what they are doing to you next, and why they are doing it that takes even more strength than leaving them, to deal with. I myself have found that. I know my ex reeled me in with his melancholy nostalgic memories of us at school, but then you get the hit of “but i’m with someone else and SO much happier than you made me..” next. Though the sex isn’t as good (so there’s your opening to have a bit of me if you want) – and that is when your boundaries and more strength of character have to kick in. Because you either offer yourself up to be used, or you offer yourself up to be told “oh how dare you insinuate i was inferring that we have exciting sex still…I’m in love with this one, I have changed..” – well that is what I think he’d come back with…but i don’t want to know. Any tack you take you will lose. The only tack you win on is having nothing to do with them. But either way its feels like its you that lost your teeth, because they move on so so quickly. But that is because no one is worth anything to them.

  32. Lesley,

    I’m so sorry you heard the ex talking about how wonderful his life is with the next victim. This is why my NC is critical to me.

    I had a BIG trigger yesterday with regards to my ex. Even though indirect, it still sets me off. I’m still very vulnerable and fragile to anything that has anything to do with him.

    BUt I have a thought for you about his contact and the content.

    And you can say this to yourself over and over, as I do now, and make it apart of your no contact list or rules: “I will not believe anything that anyone tells me about how wonderful his life is now, given the reality of the past with him, my relationship with him and with others, I know this to be a LIE”.

    If you think about it, it’s really twisted. Normal people do not need to tell you how great their life with the new person is. If they were so happy, they wouldn’t NEED to tell you this, would they? This is why they are so destructive. They do it to hurt you. They do it to uplift their egos. I’m so glad I don’t have contact, but when my ex was calling, had I picked up, this may well have been the scenario had he actually decided to speak. Well, I don’t’ need to hear anymore lies. If past behavior is the predictor of future behavior, then you know that the next victim is thus being lied to as well, even if it’s in the idealization/manipulation phase. Nothing with them is the truth. Nothing. He can never be “happy” in the true sense that we have that ability. He can only be GLEEFUL when he is being DESTRUCTIVE, and we all know that that’s what the luring/idealization phase is. Lies and subsequent destruction of the next victim. Kel

  33. Thank you Kel..thank you so much. he said it in an email that i wish i hadn’t opened. ..the one with the “sex isn’t as exciting” comment..but his life is happy, easy contented living…
    Its funny and so coincidental that you posted that advice for me, about what you repeat in your head and what you have to hold the thought of. About that it is all a lie. Because that is what I have been saying in my head too. Its a lie, its a lie, he can never have trust affection or love in his life like that, and it is all said to hurt.
    I am sure I saw that you are coming up or are, at your year’s point of breaking up with your ex? So am I kel… will be 11 November actually so a little while yet…so I know that may be a difficult one to get through maybe for that week. It was for me, as it was for you and everyone here, a traumatic, upsetting, devastating time. But necessary. For us all probably.
    Thank you Kel – honestly, i’ve found this week one tough one to get through, for all you KNOW that they are lying, that they do it to turn the emotional screws on you, that no normal healthy minded person would tell you that, (he actually said “seeing as you’ve asked…Keli i DIDNT – how mental is that??) – it still hurts you so much.
    I hope you are ok, we all on this site know what we are dealing with, it just doesn’t stop us getting sidelined by it go on and you think I’m ok I can deal with it, and then you are sucker punched …. we just have to keep repeating it, and believe it. because it is true.
    Lots of Love

  34. And I know exactly what you mean about the vulnerbility and fragility you feel with regards to them or anything about them. it really is just a day at a time, or hour at at time! sometimes..


  35. (((((((((((((( Lesley ))))))))))))))))))

    I so understand. I have to get to school and have been very busy, not blogging as much, but I will read at least once a day to catch up with how you’re doing if you post.

    Your year is pretty close to mine, December 4th is a year for me. We can help one another get through it. I think Julian will close on a year too shortly. It’s the hardest time, that first year and closing in on it. You’re right, it’s one hour at a time sometimes. Hang in there. Kel

  36. I think so….but more importantly, once you ARE aware of what those abuses were, think about what you have GAINED from the past abuses. Not lessons learned, but unique strengths that you had to develop to survive.

    For me, I learned to think on my feet, I learned to hold my emotions in check, I learned how to be hyper vigilant to the moods of another, to read body language, to be a delayed reactor….all things that helped me be a good teacher I think!

    You might be a great judge, you might be highly skilled at working with abused kids, you might be a great actress….there are skills that you have been practicing. And even if you don’t use them in a job, they are skills….and can be handy just in dealing with doctors, your family etc.

    I look at the physical scars on my body and don’t see them as documenting all the illnesses I’ve had, but rather as documentation of all the strength I’ve shown to overcome things that I would have predicted I couldn’t have overcome.

    I have emotional scars….male anger still scares me, BUT I’ve learned to say, okay, it frightens me, but I’m not going to ACT on that fear. I am going to react from a place of strength, or a place of delayed reaction. And so that is a skill I have now…..I can take an animal abuser yelling at me, and not back down, and calmly say “nonetheless, I must call the sheriff and report this.” People who have not HAD to develop that skill, usually just react with anger right back at the abuser and THAT can cause huge problems.

    So once you are clear that you were abused a) get clear that says everything about the abuser and virtually nothing about you and b) focus on the strengths and skills you have as a result. Sure, you do have go through a time of mourning…you didn’t have the dad you wanted, etc…but after awhile it is time to accept that reality and see what lemonade you can squeeze out of that lemon.

    I think people who go through that process can be some of the strongest and most ethical people in the world, and clear sighted!

  37. Michael, despite the title, I think you would like the book “When You Love a Man Who Loves Himself”. There are graphs comparing different things in a relationship with a narcissist , compared to a relationship with a non-narcissist, based on surveys in studies. For instance, how long the relationship last, the amount of intimacy, the amount of excitement, etc.

    He compares dating a narc to eating a donut….instant gratification, a high…..and then a crash. Dating a non narc he compares to eating a healthy meal. No rush, no excitement, but after 20 minutes you feel good, and don’t need coffee, you don’t crash.

    Also here is a quote from the book about the double curse of dating narcs (even truer for p’s):

    “The first (curse) is the problems in the relationship and the second is the difficulty in emotionally getting over the relationship after it is over in reality. ”

    About the rumination he states “The truth is this obsession on a past relationship with a narc has less to do with the importance of the relationship with the narc, and more to do with the seeming inconsistency and irrationality of the narc’s behavior. When things don’t make sense, we remember them better, think about them more, and find them harder to forget.”

    He also addresses why our friends can dismiss the relationship with “he was a jerk who put on a false front. End of story.”…and we can’t.

    He goes through a lot of great examples. One is:

    He says we might have these two beliefs:
    “1. I loved Mike.
    2. Mike was a narcissistic jerk (or P)

    ThIs is tough to reconcile”

    He goes through how we try to convince ourselves the first statement isn’t true…but we know it is. Then we try to convince ourselves the second statement isn’t true…but eventually we understand it is true. Then we try to explain or excuse that saying things like “He didn’t mean to be a jerk, he had a bad childhood”….but pathology is permanent, we eventually learn. Finally you get to “Mike misled me” or “I didn’t see Mike for who he was” He states “This is probably the truth, but it is hard to believe because it brings on more dissonance” ….and he continues in the explanation that finally you admit you were manipulated, and you feel stupid. But he says after learning about their skills in “starting relationships, you shouldn’t feel stupid.” It is hard to not get taken in if you have never experienced something like that before!

    Anyway, it is a really good book, even though he is discussing narcs rather than p’s. It all made sense to me.

  38. Susan, this makes sense, since psychopaths are fundamentally narcissistic, so most of the insights that apply to narcissists will apply to them. The main difference is that narcissists need validation, while psychopaths need idolization and ultimately don’t care if anyone validates them. They have no insecurities, only EGO. Claudia

  39. Lesley and Kelli, you made a great distinction, Kel, between normal happiness and psychopathic glee. I’ve never witnessed the psychopath happy. But he was especially gleeful when he won something or got me to overstep a boundary or pulled a fast one on me or someone else. Glee–a symptom of enjoying duping and hurting others–is the closest psychopaths can come to happiness. Unfortunately, they’re never that unhappy either. They just get frustrated easily when things don’t go their way. But they thrive even in jail, manipulating, intimidating and using whomever they can even there. Claudia

  40. Ha, ha….a donut…how appropriate….a hole in the center. A donut disguised as a substantive meal.

  41. OMG, Susan, I have to get that book. Thanks so much for sharing that information as this is a lot of what I’m dealing with AGAIN. Kel

  42. Claudia,

    Isn’t there a danger in downgrading a personality disorder, like the differences between Narcs and psychopaths? Aren’t they relatively ALL THE SAME in pathology and equally as destructive? I have come to believe that psychopath is an appropriate term for ALL of the Cluster B’s with a variation in what traits are more so exhibited than others, but ALL are equally as deadly and dangerous and ALL are without empathy, remorse or guilt. I think this school of thought with regards to downgrading a pathology within the context of “narcissism” gives victims who are seeking answers, the idea that it’s “not as bad” as a full blown psychopath. This is greatly unfortunate. I think Sandy Brown is right within the context of labeling the cluster B psychopaths. Narcissism is also a term thrown around in our society so much now it’s almost reach epidemic GLORIFIED levels as if that’s a GOOD thing. It’s not, it’s as dangerous as psychopathy and I hope the new DSM outlines and gives ONE name to the Cluster B of disorders. Kel

  43. Lesley,

    I reread your post above and caught something that I didn’t catch before:

    Its the dealing with the aftermath, the knowing what they are doing to you next, and why they are doing it that takes even more strength than leaving them, to deal with.

    I think I know exactly what you mean and that stood out to me like a neon sign. I so appreciate your input, well, everyone here, because I learn so much and it helps so much. Kel

  44. All,

    In one of Lesley’s posts, coupled with Susan’s and the book she cited, something dawned on me.

    Lesley, it’s while in the relationship and we realize that they’re hurting us on PURPOSE that it’s time to go. When the devalue begins and we see the psychopaths GLEE in hurting us, it’s time to close up shop. That is so hard, but it IS what eventually pushes us out of the relationship. There is no way to overlook that without literally or figuratively committing suicide if we stay in the relationshit. I felt that three quarters of the relationshit was spent asking myself “why is he DOING this?” I could not wrap my mind around it and I constantly doubted myself. Could someone REALLY WANT FOR MY DESTRUCTION? When he kept doing the same things over and over to hurt me, the answer was clear. Even when he acted like he wanted to do something with me, for me in a “nice” way, it was ALWAYS destructive afterwards. This is when the fear of being with him came in and it was time to get out. He was building me up constantly with the sweet cycle, only to watch me FALL and REACT to which he CALMLY stood there and smirked, or no facial expression at all. That was the HARDEST and most DIFFICULT concept to deal with. It is so amazing how many victims, myself included, were willing to deny that that was the intent, even in the aftermath. I’ve read hundreds of stories from women who are out of these relationships that say, “I think he really did mean it when he said he loved me…” UM, NO HE DID NOT! This kind of thinking and denial is extremely dangerous because it sets us up for further destruction in another potentially dangerous relationshit. I have a great deal of trouble with the REALITY that there are evil people in this world, disguised as human beings and their SOLE PURPOSE of survival is to DESTROY others. I STILL struggle with this. It is extremely painful, but it is unfortunately true and if I do NOT truly believe it to my core, then if I ever have another relationshit again, it may well be that I could select yet another dangerous man. Until I can accept this wholeheartedly, there will be NO relationship with any man in an intimate way. Kel

  45. Kelli: This is what I was going over in my mind driving home from work, why would someone want to destroy me? All I ever did was LOVE him (well the him I THOUGHT he was at least) and all I ever got in return was total destruction. I am glad I am not the only person that struggles with this concept – in time it will sink in and then on top of it all they get mad when we go NC, what? Oh ok I will still keep in contact with someone so they can destroy me more if thats not pure insanity I dont know what is. No contact is NOT difficult I was SOOOOOO ready for it but in the aftermath what is the hardest is coming to terms with the reality of what they REALLY were during the course of the whole sick relationship THAT is the part that will hurt for a long time and it has NOTHING to do with him but it just hurts that I was victimized by a psychopath and that I even had to go through the whole awful experience. Its behind me now and I see the light at the end of the dark journey; better days are ahead and i have lots of work to do Linda

  46. Linda,

    I do believe that it’s the hardest part to accept in recovery. I grew up with this concept that everyone is good, particularly given my childhood and how “evil” and “bad” it was. There just HAD to be some good out there! My fantasies were UNLIMITED in how GOOD others were, when in fact, they were not at all. I gave the benefit of the doubt over and over. Understanding that he only wanted for my destruction during the entire relationshit and seeing it, is so utterly painful. It’s also a “narcissistic” injury in a way, via the way we are built up during the luring phase and subsequently DESTROYED by something they say or do..the idea was to understand that that was the INTENT from the very beginning….that the psychopaths drug of choice, is to take the best human beings, and destroy them. How many times have we asked our disordered ones to stop hurting us? and yet they did what we asked them SPECIFICALLY NOT TO DO,, over and over again. How many times did we ask our disordered ones for something as simple as what we wanted for our birthday/christmas only to be given something we didn’t want, and/or given what we wanted and then SEVERELY punished because we were not “grateful” enough? It was never good enough and that was purposeful. The idea was to build us up as HIGH and as FAR as they could…only to watch with GLEE our destruction and pain after having given something “nice” under the pretense of anything genuine. It was FAR from genuine, as our requests, our protestations of love, etc, were met with a quantity of DEVIANCY. This was ON PURPOSE. there is a lot of flurry about whether or not the Cluster B knows what they are doing. Ohhhhhhhhhhh yes, they DO know what they are doing. if this is in doubt or question, review your relationshits and see what happened soon after a kindness was given.

    This belief that there is good in everyone that ANYTHING he said was remotely the truth in what he felt about me, bad, but especially GOOD is to DECEIVE myself. It is a set up for another disordered relationshit. Again, in order for me to be CLEAR, I have to give myself MORE TIME to fully accept that there are EVIL people in this world and that my martyrdom in the past with disordered one’s did nothing but annihilate me in many ways. I have to still learn to accept the relationship, ALL of it, as fake and as deviant as it was. I’m convinced that psychopaths are sadistic, and again a review of your relationshit is proof of that. Who would want to hurt you over and over again if they were capable of any semblance of love and care? They know exactly what they’re doing. Exactly. And there is nothing about that at all, that is good in the slightest. Kel

  47. Linda, I think Sheridan has thoroughly researched psychopathy, and he has some interesting things to say re the psychopaths influence in the political domain (unnerving!) He also makes the claim that borderlines are female psychopaths, a claim i agree with. I think all cluster b are in actual fact psychopathy.

  48. Carole,
    Thank you. I have most definitely found this site and the ability to share my experience amongst other survivors, as that is what we are, to be a god send. Claudia’s articles are so well written, so on the money, so true to form (though why would they not be!!) and the bloggers or I would like to call them my friends now really, have helped me too so much, that you are, as you say, not alone, not going mad, they give you strength.
    It must have been horrendous to go back twice to have to leave twice, though Carole, i would have done the same in a heartbeat. I think we can all totally relate to the shock of the slow, shocking realisation that this person that offered you so much, was in fact, emotionless, callous, lying about everything, fooling you, emotionally destroying you. I most definitely went into shock on my return, and also because of the escalated level of abuse that was being taken out on me during the weeks/months after I left. I think we are all just about at the same point now of the not ruminating as much (though Susan is a great testament to what we will all feel one day!!), however, there is still the pain there and the damage to slowly get through.
    Keli, Linda and Claudia- they are gleeful when they get you to something they want or demand. My ex would love when I did deviant things with him, though the problem he then had with that was that I could be just as deviant as him. BUT and its a big BUT my boundary on it was equality, we did some naughty things yes, but they were fun to me, exciting – that was NOT my ex paths’ MO. His MO was to use it to put me down, belittle me, degrade me. However with that he actually was wasting his time. So, what he did was start to do things behind my back, triangulate, play on my insecurities but also be overly controlling and jealous. If i contacted any person of a male variety on facebook or email (and told him about it you understand as his strap line was that we had to be OPEN and HONEST (he meant me just there obviously) – then I would suffer the rages, the fury, the jealousy. So, in my defense I would then bring up what he had been doing, and that was then it was all turned against me, that I was the insecure one, that i was jealous, that i was full of anger. Gross double standards. Also, can I just say when I ever brought up the subject of finding dubious searches on his pc, i would try and “talk about it…” – hahaha we all know how that one worked out for me!!
    They will destroy anyone they are with, and use any means, they will take what they have sown in you and use it to smash you to pieces. They do enjoy it, well Keli, we know they do, as why would they tell us that they are so happy now? have they not done enough damage??
    I’ve never experienced anything like this. When I think back on things and that I lost my husband, my home, my great job, money because this person did not love me or want a life with me but instead set out to destroy me its heartbreaking and so hurtful.
    When I think of that email he sent me, with the “my relationship is based on trust and affection….its on the whole pretty content happy easy living..” i think of another thing Claudia said “its its too good to be true then it probably is” – and the more i think of what my ex was like, and what he fundamentally is and will ALWAYS BE, then I KNOW it IS too good to be true. Everyone is destroyed, its just the game and the emotional weapon that changes. You make excuses for them when you are in it, you try to, as a loving, giving person take the blame for some of it, but when you are out of it, you should never doubt yourself, though its hard to do some days (or hours!!)
    Lots of love

  49. Keli,
    Yes, also, I agree, that you do spend most of the relationship wondering “why is he doing this?? He SURELY cannot seriously be like this?? It must be ME??” – it was more pronounced for me too because my ex husband was so dependable and laid back that if there was every any problem then I always blamed it on myself (which with my ex husband was usually the case haahha!) so with my ex path i used to think, it must be me again…i must be wrong again…NOPE. it was not. But you stay longer than you should because you make excuses, because you’ve given up so much, because they are worth so much to you, because you are sure you can make it work. But you cant. I said to Claudia once, that i was sure my ex path did not believe for one minute i would take ALL my stuff when he told me to go. That when he came back from his business trip that i would have gone to Scotland, but would have to return for the rest of my things, and then i would crack again and plead to stay with him. Which i would of believe me. But that didn’t happen. I got my shit together and left with everything. I’m not saying that was what I wanted. But that was what had to happen. Or you so rightly say Keli, you commit emotional suicide, suicide of your own being, if you stay.

  50. Lesley, thank you for your kind words. I feel the same way: this blog is not only a place where we share experiences and information about psychopathy, but also a place where we build friendships, to pick each other up when we’re low and cheer each other on when we feel better. I’ve seen how all of us have overcome the initial cognitive dissonance and have become a lot stronger with NC and with the mutual support we offer one another, just in a few short months. Claudia

  51. Michael,

    I completely agree with that. I think female borderlines are in fact, psychopaths as well. It’s my hope that when the new DSM comes out that this will be reflected with the removal of Narcissism and hopefully, a combination of the Cluster B’s into one recognizable category such as psychopathy. Kel

  52. Hi Keli
    Yes, I think that part is the bit that totally screwed my head up. I mean in what normal relationship when you break up does your ex go MENTAL at you on the phone when they have been in the wrong, then go and visit some bird they know in Tel Aviv 2 weeks later, then come back and want to meet up with you to go for tea at his sons, then discard you, then only want to see you if you go to a sex club with them, then pretend they want you back, invite you to see them then when you’ve booked the tickets tell you if you come near their house they will barricade the doors, then if you come to see them then you can, but they will be going out on dates and you can stay in the house (!??), then after the event they contact you to tell you that they wish they hadn’t cancelled you “friend” as their dates did not go well…ok I’m being a bit flippant with all that, and using my experiences to describe the madness. We all have screeds of stuff our exes of done, and i for one like hearing about them as they reassure me that mine’s was just as bad and I’m not alone. But ON TOP of that there is the mental and emotional abuse, hurt, pain, confusion, despair, emptiness, rage, callousness that they inflict too, while they are trying to get you to behave, as my ex used to say. In NO normal relationship, no matter how badly you broke up, do you EVER go through that. That is why, when someone says to me “oh did it just not work out then?” in that condescending “well….it was a long shot for you wasn’t it…” tone..then I get VERY annoyed, upset, furious really. Oh no. it will never be that simple with a path. The aftermath is the hard bit, as all you have is yourself and your totally messed up head, to try and work out what on earth you are/were dealing with. Until, you find this site, and others like it. Then you can at least read other’s experiences, views, what they are going through and think, yes, yes that is it. and the mist starts slowly clearing from your lens. I’m not saying it stops the hurt, that will take so much longer, but the understanding of what was wrong with HIM or HER not US is the start on a long road to hopefully, at the very least, some peace in ourselves.
    Love lesleyxxxxxx

  53. Thanks Claudia. i cant thank you and everyone who contributes on this site enough really. Because some days i am beside myself with upset, i see something that reminds me of him, or i think of the pain i put my ex husband through and it makes me catch my breath its so so paintul. but i come on here and i read what you all write and say and i feel a bit better. if it hadnt been for this site and others like it i would have lost my mind i think. i was just about there as it was!!
    love lesleyxxxx

  54. Kel and Lesley, whenever you feel like the psychopath could be better to someone else, just remember this: psychopaths can’t bond with anyone. For them, life is a series of experiences, and people have more or less predictable reactions: most are initially beguiled by their flattery and charm; then confused by the inconsistencies of behavior; finally, most are disgusted by the psychopaths once they come to know them. Which is also why to them everything and everyone becomes boring. When you see life only as a series of experiences and people as targets to use who have predictable reactions, your life is boring because you are hollow. Nothing and nobody can fill or fulfill the psychopathic hollowness. Ever. Claudia

  55. Hi lesley I just wondered if u could help me with a question I have. I have been reading this blog for almost a year now and have found it so helpful in realising that I am being used and abused by a psychopathic man. But I feel like I need perhaps specialist help from a therapist or counsellor to really help me disingage from this man for good. My question to you is do you know how I go about finding someone suitable? I live in Scotland and I notice that you do too. By the way I always find what you say so helpful and I can relate alot to what you say. Thanks Emily

  56. Claudia,

    I have a question for you and I”m not sure how to ask it. About the boredom trait in psychopaths. How BORED do they get and what is meant by the boredom? I know this is tied to their impulsive behavior, however, …ok, so even with the mask on to other targets, eventually it slips because the traits are INEVITABLE, is that right? I notice that each psychopath has his/her own unique approach to things, but I saw stuff in mine that was patternized across all his relationshits, behavior he did to me that was impulsive, rage, degrading, criticisms disguised as jokes, stuff like that. He was also moody and acted like a big baby when he was sick. Do you know what I mean? the inconsistencies, I think, are a result of boredom, impulsiveness and the energy it takes to keep the mask on. Just some thoughts. Kel

  57. Kel, I think, from observing the psychopath I was with, that psychopaths feel boredom in two ways: 1) as an emptiness or hollowness inside that 2) leads them to constantly seek highs and excitement. To them, life has no meaning outside of exciting experiences, tied to the conquest, dupery and domination of others. Second, and relatedly, they feel boredom as an itch that needs immediate satisfaction. The psychopath I was with described this sensation, as applied to the period when he was engaged to the woman who became his wife and going out every night to cheat on her with other women (they didn’t live together then; she lived at home). He told me that he’d feel this urge overtake him at night to conquer other women. Some psychopathic serial killers describe this same urge to rape and kill. There’s a core deviancy in the psychopathic personality that leads them to need to hurt others, either emotionally or physically, and that finds satisfaction only in doing that. But if that is how you find meaning in your life, then your life is hollow. You don’t bond emotionally to anyone. You are not loyal or faithful to anyone. You don’t love anyone but yourself. And the experience of seducing, duping, and conquering person after person after person becomes repetitive, predictable and boring. They blame the people and the place, and move to a new location and new set of acquaintances until they stink up that place too and alienate those around them there as well. That is the inner world and life experience of a psychopath: a pretty dire existence, with momentary bouts of excitement and sadistic satisfaction. Claudia

  58. You can list men and check men at

  59. Claudia: This is perplexing to me; this question has been going over in my mind, If all he ever felt and said to me were LIES and just a pretense and if the theory of mirroring holds true that can I assume all the qualities he said he saw in me and wanted with a partner NEVER existed – what I am trying to say is I was REALLY never any of the things? Or TO HIM I was never any of those things because they never meant anything to him? I was telling Kelli what a horrible mind F–k the whole experience was and the grave psychological damage we are left to sort out in the end is overwhelming. at times. I have stopped with the probing questions that haunted me for the last year that tortured me mentally I am getting better in that respect but I guess my question is more or less is related to their pathological techniques and predation skills. or did he truly see ALL my humanity and said, BINGO she is the PERFECT TARGET? Thanks Linda

  60. Linda, just because a pathological liar calls you things doesn’t make those things false. He flattered you to manipulate and reel you in. But that doesn’t mean that the qualities he listed aren’t yours. It just means he listed them for ulterior, bad, motives. Claudia

  61. Kelli, I have to read this book as I have socially isolated myself. I have become over sensitive to psychopaths. Whenever in contact with someone, I am constantly looking for red flags now. I am WAAAAY over protective. I wonder if being involved with a psychopath gives you a false sense of potential betrayal in every person you come in contact with. instead of PTSD it should be Post, PSYCHOPATHIC, Stress, Disorder. I have become to serious, to protective. I beleive I have shut out good caring people because of false “red flags” that everyone has, including myself. It pisses me off. I know what my ex is. I have educated myself to help understand. I am torn though having children with the psycho, and no financial means because of her to do what I feel has to be done. I feel for my kids, I wish I could move out of the town I live and get as far away from her as possible. Unfortunately financially I cant afford that. I also worry what emotional toll it may have on my youngest, in a sense taking him away from his mother (even though she is a freak of nature). I think I have developed an over active conscience from my involvement with my ex. It may be effecting my decision making process. They say money cant buy happiness but I’m starting to wonder in this case.
    Kelli, You seem like you are doing well, I hope you keep climbing.

  62. Gary, personally I think you are right to be cautious and take everything slowly. This is particularly the case since your ex still is in your life because of the children. But this happens even to those of us who have no contact whatsoever with the psychopathic ex. For instance, my ex still stalks me every day, sometimes writing on this blog pretending to be a “victim”. There are also trolls who write on any support group, which we do our best to weed out. They do so to play games (catch-me-if-you-can) and to “win”. A destructive, silly kind of “winning” that only losers engage in. (I’ve written posts about this subject before, on Evil Jokers and How Psychopaths Win by Losing) Therefore, continue to be cautious and to take your time in evaluating potential dating partners carefully, so that you choose good ones when you’re ready. Protect yourself even if you can’t afford right now to move further away from your ex wife. Claudia

  63. Claudia, Something just hit me reading your post above to Linda. If they feel they have not completely destroyed us… Then it is harder for them to place the blame. They don’t have the… See its not me, look how he/she is acting. Its all manipulation to keep their mask intact for others. if we still have a heart beat we are a threat to their winning the game… What ever that is? I can see this I can write this but its tough to grasp in my own mind.

  64. Linda

    RE: Your above post: During the luring phase they do an “assessment” of your qualities. They mirror back to you your good qualities, PLUS they chameleonize themselves to be exactly what you want them to be. THROUGH YOUR GOOD QUALITIES. Does that mean he saw your humanity? NO, he didn’t. They are incapable of any kind of humanity. There is no emotional involvement in the true sense as we would perceive it. Once they are done, and discard or you discard, your good qualities are turned against you, twisted.

    They could care less. Kel

  65. Linda,
    PS, they use your good qualities to assess how to work you, then destroy you. Kel

  66. Gary,

    I completely understand the paranoia. I’m not as paranoid anymore as I was, but my boundaries are very high right now and my assessment of others is based on a level of: Okay, you’re going to EARN my trust, In other words, I don’t give myself away so easily anymore. One of the things I had to do when my ex and I parted, was to realize and very painfully, that there were others in my life who were toxic too. Betrayals all over the place. My choices of friends, acqaintances, along with my ex, had to go. It’s like someone else I know said, “you’ve got a garden full of weeds and you have to pick them all out”. It’s so true. You might be left with a bud or two or not at all, it’s starting all over, from the bottom up, building yet another life, painting on a clean canvas. It’s lonely, painful and if you’re sharing children with the ex and cannot completely disconnect, you still have the toxin in your life.

    I don’t know a thing about your financial situation, Gary, but I can ask you this: What does a psychopath have to offer a child? It’s amazing how people, like my ex’s ex wife, think that he sucked as a husband, but what a great father he is! NOPE! They use the children, just like they do everyone else. And they play the same games. Psychopaths love to have power and control of their ex’s through their children. The children are chess pieces in the game. Gary, I wonder if there is any way you could actually make a move happen for yourself. Financially, it’s very difficult, but I wonder if saving your sanity might be more worthwhile. It”s telling that you’re concerned for your youngest and the impact the psycho is having. That is your red flag system at work! You are the normal one, responsible for the children. You know what is right and wrong. I can’t tell you what to do, obviously, but i can encourage you to think about moving, no matter how difficult it might be financially. Perhaps finding a job in a different town? Who knows, but something to give serious consideration too.

    Thanks Gary, working hard. Please keep posting cuz we worry about you here! Kel

  67. Gary, good point. If their victims are still successful and well-liked by others, then the psychopaths a) don’t feel the full satisfaction of having destroyed those targets, which is their original goal, b) because ALL psychopaths are LOSERS (in relationships, in life and very often professionally as well) and they can only feel like winners if they make their victims BIGGER LOSERS than they are (a very difficult task:) and c) as you state, they can’t demonstrate to others how “crazy” their victims are and how it is all the their fault. Usually, however, most people catch on sooner or later to the psychopaths’ deviant natures, which is why they end up such total Losers, in all aspects of their lives. The fact that they amount to anything in any respect is a narcissistic illusion that exists almost exclusively in their own heads. Hardly anyone else buys it. Claudia

  68. Claudia, Kelli – Thanks for clarifying that for me. I am experiencing much anxiety these past few weeks this is the longest he has not tried to contact me; a couple months now, its the ultimate goal I have wanted for the past year but it evokes some things I am FORCED to come to terms with. The long process of NC has finally come full circle; I realize he is FINALLY gone and I have FINALLY been discarded like all the rest they eventually have no more use for. In as much as I know this is an EXCELLENT achievement its also a painful time for me. When they finally release us they KNOW we are no longer a believer, they have pretty much exhausted every pathological trick they used on us and they move on to their other targets and new targets. As we are left so hurt and start to rebuild our lives then one day out of the blue maybe in a moment of boredom they wonder, gee I wonder if I can squeeze some more out of that fool in all her humanity she probably misses me so I will give her a call to see if she is uncontent in her own life so to speak, see if she responds to my call (you can relate Kelli) I will try to recycle the bitch – But I am proud to say this will NEVER happen, there is no going back I would rather kill myself than go back to that as it would ultimately be the same if I did. If I WAS miserable 6 months from now (hopefully not though with hard work) that misery could NEVER compare to the mental torture he did to me. I have worked VERY VERY hard to come to the place I am today recognizing what I need to improve in my own personal self and life to move on from a sick unhealthy pathological bond with this psychopath. My work is focused in the present and in the future to no longer have vulnerabilities that lead to my demise with this destroyer and predator of mankind and that is all he really ever was x0x0 linda

  69. Linda, you may be (unpleasantly) surprised that after months of NC the Loser will contact you again, on his terms when he feels like it. That’s happened to Kel, after a few months of no harassment, she got a Mother’s Day card and a few months later some suspicious phone calls. In my situation, my psychopathic ex is one of those Evil Jokers I wrote about who feel they can “win” by engaging in activities everyone else considers losing. He keeps up the steady stream of cyberstalking me on a regular basis. Either way, however, it really doesn’t matter. It’s their waste of time and of their lives, not ours. Claudia

  70. Linda
    Yep. Claudia and i really know how to pick em! LOL!

    Claudia got it worse though with the stalking stuff. What an idiot!

    Anywho, it’s only been a couple of months since your ex tried to contact you? that’s not very long and I didn’t realize that. It’s entirely possible that he will pop up in the future. Mine had a “pattern” of contact. Approximately every eight to ten weeks. The phone calls were a bit delayed according to his patterns LOL…but…they are extremely disruptive to me. I’d like to get to where Claudia understands that her ex is such a DOUCHE BAG, and she isn’t anything but merely annoyed like a gnat flying around your head when her ex stalks her. I’ll get there, and each time my ex has tried, I have sent him an email letting him know that I want NOTHING to do with him and why. I thought it would stop it after the mother’s day ecards. Of course, with suspicious phone calls, you can’t “prove” it’s him, but just like we ignored our red flags in the beginning, they can’t be ignored in the aftermath. Many victims understand this “feeling” you get when the psychopath has you on their mind. I refer to his as their seventh sense. So I think…ohhhhhhhh, he’s bored. I didn’t respond to the calls, so they abruptly stopped and hopefully, he got bored with that too and will stay away.

    I do believe that if they feel they have not totally destroyed you, and in fact, you are THRIVING after the fact, they play more games. I think it bothers them that they did not achieve that goal. Even if they have other supply. My ex P’s having supply, right after me, has given me the opportunity to heal, although this one is taking just a little tiny bit longer.

    There is something to be said for the one that got away, Linda. When you wake up and realize who he is before you are damaged further and you call them on their shit. They HATE that. It means they’ve lost control. When they contact it has nothing to do with anything but wanting to keep control. It’s an addiction for them, as is the destruction. Just like it’s an addiction for us to put up with it.

    You’ll get past all of this. Especially when you start to work on your own life. That’s where I’m at now. In fact, with each stage of recovery, moving from one place to the next, means I’m ruminating MORE, rather than less, until I figure out what’s coming up. There is ALWAYS an underlying reason for the ruminating. Always and it’s rarely about him, but more about me.


  71. Hi Emily.
    I went to the doctors several times was given anti depressants but felt I needed someone neutral to talk to and that understood what I’d been dealing with. At the time I had not found this site and was actually wanting to talk to someone about the problems I felt were in ME and why I could not as you rightly describe, disengage. The doctor gave me a list of abuse centres/mental health places that were in the place I live. Most dealt with rape/drug/childhood abuse. Hardly any for emotional/mental abuse but there are some. The fee is charged on how much you earn though if you are not working then I think they can be free. To wait to be referred via the nhs could take a year and I for one didn’t think I could hold off that long. That said it took about 4 months to get an appointment, though I had found this site by then so when I had my first session I knew what to describe to her that I’d been dealing with. Yes you go over what sort of person you are etc but I find it helps as it’s someone that doesn’t say ‘get over it, he’s a mental bastard’. My one knows why he is does what he does and she more helps me recognise the hurt and pain that was caused by him and funnily enough the way my ex husband was about the situation too. I find it a great help but you do have to wait a while. It depends also where you live maybe?
    If it makes you feel any better I still have problems cutting off the thoughts, or maybe its the hurt I still can’t cut off from. But talking about it does help, on here especially I find!!
    The place I go to is well spring though and the girl there is lovely.
    Let me know how you get on and thank you. I hope my posts help sone of us too as everyones posts help me I can promise you that!!
    Lots of love
    Lesley xxx

  72. Kel, if that’s the measure of success then I’m doing really well! LOL. Because my psychopathic ex cyberstalks me almost every day, sometimes several times a day and even poses as a “victim” on this blog to harass and taunt the contributors and me (until I weed him out again…). It gets very boring and predictable, as you know, after awhile… He spares no one his evil buffoonery and even bragged to me about setting the alarm clock to wake up his parents at 2 am and 4 am whenever they visited him (very tired, from afar…). I remember thinking at the time: what middle-aged man plays such idiotic pranks? The answer became clear a little later: a psychopath! Such pointless, malicious games is all they’re good at. At any rate, the bottom line remains: who cares what these deviant losers do to waste their own time and lives? Claudia

  73. Claudia, Keli and Linda and all
    Linda, I also struggled with the “if he is lying about everything then he lied about my qualities too” thought. But, what i keep trying to think is what Claudia said, that really they say anything to get what they want out of you. I know what sort of person I am, and that I have a lot of good friends and people like me. I do question myself sometimes (and don’t get angry at me all of you haha!) for being too possessive with him, for “analysing things too much (his words not mine!) and that i am too needy etc. But then i think no, I’m right, he was allowed to go and mess around behind my back but i was not allowed to even talk to someone on a chat engine on facebook. That is not right. And he put me down and devalued me, its just not RIGHT and loving behaviour. Its just because they blame you for EVERYTHING and in a normal relationship you would both just end up sitting down and saying sorry and moving on, with them you can’t. Its all just about manipulation and control.
    Keli, you brought up such a good point (again you must be in my head as i was only discussing the same thing with my sister on Saturday) – the red flag thing about when they contact you after months of silence. I read all my stuff from this site, i print off every article and read it at night or when i feel a bit weak, and as you can imagine I have a huge pile of paperwork!! But there is ONE article that i leave to the side and its the one about the relationship boomerang. I think my ex is text book material psycho, but when it comes to them contacting you after months/years/ or cyberstalking you etc then I think no, he is the exception to the rule. I have my huge pile of stuff i believe wholeheartedly on one side and the 3 pages on the boomerang article on the other and i kept saying “why don’t you believe that bit Lesley??” – especially after his random emails about asking if i had found someone else, then the memories of school, then his new wonderful girlfriend. I think its because he made me know that I meant so little to him that i think if someone meant so little to you then why even care if they are alive or dead? But its not about that, its about the controlling you and they want to know that you will NEVER lose them from your thoughts, which they would hate. They don’t care about you, most definitely not, but they don’t want you forgetting who they are. Extremely disruptive is exactly what it is Keli, disruptive to your inner self really and your emotions. The reason I don’t ever believe my ex would keep randomly contacting me is because up until maybe mid June this year, I think I maybe sent him two emails. Then after I came back from holiday in July i just thought you know what, i’m done with this, i had such a chilled time away that i was feeling too good to bother. He mustn’t have heard from me then in maybe a month or more and then i get these random emails and comments made underneath mine on mutual friends walls on facebook. He would NEVER do that before. But I still blame myself for his contacting me, i still think its your fault. So I do try and see the red flags and think no Lesley, this is him manipulating it again and you not recognising that he will probably do exactly as Claudia describes and periodically turn up and upset me. But I am damned if I’ll ever contact him again!!
    I read on another site also, that they (the paths) ask people about you, like maybe mutual friends you have etc? They ask much more about you and try to find out what you are doing, much more than you would ever realise. I don’t know if that is true either. But it probably is.
    Its all to destabilise you, and it does to me, it brings me down. But not as much as it used to. That grip he had on me mentally is very slowly lessening and now the more i move away from him and try to get my life together the less it upsets me. I’m not saying i’m ok, i still get VERY upset, but the difference in me from February say this year is huge. And that must be a good thing. I think we have all gotten a little better really.

  74. Hi Claudia
    Re the boredom…my ex was the same. At night he had to go out dogging on his own, without telling me, he had to have that secret thrill that made him feel more powerful over me, and to dupe me. If he went into London for work then he always came back with the extreme horn, the reason? Because its like a fashion show in offices these days Lesley…you don’t know where to look first (eh no HE didn’t know where to look first) and that they were all “asking for the way they dressed”…what an extremely worrying and unhealthy outlook. He always ALWAYS had to have a deviant thrill going on, so that it took the edge of his “boredom of having to have girlfriend sex”. They value nothing and no one.

  75. Lesley, this deviant behavior is a symptom of their inner hollowness. And their recurrent harassment–be it a little bit, as in your and Kelli’s situation or a lot as in my situation–is a symptom of their desire for control and incapacity to process rejection (the narcissistic injury, as psychologists say). Psychopaths are completely narcissistic, and even believe their own fictional narratives–that others value and respect them–when, in reality, pretty much everyone who gets to know them considers them, as my ex was called by our colleagues and friends during our summer job, “une ordure” (a “piece of crap”). They saw through him and described him for what he is months before I did. A psychopath can’t accept the reality of his own worthlessness to others. If he fails in relationships or professionally, he blames it on others and assumes a superior attitude, as if he’s beyond worldly ambition and professional goals. The reality of his abject failure threatens his view of himself as superior to others. So he reacts by harassing former colleagues, former lovers, those around him who threaten his illusory sense of superiority. Take solace in the fact that aside from a few sycophants or those family members who are in deep denial or perhaps as deviant and hollow as they are, nobody likes or respects these psychopaths. They get back in life what they give to others and remain pathetic failures in every respect, moving from place to place in search of new victims and deviant thrills. Claudia

  76. Lesley

    I have quite a different situation in that my ex wouldn’t dare discuss me with anyone because he doesn’t want wife 3 to know about us or what happened. I’m really blessed in many ways in my healing process because if there was anyone who truly got away, leaving a HUGE NI for him, it was me. And I dont give a shit! I’m so happy I outed him. For all the pain and grief he put me through, well, it was the least I could do. He knows that I know who he is. So the best he could come up with is to harrass me through empty phone calls. So what? He has no way to “get back at me” without risking the money his wife has that he happily spends. I’m sure he is quite aware that she would check on him. He’s not going to risk that. His bed, let him FESTER in it!!! I’m SO DONE with his crap. I don’t know that he even cares whether or not I left him with that one last power shot, but I’m not sorry about it. He is what he is. I think he’ll leave me a lone now. In my case, with my past three relationshits, there was new supply to take the focus off of me or any power plays associated. I’m grateful for their presence. It allows me the time to heal. You have that now too Lesley. The better you feel, you won’t give a HOOT if he calls you or emails or whatever. Just delete, delete, delete! As times goes on, you see how idiotic and sick they really are. You’re doing so good and sounding so much STRONGER! GO YOU! Kel

  77. Claudia

    Your ex is the KING of douche bag idiots 🙂 Kel

  78. Kel, I’m afraid you’re right:). Especially when he writes on the blog pretending to be a victim. He sounds so ridiculous, like a buffoon. I suppose the lack of empathy and inflated ego shows through in those posts too. When he pretends to be a victim, he always manages to depict the psychopath as superior and irresistible and the victim as somehow asking for it and weak. Those posts sound like a deranged script. I’ve never read any actual victims, on this or any support group/informational blog, who write like a psychopath. As they say on lovefraud, grayrock or, as you state, delete, delete, delete! Claudia

  79. Claudia,

    Yep! but ya know what? He gives the “inside scoop” of what it is to be a psychopath with all of that victim talk. He gives himself away every single time! He’d be a great case study into how psychopaths make themselves look so ridiculous! As if a victim couldn’t catch on! When you see a psychopath in action like this, it gives victims a really good look at how cartoonish they really are! kel

  80. Kel, when you read or speak to a psychopath after the mask is off, you realize they’re caricatures of human beings. The lack of empathy and the idiotic games they play with others makes them look utterly ridiculous. Claudia

  81. Claudia

    Oftentimes their masks in public are obvious too, the fakery. I can’t explain that accurately, but my ex is very poor at speaking with others in public. His superficial charm and chameleon like behavior with everyone he meets, makes it so obvious. I’ve noticed that about him from day one. It struck me as quite odd, but seeing the mask off, shows the child for what it is. Kel

  82. Kelli, Lesley, Susan, Linda and everyone, psychopaths eventually give themselves away for the same reason why they lure us: they have a distorted conception of others and focus almost exclusively on people’s vulnerabilities without seeing their strengths. To bolster their own narcissistic egos, they MUST underestimate others. This proves to be an asset during the luring phase, because they see our dissatisfactions and vulnerabilities, hone in on them, and make false promises based on them. But once their mask inevitably starts peeling off and their contempt for us—and all human beings–becomes obvious, they fail to adjust their perception to see our strengths. That’s why we catch on to them and escape from their clutches. Their conception of others is a reverse picture of themselves, but just as shallow. To psychopaths others are one-dimensional objects to be manipulated, used, mocked and discarded. But that’s only because of their own one-dimensional characters that need to prey and destroy others to feel superior.

    In light of this perspective, so much of my psychopathic ex’s behavior makes much more sense, including his compulsion to try to post mocking comments on this blog or his daily harassment. His behavior with his wife and ex-lovers also makes sense. A year into their marriage, he told me, he convinced his wife she was fat (even though she wasn’t) and got her hooked on overeaters anonymous. Why? To have emotional control over her and make her feel unattractive, inadequate and dependent. He managed to do so throughout their marriage. He twisted episodes of their lives into this false conception of his superiority in every respect (physical and intellectual). He even told me about how in a clothing store a little girl mistook his wife for his mother, because she looked so much older than he did. This anecdote may have been a lie, or it may have been the truth. But the important thing is that he grasped on only to the things that made his wife (or other women) look INFERIOR to him, and blocked out all the things that made her look equal or even, in some respects, better than him. At the time he convinced me that they had separated (he had persuaded her to move to another state) and was about to divorce her because they were so incompatible (i.e., because she was not good enough for him). I took this at face value at the time. Later I realized that, in fact, this was another symptom of the psychopath’s compulsion to make others feel inferior in order to sustain a false sense of superiority.

    That illusory superiority is continually threatened by others’ independence, achievements, friendships and family bonds: everything except for abject failure. This is why psychopaths sometimes continue to harass former targets and why, from each of your stories, they have tried to undermine each of your well-being and accomplishments in life; to focus on your weaknesses and make you feel insecure. How could such pathetic human beings (as all psychopaths are), with no real achievements and healthy human relationships, feel superior to others if they don’t consistently try to undermine those around them? Claudia

  83. Claudia

    this is an excellent question and it makes sense as to why psychopaths attempt to lure women who are intelligent, or who have status and power or a combination of such. It’s all the MORE challenging to saw her off at the knees. This makes perfect sense.

    When the victim gets away from the psychopath, she is revealing her power and strength to him in a way in which, while damaged and hurt, he has not DESTROYED her. I’m betting that those who are not as strong, as sad as it is, and bend to the will and power of the psychopath, who never get away, lose not only whom they are, but become very physically, as well as psychologically sick, or what Thomas Sheridan refers to as the protopsychopath. Either that or the victim is so worn out and beaten down she commits suicide. The ultimate victory for a psychopath. I’ve thought about this often as my ex took JOY in the reality that his wife pulled out a butcher knife out of the kitchen drawer and threatened to off herself. to which he responded (with glee in telling the story I might add), that to “go ahead and do it, just get it over with”. He was horribly vicious to her. I missed this huge red flag of him telling me these stories of how he has hurt each wife and was proud of it. YUCK! So when we get away, we really are very blessed. We have life. They did not destroy us, and all they have is death. Death of soul, if not death of body and the desire to murder by suicide. Kel

  84. Kel, I think that Sheridan is right about “protopsychopaths”. This is what I believe the psychopath’s wife is. It’s a chicken and egg kind of question, however: a) are these protopsychopaths women who initially are insecure narcissists (most narcissists, unlike psychopaths, are insecure and hunger for validation) and bond with the psychopaths because they depend on the flattery and validation (then are trauma bonded to them) or b) are these protopsychopaths people without much empathy to begin with, who are the perfect complements and mates for the psychopaths? It’s hard to tell, since they display most of the symptoms of psychopathy and resemble their disordered mates. However, for all practical purposes, it doesn’t matter if they were predisposed to be psychopathic or became that way through contact with the psychopath. Just like it doesn’t matter, to victims at least, how the psychopaths became so. It’s important to stay away from such individuals because they can be just as dangerous as their pathological mates. Just watch an episode or two of Wicked Attractions, the show on Investigation Discovery, and you see that there’s very little difference in the destructive behavior of psychopaths and protopsychopaths. Claudia

  85. Yes, I think p’s think they are irresistible, when in fact, the only thing really attractive was the illusion in our heads.

    But as I’ve said before, even the illusion now doesn’t attract me. I’ve completely lost my appetite for any man who thinks he’s hot, who treats you as a woman first, instead of as a human being, and flirts are a huge turn offs to me. So are men who are determined to always win.

    Even if I were not married, I can tell you the only kind of man who impresses me now is one who is altruistically a hero for those who are weaker and in need. Actions truly speak louder than words. Especially actions done when “no one is looking”. Emotional maturity and a healthy (not junior high sick) sense of humor, and a man who knows the sex portrayed in porn is ridiculous and hollow…those are the qualities I find hugely attractive now. Luckily I’m married to such a man!

  86. Susan, that narcissistic, inflated sense of self is so obvious even in the psychopath’s posts (which I’ve shown you but don’t allow on the blog once I spot them), where he pretends to be a “victim”. You notice how he always depicts the psychopath as irresistible, and the victim as pining for him, missing him, unable to stay away from him. Also he usually depicts the victim as an idiot and depraved (probably because that is how we describe the psychopaths themselves, because that’s what they are). I’ve not read the writings of a single real victim, on this or any other psychopathy blog, who makes such statements. This goes to show how embedded narcissism is in the psychopathic personality that their lack of empathy shows through even in their psychopathic dupery and silly games. Especially there! They can’t do anything right, not even play malicious games in a plausible manner. What a joke! As Kelli states, this psychopath is like an annoying fly we swat from time to time. On a more serious note, I’m so glad that you came to value the kind of men–like your husband–who actually have qualities and character. You are very lucky, indeed, as am I, to have found such a partner. Claudia

  87. Claudia

    The difference between protopsychopaths and psychopaths is that if the protopsychopath were removed from the psychopath, they have a very good chance at healing because underneath all the faux association with the psychopath, they have EMPATHY and genuinely feel remorse for their actions.

    I know it’s possible, but I don’t know how common that is.

    Most women stay in these relationshits. Some women just can’t remove themselves, no matter how bad it gets. When it becomes that way, you know the person is very psychologically sick in one way or another, whether protopsychopath or not, it is mandatory to live a deviant lifestyle to be with a psychopath at all. Kel

  88. Kel, I think these women though have something in them that makes them particularly vulnerable to psychopaths (same thing applies to cult members, for instance). Michael (from this website) is writing an interesting book, as you know, that will argue quite convincingly that all personality disorders–including narcissism and bpd–are based on lack of empathy, and thus are psychopathic in their foundation. At any rate, what I’ve noticed, from everything the psychopath has shared with me about his wife (including their email exchanges) is that the women most prone to stay with psychopaths feel INCOMPLETE without their psychopathic partners. Their life has no meaning outside of the psychopathic bond.

    When the psychopath informed his wife of our affair and that he wants to divorce her to be with me, he bragged that she did everything possible, even joined several support groups, to get him back into her life despite all the harm he caused her. He described his wife as “a lost soul”. Psychopaths tend to gravitate towards lost souls (their followers) and lost souls also tend to gravitate towards psychopaths and narcissists, men who can take charge of their lives and create the illusion of a “special” bond, outside the norm. It’s a symbiotic bond.

    My husband had a healthier reaction: he let me know that he would move on if I left him for the psychopath. Not being able to let go of the psychopath despite the fact he betrayed and left her told me a lot about his wife’s sense of incompleteness, or hollowness, without his constant presence in and control of her life. She even accepted his chronic cheating, an open marriage on his side: absolutely every inequality and humiliation, only to keep him in her life.

    This emptiness without the psychopath (or defining oneself primarily in terms of the psychopathic bond) is the primary reason why some women hold on to denial so much and for so long; why when they find out about the psychopath’s chronic cheating and deception they stick to him and even bend over backwards to please him; why they defend him from blame, sometimes even when the psychopath is caught and convicted for a crime.

    If you have no sense of self outside of the toxic relationship there’s nothing in you to even have the strength to remove yourself from the very relationship that’s slowly destroying you. Women like that would rather be destroyed than live without the psychopath. They may not be destructive without being with the psychopath, I agree. Nonetheless, they are empty souls that need psychopathic control and brainwashing to endow their lives with a sense of meaning. And they will do anything for their psychopathic partners for as long as their sense of self comes from the psychopathic bond. Claudia

  89. Claudia, Kel, and all; this is an interesting thread. Claudia Ive often wondered about this conundrum around whether psychopaths are not insecure in the same way as narcissists, and borderlines for that matter. Sheridan argues that narcissists are psychopaths, and he also states the belief that borderlines are psychopaths too. He doesnt really qualify the basis of his belief in any depth, however I agree with him and i imagine he is familar with sandra browns work. remeber the study sandra quotes- “our results demonstrate that where a diagnosis of a cluster b disorder is made, a high psychopathy value is to be expected”. It’s intersting that the revised DSM is dropping NPD, and I wonder if part of this change reflects the confusion between narcissim as a distinct disorder in its own right? Psychopaths are narcissistic (see Hare), and so are borderlines (see pretty much any book on BPD). When you look indepth at the issue, it appears that narcissism is a trait of a psychopathic personality construct). I believe narcissism is one of the core traits, and binds these disorders together in the sense that without narcissistic supply psychopaths experience the sense of not existing. I think that this is because they have moments of awareness that they do not exist as loving, emotional people capable of empathy and truly knowing another. A psychopath in order to escape their own baroness hides their insecurity which is ‘I only exist in the reflection of others’; this is their dupe. The revised DSM proposes that personality disorders should lie across a continuum. In other words you can have a few of these traits and not so much of those traits and so on. I can see how the DSM has evolved in this way; but I agree again with Sheridan; there is no partial psychopath, you either are or are not a psychopath. I think it is easy to mistake behaviours for traits. I think the psychopath can be identied by their lacking in a true consensual reality / story with us. While we thought we were living a loving relationship story with them that had meaning; they were just passing through in an opportunistic and here and now way, duping us in order to meet their here and now needs.

  90. Michael, I definitely believe that psychopaths feel empty and aimless without narcissistic supply. That’s why they do everything possible to gather so many sycophants and followers around them and return to harass former targets and get them under their control again. I think that’s also true of “lost souls” however, in a complimentary fashion: without the illusion of a special, extraordinary, exciting bond with a psychopath lost souls feel empty.

    I don’t believe it’s accident or even weakness that some people gravitate towards cults or psychopaths and stick to them. I think there are pathological and symbiotic relationships, where two kinds of empty individuals give each other, mutually, narcissistic supply. Even if one of them–the psychopath–remains the dominant one in the couple and dictates the rules of the relationship.

    The other, submissive partner, has something to gain from the toxic relationship, despite the pain, despite the inequality, despite the humiliation: she gains a sense of purpose and a sense she’s in a relationship like no other, that nobody else understands. That’s the illusion a psychopath cultivates with each victim. Each of our stories relates this. But those individuals who stay with the psychopath, who need the psychopath, who can’t exist meaningfully without the psychopath need that fake, narcissistic supply. They are as hollow inside as the psychopath, even if, on their own, less destructive.

    In a way, the terms narcissism and psychopathy–both defined by pathological lack of empathy and emptiness of self–can become interchangeable. It’s very dangerous when two such personalities attach to one another to feed each other’s egos at the expense of others. Claudia

  91. Michael,

    I completely agree with you, with the exception that it’s easy to mistake behavior for traits. If one understands the core traits of psychopaths and they are present, there is no DOUBT at all. Even if you had to take it down to three central traits, it would be lack of empathy, remorse and guilt, the rest of the behaviors flow from these core traits.

    If put into context to the reader as lacking a story with us, many lay persons that do not understand psychopathy will not get that.

    Insofar as the DSM goes, I’m glad their dumping the NPD diagnosis. It’s my hope that psychopathy would be the number one choice, however, I think that is unlikely. I think Sheridan is also correct in that there isn’t just a partial psychopath. I think believing otherwise, as sometimes is believed with NPD, that it runs on a continuum, is a dangerous message delivered to victims who are trying to identify the sickness in their partners, or rather, to give themselves an excuse to stay “Oh he/she isn’t THAT particular trait, THANK GOD, that means they aren’t NPD, psychopath, sociopath, whatever”. Sandra Brown states that even a “little bit” of pathological traits is enough to destroy victims I have found this to be very true, thus the notion that even with some traits and not with others, the psychopath is a psychopath, pure and simple. I also agree that narcissism is a core trait and not a disorder that stands out on its own, however, laypersons would not be familiar with this term either, unless they understood the definition and most do not. Outlining the traits is critical in understanding and researching the disorder.

    Lastly, as I’ve learned having been on this blog and others, each psychopath is unique in how their traits are exhibited. One may show more than another. One may be more covert, one more overt, but it does not mean, AT ALL, that the psychopath is not a psychopath. For example: My ex was not nearly as sexually deviant as say, Claudia’s or Linda’s ex’s were, his sexuality was more infantile, while his other traits were BLARING. Because of this, initially, I believed he was NOT a psychopath, but perhaps a narcissist. WRONG. HE IS a psychopath, but because we are all human beings (a psychopath is a living breathing human being, just not capable of human emotions) and come from different backgrounds, environments, etc, each psychopath will display their psychopathy in different ways. They could even have ALL the traits, but one is more dominant than another.


    I believe there are women who suffer from different disorders that keep them in relationships with psychopaths. This could be a dependent personality disorder or something a little more severe than that. I think we need to be very careful about these women who choose to stay. Some have been married to psychopaths for twenty to over thirty years before they decide they’ve had enough. Even if you are NOT disordered, being in the relationship and having the psychopathic bond develop, undoubtedly makes you VERY VERY psychologically sick. There is no way around that, for anyone dealing with the psychopath, including the children of one, as tragic as it all can be. Kel

  92. Claudia,

    I don’t completely agree with that, at least for all women who stick with psychopaths. What about those that stay 20, 30 years or more?

    I don’t think they all need narcissistic supply. This infers that those that do need it are disordered and that is TRUE for sure, but there are some women, even if not most, that have a great deal of trouble removing themselves for other reasons unrelated directly to the psychopath. Some stay for the children, others stay for religious reasons, some out of fear of being alone, others that are financially dependent….those reasons are not out of narcissistic supply needs. I stayed with my ex P for 20 years. I stayed for “the sake of my children” as well as being financially dependent and religious reasons. Women can stay for those reasons and be absolutely MISERABLE for years. You’re very fortunate that your relationshit lasted only a year. But for others, it’s much, much longer and the longer the dependence, the harder it is to break free of it. Kel

  93. Kel, you’re probably right. I’m sure that the vast majority of people who stay with psychopaths are not disordered themselves, though they are probably severely psychologically damaged by such a toxic relationship: as we have so many testimonials here. I do believe that in the situation I’ve described, pertaining to the psychopath’s relationship with his wife, both are hollow individuals who give each other narcissistic supply and feed off each other. This is the situation I’m most familiar with. But that’s not the case in the vast majority of cases. You have a better sense of how and why a decent person can stay with a psychopath because you stayed with one for ten years.

    In fact, we have many voices on this blog that speak about such a situation. From the outside, people can’t really understand why victims of domestic violence stay with abusive individuals. It’s even tougher for most people to understand why victims stay for so many years with their abusers when there’s no explicit threat (or reality) of physical violence. The same dynamics are at work in most cases where victims stay with psychopaths, even if they are not physically violent. Psychopaths are always emotionally abusive and it takes a lot of strength, information and external support to be able to escape from such toxic relationships.

    There’s so much written about psychopaths, both from clinical and general audience perspectives, but their victims are still insufficiently explored even though we’re far more numerous and diverse. Some victims, probably a small percentage, are psychopathic or narcissistic themselves and willingly collude with evil; but most stay for so many different reasons that are not very well understood. Anyway, it’s good that we provide here a variety of experiences and perspectives, since no one experience with a psychopath can apply to all situations, even if our experiences are very similar, fundamentally. Claudia

  94. Claudia,

    From what I’ve read on this blog and many others, MOST of those who stayed are five years and MORE. Those who are here were REALLY fortunate to have gotten out UNDER that amount of time. Like our Gary here, when you have children together or have a home or finances or shared religions/church, it is FAR, FAR more difficult to let go of the bond. All of those things the psychopath uses to bond us further to them, and it works because they play on our hearts with our COMMITMENTS to children, church, marriages, etc. I knew my ex spouse was abusive, but he was overtly so. There were so many elements in our marriage that kept me there and I KNEW I was miserable very shortly after the marriage commenced, but we already had a child. I believed in being faithful to my marriage as my parents were divorced. Also, in my particular situation, there was pathology and LOTS of it in my background, so staying with him was VERY familiar. Ironically, when I got involved with P2, he appeared as a Knight In Shining armor because he was more COVERT than my ex spouse. And actually, he turned out to be far, FAR more dangerous to me. Physical violence is believed to be how women know their partner is abusive. You wouldn’t believe how many women really believed that and had not a CLUE what emotional/psychological/spiritual/sexual abuse IS. This is another reason that women stay with a psychopath because MANY of them are NOT violent, but passive aggressively stealth in their abuse, gradually tearing down a woman’s soul. Kel

  95. Kel, you’re right that emotional abuse can be much more covert. I think physical abuse leaves many emotional scars in one’s self-esteem and other respects. But emotional abuse in itself is harder to identify and easier to explain away, to rationalize. This becomes a very dangerous trap for victims of psychopaths. Here’s the link to an earlier article I posted about that:

  96. Kelli, You are correct. Before I knew of her illness, I contemplated many times about leaving. I was stuck in, Its just a phase she will grow out of it. Obviously not the case. I knew in my heart something was really wrong with her. My main reason for staying as long as I did was the children. Now my main reason for not leaving town is the Children, mainly my youngest. My step son started collage this year so he is taking his next step in life. I battle severely with my conscience. If it were just me I’d been gone a long time ago. This whole ordeal has been going on for well over a year, in fact it is approaching two. That is in no means a normal break up. As Ive said before I’ve been in failed relationships and had the normal grieving period but this is something else. There really does become a bond with a borderline/psychopath and not the good kind. Unfortunately she uses the kids as glue for her bond. I will say this it is a bit easier now that I can laugh at her and I think she is the biggest piece of crap in the world. One thing I have on her is I’m a caring person. I have a heart and can truly love my kids. Which some day I know they will appreciate. My ex on the other hand only has a miserable, manipulative and empty life ahead, One that she must fill with false feelings to fit in. like. a piece of plastic that molds to her surroundings. never no real meaning,

  97. Gary, “I knew in my heart something was wrong with her (or with him)”. This is what every victim has felt. I’d advise anyone who feels this way to start researching on the internet the symptoms they see wrong because this information about psychopathy, and finally paying attention to the red flags and our intuition, has saved each and every one of us. I have just reposted the list of psychopathy symptoms, provided by Clekley and Hare. In a way it doesn’t matter how long we were with the psychopath. I was only with my ex for one year, but like I keep mentioning, even four years after I broke up with him, he still cyberstalks me and mocks and taunts victims in the most appalling fashion by pretending to be one. I have shown some of you his posts, which I don’t post here or promptly erase. I wish I had known the symptoms of psychopathy a week (or a day!) into our friendship, rather than a year into our relationship, so I wouldn’t become a dominance bond he continues to harass. True, psychopaths and bpd’s are never happy, but they’re never unhappy either. They always find some entertainment in using and tormenting others. Claudia

  98. Hi everyone
    You do most definitely know in your heart that there is something not right with them..I was only with mine for a year and only lived with him for about 8 months – but in that 8 months he just about killed me, emotionally and mentally speaking. He wore me down. I don’t know how anyone could stay with him for years (i’m talking about him specifically not any path) – as he was incapable of being in an intimate relationship with one person. I know his ex he still sees was with him for 6 years, however, they were constantly splitting up as he wanted other women and she would let him sleep with them infront of her etc. The ex before me, she was funnily enough a psychiatrist and very wealthy. They were together two years and he lived with her whilst he rented out his house. He let it slip one day that he had a computer set up in the basement and, knowing what I know now about him, i know what he would have used it for…this gf was so busy with work and I think had her own issues, though again, you don’t know how much of that is true, that she did not notice what he was up to behind her back. I know that when they split up she went to the Priory for help and that she ended up anorexic, which I did too.
    With me I lived with him and at the start A. didn’t really have any issues and B. Am quite intuitive. So I think because of those two things I found out really quickly what he was like (if only i’d really listened to myself BEFORE i left my home and my job!!) and for that reason I was brutally pummelled emotionally and mentally. If i’d been a different person though i may not have sussed out that he was being slippery, and looked at his pc. And if i had maybe I would not have said anything. But i’m just not like that. Also I could really FEEL him destroying me and the person i was and that was truly awful. I hate being out of control of myself (i mean we all have that control freak in us to an extent) – i hated seeing myself lose weight, be stressed, be insecure, i started to randomly shake for no reason. His abuse was more covert as Keli describes. All that “no darling you didn’t do/say/mean that..NO darling that is not what I said or meant”..or just little things like anything you cooked he would hate. At the start it was funny and i’d laugh about it, but as time went on I thought you are doing that deliberately to me to undermine me!! Everything you did was wrong.
    On your point of that you need them to fill the void in your life and the person you are, I used to be scared i was like that. But when I think of it rationally I know i’m not, as if i was i would still be there, or still be hanging around waiting for him to contact me to use me, or abuse me more like. I know that i’m not the type of person to ever join a cult, so I know i would never be able to put up with my exes shocking behaviour and double standards.
    I used to think that i was hooked on him, and he even said to me once “i know what addiction is like (he is an alcoholic) I know what its like to kick something..(meaning me kicking him)” I think my ex had maybe been told how abusive he was and what he was like by someone else, though he did tell me he had been for counselling for five years, maybe it came out then.
    I do think emotional and mental abuse is in some ways so much more damaging than physical. I never realised how harming it was until this happened to me, it has such an impact on so many areas of your psyche really and your life. When i think back to some phone calls where he was screaming down the phone at me, before and after we split up, i get so scared inside that I feel sick.
    I for one could never have lived with mine for years, and so in some ways it was my fault we didn’t work out, but that was in my eyes a GOOD fault, as no one should be subjected to such a loveless existence. But I do totally understand how and why women and men stay with them for years as they are so good at the mean and sweet cycle. His ex gf said to me once, that the highs were the highest highs, but the lows were hell. Her low was indeed hell, as she ended up in prison due to his demands for her to look nicer and better and be in more expensive clothes.
    They really are just damaging to any kind of person, I know I always say that, but unless you suss them right at the start and think “what a twat/what a weirdo” and you have the unfortunate luck of fancying them and all they sell you (which no wonder you would) then you are doomed until you manage to save yourself. It must be such a harrowing experience to have kids with them. Then they really do have that hold on you that you cant ignore.

  99. Lesley, your psychopathic ex sounds so much like mine! I can’t imagine actually living with such a monster even for a week (our relationship was long-distance). But what I can’t understand is why women would do as your ex’s main partner and watch him make love to other women. Is she psychopathic too? Or is she a victim, dominated? Something in between? There are so few books that give us a sense of the many, many victims of psychopathic predators. There are numerous individual testimonials, and the more collective analysis offered in Women Who Love Psychopaths. But we need much more information into the subject of the victims who collude with or stay with psychopaths. They are very diverse, with different reasons, fears and motivations, which are sometimes very difficult to understand even for fellow victims, like us. Because we don’t all react the same way to the psychopathic bond or have similar motivations for staying or breaking free. An understanding of this subject has only just begun! Claudia

  100. Hi Claudia. I know your ex and mine do sound very similar especially the sexual deviancy!! Re his ex. They spilt up about 6 years ago (after she got out of jail he dumped her as get this-he couldn’t trust her?!). Unbeknownst to me they kept having threesomes with another of my ex’s fuckbuddies. When I came back to Scotland I remembered her email add so I sent her a message asking her how she coped when her and the path spilt up. She said that she was sad to hear that he could still not sustain a loving relationship but he seemed incapable of keeping any level of intimacy with anyone. She said he was wonderful to be with but his unpredictability was off the scale. She also said I should never doubt myself and that you could never make someone happy who was fundamentally unhappy. A great reply. But at the same time as she sent that she was also having threesomes with him. Supposedly he won’t have sex with her Claudia he just likes making her jealous by doing it to someone else in front of her (or she’s allowed to give him a bj with another girl). Remember also that they don’t go out with each other anymore. She has watched her ex/my ex do this to her for years. When I spoke to him about it he laughed and said ‘oh me and her don’t fancy each other that way any more’. Like they had some sort of sick pact. Which in her eyes they do. I honestly do not know what could be the reason why a woman would allow this for years?? I could not personally stand the hurt the humiliation the loss of the love I thought was there and the gross shocking realisation of what the sick fucker was doing to my head. I know she went to AA. She surely must have some sort of co-dependency/addiction issue with him. Don’t get me wrong Claudia. I totally can see why women do it to an extent. But it would destroy me. Also when I was living with him she emailed him asking if I would have a threesome with her and him. I think it was her way of keeping him
    In her life the same way he wanted me to keep going to sex clubs with him when we split up. This ex for this use. This ex for that. Though he tried to get me to have sex with him infront of her months after we split up. I was to be ‘the lucky one lesley as you get to have sex with me’. You can imagine what response he got!!
    I think with mine he could be so loving, so attentive, so perfect really that she is really waiting for him to get sick of all these girls and be truly hers again. Sadly that is never going to happen.
    Lesley xxxxx

  101. Lesley, how can I respond to this sordid tale except by stating the obvious: she sounds deviant as well. It’s not just a matter of waiting for him to change and be only with her. She willingly participates. Based on what you say, they seem to feed off each other’s deviancy and perversion. There may be more to this story and he may be pressuring her, but from what you say that’s not the case. Why was she in jail? Anyway, bottom line: good thing you’re not in the middle of that mess. I’m sure you count your blessings about that every day. Claudia

  102. Lesley,

    Wow. What a very sad story. Very sad. The good news is that you escaped it! Maybe she does have her own disorder issues too. But it’s clear that you do not. You had enough self love and self respect and dignity to say no, to not participate. that says a lot about your strength and perseverence. I feel sorry for your ex’s ex who is participating with him in such behavior. If she was alcoholic, perhaps she still is. I know I became one while with my ex and it made having sex much easier to do with lowered inhibitions. In fact sex happened only a few times without alcohol involved. Perhaps this is what is happening with her too, With addictions, it’s easy to do things you would not normally do without it. Either way, your seeming to be strong and getting stronger everyday! I’m always happy when people come here and find healing. It takes some time and perhaps part of why this blog works so well is the way we get to know one another in a personal way through our shared experiences and it gives us room to grow as people and focus on our healing journeys. It’s very different than when you have hundreds of others at one time posting. I’ve seen you grow a lot here from where you were when you got here. I feel happy for you. Kel

  103. Hi Lesley thank you so much for your helpful reply. I will take ur advice and go to my GP and see if he could give me some info on places I could go to for help. I live in Glasgow so I suppose there should be a lot of services available in such a big city but it’s taking the first step to finding the help!!! Thanks again. Emily x

  104. I know Claudia. The thing that got me was that she emailed me and her email was so kind and she obviously knows what he is like, yet she still puts up with it and sees him go through all these relationships yet is still there to collude with him on his deviant acts. And she was still doing it when she emailed me.
    She was a PA and she had use of the company credit card, which she unfortunately used for herself! She had thought she would get off with a fine or warning, but when she went to court she already had a previous conviction from years ago for child benefit fraud. So they jailed her for a year. My ex knew nothing of this until he received a phone call from her brother telling him she wouldn’t be home to go on holiday (my ex had supposedly been frantic all day trying to get a hold of her). She had never told him as she was probably too scared to, and he would have dumped her lets face it. He sent her lots of letters when she was in jail about how much he adored her, but when she got out he couldn’t handle it and dumped her. She told him it was his fault as he was always wanting other women, so she had felt the need to bank roll her beauty treatments, nice clothes, hair with the company’s credit card to keep with his constant upping of the bar in the female stakes. And I can see how that would have happened, he will have put her down the same way he did me, and then used the other women against her. But like your Pablo Picasso description she gored the wrong target. She should have gored him like I did, not herself and her future.
    I think what got me about it all was that when he was pressuring me to leave everything behind he was still sleeping with her (and countless others Claudia) – but finding that out was the end for me. Also, whenever I think of what life could have been with him I remember him telling me of the night he brought a girl home from work, this ex that was jailed was living with him at the time, he got the girl a bit drunk then when she went to bed he asked his gf if he could go and have sex with the other girl. I remember him telling me it was “f(cking amazing”…yes for him, not for his gf. When I said to him I could never ever allow that he said that his gf didn’t like it either actually, that she “really was actually not that happy about it”. yet he still wore her down – that was not the life I would ever want.
    So, to go back to why she does what she does, I do think he has a very strong hold on her. She clearly did not like what he was doing when she was living with him, but she let him do it. Now I think she cannot let him go, that they have this special bond, and that is why they both have this “agreement”. But underneath all that then there is clearly an underlying mental issue, whether it be addiction, she is a psychopath too (as her stealing said something to me about what sort of person she is), or she is narcissistic, or she needs that excitement in her life. I loved excitement Claudia, and I fully admit to being quite deviant in some ways, however as I’ve said before that was with boundaries, as a couple, for each others enjoyment and not to be used as a weapon to destroy your partner. Maybe some women do not see it as that? Maybe they are just not bothered in the end, as long as they still have him or her in their life?? God knows, but I just know it was not for me. its a toxic combination and one that would have pushed me over the edge.

  105. Hi Emily – that is great, yes go and see if you can self refer yourself. That is what I did. If you wait on an NHS referral it can take up to a year (though I think its free). Glasgow should have lots! Though a lot of them are for physical abuse, child abuse etc. I found that anyway. I live on the other side of scotland to you so you will know where that is!!, haha maybe one day we will meet up!!
    let me know how you get on, as even though there are places out there, its not easy to find them sometimes.

  106. Hi keli
    You could be right there, she may be drinking again in order to deal with his disgusting treatment of her. And that is just awful. I feel sorry for her too, as she really did seem like a nice person, she actually reminded me of me from what i hear d about her, she was fun and kind and popular, not that i’m meaning to be bigheaded! But she sounded so nice i think he’s just totally damaged her. To be honest if i wasn’t 400 miles away from him he may have managed to do the same to me, who knows. Though, no, I don’t think so…it would have done my head in and upset me too much. But again as you say, maybe she drinks to get through that?
    I am so glad i found this site and all of you. there are not that many of us and its nice to have that, as we have all been there for each other in some way or other, whether you realise it or not. Some days just reading all your posts and what thoughts come out of them just makes me feel better. I’m not great all the time, well most of the time, but i’m not the same as i was months ago for sure! I knew what he was months ago, but my head was so messed up and he was still getting to me and hurting me so much that every day was just more upset.
    I hope you are ok. you seem to be getting better too, I know we all have bad days but i hope they are not as frequent as they were for you too? I wonder where Julian is? He’s been very quiet!! We will have to send out a search party!!!
    Lots of love Keli

  107. Emily, I hope that you’ll find a therapist who knows about personality disorders and is willing to help you through the PTSD caused by the psychopath. Some therapists seem to believe that a cognitive behavioral approach is incompatible with that, even though there’s no obvious reason why this should be the case. Dealing head-on with the trauma caused by personality disordered individuals is compatible with any kind of reputable method of therapy. Claudia

  108. Lesley, psychopaths are naturally without conscience and empathy; some proto-psychopaths, however, become that way through a series of very bad choices and bad actions for the sake of pleasing or keeping the psychopath in their lives. I still don’t know what a PA is, but it’s clear that she engaged in illegal activities, perhaps partly to keep him, but also for her own sake. In her sad story you see the road you might have taken had you chosen to stay with the psychopath, since psychopaths have a pattern in their use and abuse of women. But now that you know her story I hope you stay away from both of them, since sometimes proto-psychopaths can be as dangerous as the psychopaths themselves (especially when they join forces). She may seem nice in her rhetoric to you, and her sad life may incite sympathy, but the choices she’s made and the company she chooses to keep make her almost as dangerous as he is. Claudia

  109. Hi Claudia
    Sorry a PA is a personal like a secretary – you organise trips, presentations etc and do typing and admin for either partners or ceo’s of companies. Hence why she had the company credit card, as they book flights etc for business.
    I know, I agree re what sort of person she is now. Looking back I think that her email was a cleverly worded automatic response that she would send (and maybe thought of by my ex) so that you would THINK that she was “ok” and had moved on etc. When in fact it could not have been further from the truth. The two of them were in fact in contact all that time, which now makes me KNOW that she probably asked him what to say to me.
    Add to that the fraud and her past life in general and then what you get is someone that maybe was more similar to my ex than I thought.
    I have no contact with either of them – well apart from the emails i received from him a few weeks back. There is nothing I could do or say that would change her mind about him and I have to think of myself not any one else – as you so rightly say, she is the one choosing that life for herself – and she is as bad as him as she is involving herself with his life when she knows he is in a relationship. They do all end up being treated the same, the thing is with all of them is the pattern, that is the key word. And that will never change. The only way to break that pattern is to remove yourself from it, which thank god i did. No one, if they are loved, should be anyone’s second best. Or in a path’s case…no best. Haahahaha.

  110. Lesley, if they planned together what to say to you, then she’s all the more manipulative and dangerous. Although from what she said to you, I don’t see what the point of the manipulation was, since it didn’t make either of them look good or entice you into being a part of that toxic relationship. Claudia

  111. Hi Claudia. yes, I could be reading too much into it…she may have been geniune. But at the time I did think, gosh that sounds very well rehearsed… maybe she had looked into what was wrong with him too, who knows? She asked me not to tell him she had been in touch with me and she also asked how i knew her email add. She then said “us girlies have to stick together” which at the time i thought nothing of but when I found out he wanted/she wanted threesomes with me or anyone else, my red flag went up..anyway god help anyone who ends up involved with either of them or both of them.

  112. Lesley, as a general rule, it’s best to stay away from those closely involved with psychopaths. Whether they’re inherently evil themselves or just by proxy, they can still be harmful to you and your recovery. Claudia

  113. Lesley, psychopathyawareness gets well over a thousand readers a day, but, as you stated, only a few active and regular participants who have become friends. I hope, however, that this information, as well as the comments by the active participants, can be helpful to its readers, including those who don’t participate actively in the blog. I know that in 2007, when I was reading and finding out about psychopathy, the blog helped me tremendously even though I did not actively comment on it. Just reading the information on it and the comments of the active participants was sufficient to open my eyes about the psychopath. Claudia

  114. that is very true claudia. This was all back in February when I had no idea what had happened to me, I had not a clue what i’d been dealing with – now, I would not have any dealings with anyone that is/was involved with him. As who knows what lies he tells them about me, or indeed what they are like as individuals themselves.

  115. Claudia
    My god do you get as many readers as that!! That is incredible! You must be so pleased in some ways and worried at the same time!!
    I just think its a great site, your articles are so well written, situations are so well described and feelings put over so well. there are lots of good support groups on the internet. I like this one as I like the way you do the articles and have comments underneath.
    Thank god for all these sites i say. Without them we would all be lost in a haze of total confusion and hurt.

  116. Lesley, I agree. Each psychopathy website and support group helps in its own way and has its own approach and personality. Often we cite each other’s articles and a lot of readers read several of them. That’s the way to do it in order to spread this information to victims and the general public most effectively, which is all of our goal. I think that reaching the general public–i.e., those who haven’t been burned by psychopaths or who don’t yet know that’s who burned them–is the biggest challenge. Because as has been pointed out, mostly victims who realize they’ve been victimized by a psychopath read and contribute to psychopathy websites. This information has not yet effectively reached the mainstream readers, who would be helped a lot by it. Claudia

  117. Claudia

    And that’s what needs to change. Public education and awareness prior to an actual encounter. It’s seems to always be AFTER the fact.

    BUT the good news is that more and more books are coming out and slowly but surely, education is forthcoming as well in schools as what Donna is doing and in radio shows and youtube videos as Thomas is doing. We’ll get there, but it will take time. Kel

  118. Also Emily as Claudia rightly points out make sure you see someone that knows about psychopathy. My one is a student but very good and knows her stuff about the harm these types can do. She knows all about the hooks the manipulation the abusiveness. I hope you manage to see someone good
    Lesley xxx

  119. Kelli, All of this information on blogs and books helps alot, but what it will take is a quantum leap where such cases get media attention not for the sordid crimes but for the psychological understanding of psychopathy. This is what has happened in the case of domestic violence. Since so many abusers are psychopaths, it needs to happen in the same manner with psychopathy information. Claudia

  120. HI Claudia and Keli. Totally agree with you, the information needs to get the people at a young age i think – everyone thinks its just domestic abuse as in physical but there is so much more damage that can be done with emotional and mental abuse – people do only want to read about paths when there is some sort of grisly murder or sex crime involved. Most of them are posing as normal humans and devastating lives in many more ways than what the media comment on.

  121. Lesley, Donna Andersen, who started lovefraud, has the right idea on that and started a program of educating high school students about psychopathy in New Jersey. I think she had support from at least one politician for that. It’s not something one can do without riling up political support, particularly if you do this state-wise or nationally. It’s a great idea and I hope it works and spreads to the whole country. Claudia

  122. I love this article! I have been in an on/off again relationship with a man whom I clearly believe is a psychopath. I am so very ashamed of myself for staying with him for so long and taking him back time and time and time again after he’s lied to me and hurt me. I have felt addicted to him. I’ve loathed him but found him intoxicating at the same time. As I write this I am convinced he is a clinical psychopath. Even so, I miss him. It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve seen him. I know he is seeing someone else which is why I stopped seeing him 2 weeks ago. For the countless time he has lied to me about not seeing someone. But, I’ve learned over 8 years when he is the cruelest is when he is trying to get me to stay away for a period of time so he can have a little affair and then he’ll be contacting me with how he misses me, and how sweet I am, I’m the only one he can’t stay away from and on and on. I have no intention of contacting him although I do intend to talk with the woman he is currently seeing. We share a mutual friend so I know who he has been dating. She is a very sweet, trusting, niave person. I want to give her some signs to watch for and warn her of what her future is to be. His cruelness toward me has escalated so much and he seems to get such a rush from it, I am afraid for her, and for myself if//when he finds out I’ve contacted her. But, I feel an obligation to at least give her a heads up. She is very innocent and trusting and has no idea what she’s in for. This guy comes across as very soft spoken, gentle, shy, compassionate and tender, until you become intimate with him. Then the cruelty begins.

    Again, I am so grateful to have read this. It helps me understand a bit more why I felt and to a degree feel tied to, chained to, and/or obligated to this ass. Whom, I do have compassion for. He didn’t bring this psychopathy on himself. He was born with this. He does seem tortured by his own voids and often laments how his brain doesn’t work right and he is so confused, empty, or angry and doesn’t understand why.

  123. Lisa, victims during the honeymoon phase with a psychopath usually don’t listen to such warnings. I wish I had listened to my friends, who described the psychopath as a piece of trash with no character when I was in love with him and he was luring me. However, such warnings are useful later, once the bait and switch occurs in the relationship and you start to see the real psychopath. Then victims think back to earlier warnings from others, and red flags they had missed. The main danger for you in talking to his current girlfriend is that it keeps you emotionally entangled in the life of a psychopath you are trying to leave behind. Claudia

  124. Claudia, thank you for the reply. You are completely right of course that she won’t listen now. But, as you said she’ll quickly begin seeing all the signs. I can reflect back now and I saw signs w/in the 3rd date. I just didn’t know anything about psychopaths or sociopaths then. I just thought he was a bit emotionally immature or insensitive – but felt if I communicated with him, he’d learn and get better. Of course it only got worse.

    It makes it hard to completely untangle becuase we work in the same school district. We are both teachers. He is currently seeing my best friends co-teacher. My best friend and her teach together. We have conferneces and courses and meetings throughout the year that we’ll sharing and likely sitting together since we teach the same grade level.

    For whatever reason I am unable to stop thinking about all of is. Every conversation we ever had is playing in my mind, every look, every gesture and I”m trying to figure out what I should of seen or what did I notice but not pay attention to. I have a constant knot in my stomach,can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t focus on work or anything else. This is what typically happens to me when we gone through some trauma and I find out he’s been lying about something for a while and it blind sides me. I truly am trying.

  125. Lisa, it’s so much harder to disentangle yourself from the psychopath ex when you’re working at the same place and have common friends. Not only are you reminded of him by his presence, but also you might have to deal with the smear campaign he may launch against you at work. That’s a common tactic of psychopaths: they pretty much always backstab their former targets. You’re still fresh out of the relationship, so it’s normal to go through the feelings you’re experiencing now. You seem to have some cognitive dissonance, oscillating between your former good memories and feelings of him (him with his mask on, during the idealization phase) and the horrible person you’ve realized he is. We’ll try our best to offer emotional support and information here! But be patient with yourself going through this grieving process for this dead and in some ways nonexistent relationship (the psychopath was never who you thought he was). It’s very important to minimize contact with him and those closest to him, even though you won’t be able to eliminate it since you all work in the same place. Claudia

  126. Hi Claudia, Well I think it’ll be a bit easier than what you’ve noted since we aren’t in the same building. We are just in the same district. All 3 of us. But we each work at different schools. I am sure he won’t do the smear campaigne because his facade to everyone other than those intimately involved with him, is a gentle, kind “good guy.” He calls himself the “good guy” all the time. He does portray that very well to everyone around him, at least superficially. He doesn’t have close intimate friends other than the women he dates and destroys.

    Honestly, I know him well enough to know how he’ll react to most things. But, this – me calling him on his game so to speak with his next victim, I’m not exactly sure. But am fairly certain he’ll try to be the “calm.” Again, he’s the calm in the storm, all the while he’s the one creating the storm in the first place.He’ll want to appear the “good guy” to her as if he’s above putting me down.

    I did my deed. Now I’m releasing it. I told her a bit about my experience, gave her some things to look for and beyond that it’s between the two of them now.

    She was genuinly taken a back and said she sees none of those traits….yet! I gave her the names of the last 3 women he dated, 2 of whom he was seeing during the time of our relationship. I told her to talk with them. Don’t just take my word for it. I hope she’s able to get out more quickly than those of us who weren’t warned ahead of time. I always wished I’d have been warned by somebody when I first met him it would have gotten me out more quickly I’m sure. I was a prime victim for him having rarely dated and he being my first intimate relationship. He hit the jackpot. I didn’t know anything from anything. It was all brand new to me.

    Thank you for your replies. This site is wonderful and I am so very glad I found it! It has helped me immensly begin to heal and realize it wasn’t all MY FAULT. My instincts that I constantly buried, or that he would beat down, were right. It WAS ALL him perpetuating all the turmoil. All that pain WAS intentional. He did loath my joy and thrived on sucking it dry. Who knows if I may have allowed him back again had I not put the pieces together finally!

    It is so very hard to wrap my brain around hating someone so cruel, yet feeling empathetic for his emptiness. I suppose it’s normal to have a bit of sympathy for him since this disorder is not something he chose. He was born with it. He does seem very internally tortured. For that I feel less hate and anger than I did before and more sorrow for him. They aren’t able to control their actions and desire to hurt you, or are they? Its just w/in their DNA. Is that correct?

  127. Lisa, you were kind enough to do your duty to your friend, so she will realize, once she gets past the honeymoon phase with your ex, whom she’s dealing with. But now I hope you’ll let it (your former relationship) go, and let him go forever, so that you can heal and move on.
    Psychopaths are able to control their actions. They are extremely strategic and calculated in whom they target, how they manipulate each target and in what way they hurt each target. But what they can’t change is a fundamental incapacity to bond, lack of empathy
    and lack of conscience. It’s this fundamental ethical and emotional hollowness that enables them to hurt others so callously. Claudia

  128. Thank you Claudia. Alright, well now I’ll get on with the judgement of what a prick and an ass he is, instead of seeing him as victim of genetics. 🙂
    I’ve blocked him from having the ability to reach me by phone, or FB. I’m unable to block our work emails however. Let’s hope he doesn’t decide to hound me a bit for talking to his new victim. I defintely feel ready to let him go. If he comes near my home, I’ll get a restraining order. Shouldn’t be difficult. He’s had 2 previous ones from his ex wife and they share 2 children together. Poor woman.

  129. Lisa, you’re so lucky you don’t have children with him. And the fact he has two restraining orders from his ex wife is a big red flag. Claudia

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